Nadia’s Heart a #YAFantasy #YAHorror by WENDY ALTSHULER

YA Fantasy, Horror
Date Published: 11/11/2017
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In Nadia’s Heart, Part One, amnesiac Nadia knew that something was wrong, so she went in search of her missing heart. What she encountered has only brought more questions: about her origins and her ties to the people of the Land of Silence. She learned that her heart was indeed removed, and that her memory was erased by an evil Voice. But why?
Now Nadia and her glowing-eyed companion, Georgeonus, must help recover the stolen hearts of the children of the Land of Silence. In Part Two, they will do battle against the evil Voice and travel to frightening places. They receive help from a powerful Witch and Wizard, and Nadia gets her heart back—but it’s not at all what she expected. Can they rescue the stolen children’s hearts in time?
Excerpts
From Chapter VII: The Nether Regions:
“Mabel,” said Nadia, “how did you get down here? Did Georgeonus and Holofernes make it? Are they okay?”
Mabel smiled patiently, helping Nadia to step away from the table.
“Oh, I suspect they’re fine now” was her reply.
“But—”
“Come,” she said, turning. She pulled her wand from her pocket, pointed it at the cloth, and the wrap sewed itself into pants and a belted tunic.
“But—”
“We cannot linger here,” Mabel warned, turning to walk briskly.
Nadia caught up to her. “Aren’t we in the canyon?”
“No, Nadia.”
“Then where are we?”
“We are in the Otherworld. We mustn’t linger!”
Nadia did not press the matter, but followed Mabel closely, striving to keep up. She had the feeling that they were neither in the underworld nor in a canyon. She remembered the ice castle constructed by the Voice. It seemed so long ago now. In that castle, when her thoughts perceived that perhaps it was not there at all, it would come into and out of view, disappearing before her. It was the same with this canyon. This time, she perceived her own illusion. When it faded, all she could see was light.
“Take my hand, Nadia!” said Mabel urgently, in a tone which alarmed her, and in a moment Nadia’s hand found Mabel’s, which clutched hers back. Mabel’s other hand came around Nadia’s waist and drew her close, and suddenly they were being sucked through some type of funnel. It was not comfortable; it felt dangerous, and there was great pressure all around penetrating Nadia’s cells.
From Chapter IV: The Silver Witch:
They remembered that her visit had been preceded by a magick dust.
The dust came from above, the air tingled, and miniscule, silver particles glistened as they fell. It was musical, and as they breathed, they smelled fresh air like new spring, and they felt an excitement of imminent magick. She appeared suddenly, and at first no one knew where she had come from or how; she was just there on the road. She came as naturally as if she had approached them from the road. But as the magick dust settled, they realized—remembered—that the Silver Witch had dropped out of the sky.
As she stood there smiling at them, they remembered that they had looked up at the sky at a circling dot which descended. As it approached, it formed the shape of a square, floating quilt. The Witch was soon revealed to be sitting on top in black garb and hat, her silvery skin thick and rubbery. With both hands placed on diagonal corners of the quilt, she jumped off and shook the fabric out like clean laundry and parachuted down to them, the tennis sneakers on her feet ready for the road. Softly she landed, snapping the quilt upward and folding it once, twice, three times, and again and again until it was a small square deposited into one of her pockets.
 
From Chapter III: Fighting Back:
They headed for the road, away from the castle tumbling toward them, hoping the mountain itself would hold until they could get to the bottom. But what awaited them at the bottom was a sheet of ice, and it too could crack and send them down into the frigid deep.
She had never driven a sleigh nor a team of dogs before. The pure instinct of survival now taught her. As they rounded the rough road, more slippery now as they gathered speed, their path looked grim. Giant chunks of the castle came descending down, hitting the mountain’s jagged sides and causing avalanches of huge falling debris. The children screamed, and Nadia wanted to do the same and take refuge closer in toward the mountain, but there was nothing that would shelter them. She kept focused on the dogs in front of her, thinking only of getting to the bottom. Cascading from above came another rock, and the children held onto the sleighs, terrified. Nadia tried to turn the sleigh toward the mountain to avoid it. They swerved dangerously around the edge of the road.
Something also descended from the sky. It was a black figure, but Nadia could not even think about another potential threat as the second sleigh bore down upon them, rushing behind her. They swerved back to a straight course, barely missing the rolling boulder which crashed onto the road.
About the Author

Wendy Altshuler is a writer-producer who explores myth in new media. She writes fantasy novels and creates works in stop motion animation.  Her credits include award-winning screenwriting and WGA-accredited representation. With a degree in psychology and a Master of Arts from Columbia University, Altshuler documented the work of international choreographers and wrote and produced regional programming. Her short plays have been performed at Boston Playwrights’ Theatre, at regional schools and most recently, Puppet Showplace Theatre. Altshuler’s young adult book series has been hailed as “emotionally moving, uplifting and wholesome,” and “spirited and haunting. . .with much symbolism and beauty.”
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SAVING GRACE by Aubrey Wynne

 

Genre: Contemporary Romantic Suspense with Historical elements

Narrator: Sara K. Sheckells

A tortured soul meets a shattered heart…

Chloe Hicks’ life consisted of an egocentric ex-husband, a pile of bills, and an equine business in foreclosure until a fire destroys the stable and her beloved ranch horse. What little hope she has left is smashed after the marshal suspects arson. She escapes the accusing eyes of her hometown, but not the memories and melancholy.
Jackson Hahn, Virginia Beach’s local historian, has his eyes on the mysterious new woman in town. When she arrives in Pungo, he is struck by her haunting beauty and the raw pain in her eyes. Her descriptions of the odd events happening in her bungalow pique his curiosity.
The sexy historian distracts Chloe with the legend of a woman wrongly accused of witchcraft. She is drawn to the story and the similarities of events that plagued their lives. Perhaps the past can help heal the present. But danger lurks in the shadows…

