Tag Archives: Albion’s Circle

2 Comments

It's time for promptly penned flash fic. This one is a short one - I'm currently sitting at O'Hare waiting to take the 2nd leg of my journey home from my mini-vaca.

For this one, I'm visiting the world of my Albion's Circle series. This is a glimpse into one of the Circle's previous lives...before the start of the series. The prompt will be in bold within the story.

I hope you enjoy. 🙂


"One Last Time"

~Merlin~

I gripped the rim of the porcelain sink and tried to steady my hands.

“One last time,” I whispered to myself.

“Merlin, you can’t do this.”

Lifting my head, I stared at the warped mirror, at the blurry reflection of my best friend. My king. Always, always my king.

“I have to do this.”

“No, you don’t!” he protested. “We’ll find another way. You’re not thinking clearly…so soon after Annwyl—”

“Damn it!” I slapped the sink with both hands and spun around to face him. “There is no other way. Losing Annwyl isn’t blinding me to reality, Arthur! Don’t you think I’ve searched? Looked at every motherfucking option before settling on this?”

“She wouldn’t want you to do this,” he said, voice quiet and shaky as he grasped my arms. “I don’t want you to.”

“We’ve run out of options, Your Majesty. Our wants no longer factor into the equation. This is how we will stop Mordred, so we’ll do it.”

His blue eyes, so unfairly old even though they peer out from a youthful face, glistened slightly, then, finally, he gave a curt nod.

“One last time,” I repeated my earlier vow.

“Logically, I know we don’t have much choice. This is what we agreed to back in Camelot, the first time around. We have to use whatever we can, even dark magic, to stop the threat, but I hate it,” he practically spat the words. “Every time you go down this path, we lose a bit of you, Merlin, and one day…”

He cleared his throat, released my arms and turned away. Before walking out of the tiny bathroom, he continued, his back to me, “One day, I’m afraid, you’ll be beyond our…beyond my reach.” His entire body went rigid. “I’ve had enough heartbreak, and that is one I don’t know if I could come back from. So please, no more than necessary, Merlin. Promise me.”

“I promise.”

Alone again, I turned back to the mirror and glared at my reflection. I felt my magic expand, pushing almost painfully against my skin, in anticipation of what I was going to allow it to do. “One. Last. Time.

Liar.


Bronwyn Green | Kris Norris

4 Comments

June's song flash fiction is inspired by one of my favorite songs - Mumford and Sons' "Ghosts That We Knew".

I've jumped in the world of my Arthurian series "Albion's Circle" for this one. I've done a few flash fictions in this world, if you want to take a look.

Merlin's Cave
"The Hammer's Coming Down"
"I Will Possess Your Heart"
The Coldness
"Ever the Same"


“Promise me.”

Gut churning sourly, I stared at Guinevere—lying on the bed, frail and fading, almost lost amidst the bedclothes. My queen, my friend, the only one I had left. But soon, she’d be leaving me. Just like the others. Then, I’d be well and truly alone. Left with the ghosts of everyone I’d ever loved.

“Merlin.” Her voice, weak and raspy washed over me as she grabbed my hand. “Please. Please, you have to promise me.”

“I already did,” I reminded her quietly, reaching out to cup her face. “You don’t need to worry. I’ll take care of everything. All the arrangements are in place. Everything wil be as you want it. I promise.”

Her lips curved ,and she leaned into my touch. “I’m tired. I’m ready to be with them again.”

Them. I closed my eyes against the wave of pain thinking of our friends, long gone. Morgana, Lancelot, Galahad and the rest of the knights. Arthur. My throat tightened. Annwyl.

So many lost to us. Years and years of loss—lifetime—until it was just the two of us. We did the best we could—Guinevere ruling the kingdom after Arthur fell in battle, hoping he would be proud of her. He would have, of course. I never doubted that, even if she did, at times. Guinevere had a strength to be envied and had never wavered. Not when she'd lost her husband and king. Not when, years later, she'd lost her lover.

“You will come?” she asked, her thin aged fingers squeezing mine. “It’s time, don’t you agree? Long past time, I believe.”

I opened my eyes and met her weary gaze. Unlike my dear friend, I had not endured the pain of loss so well. In the final battle against Mordred—so long ago, although it was still so fresh in my old mind—I’d lost so muchmore than I’d been prepared to lose. Not only had I watched my king, my best friend ,struck down by our enemy, but my love, my Annwyl had been lost as well. And it had been my fault. My magic that had drained the life from her. Faced with that, I’d gone mad. I’d lost the control I’d always taken such pride in.

Technically, the battle had been won, but I’d retreated. First, without choice. Dragged away by Morgana and Galahad while I raged against the twisted turn of fate after everything we had been through and everything we had sacrificed. Then, I’d stayed away, remained alone, because how could I return? A Camelot without Arthur, without Annwyl was unthinkable. But eventually, when my queen needed me, I’d made the city my home once again. I played the role of advisor and friend and supporter, just as Arthur and Annwyl would have wanted.

In all that time, though, I’d never visited their final resting place. Guinevere had gone against tradition, ignored her council, and refused to bury Arthur with his ancestors. The Circle would be together for eternity, in both life and death, she had decided, and no one would sway her.

Now, she was to take her place with Arthur, Lancelot, Galahad, and Morgana.

“You need to make your peace, Merlin. Before it’s too late and you’re joining us in rest.”

“The rest is only temporary.” I lifted a shoulder lazily, despite the tension stiffening my body. “All too soon, we’ll be back together, alive and well.”

“And back into danger,” she added, dark eyes shining and lips curving.

