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

The Fashion House: Slave to War Behind the Scenes Excerpt #3

❤️ 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.

Enjoy!

(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?”

“He’s indisposed.”

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!

Behind the Writers Desk: Deleted Bonus Scene #2 From Slave to War

Hello everyone!

Here’s the second 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 novel.

So without further adieu, here’s the deleted chapter. Yet again it was cut for the speed and continuity. I decided that there was enough scenes between Cain and Sierrenna that it wasn’t necessary when the entire book was finished. But it’s still a cute and funny scene, so take a read.

WARNING | SPOILER ALERT FOR ANYONE WHO HASN’T READ WAR MACHINE OR SLAVE TO WAR… CONTINUE AT YOUR OWN RISK…

Right now I sat on the back terrace, still silent after forty five minutes of sitting. Cain had attempted to talk to me, but I had yet to respond. Instead, he had spent the hour calling up all of his buddies, in the service and the associated press alike, and cajoling them into bombarding Rogee junior’s office with phone calls about my status and also to spread the word outside of the base. Surprisingly, most hadn’t needed much prodding at all. There was much congratulating, especially when he informed them he was not only my boyfriend, but we were married. There had also been a great deal of laughter and jeering directed his way. Some thought he had been joking.

He turned to me after the latest one (who had laughed for three minutes straight and proclaimed that hell had frozen over if he was indeed married), seeing me watching him. “Have we come back to earth yet? Come out of shock?”

I decided to be humorous and skirt the issue of my past history. “So you have a lot of friends. Now I know why we get along. They ridicule you just like I do. But your mother is going to love this ‘announcement’, I’m sure.”

He grimaced. “She’ll probably be disappointed I haven’t knocked you up and won’t be getting a grandkid out of this. That’ll be the first question as to why I’ve suddenly gotten hitched and kept it a secret.” He chuckled as I shook my head. “Nah. I’m not bothered with rumors. Right now I’m about ready to jump out of my skin, itching to take Rogee on. But I know better. For tonight, we wait while Argon and the others research how to get that damn kill switch out of you. Then I can focus on bringing him down once you’re out of the crosshairs. And since Michael is spearheading an attempt to free Tanya and the rest from Xorratti’s clutches, I have you all to myself for a bit. Walk with me?”

I nodded and took his hand as he led me out of the back gate. We said nothing to each other as led me to the furthermost corner of the property. I glanced around as he stewed in silence. We were at the edge of the bubble oddly enough. It was also the same entrance that should have gone up in a fiery inferno from a nuclear blast. This was the one that opened directly up into the desert.

I peeked back over and saw him staring at me concernedly, anger diminished. The ‘general’ facade had faded it seemed. I saw the real emotions flitting behind his eyes instead of the hard front he put up normally.

Abruptly he put his arms on the top of the small chain link fence and leaned against them, looking out at the desert. Maybe he was frustrated, but I couldn’t understand why he would be with me. Our situation was screwed up, that I knew. But whatever was on his mind was troubling him. And so I waited. He peeked over at me after a few moments. “You never initiate conversations, do you?”

“I haven’t spoken in months, Cain. I am unused to talking without my hands. I’ll find my voice again, even if it does not sound like mine,” I admitted. “Plus speaking first always gives some power away to the other party. It’s a decade old habit, nothing meant by it. I was confused anyway. You seem perturbed by something, so I thought it would be best not to disturb you.”

“Nah. It’s best never to leave me alone in my own thoughts. It usually results in some crazy ass scheme that nearly gets me killed but works out in the end.”

I looked down with a chuckle. “I must suffer from the same affliction.”

He sat beside me, watching me scan the horizon. The clouds had shifted, creating a red hued sky. God’s vision wavered in my eyes with the strength of the sun. Even more beautiful was the half rainbow stretching over the remaining cloud. I found myself smiling.

“This reminds me of the mountains. I used to climb the peak and watch the sun rise. It was cold, but very worth it.” I got no reply. But after a minute he huffed and muttered something under his breath. “Is something else troubling you?”

