The Dharian Affairs by Susan Kaye Quinn

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The Third Daughter of the Queen wants her birthday to arrive so she’ll be free to marry for love, but rumors of a new flying weapon may force her to accept a barbarian prince’s proposal for a peace-brokering marriage. Desperate to marry the charming courtesan she loves, Aniri agrees to the prince’s proposal as a subterfuge in order to spy on him, find the weapon, and hopefully avoid both war and an arranged marriage to a man she does not love.

“You will say yes, won’t you? When I ask?”

He gently pulled her face up to look at him. “When you are free to marry for love, Third Daughter of the Queen, you had better not ask anyone other than me. I’ll have to hang myself from the nearest tree or else die of a broken heart.”

Her shyness was banished in a stroke. “Aren’t courtesans supposed to be the ones breaking hearts?”

“Truly,” he said with mock despair. “There’s nothing more sad than a broken-hearted courtesan. I would have to commit suicide just out of professional courtesy.”


 The Future of Storytelling

“The poetry of human experience lies at the heart of every great story.” – Immersive Entertainment

Imagine stepping into the world of your favorite novels, experiencing the story through the eyes of the narrator while being surrounded by a rich landscape painted with words and music! Stay tuned for the next stage in literary evolution with author Susan Kaye Quinn‘s Debt Collector series and The Dharian Affairs trilogy, as Immersive Entertainment brings them to life in Virtual Reality.

Susan Kaye Quinn, author of the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy and other speculative fiction. Former rocket scientist. Now she invents mind powers and dabbles in steampunk. The Dharian Affairs trilogy is her excuse to dress up in corsets and fight with swords. She also has a dark-and-gritty SF serial for ages 17+ called The Debt Collector and a middle grade fantasy called Faery Swap. 

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“We create next-generation Virtual Reality Experiences that represent a new form of entertainment. It bridges the gap between video games and movies, providing a level of immersion, emotional engagement and realism never before seen.”

Immersive Entertainment


Second Daughter

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With plans for a second skyship exposed, Third Daughter Aniri fears her sister, Seledri, will be caught in a war between the three Queendoms. Seledri is the Second Daughter of Dharia, which means she had no choice in her arranged marriage to the First Son of Samir–a country with whom they may soon be at war. As Aniri fights to free her sister from a husband and a country she does not love, she questions her own rushed betrothal to Prince Malik, the noble barbarian who controls the skyship–and whether a love pledged in the heat of adventure can survive the looming threat of war.

Aniri turned to Ash, a thousand questions on her lips, but he met her by sliding his arms around her waist, then devouring her with a kiss.

She was shocked… then consumed. He spun her around and pressed her to the door, crushing his body against hers as if he couldn’t get enough contact between them. Her corset was an effective barrier, and his glittering black formal wear was similarly constraining, but that didn’t stop his hands from roaming or his kiss from deepening. Aniri’s fingers wound into his hair, then clutched at his shoulders, taking the stolen moment for all it was worth. Ash slid his kisses to her jawline and edged toward her neck. The room turned as hot as if the fire had spilled from its place and ignited the walls around them. Aniri gently pushed him away, urging him to stop and sucking in air she had neglected to breathe. His heated breath puffed against her skin as he slowly trailed his lips in a line across her cheek.

“A week feels an impossibly long time to wait to make you my wife.” His voice was deep with the passion of their kiss.


Featured Music_Tina Guo

Tina Guo has developed an international multi-faceted performance and recording career as a classical cellist and heavy metal electric cellist, erhuist, and composer known for her distinctive sound and improvisatory style in major motion picture, television, and game scores.

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Featured Music_R. Armando Morabito

R. Armando Morabito, is an Electronic / World Music Producer, Songwriter and Director. In 2013 after moving to Los Angeles, CA he co-founded MG Music Int’l with his wife, cellist and composer Tina Guo. The production company specializes in epic cinematic music in all genres for TV, Film, Video Games, and Trailers.

