A big thank you to everyone who had submitted a short story to us. We’ve seen many truly exceptional entries! Any last minute submissions received prior to the closing at 11:59pm EST last night will be reviewed over the next few days. If you wished you could have submitted something but didn’t have enough time, don’t worry. We will be announcing open submissions for a new anthology shortly after Shadows of the Mind has been published so keep an eye out!
We’ve just uploaded our latest newsletter! This free edition features a short story by author C. M. Saunders and a review of Doris Ross’ book, Descent Into Darkness, Volume 1: He Begins, which was released in late May. We hope to be able to feature other authors’ works in our future newsletters — and that they will be as enjoyable as the one by C. M. Saunders.
Sorry to keep this short, but we’re pretty loaded down through the rest of the summer and need to get back to work. Until next time — happy reading/writing!
The next chapter to be shared is Chapter 20. We will admit, it has been tricky finding chapters that didn’t give away too much. We tried our best to avoid any major spoilers like the fact that Alphonse has __________ and Bianca is __________________. Then of course ___________ is really ______________. I think we have done a pretty good job. So enjoy the newest and if you want to know what we are hinting at then click on one of the links below to purchase your own copy! LJ is shooting to have the sequel to Frozen Reflection, Quaking Tower out before the end of the year. So don’t miss it!
Bianca cursed her luck as she squeezed her eyes shut waiting for the pain of the arrow head to pierce her flesh, but it never came. Instead it sailed over her head. She looked back stunned to discover that it wasn’t a tree root that tripped her after all. It was a very familiar scabbard.
“Stay down!” Alphonse shouted from above, leaping down from the tree he was hiding in. He turned back in the direction that the assassin was firing from, sword held in one hand as the other drew a dagger behind his back. “Show yourself!”
His reply was only chuckling.
“Are you a coward or something? Or just too ugly to bear showing your face?” He smirked, adding, “I’ll bet just one glimpse is enough to make babies weep.”
Another arrow soared towards the tree Alphonse was formerly in hitting the trunk.
“Gotcha,” the blonde grinned, tossing the dagger in the direction the arrow came from. It spun several times, before a loud scream interrupted the silence.
Bianca’s eyes widened, “How-”
A flash of light came to life as a mist oozed out from the shadows, swirling around the trees, turning them black upon contact.
Before Bianca could blink she found herself yanked to her feet as Alphonse grabbed her arm, forcing her to run from the deadly threat. She braced herself for more arrows, but they never came.
Once they had cleared enough ground, Alphonse eased his grip, but would not let go. They walked in silence until they came to a nearly dried up stream. He led Bianca through a shallow part then glanced back. “It doesn’t look like he has followed us. We should be safe for now.”
“You can let go of me. I am able to walk on my own.”
He snorted. “So, you can run off and get yourself nearly killed again? I think not.”
Bianca glared at him. “Why should you care? I make your life a living hell. You would probably celebrate if I died.”
“There you go again. You’re so full of yourself.”
“I am not!” She broke free of his grip, throwing her hands up in the air. “You act like I’m a huge burden. If I’m such a bother then just let me die.”
Alphonse growled. “You make it sound like that would fix everything. It won’t. Can’t you get it through your thick skull for once?”
“I’m Snow White. I’m everyone’s hope, blah, blah, blah. Do you want to tattoo it to my forehead? Would that make you feel any better?”
He shoved his hands through his hair, fighting to keep his building frustration under control. “You just don’t get it!”
“What? What is it I’m too stupid to understand?”
“Just forget it.”
Bianca fought the urge to scream. “It’s not like I asked for this.”
Alphonse whirled on her. “I didn’t either!”
“You can leave anytime you want. I’m not going to stop you.”
“No, I can’t.”
“Wait, I forgot. I’m the big important mission that you have to complete.”
He kicked a rock into the stream. “Yes, I’m supposed to protect you. It’s a tiny part of my pathetic lack of existence that I was assigned just so I could at least pretend I had a life.”
Bianca lowered her head. “I can’t say I’m sorry enough. If I could change things I would, but I can’t.”
“No, you still don’t get it!”
“Then tell me!”
