Quote of the Moment

"What's Past Is Prologue." - William Shakespeare

Wednesday, April 07, 2021

Well of Solitude (Fortunes of Fate, 7) - Excerpt

Finally, a new release! It feels great to be on schedule (actually, I'm a bit ahead for the year). Well of Solitude (Fortunes of Fate, 7) is now available as an ebook at all major online retailers!

Please remember, as with most of my Fortunes of Fate series, you can jump into whichever story you'd like to first - no need to have read the previous titles. Well of Solitude ended up in the novella range, so at around 70 pages you may want to consider diving into this one since it's over twice as long as my second longest Fate title (that would be Edge of Sorrow).

If you'd like to grab a copy after reading the excerpt below, here are a few links for you: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple Books, Google Play, Smashwords, and Books2Read (this last one will give you the option of your preferred online retailer).

As always, if you read Well, please consider leaving a review at one of the retailers or on Goodreads. Thank you, and happy reading!

Note: In the excerpt below you'll see Solis referring to Resz as Rez - this is intentional, not a misspelling!


She brushed her fingers along the door. It creaked open, stale air gusting out.

Only the touch of the dead opened this door.

An ache throbbed inside her – the desire to be whole, normal, not suspended between two worlds. She felt it every time she entered the Well.

Solis glanced up the stairs one last time. Rez peered down, but didn’t move to follow.

Right. Into the depths. After she slipped in, the door sealed behind her with a thud.

A tomb, indeed. One with endless labyrinthine passages and an underlying musty odor of death. Home of the souls of Fate, tasked to wander their unlives away in the darkness. Knowledge that saddened her.

She hoped those who believed some spirits chose to be reborn were correct, though she only bore witness to the ones rambling this maze. If there was another way out aside from the door behind her, or a portal to a different world like the cat had claimed, she’d never found it. Hard to search every passage when they were truly endless and she feared getting lost.

Though Solis had ventured further in on many occasions, attempting to memorize and map out routes in her mind, today she refused to. The necromancer had her on edge. She’d lied to him – she was mostly safe, but not completely. Down here, the madness of the spirits knew no bounds. She was less of a target because of her state, and many had accepted her presence as ordinary. Yet there was still an inherent risk, the chance an insane enough shade would attack her, even attack another of its kind.

The Well was a place for spirits to rest... and lose their incorporeal minds.

Except Neggie. He’d remained sane for the seemingly endless years Solis had known him, and he’d implied he’d been a resident of the Well for much longer before that. Tracking time proved difficult in the garden, though, so no telling how long she’d been here – it all felt eternal. And her unique makeup ceased her aging, a type of immortality, so she couldn’t track the years that way.

Solis sighed, not wanting to dwell on her enduring predicament. At least she was able to offer a touch of light to the darkness, for her and the spirits.

She tossed the lily into the air, and it exploded, sundering itself. Five of the glowing petals zipped into the maze, quickly disappearing into the depths to wander through the winding passages. The remaining orb of light bobbed above her, then landed on her shoulder.

It amazed her how deliberate and sentient the petals acted once they disconnected. As if they transformed from flowers to fairies.

Solis lightly patted the petal. It flitted off her shoulder and hovered high above.

“I sense the living in the garden.” Neggie’s voice broke the deathly silence, and he swirled into existence, a hulking brute of a spirit. She’d always been tempted to ask who he’d been in life, but he likely didn’t remember. Memories melted away the longer one was dead. Currently, his form shaped itself into one resembling a human, his typical appearance when he addressed her, though he’d mastered the ability to shift into whatever he wished, like a cloud of smoke with a will.

“Ah, Neggie, I was just about to call for you.” Her voice dropped to a whisper. “It’s a necromancer.”

He bent over, his translucent face inches from hers. “Truly?”

“The spirits drew him, and he broke through the enchantments around the island. A determined and stubborn man.” Rude, too, but she figured he wouldn’t care about that.

Neggie billowed upright, his form growing taller. He towered over her – even without a solid form, he was intimidating. “What does he want?”

“To enter the Well.” Odd, he never asked silly questions. Everyone seemed to be doing so today.

