March 8th is coming fast. That’s the planned release date of ON FALLEN WINGS. The novel will be available for all e-readers and a paperback version will also be released. I’m excited for that date because it’s my birthday and also a full moon. Later this year, I’ll introduce the hardcover version to the world. The cover isn’t done yet, but with a little luck and a lot of hard work, the art should be completed by this weekend. Cross your fingers, everyone!
In the meantime, I’ll be posting more often, offering updates and snippets of thought about the book. It’s been a long journey and I’m excited for this phase of the adventure. Today, I’m offering an excerpt from pages 132 to 135 of ON FALLEN WINGS. Enjoy.
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Later, after everyone was fed and the stewing kettle emptied, I rolled a short stump from our firewood pile and sat down to relax. Taking the weight off my feet allowed a savory sensation of tiny tingles to shoot up my legs. I stretched them straight until the bottom of my gown lifted off the snow. Mother chose a small log and sat next to me. She leaned her arms forward and warmed her fingers over the small flames. We sat quietly for a while, indulging in our simple pleasures, while watching Ethan and Leila wave long sticks in the air. The ends of their sticks were burning, and my siblings’ motions created magnificent symbols and designs as the darkness captured the glow.
Leila made a single dot in the air and circled it with a spiral. “Look,” she said, triumphantly. “I made the faerie symbol for love.”
“That’s abounding compassion,” I said, offering a correction. “Love is two circles joined together.”
Leila aimed her stick again and twisted it in circles while trying to create the image. Despite her efforts, the light effect was wrong. She blew loudly from her pouted lips and stabbed the stick back into the fire. Meanwhile, Ethan thrust his stick in the air as if battling the night with the bright glow of its end.
“Look, Mother,” he said, jabbing it into the moonlight. “I have a flaming sword.”
We chuckled while we watched him play. The glowing edge fascinated me, and I found myself refusing to look away. Each wild design left images that burned in my mind when I closed my eyes. I reached down and retrieved the stick Leila had relinquished. After a practice twirl, I created two glowing circles overlapping, the perfect symbol for love.
“Come here, Leila,” I said, extending my arm. “I’ll show you how to make the symbol.”
Leila had been watching. She rushed to me and grabbed the stick from my grip.
“Careful,” I said, reaching out to hold her. “Let me guide you. It isn’t as easy as it appears.”
Leila scowled. “How come you can do it?” She waved her arm before I could grab it.
“Practice,” I answered. “The Fae do much more than dance. The perfect faerie can heal the afflicted, lift the hearts of those around her, and write flawlessly in the old language.” I moved her arm in a single circle. “The trick for love…is to first master the perfect circle.” I released her hand. “Practice the single circle a couple of times. The single circle is the blessing of one. It must be perfect before attempting another.”
Leila tried to make the circle, but the result was the same as before. She made a wobbling line that connected and meant nothing.
I stood behind her and guided her hand. “There,” I told her. My effort with her hand wasn’t perfect, but a closer replica of the circle. I repeated the move with her. “That’s it. See, you’ve done half.”
“That’s too hard,” she said, repeating the motion carefully and slow. “Why can’t love be one circle? It’s easier.”
“Because love needs two,” answered Mother. The glowing designs reflected in her eyes. “Without two lovers accepting each other, one merely knows desire.”
Leila’s next motion made a perfect circle.
“That was great!” I said, clapping my praise. “Now, would you like to try the second?”
Leila handed me the stick. “No, go ahead,” she said, groaning while taking my seat. “That’s too hard. I’m not ready for love.”
Her answer made Mother laugh. “That’s good, dear.” She reached over and stroked Leila’s hair. “You’re learning.”
Leila yawned. “Mother, when will Father be back? I’m tired, and my feet are cold.”
“You will see him in the morning,” she said. “Why don’t you go to sleep?” She turned to Ethan, whose invisible battle had faded to a few weary swipes with his arm. “You too, Ethan,” she said. “It has been a long day.”
Ethan attempted a protest, but Mother relieved him of his weapon and tossed it into the fire. While my younger siblings crawled under thick furry blankets, I quietly searched the cart for my cloak. The night cold had caught me; my arms shook with chill.
“Climb into your tent,” said Mother, stepping out of the covered canvas.
I looked at her, puzzled at her tone. “I can help you straighten the mess,” I said, resigning the search for my cloak.
“No, thank you,” she answered. She grabbed my hand. “I know that you’re tired. Why don’t you get some rest?” She pulled me close.
Surprised at her abundant warmth, I accepted it with her embrace.
“You were wonderful, tonight,” she whispered.
I refused to let her go. The day had been exceptional and exhausting. “I’m not certain if I want this day to end,” I told her. “Everything will be different next season.” My words enlightened my realization of the moment—I was scared of the future. It was unknown. When I married, I would have to grow up. Soon, I would take the role of the responsible wife.
“You’re right, Rhiannon,” Mother whispered. “Everything must change. That is how we grow.” She pulled away and stared at me. She was crying—I had never seen Mother cry. “Now, go to sleep and accept your dreams.”
I wiped my eyes with my sleeve and nodded. “I love you, Mother. Goodnight.”