Episode 1 (Butterflies in the Garden): Danger Above by Vivian Munnoch

Episode 1:

Butterflies In The Garden

Danger Above

Photo by Jessa Crisp on Unsplash (edited by Vivian Munnoch)

The dully gleaming ebony feathers of the crow seemed to absorb the daylight into its black mass. The motionless bird stared unblinkingly at the motion below from its perch in a tree, looking more like its deceased and stuffed counterpart than a living creature.

Below him the little butterfly flitted weightlessly, bobbing on its wings over the flowers in the garden, oblivious to the danger above.

The crow blinked just once, the thin membrane moving across its cold emotionless eye a heartbeat behind the eyelid in a slightly of double motion. The bird tilted his head.

Spindly legs reaching, the little butterfly landed on a flower. Its wings moved slowly to some soundless rhythm. It tasted the air with its antennae, picking up only the sweet pollen of the flowers.

Feeling safe, the butterfly stilled its wings, letting them soak in the delightful warmth of the sun.

With slow languid motion, the crow spread his wings and took flight, his shadow passing on the ground below.

The fleeting shade was a cooling pulse across the insect’s back, the warmth returned as quickly. Only its antennae moved in response.

Landing soundlessly on a wooden post closer to the flowers, the crow ruffled his feathers and settled to watch the little butterfly.

The insect lifted one spindly front leg and froze. It sensed danger. Its antennae twitched, feeling for the source. Nothing moved except the barest dance of the flowers in the soft breeze. The butterfly relaxed again.

He bided his time, watching the butterfly groom its head with its front legs.

The crow half spread his wings and tilted his head, coldly eying the morsel below. His wings came up and his head down, wings spreading to their full span. He pushed off the post, bringing his wings down against the air, pushing his feet out ahead of him. He dove down at the garden.

Danger trembled in the little butterfly’s antennae. Its legs quivered and wings twitched as it sought the source. The shadow came down, growing, and covered it. It realized the danger too late, flapping its wings and bobbing and dodging on the air.

Faster, the crow dove straight for it, closing the gap quickly.

The insect felt the displaced air before it could flit across two flowers. Desperate to live, it tried to weave in the air. It could not move fast enough, its bumbling flight too weightless for speed.

The crow’s beak clapped closed a wing’s hair from catching and crushing the little butterfly just as it dropped below the flower heads. Twisting mid flight, the bird reached for it with its talons, catching only the velvety softness of flower. Its claws dug into the blossom, tearing the stigma from style, anther from filament, and ruined petals free in a single violent moment that left the spoiled flower trembling with motion in its wake.

Swooping up to land on the post, the bird shook its foot to knock off the petal impaled on one claw. The torn petal fluttered to the ground. The crow ruffled his feathers in irritation at missing the snack.

The quivering butterfly clung to the bottom of a flower head beneath the watchful stare of the hungry bird above. Hours passed and neither moved. The sun crossed the sky, its light getting old and tired, and finally turned to the gloom of dusk as it hung lower in the sky.

Lifting his beak to stare balefully at the weakening light, the crow finally gave up and took flight across the yard and over the trees towards his night roost. His ugly caws carried back on the wind.

The little butterfly was still afraid to move. It clung there in the growing darkness. The sun on the horizon made the sky burn with the colors of sunset as it slipped behind the skyline, plunging the world into night.

Rising waxy and pale, the moon cast its dull light into the night.

Moonlight reached down through the flowers and touched the wings of the little butterfly. Its wings quivered and rippled, shriveling into themselves. It trembled, its body twisting in grotesque reaction to the trauma. It fell into the full light of the moon. Its antennae withered and shriveled, its body convulsed in wretched spasms and twitched as it morphed. The lower part of its body split and pulled apart into two as its legs pulled into the body. The front legs thickened instead of withering like the rest and it shook its head in agony, splaying at the ends to become hands with fingers.

When at last it lay still, gasping raggedly from the pain ravaging it with the transformation, it was no longer a butterfly.