“And?” The shadows of eyebrows rose, shimmery in the petal fairy’s glow.

Solis hesitated. Normally, Neggie was more forthcoming, chattier than the other spirits, sometimes more than she cared for. “I thought it best to speak to you.” Her voice cracked, throat suddenly dry.

“Without discovering his intentions? Foolish girl.” His usual patience and kindness had evaporated.

Never. He’d never called her such things before. Girl. She’d left that designation behind years upon years ago.

The kind, yet imposing soul, had transformed into the commanding leader of the spirits he claimed to be. And Solis didn’t like it, not one bit. “He’s a necromancer. You know, someone who can control the dead.” She waved her arms around. “Including me.”

Neggie hummed. “I know what a necromancer is.” He drew closer again, though she wished he hadn’t. She didn’t think it possible for a spirit’s gaze to appear so menacing, so unhinged. “Keep him from entering the Well at any cost. Including your own life.”

Solis stepped back and gasped. “Or?”

“I’ll banish you from the garden forever.” His bulky form swirled into a cyclone and zipped down the nearest passageway, the darkness swallowing him. Booming laughter trailed behind him, and several other spirits cackled in response.

Perhaps Neggie had finally gone mad.

And Solis was left alone to turn Rez away from the island. A necromancer who could manipulate her own soul.

That or risk losing the comfort of her garden – the only place she belonged.

All of a sudden the glowing petal dashed away, and the spirits hushed, returning the maze to stark silence. The Well suddenly felt darker and more threatening than it ever had before.

Solitude. Ward or woe? The answer lies buried in the minds of the mad shades.

Solis embraces her task as Gardener of the Well. Who better to tend to the flora edged in perpetual sunlight – surrounding the tomb of spirits – than someone who is half-dead herself? But when a necromancer arrives on the island, demanding entrance to the Well, her solitude shatters.

Spirits are the only good company, in Resz’s opinion. So when he senses the glut of souls in the Well, compulsion drives him to find them. Unfortunately, a strange woman denies him access. And worse, he’s inexplicably drawn to her, as he’s never been to another living being.

Solis risks control of her own soul to keep Resz out of the Well. Can she convince the necromancer to abandon his quest, or will he pull her strings like a puppet master?

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

1001 Reasons Not To Clean - #56 through #60

Welcome to 1001 Reasons Not to Clean! The main goal of this series is to see if I can actually reach 1001 reasons, 5 reasons at a time (the final post, if I get there, will be 6 reasons). I'm sure I can. It's not just my crazy brain being unrealistic, right? Links to previous posts are below. And feel free to share your excuses, and they might get added to my list (with credit, of course)!

#1 through #5 ~ #6 through #10 ~ #11 through #15 ~ #16 through #20 ~ #21 through #25 ~ #26 through #30 ~ #31 through #35 ~ #36 through #40 ~ #41 through #45 ~ #46 through #50 ~ #41 through #45 ~ #51 through #55

56. Anxiety, mostly due to #57. It pretty much freezes you and you can't seem to muster the energy to clean anything or work on the projects you started three months ago. Close your eyes, then you can't see the mess. Better yet, take a nap or do #58.

57. Pandemic. Need I say more? OK, I'll say more anyhow. You're cloistered in your house most of the time for over a year... which makes you want to clean it even less. Not to mention to deal with #56 you're playing an inordinate amount of video games. No time to clean, busy with #58.

58. Genshin Impact! Oh, yes, it's another game. A super fun game with gorgeous scenery and beautiful music that's easy to get lost in. And 2020 made many of us want to get lost in things.

59. The house has become sentient and has decided to fall apart on you in the span of a month. Boiler dies during a cold snap? Yup. Front door steps crumbling to dust? Uh huh. Upstairs toilet overflows and water pours from fixtures into the kitchen below (which was remodeled five years ago)? Argh, yes. Who has the energy to clean if your house hates you?

60. Taking cat pictures and posting them to Instagram is loads more fun. Cats are cute. They make me smile. Don't they make everyone smile? I hope so. Cleaning doesn't make me smile. Why do something that doesn't make you smile?

