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St. Patrick’s Loss 2

irish-152049_1280At the base of his Golgotha, Patty looked left and right. He was at a crossroads and must choose where to do now, without Aideen. He stopped in his tracks, bent over and picked up a tiny green clover at his feet. One, two, three, four. It had four green leaves! What luck, he thought in spite of himself.

Just then he heard her voice. Patty looked up to see Aideen running at him from straight ahead. Her wild red hair streamed behind her and her cheeks ran wet with tears.

“It’s over! The curse is over!” She yelled as she closed the distance between them. Patty felt the warmth of a green summer’s day return to his chilled bones as he ran to his love. They crashed in a mash of arms and kisses.

“Oh, my dear. I thought you had abandoned me,” said Patty.

Aideen pulled away from his embrace. Her eyes shimmered softly in the moonlight. “I did.”

“Excuse, me?” asked Patty. He cleaned his ear with a finger. “Did you say, ‘you did’?”

“Yes,” said Aideen. “I was preparing to come to the green hill today when it hit me, ‘until the day that ye find the meaning of true love and manifest it.’”

“I don’t understand, lassie.”

“If I loved you, if I truly loved you, I had to let you go. I could not come. Then you would be free of the curse. I would lose you forever, but you would be free. I did not come yesterday.”

Patty shook his head in unbelief, his tiny green hat tumbled to the ground. “But how did you know that you would be able to come today then?”

“I didn’t.”

The couple embraced in a knowing hug.

Just then a burst of light shot across the sky. Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet arched over their heads and landed in the pot atop the green hill. A soft golden light bubbled up from within the black object that Patty had abandoned on the green hill.

Patty and Aideen walked away hand in hand. They didn’t bother collecting the gold at the end of the rainbow.

They had all the treasure they would ever need. Better someone else find it.

St. Patrick’s Loss

clovers-161400_1280

Patty turned the empty pot over and sat down upon it. Its wide rim sunk into the wet green grass with a hollowed thump. The entire hill glowed an emerald green, a tale tell sign of the passing rain. A rumble of thunder overhead warned of another brewing storm. The veiled blue sky was shrouded by gray clouds except for one spot. One ribbon of light burst through the gloom, illuminating the crest of the green hill.

Shimmering reds, oranges, yellows, greens, blues, indigos and violets played across his freckled cheeks, but did not find any warmth there. A cold chill whipped up the green slope and played at Patty’s red curls that hung low round his ears. He pulled his green jacket tighter around his small frame and sighed, dropping his face into his empty hands.

His bonnie lass was not there. Aideen had not come. She was to meet him, here on the green hill, on this very day, just as she had done on this day for as many years as he could remember.

Is this even allowed? Can she simply not come? He thought. The curse was clear:

Thou shalt spend all the days of thy lives apart except for one, St. Patrick’ Day, until the day that ye find the meaning of true love and manifest it.  

Make no mistake about it, he knew what day it was. When he was younger, he marked it with a green pen in his calendar and waited with great anticipation for the green clover to appear.

After many years, he didn’t have to save the date on paper. He could feel it coming in his bones as sure as clovers are green and the sky is blue.

He knew, or at least he thought he knew, that she felt the same way. Aideen had never not shown up.

Patty puckered his lips and started whistling a sad melody, There Were Clovers.

There were Clovers, Clovers
Green as Grass
And the tears of a people ran together
It was on a Sunday morning

Patty wiped an errant tear from his rosy cheek. The day wasn’t over yet. She could still come. He needed to think of something else to occupy the time.

The first time they met on the green hill, they had talked about the meaning of St. Patrick’s Day.

It was the anniversary of St. Patrick’s death. He was born in Roman Britain in the fourth century and was taken into slavery at the age of 16. He spent six years working as a shepherd and during that time he “found God.”

Patrick escaped by boat and returned to green Ireland to convert his fellow pagan countrymen to Christianity. He used the three leaved green clover as a symbol for the Holy Trinity.

A cold wind blew and roused Patty from this thoughts. His watch read 12:00 a.m. It was the day after St. Patrick’s Day! Aideen had missed it. She hadn’t come. The chilly night closed in, wrapping him in loneness.

Patty placed his hands on his knees and pushed up to stand. He turned the pot right round and started to descend the green hill.

(To be continued…)

Author Spotlight with Adrienne Monson

DefianceIn anticipation of Adrienne Monson’s newest book, Defiance, I sat down with Adrienne to get to know her better.

Me:      Give us the title and genre of your book and a 30-word or less tagline.

Adrienne:        Defiance, is the second book in the Blood Inheritance trilogy. It’s a paranormal romance/urban fantasy. Can Leisha lock up the past to save those she loves, or will fate tear everything from her once again?