“Uh… Yeah. Though I doubt it would be very well received at present.”

“Try me,” I murmured curiously.

“You don’t like it when I put my arms around you I’ve noticed.”

That was completely untrue. “I usually jump because I am not expecting it, nor am I used to it. It’s not a derogatory reaction at all. On the contrary, I prefer it.”

They were around my shoulders immediately and he spoke in my ear. “Good. It is a nice reassurance I haven’t dreamed your return up and you aren’t still M.I.A.”

I returned the affection and leaned my head against his shoulder. “It is for me, too. I would stare out the window and wonder where you were, what foreign place you had traveled to on mission. I doubted you would find me any time soon. And when you did…”

“And when I did?”

The words stuck in my throat. “It would not matter any longer.”

“Are we talking mortality?”

“A lack of interest and feeling was more what I was thinking of, but the death is apt all the same,” I admitted.

“I’m hoping the lack of interest was a reference to me and not you. It wouldn’t do to have me show up and have you hate me again. And as for me, I will never lose interest.” I shivered at the vehement tone in his voice. He meant it for now. Snuggling deeper into his embrace, I watched the sun disappear. But he wasn’t willing to let the subject go. “You don’t believe me, do you? This is the same old story from my summer house again, isn’t it?”

I attempted look away but he tipped my chip up so I had to look at him. “I fail to see how that affects this conversation.”

His eyes widened. “You’ve convinced yourself that I didn’t mean what I said; that I don’t love you. Before I had thought you knew and were uncomfortable with the fact. Now I see that you… You don’t believe. This is why you were so uncomfortable with our discussion that night.”

I closed my eyes, not entirely pleased with the turn our discussion had taken. With everything that was happening, I still wasn’t sure what to do about my relationship with Cain. Between the danger I posed him from Rogee and dealing with the plot Rogee had for the city, I was still uneasy. “Cain, all I did was suggest we give our relationship some time. I never rebuffed your affection, did I?”

That did nothing to satisfy his yen to argue this point. He kept talking as if I hadn’t spoken. “And you said it back to me that day. Unless… You didn’t mean it then, did you?”

The crestfallen way with which he said that had me worried, not to mention how completely untrue it was. “That is not factual in the slightest.”

He growled deep in his chest exasperatedly. “Then what the hell is it you are thinking? You said you loved me, and then you implied you didn’t. I’m not a mind reader! Talk to me!”

Looking up into his eyes, I lost my nerve at the last second and tried to worm out of his grip. He wasn’t having any of it. My eyes bulged out of their sockets as he grabbed the back of my tunic and pulled me back to him. “You know, running away doesn’t work with me like it does Dantenn. He’s content to sit on his ass and let what he wants flaunt itself in front of his face. I’m not into waiting. If I want something, I go and get it. And if you insist on running, I hate to inform you but I play tag very well. There is no telling what I’ll do when I finally catch you.”

That probably should not have sent a thrill down my spine. It certainly didn’t do my nerves any good. Further betraying my disquiet was the fact I spontaneously developed a bad stutter under his eyes. “I – I still say we should give our relationship some time.”

“Time for what?! Is that about proving something to you? Giving you time to get over your fear? I’ve managed to get over mine considering I believed I would never even entertain the thought of keeping a relationship going for more than a few weeks, let alone chasing a woman all around the globe!”

I bit my lip, entirely unsure what to do. “We still barely know each other.”

He groaned. “How is it you’re willing to walk into fire for me and yet won’t tell me how you feel? But I can read the meaning between the lines. You do love me; you just don’t want to admit it.”

To that I said nothing. He chuckled and then sighed. “I’m not worried. I’ll get it out of you eventually. I figure if I never let you go, you’ll have to accept it. ”

I didn’t debate that one.

His hold on my waist tightened. “Just checking. I had to make sure you weren’t planning on bunking with lover boy Michael and using him as a shield again.”

