#99Cent Countdown Deal • Lord Apollo & the Colleen

ApollocoverfinalUpdate: Sorry for the double post, but the original ending date was wrong. We’re all good now!

Grab an end-of-summer bargain! Lord Apollo & the Colleen is only $0.99 for three days (Thursday, July 30th through Saturday, August 1st).

Blurb: Five years after his supposed death, Theo King has returned to Graceling Hall…but a mystery remains. A stranger is buried in his grave, and nobody knows if his death was accidental…or murder. As Theo resumes his former life, the dead man’s sister shows up on his doorstep to hold him accountable. If he helps this Irish spitfire solve the mystery, will she finally leave him in peace?

Excerpt:

“Did you know someone has been leaving flowers on your grave for years?” Brandon asked. “I think you’ve a secret admirer.”

Theo frowned. “If I’ve been the cause of any heartache, I’m devastated.”

“On the other hand, when the lady in question learns you’re alive, she’ll be overjoyed,” Larken said.

“I wonder who it could be? I believe we’ve a mystery on our hands,” Rowe said.

“The matter may never be resolved,” Clarissa said.

“Indeed, it may not,” Theo said. “I daresay no lovestruck ladies will ever show up on my doorstep.”

A commotion in the entrance hall drew his attention just then as a young woman remonstrated with the butler to let her pass. Rowe gave Theo a startled glance. “Perhaps you spoke too soon?”

When the argument continued, Theo set down his cup. “It seems Seagate needs help.” Before he could take more than a few steps, however, a dark-haired woman dashed through the doorway.

“Which one o’ ye is Theodore King?” Her Irish brogue was thicker than the froth floating on top of the hot cider.

“Sorry, sir, but she wouldn’t take no for an answer.” The butler grabbed the woman by the arm.

“It’s all right. Let her go, Seagate,” Theo said.

“As you wish, sir.”

The woman wrenched herself free from the butler’s grasp and glared at him. “I’ve half a mind to slap ye for puttin’ your hands on me, ye big galoot.”

Theo caught Seagate’s eye and dismissed him with a movement of his head. After the butler left, he bowed to the newcomer.

“Theodore King, at your service.”

“Are ye nigh? My name is Megan Shields, and you’re responsible for the death o’ my brother.”

pagebreakGet your Kindle download of Lord Apollo & the Colleen HERE!

Larken (Volume One of the Graceling Hall series)

LarkenThe sole survivor of a train accident, young Larken Burke is dubbed the Miracle Orphan. Four years later, however, her life is far from fortunate. Because of her emotional and physical scars, she believes she’s not marriageable. With little hope for the future, she agrees to wed a gentleman she’s never met. Unfortunately, his aloof manner proves difficult to bear.

Marked by romantic tragedy and the loss of his brother, Brandon King has forsworn marriage. Obliged to take in a ward, he advertises for a bride to raise the boy. Since the union is to be a marriage in name only, his criteria are youthful age, a certain level of intellect, good breeding, and that the girl shouldn’t be so ill-favored she would embarrass him in society. To his dismay, he gets more than he’d bargained for.

Will it take a miracle for Mr. and Mrs. King to fall in love, or is their marriage another accident waiting to happen?

Bestselling Larken is available at Amazon HERE for $0.99. Buy the audiobook at Audible.com HERE, Amazon HERE, and iTunes HERE

The Temporary Wizard of Locklynn • Part Four

TWOLNEWCOVERToday is the fourth and final part of The Temporary Wizard of Locklynn! If you’ve missed any of the other chapters, click the appropriate link: Chapter One, Chapter Two, Chapter Three.

If you’ve liked what you’ve read, please let me know!

~ S.G. Rogers

Chapter Four

Starting Over

As the new swarm of woolihoppers began to descend, Kipp materialized in a crackling flash of light. He wove a spell over a herd of yamas that caused the grazing insects to whirr up overhead. Ilene magically blasted them with frigid air, and the winged creatures dropped to the grass like fat brown hail.

“What does your spell do?” she asked Kipp.

“It makes the wool taste foul.”

“Good one,” she said. “I hadn’t thought of that.”

Ilene and Kipp moved across the pasture, working together until the menace was eliminated. When the last insect was dead, Kipp magically swept the frozen woolihoppers into a huge pile. Ilene vetoed his plan to burn the lot, and instead used a reduction spell until the pile resembled an anthill.

By the time the two wizards returned to the farmhouse, Dane Goery had set up several casks of ale to reward his neighbors for coming to his aid. Kipp declined the cup offered to him, and waved off any expressions of gratitude.

“I’m sorry I was late,” he said. “But I’m heading to the other farms right now to treat the yamas against any more woolihopper infestations.”

Kipp vanished in a flash of light and sound like far-off thunder. Ilene wrinkled her nose at the smell of ozone that always accompanied a wizard’s transport. As she sipped her ale, a smile played on her lips. Although Ilene freely acknowledged that Locklynn’s wizard was powerful, Gert had mentioned he was the most handsome man she’d ever seen. Ilene’s shoulders moved in a baffled shrug. There’s really no accounting for taste.

Mayor Henryr approached. “It appears that your approach with Kipp was better than ours. What did you say to him?”

Ilene laughed as she recalled the Bear Clan wizard sitting in the middle of the icy stream, soaking wet. He’d worn a shocked expression only partly due to the temperature of the water. I expect he won’t underestimate a female wizard again.

“You could say I threw a little cold water on the situation,” she replied. “I hope it does Kipp some long term good.”

In the tavern’s common room after dinner that night, townspeople exchanged enthusiastic stories about the fierce battle against the woolihoppers. Ilene joined in from time to time, but she mostly enjoyed listening to the conversation. Her mood was tinged with sadness; now that Locklynn’s wizard had emerged from his hibernation, she would be moving on… but when? Strange how quickly I became attached to this place.

Gert slid into the chair next to Ilene and gave her a worried smile. “Are you all right? Your green eyes look a little blue.”

“I’ll be fine, thank you. I suppose I should leave tomorrow so you can rent out my room for the festival.”

“What? I thought you were getting along famously here. Why do you want to go?”

“It’s not like I have a choice. With Kipp back on duty, I must look for another job.”

Gert frowned. “It doesn’t seem fair somehow.”