I nodded. That was the deal we’d struck, after all, to gain the power we'd needed to defeat Mordred and his army. The Circle had been formed. Defenders of the world against Magical threats. Brought back again and again when we were needed. Christ, I was exhausted at the prospect, though my heart raced at the thought of the reunion with our loved ones.

Silence settled over us for several minutes. Guinevere’s grip on my hand loosened, and she closed her eyes. I watched, having to blink back stinging tears often, as her breathing gradually slowed.

Suddenly, her fingers tightened, and eyes still shut, she spoke, barely above a whisper, “You’ll come, won’t you? You wouldn’t deny an old woman her final request, would you?”

“Oh, but I would. Easily.” Swallowing around the lump in my throat, I shifted to lean over her and pressed my lips to her forehead. “But deny a friend? Never.”

I settled back in the hard chair, body aching and feeling every year I’d lived on this earth. Every damned minute of existence. But I would not complain. As much as I dreaded being alone, being the last of our people left, I would see Guinevere though her final journey…of this life, at least. And I would keep my promise.

Three days later, I stood just outside Camelot, where the rest of the Circle had been laid to rest. Still numb with the grief, I traced my fingers over the sun-warned stones marking the newest grave.

“Goodbye, Guinevere,” I whispered before moving down the line. I pressed my hand more fully on the next pile of stones and nearly choked. “Arthur… I saw her through until the end, my king. She was everything you always said she was and so much more. The queen Camelot needed after…after everything.”

I closed my eyes for a brief moment and took several deep breaths. Then, I forced myself to continue, touching Morgana’s, Lancelot’s and Galahad’s graves, silent but my mind filled with memories.

Coming to the final marker, I began to shake. I lowered myself painfully to my knees and pressed my forehead against the cool stones. The shaking intensified, and as I gasped for air, I realized I was sobbing. Unable to hold it in any longer. I was finally as alone as I’d always felt since the moment I lost her. My Annwyl.

“I love you,” I whispered hoarsely. “I never wanted to be without you… My only thought is joining you, love. There’s nothing left for me here in this world, in this life.”

But for now… I sighed and pushed to my feet. For now, I had no choice. I would live with the memories, the ghosts , with my regrets, and with the promise of the day I’d be with Annwyl and my friends again.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Kris Norris |Siobhan Muir 

11 Comments

Happy Monday! It's time for another flash fiction. This one inspired by "Ever the Same" by Rob Thomas.

I love this song. It's one of my favorites. I went into the world from my "Albion's Circle" series for this flash fic, and wrote a glimpse into what I feel is one of the most important relationships in that series. And it isn't one of the romantic relationships.

I have delved into this world in flash fic before, so if you'd like to see those, here are the links.

"Merlin's Cave"
"The Hammer's Coming Down"
"I Will Possess Your Heart"


~Arthur~

“Arthur.”

I looked up and found Anna standing in the doorway, hand braced on the wooden frame, looking as exhausted as I felt.

“If you’re busy—”

I snorted and pushed my chair away from the desk. “I was paying bills. Nothing exciting, and nothing that can’t wait. What do you need?”

Her lips quirked upward. “Always to the point and ready to jump in without even knowing what I’m about to ask for. I'd forgotten that about you.”

“Well, It’s been a while, hasn’t it? A very long while,” I pointed out, familiar sadness weighing heavily over me.

“Yes,” she murmured. “My memories are coming back—the ones from Camelot that were hidden…” She blew out a long breath. “But I’m realizing that time may have passed, but you’re the same Arthur. And you are exactly who I need, right now. Who he needs.”

I stepped closer. “Merlin?”

“He won’t listen to me.”

I nodded, knowing things were still strained between the couple. Mostly because of Merlin’s self-sacrificing tendencies, especially when it came to the woman before me.

“And another thing I know, that I remember,” she closed the distance between us and took my hands, “is when I can’t get through to him, you always can.”

“That didn’t happen often—you not getting through.” I squeezed her cold, trembling fingers.

“It’s different now.” She inhaled deeply, closing her eyes a moment against the tears that welled up. When her bright green gaze was on my again, she continued, “He doesn’t see me as he did then. He looks at me and all he sees is his failures. Not how I look at the past, Arthur,” she said quickly when I opened my mouth. “But he does. All those lives, never finding me or being able to save me… I’m not the same Annwyl from Camelot. Not to him. Not really. So, I can’t get through to him the way I did then. But you can.”

I sighed, not exactly agreeing with her, but I wasn’t prepared to argue it. Not when there was Merlin to deal with.

“He won’t sleep,” she said before I could ask what the issue was. “He’s pushing himself too hard. For me, for you, for the Circle. He’s trying to figure out a way to find Jamie, to stop Mordred, to,” her voice cracked slightly, “to make things okay between us. He isn’t giving himself time to rest, and he hasn’t…hasn’t taken the time to grieve at all, let alone properly.”

“I’ll talk to him,” I assured then kissed her cheek.

“Thank you,” she said as we parted.

I headed out into the hallway then toward the stairway up to the third floor—Merlin’s space. I stopped and looked back at her. “You need to rest, too.”

“I will, when I know he is.”

Shaking my head, I made my way upstairs. Merlin wasn’t exactly alone in the self-sacrificing department. Hell, that could be attributed to damn near everyone in this house. Myself included. Of course, it was sort of a requirement when you vowed to come back, life after life, to fight against things most people believed were fantasy.

I didn’t bother knocking on the door and strode into the large open room. Merlin was at his desk, old books open and covering the space in front of him. His dark hair stood on end, from his habit of shoving his hands through the strands in frustration, and he was pale as fuck, with dark circles underscoring his eyes. Eyes that he could hardly keep open. Stubborn bastard.