Wednesday, February 24, 2021

Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession - Chapter 26

DISCLAIMER: This is rough draft material. Don't be surprised if you fall into plot holes, trip over inconsistencies, and get hit in the head with direction changes. I've done my best to read through several times before posting, though, to make sure most spelling and grammar errors are corrected. Any constructive comments are welcome for when I revise this novel. Thank you for reading!

All current and previous chapters for Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession can also be found on Wattpad. And for an easy to access list of all chapters that have been posted to Born to Write, please visit the Table of Contents.

A new chapter will be posted to Born to Write and Wattpad about one month after it's released to my newsletter subscribers. If you'd like to see the posted chapters a month sooner, please consider signing up for my Author Newsletter!

Chapter 25

* * * * *

Chains of Nect: Obsidian's Obsession

Chapter 26

The precepts needed to burn, not Sid's precious portal book, likely the last left of its kind.

She slammed shut the damnable text, the resulting gust of wind tousling loose strands of her hair. Yes, she was supposed to be on her best behavior, to do what was asked of her so she wouldn't be punted out of the House of Portals. Or worse. But what point was there if she couldn't retrieve her book?

Her gate would continue to stand useless, forgotten by all but her.

That couldn't happen -- she had to convince Damian to give it back, or to at least keep it somewhere safe instead of destroying it.

Obsidian rested her head on her copy of the precepts, her mind tumbling. Her thoughts grew hazy and drifted, exhaustion dragging her down.

"The precepts are not a pillow." Damian's sharp tone yanked Sid from her nap like a cold bucket of water.

She sat up and wiped a drop of drool from the corner of her mouth. "I'm sorry. I haven't gotten much sleep lately."

"Guess I can't blame you." He plopped down in the chair across from her, as if standing on his feet was too much of a burden, then rested his elbows on the table and leaned toward her. "You were right."

Sid wiggled in her seat. She'd made a lot of declarations lately, but the one that initially came to mind was the Guardians killing washed out dedicants. "About what?" She squeaked and covered her neck.

Damian shifted, resting on the back of a chair, his frown stretching to all corners of his face and creasing his forehead. "The council is hiding something. They're using the precepts to cover up their secrets."

A shuddering breath escaped her. No doom. "And how did you come to this conclusion?"

"I spoke to my mother, and when I asked her if she'd ever heard of Guardians wielding magic, she nearly cut me with her gaze." He closed his eyes and shook his head. "How could I have been so wrong?"

"More importantly, how could you have been so stupid?" Perfect way for them to discover if she was also right about the dire consequences of crossing the Guardians. "Did you tell her what happened with Turmoil? Bishop?"

That eyebrow of his did its thing. "Of course not. I was careful about what I said. Have some faith in me."

"It's not that I don't, but if a single Guardian discovers what we've been up to, it's certain death." She actually had a heap of faith in him -- more than he'd ever know. After all, he still hadn't presented her to the council with a list of her crimes.

Damian rolled his eyes. "Enough with those ludicrous accusations. Secrets don't make anyone a murderer." He tilted his head. "Besides, a single Guardian does know what we've been up to."

Sid giggled.

"What?"

"You're not like them." She'd been so wrong about him when they'd first met. True, he clung to the precepts, but it was all he'd known. "You question and dare to have independent thoughts. If you were one of those Guardians that I'm constantly deriding, I'd have been at their mercy the moment I stepped before the council."

He stared at her for a second, then blinked rapidly and found a fascinating spot on the wall.

Obsidian did trust him, which was why it was so hard when he clearly hadn't trusted her. He still might not. There was one way to rectify that. She hoped. "Do you want to know where I got the book?" She whispered, afraid the walls had ears. Who knew what magic the Guardians were hiding?

Damian returned his attention to her, eyes bright. "Where?"

Here it was. The moment she'd never expected to happen, had avoided for years. Confessing to her discovery. "Buried in a box on my family's land." Her insides chilled, as if she walked through a fiery portal. "Underneath the gate I found."

He stood so swiftly, his chair tipped over and clattered on the floor. "What? You couldn't have." He bit his bottom lip and nodded. "Of course. That's why all the gates hadn't affected you the first day. You'd already been near a portal. No. You'd already touched one."