“I knew the job was temporary from the beginning,” Ilene said. “Perhaps after I get settled into my next position, I’ll come for a visit, to see how you’re getting along.”

“Promise me you’ll stay in Locklynn at least until after the festival,” Gert said. “There’s plenty of work for you to do until then.”

The steel band tightening across Ilene’s chest suddenly eased. “Only if you let me add extra guest rooms to the tavern. You can always use the extra accommodations even after the festival is over.”

“You have a deal, even though I’m getting the better bargain.”

Over the next few days, Ilene was too busy with festival preparations to contemplate her departure. Gert mentioned that Kipp was working out at the festival grounds, helping to erect a dance pavilion and food booths.

“It’s so wonderful to see him out and about as a part of the community again,” she said.

“That’s great.” Ilene forced a smile. “I’m glad the town is in such good hands.”

At last, people began to pour into Locklynn in anticipation of the festivities. All the rooms at the Spinning Wheel Tavern were full, even the extra rooms Ilene had created in the back. In addition, most of Locklynn’s residents let tourists rent their spare bedrooms. Visitors erected tents in the fields—so many, in fact, that the area resembled a campground. Taverns and shops were bursting with customers, and Ilene was glad she’d put so much effort into renewing the street and buildings. For such a small town, Locklynn looked its best.

Her brother Ian arrived on the first day of the festival, bringing with him a large contingent from Spriteburg. The group included several merchants in search of Locklynn wool and finished products. It was with a great deal of pride that Ilene watched the spirited haggling over vibrantly colored lots in the marketplace. Ian nodded toward the vast array of wool skeins.

“I recognize your handiwork, Ilene,” he remarked. “You’ve always had a fine eye for color.”

“You’re too kind, Ian,” she replied. Ilene suddenly noticed the lightweight cherry-red muffler around his neck. “What a beautiful scarf! Did you buy that from one of the booths?”

“Naw, I won it in a game of cards at the campground this morning. Poor lad never knew what hit him.”

As Gert strolled past just then, she gave Ian a saucy wink. Surprised, Ian had to look around to make sure her gaze was directed at him.

“Aye, she wants you to introduce yourself,” Ilene laughed. “Her name is Gert, and she’s my landlady, so be nice.”

“How’d I get so lucky?”

Ian loped off in pursuit. Moments later another man came to stand by Ilene’s side. She glanced up and her mouth went dry. The stranger was young, clean-shaven and terribly handsome, with broad shoulders and a shock of thick red-brown hair.

“Welcome to Locklynn,” she said. “You must be here for the festival.”

“Thank you, I am. The town looks much better than the last time I was here. Gert tells me you’re the new wizard?”

“Aye,” she replied, without thinking. “Well, actually, no. I’m just temporary.”

“Really? Maybe you should stick around,” he said. “I’ve heard the regular wizard is a useless lump and a lazy lout to boot.”

Ilene looked him full in the face. She gulped when she realized the man had one green and one blue eye. Although they were different colors, both eyes were mesmerizing.

“I don’t know him at all, to be truthful,” she replied. “We didn’t exactly meet under the best of circumstances.”

“Maybe you two could start over,” he said. “If you’re willing.”

Ilene noticed Ian had cornered Gert next to a booth selling freshly poured battercakes and lemonade. “It won’t be easy. Do you see my twin brother Ian? If Locklynn’s wizard can manage to get on his good side, I might change my mind.”

“It’s already been done,” Kipp replied.

“How do you know?” Ilene asked, surprised.

“I let Ian win that scarf off me just this morning,” Kipp said. “Plus, Gert’s my cousin.”

THE END

pagebreakI invite you to visit the world of Yden:

YDENICOVERThe Last Great Wizard of Yden

Jon Hansen always thought his father’s tales about the magical planet of Yden were fiction. When his father is kidnapped by an evil wizard, however, Jon is forced to dig deeper. His investigation uncovers magical artifacts that will unlock another dimension—if only he can gather his courage to make the journey. On his quest to Yden, Jon encounters wizards, Cyclopes, and a warlord who seem to want him dead. Fortunately, he’s got friends by his side, as well as the ability to draw things to life. Can he and his friends defeat the most evil wizard the magical world has ever known, or will Jon become the latest addition to the Wolf Clan wizard’s gruesome collection of trophies?

Yden_Book2Children of Yden

While balancing the rigorous demands of regular schoolwork, Jon eagerly begins his magical training on Dragon Isle. At the same time, the Dragon Clan starts to search for other Earth-born sons and daughters of Yden’s wizards. Using a purloined map, however, the Fox Clan has already begun recruiting the children of Yden for their own sinister plans. Jon soon discovers Guinn of the Fox Clan is searching for a magical artifact called the Portal Key — and he’s more than willing to kill for it. Worse, Guinn’s desire to settle an old score puts Jon directly in his sights. As Guinn’s schemes fall into place, Jon is forced to hurt a close friend to protect her. Can he learn enough magic in time to thwart Guinn’s ambitions? Will he find the inner strength to survive injury, bitter betrayal, and horrendous loss? The fate of Earth and Yden hangs in the balance.

Yden_Book3Secrets of Yden

As Jon Hansen begins his senior year in high school, he and his friends are focused on the future. Unfortunately, a past skirmish on Yden is still having repercussions. Bailey of the Shark Clan is out for revenge, and he may have secret support in the Executive Council. Worse, time is stopping on Earth for increasingly long intervals, and only Jon’s ankh sets him apart. An unstable portal is the cause, but his search for answers uncovers an ancient prophecy that seemingly spells his doom. Can Jon repair the hole in the universe before time stops forever, or will he have to sacrifice himself to save the world?

NEWKIRACOVERKira: The Yden Trilogy Prequel

Poisoned by an enemy, Kira struggles to find an antidote before she succumbs to enslavement. At the same time, she’s desperate to save Dorsit, a Leopard Clan wizard whose youth and magic has been stolen by a murderous wizard on a rampage. As Kira’s homeland is invaded by bloodthirsty legions, Kira flees across the country in a bid to reach the Mirrum Mountain nymphs and a legendary cure. Hunted by shadow hounds, an army of Cyclopes, and an evil jinn, will her wits and skill as a warrior be enough to survive?

