Athena Lee

Athena Lee
Brand new Books

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Time for a Snippet! Check out what Taki has been working on. The Familiar Trials -Fledgling


There was no warning. The blow that compressed her body and made it impossible to breathe arrived with no betraying sound, no visual clue. Dascha was stunned into momentary paralysis. Her body hung limply, and her mind spun around her skull in confusion. She could feel her fur rippling as she was lifted up into the air. The small cat was helpless and afraid.
There were too many things that she had experienced before for her to stay coherent. Even though the talons of the bird held her firmly and without injury, Dascha could once again feel those earlier talons that had pierced her body and had caused her to bleed so badly that she had almost died. All of the fear and pain that she had felt on that long-ago day crashed into her mind, momentarily overwhelming her ability to think and plan.

Only a split second had elapsed when she moved past her stunned amazement. << Not this crap again! What is with these blasted birds? >> she thought as she twisted her lithe body into action. There was no way she was going down without a fight.

Stretching as far as she could, the small black cat attempted to sink her claws into the legs of the bird that held her. In the back of her mind, she was surprised that she knew it was a bird. There were flying reptiles and other things that were capable of swooping down and grabbing her, but she had known instantaneously that it was a bird.

It was all up to her. There would be no rescue from this attack. No flying Savior. She needs to be able to do this for herself.

Spitting and yelling at the top of her voice, Dascha was stopped cold by an amused comment from her captor.

<< You need to build up a little bit more muscle before that’s going to work. >>

<< Glenfrey! Why on earth did you grab me like that? >>

<< Because we need to talk and you don’t exactly get email, do you? >>

<< You could have just had Henley call Zhanna, you know. >>

<< This is not about witch business. This is stuff about familiars, and we don’t talk to our witches about familiar business. >>

Dascha turned that over in her mind for a short while, thinking through the ramifications and possible meanings for the things that Glenfrey had left unsaid. She noticed that the steppe eagle had begun to land on a rocky outcropping and held her questions until they were settled on the ground and she could regain her feet.

Standing up and walking on slightly shaky legs after Glenfrey had released her, the small black cat seated herself about 3 feet away from her friend. Carefully wrapping her tail around her paws, she looked over at the huge bird and waited for him to talk. The time she had spent with Glenfrey and his witch, Henley, had taught her that attempting to hurry the bird would simply lead to additional delays.
Shaking his wings out and then settling him across his back, Glenfrey brought first one eye and then the other to bear on Dascha. Of all the things that she could have thought that he would say, what came from him next was so far down her list that it didn’t even appear.

<< Why have you not joined the gathering? Are you not going to the trials? >>

<< What trials? >> she asked.

<< The familiar trials. The ones starting soon. Everyone is gathering by the gateway without you. Did the other familiars not tell you about this? >>

<< Glenfrey, there are no other familiars with any of the witches in the village or even in the villages around where Zhanna lives. >>

The large bird considered what she had said. His thoughts came slowly back, << No familiars. That sounds like it is a bigger problem than I thought. >>

<< What did you think the problem was? >>

<< I thought perhaps that you had managed to annoy the other familiars to the point that they weren’t telling you or bringing you to the trials. After all, you do have a bit of a mouth on you. >>

<< Ha! Who was the person who wanted to teach me how to be snarky? I’m simply applying the lessons that I’ve learned. >>

Glenfrey totally ignored her retort, instead choosing to answer a different question. 

<< We can explore the whole issue of why there are so few familiars later. However, we need to hurry if you’re going to make it back to the gateway before it opens and closes. >>

Dascha stared at her friend. He was not fidgeting, he was not looking sleepy and inscrutable. In fact, as best she could read the expression of a different species, he looked concerned and perhaps even a bit worried. 

<< What are the trials, Glenfrey? And why do you look worried? >>

<< The trials are how familiars get training and establish rank. They only happen sporadically, and there are a good bunch of instructors for this one. >>

The young cat watched as the eagle started to move uneasily from foot to foot. Deciding that she would not subject him to a cross-examination, Dascha simply asked, << How long do they last? And what do I tell my witch about why am leaving? >>

<< I just tell Henley that I need to go to a meeting of familiars so that my training can be kept up-to-date. He has no problems with that, and you can always tell Zhanna to call him if she wants more information. >>

<< <> >>

Dascha had adamantly refused to leave without telling Zhanna in person what she was doing. The flight back to Zhanna’s house was made quickly. Even so, Glenfrey had gotten more nervous and irritable during the trip. Dascha knew something else was going on but wasn’t exactly sure how to bring the subject up again.