I walked over to his side and settled a hand on his shoulder.

He startled slightly and sleepy blue eyes peered up at me. “Arthur?”

“Come on. Bed.”

Shaking his head, he turned back to his books, pulling one closer. “In a bit. I just need to—”

“You need to sleep. You can look at this with fresh eyes in the morning.”

“Arthur, I don’t need a fucking keeper,” he snapped. “What I need is to work, to figure out what to do, what to…”

And there were those hands in the hair…

I shifted and, gripping the back of his chair, pulled it back. Then, I grasped his elbows and yanked him to his feet, ignoring his protests. I pulled him around the desk, past the shelves of books and the table weighted down with even more books, to the large bed at the opposite side of the room.

I pushed him to sit on the edge of the mattress then crouched down to untie his boots. He jerked away, and I grabbed him by the calf, scowling at him.

“Merlin!” He stilled, and I pulled off both boots, tossing them to the side before standing. “If you want to sleep in something other than what you have on…”

He glared up at me, and I returned the hard look, not giving an inch. He pushed to his feet, hands clenching and unclenching at this sides.

“Don’t need a keeper,” he said again.

“Not a keeper. A friend,” I murmured. “A friend who worries. A friend who loves you.”

His Adam’s apple bobbed as he swallowed audibly. “Low blow.”

I lifted a brow and waited. He muttered under his breath, and in a blink, he was standing there in a pair of pajama bottoms and threadbare t-shirt.

“Now, you’re just showing off.” I bent, reaching around him, and pulled back the duvet and sheet. “In.”

He looked as if he was going to argue again, but after a moment, his shoulders slumped as he sighed.

“In,” I repeated, a bit more gently.

Woodenly, he moved onto the bed, laying on his back and staring up at the ceiling. I toed off my shoes and stripped down to my boxers and t-shirt before climbing in beside him.

“Turn off the lights, Merlin,” I instructed.

“Arthur, please,” he whispered.

“Lights,” I said, adding a bit what Merlin called my “royalty” into my voice, knowing what needed to be done, knowing what he needed.

He blinked rapidly, then all the lights, save a small lamp across the room, went out. His breathing quickened and became harsher with each exhale. When his trembling shook the bed, I rolled onto my side and laid a hand on his chest, over his heart.

“It’s not all on you, Merlin. Stop carrying it all.”

His entire body jerked, and he shook his head frantically.

“You need to give some of it up. Give some of it to me, so you can rest. So you can be better and do what needs to be done. The weight of it all is crushing you, my friend.”

“You’re one to talk, sire.” The snarkiness of his words was completely ruined by the tears in his voice.

“Yes, and when the time comes—because it inevitably will—when I need to give up some of what smothers me, when I need to rest, you’ll be there to remind me, won’t you? It’s what we do.”

“I can’t sleep. Every time I close my eyes, I see…”

“What? What do you see?” I asked when he fell silent. Because it could be so many things. Living the lives we did, there was no shortage of horrors to relive in the quiet unguarded moments.

“Arthur," he said, voice small and quiet. "I killed him.”

I closed my eyes as my throat tightened, the pain from that loss still a very fresh wound. “It wasn’t your fault. You know that.”

“No, I don’t. I don’t know that,” he bit out. Then, his hand covered mine. “Whose fault is it, if not mine? I should have…should’ve done it differently. Should have figured another way to stop it.”

“It was Mordred,” I said, loud voice echoing through the room. “He set that in motion. And don't start down the road of questioning or diminishing the choices we make. We all made the choice to be here, and to give our lives if necessary. He did what he believed to be right." Even as I was assured Merlin and believed everything I said, with every ounce of my being, I couldn't quite bring myself to say his name, yet. My fallen knight. The first of the fallen in this life.  "And he’d be pissed as fuck, Merlin, if he knew you were blaming yourself. Don’t lessen his choice, his sacrifice like this. Honor it. Be better.”

“How many more are we going to lose, before this is over? Before we stop him?” He gulped. “Am I going to lose her again?”

Merlin moved closer, just an inch or so, but it was enough. I pulled him the rest of the way and held him—like I had hundreds of times before, like he had held me just as many times, if not more, when I was the one in need.

“We will stop Mordred. And we’ll keep Anna safe.” I said firmly, closing my eyes, praying I was right, this time.

“I’m so tired, Arthur.”

I had to fight to keep quiet, to not cry at the depth of pain and sorrow in those four small words. Silence settled over us, and slowly, Merlin relaxed and grew heavy in my arms. I continued to hold him as sleep finally stole over him, trying to give him what strength I could, hoping it was enough.


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mulliin | Gwenydolyn Cease
Kris Norris | Paige Prince | Siobhan Muir

(and a big welcome to Siobhan who will be joining us for flash fics!)

4 Comments

Hello, all! It's time for another flash fiction. When I looked at this photo, the first thing I thought of was Albion's Circle, my Arthurian-inspired series, and the lives the characters lived in the past. So I went with that--a little piece from the world of Albion's Circle and their first life in Camelot. 🙂

Enjoy!

I walked through the corridors of the castle, heart heavy and vision blurred with tears. Only days before I had been longing to be here, sore and weary from the countless nights of sleeping on the ground and drawing upon my magic more than I ever had before. I just wanted to return home. Return to Camelot. And now, here I was. The battle was won; Mordred had been defeated.

But at what cost?

When this began, when we formed the Circle, we had all agreed Mordred needed to be stopped no matter the cost. And every one of us had known the price would be a hefty one, that we’d have losses.

