A Frank Opinion About COVID-19 Coronavirus From A Science Fiction Author

We are not lemmings.

Let me repeat that again. WE ARE NOT LEMMINGS.

I’m sure a few of my readers are looking at this and wondering what the hell what I’m talking about. Remember the myth about the small, furry creatures jumping off a cliff on mass to their deaths, following one after the other in their fear? I think you get my point.

In actuality, when one looks at the documentary that Disney made called White Wilderness in 1958 where this phenomena was documented, one finds a disturbing fact: the filmmakers herded those lemmings toward the jump off point for a dramatic effect. This has become a documented fact. Lemmings don’t usually do it on their own. In actuality, they can be great survivalists and can swim great distances for food.

Either way, the point could be made that while people are deliberately being herded toward panic by their televisions or jumping all on their own to their panic states, things are getting out of hand… and quickly.

As an author who writes dramatic fantasy and science fiction where disasters occur on the regular and dictators rise along with hidden figures who operate the world from behind the scenes, the behavior I’m seeing from people is all too real. It’s exactly as I’ve fictionalized in my novels before, based on research and overall predictive psychology. But this time, it’s no longer just happening in a book. It’s happening now before my very eyes and over much lesser circumstances than I have written about in past.

What people fail to see is that when they allow themselves to fall prey to fear is that it makes their reactions all to predictable. Thinking in fear (or in many cases right now, blatant paranoia) is a sure fire way to make sure nothing gets done. Keeping a calm head and a rational disposition makes all the difference between survival and throwing oneself off the proverbial cliff.

While I am not at all saying that being prepared is bad, I’m seeing stupid decisions being made everywhere. For example, when out in stores over the weekend to get my essentials, everything was ransacked. Aisles were empty. Frozen foods were gone. Bottled water was gone. However, most of the actual essentials were not.

Things like peanut butter and other nut butters that keep for long periods of time were left. Applesauce, which also keeps preserved for long periods, sat untouched. Meanwhile, every food that will spoil within a week or two if it is not refrigerated was gone. Eggs, milk, meats… All hoarded.

The dollar store was likewise ransacked for supplies. They were sold out of toothpaste and hand sanitizer. Meanwhile, things like essential first aid supplies, cheap bags of rice, and of all things, SOAP, were in fine supply. I mean, soap?! The first thing recommended to do is washing your hands to kill this virus! Yet no one is worrying about soap shortages, are they?

There are entirely too many people behaving like this picture…

People are panic buying. Speaking as someone with specific medical needs, food allergies and whatnot, I try to plan ahead. Most all of the things I needed were still on the shelves, despite people scrounging to hoard their buys.

Why? Because I try to think ahead. If I couldn’t get my usual rice foodstuffs since I’m gluten intolerant, I’d see if had some GF oatmeal left. I had a plan (one altogether not really needed since most of the nonperishables I usually buy were still on the shelves).

For goodness sake even, most of the fresh vegetables sat untouched. And despite most people’s concerns, they spoil rather slowly depending on what you buy. An apple can last a week or two, sometimes more. Most folks will blow through a bag of Doritos in an hour. Get my point?

Hoarding items that are not sensible is not going to help anyone. Price gauging has begun in the grocery stores because of it. People who actually need face masks for their medical conditions (such as myself) are unable to get them. I had a man with COPD approached me a week ago to ask where he could get a mask like mine because he couldn’t find any.

All together, all the hype is most likely just that: hype. While there is reason for concern, panic won’t help anyone. In fact, all it does is collectively weaken your immune response which makes you more susceptible to the virus.

My suggestions for you, dear reader? A spirit of fear has descended on our country, if not the whole world, and swiftly. We must not allow it to win out or nothing will be done. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

1) PLAN RATIONALLY. Think of essential needs such as nonperishables if you must and for things such as medications. If you take medicines that will soon run out, think ahead. Toilet paper won’t save you if your heart medications run out.

2) MAKE A FAMILY PLAN. Everyone should already have one of these in case of any emergency perchance the worst occurs, no matter what. Even before this happening, you should have had one years ago. Discuss it STAT.

3) ONCE YOU HAVE IT ALL TOGETHER, CHILL OUT. If you’re at home, stop monitoring the television and internet for every ounce of rhetoric or fact that they drop. Remember that these programs have sponsors who make money off of your viewership. They profit off of your panic. Websites will get affiliate funds for serving you ads for pandemic supplies.

