Chapter One, Asgrove Academy & lots more

For the past six months I have not wanted for something to read. I don’t know how long Instafreebie has been around but it is a killer.

While you can get hundreds of free books (sent to your email in three available formats), I have learned to check the title through Amazon before proceeding to download. Sometimes it is a book that isn’t offered through the Kindle Unlimited program and you’re getting a great deal.

Then be prepared to get an email box FULL of files you must forward to your chosen reading device (I use the Kindle app on my iPhone).

But that is not a problem for  free books right? Also be prepared to get your box filled with newsletters, some even asking you to join an author’s street team.

I have so many files on my computer from Instafreebie (because when you click on one and say yeah you want it, then, sometimes three more titles will pop up where you can choose one, so on and so forth) that I often both fear and look forward to checking my email.


Sent: Friday, March 24, 2017 10:40:27 AM
Subject: Freebie Friday: 293 Free Ebooks Just For You!

and here is the link Instafreebie free books

Did you know that this link can offer more than 500 books and I’ve got more than just one email offering Instafreebie books!

HUNDREDS of books from all different categories haunt me now.

What takes priority are three things: responsibilities to my family, reviewing books requested of me by authors/publishers and my own writing.

I recently tried my first short story writing contest. The theme was ‘person in a hole finds their way out’ by I’ve officially joined the community of amazing people.

My short story was published and can be found here:

My story was called ‘Death Isle’.

Also, you should join Kindle Scout! Help choose a book to be published, if chosen you will receive a copy. But it is more than that. You’re in a contest to be the best at choosing the next great book. You get three nominations a day. This is really important for authors and readers.

As for my own writing, I have changed Witches and Wizards Retribution into a trilogy. It is now, Asgrove Academy, Witches and Wizards Trilogy, Book One, with a new cover and the cover with the girl is for Book Two, Power Rising and Book Three, Retribution.

Here’s the cover for book one I bought from (credit will be in book):

asgrove academy cover

And here is Chapter One, in all its terrible glory.

This is a story about a girl who falls through a portal from Earth into Asgrove, a realm of magic where witches and wizards are the norm. Sentient buildings, classes for animal companions, potions, charms, talent training and more await her in Asgrove.

Only human females with blood tracing back centuries to the loss of Asgrove’s queen who was abducted and brought to Earth where she was eventually killed, can enter the one-way portals. In Asgrove, it has been said that the return of the lost queen’s soul would be soon, possibly within the group of human females brought to Asgrove a month before school was to begin. But dark magic has had centuries to snake its way deep within Asgrove and the residents within.