I knew better than most—often waking up drenched in sweat and physically ill from the visions I’d had. Visions of blood, pain and death. But I had never imagined it would end like this. Nor how cold and empty I would feel when all had come to pass. I pulled the heavy red cloak more tightly around me. I didn’t think I’d ever be warm again.

Now that I was here again, it didn’t feel like home, anymore, and I wanted to be anywhere but here. Thank the Goddess I didn’t have to stay. Once I did my duty and completed the task that had fallen on my shoulders, I could put as much distance between Camelot and me as I could manage.

I squared my shoulders as I approached the throne room. The guards pulled the large doors open, heads bowed respectfully as I strode past. Unlike the last time I’d been here, the room was empty, save the woman who waited. The queen.

My gaze immediately fell on the unoccupied throne beside her, and tears threatened again as the air left my body in a whoosh. Darkness edged my vision, and my magic vibrated along my skin, pushing out, wanting an outlet for the anger and grief welling up.

“Lady Morgana.” Queen Guinevere stood, hands clasped in front of her.

Annoyance flared at the formality of the greeting, considering we were alone, but I pushed it aside as I lowered into a low curtsy.

“Your Majesty,” I murmured.

“You bring news?” she asked, moving down the two steps to stand directly in front of me.

I rose and inhaled deeply, again quelling my irritation. I had no ill feelings toward the queen—my brother’s wife—but I was exhausted and had little patience for foolish questions. I wouldn’t be here if I had no news. I wouldn’t leave the battle if it continued, and she knew that. Or she should.

“I do,” I said tightly. “It’s over. Mordred is dead, his army defeated. Albion is safe.” I closed my eyes, trying to be strong enough to say the next words. “Arth…” My voice cracked. “King Arthur fell in battle, Your Majesty.”

Her gasp echoed in the large chamber and I opened my eyes to see her stumble back, one hand pressed to her stomach, the other covering her mouth.

“We suffered many losses, but we—”

“Lancelot?”

My magic snapped outward and a loud crack exploded behind Guinevere. She spun around, face pale, tearful eyes wide, to see the throne she’d been sitting on when I entered split in two on the stone floor.

I struggled to contain my errant power, too fueled by my emotions. I may not have completely understood my brother’s marriage and the arrangement he had with his wife, but I never considered it my business, and even as upset and grieved as I was, I didn’t want to hurt anyone. Not even the woman who wasn’t adequately reacting to the news of her husband’s—my brother’s—death.

I ignored her fearful and questioning gaze. “Your lover is well and safe. As Arthur’s first knight, he was delayed in returning to your side by his duties.”

“Morgana,” she whispered brokenly.

“Gwaine, Owain and Erek fell,” I continued, reporting the Circle and the loyal knights who had bound themselves to us. “Percival was wounded but is on his feet and aiding Lancelot. Galahad is well but won’t return to Camelot for some time. He is caring for Merlin.”

“Merlin?” she interrupted. “H-how badly is he injured?”

“He’s not injured. Not physically.” I met her eyes. “Anna is dead…by Merlin’s magic.”

“What?” She shook her head. “That’s not possible. He would never harm Anna.”

“I never said it was intentional. He was consumed by Arthur’s death,” I said pointedly. “He had no control of his power and would have destroyed everyone on that field—friend and foe alike. If not for Anna. She took the magical blow.”

Guinevere gaped, tears streaming down her face. “But I don’t understand.”

“You don’t understand what, Your Majesty?”

“Why wouldn’t Merlin—and Galahad—return to Camelot?”

“When he realized what had happened, that his Anna was gone—at his hand, no less—he went mad. It took everything I had magically to bind him, to prevent him from doing the very thing Anna had given her life to prevent.”

“I still don’t understand, Morgana,” she bit out, shaking her head. “Why would you not bring him home? Where he belongs, where he is needed?”

“Is that your worry? That Camelot’s Magical isn’t here to aid you in your rule?” My magic swelled, crackled on the air. My cloak rippled around my body and my hair lifted off my shoulders.

“That isn’t what I meant!” she protested. “I won’t lie and say I’m not concerned about the vulnerability of the kingdom without its king and without the protection of its most powerful Magical, but my concern for Merlin and his wellbeing is greater.”

I believed her, and that fact alone calmed my magic.

“You didn’t see him, Guinevere,” I said, dropping titles and formality. “He lost his king and his love—he lost two parts of his soul. Losing one would have been enough to break him. Losing both… It may be too much for him to bear. I had to bind his magic and put him into a deep sleep. Galahad and I will watch over him and help him through this. Lancelot and Percival know where we are, if you’ve a need to contact us. I prefer not to tell anyone else our whereabouts. Not with Merlin so vulnerable.”

“Not even me?” she asked quietly.

“You’ll be informed if it’s necessary. At this moment, it isn’t.”

She straightened her spine and pulled her shoulders back. “I could order you to tell me. I am still your queen.”

I smiled humorlessly and looked past her, waited until her gaze followed mine to rest on the ruined throne.

She turned back to me and stared at me silently for a moment, then she dropped her eyes. “Are we enemies now, Morgana?”

“No. You are my queen,” I said. “I will follow you as loyally as I did my brother. But you would do well to rule as he did. He never tried to force my hand simply because he sat upon the throne.”

She nodded but kept her gaze on the floor. “I…I shall try to do well, for Arthur, for Camelot.” She cleared her throat and lifted her hand to swipe at the tears skittering down her cheeks. “I’m afraid, Morgana. I never thought I’d be alone in this.