4) DO YOUR BEST TO SUPPORT SMALL BUSINESSES INSTEAD OF BIG BOX STORES. They will be the hardest hit out of all this. Many people forget that big companies like Walmart have huge government contracts. Your Mom and Pops stores won’t have that to keep feeding their families.

5) When you’ve finally calmed down, keep yourself entertained. There are a great deal of fantastic creators out there who could distract you from your problems. If you’re a television lover, perhaps check out some comedy to keep your spirits high.

If you’re a lover of books, there are plenty of fantastic indie authors in every genre who could use some support through this period as well. They, too, have families to feed. If you particularly miss your local library, see if they have a digital book rental service. Many libraries have Hoopla digital or the like to allow you to keep reading without the germaphobe factor.

*There are plenty of digital children’s books as well via Amazon or otherwise, so if you have a child at home away from school, perhaps reading a digital book to them might be a handy way to keep kids busy!

6) And above all else, help others who can’t help themselves. Your local elderly neighbor is probably in a lot more danger than you are, so see if you can do something to help them out during this difficult period. Maybe pick up their groceries for them if they are more inclined to be in danger from the virus and should not go out. Pray for the people in your community who are at the most risk.

This is our opportunity to show the world we are not mere animals. We care about the people in our communities and need to come together to combat the fear pervading our collective minds.

There is nothing to fear than fear itself is a common thing to remember. Just keep in mind that there are plenty of people who profit from such rampant panic. And you, my dear reader, are likely not one of them.

Thank you for listening to me and if you would please share this article, I would be most grateful. For this world, we need to shake everyone up. Rationality needs to prevail as does calm.

Much love and prayers in this difficult time,

Author Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel

(For those who need some distraction, I’m offering a free E-Book this week as a gift for you all to keep you calm. Make sure to download it before it’s gone!)

For a more spiritual view of the virus and the response therein, here’s a very good video from a lovely man I know. Thank you, Marcus.

Q&A With Urban Fantasy & Scifi Author Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel

If you could choose three people to invite for a dinner party, who would they be and why?

Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel

– Oh, this truly is a difficult question for me! As an inquisitive personality type, limiting to just three is a quite the task. Perhaps the first I’d start out with is God himself. That’d answer a great deal of my questions over the years about humanity! As for the next two, I’d have to say Ronald Reagan and Robert Ludlum. Robert Ludlum because the Bourne Identity was one of my favorite books that inspired me as a writer and Ronald Reagan for a great multitude of reasons about our world as it stands in the now.

How do you think your writing style has changed over the years?

For the better, I hope! Humor aside, I firmly believe that the more a person writes over time, the better they become. You start to see patterns or areas where you need to improve, so you become more proficient at story telling. In particular, I myself noticed that I favored certain words too much and lacked a certain sense of urgency at times when I was in my first two years of writing. When it was pointed out to me, I went to work on it and, in turn, improved a great deal.

Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?

It takes some time to realize it thereafter, but I feel that my real life makes it into my novels all the time. For example, I realized that one of the scenes in War Machine (science fiction series) was actually a reflection of a serious operation I had. *SPOILER* Sierrenna was strapped to a table, another character preparing to torture her. The descriptions I wrote reflected the way I felt when I myself was going under the knife. But it took me years to realize the connection.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I read all my reviews. Everyone can learn something from their critics, even if it is just that the internet is sometimes a dark place where trolls hang out from time to time. From my reviews, I can see what people enjoy and what they do not. Or at worst, I learn that they do not read very well at all. The only one star review I have ever gotten was a complaint because the piece in question was not a full book, even though the buy page itself read that it was just a short story that they were purchasing and stated directly in the title. Sometimes keeping a sense of humor about yourself and your reviewers truly does help!

What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex?

Remembering that the thought process in many cases can be entirely different than yours is helpful. A man tends to think about his obstacles differently than a woman and vice versa. Remembering that while plotting is very helpful.

What inspired you to start writing? How long have you been writing?

I’ve been writing on and off since I was a toddler, but never truly took it seriously until my late teens. So, in a broad sense, I suppose I could say I have been writing my whole life. On a more professional scale, a little over a decade.

Writing can be an emotionally draining and stressful pursuit. Any tips for aspiring writers?