Me:      Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?Authorpic-small

Adrienne:        Readers aged 16+. It can be enjoyed by a wide range of readers who like fast-paced action with intricate plot weaved throughout.

Me:      How did you come up with the title of your book or series?

Adrienne:        I didn’t. That was all my publisher, but I think they did a great job with them!

Me:      Tell us a little bit about your cover art. Who designed it? Why did you go with that particular image/artwork?

Adrienne:        Again, my publisher gets credit for them. But part of why I signed with my publisher is because they have a reputation of amazing cover art.

Me:      Who is your favorite character from your book and why?

Adrienne:        Rinwa. She’s not the main character, but I relate to her the most and love her tough as nails, sarcastic personality.

Me:      How about your least favorite character?  What makes them less appealing to you?

Adrienne:        I guess that would be Annette. She’s just plain evil and vindictive.

Me:      Give us an interesting fun fact or a few about your book or series:

Adrienne:        My stories are interwoven. So, if you read my stand along novella, you’ll see a cameo appearance from Leisha. If you read my short story in the Secrets and Doors Anthology, it’s a continuation of Leisha’s cameo. So any of these stories you read will be in the same world. Until I start a new series, of course.

Me:      What other books are similar to your own?  What makes them alike?

Adrienne:        Vampire Academy, Anita Blake series. What makes them alike are the strong female characters and, of course, the vampires.

Me:      Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

Adrienne:        Besides reading and writing? I love kickboxing and teach classes.

Me:      What can we expect from you in the future?

Adrienne:        After this trilogy is finished, I plan to branch out. I’ll still write paranormal/fantasy, but it will be different from the vampires I have been writing from the start of my career. It will be fun to do something different.

Me:      What can readers who enjoy your book do to help make it successful?

Adrienne:        Reviews, reviews reviews! They help so much. And I ask that you write honest reviews. Don’t feel like you need to give a book 5 stars if you think it was only worthy of 3.

Me:      Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers to publish?

Adrienne:        Many. But the basics are to always keep writing. Join a good critique group and listen with an open mind. And have thick skin. The most critical people can help you grow the most. Don’t allow yourself to be hurt and defensive if they’re taking the time to help you hone your skill.

Me:      And now, before you go, how about a snippet from your book that is meant to intrigue and tantalize us:

Adrienne:

The street was deserted. It was getting late, and anyone who knew this end of town stayed away when it got dark. Walking down the dark sidewalk, Leisha was the perfect victim. Her head was down, her long hair hiding the sides of her face. Her clothes were loose, but clean. Any predator out and about was bound to target her.

That’s how she liked it. It was amusing to know the men who would attack her believed that they were in control. They had no idea.

A scuffling sound carried to her vampire hearing, and Leisha knew she was not alone. The person nearby wasn’t any ordinary human predator, either. This one actually posed a threat to her. Their heart rate was slower and steadier than any human. Immortal.

She didn’t bother to look around. This stalker wouldn’t be seen in the muggy night, not yet. She walked into a vacant parking lot with plenty of space to maneuver in case it came to a fight. Turning to face her pursuer, she reached over her shoulder and pulled a machete from its spine sheath. There was a chance she wouldn’t need it, but she couldn’t take any chances when an immortal was near.

As the man entered the lot, she caught a hint of dark hair and light skin. She suppressed the flutter of disappointment; it was not Tafari. It had been six months since she’d almost killed him—ironically, in order to save his life. Maybe he was holding that against her.

This immortal was named Sean. He stopped a few feet away from her with a sword already held loosely in his right hand.

“Hello Sean,” Leisha said with pleasant sarcasm. “It’s been a long time. Care to explain why you decided to drop by so suddenly?”

He sneered. “There was nothin’ sudden ‘bout it. I’ve been trackin’ you down fer months,” he said in his Scottish brogue. “It took a while ta find you, but I finally did. As fer my reason,” he smiled wickedly, “why, that would be good ol’ fashioned revenge.” He pointed his sword at her. “It’s your fault that half of our council was slaughtered, and Tafari just ain’t himself no more. You and that twit of a girl turned my world into a hellish nightmare.” He crouched into a fighting stance. “And now, yer gonna pay!”

Leisha matched his combat posture. She was not surprised at being blamed for what the vampires did to the council. She hadn’t been in league with them at that time, but she had certainly made it possible for them to infiltrate the immortals’ lair, even if it hadn’t been her intention.

She raised her machete. “I don’t want to fight you, Sean. Out of respect for Tafari, I’ll walk away without a backward glance, but you have to promise not to track me down again.”