I forced myself to step forward, to see past my own riotous feelings and sympathize with her. The woman who had been given to a king to strengthen alliances, her desire ignored in the arrangement. The woman who had become a strong friend and companion for my brother, even if there wasn’t great romantic love between them. The woman who now bore the full weight and responsibility of the crown.

“You aren’t alone,” I said quietly, placing a hand on her shoulder. I could be for Guinevere what Arthur would want me to be. A source of support, an ally she could rely on. I could…I would do this, in his memory. “You are never alone…sister.”

She brought her hand up to cover mine. “Thank you, Morgana. When I asked about Lancelot…” She swallowed audibly. “I meant no disrespect toward Arthur. I did love him; he was my greatest friend, and I feel his loss keenly.”

“I know. He really was the best of all of us, wasn’t he?” I inhaled deeply and squeezed her shoulder before stepping back and letting my hand drop to my side. “And you needn’t fear for Camelot and Albion. It is protected. You’ve powerful Magicals here with more returning soon.”

The corner of her mouth quirked up. “But they aren’t you, Merlin, and Anna. They’re not the ones I prefer to have at my side. Just as Arthur did.”

“No, they’re not, but they were trained by us and will serve you well.”

She nodded with marked reluctance. “Will you keep me apprised of Merlin’s condition?”

“Of course. I will send word as often as I can. And I should be on my way, now.” I dropped into a curtsy, ready to take my leave. “Be well, Your Majesty.”

“Will you return when we…” Her lips trembled, and she pressed them together a moment before continuing. “Will you return when we lay Arthur to rest?”

“If Merlin is well enough,” I said. “I’ve already said my goodbyes to my brother, but if I’m able, I will be here.”

“I’ll pray for Merlin, for all of you, as you heal,” she said quietly. “And I will hope for the quick arrival of the day comes that Camelot can welcome all of you home.”

I bowed my head slightly before turning and exiting the room, the chilling hollowness I felt earlier returning with a vengeance. I welcomed it, this time. Anything was preferable to the consuming ache of loss and overwhelming helplessness I’ve felt since throwing my magic at Merlin as we stood over the bodies of the two most important people in our lives. As I walked past the columns, I pulled the cloak’s hood over my head and pulled the fabric more tightly around my body, even though I knew it would warm me. How could it when the coldness was coming from inside me?

 


Bronwyn Green | Deelylah Mullin | Kayleigh Jones  | Kris Norris

6 Comments

Well, 2016 is more than half over... Summer is coming to an end, with the older kids' classes beginning on Monday and the youngest starting high school the beginning of September. The year has been flying by, that's for sure. It's been a busy year - with the day jobs, a kid graduating, planning an exciting trip I'm taking with my mom, and more - and it's also a year of making big changes - tough changes but ones that will allow me to focus more on writing and actually getting books out. Took me a bit longer than I thought it would to get to this point, but it's all coming together, and I'm able to write more regularly now.

kermit Which is exactly what I wanted, so who cares how long it took, right? I'm where I want to be now, and that's what I'm focusing on.

So what can you expect from me?

Well, my next release will be a Bound book. I expect to release Safeword Protected this fall, and I'll announce a specific release date as soon as I can.

I'm also working on Into the Deep, book four in my Albion's Circle series. My original plan was to release this in September, but I've had to push that back a bit. It will definitely release this year, though.

It sucks in a big way to delay a release, and I hate doing it, so very much. But, I want to put out the best books I possibly can, and rushing the process (writing and editing and all that goes into getting the book ready for publication) isn't the way to do that.

So... a Bound book and the next Albion's Circle book in 2016. For 2017? Still in the planning stages, and I'll share what I can when I can,  but, for now, I can say Albion's Circle will come to a close early next year, and I'm very, very excited about that. That series has been and continues to be a labor of love for me.

And that's it from me for now, friends. 🙂
Until next time,

~Jess

As much as I adored my original cover for In My Veins (because it was gorgeous!), as the series continued, it didn't seem to fit with the other covers. With good reason. When I released, In My Veins, the first story was still part of a collection and didn't have it's own cover. Then, as we did the covers for the rest of the series, we found the perfect Merlin and Anna and they are on all the covers--except In My Veins. So, I talked to the fabulous Kris Norris about it, and she created the most beautiful new cover for In My Veins...

BEHOLD!
IN MY VEINS

It is perfect and fits the story and Merlin and Anna so well. *happy dance*


 

Here's the series so far...

AC 1 - TheDeepestCut - ARe CoverAmazon | BN | iBooks | ARe | Kobo
FREE READ!!!

For nineteen years, Anna has been plagued by dreams of lives lived only in legend. Finally free from the family that believed her hopeless and worthless, she’s ready to start her life over—alone.

When Anna meets an enigmatic stranger claiming to be the legendary wizard Merlin, she is forced to question the very reality she’s struggled to accept. With the mythic figures from her dreams intruding on her waking life, Anna learns that she’s been reborn to fight an ancient evil alongside King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

Caught in an ages old conflict, Anna is the key to stopping a dark magic that will destroy the world—and Merlin wants to make sure that this time, Anna isn’t alone.

Content Warning: This book contains mentions and depictions of self-harm and illicit drug use.

IN MY VEINSAmazon | BN | iBooks | ARe | Kobo

Anna is his. Merlin has failed. The Circle is broken. After being defeated in every lifetime, Mordred believes he has finally won.

Even though Anna has little hope of gaining Merlin's forgiveness for believing Mordred over him and the rest of the Circle, she isn't giving up and vows to set things right. When an offer of help comes from an unlikely ally, Anna must trust her instincts—the very thing that got her into this mess in the first place.

