Saturday, April 15, 2017

March Reading Wrap Up/ Nerdy Post Unboxing

Here's my March reading wrap up! I will do a book haul video next month for both March and April, but until then, I did this unboxing video for the Nerdy Post subscription box which I got this month (Themed: Middle Earth)




Links:
Nerdy Post: www.nerdypost.com

Thursday, April 6, 2017

My New Etsy Shop: Coming Soon!



So, this last month, my mom and I have been hard at work getting ready to start up a new Etsy shop that is going to be for fandom related gifts, particularly gift boxes themed for various book, movie, and TV fandoms (such as Sherlock, The Hobbit, Jane Austin and many more!) I'm really excited about this and all the things we've been making for it. 

I have started a blog on Tumblr for Little Box of Fandoms and fandom related things in general. I've been putting up some teaser things there, so if you're interested to see what I'm doing before we get stuff up onto the store, you can go check it out here! If you have fandom related Tumblrs, let me know, so I can start following people and feel free to share fandom things with me there. I am still in the process of figuring out Tumblr, so I'm looking for more people to follow :P You can find my Tumblr here: https://thehighfanladyhazel.tumblr.com

Here is also the link to my Etsy store: https://www.etsy.com/shop/LittleBoxofFandoms

And the Twitter account I made for it: http://twitter.com/Box_o_Fandoms

I'd love any help I can get with spreading the word, so if you could share with your fellow fan-ladies and fan-gentlemen, that would be great! I'm really hoping this shop will get off to a good start!

Here's a little sneak peek of some of the artwork I'm doing for bookmarks for the bookworm box. You can see more of my upcoming artwork on my Tumblr!






Friday, March 24, 2017

Character Encounters feat. the Cast of Blood Ties!



For the final day of Indie E-Con I wanted to do something fun and take part in Kendra's "Character Encounters" which is a writing link-up she runs on her blog where the author writes about encountering their characters in a place Kendra chooses. She came up with a special one for the E-Con where you encounter the characters at a physical Indie (not)E-Con! I just thought this sounded like a lot of fun, and figured you guys would hopefully find it entertaining so I decided to give it a go. Go check out the other Character Encounters people have done for E-Con as well right here! Also visit Kendra's blog and see the rest of E-Con here.

Disclaimer: This is officially the strangest thing I have ever written. But I guess every author has to try to meta thing at least once :P This kind of turned into more of a satire on just my writing process with some in-jokes, but I hope it's still entertaining. Enjoy!

Character Encounters
Featuring the Cast of the Modern Tales of Na Fianna


Indie Con was a bustling place; so many fantastic indie authors out there that I got to chat with throughout the day about their books and the writing life in general. A couple of my bestie writer pals and I had done a panel earlier, which was part of what we fondly called our “Tour of Destruction” which was the ongoing tour of signings we did for people. Lot’s of dark humor. Lots of coffee.
            Now however, it was my turn to moderate a panel, which was made up of my own characters, and boy were there a bunch of fans waiting for them.
            “Hey everyone, I’m Hazel, and I’m about to introduce the brave heroes of the Modern Tales of Na Fianna series,” I said to the crowd who burst into applause. “Come on out, Lady and Gents!”
            They filed out from back stage. I knew Eamon wasn’t going to like this at all, hating to be the center of attention but of course there were also the ones like Keevan who were eating it up, and of course Deaglan wasn’t unhappy about all the fangirls.
            They took their seats, and I waited for the crowd to calm down before I started. “So, we’ve just gotten through book two, ‘An Earthly King’, and book three is due to be out the summer of 2017, but to avoid spoilers for anyone who is not yet caught up, we’re only going to be talking about the first book, ‘Blood Ties’. So, Ciran: as the main character, what are some of your thoughts overall?”
            “Well, our mission took a lot out of all of us, but we are happy to be here today to see all of you. I think, to avoid any spoilers, I will just say that we kicked butt and leave it at that.”
            “Some of us kicked more butt than others,” Keevan piped up.
            “Okay,” I cut in, knowing this could go on forever if it was allowed to continue. “So, Eamon, you’re the star of Book Two, what do you think about that?”
            Eamon shrugged. “Well, you know, it is what it is. I suppose everyone has to have a part in the story.”
            “Come on, Your Royal Selflessness, you loved it and you know it,” Killian cut in. “Mainly, I liked it, because it also meant I got to be in it more. There, see? I don’t pretend to be all humble.”
            “Oh, don’t worry, Killian,” I said. “No one ever accused you of being humble.” I waited for the jeers of the others and the laughter of the audience to die down before I opened the floor. “So, are there any fans who want to ask some questions?”
            Hands went up and I pointed at one of them.
            “Hi, my question is for Caitlin,” the girl said. “How was it having to be the only girl on the team?”
            Caitlin laughed. “Well, I grew up with two brothers, plus Eamon and Oran running around so I was pretty used to it. Honestly, it didn’t bother me. We all had our job to do and when you’re in that kind of situation, you just end up doing the job and watching your comrade’s back, no matter if they’re a boy or girl.”
            I picked another fan and she was handed the mic. “So, this is for Keevan. I was wondering what is your favorite kind of yarn to crochet with?”
            Keevan started. “I don’t crochet. Next question.”
            Riordan shook his head, turning back to the fan. “Of course he does. He just doesn’t like you to know it. He crocheted the scarf he’s wearing.”
            “I did not, shut up!” Keevan protested.
            “He did, I watched him,” Tierney offered. Deagland nodded in agreement.
            “Well it’s relaxing…sometimes!” Keevan said defensively and slumped back in the chair, arms crossed over his chest. “Can someone please ask another question?”
            “I like your sweater by the way,” Riordan told the girl before she handed the mic off again.
            A young boy got the mic next. “I have a question for Riordan.” Keevan proceeded to fake snore loudly so I shot him a look. “What’s it like being a berserker?”
            “Well, it takes a lot of training,” Riordan said. “You have to make sure you manage your anger. Which is why I do breathing exercises and sometimes yoga. I also find knitting to be very relaxing.”
            “Loser,” Keevan said, muffling the word with a cough before Ciran smacked him across the back of the head.
            “But you also get to be really scary in battle,” Riordan said with a smile.
            “Cool!” the boy exclaimed.
            The mic was handed off to the next fan I picked and this girl turned to Killian. “So, Killian, my question is for you.”
            “Finally,” Killian said as a loud aside to Eamon before he turned with a smile back to the girl. “What is it?”
            “Why can’t you ever just give Eamon some peace?”
            Killian scoffed, offended. “Excuse me? I am his captain of the guard! I do not have time to give him peace! His Royal Introvert just needs to learn to appreciate it!”
            “Besides,” Eamon cut in. “If he didn’t, I would probably never get any kingly things done. I would be lost without my captain of the guard.”
            “You know that’s right,” Killian grumbled.
            We moved to the next question. “So, I heard that Eamon is going to have to choose a bride to be his queen in Book Two, is that true?”
            Eamon groaned, putting a hand over his face and Killian quickly cut in. “I’ll take this one.” He gave a wicked grin. “Yes. But you’ll have to read the book to find out how that goes.”
            “Spoiler alert—horribly,” Keevan said.
            “Alright, next question!” I said, looking around the audience.
            “Hey! How come I didn’t get to be on the panel?!”
            “Prince Oberon!” someone in the audience cried in delight.
            “That’s right, at least someone cares,” Oberon said, smiling at the various fangirls swarming him. “Really? I’m the Prince of the bloody Unseelie and you don’t even give me a spot on the panel?”
            “Oberon, if you were here, no one else would get a chance to answer any questions, and that’s saying something when you would be up against people like Killian,” I told him.
            “Hey!” Killian protested. “I’m considerate of others!”
            “Sure you are,” Caitlin said, smiling at her brother.
            “Unless there are mini quiches, because then you shove anyone out of the way to get to them,” Keevan said.
            “Okay, so I like mini quiches. So what?”
            “Tell that to your waistline in Book Three,” Eamon told him.
            Killian turned around indignantly. “Really? Etu, Eamon? And here I was thinking you were like a brother to me.”
            An argument soon broke out and the convention security had to escort everyone out. Pretty soon, I was the only one left, along with Oberon, who came up on stage and took a seat, pouring himself a complimentary glass of water after picking up a spilled glass that had been sitting on the table.
            “So, do my adoring fans have any questions for me?” he asked the audience.
            I sighed. “And there you have it everyone; the essential writing process of Book Three.”
           

