I’ve been remiss in keeping up with my blog. So much has happened this year, and I must confess, I fell in a research rabbit hole. Way. Way. Down.
I would be the first to admit I was not a fan of pre-WWII history. There was the Depression, then WWII; then things got better, right? But I was given the challenge to write a story set in the 1940s—a paranormal tale for my publisher—and I had a perfect character. The problem was, the 1940s take place after the events in the last book of the Soul of the Witch trilogy, and my perfect character is IN the Soul of the Witch trilogy.
I convinced myself I could make it work. After all, it was only a short story., right?
I emailed my publisher when I passed the submission length. I was well past the 22K word limit, and I wasn’t half way yet. I apologized and told her the story had a hold on me and wasn’t letting go. Part of it was my hero’s fault. Every time I pointed him in a direction, he would cock his eyebrow at me and say really? Are you sure I can, I mean, how much do you know about tramp steamers, trade embargos, pre-war France, banking regulations in Europe, the Maginot line, the Ardennes, Dunkirk? Eyewitness accounts? Best get in touch with the Bank of France. Get the facts straight, then tell my story. Ok, John. Ok.
If I didn’t know about it before, I know about it now. At a substantial 76, 565 words, John and Aubrielle’s story spans oceans and connects from the end of my upcoming book Paradox, Soul of the Witch, book 3 to a contemporary paranormal that is still on the drawing board in my mind. In short, this is a stand alone story that will span two trilogies.
I love this story, and I learned so much to tell it accurately.
I have already begun on Paradox, and Hunter is tapping his foot impatiently, cursing in French under his breath. Nichole and Merril are tolerant of my detour. And of course, Jimmy Leigh and Alyse only smile at each other. They know how their story ends or never ends, as the case may be.
So, without further ado, I present to you, Aubrielle’s Call.
“News today from Great Britain. German forces have invaded Poland. German planes have bombed Polish cities, including the capital, Warsaw. The attack came without any warning or declaration of war. Britain and France have declared war on Germany in support of Poland. They have mobilized their forces in preparation to wage war on Germany for the second time this century.”
A cold chill ran down John’s arms.
The barmaid reached for the dial. “I hate those lousy Krauts,” she told John with a smile and a wink as the first notes of a jazz tune played on the radio. She let the music play and took an order from the next table.
The noise in the bar became muted and distant. A familiar high-pitched whine bled into John’s brain.
His mouth went dry as his heart thundered alongside the shriek in his ear. A cold sweat plagued his brow.
It’s been only twenty years since I buried Alyse.
He shook his head and stared at Elmer and Fred.
The in-between always lasts longer.
The men talked and laughed. Elmer nudged Fred and pointed across the bar, but when they spoke, John heard nothing.
The call has come so soon. She must be a child.
His stomach twisted with certainty as pain pierced between his eyes and shot through to the back of his skull. John set his mug on the table and missed. Released from his hand, the beaker fell and then slowed to a stop in mid-air. The beer’s foamy head froze in its splash toward the floor. His hand, a hairsbreadth from the handle.
In the next instant, time resumed.
The mug shattered and the barmaid spun in surprise.
The pressure in his head expanded, pushing outward until his vision filled with white light. As the glare faded, the pain contracted to a single point above his right eye.
“I’ll get that.” The barmaid pulled a towel from her skirt pocket and tossed it over the spill.
“You feel all right, John?” Fred raised an eyebrow and took another swig.
John squeezed his eyes shut and pressed the heel of his palms against his eyelids “I’ll be all right.” He lowered his hands. When he moved, the point of pain sliced across his forehead. He tilted his head the other way until the sting settled between his brows. He didn’t have to step outside to know he faced east-northeast.
Across the sea, Agaria calls.
Insider tip #1: Hawthorn and MIstletoe is a short read referenced in this story and a part of the overall tale of my cursed immortal.