The Temporary Wizard of Locklynn • Part Three

TWOLNEWCOVERToday I’m posting the third part of my short Yden story, The Temporary Wizard of Locklynn. (If you missed Part One, go Here. Part Two is Here). In TWOL, new wizard Ilene is trying to find her first job on Yden. Unfortunately, she’s challenged by the traditional patriarchal system in which she, as a female, must prove her abilities. Come back tomorrow for Part Four. Enjoy! ~ S.G. Rogers

Chapter Three
The Woolihoppers

Mayor Henryr’s chores seemed to multiply like the musical wildflowers that sprouted up alongside the roads, and Ilene dove into her work with relish. The town’s residents had pent up demand for a wizard’s services, and it seemed as if she’d arrived just in time. Her stay lengthened into weeks—long enough for her to realize she’d stumbled into a unique and whimsical place. Locklynn’s stone cottages, streams, and verdant countryside reminded her of Scotland, where she’d been born. The town was originally founded on textiles, and a great many of the surrounding farms raised furry creatures called yamas. The horned and winged animals resembled a cross between sheep dogs and llamas—if llamas had small wings, of course. Ilene paid house calls to the outlying yama farms, where she would enchant the animals to produce different tints of wool. Afterward, the yamas tended to flock by hue. From a distance, the grassy fields appeared to be covered with moving streaks of color.

Yamas were shorn in late spring for their gloriously abundant wool, and the town always hosted a shearing festival in celebration. Since an influx of visitors contributed greatly to the town’s fortunes, the more prominent citizens worked to make sure the upcoming festival would be a tremendous success. To that end, Ilene connected Locklynn to the Wiznet magical mailbox system rapidly spreading across Yden, and festival announcements were sent out by the hundreds.

Ten days before the festival, the mayor pounced on Ilene as she left the tavern for work.

“We have a problem, Wizard.” His expression was uncharacteristically sober. “An infestation of woolihoppers has settled at the Goery farm and they’re eating the wool straight off the yamas.”

“Woolihoppers? Are those some kind of insects?” Ilene asked, baffled.

“They swarm most often after we’ve had an unusually dry winter.” Mayor Henryr wrung his hands in a panic.“If we don’t stop them, they’ll eat through the town’s whole crop of wool, and the festival will be ruined! Kipp would know what to do, but he’s holed up in his house and won’t come out.”

“What a galoot! Take me to the man and I’ll see if I can talk some sense into him.”

Ilene and the mayor set off at a good clip. Just outside town, the mayor led her onto a weed-choked path through a swath of forest, and shortly thereafter to a picturesque stream. Although it was spring, the water’s edge was still crusted with ice. When Ilene paused on the footbridge to admire the view, a fat laughing frog on the bank giggled, releasing a wave of toxic magic.

“Watch out, Mayor!” Ilene exclaimed.

She automatically blocked the wave, but it hit Mayor Henryr even as he ran to the far side of the bridge. He was obliged to put his hands on his knees, gasping for breath, until his lengthy fit of laughter passed. Ilene was not amused.

“A laughing frog is a nasty sort of creature to have guarding the bridge,” she said. “I gather Kipp of the Bear Clan is unfriendly.”

“He used to be as sunny as can be,” the mayor said, wiping tears of mirth from his face with a large red handkerchief. “It was love gone wrong that changed him.”

“If that’s all it takes, we should all be warped,” Ilene muttered.

As Mayor Henryr and Ilene drew closer to an underground dwelling built into the side of a hill, the wooden door and rounded windows suddenly faded away until they became a seamless part of the grass. In spite of her annoyance, Ilene was impressed.

“Not a bad illusion,” she admitted. “You can’t be bothered with visitors if they can’t find your door.”

“It’s Kipp’s way of telling us to leave,” the Mayor whispered.

“It is, is it?” Ilene cupped her hands around her mouth and aimed her voice at the hillside. “Come out and face me, you useless lump of a wizard,” she bellowed.

“I wouldn’t address Kipp in that fashion,” the Mayor gasped, wide-eyed. He edged backwards. “You could make him mad.”

“That’s exactly what I intend to do,” Ilene replied. “Getting his dander up might snap him out of his depression. Don’t you suppose he’s been coddled long enough?”

When Mayor Henryr made no reply, she glanced over. The man had turned tail and was dashing across the footbridge as fast as his legs could carry him. How like a politician to cut and run when things get difficult, she thought. Undeterred, Ilene literally rolled up her sleeves, cast a reveal spell to locate Kipp’s front door, and then pounded on the thick wood with the meaty part of her fist. “You’re needed, you lazy lout! You’ll have no peace from me until you show yourself.”

When the door burst open, Ilene stumbled backward. Her first glimpse of the Bear Clan wizard was fearsome. Kipp was as thin as a bowl of gruel, his clothes were unkempt, and his wild reddish-brown mane had obviously avoided a hairbrush for quite some time. The lower half of his face was covered in a bushy, ginger-colored beard, which served to draw attention to his unusual eyes. One was bright blue and the other was green, and both were flashing with anger. Strangely enough, however, Ilene’s Clan ring wasn’t warning her that the wizard was dangerous.

“Get away from my door, woman,” he thundered. “You’ve got the manners of a stray dog infested with pixienits.”

“Speaking of infestations, while you’ve been sulking underground feeling sorry for yourself, the Goery farm has a nasty problem with woolihoppers,” Ilene snapped. “If it’s not too much bother, give me the spell and I’ll deal with the pests.”

“What are you going to do with a spell?” Kipp scoffed.

“I’m an Eagle Clan wizard, you odd-eyed hermit.”

“Ha! A slip of a girl like you—a wizard? You’re joking.”

Although Ilene never laid a physical hand on him, Kipp suddenly flew through the air and landed in the icy stream nearby with a huge splash. Ilene stood on the bank glaring at him, with her arms akimbo. “I’ll thank you not to underestimate a female wizard in the future.” Ilene tossed her head. “Enjoy your bath. From the look of you, doubtless you can use one.”

Ilene used the magical transporter cuff on her wrist to travel directly to the Goery farm, where she’d worked the day prior. Unfortunately, she materialized into the center of pandemonium. Unhappy yamas were bleating and flapping their wings as brown flying insects the size of Ilene’s hand nibbled at their wool. She shuddered; the swarm was so thick that she couldn’t take a step without treading on the distasteful creatures. Poor Dane Goery and his family were shearing fleeces as fast as they could in an attempt to save their crop from the jaws of the woolihoppers. Half the town had turned out to help, but it was a losing fight. As soon as the insects had been beaten off one yama, more woolihoppers took their place.

