Kingdom of Ash and Soot

Outside the window, a strange midday fog rolled in. The outline of Prague and its proud castle had become more mysterious and ethereal, and I wondered if it was really real, too. Before, everything about the city had a celestial touch to it, as if I could walk down a street and suddenly find myself in Heaven. In that moment, I could not say that; paradise was suddenly full of poison, and I had to wonder what parts of my life it had touched. I entered the room, confronted with the terrible sadness of this reality. I flopped onto my … Continue reading Kingdom of Ash and Soot

Mary B

Though a child, I already saw, unfolding before me, a life lived ingratiatingly in the shadows, of sitting like an old gargoyle at dinner tables while, some few feet away, the living laughed and exchanged stories. I would have no stories to tell. No estates to run. No children to speak of. I would not be blessed with the holy rites of matrimony and would this be compelled to live my years beholden to the loveliness of one of two older sisters, who would, by their charity, ensure that I always had food to eat and a roof over my … Continue reading Mary B

Daughters of the Lake

His wife’s cries awoke the new father who, rushed, horrified, to the side of his first daughter’s crib in the nursery, an alcove just off what was now the master bedroom that Simon and Jonathan had renovated into a spectacular master bath, complete with a steam shower and Jacuzzi tub. It was Simon’s favorite thing, lazing in the scented water, enjoying a glass of wine and a good book. He had no idea that his great-grandmother had begun to lose her sanity in the exact spot where numerous water jets now massaged the kinks in his back. Although he had … Continue reading Daughters of the Lake

Classic Monsters: Vampires in Kostova’s The Historian

On the side of it, in the deepest flesh on the muscular throat, were two brown scabbed puncture marks. Not fresh, but not fully healed, as if he had been stabbed by twin thorns, or mutilated at knife points. I stepped back from the table, thinking I had lost my mind with all my morbid readings, that I’d actually come unhinged, but the daylight was quite ordinary. The man in his dark wool suit perfectly real, down to the smell of unwash and perspiration and… something else, under his cologne. Nothing disappeared or hanged. I couldn’t drag my eyes from … Continue reading Classic Monsters: Vampires in Kostova’s The Historian


“You are a daughter of Helios, are you not?” he said when he had finished and I’d stepped back. “Yes.” The question stung. If I had been a proper daughter he would not have had to ask. I would have been perfect and gleaming with beauty, poured straight from my father’s source. “Thank you for your kindness.” I did not know if I was kind. I felt I did not know anything. He spoke carefully, his words tentatively, yet his treason had been so brazen. My mind struggled with the contradiction. Bold action and bold manner are not the same. … Continue reading Circe

The Love Letter

Chloe lowered the pages with a glance toward Jeremiah, who stared at his script without expression. Falling into his arms… begging him to stay. She’d lived that scene with Haden Stuart. In fact, she felt certain Esther’s last line was taken from her viral video. Had Jesse Gates seen it? Hard to say, but when the video reached twenty million views, Chloe gave up hiding out and defending herself. She stopped resisting the truth that her crushing humiliation had become a part of pop culture. “Well…” Jeremiah sighed, tossed the script to the table, reached for his water, and took a … Continue reading The Love Letter

5 Mystery Novels for History Buffs

One of the hardest parts of picking up a new book is moving between genres! It is so hard to know whether you will like certain plot lines, or which authors are worth reading and which won’t quite be your style. I think that is why so many readers just stick to the genres they know they like. Well, if you are looking for something a little different (but not too different!) I have a few recommendations for you. Here are five mystery novels that will appeal to readers of historical fiction and non-fiction: In the Shadow of Lakecrest by … Continue reading 5 Mystery Novels for History Buffs

My St Patrick’s Day Read: Days Without End

In the army, you meet a dozen men a month come from Ireland, but you never hear them talk about them much. You know an Irishman because he has it written all over. He speaks some other way, and he is not a great man for a haircut generally, and there’s something about an Irish when he’s drinking that just ain’t like any other human being. Don’t tell me an Irish is an example of civilized humanity. He may be an angel in the clothes of a devil, or a devil in the clothes of an angel, but either way you’re talking to … Continue reading My St Patrick’s Day Read: Days Without End

Winter Sisters

“What more do you want me to do?” There was a new, brittle edge to Mantel’s voice. “Pick up the cobblestones one by one and look at their undersides? They’re gone, madam. We have looked in every cranny of the city, just as you have. Most times, you’d been to a place even before we’d gotten there ourselves. There’s nowhere else to look.” “That’s not possible. There’s always something else to be done.” “Listen to me. We kept watch for your young ones, we did. Stopped urchins on the street – you know, those ones that live in the hovels … Continue reading Winter Sisters

Winter Read #4: All We Left Behind

When had I first suspected my father wasn’t prepared for this journey? Was it the first time he and Mama argued about the Hastings Cutoff? Or before that, when party members blamed our oversized family wagon for slowing them down? Or was it even before that, in Independence, when Pa said we’d missed our meeting with Colonel Russell, and Mama looked so scared? Only halfway. That meant we could still turn back, didn’t it? For a moment I imagined us pulling up to our Springfield house and resuming our old lives. But that was impossible. Our house was sold. Grandma … Continue reading Winter Read #4: All We Left Behind