One helpful tip is to remember that your keyboard is not judging you. YOU are judging you. A first draft is most always going to stink, even for professional novelists. “The first draft is to tell yourself the story” is a quote by Terry Pratchett. I agree with it. Every draft thereafter is to tell the story to your reader and to refine the writing itself. There may be many drafts. Or on contrast, there may be a few. The trick is to keep at it, even when your internal critic is being particularly brutal.

How do you feel when people recognize you in public and appreciate your work?

Elated! One of my favorite things to do is discuss their thoughts about the story or character in question. Sometimes they reveal things that I myself missed. One reader insisted that I foreshadowed my own tale in an instance with a particular sentence. After speaking with her, I realized she was indeed right! It did foreshadow another plot point I hadn’t even thought of.

Questions were submitted anonymously by readers. Thanks for reading! If you have a question for me, feel free to comment below.

As a thanks for stopping by, make sure to download your free copy of STILL DEATH before you go! It’s a best seller that usually retails for .99 cents elsewhere, but free here for you and only on my website. Sign up below for your copy to be delivered straight to your inbox!

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Happy Valentine’s Day – I Survived Being Suffocated

Happy day, I’m alive! How ’bout that for a catchy article title? Nevertheless, it’s true.

It’s been a rough week all around. I spent the first three days with a virus and laryngitis, then today, I was blessed with yet another gift. Mishka has apparently developed a phobia for the sound of wind on a very blustery day. His solution? Squashing his mummy by sitting on her chest. And I literally mean my chest, while I still haven’t gotten over the cold and can barely breathe. Lucky me.

I managed to snap the photo about fifteen minutes into the squashing session and after having cajoled him into accepting my lap instead of continuing to suffocate me. He contented himself then by giving my Dell computer a tongue bath. The wolfster seems to think he’s still Pomeranian-sized and can safely use me as a human moon bounce machine. NOT.

Either way, I’m all excited because Black Hart is finally out today! Two releases in a matter of a week? Whew! No wonder I gave into a cold. This kind of work tuckers a gal out.

If you’d like to check it out, this the link. Meanwhile, I will marvel over free oxygen with a new appreciation since the elephant, er hem, Mishka is off my chest. Meanwhile, the GIF to the left is somewhat akin to what the experience was like.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone! Outfoxed and Black Hart are now available for your readership on whatever digital device you prefer. Also make sure to check and see if your library has them via Hoopla Digital.

Truly yours,

Author Maggie Lynn

HAPPY VALENTINES DAY!

Missing History: Seneca Village – The Lost Neighborhood Under New York City’s Central Park

Did you know about Seneca Village?

Having spent a great deal of time in New York’s Central Park, I felt it important to share this piece of history with all of my readers. It is especially interesting to me considering one of my series, Destiny in the Shadows, sits on the ruins of New York. Few people seem to know that much of New York itself sits on former communities forcibly turned to ruin… and that’s not including the Native American history of the island. Few people realize that the name Manhattan itself is thought to be of native origin.

Remembering stories of my grandparents travels and careers in New York in the 1900’s, their families being immigrants to New York before them, I doubt very much that they knew of Seneca village either. Before viewing this, had you ever heard of Seneca Village? Comment and let me know.

Before you go, make sure to pick up a free copy of STILL DEATH, my best selling Ebook!

Video courtesy of Vox

Could dragons be real? – The Historical Evidence

Herewith goes a touchy topic. Could the makings of legends and myths be real? Some people insist vehemently and unequivocally yes. Others shake their heads and look down upon the believers. Considering no one in living memory has seen a dragon, why do the questions still persist?

Questions can always be brought to new light as history is dug up from archaeology. Even I was left questioning today as I came across an article from National Geographic. Ten new, very rare stone reliefs were dug up in Iraq depicting the Assyrian King Sargon II that date back from the eighth century BC. The last time such stone reliefs were found in their original locations was 1845. Along with their false deities, the depictions include horned lions and, hence the nature of this article, a dragon.

Could they exist?

The interesting part is that these reliefs are by no means in a category of their own when it comes to dragons themselves. In all ancient cultures, from the Americas to Europe, to India and China, all the cultures seemed to agree that dragons existed. Even the bible refers to dragons as a symbol of Satan. Some of the earliest known evidence of the creature is the Epic of Gilgamesh, in the 18th century BC. Mentions themselves in myths can be traced back as far as 4000 BC. The ancient Greeks and Sumerians included lore of such creatures as well.