Chapter One

Bright sunlight filtered through the dense giant redwood tree canopies at the Del Norte Coast Redwood State Park.
After being on the road for more than five hours cooped together with my brothers in the back seat of our dad’s truck, I felt happy to see the park’s light green, weathered, paint peeling welcome sign.
I leaned my head against the glass window of dad’s old truck, stealing glimpses of the hot guy dressed in park ranger green.
After paying the ranger for a two-week camping pass, our blue truck rumbled along the single lane dirt road. “Hand these out to the kids please,” dad said to mom. As I took the paper, a heavily detailed map of the campsite unfolded in my hands. Might be useful.
We made several loops before reaching spot number ninety-nine.
The minute the truck stopped, I jumped out. Sweet freedom at last. No more, acrid stench of sweat. The scent of clean air found from within a redwood forest cleared away the hours of constant teasing and bickering.
Even though I had managed to get out of the vehicle first, the twins, Eric and Derek grabbed their tent from the bed of the truck before I could nab mine. My younger brother Chase along with older brother Sid got to theirs by knocking me to the ground.
“No foul,” Sid said with his trademark grin.
“Got it,” Chase laughed, passing me by, tent tucked under one muscled arm. His dark eyes, the same deep brown as dads met my glare.
“Hey, don’t forget to put the groceries in the food locker,” mom hollered.
“On it,” dad said, coming to stand in front of me. My fingers dug into the loose dirt of the ground as my anger grew.
“What a load of bull! Did you see what Sid did?” I asked my lumberjack dad. He towered above me, dressed the same as always; pale jeans, a white undershirt with a red and black plaid short sleeved shirt and thick, black boots.
“They like to make sure your tent is protected by theirs.”
I frowned at him before taking his hand. Once on my feet, I brushed the dirt from my jeans.
After I dragged my tent over to the set-up area, I saw the familiar pattern. My pink, single person canvas abode would be wedged between two gray double tents. I smiled when I could see this year, we’d have thick trees at our backs instead of another family.
Letting my frustration melt away, I cast my eyes to the beautiful trees semi blocking the rays of the high noon sun. The rich, earthy scent came from being deep within a forest. A natural balm to my frayed nerves. The shade we did have wasn’t enough to lower the temperature until an hour after the sun set. I don’t possess a single drop of ‘outdoor, nature girl’ blood. I missed my friends. Real toilets would have been welcome.
Tent pitched, I frowned when I felt sweat drip along the skin of my back.
“Get her!” Chase shouted. His voice cracked. I laughed. Oh, sweet puberty sure sucked! Yeah, I laughed when I heard my brother’s voice break because I knew he hated it. Which made me like it even more. Chase, the shortest of my brothers. What he lacked in height, he more than made up for in mischief.
I squinted against the sunlight. Then I shook my head. I had forgotten, he had shaved his head right before we left this morning. His golden curls were gone.
I stood perfectly still, right outside my tent.
I knew the drill.
Same thing each year.
“Filled ‘em back at home. Maybe the water will be cool enough for you Lissa.” Erik said, a slight breeze rippled through his long, blond hair. The musician in the family, wore nothing but dark jeans, a dark T-shirt with obscene words and black Converse high-top sneakers, without socks.
Though I stared straight ahead, I could see their bright orange and yellow, mega water blasters currently aimed at my head, from the corner of my eyes.
I didn’t have a mega blaster. I had a green plastic gun filled with water tucked inside my jeans at my lower back.
They moved in to capture me in a circle.
“You guys ought to join the military,” I said.
I had enough water for six shots.
I only needed four.
Before they pulled their triggers, I whipped my gun out and shot them each in the middle of their forehead.
“Gotcha first,” I said. My laughter made my stomach cramp. Wholeheartedly worth it. The looks on their faces simply precious. A good memory at last.
No escape. I weathered the hits from their water guns until they ran dry.
“Didn’t see the shot coming sis,” Derek patted me on the back. I shrugged his hand away.
“You’re dead. I shot each one of you! If you had stayed dead, I wouldn’t be dripping wet!”
“What? It’s a hot day. Gotta cool ya off somehow.” Erik held his empty plastic shooter next to his lips and gave it a kiss.
“Better than last year’s bro,” Chase grinned, slapping Erik hard on the back.
“Got some time before lunch, let’s go refill them,” Derek said as he stared at me.
I rolled my eyes.
They laughed. Then they were gone, off to refuel their blasters.
“Where’d they go?” dad asked as he came to stand near me.
“To refuel.”
“I saw your shots. Surprised to see you participated.”
“Doesn’t getting soaked count as participating?”
“Um, I hear your mother calling me. Got to get a fire going for the hot dogs.”
I watched him walk away from me until I stood alone.
I dropped my little pistol on the ground near my tent.
Bending over, I unzipped my tent’s door.
Quick as a magician, I changed into a fresh pair of jeans, white T-shirt with a lightweight red hoodie. I pulled my hair into a ponytail with a white scrunchie, in case my brothers me again. I took my wet clothing and hung it over the top of my tent.
When they did return, their interest no longer aimed at me. For a few moments, I watched as they ran around outside in the sweltering heat, like drunk mountain lions.
The twins were exact duplicates of each other than the way they dressed. Derek’s casual khaki shorts hung low on his thin hips. Same as his twin, he wore no socks but his feet were always jammed into colorful Van’s. The only shirts he ever wore were plain, white T-shirts. And he hated the music his twin Erik played. So, did I. Loud metal banging noises from his band, The Metal Masters. No joke.
I unzipped my tent’s door and crawled inside to search for my ear buds and music player. Exactly how I planned on spending my time. I brought a few books but with the heat, I had a hard time getting lost in a story.
