You have walked into my Diary. Welcome! Hopefully, my musings will touch you. Check out my novel "The One That Got Away" on amazon http://tinyurl.com/ljcj8xh

My Sweet Spot

frog

Dear Diary,

I paused in mid-step. I carefully set my extended foot onto the pavement. The stray gravel crunched softly under my worn sneaker. I noticed that my shoelace had become untied. I would deal with that later, not now. I stilled myself and bent cautiously to peer more closely. A lone blue jay called and a puff of wind startled my long wispy hair. I watched intently, trying to sense when to make my move. He did not seem to be aware of me, though his eyes swiveled suspiciously surveying his surroundings. Maybe he was pretending not to notice me. That would be rather tricky of him. I did not expect him to play dead. I had never heard of or seen one play dead before. I watched his pale pouch-like chin breathe rhythmically. They could be such noisy creatures, but I had yet to actually observe one croaking. Perhaps I caused them to be shy. I imagined the feel of his textured, pliable skin in my hand. I prepared myself to spring. Now! I darted forward and swiftly enclosed the chubby toad in my grip. As I straightened to a standing position, I was mindful to point his tail end downward and away from my body before he defecated. I had learned this procedure the hard way. I didn’t know if they pooped when caught because they were scared or if they thought it would thwart their enemy. But I wasn’t really his enemy. He halfheartedly tried to flail his legs and wriggle free once, but quickly seemed to realize that this action was futile. I held him for a minute or two and gazed into his bulgy eyes while his legs dangled helplessly in my grasp. He stared back at me blankly, breathing rapidly. I set him down in the scrubby grass and watched him flee as fast as a toad is able. He seemed a bit far from home. I hoped he made it back to the creek before he dried up.

I brushed my hands on my jeans and ventured into the world that was the vacant lot next to the Wasserman’s house. I batted at the tall spiny grass as I waded deeper. I picked a spot that was laced with a multitude of honeysuckles and sat on the dry ground. The grass almost reached the top of my head and swayed lightly in the breeze. I closed my eyes and let the sun and the solitude sink into my being before I went about the  business of sucking the tiny fragments of sweetness from the honeysuckle petals. I then occupied myself by popping open fuchsia flowers and chasing grasshoppers. I caught and released five of them before moving onto my planned project. I collected various stones and set them in a pile. I settled myself back into the dusty dirt and pulled out a canister of Liquid Gold furniture polish from my bag. I hoped that my mom did not notice that it was gone. I planned to safely return it to its proper place under the kitchen sink. I began my task. I polished the stones, marveled at passing butterflies and sang off-key until it was time to be home. As I walked out of my sanctuary, I thought of the toad I had met today. I vowed to check on his whereabouts at the stream tomorrow. Surely I would be able to recognize him. Perhaps I would also bring a jar to collect some polliwogs to bring home as well. I had to be more careful this time, however. The last time I brought polliwogs home they had morphed into very tiny toads and jumped out of the jar. My mother was not happy to find miniature toad carcasses in random spots in our house. Yes, next time I would need a lid.

Demise of My Eyes

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Dear Diary,

Cheers to Vision! I am reblogging this post from five years ago about my first steps into the world of failing eyesight. I have since embraced my four-eyed status (although I will still sport contacts as well). Five years ago I lamented…

I have always been proud of my stellar eyesight. My hazel orbs rendered me perfect vision up until about three years ago. At that juncture I was in quite a state of consternation to realize that I had begun squinting whilst reading. These eye gymnastics caused reading to become annoying. I could not allow reading to become annoying, so I reluctantly plodded over to the nearest  eyesight superstore to have my eyes checked out. Indeed, I did require reading glasses.  I dutifully selected a pair of red rimmed rectangular glasses and incorporated this tool into my existence. This solution was successful until recently. To my increasing displeasure I found that squinting was now required even as I wore my glasses. Additionally, distance vision was also becoming a challenge. I went back to the eyesight superstore. At the conclusion of this eye exam I was horrified to hear the doctor utter the “B” word. Bifocals. What? And wear them all of the time? The pouty child within me was throwing her small body in an unprecedented tantrum, complete with staccato foot stomping. The doctor explained my options:

1- I could use two different pairs of glasses. One pair for reading and one pair for looking at far away things. I could play the Switcheroo Glasses game all day long to my endless enjoyment.