Mayor Henryr rode up a horse, and jumped to the ground. “Is Kipp coming?”

She shook her head. “I’m afraid we’re on our own, but I’ll do what I can.”

Ilene jumped into the fray, using magic to draw off large numbers of woolihoppers and freeze them. It was slow work, but for a while it seemed as if they were winning the battle. When another huge swarm of insects crested over the horizon, however, there were gasps of dismay.

“We’re ruined,” Dane Goery moaned.

Tomorrow is the fourth and final chapter!

pagebreakVisit the world of Yden:

YDENICOVERThe Last Great Wizard of Yden

Jon Hansen always thought his father’s tales about the magical planet of Yden were fiction. When his father is kidnapped by an evil wizard, however, Jon is forced to dig deeper. His investigation uncovers magical artifacts that will unlock another dimension—if only he can gather his courage to make the journey. On his quest to Yden, Jon encounters wizards, Cyclopes, and a warlord who seem to want him dead. Fortunately, he’s got friends by his side, as well as the ability to draw things to life. Can he and his friends defeat the most evil wizard the magical world has ever known, or will Jon become the latest addition to the Wolf Clan wizard’s gruesome collection of trophies?

Yden_Book2Children of Yden

While balancing the rigorous demands of regular schoolwork, Jon eagerly begins his magical training on Dragon Isle. At the same time, the Dragon Clan starts to search for other Earth-born sons and daughters of Yden’s wizards. Using a purloined map, however, the Fox Clan has already begun recruiting the children of Yden for their own sinister plans. Jon soon discovers Guinn of the Fox Clan is searching for a magical artifact called the Portal Key — and he’s more than willing to kill for it. Worse, Guinn’s desire to settle an old score puts Jon directly in his sights. As Guinn’s schemes fall into place, Jon is forced to hurt a close friend to protect her. Can he learn enough magic in time to thwart Guinn’s ambitions? Will he find the inner strength to survive injury, bitter betrayal, and horrendous loss? The fate of Earth and Yden hangs in the balance.

Yden_Book3Secrets of Yden

As Jon Hansen begins his senior year in high school, he and his friends are focused on the future. Unfortunately, a past skirmish on Yden is still having repercussions. Bailey of the Shark Clan is out for revenge, and he may have secret support in the Executive Council. Worse, time is stopping on Earth for increasingly long intervals, and only Jon’s ankh sets him apart. An unstable portal is the cause, but his search for answers uncovers an ancient prophecy that seemingly spells his doom. Can Jon repair the hole in the universe before time stops forever, or will he have to sacrifice himself to save the world?

NEWKIRACOVERKira: The Yden Trilogy Prequel

Poisoned by an enemy, Kira struggles to find an antidote before she succumbs to enslavement. At the same time, she’s desperate to save Dorsit, a Leopard Clan wizard whose youth and magic has been stolen by a murderous wizard on a rampage. As Kira’s homeland is invaded by bloodthirsty legions, Kira flees across the country in a bid to reach the Mirrum Mountain nymphs and a legendary cure. Hunted by shadow hounds, an army of Cyclopes, and an evil jinn, will her wits and skill as a warrior be enough to survive?

Temporary Wizard of Locklynn • Part Two

TWOLNEWCOVERToday, I present the second chapter of my Yden short story, The Temporary Wizard of Locklynn. If you missed Part One, go HERE.

Chapter Two

Cry Me a River

Ilene accompanied Mayor Henryr into the rustic Spinning Wheel Tavern, where they discussed the town’s priorities over a mid-day meal. The lamp-lit tavern was so dark inside that Ilene was obliged to fashion a small everlasting orb in order to see her chicken potpie properly. She hoisted the shining sphere upward until it came to rest underneath one of the heavy wooden beams overhead.

“I daresay my wife would enjoy an everlasting orb at our house,” the mayor said, impressed. “It’s so difficult for her to knit by lamplight after both Yden’s suns have set.”

The Mayor bent over to scribble that task on the top of what was proving to be a lengthy list. Ilene’s spirits rose; her stay in Locklynn seemed assured⎯at least for the near term. At minimum, she’d be able to count on Mayor Henryr as a reference. If the town’s wizard remained absent, perhaps the job would continue indefinitely.

After the lunch crowd thinned out, the mayor beckoned Gert over. “Ilene, allow me to introduce Gert, the owner of this fine establishment. Gert, this is Ilene of the Eagle Clan.”

“We’ve met.” Gert gave Ilene a broad smile. “I’m glad you didn’t let Natty chase you away. He bleats a lot, but he’s harmless.”

“Do you have a room to rent to our temporary wizard?” Mayor Henryr asked.

“Aye,” Gert replied. “But instead of payment in gold, I’ve got a great many tasks that need doing around here. I’d even throw in meals.”

“Done,” Ilene said. “I’ve never had better chicken potpie.”

“Good.” The mayor rubbed his hands together. “I’ll let you settle in today, but I’ve got a mountain of work for you bright and early tomorrow morning.”

The man left, and Gert showed Ilene to her room on the second floor of the tavern. The space was clean, but a trifle cozy. In fact, the bed was wedged underneath the steeply sloping roof. Nevertheless, the room received a lot of natural light from the window opening onto the town square. Ilene dropped her knapsack on the bed and gave Gert a smile.

“I like it.”

“I’m sorry it’s so small. Don’t sit up in the middle of the night or you’ll hit your head.” Gert glanced at Ilene’s knapsack. “Is that all the luggage you have?”

“Actually, my bag holds a lot more than you’d think. There’s an enlargement spell on the inside.”

Gert peered at the bag suspiciously, as if it were about to explode. “I don’t mind admitting that magic sometimes makes my head whirl. I can’t wait to see more of your work.”

“Well… you don’t mind if I make some minor adjustments in here, do you?” Ilene asked.

“Be my guest,” Gert said.

Ilene magically raised the roof several feet, and extended the walls out until the room was spacious. Gert gasped and her jaw dropped.

“Don’t worry, there’s no visible change from the outside of the tavern,” Ilene said quickly. “I’ll remove the enlargement spell, if you like, when I leave.”

“I’d rather you didn’t,” Gert said. “In fact, you can enlarge my room across the hall next.”