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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Zenith

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the lovely Belgian draft horses, Chester & Bert, click HERE! Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!

 


Zenith

A FLASH of white swooped in beside me, where I lay battered and bleeding on the frozen trail between death and dying.

The slip of snow ruffled its downy coat, its sapphire gaze studying me.

“If you’ve come to save me….you’re late,” I wheezed, my lungs collapsing against the lack of wind.

The owl blurred into slippery smoke that stretched above me, its edges sharpening into the shape of a silver-haired girl with ivory skin and striking cerulean eyes.

“Are you…an angel?” I asked, certain I was on the wrong side of a pulse.

The girl scowled. “An angel wouldn’t have saved your life.”

“I’m feeling very unsaved at the moment,” I spat, my mouth burning with liquid iron.  “Couldn’t you have showed up before I was mauled by that…that…whatever that thing was.”

“That thing was only a test.”

“I’m not a good test-taker,” I groaned, gingerly exploring the angry gash that grinned near my temple.

“That’s painfully obvious,” she sighed, shaking her head. “You’ll need to work on that before the Zenith.”

“That sounds…unpleasant.” I wasn’t up for any more tussles with irate Gods and their supernatural pets.

“My father isn’t known for his pleasantries,” she scoffed.

“And you are?” I asked, prying myself from the crimson stained sheet of ice stuck to my skin.

She offered her hand. “Athena.”

I pulled my palm from her grasp. “You’re defying Zeus to help me? Why?”

Athena pierced me with a knowing gaze. “I owe you a debt–one that’s taken millennia to repay.”

Athena wrapped her steel hands around my wrists, wrenching me to my unsteady feet. The world surged and spun, stabbing at my skull. “How…how do you know me?”

“I was there the day you first drew breath, Anise,” Athena braced my swaying sides with a firm grip, forcing me to face her. “You’re born of power, and more than capable of being you’re own hero.”


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Youth of Legends Lost

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the stone cherubs, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Youth of Legends Lost

A MARBLE cherub flitted into the room, his ashen features carved with fear.

“What happened?” Tari demanded.

“This is your spy?” Seok snickered, raising a skeptical eyebrow. “You can’t trust these imps.”

Tari glared at Seok, hissing between her teeth. “Funny, I was thinking the same about you.”

The winged boy buzzed between them.”The cup-bearer,” he whispered urgently, stone lips trembling. “She brings a warning.”

Tari’s sea-glass eyes widened with dread.

“Cup-bearer?” I asked, inwardly cursing my abysmal mythology learning curve for the hundredth time.

“Hebe, the Goddess of Youth. She’s privy to all the council’s schemes,” Tari replied, narrowing her eyes at the skittish toddler. “Putto, who did Hebe meet with?”

“Couldn’t see who,” Putto replied, shaking his head. “Only hear.”

“What did she say?” Tari urged, her patience wearing thinner than the scrap of cloth draped over the cherub’s chubby cheeks.

“A plot to end all plots,” Putto’s plump fingers worried the dust from his ivory curls. “A clever weapon. Forged by the blacksmith God.” he added, milky eyes darting nervously between us.

“Hephaestus,” Seok seethed, anger tightening his jaw.

Conrí threw his hands up. “Well, that’s just grrrreat! Already outmatched and the battle’s not even begun.”

“The battle began long before you were born,” chided a voice shrouded in shadows, “and waged long after the youth of legends were lost.”


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Xanthe

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the Italian Garden and its many sculptures, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Xanthe

WHO IS she?” I asked Tari, gazing up at the ivory form of a woman wrapped in nothing but the clinging embrace of a lion’s skin, her hand clasped gently around that of a small bleached boy, whose steps she lovingly guided to a tune only they could hear. At any moment, they could dance off the edge of their pedestal, their celebration spilling onto the garden’s soil.

“Xanthe,” Tari replied, her tone strapped with sadness. “She’s an Oceanid who was turned to stone during the ancient wars. Her son ran to warn her…both were caught in the Gorgon’s path.”  