Because more than just her survival hangs in the balance. Mordred took her for a reason. Anna is the key. The key to completing the Circle. The key to preventing unthinkable death and destruction at Mordred's hand. The key to destroying the heart of a wizard whose love has followed her through the ages.

But Mordred has forgotten exactly what he is up against.
Arthur and his Knights.
The most powerful Magical to ever walk the Earth.
And a love a thousand years in the making.

Note: This book contains some M/M scenes
Content Warning: This book contains mentions and depictions of self-harm.

EdgeofDarknessAReCoverAmazon | BN | iBooks | ARe | Kobo

How far is too far? Where is the line that can’t be crossed? For Merlin, when it comes to Anna, the answers are easy. Too far doesn’t exist, and the uncrossable line has gotten pushed farther and farther away through the centuries until Merlin doesn’t see it anymore. And that becomes ever more clear to everyone as a new threat rises.

Being back with the Circle, back with Merlin—where she belongs—Anna should be happy. Her magic, finally free and within reach, and her memories following quickly, should be cause for celebration. But all of that is overshadowed, tainted by Mordred and the connection he’s forged between their minds. With Mordred in her head, taunting and manipulating her at every turn, Anna fears she’ll never truly be free.

Though his days as King of Camelot and High King of all of Albion are in a long, distant past, Arthur has never felt the weight of his crown as heavily as he does now, in this life. While having Anna with them and being able to complete the Circle for the first time since Camelot is an advantage Arthur cannot discount in the battle to come, the odds are certainly not in their favor. Not with an enemy who seems to always be always one step ahead. Not when the trust Arthur and the others have built over lifetimes together is dissolving beneath lies and secrets.

The Circle is faltering, and Mordred’s increasingly bold attempts against them are pushing them to the breaking point. If they can’t return to their former strength—back to the stuff of legends—to defeat the powerful Magical, someone may pay the ultimate price before the final battle even begins.

Content Warning: This book contains mentions and depictions of self-harm and suicide.

 

Albion's Circle... This series has a special place in my heart. My whole life all I've ever wanted to do was be a writer. Even though at times, that desire, that want took backseat to other things in my life, it was alway, always there. I managed to write when I could and get books out there. Never as much or as quickly as I wanted, but I did my best.

Then, came an Arthurian-inspired collection I did with Bronwyn Green and Jenny Trout. It was just supposed to be one story. A fun project with two of my favorite people revolving around the Arthurian legends I enjoyed so much. I didn't expect it to be any more than that. And it turned in to so much more. The story and characters have exploded in my head in a way that's never happened before. What was supposed to be one story has grown into a series.

It is no exaggeration when I say I fell in love with writing again with this series.


Here is the series so far...

AC 1 - TheDeepestCut - ARe CoverAmazon | B&N | iBookstore | Kobo | ARe
NOW FREE!

For nineteen years, Anna has been plagued by dreams of lives lived only in legend. Finally free from the family that believed her hopeless and worthless, she’s ready to start her life over—alone.

When Anna meets an enigmatic stranger claiming to be the legendary wizard Merlin, she is forced to question the very reality she’s struggled to accept. With the mythic figures from her dreams intruding on her waking life, Anna learns that she’s been reborn to fight an ancient evil alongside King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. 

Caught in an ages old conflict, Anna is the key to stopping a dark magic that will destroy the world—and Merlin wants to make sure that this time, Anna isn’t alone. 

Content Warning: This book contains mentions and depictions of self-harm.

AC 2 - InMyVeins - ARe CoverAmazon | B&N | iBookstore | Kobo | ARe

Anna is his. Merlin has failed. The Circle is broken. After being defeated in every lifetime, Mordred believes he has finally won.

Even though Anna has little hope of gaining Merlin's forgiveness for believing Mordred over him and the rest of the Circle, she isn't giving up and vows to set things right. When an offer of help comes from an unlikely ally, Anna must trust her instincts—the very thing that got her into this mess in the first place.

Because more than just her survival hangs in the balance. Mordred took her for a reason. Anna is the key. The key to completing the Circle. The key to preventing unthinkable death and destruction at Mordred's hand. The key to destroying the heart of a wizard whose love has followed her through the ages.

But Mordred has forgotten exactly what he is up against.
Arthur and his Knights.
The most powerful Magical to ever walk the Earth.
And a love a thousand years in the making.

Note: This book contains some M/M scenes
Content Warning: This book contains mentions and depictions of self-harm.

EdgeofDarknessAReCover

Amazon | B&N | iBookstore | Kobo | ARe

How far is too far? Where is the line that can’t be crossed? For Merlin, when it comes to Anna, the answers are easy. Too far doesn’t exist, and the uncrossable line has gotten pushed farther and farther away through the centuries until Merlin doesn’t see it anymore. And that becomes ever more clear to everyone as a new threat rises. 

Being back with the Circle, back with Merlin—where she belongs—Anna should be happy. Her magic, finally free and within reach, and her memories following quickly, should be cause for celebration. But all of that is overshadowed, tainted by Mordred and the connection he’s forged between their minds. With Mordred in her head, taunting and manipulating her at every turn, Anna fears she’ll never truly be free. 

Though his days as King of Camelot and High King of all of Albion are in a long, distant past, Arthur has never felt the weight of his crown as heavily as he does now, in this life. While having Anna with them and being able to complete the Circle for the first time since Camelot is an advantage Arthur cannot discount in the battle to come, the odds are certainly not in their favor. Not with an enemy who seems to always be always one step ahead. Not when the trust Arthur and the others have built over lifetimes together is dissolving beneath lies and secrets. 