Glenfrey landed heavily on a fence post that was part of the boundary to the garden of Zhanna’s grandmother. The older woman had been weeding the garden as they arrived. With no sign of nervousness or fear, she moved over to confront the eagle.

Standing less than a foot away from the dangerous beak of the large predator, the small but sturdily built woman gazed deeply into the eagle’s eyes. She held that gaze for just a moment before a slight smile appeared on her face, and she turned to address Dascha.

“We had better go talk to her right now. You will have to hurry to be on time.”

Now completely confused, Dascha followed the older woman into the house and through the hall to the large kitchen. Zhanna was seated at the kitchen table with books opened up in front of her and an intent look on her face. Hearing her grandmother’s footsteps, she looked up with a smile.

“I am almost done with my homework, Baba. Do you want me to help with supper?”

“Not yet, dear. I still have weeding to finish, but I think that Dascha needs to talk to you first.”
The young witch looked startled. Her eyes flew to her familiar, and she immediately went down on her knees reaching a hand out to the cat. << Is something the matter, Dascha? You could’ve called me, and I would’ve come! >>

<< No, everything is all right. Glenfrey came to tell me that I need to go to a meeting and it is one that I didn’t know about before now. I might need to be gone for several days, and I didn’t want you to worry. >>

Zhanna’s eyes grew a little bit wider, and her expression shifted to deeper alarm. << Is it something I did? Are you in trouble? >>

<< I’m not in trouble, at least that I know of. Well, unless you count the mice that I dropped into that mean girl’s bag at school. >>

<< You did that? Boy, was she mad. She screamed and ran and then was embarrassed. I hope that she doesn’t find out it was you. >>

In the background, there was a smothered laugh from the older woman, but Zhanna was focused on her familiar and ignored her grandmother.

<< Glenfrey says that you could call Henley if you’re worried about it but that it’s just something that happens once or twice a year. I think he really wants me to go because I’m so new at this and there are no other familiars in the village. >>

A wave of love and acceptance exploded from Zhanna through the familiar bond. Dascha felt like she was gently held and petted. She could feel the edge of worry underneath that wave that was Zhanna’s feeling of her own inadequacies in their partnership. Sending a mental purr back at her witch, the familiar tried wordlessly to reassure the person that she loved above all others of her faith and devotion.

The trembling smile that showed on Zhanna’s face was the only thanks that Dascha needed.

A new book by Author Boyd Craven

 My name is Thomas Wright. I’ve been on the run from the Council of Mages for as long as I can remember. You’d have to ask the Council why, because I have a long memory and don’t know what I or my parents did wrong.

I had everything figured out at one point. Then, I broke one of my own rules.  I had drinks and there was this woman – my main rule is no women, connections and entanglements – it makes for a lonely existence. Now I’m running for my life from the world’s foremost assassin.  He is thought to be immortal, which would make killing him a little tougher than I’d hoped.

My nomadic existence has led me to my becoming a prepper. A mage prepper. I can inscribe runes into ordinary objects to give them extraordinary power. I can also see up to five seconds into the future, which comes in handy when you challenge a young rogue alpha werewolf.

That scrape was worth it. Not only was I granted my own accorded pack territory, but rescuing that fairy from the Alpha earned me one of my closest friends. When she’s not spewing pop culture references, there are glitter bombs and snark. Another close friend is the Sheriff, and just thinking about her has me wanting to break my own rules.

Topping my “to do” list, though, are divining the future to stay alive and solving my parents’ murder. Maybe some payback, though the chips are stacked against me.

Monday, August 21, 2017

Snippet Time. Check out an upcoming Federal Witch Tale. #01


The last thing I remember was a fireball coming straight for me. Set saved me, I think. Rubbing my head I jerked my hand away in shock! “Where is my hair?”

Hair, hair, hair. The sound of my voice echoed all around me. Sitting up I could see I was in barely lit room, rock walls with just a cot to sleep upon. Gone was my dress and every expensive Loubetin shoes. I was in a rough wool robe barefoot. Rubbing my arms I could feel numerous cuts and barely healed scratches. What happened to me?

Concentrating I tried one of the very few charms I remembered from my childhood. Like a whirlwind much of the past few days came back to me. Agatha Blackmore! Her return to Briarwood is what started it all! In my mind I could see my spell of desperation and the way she blocked it. It was her! She is who did this to me!