2- I could wear bifocal glasses. When reading, I would have to look down through the bottom part of the glasses. When I wanted to look at other things I would have to aim my vision upwards. I was kind of wondering if I’d appear to have a tick trying to look up and down like that. I suppose after time and practice I could work it into a graceful and effortless move. However, there was that whole thing about having to have glasses perched on my nose all day long. I am sure many of you do this and I am proud of you and give you many kudos for this. My biggest problem with it is that I have made it thus far in my life without having to lug glasses around on my face constantly. Surely, they would get in my way at times? Maybe not.  Anyway, as the doctor was explaining this option, my inner pouty child was screaming in my ear that there must be another way, so I politely asked about the third option.

3- Contacts. The doctor assured me that bifocal contacts were a viable option. It sounded kind of wild to me that your eye can figure out which way to look through, but I decided not to pester the man with these sort of questions. He suggested that I schedule a future appointment to try the insertion process. He said to allow three hours because some people have trouble doing this on their own. Three hours? I was flabbergasted. Could it really take this long? How long would one have to allow to get ready for work if  it took so much time to insert contacts? The scenarios rolled through my head as I laughed shortly and calmly scheduled my date for the Contact Lens Wars.

When I returned the next day ready to battle this unusual foe, I was determined that I would be victorious in a mere ten minutes. I actually did perform rather well within the walls of the tiny Contact Lens War Room. I do believe that I would have completed my mission within my desired time limit had my teenage daughter not been repeatedly calling my cell phone during the process. Didn’t she know that I was engaged in time sensitive warfare? The pressure was on. I did not buckle. I persevered and completed my task in fifteen minutes.

It seems weird to me that it was so much easier and quicker the first time I put my contacts in. Scenes in my bathroom trying to recreate this action were comical. How many places do you think my contacts could end up besides my eyeball? The most common place was my finger. The blasted thing would not get off of my finger! It did not want to make the jump to my eye. It would cling to my finger in a wet, desperate embrace. The second most favorite spot for my contact to be was in the sink. Every time it would leap into the sink it would cause me a momentary stab of panic due to visions of it continuing its path down the drain. Occasionally it would make a dash onto the marble counter top and hide there, blending in skillfully within the  randomly patterned,abstract design. Once, it lodged itself in my hair. Once, it fled inside my shirt. To top it all off, my four year old daughter loves to watch all of this. She will climb up and sit on the counter next to the sink and watch intently. She’s actually the perfect cheerleader. She is always ready with a rousing: “Good job, Mommy,” when a contact is successfully wrestled into place. She shares in my woe when a contact goes awry and offers condolences and words of encouragement. Sometimes her seven year old brother appears on the scene as well. This, however, creates bedlam. He is usually touting his nerf gun and targets his unsuspecting prey while they are otherwise engaged. My cheerleader will then vault from her perch and a merry chase will ensue in my bathroom. This will not do.I require quiet and peace to be able to concentrate on my difficult task. I am then forced to morph into ‘Mean Mommy’. I contribute loud, threatening words and dramatic hand gestures to the chaotic mix.

Happily, I am getting better at inserting my contacts, but I admit that there are some days that I am not willing to play this game.On those days, I contentedly pad around my house wearing a pair of magnifying lens type glasses that I bought at Walgreens for ten bucks. It’s all good.

 Eyes-on-Fire

Dear Diary,

Here is a teaser for my upcoming Young Adult Fantasy novel Insidious Whispers. I am excited to say that this collaboration piece with Vincent F. A. Golphin should be launched in the fall of 2016.