“Not a bad idea,” I teased, chuckling as he grumbled in my ear. “Perhaps Argon would fill in for me. After hearing both of your extracurricular activities, I think you two would make an adorable couple.”

“You are a tease,” he said, trailing his fingertips over the skin right underneath my ear.

I turned my head and came nose to nose with him. “And you aren’t?”

“Nope. I follow through with what I offer. You don’t. I’m still waiting for-” He trailed off absentmindedly, picturing whatever it was. “I believe it was a discussion on desks that I am thinking of.”

We had indeed returned to his less serious state of mind. “And I am still waiting for a return on my prized tomatoes. You never ate them, did you? No?”

“Naw. I was too busy trying to figure out how to flush you out of the tunnel system and then there afterwards consequently having dreams of naked women trying to drown me in a bathtub. That made my irritation with you a bit more pronounced. Dreaming of someone you despise in real life appearing in your dreams and liking it. Come to think of it, I still have dreams like that, minus the dislike.”

“I don’t have to guess what action you were dreaming of I suppose,” I drawled, earning myself an unrepentant squeeze around the waist. “You still owe me dinner.”

“Consider it a date,” he agreed happily.

We sat in silence for a few minutes, watching the moon rise. With our active discussion on how things stood, we had neglected to watch the sun go down. The stars glinted at us, shining bright. But unlike usual, after watching the required amount of moon, I relaxed my neck and leaned back into him. He must have liked that considering the warm reception it got. I turned my head to the side to look up at him. I blushed when I realized he was watching me instead of the view. “You’re not watching the stars.”

“Who says? There’s a mark right under your chin that looks like one,” he said playfully.

I didn’t question it. I remembered how I had gotten it and didn’t want to share. Smiling, I closed my eyes again. They rocketed open again when I felt a tentative kiss pressed to the spot. I quivered under his touch. His icy eyes were warm despite their color. “I’d like to kiss you now, but you don’t seem open to the idea.”

He stopped as I put a finger to his lips. “Don’t speculate. Find out for yourself.”

I was surprised with my uncharacteristic wave of self-assurance, but didn’t question it. I didn’t have time to. He didn’t hesitate now, leaning in to close the deal. But then to both of our intense irritations, the phone rang, making us jump.

“What?!” he snapped into it and then listened. “Fine. Meet you there.”

He tossed the phone down below and I heard a dull thud as it hit the sand. He growled at it irritably. “I swear he has radar for whenever I am trying to romance you. Damn timing he has, Michael has gotten everyone together.”

“That’s great,” I said, trying out my new found confidence. I pulled on his lapels bringing him back to where we had been a second before. His eyes widened. “But whoever said you had to answer the phone the exact second it rang?”

I giggled as he went in for the kill again. And then laughed as the commlink predictably went off, causing his teeth to grind together. “Sergeant stuffy pants, I would get inside. Rogee has instituted a curfew. Get your girlfriend indoors.”

The line went dead and he sighed. “Looks like we need to go.”

I disappointedly rose from the roof and jumped down into the sand. I picked up his cell phone and sauntered towards the truck. A loud thunk and then a grunt of pain caused me to turn around. Turns out Cain had decided to copy me by jumping off. Upon landing however, he had lost balance and fallen back onto the sand but first. I covered my mouth, stifling another laugh.

He stood, collecting his dignity without much success. “At least I am good for a laugh. Just promise me you won’t go back to ignoring me in front of others. Michael will take that as encouragement and I will take it as a challenge. And when I am challenged, there a few lengths I won’t sink to get what I want.”

Clapping my feet together to rid them of excess sand, I turned to him. “Consider it done. We are married after all. It would not be right for me to go off with someone else unless we had enacted a ‘divorce.’”

I knew he liked the fact I had said that just by the way he smiled in response. He took his phone as he passed, heading towards the fence. I eyed something funny as he went.“Oh, and Cain? What should I tell everyone when they ask why you wet your pants?”

As soon as he put his hands to the seat of his slacks, he knew what I was talking about. The sand where his rear had landed had been wet. He looked glumly at his butt and then at me, disapproving of my mirth. “Let’s go. And stop laughing!”

– Copyright 2018 Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel

Hope you enjoyed this little peek behind the writers desk! If you loved this, I bet you’ll love STILL DEATH, the prequel to the Destiny in the Shadows series! It’s free for anyone who signs up for my email newsletter. I frequently email freebies out to my readers, so make sure to grab your copy here by signing up!

From Behind the Writers Desk: Slave to War – The Bonus Chapters

Hello everyone!

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

Thanks for reading! Make sure to leave a comment on what you thought of this scene! And if you haven’t read Slave to War, make sure to pick up a copy here!

Keep an eye out for bonus chapters two and three in the next few days!

Enter to win an autographed copy of Slave to War

Enter to win an autographed copy of Slave to War here!

Slave to War is available now on Amazon in Ebook and Paperback editions. Here’s a little more about the novel:

He took my city. They chained me as a slave. Nothing will stop my revenge.

In aftermath of bitter betrayal, the city of Nacin will tremble to its core under my wrath. Truth will come to light; the underbelly of the city rising from the darkness below as age-old secrets surface from their graves. Death is the only solace to be found and blood will be the currency to pay for their sins. But can Operation Night-Butterfly be stopped once fate is called to action? Or will the city that was once mine become nothing more than a graveyard of what it once was as martial law descends upon the ashes that remain? That is the question…

Pick up your copy here

Slave to War: Exclusive Snippet #2

Here’s an exclusive excerpt of SLAVE TO WAR:

“This isn’t going to do anything,” Michael said, coming to me as well. “All it will do is create chaos. They’ll seize control again. No one will stand against them except the drug and crime lords. No one will fight-“

“No one?” I replied hollowly.

I let that linger in the room for a moment, letting them realize just what was in store. They hadn’t yet realized what I was planning. If Nacin needed a savior, they were going to get one. But they were also going to get the bad and the ugly with it; that being me.

“No,” Michael said, taking my other hand as Max shook against me. “You can’t. Don’t let them do this to you.“

“I warned you, Michael,” I murmured, brain planning my next step. “You don’t know me as well as you think you do. The city needs exactly what it created; its vigilante assassin has come back to roost. If they want a slave to war, they’re going to get it!”

– Slave to War coming February 5th! You can order it here!

you enjoy the snippet? Comment and let me know!

Snippet copyright ML Heron-Heidel 2019

The Bionic Technology of Destiny in the Shadows: No Longer Science Fiction, Now A Reality

Science really is an amazing field. While it has led us to many controversial issues, sometimes the yields it bears can be life changing.

As a writer when I see imaginary technology that I wrote into my fiction novels years ago becoming a reality, it really is mind blowing. As many of you know, at the end of War Machine (HUGE SPOILER ALERT FOR THOSE WHO HAVEN’T READ IT YET. LAST WARNING!), the lead character Rain is transformed with bionic limbs. Amazingly now these fictional plot points are becoming reality with more and more frequency.

Brought to the public by Open Bionics, there are now bionic arms being made that respond to muscle impulses and function much like a normal hand.

These developments make me wonder what our future holds. Will it follow similar sinister events that the Destiny in the Shadows series foretells? Only time will tell…

If you enjoyed this article, make sure to sign up for my exclusive readers club! Just for joining you’ll receive a free copy of my best selling novella STILL DEATH!

Slave to War – An Exclusive Sneak Peek

Hi everyone! Just a few more days until Slave to War is here! Wanted to give you an exclusive sneak peek before the book is released. This is the prologue the story, so not too much for a spoiler for ya!

“Where is she?!”

The terrified-looking secretary leaned away from her desk as General Cain McRattin suddenly lunged and grabbed her by her shirt collar, losing his patience. Now nose to nose, he bore down on her, causing her to to drop the phone in fright.

“Call Rogee and tell him if he doesn’t cough Rain up this instant, I’m going to tear his city apart from the inside out!” he snarled, shaking her roughly. “I know he has her! I’m not putting up with the runaround anymore. Either get him on the phone or this is going to get ugly…”

Her eyes widened as his grip tightened around her shoulders. “I’m sorry, General, but I already inquired about her to my boss multiple times and the Prime Minister insists he had nothing to do with Sierrenna’s disappearance. Maybe she left voluntarily,” she stuttered and then gulped as he shook her. “I can leave him another message-“

“That’s bullshit!” he roared, icy blue eyes narrowing dangerously. “She was abducted! I have it all on security footage and the license plate of the vehicle that took her belongs to Rogee!”

“Cain,” Rig inserted calmly, reaching over to attempt to pry Cain’s fingers off of her. “Let her go.”

“She’s full of crap,” Argon added, shooting her a disgusted look as Cain reluctantly released her. “She’s not going to talk. Let’s blow. If Rogee won’t answer our calls, then maybe he’ll respond to us releasing the evidence linking him to your father’s murder. How about that, bitchface?”

That seemed to get a rise out of the secretary. She shook, mouth opening and closing for a minute while all four soldiers glared at her. “Look, I have searched the records myself for this Sierrenna, but we have no records in our system of such a person inside the government database.”

“Then how do you explain all the photographs in the paper?” Ray demanded, slamming her fist on the counter while Rig nodded. “Or the security footage from the nuclear incident?! She was chosen by the state for the mission! There has to be a record somewhere!”

The secretary shook her head. “Then someone has erased all records of her existence. I’m sorry, but I can’t help you. If she is still alive, you’re going to have to find her yourselves.”

Cain stood up with a start as she folded her arms, refusing to talk further. Storming out of the room, he headed outside of the building to escape all of the lies. He slammed the door shut and headed out to the car. All was quiet as he muttered under his breath mutinously and dragged his hands through his hair.

Seven long days had passed since Rain had been taken. All evidence indicated that his love was beyond his reach, but he refused to give up. He had been through the city and across the desert to MoiRai, but still no sign of her had been found… until this morning, that is.

Argon had called. A woman was found washed up on the shore of the river on the other side of the city. Limbs missing, artificial organs, innards and eyes cut free to steal the technology, she wore Rain’s violet dress from the night of Michael’s party. Even the leather jacket that Cain had tossed over her shoulders had washed up, covered in white blood. A gang’s insignia had been burned into her forehead as a grim signature.

His stomach sank thinking about it. It was so grizzly that Argon warned him to stay away, but he had gone and he was glad he had. Sorry for the poor soul sacrificed to throw him off of Rain’s trail, but relieved because it hadn’t been her.

The true Rain had a small scar under her chin that he’d noticed one night while she was asleep, unaware of his study. It was almost like a small star on her silky copper skin. It was missing from the corpse. That they couldn’t fake. This woman also had pierced ears. Rain didn’t. She had no brand on the back of her neck and many of her other scars weren’t present either.

The empty eye sockets made him sick with disgust and brought images of Rain’s lifeless body to mind. But that was too much to bear now.

Determination rekindled, he spent the day redoubling his efforts and still came up with nothing. He knew she was still out there somewhere in Nacin. Rogee wouldn’t send her far. He’d want her right under his nose to keep an eye on her. She was too dangerous to leave without supervision, but with her new technologies too valuable to kill.

Cain sighed, forcing himself to take a deep, calming breath. It wasn’t easy. Every breath hurt knowing he had failed to keep her safe. If he never shared the locket with her, she wouldn’t have been dragged into this mess. She would never have discovered the dark secret Rogee was so desperate to hide and would still be a free woman.

Rain’s face swam in front of his eyes, thinking of how her eyes crinkled at the corners when she cracked a rare smile. He thought of how her violet eyes fluttered closed and how she shivered when he finally confessed his feelings for her, overcome with emotion because no one had ever loved her before. Those eyes were the windows to her soul and the very thing that had captured him as a boy. They held endless pain but also a sea of yearning for someone to reach out and gain her trust again.

So close…. If only they had had more time he was sure she would have come to trust him, to give in to his love completely. And even better, for her to love him back.

He longed to hold her, feel her heart fluttering under his fingers again, responding to his touch. The raw feeling of their one and only kiss, stolen in the moment just before she had been taken from him, was just a bare memory now. The moment that should have held so much promise for them was now a reminder of his failure.

An acid desire for revenge warred with his forced sense of calm. If anyone touched one hair on her head they were going to be a cadaver before long. He’d sworn to himself that he’d keep her from ever being hurt again. Cain hated that he’d failed in his promise. She had already suffered beyond measure.

Cain looked up as Argon came out of the building, heading to his side. Argon shook his head, pulling his hood up. “The sec knows nothing. She didn’t even know about the body that washed up this morning. I also inquired about Michael. All she can say is he was sent to a prestigious prep school, but we both know that’s a bunch of shit. They have their stories straight and they’re sticking to ‘em. Xorratti is in Mercaine so we can’t question him either.”

“We have to find her,” Cain said, putting both palms on the hood of the car and exhaling heavily.

“We will,” Argon replied wearily, patting his shoulder. “Rain’s strong. She’ll be fine. Rogee must be desperate to hide her if he’s willing to try and fake her murder.”

But he could hear the lie in Argon’s voice. Argon already thought that it was too late to find her. He just didn’t dare to say it straight to Cain’s face. And he was probably right but Cain refused to give up.

Both men stood for a minute, enmity strong for the city that had betrayed them. They both knew what the elites had planned and had no idea how to stop them. All they could do for now was keep searching and wait for the opportune moment to bring Rogee down.

Argon shifted, looking at Cain suddenly. “You really do love her, don’t you?”

Cain didn’t answer, still looking out over the cityscape before them. His eyes narrowed, knowing that Argon didn’t need an answer to that rhetorical question. He already knew the truth, as did everyone else that they had interrogated over the last week. And they all had the same bleak look in their eyes, thinking that it was a lost cause to keep searching.

“Call Dantenn,” Cain ordered, turning away. “Check again to make sure Rain hasn’t been there.”

Argon nodded and headed off as Cain looked out over the city once more. Cain gritted his teeth, squaring his chin as the dawn came over the city of Nacin.

“I’m coming for you, Rain. I will find you,” he vowed to no one in particular as the drizzle fell, dampening the smog. “I will find you.”

Did you enjoy it? Comment and let me know if you’re excited for the book to come out! Slave to War will be within your grasp in a week!

Living The Authors Life

Hello everybody! What a weekend! Between the gorgeous weather, seeing great people, and a few day trips, it was a blast. Here’s what was going on around my neck of the woods…

At the Levitt Pavilion in Westport we heard some great Jazz…

Down in Bridgeport Connecticut we saw some awesome restorations of classic cars. I love incorporating classic vehicles into my stories and got some new ideas for books by looking at these. And who wouldn’t?! These are beautiful. To me they add a certain flavor that can add such detail to a story. In one of my upcoming books, Cursed, the character ‘Brin’ has a classic 1969 Pontiac GTO.

The Westport Library in Connecticut has a great new day-trip for families with youngsters who love to read. Check out the video below. It’s just behind the Westport Library…

The Westport Fine Arts Festival 2018 was full of great art and new artists…

And best of all, I got my notes back from my editor. I just love it when she leaves me notes on how much she loves a scene!

And that just about wraps me up. It’s a new week and I need to get to writing! I hope you all have a happy and healthy week. God bless you! Make sure to sign up for my newsletter. You’ll get a free copy of STILL DEATH, plus I send out freebies and extras to my fans all the time!

Love you!

Author Maggie Lynn Heron-Heidel