Alphonse shook his head, his hair disarrayed from his frustration. “This is getting us nowhere. Look, you’re just going to have to face the fact that whether you like it or not, you’re stuck with me. So, no more running away.”
“Okay, deal,” she agreed, deep down her heart hurt even worse. She was just a duty to him. Nothing more. She had to let go of foolish dreams. “Let’s go find Sprig. The sooner we find my flower the better off we both will be.”
Alphonse nodded then noticed that her arm was still bleeding. He pulled out a handkerchief, wrapping it tightly around the injury. “That should do until we can bandage it more properly.”
Bianca felt herself flush. She quickly turned away hoping he didn’t notice. “Thank you, for saving my life both times.”
“It’s my job.”
She felt melancholy as she nodded. With a sigh she trailed after him to continue their journey.
If you want more, click on any of the following links to purchase a copy of the ebook today! Smashwords, Lulu, DrivethruFiction, Amazon for the Kindle, and Barnes and Noble for the Nook. Hope you enjoyed another peek at Frozen Reflections!
Today brings yet another chapter for Frozen Reflection today’s takes place in chapter 7 and is actually quite lengthy in comparison to other chapters. If you are interested in the story, then please see the bottom of the post for links on where to buy a copy.
Bianca walked alongside the large man. Could he be one of the dwarves? He seemed too tall, but if there was a curse, perhaps that could have changed things? His clothing was kind of rustic and woodsy looking. In fact he sort of resembled a tree now that she thought of it. “Do you have a name?”
“It’s nice to meet you. So, do you know why I have been brought here? I mean what was the curse supposed to do?”
Oak shrugged his massive shoulders. “I don’t know much; only that today was the day that you were to return.”
Bianca decided it was mote at this point to argue with him over who she was. Certain things which had occurred that day were making her question her own identity the more she thought of them. “So, did Snow White, I mean I die from eating a poisoned apple?”
Oak froze, starring at her with a horrific expression. “That was what caused the curse.”
“You mean no prince?” She blurted out before thinking. She normally didn’t care about guys but if she had to be the fairytale princess a prince should be part of the deal!
“You really don’t remember, do you?”
“Tell me! What happened?”
Oak shook his head. “It’ll be easier to show you. We’ll be there shortly.”
Bianca folded her arms over her chest. She hated the cryptic details that Oak was sharing in pieces. She just wanted to hear what happened so she could figure out what was going on with her own life. Apples, mirrors, old women trying to sell her stuff, and being transported to some strange place where at least one person thinks she’s a fairytale princess. It was enough to drive one mad. Rather than unleash her fury on Oak, she stayed silent as they continued their journey.
“Here we are,” Oak said gesturing to what resembled ancient ruins. Stone and marble littered the scorched earth. Tall pillars were shattered; deep cuts scarred the ornate structures. A marble statue was laid broken in the dirt.
Bianca walked toward the head of the statue for a better look. As she peered down at the face she nearly fell over in shock. The statue looked just like her! “This can’t be possible.”
“But it is,” a different masculine voice said from one of the broken columns.
Bianca gasped in surprise. She hadn’t expected anyone else except Oak to be there. “Who are you?”
The man chuckled, shaking back his golden blonde bangs as he studied her with amused hazel eyes. His ponytail fluttered behind him with the movement. “Alphonse.”
“For now,” he grinned coyly. “So, you’ve returned at last.”
Bianca narrowed her eyes. “I am not the Princess Snow White!”
“Really? You saw her face, didn’t you? It’s rather uncanny, the resemblance.”
“It’s just a coincidence.”
Alphonse pushed off from the column he was leaning against, eyeing Bianca with interest. “Oh, but you aren’t from around here. Brought against your will, and just longing to return home.”
He laughed again, gesturing to Oak. “I suppose it’s now or never. Right?”
Oak nodded. “She didn’t believe me.”
“Get comfy, princess because now it’s time for a little story regarding your destiny.”
Bianca rolled her eyes. “You don’t need to be so melodramatic.”
Alphonse smirked as he dug his hands in the pockets of his dark green cloak. “You really don’t remember anything… this might be fun.”