The rest of the afternoon, Gert kept the temporary wizard busy working spells. Ilene’s magic ensured that the bread oven would always be the proper temperature for baking and the casks of ale would remain icy cold even on the hottest days of summer. Ilene magically repaired the fabric cushions that covered the benches and chairs, and changed their color from a faded, stained beige to an attractive clover green. To Gert’s delight, Ilene enchanted the decorative spinning wheel in the corner with a perpetual motion spell. Just for fun, she also added an illusion spell that made it appear as if the device were producing spun gold. The end product rather resembled her landlord’s long, blonde locks.

Gert stared at Ilene’s handiwork in amazement. “Not only are you a real wizard, but you’re creative, too. I would never have thought to enchant that spinning wheel. I bet once word gets out, folk will come in just to watch it spin.”

“I hope you don’t mind if I try new things.” Ilene tucked a strand of her black curly hair behind one ear. “Wizards are tasked with making life easier for people, but it doesn’t have to be dull.”

“I welcome new things. Can you put a spell on my Tavern to keep it full of customers?” Gert asked, only half-joking. “Locklynn is dying, I’m afraid, and my business with it.”

“I’ll do my best to spruce up the place in the time I’m here,” Ilene replied. “Locklynn is halfway between two big towns. In top form, it’ll be a charming place for travelers to stop. I can already see its potential.”

“I’m so glad you’ve come, Ilene. We all love Kipp of the Bear Clan, but he hasn’t been around very much since he lost his wife,” Gert confided.

“So I heard,” Ilene said. “How long has it been?”

“Oh, I think we’re coming up on three turns now.”

Turns were roughly equivalent to years on Ilene’s native Earth.

“The wizard is still unable to work after all this time?” Ilene asked, taken aback. “He and his wife must have had a long marriage.”

“They were married less than a turn, but Kipp was inconsolable when Ferra left.”

Ilene was confused. “Left? The mayor told me she died.”

“Out of respect to Kipp, we all pretend that’s what happened,” Gert said. “Ferra was a very attractive girl, and she had ambitions that couldn’t be satisfied in a small town like Locklynn. Kipp can’t quite get over her.”

Ilene’s sympathy for the Bear Clan wizard was rapidly dwindling. “Forgive me for saying so, but Kipp sounds like a big baby.”

Gert stifled a laugh. “You’re right, of course, but he’s our big baby.”

“This romance nonsense is more trouble than its worth,” Ilene said. “I don’t think I’ll ever marry.”

“Why would you say a thing like that? I’ve already had several good-looking lads ask me about you.”

“I’d never consider seeing a man unless he was the best of friends with my twin brother, Ian. And in the second place, it would take more than a comely face to make me fall in love. Kipp of the Bear Clan must be daft.”

“It probably seems that way, but don’t be so very hard on the man. In his defense, Ferra was extremely beautiful.”

“Looks aren’t everything, Gert.”

“You’ll want to remember that when you meet Kipp.”

“Why?”

“He’s the most handsome man I’ve ever seen.”

Come back tomorrow for Part Three!

pagebreakVisit the world of Yden:

YDENICOVERThe Last Great Wizard of Yden

Jon Hansen always thought his father’s tales about the magical planet of Yden were fiction. When his father is kidnapped by an evil wizard, however, Jon is forced to dig deeper. His investigation uncovers magical artifacts that will unlock another dimension—if only he can gather his courage to make the journey. On his quest to Yden, Jon encounters wizards, Cyclopes, and a warlord who seem to want him dead. Fortunately, he’s got friends by his side, as well as the ability to draw things to life. Can he and his friends defeat the most evil wizard the magical world has ever known, or will Jon become the latest addition to the Wolf Clan wizard’s gruesome collection of trophies?

Yden_Book2Children of Yden

While balancing the rigorous demands of regular schoolwork, Jon eagerly begins his magical training on Dragon Isle. At the same time, the Dragon Clan starts to search for other Earth-born sons and daughters of Yden’s wizards. Using a purloined map, however, the Fox Clan has already begun recruiting the children of Yden for their own sinister plans. Jon soon discovers Guinn of the Fox Clan is searching for a magical artifact called the Portal Key — and he’s more than willing to kill for it. Worse, Guinn’s desire to settle an old score puts Jon directly in his sights. As Guinn’s schemes fall into place, Jon is forced to hurt a close friend to protect her. Can he learn enough magic in time to thwart Guinn’s ambitions? Will he find the inner strength to survive injury, bitter betrayal, and horrendous loss? The fate of Earth and Yden hangs in the balance.

Yden_Book3Secrets of Yden

As Jon Hansen begins his senior year in high school, he and his friends are focused on the future. Unfortunately, a past skirmish on Yden is still having repercussions. Bailey of the Shark Clan is out for revenge, and he may have secret support in the Executive Council. Worse, time is stopping on Earth for increasingly long intervals, and only Jon’s ankh sets him apart. An unstable portal is the cause, but his search for answers uncovers an ancient prophecy that seemingly spells his doom. Can Jon repair the hole in the universe before time stops forever, or will he have to sacrifice himself to save the world?

NEWKIRACOVERKira: The Yden Trilogy Prequel

Poisoned by an enemy, Kira struggles to find an antidote before she succumbs to enslavement. At the same time, she’s desperate to save Dorsit, a Leopard Clan wizard whose youth and magic has been stolen by a murderous wizard on a rampage. As Kira’s homeland is invaded by bloodthirsty legions, Kira flees across the country in a bid to reach the Mirrum Mountain nymphs and a legendary cure. Hunted by shadow hounds, an army of Cyclopes, and an evil jinn, will her wits and skill as a warrior be enough to survive?

Temporary Wizard of Locklynn • Part One

TWOLNEWCOVERI wrote a companion piece to my Yden Trilogy a few years back called The Temporary Wizard of Locklynn. It appeared as a short story at an online journal of science fiction and fantasy called Aurora Wolf, and it’s also available via paperback in an anthology called Aurora of the Mists. Set on the magical world of Yden (pronounced ēden), the story follows a minor character (Ilene, born in Scotland) introduced in Children of Yden as she attempts to get her first job. I’d like to expand this story into a longer book someday, but I’d like to share this short story with you now, as a four part serial. Enjoy! ~ S.G. Rogers

Chapter One
A Real Wizard

The mayor of Locklynn gave Ilene McMillan a quizzical glance. “But you’re female,” he said. “You can’t be a wizard.”

