Oh the weather outside is frightful,
And the advertising agencies mindful,
We’ve only two months to go,
Christmas overload, overload, overload!
Ah, the month of November is here already! Turkeys will be stuffed (and humans, too!) by the end of the month. Me? I’m still trying to wrangle the Christmas ads that started playing before Halloween was even over!
Ah well. Maybe I’ll stick with thoughts of El Dia de los Muertos. That ends today, but at least it doesn’t involve thoughts of snow and thoughts of Mishka trying to eat the tinsel off of people’s trees! There’s never any on ours, but knowing him, he’ll try to find some anyway!
Thank you all for your wonderful support during the launch of the Vampire’s Handmaiden. It’s been wonderful hearing from you all about the story. It make me as the author so happy! If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, make sure to do so here.
Well, let all tidings be merry and don’t imbibe in the foodstuffs over the upcoming holidays! ‘Till we meet again, God bless!
Okay, guys! What questions do you have for me?
To celebrate the launch of the Vampire’s Handmaiden, I’m taking questions on just about everything you can imagine or ask! I’ll take questions on the writing process, any of my books, and whatever else you throw at me.
Comment under the article and I’ll answer your questions live in the upcoming video Q&A!
– Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel
❤️ Hello readers!
Here’s the third behind the scenes look at Slave to War, the bits that were deleted to move the novel long. This was the raw, unedited beginning of the third chapter, but was cut for time.
(Spoiler warning for those who haven’t read Slave to War yet! Read at your own risk!)
I take it back. I did not trust Michael.
Staring at the upscale boutique in front of me I wanted to smack him. He knew very well I abhorred such frivolous clothes like those displayed in the window but still he steered me in through the double doors. Inside I didn’t see a single article of clothing. Shiny white walls greeted us and an equally stark desk with a woman behind it.
The haughty-looking lady strolled towards us, taking in our attire. She obviously thought we had the wrong store. “May I help you?”
“Yes. I need a full wardrobe for my dear friend. I believe my father General Xorratti has an account here,” Michael said smoothly.
Her attitude changed immediately when she heard that name. “Ah. Is Vinkent not with you today?”
She regarded me openly and I gulped. Judging by her attire she was an expert in top fashion. She might have even been a model. “Come. You must be cold. Frigid night out there, isn’t it?”
Her demeanor had changed so drastically in the time we arrived I was expecting her head to start spinning. Wave a black credit card and she worshipped the ground you walked on. She opened a door to an open hallway. Many doors lined it and we were escorted into the last one. When we got in it my jaw dropped.
Here was a huge, generously decorated room. In the middle was a walkway where models must come down displaying the clothes. In front was a couple of enormous leather arm chairs. This wasn’t an expensive boutique. This was a fashion house. Why the hell had Michael brought me here?
I backed up unconsciously until I bumped into Michael’s chest. He prodded me forward and the strict-looking woman shut the door behind us.
“Is this your first visit here?” she asked curiously.
“Naw. Dad dragged – er – brought me here a few times when I was small. Sierrenna may have, though. I’m not sure.”
She did a double take and her eyes widened comically. She obviously knew that name. “Really? Didn’t she wear one of Balille’s concept gowns to your birthday party? The violet silk evening dress with the matching illusion pumps?”
Now I knew where I was. Ballile was one of the top, most exclusive designers in the city. No, scratch that; the world. And worse off, he was one of Antigo’s personal favorites whom he had helped rise to the top. Up until I had been unceremoniously kidnapped and forced into servitude, I always received his newest creations as a token of his respect. He knew to scratch my back and I would scratch his, as did all of Antigo’s associates. I hated the clothes just because of what they stood for.
“Oh, I guess so. I must say it looked nice. Pass on my compliments to Ballile.”
“I’ll do just that,” she replied. “Be back shortly.”
As she disappeared, I sank into one of the pompous armchairs. It was so cushy I sank into it and had to push myself back up. It probably had so much give because of all the fat, lecherous men that sat in it with their mistresses on their laps.
Michael sat beside me. I sent him a scathing look, wondering why he had brought me here. It was only a matter of time until someone came after us. “Don’t look at me like that. You need clothes. If the price tag is the problem, it’s my father’s money. So spend as much as of it as you can. But I had another reason for coming here.”
He picked up the phone in the center on the small table. “Yes, you can help me. Would you please patch me through to the Wrap Inger base? I’ll talk to the operator thank you.”
I watched him sullenly as he waited. Now I knew what he was going to do. He had put us in a central location with a cover purpose of hijacking their untapped phone system. Even if he didn’t get the desired party on the line, they would trace the call here and come asking questions. They would discover who had placed the call and come to find us.
“Yes, would you please patch me through to Squadron 472? I have an urgent matter for General McRattin. They’re in the city today? Where?” His eyes darted back and forth as he heard whatever information he was given. “For how long? I need to speak with them immediately. Fine. Tell them that the Rain has been hidden behind the clouds. They’ll know who was calling. Thank you.”
He turned to me brightly with a hint of sadness in his eyes. “Let’s get you clothes and then get out of here. They’re here nearby in the city. They were dragged to some diplomat’s side to protect her at a baseball game. It’s an old grandmotherly type woman who I’ve met. She likes to request her ‘favorites’ and bring along arm candy to reminisce the days she was good looking enough to catch their eye. Not sure how McRattin was the chosen one this time. She usually likes dark and handsome as opposed to blonde and stup-”
He changed course as I looked wryly at him. I understood the word stupid though he had cut himself short. “Stupendous. That’s the word I was searching for. Haha, right. But this will be easy enough to finagle. There’s a private box at the stadium reserved for military generals. I’ll bet that’s exactly where they are. Now where did that woman go? We-”
The back door the sharp woman had exited in now opened to reveal none other than Ballile himself strutting through the door. He still wore his signature spiky black hair the same way and the usual monocle hung off his head with a chain. I had always thought he looked ludicrous with it but the general public predictably ate it up.
He spotted me, threw his arms open wide and squealed in his signature high pitched voice in welcome. “Sierrenna, it has been too long! You must introduce me to your friend. Enchanted to meet you.”
“Likewise,” Michael said uneasily as the smaller, skinnier fellow leaned in and kissed his cheek. I hadn’t mentioned to him Ballile’s signature flamboyance also came with an insatiable appetite for younger men, women, and both at the same time on a regular basis.
“I had hoped I would hear from you after I had that last dress custom designed for you. McRattin came in here and said who he was shopping for and I knew I had my vessel to carry my exquisite creation! You wore it marvelously!”
I nodded, trying to be friendly. He didn’t seem to notice that I was not responding back verbally. Either that or he wasn’t bothered. I had never been the most verbose person as it was.
“Yes, I must agree,” Michael said. “But now she needs a new wardrobe. We’re in a bit of a hurry, so if you could have one packed up, that would be great.”
Ballille tapped his foot contemplatively. “Yes, I have all of her measurements on file and to my happiness she fits all of the samples of my new collection. And with her new prestigious station with McRattin, I absolutely insist she bring all of them with her.”
He wanted me to wear them publicly. That would indeed bring him good business. But I was never going to have anywhere to wear those. I needed loungewear and travel clothes, not high fashion.
“That sounds wonderful,” Michael said. “But she’s been keeping her public presence pretty low, so maybe some more understated, basic pieces would do better? We wouldn’t want to waste your masterpieces on eyes that won’t appreciate your work.”
“Hmmm. Too right. Are you well, Sierrenna? You don’t usually like being spoken for.”
“She has a throat injury,” Michael said quickly. “I’m the mouthpiece for now.”
Ballille nodded speculatively. “Indeed. Well, I’ll have some more modest pieces packed up for you. In the meantime, I will not have you go out of here in that dreadful attire. I know that’s his jacket, but that crop top and skirt? How tacky! I’ll have a screen brought out so you can change in privacy. Call me when you stage your next public event. And you,” he said gesturing at Michael’s informal white t-shirt and ripped black jeans with work boots. “Keep the jacket you gave her on. It makes the rugged look work for you. Otherwise you look like a common slob. Ciao!”
He glided out of the room with the grace of one of his models, twirling his pencil as he went. Michael looked at me with raised eyebrows. “So I’m a common slob?”
I shook my head as the model-like lady reappeared with a bag and a box. A screen was carried in behind her by two frightened looking assistants and put up. They retreated from me as fast as they could and the woman handed me the items. “He is having the rest packed up. He’ll have it sent wherever you wish.”
I nodded my head in thanks and headed behind the scrim as Michael told her the address. I opened the bag and was relieved to see black jeans, a black knit turtleneck, and a leather jacket to match. In a smaller box was a tiny pair of underwear and bra, along with thigh high black leather boots. Inside was an even tinier box was a long, simple necklace that ended in a black metal cross.
I donned the impeccably fitting outfit and shoes before walking out to meet Michael. He gave me the once over. “Shall we?”
I nodded and slipped behind him into the long stark white hallway. It was strangely befitting. In all the whiteness, I moved along all in black. Poetic somehow. I was one black spec walking across the pure tones. What an accurate depiction of my life.