“If you are just going to tell a bunch of lies, then I’ll find my own way.” She turned to leave but was stopped as Alphonse grabbed her wrist. “Let go of me.”
“No, you need to hear this. Now sit.”
Bianca sighed but feeling as though she had no other choice, perched herself on one of the columns.
“Today, is your sixteenth birthday, correct?”
“Yes. How did you-”
“That’s one part of the curse.” Alphonse explained. “It’s said on this day the Princess shall return and bring peace back to our land.”
“I don’t know anything about saving any worlds. It’s got to be a coincidence. You’ve got the wrong girl. If that’s all you have to say then I’m out of here.” Bianca stood up ready to leave once again when Alphonse blocked her. “Get out of my way.”
“Your birthday is today. You look just like the princess. You’re here. Has anything else happened that you can’t explain? Maybe something to do with apples and mirrors?”
She bit her lip. “That is what keeps dissolving my arguments against being the fairytale princess.”
Alphonse snickered, prompting Bianca to roll her eyes at him. “You may not remember, but it seems that the past is trying to force you to whether you like it or not.”
Bianca sat back down in a huff. “So, the story goes that Snow White’s stepmother was jealous of her beauty, sent a woodsman out into the woods to kill her. He couldn’t do it and left assuming that the wildlife would take care of the girl for him. She stumbles upon the cottage of the seven dwarves who take her in. Later the stepmother disguises herself as an old woman, attempting to kill her with laces for her bodice and a poisoned comb all of which failed. Last was a poisoned apple which worked until a prince came along. As he carried her off in the glass coffin, it was dropped, the apple dislodged from her throat, she woke up, and they all lived happily ever after.”
Alphonse stared at her incredulously. “Whoever provided you with your information was an imbecile. That is not by far how the story goes.”
“How do you know?” Bianca challenged, growing tired of the smug man.
“Let’s worry about you first.” He grabbed her wrist. “We need to take you someplace else now.”
“Great, more show and tell.”
“Don’t be difficult,” he scolded.
Despite her wanting to protest she went along with Alphonse and Oak. She doubted that they would take no for an answer anyway. At least they weren’t setting any warning bells off in her head unlike the old woman she had encountered earlier.
A new day equals a new chapter. This time we are flipping back to Chapter 16. Keep in mind that the chapters by themselves may not make much sense. You’ll have to read the entire book to fully understand what is going on. Without further adieu…
Everything seemed like a blur as Bianca struggled with her mind. Her focus on anything else was useless. She couldn’t even remember what happened during the day as she sat next to Emily in the auditorium for play auditions. It was as though her entire day had fast forwarded to that moment.
She shifted her gaze to the stage. It appeared the art department had already started on the set. Half painted cutouts of trees stood tall, around the outline of a cottage. Bianca shifted uncomfortably in her seat as her gaze fell upon the magic mirror. There was something about it that made chills run down her spine. “Maybe I shouldn’t try out. I’m sure there are lots of other girls that would be just as good for Snow White.”
Emily yanked her best friend back down before she could bolt from the room. “Since when have you turned down an opportunity to be in the school play? You showed up last year to every rehearsal for the Wizard of Oz as an understudy for Dorothy unlike Cheryl who had been cast for the lead. You deserve to be on stage!”
“That’s just your opinion. I’m not nearly as good as some of the other girls.”
“You’re just nervous. Everything will be fine.”
“I’m sure you’ll make an excellent dwarf,” Cheryl Hartley laughed, her apple shaped earrings jingling as she smoothed back her streaky blonde hair. She leaned over Bianca’s seat, a feline smirk on her face. “What makes you think you’ll ever get the lead over me?”
“She looks the part for one. You’d have to give up spraying yourself orange by opening night,” Emily snapped in defense of her best friend who couldn’t remove her gaze from her nemesis’s earrings.
“I didn’t know pasty skin and dull hair were part of the requirements. Gee, I guess I missed that part in the book.”
Emily narrowed her eyes. “Are you sure you wouldn’t be better off as the queen? I think you have the wicked part down perfectly.”
“I always get the lead,” Cheryl fluttered her lashes. “I’m a born star.”