Clutching at and shaking her head, she moaned and pushed herself into a sitting position. She groaned hollowly and looked around.

She is still the size of the butterfly, but has shed all insectile appearances for human-like. Hair cut in a short bob framed her tiny face. Her appearance was almost elven, slender and diminutively angled.

Ibris stood weakly on unsteady legs, wavering a little. A gossamer gown hung off her, limp and tired. Putting an arm out, she stumbled over and leaned on the flower stalk for support as she gathered herself.

“That was close.” Her voice was rough and high with anxiety. She blinked; looking dazed, and tried to clear her thoughts.

“Craven the Crow is back. This is not good. He has killed too many of us. I should alert the village.”

Still weak from the transformation, Ibris shuddered and her gown shifted. Part of it lifted on each side, splitting apart to reveal wings so delicate they seemed they would tear on the barest breath of a breeze.

She looked up anxiously, expecting to see the ugly crow suddenly appear. She could not fly yet, so she started walking, climbing between flower stalks and blades of grass. Everything towered massively above her.

When her wings have dried, she took flight, moving more quickly. Ibris flew recklessly through the flowers, rising above them and speeding up, darting across the garden. She crossed the yard to the woods beyond and vanished into the shadows of the trees.

The village was alive with activity when Ibris reaches it. The dwellings were little cottages of twigs and dry grass faded to sandy browns like logs and flat boards of wood. Tiny flowers decorated gardens, their heads hanging large and heavily.

Her legs were already pumping before she landed, her stride gong easily from flight to a swift walk as her feet touch ground. She dodged through the village determinedly.

Ibris stopped at a building that was larger than the small cottage homes. The House of Counsel. She looked at the closed door uncertainly, reached a hand out to knock, and froze. Her hand fell uselessly to her side.

“I’m going to be in trouble for going to the flowers without permission.”

She turned unhappily, retreating.

“Ibris, where have you been?” The voice is soft, but with an edge of irritation, lightly scolding.

Ibris stopped and looked. Her eyes flashed warily as one caught doing something wrong might look. Liandan, the weaver of spider-silk cloth was staring at her, waiting for an explanation.

Liandan was taller than Ibris, her arms lean and strong from hard work. She was older, but still young enough to be just starting her journey through the adult life.

Ibris took quick steps to her. She lowered her voice to whisper.

“I know I should not have, but my butterfly brain does not always think.” She looked down guiltily. “I went to the flowers.”

“Without permission,” Liandan guessed. “You are lucky you did not get caught, or in danger.”

Ibris’s cheeks reddened.

“What happened?” Liandan asked.

“Craven.” Ibris’s voice trembled with the memory.

Liandan blanched and her face turned a sickly shade of pale. She reached for Ibris, needed to touch her and make sure her friend was safe. She felt Ibris trembling beneath her hand.

“Are you okay? Did he hurt you?”

Ibris shook her head. “It was close. Very close. I was sure I felt his ugly beak snapping me in half when I heard it clap closed on the air where I just was.”

She shuddered with the thought.

“But you are okay now. Promise me you won’t go back out there.”

Ibris gave Liandan a pained look.

“I didn’t mean to go,” she pleaded. “I was in the other form. My mind did not think. It has been safe for so long, I guess I forgot.”

Liandan was staring off thoughtfully.

“So, Craven has returned.” She looked at Ibris. “We have to tell the village. Craven is relentless. Ibris, we have to tell the elders.”

“No.” Ibris reached to put a restraining hand on her arm. She stared into her eyes pleadingly. “I will be punished.”

“If we don’t, someone will fall prey to him sooner or later.”

Ibris hung her head in shame.

“All right,” she said quietly.

“We don’t have to tell them everything,” Liandan said. She looked thoughtful. “Did you hear his call?”

“Yes. Ugly and loud.”

“Did you see or feel his shadow cross you?”

“Both.” Ibris shuddered and hugged herself.