 “Arrrgh!” I screamed to the heavens and blasted the door with the strongest fireball I could summon. The wood was already blackened from flame and took the hit without a shudder. Already breathing heavy I blasted it again. And again.

“Why!” Disregarding the hot surface I pounded on the door continuing to scream.

Collapsing to the floor in despair I gazed at my bruised and battered hands. Blood dripped onto the floor leaving little smears every time I shifted my body.

The redness of the blood drew my eye. In the dim light it was a deep red that sucked you down into what felt like the depths of hell. In that hell I remembered more of the past. Horrible and horrendous things. Peter. He needed to learn his place. He was a puppet. Someone to see to my wishes and be there as support. He wasn’t allowed to think or reason. That is what memory charms and spells were for. To bend and twist those who disagreed with you. Even your children.

Children. I wondered how my two girls are. Winter is most likely sucking up to that bitch of a niece at this very moment I bet! Fire appeared at my fingertips as I threw another fireball. This one hit the cot, destroying it.

Why is the whole world against me! The memories continued to lash my brain. 

I saw myself destroying the house one chunk of furniture at a time. Piece by piece by piece I smashed and tore at the things that filled the house I no longer wanted and the town I could no longer control. Peter was just another one of those things. Only Henry mattered and he was long gone.

Another memory clawed it’s way to the surface at the mention of Henry. “No! I buried you! I will not remember that! NO!”

Grabbing my head I moaned as the long hidden memory broke through.

“I’m sorry Mrs Fredricks but he didn’t survive. The crash was too sudden. Henry was thrown from the boat into the lake. He wasn’t wearing a life preserver and due to his inebriated state was either unaware or unable to swim to shore.” Captain Jenkins, the State patrol representative bowed his head.

“No. He can’t be dead! The promises he made to me and to our children.”

“I am sorry, Ma’am.” The State patrolman stepped back a pace.

Shaking my head no I grabbed the policeman’s arm. “I need to see his body! Where is he?”

“The morgue I believe.”

“Take me there! Right now.” My only thought was my husband.

Dropping the girls with a neighbor I followed the police to the county morgue. The building was a dark imposing concrete structure I didn’t know existed in our part of the State. Ignorance can be bliss. Captain Jenkins passed me off to one of the administrators at the main desk.

“Name?” The bored civil servant barely looked up at me.

“Camilla Fredricks. My husband is supposed to be here.” I looked around the room in desperation. He just couldn’t be dead!

“Sign here please.” The man laid a sheet of paper in front of me.

“What’s this?”

“A receipt for your husbands personal effects.”

“No! He can’t be dead! Show me his body. Right now.” I threw the paper back at the man.

“Mrs Fredricks the coroner isn’t finished with him yet. I can schedule a time…” He never finished his statement for he stood frozen staring at me in surprise. I barely remember casting the spell.

My fingers still tingling I walked through the door that read law enforcement only. Henry made promises to me. It had to be a mistake.

The morgue contained only two operating rooms and a very large cooler. A lone white clad man stood over a still form on a table. Medical instruments lay on the table next to him. “The subject is approximately six feet in height with black hair. Slight contusions can be seen along the skull as well as upper body. Incident reports indicate trauma occurred when the subject was throw clear of the vehicle he was…”

“Is that him? Is that my husband?” I pointed to the still form.

“Ma’am you can’t be in here! You need to leave.” The doctor, if that is what he was turned toward me and pointed at the door.

Waving my hand and muttering the spell I froze him to the floor. My only thought was on Henry.

“What have they done to you sweetheart?” His body was cut open from chest to navel. Henry’s once strong face was crushed and misshapen. A faint odor of alcohol hung over him.

I slapped what was once my husband across the face. “Bastard! You promised me. No more drinking you said. Lies! Was it all lies? Damn you to hell!”

Shaking my head I cried out in pain. “NO! I will not remember this part. It’s forbidden.” The memories paid me no heed and continued to batter my soul.

As if watching a television program I could see myself place both hands on my dearly departed Henry and make a plea to my patron God.

“Mighty Set! You promised me I would have companionship I can’t live without him. It isn’t possible that he’s dead.” In my mind’s eye I watched as I laid both hands upon my husbands broken body and willed life back into him.