“You’re definitely a hot ball of burning something…”
“Bianca,” Greg, the director called out breaking up the bickering. “You’re up.”
“Okay,” Bianca walked to the stage, oblivious of the snide remark Cheryl threw at her. She drew a deep breath as she climbed the steps then stopped, frowning. Somehow she ended up in a dimly lit forest. The crisp green foliage and gentle breeze seemed oddly comforting. Bright colored wild flowers dotted the lush grass. She thought it would be nice to pick some. However as she turned around to look for more, she was back in the auditorium again.
“Are you all right?”
Bianca glanced up at Greg, unaware of the confusion that lined her face then nodded. As she accepted a page of the script from one of the other hopefuls, her vision swam. Sweat lined her brow, fatigue washed over her as she fought against her legs’ urge to give out on her. She peeled off her sweater, dumping it on the stage. “Wow, is it hot. Did someone turn the heat on?”
“It’s kind of chilly in here actually.” Greg glanced at his girlfriend next to him who nodded. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
Bianca nodded and started stumbling towards the stairs in hopes of making it to the bathroom in case she had to vomit. She didn’t understand why she started feeling so sick. It wasn’t like her. However before she even reached the steps she passed out.
If you want to find out what happened before or next then click on any of the following links to purchase a copy of the ebook today! Smashwords, Lulu, DrivethruFiction, Amazon for the Kindle, and Barnes and Noble for the Nook.
As part of a new promotion, we’ll be posting a different chapter from LJ’s YA novel, Frozen Reflection. To start off we’ll flip all the way towards the middle of the book to chapter 40. Hope you enjoy the new sneak peek!
It felt like Bianca had run for hours until she came to the mouth of the tunnel. Cautiously she glanced around, but spotted no enemies. So far so good she decided. How should she go about finding Alphonse?
Her thoughts were broken as she heard the soft jiggle of metal against metal.
“Keep going!” A snide voice shouted.
Bianca hid behind a tree for a better look then gasped in delight. There were five guards escorting Alphonse who looked less than happy with his company. Now she had to come up with a plan to rescue him. If only she hadn’t run out of bolts, and ditched the crossbow. All she had to defend herself with now was her dagger and the sword she had taken from Hickory.
She only had one choice. Unfortunately it was one that Alphonse would berate her for. She removed her hood, shook out her hair then raced towards the men stopping a few feet away.
“Hey! Which of you big, strong men would like to have bragging rights to have captured Princess Snow White?” She yelled, keeping her weapons concealed under her cloak.
“You idiot! What do you think you’re doing?” Alphonse hissed at her, trying to break free of his captors.
“Is she really Snow White?” One of the men inquired. The shortest of the quintet shrugged. “Doesn’t look too much like her. Not really that pretty either.”
Another snorted. “I don’t know. She could just be filthy.”
Bianca rolled her eyes wishing that she hadn’t fallen in the mud earlier; the guards would have snatched her up in a blink of an eye. “Hello? Hair black as coal, lips red as blood, and skin fair as snow; I am Snow White!”
“Yeah, right. Now move along, peasant. We have to deliver this criminal to the queen.”
“I really am Snow White!” She pouted then grabbed a rock and threw it at the nearest guard.
“Hey! What was that for?” He hollered with fury burning in his eyes.
“Down with the queen! Down with the queen! Anyone who follows her is a brainless moron! I am committing treason therefore you should capture me!”
“Don’t listen to her!” Alphonse argued glaring daggers in her direction. “She is mad. She also believes her uncle is a goat and that the trees can talk.”
“If I’m crazy then so is he. His real name is… Oliver Ferdinand. He’s my cousin. He thinks fish can sing.”
“Run along, girl,” one of the guards ordered. “We have work to do.”
“Then I apologize for doing this,” Bianca pulled out the sword and dove towards the man unaware of the purple smoke that began to appear.
For those of you who celebrate the holiday, we hope you had fun. We did. For those of you who don’t, we hope it was a nice day regardless. Ours was.