Tari turned away and headed  into the Italian garden. “Now, she presides over the pools of memory,” Tari gestured towards the three sparkling ponds dappled with delicate lily pads and streaked with the golden scales of fish. “The Muses dedicated the garden to their mother, Mnemosyne, Goddess of Memory.” Tari wound through the garden, her hand brushing against the many cherubs that flanked the low stone lagoons. “The pools are fiercely guarded. Only a few know the offerings they require.”

I didn’t consider “cherubs” terribly fierce, but who was I to judge. “Offerings for what?” I peered into the shallow depths of the center circle. “The goldfish? Are they really that picky?”

Tari sighed, her sea-glass eyes rolling back into her head. “Not the fish. The dreaming spirits of the pools. Each spirit can answer one question about the past,” Tari pointed to the first pool, “the present,” she waved her hand over the center pool, “and the future,” Tari stretched her hand towards the final pool.

“Who knows the offerings?” I asked, studying the ponds with a wary eye.

“Xanthe’s little boy,” Tari glanced over at the statues.

The stone boy in question was no longer by his mother’s side. A child’s laughter trickled like bells through the air.

Tari grinned, “He’s faster than he looks.”


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Wishteria

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the wisteria covered arbors, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Wishteria

TWILIGHT PEEKED through the woody vines that dipped and climbed the terrace arbor, caressing clusters of violet blooms that dripped honey into the humid air.

I closed my eyes and filled my lungs with the sweet scents of spring. A brazen breeze snatched at my wild copper curls, entangling them amongst the sticky fingers trailing from the trellis.

“Need some help with that?” a familiar voice chuckled behind me.

Apparently I did. The curious creepers continued to wind through my hair, making their way around my shoulders to wrap around my arms. “What are they…doing?” I giggled, slapping at a tendril that tickled my ear.

“Trying to steal you away,” Seok whispered, his fingers grazing the tender flesh of my neck as he worked to free me. Every brush of his hand sent my heart spiraling. “They must like you, Anise. I’ve never seen them quite so…animated.”

The wile wisteria snaked away from Seok’s reach, ensnaring me tighter in an effort to pull me from his grip.

“Whoa!” I screeched, as the vines swiftly swung me off the ground. The lavender ceiling parted seconds before the powerful plant lifted me through the top of the arbor.

“Hold on!” I heard Seok shout moments before his footsteps pounded away.

The sneaky thief loosened its hold, gently dropping me on top of the trellis. My frustration was swallowed by the stunning view. The fading light was brushed with radiant red and glistening gold that slipped silently into the horizon.

A panting Seok leaned over the South Terrace wall above me. “Are you hurt?” he asked in alarm, his chiseled features blurring into the shadows.

“No. I’m…fine,” I stood, gingerly, testing my weight on the planks.

“Reach for my hand. I’ll pull you up,” Seok urged.

I couldn’t see a foot in front of me, much less find his hand. “It’s too dark,” I sighed, stumbling over a gap in the latticework. “I wish I could see where I’m going, before I break my neck,” I muttered under my breath.

The blanket of blossoms surrounding me began to glow. A wave of violet light washed across the entire arbor like a thousand fireflies. I picked my way through the pulsing plants, marveling at their luminous beauty.

I looked up to find Seok grinning. “That’s why they call it Wishteria,” he reasoned, basking in this newfound knowledge. “Now would be a good time to wish yourself down.”


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Visions of Venus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the two iron & polished steel andirons of Venus and Vulcan in the library fireplace, created by Karl Bitter, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Visions of Venus

Tariro

I SAT on the blood-red velvet bench across from the dying fire, my body shaking with a cold that gripped my bones and stole my breath.

The iron andiron of Venus eyed me curiously. Leaping gracefully from her perch, she walked into the flickering flames, gesturing for Vulcan to follow. Together they lifted logs into the mouth of the hearth, coaxing the fading embers back to life. Within seconds, hungry flares licked at the wood, consuming the chill that hung heavy in the air.