Listening to music, passed the time. I also tried to exchange text messages with several friends, bemoaning the cruelness of life. The terrible cell reception in the forest made most of my text messages undeliverable.
“Change of plans. We’ll have hot dogs for dinner. Your mom made sandwiches for lunch,” dad said from outside.
“Heard,” I said. I crawled out of my tent to see my brothers standing directly in front of me.
Dad and mom were by the truck with the dry fire pit in between us.
“Couldn’t get the fire started?” Derek asked. He spoke loud enough for us kids to hear but not dad.
“He brought wood instead of buying it from the park,” Chase said quietly.
“Thanks for lunch,” I said, as I elbowed Erik and Derek in the ribs at the same time.
“Yeah, thanks,” my four brothers called out at once.
“Ah, do you have to be so loud?” I rubbed my ears as I made my way past them to get my sandwich.
I smiled as my mom handed me a tin foil-wrapped lump. For a moment, a saw the apology in her blue eyes.
“I’ll eat inside my tent. No water allowed. Cute hat mom.”
“Sure Lissa,” mom said, handing out more silver wrapped packages to the boys.
I looked back and saw her pat her brilliant green baseball cap. Such a shame. She must have wedged her long, black hair inside the hat. Her smile showed me what I needed to know. For now, the world would survive.
I retreated to my tent. The sandwich turned out to be peanut butter and strawberry jam.
After I ate, I crumpled the tin into a ball and left it beside my pillow. I might need it later if I bored.
I retrieved my camera bag from the truck. I returned to my tent without encountering anyone where I set it carefully on top of my navy-blue sleeping bag. I plugged in my ear buds, closed my eyes and listened to the soundtrack of Pink Floyd’s, ‘The Wall.’
On the evening, what would come to be the strangest of my life, my family shared a casual meal of hot dogs roasted over the campfire. We stoically ate them and ignored the blackened crunchy texture. Dad tried his best to behave like a true outdoorsman, but he wasn’t as skilled as Augustus McCrae or Daniel Boone. of us discreetly wiped the tears from our eyes from the campfire smoke.
At the end of dinner, I had to fight off my brothers who attempted to attack me again with their water guns. They laughed as they mocked me. “The water will cool ya off better than that air conditioner you’re always dreaming of!”
I screamed when they shot me. The devils had fired hot water!
Thankfully dad stepped in. He made the jerks back off by standing in front of me. Without their target, my brothers grumbled.
While dad motioned for them to point their guns away, he whispered to me, “Go take a walk on a nearby trail.”
My head turned toward him.
“Don’t forget your camera. There should be several places nearby where you could get some great shots.”
“Thanks, Dad.”
“New target. For this one time, you can shoot me,” dad said, holding his hands in the air. A seriously cool move for dad; sacrificing himself for me.
I took the precious moment he gave me to duck into my tent, tucked my music player in the pocket of my jeans before grabbing my camera bag. I placed it over my shoulder. My eye caught on a map of the campsite. The hot ranger had given dad several of them, which he then gave to us. I grabbed it, stuffed it into a pocket and made my getaway.
Nearly out of range, I heard dad shout, “But don’t go too far.”
I waved at him before turning my full attention to the beautiful foliage around me. “Maybe I’ll get some decent pictures to post online and sell as stock photos. Easy money.” I talked to myself as I stepped on a path leading into the redwood forest. The shade enveloped me. With the setting sun, I figured I had an hour before I needed head back.
Alone, I intended on taking a short walk, when a swarm of blue and white butterflies caught my eye. I pulled out my map and studied the colorful images on the back of the wildlife in the area. There were six types of blue butterflies and at least three types of white ones. The combination of their groups mesmerized me, and I followed them until I came upon the most amazing sight. I looked at my map and frowned. I had stumbled upon a trail called Damnation Creek.
I hesitated for a second before I stepped off the well-worn path and into another world, it could have been a picture from a bedtime storybook. An enchanting lush green meadow surrounded by the thick trunks of the redwood trees. It formed the backdrop for the swirling butterflies and fairy tale like flowers.
I gently set my camera bag on the soft grass. I walked slowly to the secret spot. Using the map to compare, I identified the flowers as Smith’s Fairy Bells.
The spellbinding butterflies were flying high and low as if their movements were an award winning, gracefully choreographed dance. Then, ever so elegant, they would land on the little bell flowers blanketing the meadow.
A tiny bird crossed paths with the dance. The magic broke. I remembered my camera.
I returned to my bag and bent to unzip it. I took great care to assemble my most prized possession – my Nikon D700 digital SR camera with 24.1 pixels and 6 SPS continuous shooting. I attached my Nikon AF-S DX Nikkor lens and closed the bag. I moved slowly around the area outside the butterflies’ path. Ever since a special birthday as a toddler when I received my first plastic red camera, I have loved photography.
After twenty minutes, my arms ached. “Got enough to last me awhile,” I sighed as I carefully removed the Nikkor lens from my camera and tucked it away before putting my camera back in its bag, zipped it and left it where it sat, safe on the enchanted grass. The flora and fauna forgotten, my attention focused on a huge redwood with a funky knot near the bottom which appeared to be a built-in seat.
I walked over to it and ran my hand over the natural contours. Curious, I sat and pressed my back to the trunk of the tree. The wood felt smooth as glass. I tilted my head against the tree and closed my eyes, letting the fresh air clear my thoughts.
Then the tree and beautiful meadow fell away.

**Needs loads of work. Changing a book into a trilogy will be very interesting!**

All comments welcome.

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