Architects of Illusion (Echoes of Olympus, #1): Appalachian Mountains

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!


Appalachian Mountains

IT WASN’T a Pegasus that stole me away in the dead of night, like the twins had hoped. Nor was it a grand golden chariot. It was, in fact, an unremarkable pair of tawny Belgian draft horses that stomped impatiently on our dusty farmhouse drive. Wild eyes peeked beneath drapes of milky manes that poured down the length of their necks. Their heads were enormous, leaving ample room for an exceptional sense of direction, as noted by the empty driver’s seat.

I climbed reluctantly into the covered carriage of polished mahogany and gleaming brass, barely finding purchase on the velvet cushions before the clinking of chains and screeching of wheels announced our sudden departure.

Looking back, I could still see the silhouettes of my siblings. Their tiny hands pressed against the second story window, the sticky breath of their disappointment fogging the glass. I tugged my coat tighter, the collar still damp with my mother’s goodbye. I breathed in the whispers of woodsmoke lingering from my father’s embrace.

The steeds’ swift descent drove me through the verdant veins of the Southern Appalachians, deep into the heart of the mountains. My gut twisted in knots with every road that unraveled before me.

A brick archway materialized in a hidden grove, its slate tiles glinting in the starlight. My frantic pulse tripped and fell through the gates marking the boundary between my world and the birthplace of legends.

The spiraling path stretched for an eternity. A wave of shifting shadows in an endless sea of trees swam past, until abruptly breaking into a clearing shrouded in mist and mystery.

Olympus

It was beyond anything I could have imagined.

I stumbled from the carriage, marveling at the beauty of my new home. My gaze traveled over the massive miracle of stone and steel, drawn by the winking of a hundred glass eyes and the towering spires spinning secrets from silken moonlight.

I barely registered the movement near my feet, where my luggage sat, neatly stacked. I turned to toss a word of thanks, only to catch a flash of the carriage being pulled into the night by two bare-chested men with long, fair locks falling over flesh that faded into the familiar hindquarters of horses.


© 2014 Samantha Redstreake Geary


PHENOMENA Cover PHENOMENA’s EPIC HEROES CONTEST

Open Internationally!

Create an original Superhero story and/or artwork for a chance to WIN amazing prizes, including PUBLICATION in the first ever audiomachine companion ebook!

Click HERE for more details.

Advertisements

Resurrection Blogfest

Resurrection Blogfest II - 2013In honor of Mina Lobo’s second Bloggiversary, she’s hosting a Resurrection Blogfest. Writerly folks resurrect a favorite post published within the past year that they’d like to revisit. Click HERE for a list of more fun peeps to reminisce with!

I started this blog the tail end of March, so I didn’t have to travel far. One of my favorite posts was the final “sneak peek” of my YA novel series, THE ESSENCE OF MEMORY. Zodiac was originally published April 30th, 2013.

_________________________________________________

save_me_from_eternity_by_reyed33-d4sy6p2Listen to the music, surrender your senses and enter a world where legends are born.

Featured Artist: ReyeD33  A special thanks to the talented Roko for providing such incredible images for my tales.

Inspiring Soundtrack: Michael Danna – Life Of Pi – Tsimtsum

190 BC
Sanctuary of Samothrace
Mnemosyne

I watch him fall in the scorching path of blinding light. The last of my hope falling with him.

I run to Talos, his crumpled form empty of life. I drop to my knees, powerless to undo what has been done. His beautiful gift, sculpted in my image, lay battered and broken, never again whole.

A reflection of my shattered soul.

In that moment, with love bleeding into the earth, I prayed for death. I scream at the offending stars that dare shine their traitorous light. The scales are no longer balanced. Justice has abandoned us.

I understood, for the first time in my existence, the mercy of forgetting. I longed to be numb…to rid myself of the agony that feeds on tortured memories.

If I cannot join his soul in this life, I will follow him to the depths of the Underworld. I will quench my thirst for peace from the river Lethe.