One could argue that the discovery of dinosaur bones by ancient cultures could’ve given rise to such rumors, but then why did legends abound across all borders of the globe? That being, why not make the tales of the creatures reflect them as extinct and from a past age if all that aroused the stories were the remains found?

All in all, it is worth mentioning that they could be living amongst us, hidden in the far corners of the earth. While humans have spread out, we still haven’t explored everywhere. As much as 95% of the ocean and 99% of the ocean floor haven’t been explored. That leaves approximately 65% of the earth unknown. The Loch Ness monster could theoretically have deep sea cousins that we know nothing about. The words of Leviathan from ancient Jewish texts certainly come to mind.

It is in all actuality quite possible. For example, over the last few years several species which had been assumed extinct for over a hundred years were found alive and well in various corners of the globe. That being said, new species are being discovered every day. Despite our vast knowledge and tools of documentation, we still have much to learn about our world.

Either way, it seems that the mystical creatures (evil or otherwise), are here to stay. Much like the stories of Big Foot, Moth Man, the Giant of Kandahar, Atlantis, and the discoveries of Nephilim bones, people still continue to talk about their existence. It seems into the future, the legends will continue, even if it is only from the booms of pop culture.

If you enjoyed this article, I’ll bet you’d love a free copy of my best selling prequel STILL DEATH. Click here to nab your copy before they’re gone!

The Recovery of the Lost Stories – Part 2

New Year, new task. 2020 looks like it’s going to be a renewed period of time where we all can get in touch with our inner selves… Or to be quite frank, let’s hope it’s a lot better than 2019! Yes, you can hear my sarcasm. Nobody I have talked to said it was a good year.

Now that I’ve got all the contaminated manuscripts squared away so I can start to actually touch them again (you can read part one of this story here), I can start the fun process of bringing them into your hands: transcribing them. So to start the process, I’ve been tallying up all the notebooks to see what I’ve got. Turns out I’d written a lot more than I remembered. Out of the sixty or so notebooks, I’ve tallied up what notebooks belong to what series.

Note to self: Tell my brain to calm down. We’re good on content… that is, until it invariably comes up with yet another idea... usually are one AM when I’m trying to get to sleep. Tell me I’m not the only author who has become more bat-like than human when it comes to hours…

Hence forth, here are all the series and books coming your way in the not so distant future. Ie., this is my list of WIPs (works in progress) plus a quick summary of what they are. (Anyone who requested a twisted fairy tale, you can now check out to see if your request made the cut!):

Destiny in the Shadows: 17 Notebooks (mind you, all 70 pages each and written on front to back). They include the story lines for BLOOD WAR, the as of yet untitled untitled book to sum up the series, and three of the spinoff series books from Cain McRattin’s POV. (Yes, dear readers. I’ve been listening to your pleas!) This makes up about 30% of my notebooks. Clearly I enjoy writing from Sierrenna’s & Cain’s POVs.

The Delunian Kingdom Saga: 6 Notebooks (not including the current manuscript of the first book in the series which is close to completion). As for those who aren’t acquainted with the concept yet, it’s a dystopian medi-punk sci-fi retelling of the Robin Hood story from Maid Marien’s POV. Yes, considering there’s all sorts of otherworldly creatures including reptilians and awesome sword fights, it’s definitely for my sci-fi readers. Maid Marriene is definitely not your typical lady in waiting.

Note: These books have been one of the hardest to write out of all of them. I started the story when I was ten and have continued to rip the story to shreds periodically to build it back up from the bare bones. And let me tell you, my ten year old self had no interest in evil reptilians, so it’s been quite the rewrite! This series has been over a decade in the making.

Del Muerta Trilogy: 5 Notebooks. Based loosely on the state of Venezuela, it’s a dystopian series with a slightly Latin American spin. It involves vigilantes, a revolution, a pack of former police dogs, and is one of my more high octane action series with a slightly Hunger Games feel. If you enjoyed the newer Zorro movies, I venture to say you’ll likely enjoy this series.

Riding Hood: 2 Notebooks. Red is a man and granny is an alpha wolf shifters. Need I say more? Fantasy fodder with a romantic twist.

Jack Frost Chronology: 7 Notebooks. Yes, I’ve got an upcoming science fantasy series where Jack Frost is actually Jaqueline Frost (Jackie Frost), an ice elf able to control ice and fire. Includes genetic cloning, the Louisiana French Quarter, a pet fox / Yeti, a skunk, and all sort of fun subjects. Three books planned and two largely in complete in the notebooks.