Snorting loudly, the immortal took two steps closer. “Nothin’ is gunna stop me from killin’ you this night. I’m gunna cut off yer head and put it on a pike fer all immortals ta see!”

The scenario was incredibly similar to the last time they’d fought. Leisha had tried to reason with him then, too. She could see from the rage in Sean’s eyes that he wouldn’t be swayed. Clamping down her regret, she gave her best haughty attitude. “I can tell you won’t be talked out of this. So instead,” she shrugged, “I’ll simply have to kill you. On the plus side, it will be good to drink an immortal’s blood again. I need to feed anyway, and your blood will sustain me for some time.” She winked at him. “You just saved me the trouble of killing a human tonight.”

Sean growled and raised his sword as he lunged forward. Leisha deftly blocked his blow and pounced, swinging her machete in a powerful counter strike. He jumped away before her blade struck the skin, but a piece of fabric from his shirt drifted to the filthy pavement.

The immortal saw the tear gaping open above his navel and his sage-green eyes glared at her through the darkness. Once again, he lunged forward with a hard thrust, his sword missed her head and jarred into her machete which was raised high to protect herself. His face became tight with determination, frustration making his cheeks shake a little as Sean aimed blow after blow at her while Leisha held him off. Defending his blows brought bruises to her palms and made her arms cramp, but she was familiar with this kind of pain.

The old highlander was aggressive and his thrusts couldn’t have been harder if it had been a giant dragon clawing at her but Leisha defended herself deftly, thanks to her honed reflexes. After a few repeats of the same attack and defense, Leisha suddenly went on the offense, dropping into a spinning kick that tumbled him to the ground.

She pounced again, landing on his stomach. Seizing his wrist, she and twisted it hard. Sean dropped his sword with a grunt of pain, but lashed out with his other hand, punching her in the jaw. The blow snapped her head to the side, but she stayed astride him.

It was enough of a distraction to chop at the wrist holding her machete. She held her weapon, however, and swung with her blade aimed for his skull. Sean grabbed her wrist to prevent the strike. They matched their strength against each for several seconds, until Leisha released his hand to punch his jaw.

Sean snarled, his frustration peaking. Glaring up at her, he spat in her face. The saliva reeked of onions and it felt slimy as it slid down her cheek.

With a grunt of disgust, Leisha wiped her face on her left shoulder. Quick as snake, Sean twisted his weight, and suddenly he was atop her. His body pinned her down, his lips contorting with fury, his eyes raging like a mad man’s.

Gaining control, he seized her throat with both before she could react. Sean smirked as her windpipe threatened to crush under the pressure.

Suddenly, Leisha felt a tremor rush through her body. It felt like electrocution, but without the shock of electricity. The sensation vanished as quickly as it had come, and Leisha realized Sean’s grip had loosened a little. It seemed his attention turned inward for an instant. Taking advantage of the moment, she swung her machete as hard as she could, sinking it deep into his shoulder.

Grunting, Sean let go of her throat, and Leisha rolled atop him again. Sean snarled and scratched at her face, leaving deep gouges in her cheek.

Sucking in her breath to keep from crying out, Leisha swung her machete down into Sean’s neck. Despite the blow, tendons and muscle tissue still connected most of his neck. She hadn’t even cut into his spine. But the wound wasn’t healing. She saw the life drain out of his eyes. Wasting no time, she bent down to drink the sweet nectar of his blood.

As she moved toward his neck, she remembered drinking Tafari’s blood. It had instilled her with unbelievable power. She remembered what it had felt like having that energy humming throughout her body. She licked her lips in anticipation.

Me: That was a lot of fun. I am excited to dive into Defiance and I hope my readers will be too. How can we contact you or find out more about your books?

Adrienne:        You can find me at these links:

http://www.adriennemonson.com/

https://twitter.com/#!/adriennemonson

https://www.amazon.com/author/adriennemonson

 http://www.adriennemonson.com/launch-page-for-defiance/

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The United Authors Association

For the past several months I have been involved with the creation of the United Authors Association. This is a 501(c)3 non-for profit organization that advocates and assists the cause of literacy in the community and promotes and facilitates the writing arts for aspiring and experienced authors through education, critique, networking and service opportunities.

I am happy to announce:

The Utah Valley Writers have unanimously voted to apply to be Chartered as the first chapter of the Association with other groups to follow. Associate and General Memberships will be available soon.

Yesterday, February 9, 2015, we received confirmation of our 501(c)3 status approval. As a result we can now accept donations and offer affiliate memberships to our contributors. This is a wonderful opportunity to invest in the writing arts and support the community.

If you want to be apart of this exciting organization, you may contact me directly. The future is bright.