 

Chapter 1

January, 2006 


Four Seasons Riding Stable 


Chloe sat straight up, willing the fog in her head to dissipate. The bed sheets were twisted around her ankles. Sweat trickled down her back. The terror froze her limbs while she struggled to calm her thudding heart and listen for the sound all horse owners dread. But it was the smell that made her realize this was not a terrible dream.
Smoke.
Instinct took over and she scrambled from the four-poster, making a beeline for the back door and the barn. Her toe smacked against the corner of a wall as her eyes adjusted to the darkness. Oh god, not my babies. Not Bunny. Panic weighed down her legs as her bare feet hit the gravel. Everything seemed to move in slow motion. She tried to run down the long driveway, her eyes riveted to the red-orange flames shooting up into the black sky. Paul emerged from the darkness, his face colored yellow from the fiery glow. He signaled for her to take the front of the building as he disappeared around the back.
The frigid night air slapped her awake, but a horrifying screech from a panicked horse kicked in her adrenaline. Chloe reached the big, sliding doors and tugged them open. Heat smacked her face, and the smoke assaulted her lungs. Coughing, tears running down her cheeks, she slid back the bolts and opened the stall doors. On the other side, Paul’s voice faintly reached her over the crackle that filled her ears.
“Hiya! Move it, move it.”
The fire had consumed the other half of the barn where the arena was located. Above her was the loft, filled with winter hay and the last of her savings, now adding fuel to the already intense blaze. She pushed the thought from her mind as the flames shot through the center of the alleyway and the arena caved in.
Grabbing one of the lead ropes that hung at each door, she smacked the first horse on the rump and sent him flying out of the barn. The first three horses on each side followed their stable mates into safety with little persuasion. But Duchess, her mother’s old mare, wouldn’t budge. Chloe threw the lead rope over her neck and forced a calm tone. “Easy, girl. That’s my girl. Walk on, now. Walk on.”
The old horse snorted and pranced but followed her out of the stall. When they neared the opening, she withdrew the rope and whacked Duchess’ hindquarters. With a leap, the horse disappeared into the gray haze. The acrid odor of scorched hair and burnt wood filled her nostrils. Embers popped and her cheek blistered. She wiped at it with her shoulder as she led two more horses out by hand.
Crack!
Above them, a beam gave way and formed a fiery V. The horses must have sensed it also because they lunged ahead, snapping Chloe’s shoulders forward. She struggled to maintain her balance but fell to the matted floor, her knees striking the hard rubber. A boom behind her sent a spray of sparks, and pain shot along her backside. From the corner of her eye, she saw a strand of her hair spark. Frantically, she beat at it with her bare hand, putting it out on her neck. The heat was sweltering now. Images wavered in the flames that licked at the dry timbers of the remaining stalls and the heavy beams above.
Scrambling to her feet, Chloe ran outside into the frigid night and stumbled down the drive to help Paul. As she reached the other side of the barn, she doubled over as a coughing spasm racked her body. Hands on her knees, gasping to pull air into her tight chest, she heard Paul yelling over the crackle and whinnies.
“Bunny won’t leave the stall, and won’t let me near her foal.”
“What about Jack?”
“He’s good. C’mon, the roof is gonna give.”
His hand tightened around her arm and pulled with such force her feet almost left the ground. Plunging back into the smoking hell, they entered Bunny’s stall and found the foal in the corner.
“Paul, I’ll get the foal then Bunny will follow.”
Another loud snap from above. She grabbed the lead rope dangling from the horse’s halter and handed it to the trainer. Running a palm down her mare’s neck, she spoke soothingly, “Atta girl, Bunny. There’s my girl. Let’s your get your baby out of here.” The mare’s ears perked at her voice and words. Chloe tossed a rope around the foal’s neck and pulled. The baby gave to the pressure and followed Chloe out.
Behind her, a loud, splintering crash was followed by a shrill squeal. Her stomach twisted as she turned to see her trainer pulling at the lead rope. A fiery beam pinned Bunny as she thrashed, her legs flying in the air. One hoof caught the man in the head, and he crumpled to the ground.
Fighting for air, her chest a tight ball of agony, Chloe stumbled back in and grabbed Paul under his arms. She dragged him with the last of her strength and shuffled backwards until her feet tripped on something solid. She fell, his body tangled in her legs as they both landed with a thud. A sob ripped at her raw throat at the sound of a muffled shriek. Tears spilled down her burning cheeks as she shook the lifeless body on top of her. Chloe collapsed hand rested on Paul’s chest, finding hope in the slight rise and fall of his shallow breathing. In the back of her brain, the sound of sirens wailed before the world went black.
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Bestselling and award-winning author Aubrey Wynne resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule and barn cats. She is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. Obsessions include history, travel, trail riding and all things Christmas.

Her short stories, Merry Christmas, Henry and Pete’s Mighty Purty Privies have won Readers Choice Awards and Dante’s Gift received the 2016 Golden Quill and Heart of Excellence award, as well as being a Maggie and Aspen Gold finalist.
Besides her Chicago Christmas novellas, Aubrey will release “A Vintage Romance” series inspired by tales of her stepfather, who served for the British Air Force in WWII. The stories will be set in the 40s & 50s. Her medieval fantasy series will launch in 2017 with Rolf’s Quest.

 

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A place of handsome knights, dashing gentlemen, beautiful, sassy women, and romance from the past to the present. You’ll also have some opportunities to help promote Aubrey with her upcoming releases if you feel so inclined. There is fun to be had, prizes to be given, and heroes and heroines to fall in love with. Come join Aubrey’s street team.