Ilene sighed inwardly. She’d heard the same thing at the last six villages she’d visited. The people of Yden were really behind the times, but she had to be polite nevertheless.

“I most certainly am an Eagle Clan wizard.” She flashed the mayor a winning smile as she showed him her Clan ring. “In fact, I was trained by Quixoran.”

“The Dragon Clan wizard himself, huh?” Mayor Henryr’s eyebrows lifted for a moment before drawing together in a frown. “Well, even so, it doesn’t matter. We’ve already got a wizard working for us and we don’t need any more help.”

“No?”

From her vantage point in the center of Locklynn, Ilene surveyed the town. The dirt surface of the main road was marred with ruts and indentations, many of the hand-carved rooftop shingles on the quaint shops were either loose or missing, and more than a few leaded-glass windowpanes were cracked. A short distance away, a desperate farmer labored to pump water into a long wooden trough for his waiting flock of wooly goats. Despite the man’s best efforts, the spigot produced only a thin trickle for the thirsty, bleating animals. Overall, Ilene was unimpressed. Locklynn had undoubtedly been charming in the past, but it was shabby and rundown at present.

“Begging your pardon, Mayor, but your wizard seems to be as useful as a leaky teapot,” she observed.

The mayor bristled. “Poor Kipp’s been melancholy since his wife died.”

“I’m very sorry for his loss but that’s not going to replenish the water in your wells or repair your roads,” Ilene said. “I’ll fix that pump for you, and then I’ll be off. Thank you for your time, and I hope your wizard gets back to work soon.”

As she stepped off the wooden boardwalk into the street, Ilene tried not to let her shoulders slump. Although she was reluctant to admit it, Locklynn’s wizard wasn’t the only one fighting off a bout of melancholy. After several years of intensive study, Ilene and her twin brother Ian had finally become full-fledged wizards. About a month ago, her brother had secured a position in a nice little mountainside hamlet called Spriteburg, but things had not gone so smoothly for Ilene. Everywhere she went, she’d run into resistance. People weren’t comfortable with the fact she was female, and had no problem saying so. When Quixoran of the Dragon Clan had agreed to train female apprentices, he’d bucked a longstanding, males-only tradition on Yden. Ilene had been amongst the first class of newly minted female wizards, and was eager to prove herself. Unfortunately, she’d underestimated the challenges of securing a job.

Ilene skirted several puddles of mud left from recent early spring showers. Rainwater had pooled in the craters of the neglected thoroughfare, making it hazardous to wagon wheels, horses, and ankles alike. Had it been up to her, she would have magically smoothed the dirt surface and covered it with something attractive and picturesque, like cobblestones or bricks. Fresh from her apprenticeship, she was brimming with exciting ideas and limitless energy. All I need is a chance to show what I can do, she thought. Is that too much to ask?

The farmer glanced up from the pump as she approached, exasperation etched on his sweat-streaked, craggy face. “I’m sorry, lass, but the well is running dry. You’ll have to drink from the one on the far side of town.”

A woman had emerged from the nearby Spinning Wheel Tavern, with a bucket in hand. She arrived at the pump in time to overhear the farmer’s last words.

“That’s largely thanks to you, Natty Wilkins!” she exclaimed, driving her point home with her index finger. “If you didn’t water your wooly goats in town every other day, the well wouldn’t have run dry so quickly.”

The farmer winced. “Oh come now, Gert. My goats become thirsty, like any other creatures.”

“There’s a stream on your property,” Gert shot back. “Do us all a favor and water them there.”

“That stream’s nearly down to a memory,” Natty replied. “Even with the recent rain.”

“If you’ll both stand clear, I’ll fix the well,” Ilene said. “It’s an easy spell to manage.”

She raised her Clan ring hand to perform the magic, but the sun-wizened farmer shielded the pump with his broad frame. “Best let a real wizard do that, lass.”

A smile masked Ilene’s annoyance. “I am a real wizard, I assure you. Now please step aside before fresh spring water begins accidentally running from your nose.”

The farmer refused to budge. “I don’t know what you’re playing at, but leave off before you do real damage. The last thing we need around here is a plague of toads or some such mischief from magic gone awry.”

“Natty, did you ever meet an insult you didn’t like?” Gert turned to Ilene. “Never mind him; he’s been raising wooly goats so long he’s got wool between his ears. I’d heard Quixoran of the Dragon Clan was training female wizards. It’s high time, in my opinion, but I never thought I’d come across one in Locklynn.”

“I was hoping to settle in a small town,” Ilene said. “But it seems there’s a wizard working here already.”

“I suppose that depends on your definition of working.” Gert grabbed the farmer by the arm and hauled him to one side. “Let her fix the well, Natty, unless you want to be banned from my tavern for life.”

“Now, Gert!”

“I mean it, old man,” the woman said. “No more cold ale for you, no matter how hard you beg.”

The farmer shot Ilene a dour look, but he shuffled off behind one of his goats. In short order, Ilene enchanted the pump to produce a steady, clean flow. Natty stuck his hand under the water and brought his moistened fingers to his tongue in amazement. “Well, I’ll be a toad’s behind,” he said, taken aback. “It’s perfect.”

“’Course it is.” Gert held her empty bucket under the pump. “She’s a real wizard.”

After the bucket was full, Gert nodded her thanks and returned to the tavern. Ilene filled the trough with clear, cool sparkling water for the goats and any other parched animals that happened to pass by. The goats nudged Ilene out of the way as they clustered around the trough.

“Forgive me, Wizard,” Natty said, touching the brim of his hat. “I guess I spoke out of turn.”

“I understand, but I hope you’ll give the next female wizard you meet a chance. Only a handful of wizards on Yden right now are women, but female wizards will eventually become commonplace. Excuse me—”

“Wait!” Mayor Henryr bounded over to gape at Ilene’s handiwork. “Er… perhaps I was too hasty, Eagle Clan Wizard. I can’t make any long-term promises, but there may be a few chores in Locklynn you could address.”

Relief lifted the weight on Ilene’s shoulders and brought a smile to her face. Although a temporary job was hardly guaranteed employment, it was the best offer she’d had.