I will surrender my immortality and slip into the comforting arms of oblivion…

Present Day
Parthenon
Nashville, TN
Talos

I watch intently as she studies each piece of antiquity in the exhibit, knowing they must tug at the deepest recesses of her consciousness. Though millennia have passed, it is no less painful, remembering what she has forgotten.

She stares at a life-size replica in the traveling display, curiosity etched on her expression. It is my sculpture, The Essence of Memory, that has her so transfixed. I shaped it in her image, on the island of Samothrace, in a time of love and legends.

It’s beauty was shattered the night of my death. An eternity of battered and broken pieces…remnants scattered across a forgotten sanctuary, never again whole.

The strewed remains of a memory. The loss of Mnemosyne…

She goes by Synora in this life. At seventeen, she is more radiant than I’ve ever seen, more like the ethereal form she abandoned so long ago.

My fingers still ache to capture her image, as I have done for centuries.

I focus on sketching her eyes, striking and unchanged with each new life.

“That’s amazing! You’re really talented” a girl declares, stealing a glance over my shoulder. “Hey, that looks just like Synora! Minus the wings and toga party ensemble,” she babbles, “Are you an art student here?” she pins me with a questioning look.

“I..I–”

“Cuz, if you’re crushing on my girl over there, she digs artsy guys. But not psycho stalkers skulking in corners, secretly observing her every move,”she says pointedly, eyeing me with an offending amount of suspicion.

Before I can react, she snatches my book and darts away. “Back in a sec lover boy,” she calls behind her back.

My gut clenches. I watch, helpless, as the scene unfolds.

“This is a token of affection from a very hot, but sketchy, sketch artist,” the girl announces proudly, shoving my notebook into her hands.

“Saras, we don’t steal from starving artists,” Synora scolds, glancing briefly at the open pages.

But then she saw it, her own face, brilliantly blended with the statue of the Winged Victory of Samothrace, making it whole, unbroken, unchanged…

She flips the pages back and gasps.

“Who did this…these…drawings?” Synora demands, shaking my book.

“Whoa!” Saras snatches the book from Synora’s grasp, flipping erratically through the pages.

I barely hear their words over the frantic beating of wings against the cage of my chest.

“These are all of you!” Saras gapes. “Oh. My. God. He is a sketchy stalker!”

“Saras, where is he?” Synora pleads, grabbing my book and pushing her friend forward, frantically searching the crowd.

Her eyes find me.

Thousands of years have passed without her seeing me

The pages of her past slip from her grasp and fall to the floor.
_________________________________

© 2013 Samantha Redstreake Geary

Vengeance (Part Three of Revenant)

ev01_by_Jungshan

ev01 by JungShan

My excerpt for Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday. Click on over to these talented writers to preview some amazing stories!

A dark twist on the origins of the tooth fairy. To read part one: Revenant part two: Thodia

Featured Artist:JungShan

Inspiring Soundtrack: James Newton Howard – The Bad Color – The Village Soundtrack

Thodia

The king, in his desperate attempt to save his daughter’s life, condemned her spirit to an eternity of darkness. His mind, poisoned with rage, devised a sinister plan to exact his revenge against the Gods by striking down their mortal children.

The nefarious intentions of the king were carried out by the reluctant revenant, her will bound to the talisman held fast within his relentless grip.

With each tooth she stole from under the slumbering forms of the kingdom’s youth, his power over their mortal souls grew. The king’s thirst for vengeance drained the land of hope, his plague ripping the essence from their innocents.

This is how I became a ghost of the girl I once was, the shell of my humanity slowly crumbling under my growing hatred.

I despise the monster my father has become – the monster he’s made of me.

It is time for his reign of terror to end…

_________________________________

© 2013 Samantha Redstreake Geary

I appreciate feedback, so comment, critique or just banter to your heart’s content! Should you leave a really awesome comment, 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!

Thodia (Part Two of Revenant)

revenant_wallpaper_by_samuraichopstick-d380oc5

Revenant by Laura Ferreira

My excerpt for Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday. Click on over to these talented writers to preview some amazing stories!

