Tuesday, 25 March 2014

The Prophecy - A Dragon's Tale, Book 1 (Mark Boyd) in One Thousand Words

The Prophecy by Mark Boyd is today's feature on One Thousand WorldsMark is the author of the trilogy - A Dragons Tale.  You can preview all three books and excerpts at www.adragonstale.net  Book 1 - The Prophecy has been available for a little over a year. Book 2 - The Book of Genevieve is due out in mid to end of April this year.

The Prophecy-

The prophecy, a foretelling of a great king born of dragon-human-elven blood that unites all of the races in a millennium of peace is an ancient story told to all dragon hatchlings from the Dragon Book of Lore. A foretelling born of old majic, through the centuries, became just another story to give the young hope. The old believed…the young cannot perceive how it could ever manifest; who would ever want to be other than pure blood dragon? The prophecy existed in story only, until Anaterri Strayarth, a blue dragon living in human form and the daughter of Stragor Strayarth – Head of the High Council of Dragons, saves the life of Prince Leandro Sargovia with a transfusion of her dragon blood. The unification of human-dragon blood sets in motion the beginning of the once dormant tale and a love that transcends time.  
Grand Magi Aloysius Alamaris, a black dragon hiding in human form, learns of the initiation of the prophecy and plots the ultimate destruction of all who seek to bring the prophecy to fruition.  
Anaterri and Leandro are now pitted against the ultimate evil, fighting not only for their own lives but also the lives of their children…and they must insure the prophecy is allowed to manifest…at all cost.

About the author-

I began reading fantasy at an early age; the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings trilogy was one of my first and favorite. Fantasy was my escape when my own world wasn't going so well. I never thought I would be blessed to add to the world of fantasy but my dragon friends had other ideas. I only hope you enjoy reading the trilogy, as much as I have in writing it. I am forever grateful to the dragon intelligence that has infused my consciousness, awakening memories and giving me the ability to bring their story to life.

Chapter 1

     The outlaws were close, he couldn't see them but sensed them near; soft murmurs of their voices carried back to him through the unnatural fog. There was no time for indecisiveness. He had trained his entire life for a moment such as this. Drawing his long sword he spurred his stallion forward unconcerned with the fallen tree lying across the trail. His mount would clear it easily.  Half way over his mind screamed, "Trap!"


     Anaterri Strayarth looked forward to a quiet afternoon in her kitchen. Discovering several plants growing in the forest, not previously known to her, she was excited about blending them for new remedies. She enjoyed being in human form, not typical for most dragons. It was important when creating delicate healing remedies that she have fingers with which to work instead of talons.
     She’d taken human form when moving to the Northland two hundred years ago. It allowed her to practice her healing arts without scaring the local outlanders. She had become known as “the healer in the forest.” She healed as many animal friends as people. Although the Sargovia family was the official warden of the Northland forests, she was truly the “hidden” warden.
     Going about her day in joy, quietly humming a favorite tune, Anaterri was suddenly invaded with a heart-stopping vision thought causing her to drop the bowl of flower infusion she had just created.
     “Prince Leandro is going to die soon. You must get to him immediately.”
     The stag, she recognized his vision thought. Leaping the shattered bowl she rushed to the window, her knowings confirmed. Standing at the edge of the clearing, his large brown eyes were firmly fixed on the cottage. She’d encountered him a number of times in the last two hundred years. He’d never engage her in thought exchange but his eye contact was now unmistakable.
     Visions past from him were usually dream like, allowing her time to plan a solution or at least an ending with a successful outcome.  However, this visitation was like none she’d ever experienced. It was clear and precise and demanded immediate action. Appearing only when there was a need to save a life, he was the messenger but not the answer.
     Prince Leandro Sargovia was in the forest and about to be ambushed by outlaws he’d been tracking. One of the outlaws possessed majic and the Prince’s life was in extreme danger. Distracted temporarily by the impact of the stag’s vision thought, Anaterri looked back but he was gone.
     Moving quickly toward the door, she extended her right hand drawing her short sword to her from its place on the wall. Slipping the scabbard easily down the back of her gown, the door opened automatically as she approached it; a red fox was waiting to lead her to Leandro.