Marcella, my mother, taught me very little Magick before I shunned her ways. But she did instill in me some of the most important rules. Never change the unwilling. Never tamper with nature. And never ever tamper with the dead. Necromancers and those that follow the so-called left-hand path were considered outlaws by the Witches Council. That name carried with it a death sentence. So the shocked look upon my past self’s face was real. My dead husband was no longer bound to the Earth!

“No, no, no!” I pushed the body on the table back down as it tried to sit up. Henry’s bruised and battered face stared at me as a faint moan escaped his lips. I thought for a moment that he was asking why.

My past self shook her head and looked around. The only two witnesses were frozen in place and unmoving or seeing. Henry struggled to stand up. His body wobbled here and there as his animated corpse tried to gain traction on the floor. Unlike the zombie movies that mundanes were so obsessed with he didn’t desire brains or human flesh. It would be almost comical if he didn’t represent my death. He couldn’t stay here and our house would be the first place law enforcement looked. I remember seeing a sign that read cremation room.

Dragging a two-hundred pound man even twenty feet would have been a chore. Having him walk under his own power was almost worse. Zombies don’t navigate all that well.

“Left!” I shouted yet again. Not wanting to touch Henry’s cold body I was pushing him along with a couple of tools that might have come out of my kitchen. The spatula looking thing was useless as a prod but seemed to work to wave him in like I was landing something. The ladle worked to prod him. I didn’t want to even imagine what it was used for here. Fortunately for me, it was dark outside. Only the coroner and the State Police Captain were in the building. The crematorium looked a bit like an industrial smoker. Put the body in on one end and pull out the ashes at the other.

“Get in the hole. Henry! Get. In. The. Hole.” I pushed and prodded my dead husband to the entrance. He moaned and waved his arms at me. Henry’s motor functions were getting better as he gained more strength. It had to be the Magick’s fault I had to get rid of him soon or he would be far too strong to do this too.

There was a flat sliding tray that extended out of the hole. Giving the switch a push it slid out on it’s own. One hard push and Henry was sprawled out upon it. “Sorry Henry. I hate you for leaving me and the girls but you can’t be seen. Who would take care of the Winter and Autumn when the Council kills me?”

One push of the button and it was all over. I ignored the muffled moans as the purifying flames destroyed everything. The County had yet to install cameras in here so I was safe. Memory charms were some of the very first spells I learned how to do from my teachers and the two frozen officials never knew what hit them.

Friday, August 18, 2017

Book of the Week: Ubiquitous, The Grey Hearted

 No one understood how they survived… Now they just have to stay alive.

After a horrific car crash that decimated half her family, Stephanie Clark is forced to contend with a life without her memory. For her step-brother, Ben Hearting, it wasn’t that easy. He remembers everything, so much so he wonders if he’s losing his mind….

But when Stephanie is kidnapped by a rogue pack of werewolves and a startling discovery leads them to uncover unnatural secrets about their own unique lineages, Ben has no choice but to join the clan to keep her safe.

But nothing is ever easy…

With Stephanie feeling as if she is sinking into madness and the pack's belief she suffers only because her true identity is still dormant, Ben discovers there is only one thing that can save her now, the Book of Heritage. But the book is hidden. Hidden within another clan. One with a deadly wolf who will spill the blood of anyone who gets in his way.

Will Ben be able to use his strength and intelligence to steal the Book of Heritage? Or will he travel the world only to fail when he is needed the most?

The Grey Hearted is a spine-tingling first edition in a must read Paranormal series by Stacey Nelson. If you like paranormal suspense, haunting mystery, and thrilling intrigue then you will love the can't-put-it-down style of the Ubiquitous Series!

Thursday, August 17, 2017

Witness Enchantment is Now in Audio!


Agatha is on the run and out of time!

The Magical Crimes Division of the FBI has been loaned out to WITSEC to help protect a very valuable witness. The only problem is they don't like FBI Agents and refuse to allow them to take him. Agatha and her charge are plagued with magical assassins, evil witches, and Fergus, her mini unicorn. What is one witch to do when even members of your own family are trying to kill you?

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Check out Marcella's Summer Bounty. A New Cookbook from the Federal Witch Universe

Marcella Blackmore, the matriarch of the family, was many things; Witch, mother, and community leader. Cooking with the bounty of the land was one of her passions. Feeling the soil and cooking from the heart was the only way she knew to treat the wonderful things that her garden produced. Marcella is a true Vegetarian, and that is how she cooks and lives.