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!


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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Daily Picspiration: Remember Me

Remember Me_Valentines DayI’m part of a gifted group of writers who create works of short fiction from photo prompts. Each day features a different writer with his or her own “picspiration”. Stop by Daily Picspiration for intriguing new stories updated daily!

Curious about the story behind this picture? Find a new perspective on LOVE in this touching tribute, inspired by the music of Michael Maas‘, “Remember Me“.


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary

I appreciate feedback, so comment, critique or just banter to your heart’s content! Should you leave a really awesome comment over at Daily Picspiration, I may share my fair-trade, shade-grown, bird-sanctuary, organic coffee with you:) Or, if you leave a link to your site, I can just pop in and say something witty after polishing off a cup or two!

Illumination Collaborative Flash Fiction Challenge Winners

Illuminations_Michael MaasIn the spirit of art influencing art, we joined forces in an epic collaboration where writers were given the opportunity to set their words to film composer, Michael Maas‘, inspiring music!

Michael Maas, along with fellow composers, Martin Hasseldam, David Christiansen, Sandro Schmidt and Stefano Fasce. who contributed to the “Piano and Strings Edition” industry release, read through all the entries and chose their top three favorites.

The winners will be awarded mp3 files of the five selected tracks from the exclusive film industry release “Piano and Strings Edition” as well as Michael’s new album, Illumination.

If you’ve become a slap-happy fan of Michael Maas‘ amazing music, his Illumination album is available on emusic, Amazon and iTunes!

Top 3 Winners

Nick Johns with Rise to Fall

C. Lee McKenzie with Revenge of the Earth

Lisa Shambrook with Remember Me

Congratulations to the winners and to all the incredible writers who participated in this collaborative challenge! Winnerssend me your email address to receive your music!




Lost Melody by ReyeD33


This story was inspired by the enchanting music from the upcoming film industry release, Piano and Strings Edition“, a collaborative album created by brilliant composers Michael Maas, Martin Hasseldam, David Christiansen, Sandro Schmidt and Stefano Fasce.

For details on how to contribute your own music-driven tale to the Illumination collaborative flash-fiction challenge, click HERE!

Listen to the featured track, Ages by Michael Maasin the sidebar music player.


The world is slowly slipping into a silence that is deafening in its finality.

Life has cast its final show, the last of its players scattered, their voices fragmented and forgotten. The once vibrant landscape has vanished into the hungry mouth of devastation.

Even I grow weary of the emptiness.

I find my melancholy alarming, an affliction that gains ground with every lost sound. Every life collected pulls this land deeper into desolation. When humanity began its descent into oblivion, the music followed. The remnants of strings and keys lay discarded, their melodies abandoned.

I would surrender a thousand souls if it would bring the music back…

Yet another light dims before me. A young boy, his body battered and broken in the sugary sand, his hand still holding fast the handle of a long weathered case. I can hear the erratic rhythm of his heart as its futile beats are stolen by the greedy wind. What is it he holds so dear, that in his final moments, the last of his strength is spent on this stubborn grip.

Curious, I snap open the locks that anchor his soul.

I have not seen this particular treasure in ages.

It is an instrument of hope.

I can still hear the echoes of its past–the stale breath of its notes hovering in the oppressive air. When the boy’s shell severs its spirit, the magic in this case will cease to exist. It will become yet another trinket of a dying breed.

That is reason enough to change the boy’s fate.

I refuse to take another spirit that promises an end to the stillness. And so I surrender my claim on his life.

He will live and he will play and he will fill the void with melodies long buried…he will become an instrument of change.

It has been ages, but Death has not forgotten the power of music.


© 2013 Samantha Redstreake Geary

Remember Me


One Touch by ReyeD33

This story was inspired by the enchanting music from the upcoming film industry release, Piano and Strings Edition“, a collaborative album created by brilliant composers Michael Maas, Martin Hasseldam, David Christiansen, Sandro Schmidt and Stefano Fasce.

For details on how to contribute your own music-driven tale to the Illumination collaborative flash-fiction challenge, click HERE!

Listen to the featured track, Remember me (feat. David Christiansen) in the sidebar music player.

Written for my husband, capturing the moment we first met…

A web of luminous strands pulsate in a riot of vibrant color, a thing of beauty only I can see. I weave in between the connections, each one a different shade of love, a different song resonating in its core.

The restaurant is alive with the sounds of a hundred conversations, plates scraping, glasses clinking, laughter and music. Not the music that trickles from the ceiling, but the songs that spill from their hearts, flowing through the threads that tie them to another, a thing of beauty only I can hear…

In a corner booth, a frustrated mother endures yet another battle of wills, the sticky strings binding her soul to her children burning the brilliant white of unconditional love. A choir of children’s voices can be heard playing along the web of a families’ deep-rooted affection.

Friends, laughing over sips of plum wine are wrapped in the glistening gold of understanding and camaraderie, their comfortable song an inviting guitar being plucked and pulled to match their banter.

An elderly couple sitting at the bar shares a plate of sushi, their iridescent blue cord humming with the steady wisdom of piano strings and a steadfast bond that time cannot touch.

Young lovers embracing near the window exude a fiery passion that glows in ruby tendrils, licking at their hearts with the intensity of a violin.

Behind the scarlet flames sits a pair I almost miss, the subtle sounds of their heartbeats slipping into silence, the drumming pulse of their connection fading. Like the yellow flower centered between them, the petals of their song have dropped, one by one, until there’s nothing left but the stem–a wilting memory of the music they once shared.

They have forgotten me…

A crackle of energy pulls me to yet another table. I watch, entranced as I’m drawn to a pair meeting for the first time. The woman’s mane of auburn curls cascade down her back in ribbons of anticipation, her crimson dress matching the flush that floods her cheeks. The young man’s chiseled jaw restlessly works to calm his nerves, his striking cerulean eyes dart from her eyes to the menu, his leg tapping a nervous rhythm underneath the ebony table.

I edge closer.

Their eyes meet. The man smiles.

The smile steals her breath and swallows her heart whole.

In that instant, a flood of silver sparks erupt between them. The music is deafening. An entire orchestra surging with the flame fiercely burning through their hearts.

It is a love they shared long ago. They may not remember the lives they once lived, but they remember me.

I am a thing of beauty anyone can see, anyone can hear. I am the whisper of possibility, the promise of connection, the passion that drives creation.

Remember me.

I am Love.

© 2013 Samantha Redstreake Geary