The polished pair walked through the roaring fire, wiping the ash from their metal skin. Vulcan returned to his post, while Venus edged closer.

Did she know what I was? Had everyone at Olympus known?

I could barely fathom the web of deceit they built before my birth.

“They said it was to protect me,” I laughed aloud, rancor lacing my words. “Protect me from what? From who?” I jumped to my feet, pacing a burning path across the library floor.

“This place isn’t my home…it’s a prison of lies!” I screamed at the sleeping Oracles towering above me, the same Pythias who spoke to me of incarnations that never existed…of a destiny that didn’t belong to me…of dreams that were never mine.

I had lost my identity…my place in the world plucked from my grasp. I crumpled to the floor with an anguish too heavy to bear.

I could feel the heat of her sleek body before she reached out her tiny hand to mine, searing my skin. I raised my head to meet the eyes of Venus, whose carved features fell with sympathy. She glanced at Vulcan, who shook his head in warning. She nodded her head, sharply, and turned back to me. Her gaze held mine for a heartbeat, before traveling towards the churning clouds of the ceiling to fixate on something she wanted me to see…to understand.

There were far worse things than lies lurking in Olympus.


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Urania, Celestial Searcher

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the observatory’s rooftop balcony and the mysterious and magical astrolabe, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Urania, Celestial Searcher

WE STOOD on the rooftop of Olympus, the gaze of every student pulled under the blanket of shimmering stars that blazed a brilliant path across the heavens.

An otherworldly force glided through the observatory doors like a comet, the tail of her mandarin gown glistening like a celestial sea.

Shivers of excitement skittered through the crowd.

The Muse of astronomy strode past, the air surrounding her heavy with the promise of rain and cherry blossoms. Urania took center stage, an Asian empress commanding the night sky itself, which bowed and bent to her will. With a sweep of her hand, cconstellations connected with brilliant blue flares that flashed into familiar shapes.

Urania studied our faces, the star-shaped irises swimming in her silver-blue eyes glistening with an inner fire. Even the intricate knots of her raven hair glittered with astral dust. Urania unclasped a large metal pendant from around her neck and held it in her outstretched palm, a knowing smile playing upon her bowed lips.

The elaborate gears of the astrolabe spun wildly, until the series of silver discs separated, each soaring above our heads to hover in mid-air. At the clap of her delicate hands, the spiraling plates shifted and shattered into spheres, projecting a gleaming galaxy of stars.

The ethereal display stole our collective breath. “Listen closely to the celestial voices,” Urania’s words rose into the cool, luminous air. “They whisper the secrets of your destiny.”


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


PHENOMENA Cover PHENOMENA’s EPIC HEROES CONTEST

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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Tale of the Tortoise

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the trio of tortoise troughs, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Tale of the Tortoise

THE TRIO of tortoises stared at us blankly, water bubbling from their burnished beaks.

“You can’t be serious?” I asked Tari, gesturing towards the troughs. “They’re turtles.”

Tari crossed her slender arms, puffing at the raven ringlets that teased her face. “Not all of them.” She paced between them, her ebony brow wrinkled with concentration.

I followed her gaze as she studied each one. “What are you looking for?”

“Not what. Who.”

“Okaaaay,” I peered into the hooded patina eyes of the one nearest me. “Who?”

“Chelone,” Tari replied, “a nymph who was turned into a tortoise when she angered Zeus.”

“Wow. That’s harsh. What’d she do?”

Tari glanced at the leather band wrapped around her wrist, its copper gears winking in the sun. “She was late for his wedding.”

“Surprised I’m not a fountain by now,” I mumbled, punctuality not being my strong suit. I sat on the stone ledge of the shallow pool, running my fingers through the cool water. “So, we’re seeking the guidance of a nymph-turned-turtle-turned-fountain. How is that helpful?”

“Nothing at Olympus is what it seems, even the fountains,” Tari tossed over her shoulder. “You’ll learn to look beyond the illusions.”