     Amidst the jeers and taunts she could hear from a distance, she silently found her way to the site. Before her was a pit, narrow and deep, filled with large spikes protruding from all directions. Her anger flashed as she saw Leandro struggling to free himself. Acting immediately, knowing the majority of human men to be predictable, she stepped from her hiding place in the woods. She was instantly aware of the one with majic.
     The leader turned instinctively as if sensing her presence. She knew exactly what he saw. It was her intent to distract him with the vision of a strikingly beautiful woman, tall and slender with raven black hair and emerald green eyes. The light blue gown she wore accentuated her breasts and slender waist. While he leered at her, she stood perfectly still assessing the situation.
     The outlaws following the focus of their leader, turned from the pit. Lustful looks revealed their thoughts. Their quarry, impaled on stakes, was going nowhere.  Staring at her like a pack of hungry wolves as to a lamb separated from the flock, they moved to surround her, not able to take their eyes from her. The leader closed on her first, licking his lips as he rubbed his groin.
     Staying calm, Anaterri let them get within striking distance. From the scabbard concealed on her back she wielded the short sword with lightning speed and in one swift movement severed the head of the leader, cutting through the jugular of the man beside him.  The third man started to draw his sword. It never made it out of his scabbard; he was dead before he knew it, a short sword through his heart. The fourth man turned to flee making it no farther than a few feet before she caught him from behind. His head slapped the ground at an unnatural angle, his body lifeless.
      She did not care for killing, unless it was for survival, especially killing humans and yet she did not have any compunction for killing the likes of these four.  She’d witnessed their sick delight taunting Prince Leandro in the pit. No, no, she felt no remorse.
      Turning to the pit, she saw the limp body sitting atop a steed who was struggling desperately in the last throes of life. The spikes, driven through the great beast, were penetrating Leandro’s lower body. There were also spikes lodged in the sides of the pit that had punctured areas of the prince’s sides as he’d struggled to free himself. Shifting immediately to her dragon self Anaterri was large enough to straddle the pit, gently pulling the prince free from his horse.
     Clear of the pit, she reverted to her human form. Gazing at the still body before her, she proceeded to tear Leandro’s clothing open attempting to stem the bleeding. Using her majic, she ran her hands over the wounds effectively stopping the blood flow. In the process, she sensed a poison in the wounds she was not familiar with. Having lost a lot of blood, Leandro appeared lifeless; his pulse was weak.  Focusing on the wounds already taking on a gangrenous look, she cast a spell to stem the flow of poison through his body. She needed to get him to Queen Angeline in the Southland. 

 Where you can purchase The Prophecy:

Connect with Mark Boyd:

Saturday, 22 March 2014

Awakening (Raymond Bolton) on Sci-fi Saturday

Sci-fi Saturday is back and today's featured author is Raymond Bolton who kindly shares the first one thousand word of his novel Awakening. Through March 31st, Raymond is giving away 10 signed copies of Awakening via Goodreads.
See what Stephan J. Myers thought of Awakening on Book Viral.


How does a world armed with bows, arrows and catapults, where steam power has only begun to replace horses and sailing ships, avert conquest from beyond the stars?

Prince Regilius has been engineered to combat the Dalthin, a predatory alien species that enslaves worlds telepathically, and to do so he must unite his people. But when his mother murders his father, the land descends into chaos and his task may prove impossible. Faced with slaying the one who gave him life in order to protect his world, he seeks a better way. Set in a vast and varied land where telepaths and those with unusual mental abilities tip the course of events, Awakening goes to the heart of family, friendship and betrayal.

About Raymond Bolton:

My goal is to craft gripping stories about the human condition, whether they are set here or another world. I've written poetry, for which I've received some recognition, and four novels. Two are explorations in science fiction: Awakening, an epic, released in January, 2014, and Thought Gazer, an adventure, part of a planned trilogy and prequel to the epic.

In 2013, under its working title, Renunciation, Awakening was one of eight finalists among 950 entries from the U.S., the U.K., Canada, Europe and Australia in the Pacific Northwest Writers Associations Literary Contest.