Liandan nodded. “We have it then. We will tell them that and leave out where you were.”

“But that would be a lie by omission.”

“It’s only a small lie.”

“It’s a big one and they will ask where.”

“All right. We will have to tell the whole truth. Maybe it won’t be so bad. Come, we have to tell someone.”

Ibris followed her unhappily back through the village.

“We are not going to the House of Counsel?”

“No,” Liandan said. “We will find one of the grandmothers who have retired from the council. They will know best what to do.”

They came around a cottage to see a group of ahead. Sarawn, one of the knights of the Glenn and member of the council was there, looking serious and angry. Shanawn, the elderly historian was looking at him gravely. There were others too, all talking in loud anxious voices and looking concerned.

Liandan grabbed Ibris’s hand so she could not back out and dragged her along towards them.

“What’s going on?” Liandan asked when they reached the group.

Shanawn turned to look at them.

“Craven’s ugly cry has been heard,” he said, his voice thin and wavering with age. “His black shadow has been cast across our village again.”

Liandan and Ibris looked at each other. Ibris’s secret was safe, for now.

New Release – Madelaine & Mocha (The Wishing Stone) by Vivian Munnoch

It started with a walk in the woods and ended in kidnapping.

 

Madelaine & Mocha

The Wishing Stone series book 1

By Vivian Munnoch,

Author of dark fiction for young readers

Now available on Amazon Kindle and print on demand.

(Click to buy)

It started with a walk in the woods and ended in kidnapping.

Madelaine and her family are on a boring, no electronics and thank you very much for ruining my life, camping trip that changes Madelaine and her life forever.

First, her little dog Mocha is lost in the forest. Then Madelaine vanishes from their tent without a trace in the night. Everyone assumes she snuck out to look for Mocha.

Madelaine wakes in the dark, dressed only in her nightgown, with no idea how she got where she is, locked in a small room.

While searchers comb the forest looking for her, Madelaine is trying to figure out how to escape and return to her family. But they will never look in the right place.

Only her little dog Mocha knows what really happened to Madelaine.

 

 

Madelaine thought things could not possibly get worse when her parents dragged her out on a boring, no electronics and thank you very much for ruining my life, camping trip.

Then Mocha, her American Cocker Spaniel and currently her only reason for getting through each day, is lost in the forest. Their attempts to find the dog are futile and Madelaine is devastated.

A local boy, Geoffrey, joins Madelaine in her search, promising to not give up and showing her the beauty of the forest.

Then, Madelaine’s family wakes up to find her gone, vanished from the tent in the night wearing only her nightgown.

 

Madelaine wakes in the dark, locked in a small room with no idea how she got there.

The prisoner of a strange old man, Madelaine begs for escape, even in death. But she knew death once. Almost. It was not the blissful drifting off asleep she imagined it would be. It was agonizing and ugly.

The old man’s reason for kidnapping her is nothing she could have ever imagined. Madelaine keeps her hope up by wishing on a stone. Playing wishing games will not be enough to free her and escape her fate.

 

 

Author photoVivian Munnoch grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba and continues to live in Manitoba with her family and rescue dogs. Vivian’s writing has always had a vein of darkness to it.

“I’ve always loved horror. I used to sneak downstairs as a kid at night to watch old killer B horror flicks. They were delightfully naughty and scary for a kid before the world evolved into the online forum it is today.”

Vivian Munnoch is working on a few other projects. The Wishing Stone series will touch on a few of young readers’ fan favourites of vampires and the like, but with a darker twist. These creatures are not romantic. The Butterflies in the Garden series is a dark fantasy. You will never see your garden in the same way.

Vivian Munnoch’s books are available on Amazon Kindle and in print on Amazon. You can also check Vivian’s Facebook author page to find out where she will be signing books in the community.

 

https://www.facebook.com/VivianMunnoch/

https://twitter.com/VivianMunnoch

https://wordpress.com/view/vivianmunnoch.wordpress.com

 

 

Meet Author Bethany Hoeflich!