Chapter 3

Flashes of Fire

 

Lady Kulipa

Queen Victarine’s Advisor

 

I knew the fire was coming. The vision is in my mind’s eye. The impending burst of noise, smoke and flame unfolded behind my eyes in a sudden horrific flash. The wall of heat and fire in my head blinded me again for a moment as I hurried down a narrow Severen alley. The premonition made me stagger on the uneven, rocky ground. I almost fell. I tried to move along as if nothing happened. The vision’s effect was too strong.

I am Lady Kulipa, a Delphyte and Queen Victarine’s advisor. I am generated as unformed energy within The Whole of the Delphyte Realm. I was pure spirit. Twelve years ago, my energy was converted into the form of a humanoid Caligan woman. This flesh I inhabit is real, and fully grown, but fragile. It places me at the risk of pain and death. In the Delphyte Realm, I was immortal and nearly unchanged. To serve the queen, I must grow through the normal life cycle toward the decay. I accepted the sacrifice, yet my throbbing head almost makes me regret it. In my original pure energy form my Premonition gift would not cause me pain.

My fingers groped along the rough cobblestone walls to find balance until my sight cleared. I tried to steady my jagged breathing. My heart raced. I looked and acted like someone stricken with a heart attack. The foresight of the upcoming deaths of my traveling companions deeply frightens me. I am anxious to think I might not be able to warn them in time. The explosion is imminent.

My strength began to return. My mind cleared. My senses are now restored. I am in the entourage tasked to escort Queen Victarine’s sister, Princess Stipinia, to bond with a Delphyte advisor. I am wary of the things I saw in that vision, yet my devotion to Stipinia’s older sister, and love for Palandara’s peoples, makes me risk my life to take the princess safely to Severen for The Conjuring and then back to the palace in Shar upon its completion.

Most people in the Material World know little of a Delphyte’s abilities, even those who we advise. The only way an outsider might even notice how many gifts a Delphyte holds is to look at the leaves on spider-like vine on the wrist. On the inner right, my vine holds three leaves. One is Premonition, the ability to sense the future. Mindspeak is the second. Although not fully developed, it allows me to read another’s thoughts, or plant mine into their consciousness. I am uncertain about the third gift. The knowledge will come. I am vowed to use my three gifts to guide the queen for the planet’s welfare. The number of gifts varies among Delphytes. Allegra, the greatest among us, has ten.

I am uncertain of many things about this mission. The senior Delphyte, Grinnell, counselor to the late Queen Pala, and I agreed that the journey demanded caution, although neither of us could pinpoint a specific reason. Something was not right.

Grinnell and the queen want the princess to bond. I am not certain the girl is ready. I am uncertain that she can rule. Stipinia is selfish, headstrong and rebellious. I do not understand her aversion to taking her rightful place as heir apparent to the throne. She does not understand why the responsibility must be on her shoulders. I find the measures that had to be taken to convince the princess to come on this trip to be ludicrous. She has spent the entire journey sulking and complaining. It is not my place to say, but from what I have seen, the girl lacks what it takes to govern herself much less lead a world.

I apprehensively whip my head around to see if I have been observed. The shadow filled alleyway holds no one but me. The windows are dark and empty. It is eerily quiet. Severen sleeps.

I look down to the foot of the uneven stone stairs. There is no fire, yet. I see our tranden, a coach in the shape and size of a small sailing ship containing our entourage consisting of Lady Grinnell, Onamorg, the protector, Princess Stipinia, and my aide, Dray the Charlok. It is positioned in this obscure location to facilitate a swift and clandestine departure. Precaution forced the usual opulent and ornately decorated royal tranden to be substituted for a plain and functional transport. Grinnell insisted that we would face an unseen danger. My premonition seems to prove her correct.

King Treanon originally dismissed our concern. Victarine intervened and approved our cautionary measures. We traveled back roads through Coopersfeld Parish. We did not enter Severen by the main gates with the expected fanfare. Our way wended through Lenden Forest. We came through a passage normally tread by hunters and traders.

My premonition has caused me to realize that we are in much more grave danger than we had first thought.