Come back tomorrow for Part Two!

pagebreakVisit the world of Yden:

YDENICOVERThe Last Great Wizard of Yden

Jon Hansen always thought his father’s tales about the magical planet of Yden were fiction. When his father is kidnapped by an evil wizard, however, Jon is forced to dig deeper. His investigation uncovers magical artifacts that will unlock another dimension—if only he can gather his courage to make the journey. On his quest to Yden, Jon encounters wizards, Cyclopes, and a warlord who seem to want him dead. Fortunately, he’s got friends by his side, as well as the ability to draw things to life. Can he and his friends defeat the most evil wizard the magical world has ever known, or will Jon become the latest addition to the Wolf Clan wizard’s gruesome collection of trophies?

Yden_Book2Children of Yden

While balancing the rigorous demands of regular schoolwork, Jon eagerly begins his magical training on Dragon Isle. At the same time, the Dragon Clan starts to search for other Earth-born sons and daughters of Yden’s wizards. Using a purloined map, however, the Fox Clan has already begun recruiting the children of Yden for their own sinister plans. Jon soon discovers Guinn of the Fox Clan is searching for a magical artifact called the Portal Key — and he’s more than willing to kill for it. Worse, Guinn’s desire to settle an old score puts Jon directly in his sights. As Guinn’s schemes fall into place, Jon is forced to hurt a close friend to protect her. Can he learn enough magic in time to thwart Guinn’s ambitions? Will he find the inner strength to survive injury, bitter betrayal, and horrendous loss? The fate of Earth and Yden hangs in the balance.

Yden_Book3Secrets of Yden

As Jon Hansen begins his senior year in high school, he and his friends are focused on the future. Unfortunately, a past skirmish on Yden is still having repercussions. Bailey of the Shark Clan is out for revenge, and he may have secret support in the Executive Council. Worse, time is stopping on Earth for increasingly long intervals, and only Jon’s ankh sets him apart. An unstable portal is the cause, but his search for answers uncovers an ancient prophecy that seemingly spells his doom. Can Jon repair the hole in the universe before time stops forever, or will he have to sacrifice himself to save the world?

NEWKIRACOVERKira: The Yden Trilogy Prequel

Poisoned by an enemy, Kira struggles to find an antidote before she succumbs to enslavement. At the same time, she’s desperate to save Dorsit, a Leopard Clan wizard whose youth and magic has been stolen by a murderous wizard on a rampage. As Kira’s homeland is invaded by bloodthirsty legions, Kira flees across the country in a bid to reach the Mirrum Mountain nymphs and a legendary cure. Hunted by shadow hounds, an army of Cyclopes, and an evil jinn, will her wits and skill as a warrior be enough to survive?

Excerpt • DUKE OF A GILDED AGE

Originally posted on S.G. Rogers, Author:

DOGAcoveridea5In Duke of a Gilded Age, Brooklyn-born Wesley Parker discovers he’s the heir to an English dukedom. Crossing the Atlantic in 1890 can be fraught with peril, however, from errant icebergs to mechanical failure. When Wesley volunteers for a rescue mission in the middle of the ocean, he never dreamed his adventure could cost him his life.

Excerpt:

The ship rolled to the one side just then, lying almost flat in the water. Stephen was thrown into Wesley and they both ended up on the floor. Nearby, the sound of breaking glass was followed closely by the strong odor of alcohol. The ship finally righted itself, accompanied by a cacophony of ominous creaks. Wesley and Stephen got to their feet.

“Do you smell that? We must still be in the saloon,” Stephen said. “And if the ship experiences another roll like the one we just had, it will sink…

View original 366 more words

New #Audiobook LARKEN • Sweet Victorian Romance

Originally posted on S.G. Rogers, Author:

Larkenaudiobook

Making this audiobook with pro narrator Stevie Zimmerman was wonderful fun, and I urge you to listen to the sample at Amazon or Audible.com. The audiobook is about five hours long, so you can listen to it during a lengthy car trip, on an airplane, jogging, while doing housework, or perhaps even when you’re gardening. If you haven’t yet tried audiobooks, give them a shot! Audiobooks are addictive, make your time more productive, and enrich your life. ~ S.G. Rogers

Blurb: The sole survivor of a train accident, young Larken Burke is dubbed the Miracle Orphan. Four years later, however, her life is far from fortunate. Because of her emotional and physical scars, she believes she’s not marriageable. With little hope for the future, she agrees to wed a gentleman she’s never met. Unfortunately, his aloof manner proves difficult to bear.

Marked by romantic tragedy and the loss of his…

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Countdown Deal • Tournament of Chance: #Dragon Rebel • #99cents

DragonRebel3Everyone loves a rebel…except the men who make the rules.

Any woman who wins the Tournament of Chance earns a place at court…even if she’s a commoner. No commoner has won yet, but this is Heather’s year. She doesn’t realize the king will do anything to prevent her from winning—including murder. Instead of a glorious victory, she’s arrested and marked for execution. After a daring escape, she joins the Dragon Rebels, who seek to overthrow the despotic monarchy and restore the former kingdom of Ormaria. Amongst the rebels are three shape-shifting wizards who claim to be rulers from the past. On a perilous quest to free the wizards’ magic, Heather battles wild dragons, vicious predators, angry trolls, and unexpected traitors. When a horrendous accident sends her back in time to fulfill a mysterious prophecy, she must rely on her warrior skills, wits, and endurance to survive.

2014 EPIC Award Fantasy Finalist

Monday, July 13th through Friday, July 17th, Tournament of Chance: Dragon Rebel has been marked down from $2.99 to $0.99 at Amazon.com and from £2.03 to £0.99 at Amazon.uk.

Excerpt:

Frightened, Heather raised herself onto her bruised elbows. Shimmer, Joe, and Dane had also been thrown to the deck when the ship shot forward. She could see from Shimmer’s face that he was as bewildered as she was.

“It is not my magic,” he yelled. “Dane?”

“It must be Heather. She has my crystal,” he shouted.

“Heather, slow the ship!” Shimmer exclaimed.

“But I’m not doing anything,” she cried.

“Yes you are,” Dane said. “What were you thinking about right before it happened?”

The image of the speeding arrow popped into Heather’s mind. She squeezed her eyes closed as she imagined the arrow slowing. The wind eased and the creaks and groans from the ship lessened. The crisis was over, but suddenly she was hauled roughly to her feet. Dane snatched his dragon crystal from around her neck.