It was one of my first series that I wrote next to Vaktare and Destiny in the Shadows. The male protagonist, David, is one of my favorites because it’s been such a challenge writing from his POV since he’s blind!

Sleeping Beau-T: 2 Notebooks. A sci-fi retelling of the classic Sleeping Beauty story.

Guardians of the Grail Series: 1 Notebook so far since the Vampire’s Handmaiden was released in October. But it’s in the works! The ‘catnip sniffing idiot’ as one of my readers coined Rafe will return with Yasmina, as will Dune!

Vaktare of All Realms Series: 5 Notebooks, not including books 2 & 3 of the series. Those, plus one more notebook that is the beginning of the Rex spin-off that was requested by one of my Beta-Readers. Most of you haven’t met Rex yet because he doesn’t come into the picture until book two (Black Hart which is out on Valentine’s Day!) Those who read the ARC of it are still fascinated by him! Needless to say, he plays a huge role in Shira Hart’s story.

Legends of Arestina Series: Six notebooks, which span two books from Kenzie and Dare’s son’s POVs. You see? I do listen to my readers. Wings of Caligo was originally a stand-alone, but enough people demanded that I do a sequel that I listened. I even have a fourth book rattling around in my brain that hasn’t been put on paper yet.

The books extensively cover the subject of hybrids and chimeras that result from genetic engineering. Much like the first book, the subject of bullying will also be a large theme. Needless to say, old enemies resurface from the dead and create all sorts of mayhem on Arestina!

Cicario (Still untitled): 1 Notebook. Still largely in development, but is inspired by the situation in Mexico with the drug cartels and assassins in the cities. Yes, I do take pokes at sensitive topics. I’m no coward.

Watergate: 1 notebook. No, it’s not a Clinton investigation book (I value my life too highly for that! I may not be a coward, but I’m no idiot!). An underwater high-tech civilization under attack by marine spirits and mermaids. It takes place in this current day in time, so it will be an urban fantasy.

Blood of Innocents: 1 Notebook. Epic Fantasy in a different time. Still too new to talk about, but there will be sword fights, different realms to explore, and an epic love story.

Star Catcher Series: 3 notebooks (so far) and two books in total. A hypochondriacal dragon*, a knight, and two princess go on an epic quest. What could go wrong? Sabrina is another favorite of mine as is Channidy.

*The series was originally supposed to be a serious, epic fantasy. That is until I made the stupid decision to mention it to my mother and she came up with the idea of turning Reggie into a hypochondriac. Needless to say, it disrupted all of my plans for the story but was too good to let go!

The Sword in the Stones: A modern retelling of the Sword in the Stone story. Two men from the medieval era get transported to the future. Again, what could go wrong?

Faith Vs. Magic / Deliverance: 4 Notebooks. A fictionalized version of deliverance Ministry within the Christian faith. Basically us Vs demons. My first officially Christian novel that will likely piss a number of people off because it tackles the subject of demons in the faith.

The Gunslinger: 1 Notebook. A dystopian novel that follows the adventures of Jairal (Yes! For those who have spoken to me, she’s quite the character!) a gunslinger in the ruins of an American city. My first foray into cyber-punk fiction.

And finally…

The Wolf Keeper’s Daughter: A stylized retelling of the Cinderella story that includes a fantasy world, giant wolves, an icy fantasy world, Snow Alclaws (basically giant snow leopards that are an advanced civilization), and a war for power between their kingdoms. Clearly I don’t stick within normal fairytale bounds!

PS., none of these include the books I have noted but not yet written down. This is just a short list of what’s physically in the notebooks!

So that basically sums it up. While these stories won’t be immediately released, they will be coming your way very soon. If there’s a particular one you want sooner rather than later, make sure to comment and let me know what you’re looking forward to. I aim to please my readers and sometimes your requests make my to-do list get re-prioritized!

If you really want to do me a favor, make sure to fill out his survey for me before you go! I’m trying to see just exactly who my readers are and it gives options about you preferences about future books. Ex: are you into fantasy, scifi, or straight up action? It’s anonymous, so there’s no strings attached. https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QWHJMLJ

In this next month, I have two releases coming up, so you definitely won’t be without new content to keep your reading list full. BLACK HART and OUTFOXED will be coming to a bookshelf near you. Outfoxed will be a charity release for the Australian bushfires, so make sure to stay tuned for the details. You’ll get to support a great cause and get a book out of it, too!