…” (Copyright 2017 ©️ Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel)
Hope you enjoyed the scene! If you haven’t picked up your copy of SLAVE TO WAR yet, make sure to grab your copy here! It’s free on Kindle Unlimited!
Forty seven notebooks all filled with stories, series, and above all, my writing. And I couldn’t touch them…
For the last two years a large portion of my writing sat untouched because the notebooks they were contained in were spray treated with a mold killing agent that I was highly allergic to. As it turned out, the mold killing agent had a component of mold in it itself (and in my case, a double negative didn’t equal a positive result), so every time I’d get near them my mast cell condition would kick up with gusto, causing my blood pressure to skyrocket to over two hundred. And for those of you who aren’t familiar with blood pressure levels, that’s scarily high at the level where strokes can occur, as well as kidney damage.
But yesterday I risked it all to bring them to you, my dear readers. After the notebooks were ozoned to try and kill the remaining mycotoxins in them (thanks to my dear editor Peg Heron Heidel for handling them while in that condition), I carefully cut off the covers and backings of them all to remove the most contaminated areas. Donned in surgical gloves and a mask, and outside to keep clean air circulating, I sorted them all out.
Most luckily, my blood pressure didn’t elevate too much once the covers were gone, so it seems handling them has finally become safe enough to do. Now comes the fun task of typing up all of what they contain. To give you an idea, once sorted, all the different piles in the photo below are different series. The largest pile you see there on the right belongs to my Destiny in the Shadows series. The rest are from other series you’ve yet to read. And each notebook has a minimum of seventy pages in it, written on front and back of each sheet.
These don’t even count the uncontaminated pile of notebooks I have upstairs by my usual writing spot on the love seat. There’s another twenty or so of those, too.
So you see, folks, some people say they bleed for their craft, but I do that and also risk my life to bring you new works. While slightly melodramatic, it’s true all the same. I often joke I bleed for my writing as it is. My hands have a tendency to get hives from the ongoing mold issue with our house and they crack while I’m writing, so my notebooks are spotted with my own blood in some places.
Here’s to the creation of new books and hopefully no more mold related catastrophes! I’ll be very busy for the near future, that’s for sure!
Love you all,
Author Maggie Lynn
Today I have a special behind the scenes look at some of the chapters that hit the cutting room floor in Slave to War. These are unedited and raw bits of the story that were cut for the sake flow of the story. I’ll be releasing three bonus chapters, so keep an eye out for chapters two and three!
So without further adieu, here’s the first deleted scene. It was one of my favorites that I wrote for Michael’s character, and is in Rain’s POV, but found it was unnecessary in the end for the final draft of the novel. So it hit the cutting room floor.
WARNING | SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE WHO HASN’T READ WAR MACHINE
OR SLAVE TO WAR
Much to my unease, Michael took me to the garden where his party had been. But this time he took me to an aviary in the way back I hadn’t spotted on my first fateful visit.
Once inside, I looked around with amazement. Long rows of branches held creatures regarding me with keen, shrewd eyes. Vultures, hawks, owls, and one enormous looking condor all regarded us with glittering eyes. These were all military-trained birds. I could see transmitters hanging up in the corners with cameras they fastened on their backs.
I felt myself grin. Master Rascorr had had a pet hawk and excelled in falconry. He allowed me to practice with it every day. I whistled in a low tone following a particular pattern that perhaps they would recognize if the trainer had taught them in the style Master and I had.
I couldn’t hear their calls, but I could see most of their mouths open and a great deal of wings spread as they chorused their calls back at me. Michael jumped and stared around wondrously. Owls were blinking at us, falcons bobbed their heads up and down, and the lone condor spread its enormous wings and screamed at me in defiance. It was unnatural for so many birds of prey to be in one place, so it seemed they had formed their own social hierarchy. The condor reigned supreme, probably by sheer size. It stared me down with a hiss, cocking its head. Its lack of a comb and red eyes told me it was a female.
All the other birds stilled as I stepped towards her. I whistled softly, extending my hand in a friendly gesture. I saw scars lining her head. Seeing an electrical collar around its neck I understood her reluctance though she had been trained. I looked around at all the others. They had collars, too. They were just like me: trapped and forced to obey.
She eyed me with distrust and I whistled again. She lowered her head after a minute and allowed me to scratch her head. I lowered my head next to her and whistled softly in an affectionate tone. She hissed at me again and I stroked the feathers along her back until she jiggled her feathers back and forth. I had hit the spot.
I turned back to Michael to see him nose to nose with an owl that had settled itself on his shoulder. He winced as its talons dug into his shoulder. I saw blood starting and rushed forward. I stuck my hand out and the owl snapped at it.