Azaaa Davis, Author

April is #indieapril and I want to highlight the work of a fellow indie author (and writer mom).

A little background of Bethany…

Bethany Hoeflich lives in Central Pennsylvania with her husband, three children and an assortment of furry (and scaley) creatures.

Monday through Friday, Bethany is at the mercy of the sadistic whims of her scatterbrained muse, feverishly churning out the words for her next novel.

On the weekends, Bethany wrestles narwhals, participates in competitive taco-eating competitions and visits alternate dimensions through a rift in her stereotypically dark, spooky basement.


I meet Bethany in one of the many writer support groups on Facebook. She’s pretty active online and posts very engaging content about fantasy writing. I like that she updates our group on her work-in-progress (WIP) and often shares exerpts. Bethany is also great about replying encouragingly to questions from aspiring writers.


What motivates you?

The success of…

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New Release – The Latchkey Kids: The Disappearance of Willie Gordon by Vivian Munnoch

The Latchkey Kids series is a drama packed middle grade thriller.

By popular demand, Manitoba author Vivian Munnoch releases a second Latchkey Kids book, “The Latchkey Kids: The Disappearance of Willie Gordon”.

 

The Latchkey Kids: The Disappearance of Willing Gordon

The Latchkey Kids series book 2

By Vivian Munnoch,

Author of dark fiction for young readers

(Click to buy)

 

After repeated requests for a follow-up book, Canadian author Vivian Munnoch has written a continuation to the novel “The Latchkey Kids”.

The Latchkey Kids series is a drama packed middle grade thriller. “I purposely avoid describing the kids’ physical appearances because I want the reader to put her or himself into their shoes, no matter the reader’s background.”

This series is “clean”. It is middle grade school library safe.

 

The Latchkey Kids 2-Kindle crop

Five kids, twelve and thirteen years old and on their own before and after school, each faces their own struggles; a broken home, illness, crushes, bullying, depression, absent parents, suicidal thoughts, broken friendships, and fears of being only a kid and home alone.

What would you do if you came home from school alone and heard noises in the basement?

 

The Latchkey Kids: The Disappearance of Willie Gordon (book 2):

Madison, Andrew, Kylie, Anna, and Dylan survived the abandoned factory fire. They thought it was over. Spring break is ending and they are still trying to pick of the pieces of their shattered beliefs in what the world is supposed to be.

Life goes on as if nothing happened. But it did happen. And it is happening again.

Nothing in their lives seems to have changed when everything feels like it did. Everything is back to normal, right?

And then Willie Gordon vanishes.

While new jealousies burn, problems kept secret begin to emerge, and Joshua joins the group after his sister committed suicide, the group feels they are the only ones who can find Willie. Nobody believes them that the monsters are real.

The kids have to face the monsters again, in the basements where they nest.

 

the latchkey kids-flattened-b&n ebook cropThe Latchkey Kids (book 1): (Click to buy)

In The Latchkey Kids you are introduced to the five characters, Madison, Andrew, Kylie, Anna, and Dylan. Each has their own private world of problems they feel trapped alone in.

Madison, “plain old boring nothing ever happens to Madison”, is finally a latchkey kid for the first time. She just turned twelve. And what does she do on her first day ever having to come home alone? She loses her key; on one of the coldest days of a very cold winter.

Andrew has been a latchkey kid since last year but has never gotten used to being home alone. He hears noises in the basement that unnerve him; noises that his parents dismiss as nothing more than the house making noises. Being home alone scares him, but he won’t admit it to anyone.

Anna is alone more than anyone knows. She is a rebel without a cause, skipping school and doing whatever she wants. Dressed always in her long-sleeved shirts and I don’t care attitude, even her teachers have given up on Anna. Behind the face of indifference Anna is a tortured soul. Her younger brother is in the hospital with a terminal illness and may never come home. Her mother spends all her time at the hospital while her father works three jobs trying to hold the family together. Anna is utterly and completely alone, left to raise herself, her parents merely a footnote of her life.

