Think of fairytales, The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis or Alice Hoffman’s Practical Magic,the Pirates of the Caribbean films or television shows like Grimm and or Marvel’s Agents of Shield.
One of my stories from the anthology Love and Magick is set on the Oregon Coast during Victorian times. I did a ton of research to make the setting for Curse of the Neahkahnnie Treasure realistic. But the plot is about the search for a cursed pirate treasure guarded by a cursed ghost. Something rich and strange.
My soon-to-be released paranormal romantic suspense novel, BLINDSIGHT, is the first in the FBI Psychic Agent Series. The series is set in our contemporary world, with a twist. People with psychic abilities exist, unknown to the general public.
The other of my stories in Love and Magick, Enchanted Protector, is set in a medieval-like world, but one where evil needle-toothed gnomes, dark witches and other Fae creatures complicate life for humans (and each other.) Enchantments happen and a pretty little girl can read thoughts. This world is even richer and stranger than my Victorian world.
What are your favorite "rich and strange" stories, films, tv programs?
Here's a taste of Ruby and Rolf's world. I hope you find Helmsgard as familiar as a fairytale and as strange as thunder snow.
Enchanted Protector excerpt
Ruby pushed into the wind with her head down. She had seen no one in the alley, but a moment later her feet tangled with some small creature that screeched in outrage. She windmill her arms and then fell on her bum. The unforgiving stones jolted her spine to the top of her head. For a moment, her eyes would not focus.
After a few seconds, a wizened little face with a white beard and bushy white brows floated into view. A frown of apparent concern scrunched the small man’s countenance. “So sorry, miss,” he said. “My fault entirely. Let me help you up.”
Hands the size of a small child’s tugged on her arm with surprising strength. Ruby wobbled to her feet and blinked down at the small Fae man. He straightened her apron and brushed dirt off her skirt. Her head began to throb and her heart began to pound.
He finished and peered up at her. “That’s better, wot? Right as rain you are, I trust.”
Ruby drew her brows together. The word trust did not belong in the mouth of a gnome. Or was he an elf? Both were small in stature, with pointy ears and an odd way of speaking. Ruby had trouble telling the two Fae races apart. It was said that elves were merely mischievous, whereas gnomes would steal the shirt off a man’s back while he drowned.
The little man smiled, and it became obvious what was what and who was who. Whilst an elf’s teeth were small to match the size of his mouth, in shape and number they appeared human. This gnome had what looked like a hundred narrow, pointed teeth.
Ruby lost her voice. The enduring memory of Mam sewing up her mangled left hand when she was small caused her to sway in the face of all those needle-like teeth.
The gnome lifted his face skyward as if he were a dog scenting the air. His smoke-colored eyes widened and then he twirled in place, scanning the square. He backed away from Ruby. “We must be off, with snow coming, wot? Carry on, miss. Carry on.”
He scurried down the alley, mumbling to himself as he disappeared into the shadows. Lightning cracked overhead and snowflakes poured like eerie white rain from the storm-tossed clouds.
Prince Rolf of Helmsgaard, heir to the Dragon Horn Throne, lowered his muzzle to gnome height and followed Thumble-no-skin’s sour scent into the village. The strong odors of unwashed humans, wood smoke and cooking meat layered with the Fae creature’s scent trail. Not to mention the smell of sewage, which he luckily minded less than he had when he had been fully human. Since the devious little gnome had cast the enchantment that had transformed him into a wolf, Rolf had learned to use his heightened senses to his advantage.
The gnome’s scent trail was fresh, the sour odor of his evil magic strong. Rolf’s heart lifted. Thumble-no-skin could only have arrived recently or Rolf would have caught his scent sooner. Perhaps he could finally catch the Fae man without a bolt-hole nearby.
He trotted down the cobblestoned street the villagers had deserted in favor of the market. The bustle of the crowd reached his ears. He caught the sweet feminine perfume of a maiden, as if the girl had passed this way only minutes before him. One of his frequent waves of melancholy threatened. Lying with women was one more thing denied him since the treacherous gnome and his gang of thieves had played him for a fool.
He picked up a trace of tangy gold attached to the maiden’s scent and awakened from his reverie. The hackles on the back of the prince’s furred neck lifted. Few of the villagers possessed so much a farthing. The girl’s small treasure would be as irresistible to the gnome as a shiny buckle to a crow.
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