I looked back at Michael who seemed utterly terrified as it bore its enormous yellow eyes into his and screeched at him. “You don’t have food, do you?”
He stuck his hand in his pocket, pulled out a bag of jerky, and stuck it at me. I opened the bag and all yellow, orange, red, and black eyes turned on me. They all returned to their perches as I whistled a command. The owl screamed at me and did the same, leaving his shoulder. I tossed the condor the biggest piece and divided the rest.
I gave a few to Michael and gestured he should give it a try, too, in particular to feed the owl. It was still eyeing him with interest. He tossed the piece at it and it caught it with a snap. It called at him, bobbing its head and twisting it around so it was upside down. Finally he cracked a smile and cooed back at it. The owl screeched at him for more. He jumped back with a start.
For the first time in months, I really laughed. And boy did it hurt. It turned into a coughing fit real fast as the scar where my vocal cords should have been stretched. It really didn’t feel good, but they didn’t rip. That was good. It meant they had healed even if it was badly. I probably sounded like a chain smoker laughing.
I shrugged off Michael’s concerned hand and ventured further into the building realizing it wasn’t just an aviary. It housed a lot more than just birds.
Through another door, I entered a dark room. A red light flicked on for me to see ruby eyes gleaming back at me. A breeze whipped around my hair as wings flapped around me. I stumbled back as a cold nose sniffed along my neck. I came eye to eye with an upside down brown head and enormous black eyes. It was a giant fruit bat. It probably was looking for its food. More eyes from all corners blinked open at me.
The room after the next was the best, though. It was a large enclosure that held a weird assortment. Two wolves, a black leopard, a cheetah, a brown bear, and panda all eyed me. They were in a cluster together except for the panther which paced its end of the cage restlessly. I gathered they had been raised together and had adapted to each other’s presences as the birds of prey had.
I looked at the electrical prod hanging in the corner and ignored it. I sat down on the opposite wall pretending I had no interest in them. The door to my left opened again and Michael stepped through, fighting off what appeared to be one of the giant fruit bats trying to get into his pocket. He threw in what looked like a bag of candies and slammed the door shut.
When he turned to face this room, I think he had a near coronary. He gripped the handle of the room with too much force and slammed his back into the wall. His wild eyes found me on the floor and started saying something out loud. I rolled my eyes, patting the floor. He looked at me as if I had sprouted a third head.
I shrugged. The panda was sauntering toward us, sniffing the air. Behind it was the brown bear. The others watched to see what we would do. “Thank you for bringing me here.”
“Sure,” he signed with sarcasm as the panda came over and plopped in front of him. He waved at it weakly. To his and my intense surprise, it waved its paw back before rolling over on its side. The brown bear growled, already bored, and sat down behind it.
“It’s hard to believe Emperor Huang domesticated pandas and used them to defeat Emperor Yan 4000 years ago. They aren’t very intimidating.”
“I can believe it,” he signed, sitting beside me. “All I see are rows of razor sharp teeth. I think the army had the same idea. But it got too expensive so my father took on the care of the menagerie. He likes having the bragging rights to his own private zoo.”
He stopped as curiosity got to the others. The Leopard and wolves hung back, but the cheetah came over with a chirrup. I couldn’t hear it, but I remembered the call from the visit to the zoo as a child with Master and Dantenn. I whistled the birdlike call back and it came forward with a purr. It sank down next to my side, rubbing its head against my arm. I stroked its ears as it nipped at my hand playfully.
Michael stayed with his knees curled up to his chest. The other animals ignored us and the leopard went back to pacing at its end of the cage. The wolves watched with pricked ears. I was disgusted to see all of these animals too bore scars and collars.
Michael nodded, venturing to put his hand out for the cheetah to sniff. “I brought you here to talk without prying ears. I wanted to discuss what may happen tonight.”
He looked at me then. Bitter loathing for his father warred with the warmth for me in his eyes. “Sorry he’s attempting to force you to marry me. I’m not sure how he’s going to work this considering you’re still supposedly still hitched to Cain.”
I sighed. “There are worse things than being married to your best friend.“
He squeezed my hand. “Yes, but if you were going to marry me I’d want it to be on our terms. I have no aversion to marriage; in fact I rather like the idea of binding oneself to the one you love for eternity.”
His eyes held such warmth and affection that I gulped. I felt like I was cheating on Cain it was so strong a connection. He drew me to him then, like he hadn’t dared do before, resting his head on my shoulder and stroking my hair. We stayed like that for a while. He just held me like there was nothing on the planet he wanted to do more and perhaps that was true. I felt for him, I really did. We were just two broken souls that the world had spat out years ago. But we had saved that world together despite what it had done to us and now it had turned on us once more. But we still had each other.