Fin.
~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Also this was something I meant to do back during the Earthly King blog tour, but here is a sketch dump of some Na Fianna sketches I have done so I hope you enjoy those too :)


(from left to right-then down: 1. Killian and Eamon, 2. Keevan and Riordan, 3.Tierney and Ciran, 4. Deaglan, 5. Keevan and Riordan, 6. Ciran and Caitlin, 7.Deaglan, 8. Jarlath and Gorlan, 9. King Lorcan, 10. Riordan, 11. Jarlath and Gorlan, 12. Eamon and Killian)

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Creating the Fellowship: Characters!

It's the first day of Indie E-Con, which is all about Writing! Check out the other stuff going on today at the main hub!




Why do we read books and become fans in the first place? Sure, sometimes you can fall in love with specific worlds, but let’s be honest; it’s really the characters that win our hearts. The perfect group of characters is what makes a book go from a good read to a fantastic I-want-to-read-this-book-again-and-again read.

But as a writer, balancing out how many characters you need for a story can be hard, especially when it comes to the main characters. Sure, you always have your protagonist, but sometimes, you need more than one, whether you change points of view, or you have a group of companions as your main cast, most of the time you’re not going to just have one character in the limelight.

So how do you craft your Fellowship? Here’s some pointers and things to think about.



Duos

The duo is always a great option. Think Sherlock and Watson. Whether this comes in the flavor of best friends or a hero-sidekick thing, siblings/twins, or even your MC and their romantic interest, everyone loves a solid duo. Duos are the most versatile of main character groups, because being made up of only two people, it is pretty much to be expected that they are going to be joined by other characters along the way. In Lord of the Rings, Frodo and Sam are the main duo, but they are joined by Merry and Pippin, as well as Aragorn, Legolas, Gimli, and Boromir later. Even though the Fellowship as a whole really qualifies as more than just a duo, you can break them up into duos and trios as the series progresses, which is a great tactic for fantasy/quest stories. Romances usually feature duos for the main couple, but this too can branch off as he and she usually have their besties, or family members along with them, sometimes creating sub-duos, but your couple should always be your main duo. If it’s a duo like Sherlock and Watson, they should always take precedence over any other characters. Best friend duos should never have one of the other usurped by supporting characters, unless that is purposefully part of the plot.

Trios

Trios are my personal favorite. I used this tactic in my Anthony Maxwell book with Anthony, Tobs, and Scamp as the main trio. The trio is also very versatile, and sometimes a duo can become a trio with like the addition of Castiel’s character to the Winchesters’ duo in Supernatural. Trios are perfect for series books and procedurals like mysteries (such as in Jonathan Stroud’s Lockwood series or Percy, Annabeth and Grover in the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan) because they have enough characters to offer differing opinions, but not too many to confuse the reader by having to add too many characters to a storyline. Trios can also be branched out into four people (like the Three Musketeers plus D’Artagnan). Maybe your trio picks up another member along the way or there is another, secondary character, that they sometimes go to for help and can be an honorary member of their gang. The important thing to remember when writing trios is that even if you do add more supporting characters along the way, the trio, especially if it is one loved by the fans, should always stay the main focus of the story. Good characters are never going to get boring, and your readers will always want to see more from them.

So What’s the Perfect Number for a Group?

Sometimes, you need more than just a duo or trio. Some stories need to share space with more main characters. I ran into this with my Modern Tales of Na Fianna series, because there are a lot of characters the reader needs to get to know, and I put emphasis on different ones throughout the series. But my main group is Ciran’s Company, a group of six friends who got thrown together in Book One because they were all going on a mission to rescue their family members who were being kept prisoners by the Goblins. There were even more characters introduced in this story between King Eamon, and his Captain of the Guard Killian, as well as Ciran’s family. Balancing this many characters can be tough and from a reader’s perspective, very confusing, if done incorrectly. The best way to introduce a bunch of characters is to do it gradually. Think about the beginning of The Hobbit. That book featured a company of 15 characters including Bilbo and Gandalf, but we were introduced to the dwarves a couple at a time as they came to Bilbo’s door. While we don’t truly get to know a lot of their personalities from the book, the idea is a good one. Start off with your main character and his closest family members or companions and work outward from there. I also like to think about Eight Cousins by Louisa May Alcott. Rose was introduced to her seven cousins by the eldest of them, who pretty much explained their characters in a quirky and humorous way. The reader is presented with a group of very different and unique characters and doesn’t have a hard time figuring out which boy was which throughout the rest of the story.

Five to seven characters is a decent number for a larger group of main characters. It’s not so many that your readers will be going…wait, who was that again? And few enough that you, as a writer will be able to create several characters with distinct personalities that will not just all run together after a while as can happen when you are forced to come up with too many characters. It is also enough characters to be able to accomplish deeds of daring do, or a good crew for heists and such (Like the group in the show, Leverage or Kaz’s crew in Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo). They can even be joined by other people too if needed, my advice on that subject is to introduce any other characters you might be planning to join with them separately so they are not lost in the main group. Then you can have fully established characters to work with once you join groups up so you don’t have to do a lot of awkward characterization when you should be focusing on your action scenes.

How Many is Too Many?

Yes, it is possible to have too many characters. I have written several books where I had to scrap characters from the original idea because when I started writing it, there just didn’t seem to be a need for them or their inclusion would just complicate the storyline. This is a worthy sacrifice for the sake of your story, and if you like the character you can always use him in another book or even a sequel, but it is important not to swamp your readers with too many characters.

If you think your book might have too many characters, here’s an easy way to figure that out. Set aside the MC and the characters you know need to be in the story and look at each of the others. Think about what they add to the plot, and how their existence effects the plot and the MC. Everything in a book needs to tie together, or the story will be confusing, so if you add characters that you think might be a cool addition, but really have no effect on the plot whatsoever you may just end up confusing readers. I have read various books where it’s pretty obvious the author just threw in a character either to prove some kind of point or for comic relief or something but the character never really fits in and it just turns out to be more annoying than anything. So learning how many characters is too many, is a good lesson both for new writers and even for experienced ones to remember. The last thing you want is for your readers to wonder, why was that guy even in this book? If you’re not sure yourself, this is a good question to ask your trusted beta readers.

So there are some tips on how to figure out how many characters you need in your book, and how to handle them. I hope this might have offered some assistance J Let me know how you decide how many characters your book needs. Does it just happen? Or do you take a lot of time and consideration with it?


Friday, March 17, 2017

Indie E-Con!



Hey Readers and Writers! 

Next week, I will be taking part in this super awesome event that was put together by Kendara at her blog, Knitted By God's Plan, which will be an online convention where myself and a bunch of Indie authors are going to get together and do some blog posts and videos on the writing and indie publishing scene. There will also be some fun and games for participants as well as giveaways and opportunities for writing critiques. I highly suggest you guys all stop by to check it out. It is running Monday through Friday (20-24) and is going to have a different topic every day. I will be featuring Blood Ties and the Modern Tales of Na Fianna specifically so if you have enjoyed those books, come along. Take a look at this for more information: http://knittedbygodsplan.blogspot.com/p/indie-e-con-2017.html

I'll be keeping all of you guys updated through Goodreads and Twitter as to fun stuff happening throughout the E-Con, and whenever I will be doing anything. I'm scheduled for a sort of live Q&A on Wednesday, so I will let you know when that goes up. Start thinking of any questions you may have for me!

You can also check out the E-Con Book Awards and get a bunch of our books for free or .99 cents. Blood Ties is also on there for .99 cents. If you are looking for something to read this weekend, I highly recommend checking out these indie authors, then you can have read their books before the E-Con :)

Also, a promotional thing I am doing for the E-Con is that everyone participating in it (either actually in the Con or just checking it out) is offering 30% off formatting services from Once More Unto the Page Formatting. Just send me an email through the site when you book the service and tell me that you saw the promotion during E-Con :)


I really hope to see you at the E-Con and I'm sure the other Indie Authors will too, so please take some time out of next week and check out all the fun stuff we'll have for you there!

Happy writing/reading!
Hazel

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Happy St. Patrick's Day (And Sneak Peak of Na Fianna #3!)

As has kind of become tradition the past couple years, I decided to give you a little sneak preview of the next book in the Modern Tales of Na Fianna series this St. Patrick's Day! This book does not really have an official title yet, but it's set to be out this summer, so here is a little teaser to tide you over until then :-)



Prologue

The Fae man crept through the gap in the gate, a bundle clutched tight to his chest. It was only a shadowy walk of a few feet to the window from where he was and he should be able to escape detection and finish the job as long as he was quiet.
            He slipped through the shadows, his dark cloak pulled tight over his shoulders as he carried his burden to the window, crouching under it for a moment before he peered inside.
            Twin beds were pushed against the far wall with twin figures slumbering in them, only illuminated in part from the warm glow of a nightlight plugged into the wall. It painted a pretty picture, but the Fae man had no time to appreciate it; he had a job to do.
            Slowly, he drew a dagger and slipped it under the window frame, sliding the lock out of place so he could push the window open enough to slip inside, making sure to protect the bundle he carried as he eased himself through the gap and slid to a crouch on the floor inside the room.
            Standing up, and testing for creaky floorboards, he crept toward the nearest bed and looked down at the peacefully sleeping child who was unaware of what was about to happen.
            A cloth carefully placed over the child’s face and he slept even deeper, a drugged slumber that would be peaceful enough for the Fae man to make the switch without the human child being any wiser until it was too late.
            He bundled the sleeping human child up in his cloak and deposited the bundle he had been carrying onto the bed, and tucked it in, checking the resemblance one last time as he stroked the child’s cheek lovingly.
            “Sleep, mo cridhe. One day we shall have what is rightfully ours. You and the other children are the beginning. Do not fail us.”
            And then he turned and slid out the window again, closing it as if he had never been there; across the shadowed yard and away into the hills again, the human child tucked close to his chest, success filling him with a sense of accomplishment. Soon enough their plan would be realized, and the hills would open once again like they had in the old days. It was time for the Sidhe to rise again.



Chapter One
Director
Cass

“Cass, is it really necessary we do these every month?”
            I didn’t even bother glancing over at Rory as he voiced his tentative complaints, watching the road ahead and going over the list of things I had to do once we got back to Dublin. I didn’t really have time for wingeing interns at the moment, though I couldn’t exactly blame him, I didn’t want to lead the Safety for Selkies meeting either, but that was just part and parcel for the job. And to be fair, Rory was the best intern I had ever had; humble, did what I asked him, and learned from his mistakes. He just had the habit of complaining a lot.
            “We will do this until they learn not to hide their skins in obvious places like someone’s beach bag or socialize with men they don’t know.”
            Rory groaned. “That will be literally forever then. I swear, that is how I will die, at a SFS meeting.”
            I cracked a smile. The kid was a bit dramatic too. “Don’t worry, I’ll make sure they don’t put it on your grave stone.”
            I pulled my old Land Rover Defender into the car park of the town center in where this month’s meeting would be held, and breathed in the briny sea air, memories of childhood summers on the southern beaches coming back as they always did when I came down here. Good but bittersweet memories that made me want to instinctively touch the pendent around my neck, but I refrained. No time for that now, no time for it ever really. At least that’s what I tried to tell myself.
            Rory ran around the vehicle to meet me, his coat folded over his arm and a coffee in his hand. His dark curls were whipping into his eyes from the sea breeze and he looked just as harried as ever. When he had first started working for BPAFF, I had thought he was overly high strung or maybe caffeinated, but I had soon come to realize that Rory always looked like that. It wasn’t that he was always on edge or anxious, he just seemed to run on a higher energy than most people.
            He followed me up to the entrance of the town center before he halted, a horrified expression on his face as he pointed at something peeking from the sculpted bushes beside the walkway.
            “Cass!” he squeaked.
            I looked down and huffed a sigh as I caught sight of the mottled grey skin and bent to pick up the seal pelt. “Well, Rory, it looks like your worst fear might come true after all. They certainly haven’t learned since the last time.”
            “I don’t like the empty eyes,” Rory said in a hushed voice, his own eyes cast down at the ground.
            “I know.” It certainly hadn’t been the first time I heard that.
            A little crash course on selkies. They’re girls who have the ability to shape-shift into seals, though unlike a typical shapeshifter like a phooka who can actually change forms at will and choose multiple ones, selkies are more akin to skinwalkers, and must have their seal pelt to change into their seal form. When they took the skin off they revealed their human form; that of a beautiful woman or handsome fellow though there were far more female selkies than male ones, always had been—and the males tended to stick to themselves. The old stories go that if a human were to find the skin of a selkie and hide it, she would belong to him, and have to be his mate. Easy way to find a bride for losers, let’s be honest. The problem was, selkies just weren’t the smartest fish in the sea, and their skins were so easy to find you can’t blame the sailors for stumbling upon them while entranced by the lovely maidens dancing on the beach in the moonlight as selkies are wont to do. So BPAFF decided to start a program to teach the selkies about how to be safe and to hide their skins better and all that, thus the Safety for Selkies meetings.
            Granted, I didn’t enjoy this any more than Rory did. But I was picking up the slack now that Bree had gone and married the High King. She was the one who used to run the meetings, so much more patient than any of the other BPAFF agents, but with her gone, I had decided to simply do it myself, because there was no point in pulling good field agents off of missions to do this kind of thing, and most of what I did anymore was paperwork, so getting out of the office was enjoyable and refreshing. I just shared the pain with Rory because he needed to learn sometime. And besides, someone had to toughen the kid up.
            We proceeded into the town center and I left the lost seal pelt at the front desk where several others had been stashed. I could hear the giggling and girly banter from here before Rory and I even got to the auditorium where we would hold the meeting. Rory looked like he was bracing himself or getting ready to bolt as I opened the door.
            We were greeted by the sight of beach blond girls in sundresses and sandals, standing around, holding nonsensical conversations and twirling their hair. I could see several more seal skins draped over chairs or stuffed under them, others hanging out of the beach bags the girls carried. One was even draped over the podium at the head of the room.
            As soon as we entered, they looked at Rory like catnip, and he promptly tried to hide behind me—my brave intern. “Take a seat, ladies,” I told them.
            “Hi, I’m Aileen!” One girl said, bounding up to Rory and practically falling against him. “Will you hold this for me?” Rory froze as a seal skin was plopped into his arms and a whimper escaped his throat.