Dylan was a latchkey kid before. Now he goes to a babysitter. Embarrassing! He does not want anyone to know, but is also terrified at the idea of being home alone; ever since their house was broken into, trashed, the perpetrators attempting to burn it down and torturing their now traumatized dog. That weakness and fear is even more of an embarrassment to him. Dylan has anger issues, lashing out thoughtlessly, his problems bottled up inside to the point they are seeping out in explosive bursts of violence. As far as school bullies go, Dylan is the worst at Woodside School. He is also raving mad crushing on Kylie.

Kylie feels like her life is a special kind of hell. She sees what others have and is quietly resolved to not having it. Her single mother is struggling to keep their little family together. It is just her, her mother, and her little sister. She lives in fear of her abusive father, who her mother finally managed to gather the courage to kick out. She lives in fear of Amber Shaw and the Mean Team, whose sole purpose in life seems to be to torture, torment, and bully Kylie. Amber has a special hatred for Kylie.

Newly introduced at the end of the Latchkey Kids:

Joshua walks into the Latchkey Kids world at the end of book one, confronting Amber Shaw in public and accusing her of killing his sister. His sister committed suicide because of Amber’s online bullying. This is only the start to his story and the problems he faces.

 

Author photoVivian Munnoch grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba and continues to live in Manitoba with her family and rescue dogs. Vivian’s writing has always had a vein of darkness to it.

“I’ve always loved horror. I used to sneak downstairs as a kid at night to watch old killer B horror flicks. They were delightfully naughty and scary for a kid before the world evolved into the online forum it is today.”

Vivian Munnoch is working on a few other projects. The Wishing Stone series will touch on a few of young readers’ fan favourites of vampires and the like, but with a darker twist. These creatures are not romantic. The Butterflies in the Garden series is a dark fantasy. You will never see your garden in the same way.

Vivian Munnoch’s books are available on Amazon Kindle and in print on Amazon. You can also check Vivian’s Facebook author page to find out where she will be signing books in the community.

 

https://www.facebook.com/VivianMunnoch/

https://twitter.com/VivianMunnoch

https://wordpress.com/view/vivianmunnoch.wordpress.com

 

 

Book Review: Under The Trees

Cinnamon Summers

underthetrees1.pngAuthor: Ashley Maker

Publisher: Self Published

Genre: YA Fantasy, YA Romance

Pages: 232

Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis:

“Desperate to prevent an abusive arranged marriage, Princess Araya flees to a neighboring kingdom, only to land at the mercy of the impulsive Crown Prince Thoredmund, who provides refuge in a secluded forest and teaches her survival skills. Her surprise at the unexpected hold the prince has on her heart mirrors his shock at falling for the one girl he can’t have.

As the young couple’s feelings for each other grow, the fragile alliance between the two kingdoms threatens to break apart. With a vengeful duke and an enraged king fast on their trail, Thor and Araya must decide how much they’re willing to risk for love.

Even if staying together means starting a war.”

This book was so much fun to read! It was beautifully written and very captivating. I honestly wasn’t…

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The Dead and the Gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Bedrooped Bookworms

#2 in Last Survivors series

336 pages, YA/Dystopia/Apocalypse

In this sequel-ish to Life As We Knew It, Alex Morales is a junior in high school in New York City when the asteroid hits the moon.  His dad was away at a funeral, his mom was called into work in Queens, and he is suddenly the oldest left in charge of his two younger sisters.  Devout Catholics, he turns to the church for help, but even they lack resources in this tough time.

Again, I really enjoyed this book.  I wanted so much to find out more about Miranda and her family but you quickly come to like Alex as well and are rooting for him to somehow make it through what seems to be impossible circumstances.  I can’t imagine at 17 having to make all decisions for my siblings and figure out how to feed them without any modern…

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