The Circle is faltering, and Mordred’s increasingly bold attempts against them are pushing them to the breaking point. If they can’t return to their former strength—back to the stuff of legends—to defeat the powerful Magical, someone may pay the ultimate price before the final battle even begins. 

Content Warning: This book contains mentions and depictions of self-harm and suicide.


There will be two more books in the series - Into the Deep and Unbroken - and they will both release in 2016.

My greatest hope is that people will enjoy this series, and fall as much in love with the characters as I am. 🙂

HUGS
~J

I had to juggle my release schedule around a bit - mostly because of stuff beyond my control, but it's still something I hated to do. So, I took a deep breath (or a hundred) and rearranged some things.

This is what is coming from me...

Book Three, Albion's Circle

Edge of Darkness
Albion's Circle, Book 3
COMING JUNE 2015

Anna is back where she belongs—with the Circle, with Merlin—and her magic is hers once again. Even if it’s a bit difficult to control, it’s no longer out of reach. She’s ready to take her place with the others, to play her part in what is to come, and ultimately, be with the man she loves. But all of that seems farther away than ever when Mordred’s reach extends further than anyone ever anticipated. He’s in her head.

Merlin would do anything for Anna—cross lines, ignore every rule he’s ever put in place for himself. Even risk going over the edge into the darkness he’s danced along so many times in the past. He will free Anna from Mordred’s hold, no matter the cost, no matter if it breaks him. 

But Mordred has tainted the Circle and their allies in more ways than they could have imagined. Under the weight of Mordred’s plans, of saving the lives of the people most important to him, Merlin has to draw deep and rely on the power and strength that has gotten him though hundreds of years alone. 

Nothing Serious - CoverNothing Serious
A Bound Book
COMING JULY 2015

Aaron Stevens likes his life the way it is. As a surgical resident, he is perfectly content with the fact that the precious hours he has outside the hospital revolve around taking care of his mother and sister. He doesn’t have the time or inclination for a serious relationship. So the fact his lover lives halfway around the world and is fine with jetting off to exotic locales a couple times a year for a few weeks of hot sex is as close to perfect as he can get.

The last thing Jack Hayes ever expected when his best friend got involved with an American was to hook up with her son. And he sure as hell never imagined it would continue for as long as it has. For years, he has been at Aaron’s beck and call, satisfied with submitting to him whenever Aaron and his busy life allow. But, after a change in his family’s company that has him looking for a new job, and possibly moving, Jack has begun to examine what he really wants in life and isn’t sure stolen moments here and there are enough anymore.

When Jack arrives to attend Aaron’s sister’s wedding, keeping what he and Aaron have a secret begins to take its toll. Aaron is unwilling to come out to his family, afraid of hurting them and ruining what should be the happiest day of his sister’s life. As much as Jack has come to love Aaron, he can’t bring himself to be the dirty secret in Aaron’s closet. Aaron has a choice to make, because the tighter he holds on to keeping their “nothing serious” arrangement, the closer he comes to losing everything.

8 Comments

songprompt1I had a whole other story in mind for this song - "I Will Possess Your Heart" by Death Cab for Cutie - which is a favorite of mine, btw.

But, I realized that idea...was something that would be much, much too long for something like this. So I switched gears.

Right now, I'm firmly entrenched in my Albion Circle series - writing like crazy on a story and characters I love. So, I decided to stay on that path with this month's song prompt. Well, mostly on the path. Tthis is a slight detour as it's a glimpse inside the head of Mordred - the not-so-good guy. o.O


~Mordred~

We belonged together.

Why didn’t Annwyl see that? Why didn’t she understand that Merlin wasn’t her other half? I was. I always had been, from the very beginning. He just got to her first.

Striding in to my study, I tugged my tie off and threw it on my desk before sitting in on of the armchairs in front of the fireplace. A few murmured words had flames springing to life, illuminating the darkening room. Another muttered spell, and a tumbler of brandy floated through the air into my waiting hand. I knocked the liquor back, relishing the burn as it worked it way down my throat to settle warmly in my stomach. I sent glass back toward the decanter to be refilled. Then, simply held the drink in my hand as anticipation flowed through me.

All day, I’d been waiting for this. Suffering through keeping up appearances, pretending to work for the bumbling idiot of a governor. Of course, he was firmly under my control, as was most of the staff. If I were to be successful this life, in this time, I needed to have power in the non-Magical world. The job was a means to an end, nothing more. But it kept me from maintaining contact with Annwyl. That required focus and concentration, and I couldn’t spare more than a few pockets of time through the day. And that wasn’t nearly enough. I needed more. She deserved more.

What Annwyl and I had, what we shared—no one else could understand that. Not Arthur and his followers, not Morgana, even when she was on the right side of the battle, and certainly not fucking Merlin. Even Annwyl didn’t fully understand. How could she? With Merlin in head? Well, this time would be different, because I was the one in her head now. I would have the time I needed with her, the time to show her the truth.

I know she thought I hated her, but my hatred never touched her. It was solely for Arthur and Merlin. I may feel anger at some of her choices—in this life and lives past—and lose myself in that anger, at times, but that was only because I cared too much. I loved her. More than Merlin ever could. It wasn’t a love born out of attraction and sex, but because she and I were of a kind. Underneath it all, Annwyl and I were the same. And it was up to me to make her see that.

I lifted the glass to my lips, thinking of what I’d have to do if I didn’t succeed. I never enjoyed taking her life. It hurt me to do so, and the guilt of failing weighed on me. But it was always a last resort, when it was clear she was too far gone to accept the truth before her. I regretted that her deaths were never easy, but if she couldn’t make the right choice, she needed to be used in a way to further the cause, to send a message to the Circle.