Regilius awoke with a gasp. He attempted to sit, but the damp prickling bedding entangled him. Drenched with perspiration, he tore off the covers, propped onto his elbows and peered into the darkness. On a table to his right, dimly silhouetted against a blinded window, stood a light globe. Rocking onto one arm, he stretched toward the sphere and tore off its cover, bathing the space in soft blue light. The room was plain, sterile, and while he could not say where he was, he was certain this was not the palace.
He was trembling as he tried to remember where he might be and how he had arrived. The hand he ran through his hair came away dripping, while his mouth was parched and his tongue, thick and leathery, stuck to the roof of it. He reached for a glass of water, but as he tilted it to his lips, the room began to spin. Confused, he managed to empty it into a vase of morrasa blossoms before the world turned black.
He awoke again, this time his mind awash with images of murderers entering his home, of carnage and things that should not be. Yet, unlike childhood nightmares that become ethereal and fade, these coalesced into semblances of truth, of substance. Struggling to clear his head, he pushed them aside and searched for the tumbler. Miraculously, it lay unbroken on the nightstand. He was looking for a pitcher when his eyes fastened onto the vase. The blossoms, once white and fragrant, were now black, twisted, grotesque.
The door opened and he jumped. Light poured in and a woman wearing a nurse’s cap peered into the room.
The utterance was not spoken. It filled his head and settled among his thoughts.
Still alive, young prince?
She stepped inside and closed the door.
You are truly remarkable. I have never sensed one such as you. You perceive my thoughts. Such a predicament for me and mine.
The nurse—no, the thing, for it felt as wrong as the flowers—approached his bed and the hairs on his arms, neck and scalp stood erect. His instinct was to bolt.
Stay where you are.
He had not moved, yet it had anticipated him. As the creature neared, it started to shimmer. Its shape and color began to change and the abdomen of its now soft, gray, wormlike body rippled. Something like a mouth opened where its belly should have been, then closed, followed by another mouth and another until there were several opening and closing.
An appendage sprouted from its torso and snaked toward him. He had once seen something similar under his tutor’s microscope when a tiny cellular predator reached out to snatch a meal. Eyes wide, unable to move, he was following this manifestation when, faster than he could react, it wrapped around his ankle and began pulling him toward it. As he opened his mouth to scream, light flooded the room.
He tore his eyes from the thing around his leg and turned to see a doctor and two orderlies entering. The physician paused, regarded his patient closely and asked, “Your Highness? What in the world have you been doing?”
Prince Regilius found himself at the foot of the bed, clenching a handful of sheet. The covers, seemingly frozen as they streamed from the pillow, marked how he had been dragged. Yet, except for his odd location, all else appeared normal. His eyes went from the physician to the nurse and saw she appeared quite ordinary, her face betraying nothing.
“I want to get you into something dry and change your bedding,” the doctor was saying, but as he followed the prince’s gaze, he started when he noticed the woman in the corner. “Nurse, why are you here?”
“I was on my way upstairs and saw the light. I thought I would look in,” she replied.
“Well,” said the doctor, releasing his breath, “since you’re here, perhaps you can assist us.”
She and the orderlies set to work, and after several minutes the prince was clean and dry, wearing a new gown on a freshly made bed. The doctor ordered them out, and after a brief examination said to Regilius, “You have improved some, Your Highness. That is encouraging. I will check back again in a few hours. Meanwhile, please try to sleep.” He covered the light globe and left, closing the door behind him.
Were it not for the flowers, Reg might have done as the physician had ordered, but their misshapen forms insisted he was not safe. Instead, he padded barefoot to the closet where he located his clothing. As he shed his gown and with trembling hands struggled to dress, an odd awareness overtook him: a cold certainty the nurse, sensing he was leaving, was returning. Assuring himself he had forgotten nothing, he went to the window, struggled briefly with the latch, and as the blackness of night gave way to the deep green sky of morning, he slipped out and down to the street below.
Glancing over his shoulder, still sensing the presence behind him, he hurried along the cobblestone streets between the granite and marble edifices of the upper city. Eventually, however, his weakened state returned him to a walk. Feverish and thirsty, he spotted a fountain. He approached it and plunged his face into its waters. Stunned by the cold, he tossed back his head and gasped, sending a shower skyward. Then, leaning against the wet stone lip, he brought hand after handful of crisp refreshment to his lips. Satisfied, he wiped his mouth with his sleeve, breathed deeply and pressed on.
There was no question now he would walk. After drinking so heartily, he knew he would cramp if he pushed too hard too soon and the pace gave him time to consider the event that had brought him here.
Just yesterday, he had been engaged in a brisk game of platter with his friends, Danth, Leovar and Ered.

You can purchase Awakening from Amazon:

In paperback at US 

Kindle edition at US

In paperback at UK

Kindle edition UK

Connect with Raymond Bolten:

Facebook Author Page


Twitter at @RaymondBolton 


Please note that through March 31 Raymond is giving away 10 signed copies of Awakening via Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20257287

Thursday, 6 March 2014

The Gray Isles, Book Two in the Chronicles of Ealiron (F.T. McKinstry) in One Thousand Words

The Hunter's Rede (Book 1 in the Chronicles of Ealiron series) by F.T. McKinstry is today's featured book on One Thousand Worlds. Book 1, Hunter's Rede has already been featured on this site and you can find that post here and you can also read One Thousand World's Interview with F.T. McKinstry here.


In the Gray Isles, a northern realm cloaked in legends and storms, lives a secret. For thousands of years it lay in the Otherworld, known only in the imaginations of sailors. Now, it has surfaced; first to Eadred, a wizard banished by his kind after being cursed by a witch; and then to Hemlock, a fisherman’s son orphaned by the sea. When their paths collide, a change is set into motion that the heavens watch with dread; for the legends tell, it heralds the birth of an immortal and the death of the realm.

Lorth of Ostarin, a formidable wizard and servant to the old powers, arrives to the Gray Isles on a diplomatic mission to discover what Eadred has not told his masters. What looks like a quarrel between Eadred and Hemlock swiftly deteriorates into a manhunt that plunges Lorth into a tricky world of visions, myths and politics, which he navigates by joining forces with unlikely company. Eadred, while attempting to end his curse, has gathered great knowledge of Hemlock’s origins. Through him, Lorth reaches the sobering conclusion that Hemlock is not what he seems, but something powerful enough to destroy the realm with a thought.

Unfortunately, Lorth is not the only one who has discovered Hemlock’s secret. Racing time, he must bare his sword against an army, violate discretion and risk his own stature in order to free Hemlock from the clutches of daimonic transformation before he unleashes the forces of earth and sea on the mortal world.

Author Bio:

F.T. McKinstry is the author of the Chronicles of Ealiron, an epic fantasy series by Double Dragon Publishing; and Water Dark, a novella by Wild Child Publishing. Her short stories appear in Tales of the Talisman, Aoife's Kiss, and a collection called Wizards, Woods and Gods. When she's not writing or reading weird things, she's hanging out with her cats and fishes, tinkering in gardens, shoveling snow or smearing paint on canvases.

The Gray Isles

Ciron, the brightest star in the constellation of Eala, the Swan, came into focus on the evening horizon over the North Derinth Sea. The warm wind of midsummer gently rippled the grasses and brush on the northern-most point of Solse Isle, parting and threading like new wool to the breath of a cold tide. Below, the village of Lafin glimmered amid the trees crowding a crescent harbor.

With the eyes of the wind, an assassin followed the movements of a young woman in the shadows of stone houses. Like a feral cat, she moved here and there in the peaceful silence, making her way to the rocky path that led up to the point. The hunter drew around his bow, deftly nocked an arrow with an obsidian tip, and waited.

Cloaked in ash gray, she emerged onto the outcropping at the edge of the field. A maelstrom of invisible shadows surrounded her. Near the edge of the cliff, three standing stones stood with the patience of an age. The woman approached the stones as she did each evening, moved gracefully widdershins, and then faced north.

The waters beyond the cliff's edge swirled into a rough band, as if agitated by a strong rip current or a shoal of large, air-breathing creatures.

The witch knelt to make an offering. To what or whom she held out her elegant hands, the hunter could not guess. She spoke in the Dark Tongue, the language of formlessness. Raw and primordial, the sounds flowed from the essence of nature, bending it. Though trained as a wizard to the highest order of the Keepers of the Eye, the assassin could not discern her intent in the obscure weave of the ancient tongue.

In much the same way, he had knelt before the Aenlisarfon, an ancient and venerable council of high wizards who watched over the patterns of consciousness that draped the world of Ealiron. Master Eadred, they had said, their thoughts stirring the center of his mind like a pine-scented breeze. Raven of Nemeton, Siomothct of the Third Regard. Honor us with a mission.