Sid wanted to melt into her chair. She stared at the book of precepts so she wouldn't have to meet his gaze. And she thought she'd felt guilty for kissing Bishop -- nowhere near to the extent as she felt now.

"That's why you wanted to learn the script. But how were you able to open the Turmoil gate if your book was meant for the other gate?"

Her excitement got the best of her and she looked up at him. "The word on the front of the book changed when I was more focused on the new gate. It's as if it shifts depending on which portal you want to use it with. Fascinating magic. Unfortunately, it blurred the script of my gate in my mind, so I don't even remember what it looks like." It felt so good to finally share this with someone. She'd never realized how tormented her soul had been keeping all of this information in.

Damian planted his hands on the table and loomed over her. "It's not your gate. Get that out of your head."

"I know, I just..." Had she made a mistake telling him? A miscalculation?

"I have to tell the council."

Yes, a grave one. "No... But why...?" She tried to find clearer words, but they failed her. Damian planned to betray her, and it cut deeper than any loss she'd experienced before.

He straightened and paced the best he could in the tiny study room. "I can't believe this is what you've been hiding. And you called me stupid? Your actions--"

The chill within blossomed into a flame, and the fire spread rapidly. She stood and slammed her hands on the table. "I thought you realized the Guardians have been lying, to all of Nect, even to you. Your own mother. Yet you're ready to turn me in because of their absurd rules."

Damian skirted around to her side of the table and grabbed her arms. "I may be questioning what I've been taught my entire life, wondering where the truth ends and the lies begin, but there's one thing I'm positive about. The portals aren't safe. And you're proof of that. Have you forgotten the compulsion Turmoil drove you to already? Imagine what could happen to someone else who stumbles upon that gate. How would you feel if a family member found it and went mad?"

Sid had always dreaded one of her brothers discovering it. And now with her here, unable to steer them away from that section of their land, they had more of a chance to do just that.

And though she'd been driven to open Turmoil, she still believed the portals shouldn't be left to rot, mere relics moldering around Nect.

She wiggled out of Damian's grasp. "No matter what happened to me, I don't agree with you. I succumbed to a moment of weakness. That doesn't mean the gates are a danger to everyone in Nect. Just more Guardian lies."

"Obsidian, please see sense."

Sid planted her fists on her hips. "Why should I? Someone I thought was my friend is about to throw me to the wolves. There's no sense in that."

"No, no. I keep telling you we don't harm people, especially ones who find gates." He sighed, brow wrinkling. "But if you're so concerned about that, we'll find a way to tell them about the portal without implicating you or your family. I promise."

"Good luck with that. I mean, the gate's on my family's land."

"It might take time, but we'll figure it out." He appeared seriously pained, but she didn't care -- he planned to rip the one thing away from her that had been her sole goal for the past six years.

She stepped back and crossed her arms over her chest. "Perhaps I should just go back through the portal with Bishop. Then I'll be out of your hair forever and you can tell the Guardians whatever you want."

Until she said it, she hadn't actually considered the possibility of leaving Nect and going to Turss.

Forever. It would truly mean forever. She'd never hug her mother, never see her father smile proudly, and never get heckled by her brothers again.

But she'd live, and Damian would get exactly what he wanted -- he'd be rid of her and allowed to live the rest of his life as oblivious to the Guardians' true intentions as much as he'd like. "Do you really want to do that?" His voice escaped breathy.

Sid raised her chin. "What I want is for you to hand that portal book over and forget I ever told you about my gate. But that's never going to happen. So Turss sounds like a good second option." She couldn't believe what she was saying. Could she really do what she claimed?

The book in Damian's bag beckoned to her. And so did the Turmoil portal, whispering in her ear and begging her to open it once again.

Damian raised his hands in front of him, palms out. "Let's take a break. Cool down a bit. Relax in your room briefly and have dinner. Then perhaps we can talk about all of this more rationally."

So he thought she wasn't being rational?

Yes, Obsidian would go to Turss with Bishop.

Or she'd wrest the book away from Damian, no matter the cost, and flee the House of Portals.

Head home and open her gate. Perfectly rational.

* * * * *

Chapter 27 - Expected April 2021.