A dark twist on the origins of the tooth fairy. To read Part One, click on Revenant.

Featured Artist:Laura Ferreira

Inspiring Soundtrack: James Newton Howard -Death Favors No Man – Snow White & the Huntsman

Thodia

The tale of my origin spread across the lands, spilling from the lips of mortal parents into the eager ears of their gullible young. Over the centuries my legend adapted – keeping to the oral tradition of storytelling – it evolved farther away from truth.

The truth is not nearly as lyrical.

Millennia ago, on the island of Crete, there lived a fearful king whose youngest daughter was drowned in the Aegean Sea by a vengeful sea god. The king, mad with grief, petitioned the Gods for the means to resurrect his lost child. An oracle was charged with the task of creating a revenant that would enable her spirit to return from the grave.

Though the young girl’s life had been restored, the frightening entity showed little resemblance to the king’s beloved child.

Her innocent soul, pulled from peace and poisoned with dark magic, was imprisoned in the body of a monster.

_________________________________

© 2013 Samantha Redstreake Geary

I appreciate feedback, so comment, critique or just banter to your heart’s content! Should you leave a really awesome comment, 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!

Revenant

Soul_horizon_by_Jungshan

Soul Horizon
by Jungshan

My 150 word epic poem for Weekend Writing Warriors and Snippet Sunday. Click on over to these talented writers and preview some amazing stories!

Featured Artist: JungShan

Inspiring Soundtrack: Javier Navarrete – Long, Long Time Ago – Pan’s Labyrinth

Throughout the centuries, across cultures, a superstition pervades the minds of parents who bury the lost teeth of their young. They believed, should the teeth fall into the wrong hands, their children would be cursed…

King Minos

Millennia ago, in the Aegean Sea
Darkness swallowed the best part of me
Stolen away by the unforgiving tide
My child
My soul
Lost across the divide

Through ancient magic, trinkets and bone
A new form called her spirit home

Born of a Mediterranean horseshoe bat fang
Across her back, dark wings now hang
Enabling her fingers and toes to elongate
Shaping her ears to shift and navigate

Forged from a tiger shark’s tooth, pliable bones emerge
Camouflaged skin and keen senses surge
A predator’s speed and agility thrive

Fire opals keep her heart alive

Owl feathers open her eyes to night
Enlightening her mind and heightening insight

Ancient copper coins conduct energy
Creating treasures and promoting lethargy

Her first lost tooth, the innocence of a child
Restores beauty, youthful and wild

Charged with the task of collecting their essence
Their children
Their souls
Lost to my vengeance

_________________________________

© 2013 Samantha Redstreake Geary

I appreciate feedback, so comment, critique or just banter to your heart’s content! Should you leave a really awesome comment, 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!

Wings of Icarus

Steampunk Icarus Wings

Steampunk Icarus Wings
by Thin Gypsy Thief Studios

The ancient Greek myth of Icarus with a Wild West Steampunk twist – My first Steampunk attempt!

Dirty Goggles Blog Hop                * Fan Favorite Winner!
Title: Wings of Icarus
Word Count: 696
Author: Samantha Redstreake Geary
Category: Wild West Steampunk 

Inspiring Soundtrack: In Time – Choral Theme

I am trapped inside the belly of the beast as it claws its way through the desolate deserts of the Diné, a home I can no longer see through the smoldering breath of this iron horse. The greedy goliath devours the steel tracks with unparalleled speed, the distance between me and everything I’ve ever known, growing with each relentless bite.

Several days have passed since I was ripped from my people by the mad architect of this monstrosity. My father, Captain Daedalus, staked his claim over me following the death of my mother. His reasons remain a mystery.

Once a Navajo slave of General Minos, mother had fallen under the spell of the Captain, who promised a life of freedom to her and their unborn child. But freedom came with a price he was unwilling to pay. She escaped, shortly after I was born, and found solace within her tribe, but remained as unforgiving as the desert heat.