It wasn’t too late, this life, though. I still had time to make her see, to make her understand. I placed my brandy on the end table and settled back in the chair, closing my eyes, reaching out into Annwyl’s mind. Ready to spend some time with her and show her how things truly were. I would do everything in my power to succeed where I’d always failed.

And if she were too far gone, if Merlin and his king had corrupted her completely, I’d do what needed to be done. As painful as it would be, I’d reset things for her and start fresh in the next life.


Head on over and see what these awesome ladies have been inspired to write after listening to “I Will Possess Your Heart”…
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn CeaseJessica De La Rosa | Kris Norris

7 Comments

photoprompt

As I mentioned in my 2015 goals post, some new things are happening on the blog in the coming year. This is one of them! The first Monday of every month, a wonderful bunch of ladies and I will be posting a photo along with a flashfiction peice inspired by that photo.

This month's photo sent my mind immediately running to a character I've already written--and am still writing. Merlin from my Albion's Circle series. So, I just went with it...

01-2015 - ManIceCave

MERLIN'S CAVE

I flipped up the collar of my coat and ducked my head. More out of habit than actual need. I didn’t really feel the frigid wind or the bitter cold. I didn’t feel much of anything. Hadn’t in a long, long time.

Which was why I was here. I needed to remember, needed to see their faces again, needed to feel.

The stones and gravel crunched under my boots as I made my way to the mouth of the cave. I hadn’t been here in… I chuckled softly—a humorless sound lost in the howling gusts. I hadn’t felt the need to come here in several lives. I hadn’t felt the need because it’d been so long since I’d been alone. Well, and truly alone. In all the lives I’d lived, in all the centuries since Camelot, there had been many years spent on my own, but not like this. Usually, at the end of it all, when the battle was over, I had someone there. Arthur or Galahad or one of the others standing by my side. There to help shoulder the burden, to balance the darkness inside me with their light, to remind me of what I was fighting for every life, to remind me it was all worth it.

But this life, there was no one. They were lost. And it was my fault. I’d done what needed to be done to stop Mordred, but I couldn’t stop. I clenched my jaw as images of fire and destruction and the sounds of screaming played in my head. I hadn’t stopped until everyone was gone.

I paused at the cave’s entrance and took a deep breath, the cold air burning my lungs. My magic throbbed inside me, pushing against my skin painfully. I hadn’t accessed it, hadn’t let it out, since the last battle ten years ago, and it was not happy.

I walked slowly inside, eyes adjusting to the change in light, and forced myself to continue deeper. When the darkness became too much, I lifted my trembling hand…and let it hover in the air. Fear and uncertainty overwhelmed me as my power jumped and vibrated, desperate to get out, to be used. It’d been too long. I didn’t know if I could wield it with any control.

Don’t be silly, Merlin. It’s a part of you. Trust it.

I closed my eyes as her voice sounded in my head. Oh, I knew it wasn’t really her voice. I hadn’t heard that since Camelot, but it’d always, always be her I heard when I needed a swift kick in the ass.

I inhaled deeply and loosened the decade-old hold I’d kept on my magic. Lights flickered through the cavern. Wild and erratic at first, all over the place. Then, they all converged and a large orb glowed, suspended near the roof of the cave, illuminating the large space.

I swayed on my feet, lightheaded and intoxicated as my power flowed out. It danced around the room before coming back, twining around me, embracing me, comforting me. My eyes stung as my gaze settled on the frosted cavern wall before me. What I’d etched into the stone all those years ago was barely visible, but I knew it was there. Power swelled and crackled in the air as bright lines appeared on the wall. I laughed, the sounded echoing, as the images I’d created were re-carved before my eyes. My magic was bringing them back without my even having to directing it.

I stepped forward and lifted my fingers to trace along the line of Arthur’s crown as I studied his face. Arthur Pendragon. King of Camelot, High King of all of Albion. The greatest of us all. My best friend.

My throat tightened, and I swallowed with difficulty. I made my way slowly down the length of the way, the orb of light following me so I could make out all the faces staring back at me. Lancelot and Guinevere, Gawain, Morgana, Percival, Erek and Owain. I stopped in front of Galahad, smiling at his cheeky grin even as I fought against the pain weighing down on me. And knew it was going to crush me. Destroy me the moment I took another step.

The orb moved past me, and Galahad’s face fell into shadow as the light concentrated, centered on what I avoided…and what I wanted to see more than anything. And of course, my magic knew that. I could feel it pulling, drawing me to stand before…well, her.

Annwyl.

I traced the lines of her face, imagined the warmth of her skin even as the frozen stone scraped the pad of my finger. And, suddenly, anger surged. The years that separated us, the guilt of not saving her, the utter grief of losing her time after time choked me. I slammed my fists against the wall, and it cracked—fissures crept outward, obscuring her likeness. Immediately, the fractures flared brightly then knit back together.

“I miss you,” I whispered, pressing my fingers to her lips. “I’ll find you.”

I turned away and stumbled to the large boulder in the center of the cavern. As I sat, I forced myself to look at Annwyl’s face again, even though it hurt. I deserved that. I deserved every ounce of pain and torment.

“I promise. The next life, I’ll find you. Just…just wait for me, this time. Please, wait for me.”

Make sure to check out what fabulousness the photo inspired from the other ladies. 🙂 
Bronwyn Green | Gwendolyn Cease | Jessica De La Rosa | Kayleigh Jones | Kris Norris