And not just any mission: the Masters had sent him to this remote place to hunt a shadecaster. No mere village witch, she made an art of seducing wizards, collecting their pearly seed, and using it to create shades to do her bidding. Eadred clearly perceived the rift that surrounded her, a chasm in the delicate balance of the world. Darkness flowed on the north wind, the voices of death without life, pain without joy, dissolution without initiation. Shapeless and yet distinct, they surrounded her like bees, whispering under her warmth and attention.

The Council would raise his assassin's rank to Second, after this.

With the stealth of a viper, he lifted his bow and drew back the string, focusing on the vibration of the homing spell singing in the tension of the arc.

The witch rose and turned, pulling the hood from her face. Beautiful as a summer meadow, she had lily-white skin and reed-straight, dark red hair that flew like fire in the wind. Eadred had spent a half moon tracking and identifying his mark, camouflaging his presence with the soul of the isle—and yet her gaze settled on him as simply and dispassionately as moonlight.

She smiled.

He released the arrow.

The force of the blow knocked her from her feet. Eadred rose and went to her as she writhed by the northernmost stone, clutching the arrow in her chest with a mewling cry. As he knelt by her side to watch her fly into the unholy, narrowing crack of her magic, she moaned a word that sounded like a wing crunching under a boot.

An eerie roar from the north brought him to his feet. The tide bent and rose to the setting sun as an enormous serpent the size of a harbor strand surfaced as if responding to a call. Its force on his heart bore the unmistakable mark of the Destroyer, the aspect of death and transformation inherent in the Old One, the Mother of all things.

Stunned beyond thought, Eadred returned his attention to his dark deed. Just then, something moved on the edge of the field in the direction of the path. "Mummy!" a child cried. A boy ran into view, then stopped and gaped at the woman splayed in blood by the standing stone.

Bow in hand, Eadred stepped back and turned to leave. His stomach flipped over like a fish in a pool as the child began to cry. The Aenlisarfon had not told him the witch had children by her intercourse with wizards. How could they not have known that?

They had not told him she had the power to invoke sea dragons, either.

He crossed the field, merging with the shadows of dusk. Behind him, the boy screamed a tangle of words in the Dark Tongue that hit the hunter in the gut like a volley of poisoned darts. He stumbled and fell as the howling blast passed through his body and mind, splintering it.

Thunder rent the sky as Eadred peered up, trembling, weak and disoriented. The child had gone. His mother's cloak and hair flapped in the gale like the feathers of a dead bird. And the sea wept and crashed against the isle, driven by the icy north hand of the Destroyer herself, bent on avenging the death of her own.


Sailors called his realm the Swan, for so it appeared to them, the pattern of stars shining on dusk's fading arc in the seeding time of year. They knew his name, Ciron, as its heart and brightest star. But she knew his touch. She had lain with him in the warm waters on the shortest night, when the wind from the stars caressed the depths and revealed the Gates of the Palace of Origin, and conceived.

On that night, Ciron sang a spell that brought their child into a human womb.

Where to buy The The Gray Isles:

Connect with F.T. McKinstry:

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Fairy, Texas (Margo Bond Collins) in One Thousand Words

Fairy, Texas by Margo Bond Collins is today's feature on One Thousand Worlds.

Fairy, Texas-

Fairy, Texas. A small town like any other.

Laney Harris didn't want to live there. When her mother remarried and moved them to a town where a date meant hanging out at the Sonic, Laney figured that "boring" would have a whole new meaning. A new stepsister who despised her and a high school where she was the only topic of gossip were bad enough. But when she met the school counselor (and his terminal bad breath), she grew suspicious. Especially since he had wings that only she could see. And then there were Josh and Mason, two gorgeous glimmering-eyed classmates whose interest in her might not be for the reasons she hoped. Not to mention that dead guy she nearly tripped over in gym class.

She was right. Boring took on an entirely new dimension in Fairy, Texas.

About the author-

Margo Bond Collins is the author of a number of novels, including Waking Up Dead, Fairy, Texas, and Legally Undead (forthcoming in 2014). She lives in Texas with her husband, their daughter, and several spoiled pets. She teaches college-level English courses online, though writing fiction is her first love. She enjoys reading urban fantasy and paranormal fiction of any genre and spends most of her free time daydreaming about vampires, ghosts, zombies, werewolves, and other monsters. 