Grinnell had sent me ahead on foot to scout the Place of Conjuring because for some reason her gift of Transport was rendered useless to bring us there. Her far-reaching gift of Mindspeak also could not sense the inner activity of those who waited in the portal. This was very odd indeed.

When I had neared the portal to the Place of Conjuring between the material and spiritual worlds, my senses had not been able to penetrate the passage either. My Mindspeak sensed nothing. The very emptiness made me shiver. I could not perceive any thoughts. The situation was as if an invisible, impenetrable bubble were over the Place of Conjuring.

As I approached the entrance I suddenly felt warm, really warm. That’s when I first experienced the premonition. My consciousness felt our tranden exploding into flames. I fell to my knees. I was stunned. All of the occupants were about to go up in flames if I didn’t act.

After I was able to compose myself, I jumped up and rushed back to warn my travel companions.

Now, as I stood gazing at our vehicle trying to determine my next course of action, I saw movement in the rear of the tranden. It was the furry, gray figure of Dray. The psychic animal attempted to huddle beneath a crimson blanket. He knew something bad was going to happen. I am certain, because Charloks are not only excellent at tracking, but often have a mild sense of premonition. My first inclination was to run to the tranden and urge everyone to get out immediately. But my Delphyte senses stopped me.

I began to feel a warm tingle in my hands and feet. It was coming. I must act! There was another way. I stood there in the shadows and breathed out steadily. I pulled my thoughts from the sides and centered them. I stared hard at the unassuming tranden, and etched its details in my mind. I froze the image there and held it while I probed inside to find Grinnell. She acknowledged my presence immediately. Our minds clasped.

Grinnell! My thoughts screamed. Get everyone out! There are explosives on the tranden!

Understood, was her calm reply, and the link was swiftly broken. I gasped at the sudden release. There was no time for discussion. Instant action was needed. I would have to rely on Grinnell to do what she could.

I placed both of my hands on either side of the narrow passageway, and let the coolness of the rock seep into them. I could feel the heat of the impending fire moving through my arms and legs. My gaze was fixed on the threatened vehicle. I felt helpless. I searched my senses for the next direction. My path lay empty. I was devoid of impulse, except for the foreboding of imminent disaster. All of my Delphyte instincts screamed to keep my distance. Running to aid the tranden would not help the occupants. It would only mean my demise as well. I breathed unevenly. The heat in my extremities flowed to my center.

The tranden suddenly exploded in a great wall of green and yellow flames. I was thrown to the rocky ground from the impact. I instantly felt Onamorg’s death. It was like when the premonition struck, only more real, more hurtful. I struggled to a sitting position and shielded my eyes. I strained to see more clearly, but the flames raged and recoiled. The fire threw sparks into the twilight sky.

Find Stipinia, Grinnell’s voice sliced into my consciousness. The inn.

I clutched my hands to my bruised mouth to stifle a cry. I watched the green in the fire consolidate. It was the essence of what was once Grinnell, my mentor. The foggy shape shot high above, arced, then melted into nothingness. Her link with my mind, the sense of her within my being shuddered and became blank.

My grimy hands moved from my mouth to cover my face. I pressed fiercely at my senses to feel her life spirit. Grinnell was gone. In human form, she suffered a fate that few Delphytes experience. Grinnell was destroyed in the flames along with Onamorg and Dray. I choked on the pain that rose in my throat. I wanted to scream to let loose the anguish that seared me.

I realized I had never really been alone. Grinnell spoiled me, really, when it came to guidance. She was like a mother. Delphytes do not have mothers, but I have lived among Caligans long enough to appreciate the concept.

I did not have time for the luxury of sorrow and inaction. Before her death, the senior Delphyte used her gifts to transport Stipinia away from harm. She tasked me to find her.

All had gone awry. The death of my companions hung on me like a dark cloak. Questions gnawed at my mind.

Why had this happened?

Who would have done such a thing?

Why hadn’t either of us Delphytes sensed more than just the need for caution?

I wrestled briefly with those queries, but my mind felt uncharacteristically sluggish. I snapped my attention to the urgency of my situation. Time was wasting.

I must somehow get a message to Victarine and find Stipinia, I said to myself. Extreme caution is required. I do not know our enemy. For the first time in my existence I feel scared and very alone.

I would have to rely on my own wits and senses to get Stipinia back to Shar. Grinnell, Onamarg and Dray are lost. The mission has failed. It would take a lot more than cleverness to get out of this.

 

Moon Shadows

Dear Diary .... by Kellianne Sweeney

moonshadows

Dear Diary,

Moon Shadows

A cloudless night softly blooms

Seeping, sliding in my room

Moonlit fingers sigh and caress

Urgently gliding through my dress

Coy Shadows linger, biding their time

Softly they whisper on the fringe of my mind

Shadows play, wander and dance

Sweetly humming of romance

Jealous Moon chases Shadows away

Pulls me close, keeping Shadows at bay

Moon insists and we passionately meet.

I yield, I shudder, in the cool heat

Slowly, Moon withdraws, gently easing

Shadows flit close, touching and teasing

They cradle me as Moon slips away

Murmuring, embracing, and with them I lay.

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Maneuvers In The Dark

window

Dear Diary,

The darkness was deep. It was more tangible and dense than she had anticipated, but she was determined. She went over in her mind again the tidbits of information she had gleaned by listening intently to their conversations. But it was bright then. Here it was so dark. Everything needed to be accomplished in the dark. Were they able to see in the dark better than she, or was it that they became so used to the procedures that they did not need to rely so much upon their sight? Perhaps her underdeveloped eyesight was one of the reasons that they had insisted that she wait? She steeled herself at the thought. She would not wait. She would prove that she was ready.

Getting inside the window proved to be relatively easy and bolstered her confidence. It had only taken her two tries to be successful. She surveyed her surroundings. A sliver of light stretched across the floor from the hallway through an ajar door. The extra light relieved her, but the intimidating dark mass in front of her that required her attention sent an apprehensive flush through her petite frame. It became apparent to her why they normally worked in pairs until their skills became ingrained. If needed, one of them could distract while the other accomplished the goal. She did not have help because she had not wanted help. When this call had come in after they all had left, she had decided that she would personally take care of it herself. She was not too young.  She would show them. She reminded herself sternly of this purpose, but it did not still the fear that she was now feeling. What if she failed? What if he saw her? Another thought suddenly chilled her: She had forgotten to bring the Replacements! She had departed in such a rush that she left the knapsack at home. What was she to do now? How could she complete the mission without any Replacements? She wrung her slender hands in dismay and agonized over whether she should flee. If she hurried back she might be able to alert one of them to come take care of this before it was too late. But what if none of them had returned yet? Earlier in the evening she would have had time to locate someone, but now the night was waning. There was no question that this needed to be accomplished tonight.

She glanced frantically around the room for something to use as a Replacement. The moon suddenly slid from behind a cloaking cloud and its’ light fell upon a shining object that was peeking out from under a rug. It sparkled brilliantly and entranced her immediately. What was this? She swiftly flitted over to it and decided it was the perfect thing. She lifted the coin with difficulty because it was almost as big as she was. Her tiny wings struggled under the weight of its’ added burden. Perhaps this was another reason why she had been told to wait until she was fully grown. Her wings had not developed into their full span yet.

Laboriously, she carried the coin to the bed that held the large, human boy. She was grateful that he was facing the wall instead of facing her as she approached. She set the shiny Replacement on the bed and pushed it the rest of the way under the pillow. She held her breath and dived further within to locate his tooth. It was close by, just as she had hoped. She wrapped both arms around it and flew back out clutching her prize. She was thrilled! It was the best kind of tooth; a First Tooth.

Just as she cleared the bed, the boy stirred and turned. The fairy whizzed behind a dresser just as the boy’s eyes fluttered open. Upon awakening, his hands immediately searched under his pillow. The moon shone on his excited face as his fingers touched the coin. He set it in his palm for only an instant before he bolted out of his bed and out of the door.

“Mom! The Tooth Fairy brought money!” he shouted as he ran down the hallway to his parents’ room. “Have you ever heard of that? She brought money!  Mom!”

The fairy flew from her hiding place and alighted on the window sill. She adjusted the tooth in her arms before slipping through the magical opening she created in the glass. She smiled with satisfaction as she sped upwards to her home. She would suggest to the others that they should give money as Replacements instead of the usual small toys or treats.

 

FullSizeRender-2

Dear Diary,

I have been on a blog hiatus because I have been mad at work on a young adult high fantasy trilogy entitled Insidious Whispers- Wizard Wars Book One. I am collaborating with the prolific author Vincent Golphin. We are in our fourth draft version and are entering into the beta reading and cover constructing stage. I am excited to share the first chapter with you. Stay tuned for more excerpts and progress. Happy New Year!

 

Chapter One

 

The Queen’s Demand

 

Princess Stipinia of Palandara

 

 “No!..No, no, NO!”

I was being rather overly dramatic. Part of me is aware of that, but the little voice way back in the farthest reaches of my head that tells me, Your out of control, is not in charge at the moment. I didn’t care to listen.

It was more important to express the utter emphatic disgust I felt at my sister’s constant insistence on trying to control my life. The passion rising in my chest crested into a tumultuous wave that threatened to make my head burst. I could tell that my face was flushed. That was confirmed when I grabbed a quick glace in a mirror. I could feel a tiny headache forming between my eyes.

Ever since she became queen when our mother died twelve years ago, my sister has become unbearably bossy. That goes double when it comes to me.

Today, I must be completely clear with her, I told myself.

I have told her before that I did not want to do this. Victarine never cares about my opinion.

“You don’t see how complicated things are,” Nia, she says. “You’re so young. You’ll better understand some day.”

She treats me like the kid she thinks I am, but my sister doesn’t get it. I am all grown up now. I have dreams. I know who and what I want to be.

Victarine thinks because she is queen, she can control me like the rest of her subjects. I am princess of Palandara. I have a voice. She wants me to seal my fate with a Delphyte bond, to make me a part of the world that took up all of her and my mother’s time and energy. I will not do it.

“No,” I said again. I paused to let my statement sink in.

My sister Victarine’s expression showed frustration with me. She exchanged looks with her Delphyte advisor, Lady Kulipa, and Mama’s Senior Delphyte advisor, Lady Grinnell, before her piercing blue eyes focused on me.

This time I tried saying it calmly and firmly instead of screaming it. “I will not let you make me be queen.”

Victarine clenched her thin jaw slightly before she spoke, “Stipinia…”

“I said no,” I interjected. It felt wonderful to interrupt the Queen of Palandara. “I will not go to Severen to bond with a Delphyte in preparation to be the next queen. I will not let you seal my fate.”

I was quite pleased with myself for finding a way to use that seal my fate phrase in a sentence. It sounded regal and appropriate for someone with royal blood to say. Even if I didn’t want the responsibility for ruling I could still carry myself royally. I had real style.

“Why do you want me to do this now anyway?” I continued. “You’re doing a fine job being queen. I don’t think you’re planning on dying any time soon. And besides, even if you die tomorrow, why don’t you just have Gratiana be the next queen?”

“Perish the thought,” Victarine said resolutely.

“Why not?” I asked. “I’m sure she’d want to.”

” I’m sure our cousin would be honored to be the Queen of Palandara,” my sister answered. “However, you are in direct line to be queen, which makes it your destiny and duty.”

Victarine smiled wryly. “She also doesn’t have nearly the spirit that you do. Your high spirit may be out of control at that this time, but it is the very ingredient that provides the will and strength of character that is required for a successful monarch.”

I was about to retort, but saw an uncharacteristically fragile look flit briefly across Victarine’s pale features. I actually found it a bit disconcerting, but decided to ignore it. Treanon, Victarine’s husband stood beside my seated sister. He placed a comforting hand on her thin shoulder. Victarine reached up to touch his hand in return. He fixed me with a disapproving stare but said nothing. That hurt. Next to my father, he was the man whose opinion I valued most.

I let Victarine continue.

“Stipinia,” she addressed me in a firm, unwavering voice, “only you are the heir to the Golden Throne of Narmock. It is your duty to be the next queen of Palandara. It is imperative that you bond with your own Delphyte advisor immediately.”

“But I refuse!” I shouted vehemently.

“You may not!” she said abruptly. Victarine paused because a hard cough took over her answer. She seemed to almost choke. When she recovered herself she said in a raspy whisper “I am your queen, and I decree it will be so.”

“You are my sister, and I don’t want a Delphyte advisor,” I shot back. “I want to live a life of travel and leisure. I want to get out of Shar and explore the world. I don’t want to become like you.”

I could see Victarine wanted to blast my words, but again she seemed caught by that cough. I was glad. After she pulled that I am queen stuff, I did not want to hear anymore anyway. I had the advantage as far as conversation, so I seized it.

“You are always so busy ruling and worrying about the kingdom that you don’t have time to do anything fun.” I said. “You’re always stuck here, in these marble halls, unless you have some official ceremony to attend or something. And you always force me to be stuck here, too. Your nosy guards watch my every move.”

Victarine tried to answer, “That’s for our protect…. ” I refused to allow her.

“Even while we are both stuck here, you don’t even have time to spend with me! How can you claim to care so much about all of those faceless families outside these walls when you don’t care about your own.”

My anger at my sister was white hot. But now I was also angry at myself. I hadn’t meant to say that stuff about caring and family. I didn’t want my sister to know that I secretly craved her approval and attention. I’m not some kid that needs her or anyone. This palace life has taught me that it is foolish to expect to be first in anyone’s heart when you are a royal. Even the boys that dared to try to court me talk about the crown more than me. That is why I learned to be alone. I needed to get out of here.

Victarine started to cough again quietly. Treanon rubbed her back. My anger eased a bit as it became apparent to me that she really was struggling with her sickness and that Treanon seemed genuinely concerned. Part of me wanted to go help her, but not after what she said. My sister has the power to order me, but she cannot make me love her. If she makes me do that Delphyte thing I will hate her for the rest of our lives. My anger replaced itself with self pity and I found myself desperately missing my father again.

“I wish Daddy were here,” I unexpectedly blurted out. He would have made her listen to me. “Why did he have to die? He was the only one who really cared about me.” I immediately wished that I had not uttered the words aloud.

“That is not true,” she said. “Our parents….”

“It is,” I cut her off. “Mama was always too busy being queen and so are you.”

“Please Nia, ” she said, “you are far too young to understand what really happened. You were not here during the Wizard Wars.”

“Neither were you! ”

“Trust me,” she said. ‘You have no idea what is at stake. The future of Palandara is still not secure.”

Daddy always made me feel secure, I thought. I could feel my composure crumbling. I didn’t want Victarine or everybody else in the room to see me cry. I forced myself to look fierce and determined.

“The Princess Stipinia has spoken,” I said with the same above it all timbre in my voice. “I hereby resign my role as princess, and heir to the Golden Throne of Narmock.”

Victarine gathered herself and stood proudly “I do not accept your resignation, or any other idea, other than that which I propose, sister,” she said resolutely. “You will do our bidding.”

“Why?” I shot back undeterred. “Give me one important reason. Like I said, Gratiana will do just fine. I’ll even occasionally help out at major events. And, of course I’ll visit you and Treanon from time to time, especially on holidays. At this point in my life I have other things to do and see.”

“Stipinia,” Victarine began, “I know you are upset.”

Her arms spread wide, she said, “Come, let me hold you.”

“Absolutely not!” I sputtered curtly. “I am not a little girl. I don’t need hugs from you anymore.”

The look of hurt and disappointment in her eyes made me feel better. At last, I was not the only person in this family in pain.

“Stipinia, be reasonable,” Treanon spoke empathetically and took a step toward me.

“No.” I started to back away. “I have nothing more to say to you people. I am leaving.”

Victarine allowed herself a small sigh, then nodded at Grinnell. The Senior Delphyte waved her right hand in my direction. I froze. Suddenly, I could not move a muscle. I had been about to turn and make a swift and grand exit out of Victarine’s chambers, but I could not move.

I panicked for about ten seconds, then the realization dawned on me. I screamed inside. I wanted to holler out loud, to protest, but even my mouth was like stone. I tried with all my strength to turn my head to glare at Grinnell. Nothing.

“I am sorry to have to do this, Stipinia,” my sister said wearily. She looked at Grinnell, then at Treanon, then me. “You leave me no choice.”

Grinnell walked into my view. I always found her to be wise and grandmotherly.

You conniving cow, I screamed in my mind. Now, I was furious with her. She used her Frost power to trap me. I was like a statue. How dare she?

I am heir to the throne, I raved to myself. She thinks she has the right to freeze my ability to move any part of my body.

I moved my eyes enough to see my reflection in one of the several intricately decorated mirrors on Victarine’s walls. I saw an attractive, curvy seventeen-year-old girl with long, honey brown hair, dark olive skin, deep brown eyes and a nasty scowl… frozen.

Oh! I thought. This is so annoying!

Grinnell gestured to one of the servants to bring two chairs. They did.

“Be seated, your Highness,” Grinnell said. When she gestured toward the seats she somehow managed to move my legs just enough to sit. I tried to use the opportunity to run away, but I could not force my body to anything but sit politely in the plush chair before me. Believe me, I tried. As an afterthought, Grinnell lightly touched my twisted mouth. My lips dropped into a placid, relaxed position.

The older woman smiled kindly at me. Her startlingly green eyes twinkled. She seated herself in the chair opposite me, then folded her long, tapered hands in her lap.

“Dear, dear Princess Stipinia,” she began. “Your sister and I thought that perhaps if I relate to you the history of our beloved Palandara you might be less hostile about your position in its future.”

The silver and green haired Delphyte smiled at me again. Her right hand covered mine. I could feel her touch, but I was still unable to move a muscle.

“I know in the past you have been impatient and disinterested in the story of this world, and how your ancestors came to rule,” she said slowly. My sister sat on the couch trying not to cough. Treanon watched quietly with the occasional nod. I only half listened to what she said. They could imprison my body, but not my mind. Then, the Delphyte continued.

“For this moment you definitely need to lend an ear. Some things are far more important than what we want to do.”

 

 

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Dear Diary,

I have been working on multiple writing projects and today I am sharing my favorite parts of my revamped children’s picture book “My Favorite Things”. It is a whimsical look at everyday objects through the perspective of children. I am currently shopping literary agents and publishers for this one.

 

An acorn wears a little hat

for when it’s cold, you know.

And if I plant its head right here,

a forest I will grow.

 

Bubbles always make me laugh

as they float around.

At times they give a slobbery kiss

and burst without a sound.

 

Dandelions are sunshine spots

nestled in the ground.

I will gather all I see

then give you what I’ve found.

 

Eggshells hide a slimy prize.

But what delights me more,

is that moment of surprise

when they end up on the floor.

 

Grass is a poky, comfy carpet.

Perfect for lots of things-

rolling, digging, crawling

and chasing stuff with wings.

 

Mud is very nice to apply-

all oozy, cold and smeary.

I would offer you some in a pie,

but your face looks rather leery.

 

A rainbow sprouts from rain and sun.

I see it floating there.

If you help me find the gold

I promise I will share.

 

A swing throws me into the air

when I stretch my toes up to the sky.

And imagine where I’d love to go

if I could really fly.

 

Mr. Turtle, why do you hide your head?

I’m knocking on your shell.

If you come out and play instead

I promise to treat you well.

 

The vacuum eats dirt and little things

scattered on the floor.

Could it be hungry for my toe?

I worry it wants more.

 

Wind kisses my face and pulls my hair.

I love to feel it blow.

I like to think if it is strong,

up in the air I’ll go.

 

 

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