Sorry For The Delay…
The official date for this week’s post was pushed back a day due to the holiday, though some material did get posted on time. This week’s content was Chapter 12 of A Tail To Remember by LJ Gastineau , as well as the first two rough chapters of Doris Ross’ Descent Into Darkness: His Command, the fourth installment in the series. With the launch of His Command, the last chapters for His Beast have been pulled from Doris’ site and sample chapter have been put up.
What Else Is Going On
Tricia Sparks is preparing a few stories for publication later this year. Doris Ross plans to release the unabridged version of Descent Into Darkness: His Beast by 5/6/12. At the moment, she’s endeavoring to finish the map rendering for the story. LJ Gastineau is currently working on the sequel to her new release, Frozen Reflection.
In case you haven’t looked at our update schedule, we’ve changed things a bit. Content will be going up once a week from now on, so be sure to check back regularly or look up the schedule for when your favorite story will be updated.
It’s a new month, Doris is playing a creepy hidden object game entitled Shiver: The Vanishing Hitchhiker Collector’s Edition from Big Fish Games. She just got a call in game where a raspy voice said “I’m watching you.” That plus the creepy soundtrack, weird children’s drawing of dead people and other “surprises,” makes this posting rather challenging. If you like spooky games, then add this to your list. The second game Shiver: Poltergeist is also good she says.
As listed on your updated schedule for posting new content, LJ has posted chapter 4 to Spark of Vengeance. She has her first young adult novel, Frozen Reflections epublished on Smashwords, Amazon, and Lulu so if you are interested in a copy please purchase it from one of those three distributors. It should be available for the Nook and iBookstore in the relative future. Here is what one reader has to say about the book. “Just finished your book. I truly enjoyed it, great twists! Congrats Lisa, well done!!” See LJ’s page for more info on the book itself.
Also, next month Doris will have the third book of Descent into Darkness: His Beast ready for epublishing. She’ll share more info on that in the future.
Hope everyone is having a good weekend. LJ has posted chapter 3 to Spark of Vengeance. There will also be another quick update once her e-book, Frozen Reflection has been published so keep an eye out.
Be sure to visit us again next week for even more new chapters!
Today, the troublesome Censorship Wars have come to a partial end. Paypal has clarified that their ban is focused only on images pertaining rape, bestiality, and incest not ebooks limited to just text. This is what they state in their blog (you can read the full article HERE):
First and foremost, we are going to focus this policy only on e-books that contain potentially illegal images, not e-books that are limited to just text. The policy will prohibit use of PayPal for the sale of e-books that contain child pornography, or e-books with text and obscene images of rape, bestiality or incest (as defined by the U.S. legal standard for obscenity: material that appeals to the prurient interest, depicts sexual conduct in a patently offensive way, and lacks serious literary, artistic, political or scientific value).
In addition, the policy will be focused on individual books, not on entire “classes” of books. Instead of demanding that e-book publishers remove all books in a category, we will provide notice to the seller of the specific e-books, if any, that we believe violate our policy. We are working with e-book publishers on a process that will provide any affected site operator or author the opportunity to respond to and challenge a notice that an e-book violates the policy.
To be clear, we have not shut down the PayPal account of any of the e-book publishers involved in this matter. PayPal is committed to working with publishers on a mutually acceptable process to address potentially offending books on their sites so that material with images that violate this policy cannot be purchased using our service.
What this means is as long as the ebooks contain no graphics depicting rape, bestiality, and incest that it is exempt from PayPal’s censorship policy. While this may not satisfy all writers and readers, it is at least a start. For those of us at Trinity Gateways who only focus on the written word, this is wonderful news. Now we will be able to share the stories in the form that is true to us with all our readers. To leave out such details as was mentioned in our March 3rd post, The Censorship Bomb, would have destroyed the stories completely. Those of us whose stories contained any of the three situations would have had to make a very difficult decision; either edit/rewrite the story, find someplace else to publish it, or shelf it forever. That choice thankfully, won’t have to be made. Now we can move forward without fear of being banned and our stories can be read in the way they were intended. Thank you everyone who took a stand.
To a degree we have won a single battle, but the war still continues. For other people who produce art, comics, and games they still have a fight to engage in. Until the war is completely over, we will continue to lend our support. After all, the arts no matter what form, should stick together.