            “No, you keep it—here,” he said quickly and tossed it back at her, before beating me up to the podium, biting back another whimper as he found more skins scattered around and performed a strange hopping run as he tried to avoid them.
            “Ladies, please take a seat,” I said again and this time they did with disappointed sighs that I was interrupting their enlightening conversations. They shuffled around a bit and finally seemed to find a position they liked so I started talking as Rory set up the easel and diagrams.
            “I’m Director Cass Whalen of BPAFF, thank you for coming to the Safety for Selkies meeting, this is so we can help you all be more safe with your habits so you don’t fall prey to those who would take advantage of you. Specifically how to hide your skins well so no one will find them.” I cast a meaningful glance around the room. “That’s the one I think you all need a little work on.” I turned to the chart Rory had set up and motioned to it as he pointed to several overly simplified pictures with green check marks or red x’s over them. “As you can see, leaving your skin out on your beach towel is not a good idea, however, hiding it under a rock is much better.”
            One of the selkies in the front row raised her hand. “Miss Whalen, what if we don’t want our skins to get wrinkly. If you put them under a rock, they will get, like, creases.”
            “Ew, creases,” her friend said with distaste.
            “But isn’t it better to have creases in your skin than to be captured by a man of ill repute?” I very nearly pleaded.
            She frowned, thinking about it. I let her do so, and continued on. “And you can’t just hand them over to anyone like one of you did with Rory when we came in. That’s literally giving someone a way to control you.”
            “But he’s so cute!” said the girl who had given Rory her skin. “I like him!”
            “He can control me any day,” another said with a suggestive look.
            Rory blushed bright red and busied himself fixing the easel, which only made it fall over to the girl’s concentrated giggling. I closed my eyes briefly and shook my head. “Just because someone is cute doesn’t mean they don’t mean you harm. Now we’re going to do some exercises; I’ll show you some places and you’ll tell me whether they are good or bad hiding spots.”
            It went on like that for another hour, most of the answers to the questions incorrect. I already had a headache starting but it was almost over, so I wasn’t going to sweat it.
            “That just about wraps it up,” I said finally. “Any questions before we leave?”
            Many hands shot up and I picked one at random. “Yes?”
            “Can I have his number?” the selkie asked, smiling at Rory who was inching behind me again.
            “I don’t think so,” I told her.
            “Ooh! I want his number!”
            “He can have my skin!”
            “Can he come to our party tonight? It will be awesome!”
            “Cass,” Rory pleaded, his hand clutching a handful of my coat.
            “No to all of that,” I told the ladies. “Now please, girls, try to do a little better at hiding your skins in the future; remember, pick the safest places you can find out of plain sight. We’ll see you again soon.” Or not if they kept up as they had been. First fishing vessel in from the Orkneys and they would all be taken as sailors’ brides. I ushered Rory ahead of me as he fumbled with the charts and grabbed the easel myself.
            “Where’s my skin? Lindsey, have you seen it?” a voice called.
            I probably should have helped, but I don’t have that kind of degree. I’m just the Director of BPAFF. We beat a quick retreat out to the Land Rover again and Rory loaded up the stuff while I removed a seal skin someone had stuck under the windscreen wiper. Sometimes I wondered why we even bothered doing SFS meetings anymore.
            “Come on, let’s get some lunch before we head back to Dublin,” I said to Rory.
            I drove down through the town to the docks, where there was a pub, The Captain’s Daughter, which was good. I had helped the owner several years back with a boggart problem and always made a point to stop in for a visit when I was in town.
            We were sitting at the bar, waiting for our meat pie when I got a call from one of my BPAFF agents.
            “Hey, Connell, what’s going on?”
            “Hey Cass, I was wondering if you could send an agent my way. I’m currently trying to roust out a kelpie, and I just got a call about what I think is a changeling case this morning.”
            I frowned; changeling cases were rare outside of the Border towns. It wasn’t a common occurrence in any case, since people were generally good with the protection procedures. This had been the second one to happen that I had heard about in as many months, which was a bit strange. Usually you only saw three or four a year if that.
            “Another changeling case? You sure?”
            “Like I said,” Connell replied, “I haven’t really looked into it, but that’s what it sounds like. Either way, I’ve got my hands full and could use the assistance.”
            “Okay, give me the address, I’m actually not far so I’ll check it out myself before I head back to Dublin.”
            “I appreciate it.” He gave me the address and then hung up. I turned to Rory as our meals arrived.
            “Looks like we’re taking the scenic rout back home,” I told him.

~~~~~~

Also, because of the Indie E-Con that will be happening next week (more on that tomorrow) Blood Ties is .99 cents as an ebook on Amazon and Smashwords, so if you don't have a copy of it yet, go grab a copy!