A choking cough erupted behind me, nearly knocking me to the floor. I spun around, coming face to face with an animated terrapin. It shook its scaly metal head, spraying me with spit.  

The turtle stretched out its rumpled neck, narrowing its eyes. “It’s not polite to stare, dear.”

Tari slid in beside me. “Oh, good. They’re awake.”


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Secrets of the Sphinx

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, including the iron entrance gates and pillars perched with four early 19th century French stone sphinxes, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Secrets of the Sphinx

THE FOUR limestone lionesses rose from their pillared perches, stretching the stiffness from languid limbs. One by one, they pounced upon the pavement, their human mouths curved in menacing grins.

“For the record,” I muttered under my breath, “I think this is a terrible plan.” Conri and Seok slipped between us and the beasts, nodding their heads in silent agreement. Only Tari seemed to keep her cool.

They edged closer, circling us like sharks, the clicking of their stone paws against the pebbles tapping out the steady rhythm of our downfall.

“We were told to seek your counsel,” Tari announced boldly, though her hands were balled at her sides to steady their shaking.

The slinking sphinx nearest me growled through her crumbling crevices. I’d be testy too, if I was missing half a nose. “What you seek, you must not find,” she snarled.

“A world in darkness you will bind,” growled another, her wicked tail whipping through the air.

The sphinx eyeing Seok purred, her dry tongue darting past cracked lips, “Pawns have the power–the key to unwind.”

A gravely voice roared from the fearsome feline behind me, “And undo the demise of all mankind.”


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Ravens and Roses

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Castle in the Mountains by Gray Artus

Welcome to Olympus, where the Muses of Greek Mythology are charged with the responsibility of discovering, inspiring, and guiding the young incarnations of legends past until they once again take the form of greatness.

Embark on an enchanting journey through Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1), a YA fantasy novel series inspired by my backyard neighbors, Biltmore Estate, in honor of George Vanderbilt‘s extraordinary legacy. 

Join me, and a cast of brilliant film composers, as we awaken your imagination to the magic of the mountains during this year’s international A to Z Challenge (representing #TeamDamyanti).

For a detailed PHOTO TOUR of Biltmore Estate, click HERE!  Want to read more? Visit my A to Z “Sneak Peeks” page!


Ravens and Roses

THE BEATING of wings against my bedpost broke the grip of sleep. I bolted from the tangled web of blankets and stumbled onto the frigid floor.

“Kraaah!”

I jumped out of my skin at the raucous sound, frantically searching the shadows hovering over my headboard, which was apparently under attack.

The piercing sound of metal meeting beak echoed off the walls. “Kraaah, kraaah,” cried the relentless creature from the corner, its beady eye catching the moonlight.

“I’magonnahmurderthahthing,” mumbled a testy Tari into her pillow.

Relief flooded through me, along with a heavy dose of irritation. “I closed the window, you squawking lil’ stinker, how in the he–ades did you bust in here?”

“Brrronk!”

Tari moaned in protest. “Throwemouside.”

“Romeo,” I scolded, “no deliveries after dark . Now, shoo!” I flailed my arms at him–the universal sign for “get out”. By way of the dim light filtering through the open mouth of glass, I could see the shaggy feathers of his throat puff in amusement.

I lunged for him.

Misjudging my reach and underestimating obstacles,  I gracefully stubbed my toe on the iron foot of my sanctuary, screaming like a banshee and quite possibly spraining my ankle.

Whether from my peals of pain or the palpable threat of violence emanating from a fully woken roommate, Romeo decided he’d overstayed his welcome.

Hopping over to the window ledge from whence he came, Romeo nudged his beak at a slender shape sitting on the sill, let out a shrill, “Prruk,”  and flapped into the night sky. I hobbled over to the pane, watching as the moon glinted off his shiny, wicked wings until they were swallowed by darkness.

Resting on the window’s edge was a single, sweet-smelling rose–the third one this week. I plucked it from the stone, plopped it into a vase with the other two, and slammed the window shut with a very satisfying click.


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


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