“Idiot child. You could have killed us all.”

“That’s enough, Dane. She didn’t know what she was doing,” Shimmer said.

Heather muttered something under her breath as Dane turned away. An expression of utter incredulity came over his face. “What did you just call me?” he managed.

This time, Heather made an effort to articulate every syllable. “A… horse’s… arse.”

Joe and Manny nearly fell to the deck again, helpless with laughter. Even Shimmer had difficulty keeping his countenance.

“Why you cheeky monkey!” Dane sputtered. “I ought to spank you for that.”

“Try it and you’ll feel the sting of my blade,” Heather spat.

Stimulus Friday • Dual #Freebies • Kira/Last Great Wizard of Yden

NEWKIRACOVERYDENICOVERStimulate your imagination today (Friday, July 10) by downloading TWO freebies for your Kindle!

To plunge directly into the world of Yden, start with Kira, the Yden Trilogy Prequel.

Blurb: Poisoned by an enemy, Kira struggles to find an antidote before she succumbs to enslavement. At the same time, she’s desperate to save Dorsit, a Leopard Clan wizard whose youth and magic has been stolen by a murderous wizard on a rampage. As Kira’s homeland is invaded by bloodthirsty legions, Kira flees across the country in a bid to reach the Mirrum Mountain nymphs and a legendary cure. Hunted by shadow hounds, an army of Cyclopes, and an evil jinn, will her wits and skill as a warrior be enough to survive?

Or, head to Southern California first in The Last Great Wizard of Yden.

Blurb: Jon Hansen always thought his father’s tales about the magical planet of Yden were fiction. When his father is kidnapped by an evil wizard, however, he’s forced to dig deeper. His investigation uncovers magical artifacts that will unlock another dimension—if only he can gather his courage to make the journey. On his quest to Yden, Jon encounters wizards, Cyclopes, and a warlord who seem to want him dead. Fortunately, he’s got friends by his side, as well as the ability to draw things to life. Can he and his friends defeat the most evil wizard the magical world has ever known, or will Jon become the latest addition to the Wolf Clan wizard’s gruesome collection of trophies?

pagebreakI wrote Kira long after The Last Great Wizard of Yden. Writing a sequel, which was really a prequel, offered a nifty opportunity to present scenes that appear in both books, from different points of view. One need not read these two titles in any particular order…but it might be a little more fun to read Kira AFTER The Last Great Wizard of Yden.

Here’s a peek into the SAME scene from both books:

The Last Great Wizard of Yden (Chapter Seven)

The clouds parted and a sudden shaft of daylight blinded Jon for a moment. Buffeted by passing crowds, a sudden vertigo swept over him. He sank down on a nearby bale of hay. He hadn’t counted on magical transportation being so disorienting.

“Is this real or is it a nightmare? Somebody wake me up.”

At least the tingling sensation in his wrist had stopped. Jon took some deep breaths and tried to pull himself together.

“Okay…this is a seriously unplanned turn of events, but don’t panic,” he told himself, even as his hands were trembling.

The proprietor of the nearest stall removed his carhop hat and tried to shoo Jon away with it. His beefy forearms would have intimidated even his athletic uncle.

“Move along. I’ll have no layabouts taking up seats meant for good paying customers,” he yelled.

Rudeness always brought Jon’s ire to the surface.

“I didn’t realize this bale of hay was reserved.”

An elderly man sat nearby, sipping a bowl of soup. “Give the lad a break, Hafne. Can’t you see he’s not from around here?”

“Stay out of it, Dorsit,” Hafne replied.

“It’s okay, I’m going,” Jon muttered. “I wouldn’t want to get sick from your cooking anyway.”

Hafne’s eyes narrowed as he peered at the cuff on Jon’s wrist, and one of his enormous hands descended onto Jon’s shoulder. “That’s a transporter cuff, boy. Which wizard did you steal it from?”

pagebreakKira (Chapter Twelve)

The wizard noticed a young man of about sixteen turns wander past, a look of confusion on his face. It wasn’t his expression that caught Dorsit’s eye, however, but his unusual clothes. His pants had large pockets sewn on the outside, and his boots were of a strange white material with a cunning crisscrossed lacing on top. The black, collarless shirt he wore was fashioned of a smooth, thin fabric, and featured a design with the word Leopard misspelled as Leppard. Although Dorsit had no idea what a def leppard was, he opened his mouth to ask the strange boy about it. Before he could speak to him, the boy sank down on one of the bales of hay Hafne used as seating and mumbled something Dorsit didn’t quite catch.

Unfortunately, Hafne’s capacity for curiosity was limited. He took off his hat, threatened the boy, and demanded he move on. Although the boy seemed to snap out of his confusion long enough to make a retort, Dorsit took pity on him.

“Give the lad a break, Hafne. Can’t you see he’s not from around here?”

“Stay out of it, Dorsit.”

After another hostile exchange, the boy put his hands on the table and stood. Sunlight glinted off the transporter cuff on his wrist. Hafne grabbed him by the shoulder. “That’s a transporter cuff, boy. Which wizard did you steal it from?”

Download your free Kindle copy of The Last Great Wizard of Yden HERE. Download Kira, the Yden Trilogy Prequel HERE.

And Enjoy! ~ S.G. Rogers

Upcoming Audiobook for LARKEN

Originally posted on S.G. Rogers, Author:

LarkenaudiobookReaders have responded so well to Larken (it’s been holding Amazon’s #1 spot in Teen & Young Adult Historical Romance for weeks) , I decided to make an audiobook of it! The recording process is complete, usingScreen Shot 2015-07-07 at 8.14.11 AM English narrator Stevie Zimmerman. A link to her extensive list of audiobook credits can be found HERE.

From her website:

“Native UK English voiceover artist and narrator, Stevie Zimmerman has been voicing audiobooks, commercials, e-learning and narrations for more than 10 years.

Stevie is the voice of over 60 audiobooks, ranging from Historical and Regency Romances and Chick Lit. to Self Help and Non Fiction. Her commercials can be heard on radio stations from Connecticut to Oregon, as well being the voice of K12 learning systems in the U.K.”ornament29I enjoyed listening to Stevie bring my book to life, and I was glad for the chance to listen to the story…

View original 176 more words

Written flights of fancy, historical romance, and adventure from author S.G. Rogers

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