In the years that followed, Mother had grown weary with fear. She had visions that haunted her dreams and plagued her days. It was written in the stars, she said, that he would charge into my life on a seething steed and steal me away from the spirit of this serene land.

I was to be trained, by the fiercest of our clan, to be a warrior.

After completing my spirit path, the seer presented me with a new name, Icarus, “guardian of the sky”. Mother fashioned me an eagle fetish, a great honor among our people. A symbol of both healing and hunting, eagles are the messengers to the Gods, harboring great power while maintaining balance. It was intricately carved from translucent chrysocolla, the vivid blue-green swirls representing the skies. A cerulean azurite stone, sharpened into an arrowhead, was secured to its wings with copper wire.

The eagle was a talisman of protection, a reminder of my heritage and the only thing left of my mother.

Loss and rage bite into my palm as their grip tightens.

Imprisoned within the Labyrinth, a fearsome structure of cold metal designed by an even colder heart, I stare at my captor with barely concealed contempt as we wait outside the General’s chambers.

“Come now child, it can’t be all bad! I’ve rescued you from squalor, put a shiny roof over your head and decent food in your belly and all I get for my troubles is the evil eye,” the Captain huffs, clearly put-out that I’m not grovelling at his feet.

“You kidnapped me from my family, stripped me of my freedom and locked me up like one of your dogs!” I spit.

“You have your mother’s spirit, no doubt about that!” he sneers, “but take care to keep your tone more civilized, lest you find yourself sharing quarters with the swine.”

An intimidating guard opens the door to a lavish apartment, “The General is ready to see you now. Leave the savage here,” he glares in my direction. A cloud of tobacco wafts through the cracked door into the hall,  carrying their voices on a spicy scent that stings my nose.

“Captain, we took a very expensive detour to collect your, err, property. I hope, for your sake, the native rat is as valuable as you claim,” General Minos warns, “I’ve gone to great lengths to fund this contraption – I expect you to deliver what was agreed upon!”

“The Labyrinth is the technological achievement of the age, sir. This modern steam engine is impervious to attack and the weapon I’ve secured within its bowels holds the key to our domination. We need her to control the Minotaurs, General. I assure you, she is worth every penny,” the Captain boasts.

I strike both guards down with the venom-tipped cactus spines concealed in my fetish. Instinct urges me to grab a set of wooden wings off the wall and secure it to my back, unsure of the complicated mechanism. I push through the tiny window and climb out, grabbing hold of the bars leading to the top of the speeding behemoth.

The metal cylinder between my shoulder blades hums to life as I flip the switch.

I spread my wings and jump.
_________________________________

© 2013 Samantha Redstreake Geary

I appreciate feedback, so comment, critique or just banter to your heart’s content! Should you leave a really awesome comment, 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!

Rising (Part 5 of Kore)

Phoenix_risingHermes enlists the help of Aphrodite to resurrect Kore.

Aphrodite entered the apartment at Vanderbilt’s School of Medicine in the dead of night.
“I just left the social event of the year to placate your ego Hermes. Someone better be dying!” Aphrodite snaps.
“Someone already has,” Hermes whispers, stepping aside to reveal the ravaged remains of Kore. “Aides sent Cerberus to hunt her down for betraying their arrangement. I believe you know Asclepius.”
“Why haven’t you brought her back?” Aphrodite accuses, horrified.
“The damage is beyond even my healing ability. Kore needs regeneration,” Asclepius replies, defeated. “If you don’t save her, Aphrodite, she’ll be a prisoner of Aides’ underworld forever. He’ll own her soul.”
“Why the concern for Kore’s spirit?” Aphrodite asks, suspicious.
“She left Aides to be with me…I intended to save her. Now, she’s beyond my reach,” Asclepius cries.
“I love her, Aphrodite. Isn’t that enough?” Asclepius pleads.
“You can ask her that yourself, when she rises.”

__________________________________

© 2013 Samantha Redstreake Geary