Chapter One

Of all the things that frightened me about starting a new school, finding a dead guy on day one didn’t even made it into my top hundred. I guess it should have.
            But I didn’t know that when I got up early that first morning and went for a run.
            The best part of running is that it keeps me from crying. It doesn’t matter how bad I feel, timing the beat of my footfalls and the pace of my breathing to the music coming through my headphones always helps.
As I rounded the last bend of the caliche road that wound through the ranch, I could taste the dust in the back of my throat.
Better than tears, anyway.
I slowed down, breathing hard, and walked toward the front porch of the long, low house I now had to call home. I ducked past the living room and scurried down the hall, anxious to be alone. But instead, I ran almost smack into one of the ranch hands. “Please, please be careful with that,” I begged the enormous man who had just tossed another cardboard box onto the top of the growing pile in my bedroom—or at least, the room that was going to be my bedroom for the foreseeable future.
Mom stuck her head around the door-frame, her disheveled brown curls appearing first, followed by her blue eyes. “Laney, you be nice to Bruce. He took the whole day off from work just to help us out.” She eyed my running gear. “You’re not wearing that to school, are you? Hurry up and get ready.”
            “Okay, Mom.” I used my most agreeable voice, but it took every ounce of self-control I had. I’d been working really hard to get along with Mom since we’d started the move, but it hadn’t been easy. Leaving Atlanta for the middle of nowhere, Texas, was not, in my opinion, her best idea ever.
            I didn’t want my mom to be an idiot. I mean, no one does, right? But I guess it’s kind of part of the whole being-a-parent thing, at least to some degree. It’s just that Mom tried so hard to be the cool parent. Not the buying-me-alcohol-and-letting-me-have-wild-parties kind of “cool”—that’s lame. She wanted to be the kind of Mom who knows all the latest music and slang, who tried to be as much my friend as my mother. Which was fine most of the time, even if she did make me want to die every time she turned on the radio and started singing along to Christina Aguilera. (I hated to tell her that “used to be Top 20” doesn’t equal “cool.”)
            But then she got back in touch with her high school sweetheart.
            For as long as I could remember, it had just been Mom and me. My dad took off before I was born—I saw him a couple of times when I was younger and Mom was on a kick about me needing a male role model, but then he got remarried and had another family. Not that he’d ever had all that much interest in me to begin with. And what kind of role model would that have been, anyway?
            Never in a million years would I have thought that some rancher back in Mom’s hometown in Texas would be The One.
            I still wasn’t convinced. Now I kind of wished I hadn’t done my level best to get her not to join a dating site. But once she started emailing John Hamilton, I relaxed a little bit. No way would Mom give up her life in Atlanta, her job, her friends, for some random guy who lived a thousand miles away in a town Mom hadn’t been back to since she left when she was eighteen, right before she had me.       
            I should have paid more attention. I should have tried to talk her out of seeing him when he came to Atlanta to visit. It might not have done any good, but at least then I would know I had done everything I could to save our lives.
            And maybe it would have worked.
            Instead, though, here I was. Moving into my new bedroom in my new stepfather’s house. While Bruce the ranch hand manhandled all my stuff.
            In Fairy, Texas.
            That’s right. I moved from the greater metropolitan Atlanta area to a ranch in central Texas just outside of a tiny town that was actually named “Fairy.”
            And from what I’d seen so far, I wasn’t going to like it. John had taken me on a tour of the ranch the day before and had pointed out disgusting things on the ground like cow pies and buzzard vomit. And he’d shown me the body of a dead coyote hanging from a fence. He said it kept other coyotes away from the ranch, but I’d heard a bunch of them howling when I went to bed that night. Clearly they weren’t that scared.
            “That’s not your desk,” Kayla’s voice interrupted my thoughts. “It was my mom’s. And that makes it mine, not yours.”
            I sighed. “Your dad said I could use it.”
            “Still not yours.” She leaned against the door frame and surveyed the boxes stacked up in my new room.
            “You really going to unpack all that crap?” she drawled.
            “That’s the plan.”
            “You might as well not bother,” Kayla said, flipping her long blonde hair over her shoulder and sliding into her own room across the hall. “You’re not staying long, you know.” She slammed the door behind her.
            I shut my own door and leaned my forehead against it. Bad enough my mother had married Old Flame Rancher Guy. Worse that she had moved me to Fairy. I hoped that the worst was that I had a new stepsister who was turning out to be a bitch.

            I was wrong, of course.