In the meantime, if you want a free copy of my now BEST SELLING ebook Still Death, make sure to click here. Wishing you all the best this new year! May God bless you and may the winds of adventure always be at your back!

– Maggie Lynn

Rocketbook Everlast Review: Pros & Cons – A Great Writer & Author’s Tool

The Rocketbook Everlast is a reusable not book that creates digital scans with the app, uploads your work to the digital clouds Google Drive, Onedrive, Box, and many others, plus can transcribe your handwriting into type. Overall, I like the product.

Want your own Rocketbook of your own? You can get yours here! https://www.amazon.com/shop/influencer-69543593

Your Christmas Gifts! – Free E-books Until December 30th

Make sure to download your free copies of Caligo Christmas and Divide before December 30th! They go back to full price then!

Another hint for you. If you need a last minute gift for a reader, these make great gifts for people who have a new Kindle!

Divide: (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07G677BXZ/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i6)

Caligo Christmas: (https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B0833RC8RC/ref=dbs_a_def_rwt_bibl_vppi_i1)

All I ask is that if you enjoy them, you write an honest review!

Happy Holidays and may your days be merry and bright! God bless you

Cursed Hart: An Exclusive Excerpt

Prologue – 1989

Screams of agony shattered the stillness of the night air. There was nothing I could do for the victims, as I sat on the front porch of the mansion. Nor anything I would do to block the sound out. I listened, refusing to let them suffer alone; bearing the brunt of the evil’s wrath. I would suffer with them as I suffered with so many others before, bearing witness to their destruction. While I wasn’t the reason these people were meeting their deaths, I was certainly the reason they wouldn’t live through the night.

This family didn’t deserve this any more than any of the other victims. My power could have saved them. Furthermore, I was sorely tempted to shield them from this fate. But I couldn’t. Someone had to die. Someone must distract the evil one from the three beings escaping out the back door of the mansion. No, it was far too important that the others live; that she, the herald Väktare, survive.

Then all was still.

The front door opened slowly as the other male stepped out. Hatred flared through me, but I hid it well. I would wait until the time was right for my revenge. For now I would play the loyal servant, even as I longed to rip his entrails out for all the darkness he spread across the planet.

“The girl is missing,” the figure in the doorway hissed, blood from the victims inside still dripping off of his fingers. “Her cradle was empty.”

“Oh?” I asked, feigning surprise. “The Hart child?”

“Yes, that child!” the dark figure snapped furiously. “Find her. Bring her to me!”

“Of course. Anything else I need accomplish?”

“Just get her!” he thundered, setting the mansion on fire with a spell. “The family is dealt with. The Fidem must have taken her! They have her. I know it!“

“I understand your consternation, Master, but I find it very unlikely that the Fidem would leave the family here and take the child instead. It’s highly illogical for the family to hide the child but not themselves-”

“Families are illogical. The attachment to each other impairs their judgment to the point of stupidity,” the dark figure in the cloak replied coldly. “Hence the ease of their murders! I didn’t even exert myself to drain them of their life forces! Just bring the child to-“

“You. I heard you the first time, Master,” I added hastily, rising from the stoop.

“She is mine,” the other said, eyes gleaming like the demon he was. “Her power will be mine! Do not fail this time. This is the Väktare I have waited for. Even now, she still will not escape.”

A thrill of foreboding ran through me upon hearing his glee. “What have you done?”

“She will be cursed,” he crowed over my quiet question, flames spiraling higher around him. “All of her power will bend to my will and anyone who helps her remain free shall be routed where they stand! Death and pain will follow her every step until she is mine!”

No more was said as the figure in the dark cloak vanished. The only signs that he had even been here were the bloody footprints leading back into the house. Those prints told me not to bother to check inside for survivors. The cloying feel of death was still floating around in the air.

But even with that in mind, I couldn’t help but grimly smile. This made worthwhile the sacrifice of all the countless beings before that had been murdered. The Väktare’s family would rest well in their graves if they knew how much rested on her life. As for my beloved… well, I couldn’t think about her now.

I had succeeded. The dark one failed, even with his cursing her life. The girl had survived.

Cursed Hart available Now at amazon.com/author/maggielynnheronheidel

Cursed Hart copyright © Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel