Interview With Author Amelia Griggs

By way of introduction, here is Amelia Griggs’ bio:

Amelia Griggs is a Learning Design and Development specialist, Instructional Designer, Writer and Authorpeneuer.

She enjoys researching, designing, and developing all kinds of educational materials, writing instructional articles, blogging, and composing fictional short stories.

She is currently working on educational eBooks, how-to guides, and instructional YouTube videos.

Amelia has always loved writing for as long as she could remember. She also loves writing short stories, rhymes and poems, and there’s even a historical fiction novel in her future.


She has a Bachelor’s of Business Administration with a Major in Computer Science, and a Master’s of Science in Instructional Design and Technology.

Hello, Amelia, welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

When did the writing bug ensnare you?

I always loved to write, for as long as I could remember. As a young girl, I was fascinated with rhyming and poetry, especially funny ones. I always had a secret wish to someday write and publish books.

Is writing your full-time profession?

Currently, I devote about 50% to writing, publishing, and marketing. I’m also a freelance Instructional Designer and eLearning developer.

Eventually I can see myself dedicating most of my time to writing, self-publishing, marketing, and helping others fulfill their dream of publishing a book.

How long have you been writing?

For many years, but I got serious about it about 10 years ago.

For years I was writing training manuals and building computer courses, and then I started writing online educational articles, and then short stories.

Writing short stories, poems and rhymes was fun and allowed me to be more creative. I entered a short story contest, and then 2 of my stories were selected to be part of a short story anthology. After that, I was hooked.

Have you won any literary awards?

1st and 2nd place for a monthly short story contest in 2014 to be published in an anthology book

Best Seller Ranking on Amazon for several of my books in my Microsoft Office Tips, Tricks and Shortcuts series

Best Microsoft Excel Books of All Time Winner, BookAuthority.org

Reader’s Choice in Business and Investing, 2018, 3rd place, TCK Publishing

How many published books have you written?

So far, 9 books in 2 different genres, including business technology and children’s books.

Which genres do you write?

I like to write in different genres, including non-fiction technology books, and fiction including children’s books.

I’m also working on a non-fiction book and video series about my author journey due for release in 2021.

What do you find most challenging writing for these genres?

For my technology book series, the challenge is keeping up with software updates and new content.

For my children’s book series, the challenge is figuring out the best storyline, characters, and illustrations to fit for today’s audience. The key is to create something unique and special.

What are you working on now?

I’m working on my author journey book and video series. The goal in mind is to help authors in different genres learn how to successfully self-publish and market their books.

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?

For my children’s books, my mother and memories of childhood are my biggest inspiration.

For my technology and other non-fiction books, after years of working in the computer industry, it was always my dream to write instructional books to help others.

The common theme in all my books is learning and have fun doing so.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?

My most rewarding experience has been attending author expos and live events where I can talk and meet readers.

In addition, it’s also rewarding when readers reach out to me online and let me know that one of my computer books helped them be productive, or that one of my children’s books brought joy and fun to their family.

The most exciting reward is when someone sends you a picture of them holding your book in their hands.

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

For new authors, I would say to keep writing and never give up. Dream big and remember you can accomplish anything!

Also, be sure to network with other successful authors who can mentor you, as you continue your author journey. When you need help, ask for help. Never stop learning.

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

Just that I am a strong believer that anyone can accomplish anything, as long as you believe.

If a little negative voice pops into my head and says that isn’t good enough, I replace the negative thought with a positive one.

It’s just like in the children’s story “The Little Engine That Could.”

What message are you sharing in your books?

All my books share a common theme: Learning. Just like books come in different shapes and sizes, so does learning.

Learning can be as simple as learning a new word, or as complex as developing a computer program. All my books are designed to help both children and adults learn something new.

What are your favorite books?

I love to read as well as write in different genres, so I have many favorite books in different genres.

This includes non-fiction (the Power of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale), suspense (Agatha Christie novels), historical fiction (the Abbington Picket series, by Corinne Hewitt) and children’s books (Amelia Bedelia books).

As a young girl I remember reading Forever by Judy Bloom, and I still have this book.

When my children were very young, I enjoyed reading as many children’s books as possible, especially rhyming books like Dr. Suess’ The Cat in the Hat.

As an adult, I love reading self-help books, suspense/mystery and business/technology.

If you could create an author’s group with writers from any time period, who would you invite?

Hmmm. That’s an interesting question. There are so many talented authors in the world right now, as well as in the past.

I think it would be interesting to have writers from a variety of eras, including William Shakespeare, Charles Dickens, Edgar Allan Poe, Agatha Christie, Dr. Suess and Maya Angelou, to name a few.

Who has influenced your writing the most?

My mother is my inspiration for writing.

She used to tell me interesting stories about how she grew up in Italy, and how they made things by hand, including clothes, embroidered napkins and blankets, and how they cooked every meal from scratch.

When you’re not writing where can we find you?

When I’m not writing or working, I’m either cooking, drawing, creating training videos, exercising, watching movies, listening to comedy shows, or spending time with family and friends.

A movie producer wants to turn your book into a movie, and you get to make a cameo. What would you do in the movie?

I could play a teacher, and one of my students is Bella, the main character in my children’s books.

For show and tell, Bella shows everyone how to bake a cake. Fast forward 20 years and Bella is now a grown woman with her own café, where home-baked goods are the most popular thing on the menu.

Hey…that gives me an idea for a hallmark movie!

An elf named 12-25 approaches you. He’s sneezing, wheezing, coughing and there’s a strange tattoo of a snoring dog on his cheek. What do you do?

Help him find his way home so he can get well. Since his name is 12-25, he is probably one of Santa’s helpers and needs to get back to the North Pole in time for Christmas!

What are your most effective marketing strategies?

To effectively market books, it’s important to build your brand, know your audience and build a following.

Doing so helps you interact with potential readers to let them know about new books and offerings they may like.

When possible, it’s helpful to attend in-person author events. In addition, it’s important to have a strong online presence and interact with customers and network with fellow authors.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?

Yes, I have a blog called www.ameliaswritingcorner.com and several other websites. All of my links can be found on https://linktr.ee/ameliagriggs

Where can we find your books? My books are available online on www.amazon.com/author/ameliagriggs as well as many other online bookstores, and several local bookstores in the area where I live.

Thank you, Amelia, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!

Amelia’s Featured Book

Available on Amazon

***The Bella and Friends Learning Series! ***
The third coloring and activity book in the series: Candy Canes, Snowflakes and Gingerbread Houses PLUS Coloring and Activity Fun!

This fun coloring and activity book is holiday-themed and includes lots of FUN activities including:

  • Matching Activites
  • Drawing Activites
  • Spot the Difference
  • Seek ‘N Find
  • Mazes (Easy, Medium and Hard Levels)
  • Color by Number
  • Decorating Activities
  • Counting Activites
  • Snowflakes Dots Games
  • Missing Letters
  • Christmas Crossword

This coloring book is inspired by the book “Snowflakes With Sugar” which is part of the Bella and Mia Adventure Book Series. There are lots of candy canes, snowflakes and gingerbread houses throughout this book!

The Bella and Friends Learning Series is inspired by the books in the Bella and Mia Adventure Series, where the use of rhymes and recipes promote fun activities with parent and child. Now it’s time for more fun with holiday activities!

* * * * * * * * * *
Here are other books you might like in the Bella and Mia Adventure Series. These are fun rhyming stories! Learn about recipes and how it is to cook!

  • Silly Willy Apple Cake
  • Squishy Wishy Meatballs
  • Snowflakes With Sugar

2020 Christmas Author/Blogger Giveaway

My friends and I have gotten together to do another December Holiday Giveaway!

💰GP $75 PayPal Cash💰

15 Books 📖

15 Prizes 🎁

Click the link to enter: https://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/2703c98f116/

Good luck and Happy Reading! 🙂

Interview With Author/Illustrator Donald Lloyd

By way of introduction, here is Donald Lloyd’s bio:

Donald Lloyd is a first-time children’s book author looking for a way to bring childhood lessons to light. 

Originally from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan and a professional Landscape Designer by trade, Donald has spent the last decade watching his kids learn these lessons.

His book, The Adventures of Monkey and Toad: Unlikely Friends, explores what it is like to make a new friend.Donald lives in Maryland with his family.

Hello, Donald, welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

When did the writing bug ensnare you?

The short answer is that I have been writing all my life. The slightly longer version is that it all began when I lost my job in January.

I was looking for a creative outlet and a way to occupy my time. My wife told me to write the book that I had in my head for the longest time. So that is what I did.

Is writing your full-time profession?

Absolutely! Since writing the book I have spent nearly 8 hours per day marketing, promoting, reviewing, and connecting with other authors and illustrators.

As you know it is not something you can go into lightly if you want to succeed.

Isn’t that the truth!

How long have you been writing?

As a professional author I have been writing for about a year. But as I said earlier, I have been writing all my life. Short stories, poems, really whatever moved me in the moment.

How many published books have you written?

I just have my debut book, The Adventures of Monkey and Toad: Two Remarkable Friends, but I have illustrated 2 others for authors which are available as well. I do plan on making Monkey and Toad’s adventures into a series.

Which genre do you write?

I am a children’s book author/illustrator. I prefer this genre because I am a light-hearted person who enjoys making kids smile with fun rhyming schemes and illustrations.

What do you find most challenging writing for this genre?

The most challenging part for me is the message for the story. Sometimes I start writing and it just flows. Other times I need to take a break for a few days and the message becomes clear.  

What are you working on now?

I am working on illustrating books for 3 authors while simultaneously writing and illustrating book #2 for The Adventures of Monkey and Toad.

Photo courtesy of Donald Lloyd via Facebook

Where do you find inspiration for your characters?

All of my inspiration comes from my 2 boys (ages 12 and 7) and my wife. She is a former zookeeper with lots of stories and the boys are a never ending font of inspiration on life lessons, both good and bad.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?

That’s easy, getting to spend my days with my kids. Since this whole pandemic began I have spent more time with them than I could have ever hoped for in a lifetime.

It has been great watching them grow and to be able to share this experience with them and to see themselves as characters in a book has been wonderful.

Photo courtesy of Donald Lloyd via Facebook

What advice would you give to authors just starting out?

I have two pieces of advice:

1) If you want to know who your greatest competition is look in the mirror. So often we are afraid to take a chance on the unknown that we miss out. I was in that boat and believe me when I say that taking the leap was life altering and

2) The greatest enemy of creativity is self-doubt. There are so many creative people in the world that have beautiful talents. They doubt themselves because they are afraid, but I say to them let the world see you for who you are and you will never be disappointed. The people who are supposed to be in your lives and support you will find you!

Photo courtesy of Donald Lloyd via Facebook

Is there anything else you’d like your readers to know about you?

This is a second career for me and one that I wish I had found or should say been brave enough to pursue when I was younger. Creativity should not be kept in but let loose on the world.

I am a huge supporter of the arts and cherish every artist I get the chance to meet. I think the world would be a much happier place if we all were a little more artistic!

What message are you sharing in your books?

My primary goal is to share multiple messages throughout the series. The debut book shows children that in a digital age where we are more likely to be friends on a screen that sometimes all you have to do is open up and give someone a chance.

You never know they may be the best friend you were looking for all along! There are so many things that our kids learn that I know I have taken for granted. So I try to observe and report, as it were, on the nuances of childhood.

What are your favorite books?

My favorite books are really any books that make me smile. I grew up loving The Berenstein Bears, Clifford, Charles Dickens, Sylvia Plath.

I have such diverse interests that it really does boil down to the fact of a book making me lose myself. Who doesn’t love getting lost in a book!

If you could create an author’s group with writers from any time period, who would you invite?

Wow, that is a tough question! I would have to say writer’s from the Renaissance. There is something about the rebirth that I find intriguing as if to say we were awakened to new possibilities.

Who has influenced your writing the most?

That’s easy, my kids. Everything I do is for them and to the end that I get to spend time with them every day!

When you’re not writing where can we find you?

I’m usually watching rugby or cricket. If not there then I am in the workshop working on my latest carpentry project.

And yet I’m at the computer working on illustrations too. Like I said I have diverse interests that allow me to be creative every day!

A movie producer wants to turn your book into a movie and you get to make a cameo. What would you do in the movie?

I would be the plucky zookeeper in the story. They have not made an appearance yet but…oops!  I just gave away a character in the upcoming book!

And we were the first to know about it! How exciting!!

An elf named 12-25 approaches you. He’s sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and there’s a strange tattoo of a snoring dog on his cheek. What do you do?

I love this question! 

Well if I already know his name then that’s not strange to me and I am sure I know the story behind the tattoo. 

So, in this instance I would offer him some cough and cold relief or take him to the doctor’s office.

On the other hand, I may not know his name and simply have seen his name tag. I would probably then cover my face so as not to get sick too. And as far as the tattoo I would probably ask what the dog’s name is and if it was his only pet!

What are your most effective marketing strategies?

Honestly, it has been word of mouth advertising. My family has been fabulous at getting the word out and generating support for the book.

I have friends all over that have supported me through purchases, social media, and telling folks they meet.

Do you have a website/Facebook page, etc?

I am currently working on a website so stay tuned for that in the coming months.

As for Facebook the link is: https://www.facebook.com/DonaldLl0yd.

I can also be followed on Instagram (@donaldlloyd_author) and Twitter (@DonaldLl0yd) and Amazon Author Central (https://www.amazon.com/~/e/B08DDB5TS5).

Where can we find your books?

Amazon   https://amzn.to/2YI7A7D

Barnes and Noble  https://bit.ly/32AARmG

Halo Publishing  https://bit.ly/32BYRWr

Or you can order one directly through me by sending me a message on social media.  Once the website is up and running customers will be able to order one through it as well.

Thank you, Donald, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!

Donald’s Featured Book

Available on Amazon

Ever wanted to make a new friend but were not sure how? Have you ever met someone and instantly knew that you would be friends?

The Adventures of Monkey and Toad: Two Remarkable Friends is a story about finding a friend, learning how to be a friend, and realizing that a true friend can be anyone from anywhere!

Marsha Casper Cook Podcast

Tomorrow, November 10, at 4pm EST, I’ll be joining Marsha Casper Cook and others to discuss one of my absolute favorite topics–children’s books. YAY!

As a mother and early childhood teacher, one of the most fulfilling things I did was read books to my kiddos.

All with a simple, interactive, and targeted reading, I witnessed friendships blossom and young minds grasp new concepts.

And the joy!! The joy on their little faces when a character did something incredibly outrageous or performed an act of bravery and kindness were priceless.

Those moments will stay with me forever!

I hope you’ll join us.

Here’s the link:
https://www.blogtalkradio.com/michiganavenuemedia/2020/11/10/childrens-books

Maria Vermisoglou’s The Eulogimenoi Series & Giveaway

Beware the Violet

The Eulogimenoi Series Book 1 

by Maria Vermisoglou

Genre: YA Fantasy 

Discovering supernatural creatures are real is one thing but learning I have powers and learning to use them is quite a feat.
My name is Violet Webb. I live in a small town that nearly worships Halloween but I hate it. I can’t wait until I graduate and get as far as I can from that silliness.

Everything changed when I followed the white rabbit. I ended up in a Realm full of vampires, fairies, witches and every creature possible.

Oh, Did I mention Jacques?
The hot shapeshifter with the French accent that makes me see rabbits everywhere?

Now what?

Some bloody lady of Fate gave me a prophecy to get home. The only problem is that I must defeat the darkness before it swallows both of our worlds.

Can I go through without making the ultimate sacrifice? 

Goodreads * Amazon 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/48361883-beware-the-violet

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07YF3FRPP/ 

Book Trailer:

The Shifter’s Revenge 

The Eulogimenoi Series Book  2 

The stakes are higher than ever…

As I recover from my last trial where I was confronted by the darkest creatures in history, I hoped things would return to my normal, peaceful life.Not a chance.With my return to Oklealia academy and the arrival of a new headmistress whose inhuman ways turn the academy into a jail, my plate is full enough, but signs of an upcoming threat awaken my fears once more.

Time is running out— for me and the world. When the final battle arrives, will I make the right choice? 

Goodreads * Amazon 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55426795-the-shifters-revenge

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08J5VFS33

Series Trailer:

Father Dearest 

The Eulogimenoi Series Book 2.5

Spring Break is supposed to be a time of fun and new beginnings.

After defeating the Darkness, Violet and I thought we could just spend some time together and revel in our relationship with our friends in the Blessed Realm.
But just when you think the past is firmly locked away does it rear its ugly head.
A figure from my past comes back with a message, putting Violet’s life at risk.

Will I be able to protect my girl, along with the realm that I call home? Or will blood prove to my undoing? 

Goodreads * Amazon 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/55427387-father-dearest

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B08JB476Q9

Book Trailer:

About the Author

Librarian. Reader. Writer. Reviewer.

Maria Vermisoglou is an International Bestselling fantasy author and she loves throwing her heroes into impossible situations. She draws inspiration from books, travels and…the ceiling. (So, blame the ceiling!)

She started writing 4 years ago when an idea came to her. That idea started all…
When she’s not writing, she loves a good riding on the fantasy dragon but a book can also be exciting along with a cup of tea.
She’s currently residing in Crete as a librarian, battling monsters and supernatural creatures from overcoming the world.

In July 2018, she was nominated as the second place winner in the First Annual Indie Awards as the Favourite New Female Author.

Website * Facebook * Instagram * Bookbub * Amazon * Goodreads 

Author Links

Website: https://maraki2311.wixsite.com/creativequill
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecursedgirl16  

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/portal_to_the_unknown

Bookbub: https://www.bookbub.com/authors/maria-vermisoglou   

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Maria-Vermisoglou/e/B07BYT83WR 

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17909964.Maria_Vermisoglou   

Giveaway

Follow the tour HERE for special content and a giveaway!

https://www.silverdaggertours.com/sdsxx-tours/the-eulogimenoi-series-book-tour-and-giveaway

**Enter to win a Big Mystery Box HERE!**

https://kingsumo.com/g/uosuzo/the-eulogimenoi-series-massive-giveaway

Interview With Author Charlie Holmberg

By way of introduction, here is Charlie Holmberg’s bio:

Charlie N. Holmberg is the author of the Numina Series and the Wall Street Journal bestselling Paper Magician Series, which has been optioned by the Walt Disney Company.

She is also the author of five stand-alone novels, including Followed by Frost, a 2016 RITA award finalist for Best Young Adult Romance, and The Fifth Doll, winner of the 2018 Whitney for Speculative Fiction.

Born in Salt Lake City, Charlie was raised a Trekkie alongside three sisters who also have boy names. She is a proud BYU alumna, plays the ukulele, and owns too many pairs of glasses. She currently lives with her family in Utah.

Hello, Charlie, welcome to Angel Kiss Publications. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.

Thank you for having me.

Is writing your full-time profession?

It is! I consider that one of the greatest blessings of my life. That I not only have an opportunity to write stories that others will read, but that enough people read them to allow me to support my family. It really is a dream come true.

How long have you been writing?

I started writing when I was 13, though I didn’t take it super seriously until I was 18. I was nineteen when I finished my first novel. 26 when I debuted.

Have you won any literary awards?

If the Whitneys count, then yes. I did come in as a finalist for the ALA awards and the RITAs.

How many published books have you written?

Spellbreaker is my 13th published novel. After I fulfill my current contract, I’ll have 17 published novels (and a smattering of short fiction).

Which genres do you write?

I write fantasy first and foremost, and then I dive into historicals on occasion and romance always. 😉

What are you working on now?

I’m working on the sequel to Star Mother, a book I just sold to 47North. The idea behind that story is that stars, the batteries of the universe, can only be born by the Sun god and a mortal woman, and the mortal woman always perishes. Until one day, she doesn’t.

What has been your most rewarding experience since publishing your work?

I’ve had so many amazing things happen in my career, but the one that makes me the most excited was selling my debut series to the Walt Disney Company.

What are your favorite books?

Romantic fantasy is my favorite genre overall. That said, my favorite authors are Brandon Sanderson and Amy Harmon. The latter’s The Bird and the Sword is one of my favorite novels of all time. The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms by N.K. Jemisin is another favorite.

Who has influenced your writing the most?

Brandon Sanderson and Hayao Miyazaki/Studio Ghibli. I was able to take creative writing courses from the first; he’s a fantastic teacher and one of my favorite authors.

I’m always inspired by the creativity of the second, and feel that watching Studio Ghibli movies can get me out of any creative rut.

Do you have a website/Facebook page etc.?

Yes, I do.

Facebook: https://m.facebook.com/cnholmberg/

Twitter:

Instagram: https://instagram.com/cnholmberg

Website: https://charlienholmberg.com/

Where can we find your books?

You can find them on Amazon and BarnesandNoble.com, your local library, and on my website at charlienholmberg.com/shop.

Thank you, Charlie, for spending time with us and sharing your story. We wish you continued success and lots of luck!

Charlie’s Featured Book

Available on Amazon

Book Blurb:

The orphaned Elsie Camden learned as a girl that there were two kinds of wizards in the world: those who pay for the power to cast spells and those, like her, born with the ability to break them. But as an unlicensed magic user, her gift is a crime. Commissioned by an underground group known as the Cowls, Elsie uses her spellbreaking to push back against the aristocrats and help the common man. She always did love the tale of Robin Hood.

Elite magic user Bacchus Kelsey is one elusive spell away from his mastership when he catches Elsie breaking an enchantment. To protect her secret, Elsie strikes a bargain. She’ll help Bacchus fix unruly spells around his estate if he doesn’t turn her in. Working together, Elsie’s trust in—and fondness for—the handsome stranger grows. So does her trepidation about the rise in the murders of wizards and the theft of the spellbooks their bodies leave behind. For a rogue spellbreaker like Elsie, there’s so much to learn about her powers, her family, the intriguing Bacchus, and the untold dangers shadowing every step of a journey she’s destined to complete. But will she uncover the mystery before it’s too late to save everything she loves?

Excerpt:

She’d stashed the paint behind the woodpile of a bakery. 

A few stars gleamed overhead as Elsie approached the duke’s estate. It seemed so much larger and more ominous in the dark. It had a heavy stone wall that faced the road, but the back of it opened up onto woodland. Land only the duke and his guests could hunt on, though that was a gripe for another evening. 

Elsie did not much like ambling through the woods in the dark, yet her choices were limited. She could only pray no one mistook her for a poacher. 

She stepped quietly, holding her skirts in her hands. Modern fashion did not take into account a woman’s need to be stealthy amidst brambles. There was decent moonlight, but the trees and clouds played peekaboo with it, forcing Elsie to move very slowly or risk falling. Wouldn’t that be something, stranded in the Duke of Kent’s wood with a twisted ankle? 

Would her tale of secret love wriggle her out of that predicament? 

Fortunately, the excursion through the wood proved uneventful. The trees thinned, the ground evened, and a manicured lawn sprawled ahead. She stepped onto the hunting path leading from the back of the estate with a sigh of relief. 

She made it only a few steps before her foot was sucked into the path. Not mud—it hadn’t rained the last few days. No roots or holes, either. The glimmer of a rune revealed the truth, its feeble gleam highlighting the earth that popped up around her shoe, grabbing it in an iron-like grasp. It was not unlike the one she’d disenchanted on the doorknob, but it was more complex, with several tight, interlocking loops. 

More spells to keep your servants in their place? she wondered, making a half-hearted attempt to tug her leg free. Crouching, watching her surroundings, Elsie touched the spell. She didn’t recognize this one—a physical spell, but not one she’d disenchanted previously. She tugged at the knot one way, then another, before finding a loose end and unraveling the rune bit by bit. The spell flashed—she almost thought it pouted—before vanishing, and the earth holding her in place crumbled back to dust. 

Elsie shook off her shoe and proceeded carefully. Runes weren’t bold things; she couldn’t merely glance down the path ahead of her to see where any copycats lay. They would reveal themselves only as she got closer. Sometimes close enough to touch, for more masterful spells. Stepping just off the path, Elsie tiptoed carefully, catching sight of another foot trap several yards ahead. She searched the shadows, waiting for movement. Listening for sound. She smelled the stables but didn’t hear horses. Seemed all was well and proper. Good. 

The servants’ door loomed ahead. Elsie might have missed it had she not made the Madeira delivery two days ago; the shadows hid it well. Heart pounding in her ears, she snuck closer, closer, and pressed her back against the cool wall of the mansion. She wasn’t terribly far from the woods. Perhaps she could run back to safety without being caught. She’d been quite a climber in her youth. If anything gave chase, she could ball her skirts between her knees and hide up a tree. 

Her palms sweated, and her mouth grew dry. Get it done and get out. The Cowls will know you did it this time.

The door seemed so far away. Elsie sidestepped, cursing the moonlight when it peeked between its misty curtains. She reached for the doorknob, the spell of heat licking at her fingers. It was activated; Elsie snatched her hand away as the metal singed her fingertips. How many servants in this household had blister scars from this damnable thing? 

She attacked it with her nails. The unwinding came easier this time. She knew the pattern, knew which thread to loop through. It took only seconds— 

A hand seized her upper arm. Elsie barely had enough sense to bite down on a scream as someone yanked her away from the door.

“So you’re the conrad breaking my spells!” a gruff baritone snapped, the speaker making no effort to be quiet.