“If I weren’t too young would you consider me being with me?” he asked suddenly, pulling back just far enough so I could see his hand but not far enough so I was out of his embrace. I didn’t reply. “If you had never met Cain, would it be a different answer?”
The questions were getting more difficult. “I don’t think you’d like me very much if I hadn’t. I am a killer, Michael. Never forget that.”
I felt him suck in a breath. “But you wouldn’t be if it weren’t necessary, right?”
I reflected on that for a second. “If there were no more evil in the world, I suppose would find myself without a purpose. There would be no use for my skills to defend those I love-“
“But you do love,” he insisted. “That is the difference. Evil is most often defined as a lack of love. I know evil. It is my father. He doesn’t love me. He doesn’t love anybody, which is why he ripped me from my mother’s arms as she died from childbirth. I’m just an heir so he’ll have a legacy when he dies.”
I bowed my head. “I’m sorry about your mother. She must have loved you.”
“She did. The doctors told her she wouldn’t survive if she had me. My father tried to stop her and blames me for her death. That’s why he hates me so much. But she insisted to carry me full term. Sometimes I wish she hadn’t. She would still be alive then.”
I gasped at that statement. That rivaled even my way of toxic thinking. He was wishing himself away. “Don’t belittle her sacrifice with those thoughts. Do something with your life. You are valued-“
“Am I? If I died, my funeral would be a show for my father to profit off of.“
“But I would grieve,” my hands said.
He looked down at me with sad eyes. “Yeah, and you would run to Cain for comfort.” He shook his head and glanced at his watch. “We have to go. Father will be looking for us soon. After tonight, I doubt we’ll be spending much time together-” I started to protest – “Alone, that is.“
I stood with what I’m sure was a fierce expression. “I’m not leaving without you. Remember that.”
He stood and nodded, still thoroughly unhappy looking. He didn’t release my hand as we went back to reality, leaving our little piece of solitude behind.
– Copyright 2018 Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel
Keep an eye out for bonus chapters two and three in the next few days!
There is no escape from the mind,
unless you are able to unwind,
The complex riddles and rhymes within,
And release the inner warrior and are ready to begin… #poetry
– Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel
Well, it’s the holidays.
Am I the only one who feels like the summertime was only a passing dream that I’d like to relive? This of course comes as the snowflakes are fluttering down here. Am I a little grouchy watching them come down? Yes, I am, and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
But enough about me. How are you all doing? Are you excitedly trimming your tree or are you sitting in the corner like a grinch like I am? Okay, that might be a little too much. Not quite a grinch, but the holiday commercials are a bit over done considering it feels like Halloween just ended last week.
Either way, I’m trying to launch myself into the holiday mood. I’ve got a Thanksgiving children’s book coming out this week, plotting out a new Christmas science fantasy novel, and yes, to sate your 2019 TBR pile, Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals coming your way next week. Make sure to stay tuned because there’s sure to be freebies to stock your kindle with, and if you are a paper lover like me, your stockings as well.
Let me be the first to wish you Happy Holidays. And whether hearing it so soon is an irritant to you or not, I still wish you happiness all the same.
And to make your holiday shopping a little easier, I’ll send a free copy of my best selling prequel STILL DEATH to anyone you wish me to. Either send them this link so they can download it or pop me a reply with their email address so I can send it directly to them!
Love, Maggie Lynn
P.S. If you haven’t read War Machine yet, keep an eye out for my Black Friday deals email. Slave to War is coming this December and you’ll need to be caught up
before it is out!
The reviews are coming in for Wings of Caligo. Here’s what one fellow author had to say:
In this excellent story, a story which shines light on interpersonal relationships and the relationship between two societal factions, Ms. Heron-Heidel weaves an intelligent and compelling tale which, if one wants to see what she’s actually saying, teaches us why all of humanity should and must tear down the walls that we have put up between each other in order to make a better world. It is vastly different than her first book, but that is fine with me. Why? An author, and an author of a caliber such as she, should have a range which can handle whatever genre they write in. This story exhibits the inescapable fact that Ms. Heron-Heidel is a force to be reckoned with any genre she may choose to write in. Once again, Ms. Heron-Heidel, KUDOS TO YOU! Another fine job.
– T Garth Connelly, award winning author of the Pathos
Thank you, Mr. Connelly! You can visit his blog and read the full review here.
Wings of Caligo is available on Amazon in Kindle Unlimited, ebook form, and in paperback editions. Happy reading!
– Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel