Books, fantasy

Anthology Release Day!


Happy Valentine’s to my readers! I present to you a dozen stories, rather than roses. Something makes me think you’ll like these better than dying flowers. High Fantasy romantic tales, every one of them. 

The Hearts’ Enchantment is an anthology from Huntress press, and you can find it on Amazon now (not sure yet what other outlets will be carrying it, I’ll update with links when I can). There will also be a print edition soon. 

To whet your appetites, following is a snippet from my tale in the book, The Domovoi’s Blessing. I had a lot of fun working within the framework of a traditional Russian fairytale to write this story, and I’m hoping it will be fun for you to read.

The Domovoi’s Blessing

The skinny boy, his hair a crest of straw-colored hair that simply would not stay smooth and flat, scrambled through the reeds, stopping short when he saw her. He stood there in the cold muck, ignoring it seeping into his boots, his mouth slightly ajar, staring at her. She looked back with wide eyes, deep as peat pools, her wet hair slithering over her face and shoulders like spilled ink. 

He found his voice. “What do you have?” 

She slowly opened her cupped together hands just a little, and he leaned forward to see that she held a tiny jewel-green frog. It glistened against the peat-stained hue of her fingers, and it’s throat swelled a little, emitting a tiny melodic note. 

“Vashka!” His father’s voice ripped through the quiet moment and the girl was gone. Vasili the son of Boris blinked, wondering how she had managed that, barely even leaving a ripple, and then he squared his shoulders and turned to face his father’s wrath. 

He trudged through the mud and slime of frothy green bubbles until he was back on firmer ground, and there he met his father. Mounted on a sturdy gray horse, the old man’s face was red above his bushy beard, streaked with gray now among the red hairs. “Vashka! Why is it I always find you in the mud?” 

Vasili hung his head. “I am sorry, Da.” He steeled himself for the blow, but it did not come. Instead, as he peeked up through his lashes, he could see his father still astride his gelding, gazing out over the marshes. 

“This place,” Boris’s voice was uncharacteristically soft. “This is a strange place, my son. Keep away from it.” 

“Da?” Vasili looked over his shoulder. He had always been drawn into the marsh, since he could remember. There were many wonderful things in the marsh, like the girl and her frog, although he would never speak of such to his father. 

“This should not be a wet land, here.” His father slipped into teaching, a rare but pleasant mode, and Vasili relaxed a little. His father’s arm traced an arc. “See, there, this land is not lower than the river where it twists in the valley. So the marsh, it should drain and be farmland. But it does not, and no amount of dikes will change it.” He frowned and lowered his hand again. “Stay out of it, boy. There are things you cannot understand here.” 

Vasili sneaked one last look over his shoulder. Like that girl, who had vanished in the blink of an eye. 


Vasili the Boyar’s son strode through his Great Hall, his lips thin and eyes grim. The shock of blonde hair was darker, now, and cropped very short to fit under a helm. But it was not war which disturbed him today, it was the knowledge that the Great Hall was his own. His father, ill suddenly by the dawn of the Second day, was dead on the eve of the Fifth day, and his only son and heir was not ready to face that responsibility. His father’s land had not thrived since his mother’s death, and his father, desperate, had taken to picking fights with neighboring villages, hoping to expand his holding and feed his people. This, then, was the bitter legacy Vashka the man grown faced, and it burned his throat with bile. 

He left the manor and walked through the pleasant garden, the last legacy of his mother’s legendary ability to make anything grow and fruit. He took a deep breath of the sweetly spicy air, reminding himself that not everything was dark and hopeless. The tiny hut in the back of the garden was nearly overgrown with flowering vines at this time of summer. Vasili bent to leave his offering, a fat round bottle full of medovukha, on the doorstep. To his surprise, the door creaked open. 

The deep, gravelly voice croaked from the darkness within. “Don’t stand there gaping, boy. You’ll catch a fly.” The harsh sounds that followed this were, Vas knew, a laugh. At least as much a laugh as the domovoi ever managed. 

Vasili pushed the door open a little further to accommodate his shoulders, but pulled it closed again behind him. He moved slowly, letting his eyes adjust to the dim light filtering through the vines over the windows, and found the domovoi seated at his rough wooden table, hunched over a steaming bowl of something. 

“Greetings, Dyedushka.” He said politely. “I have brought you a gift.” He sat the bottle down on the table, and the old man grunted and peered at it. 

“Honey wine, I see. You must want something.” The beady eyes almost hidden under a wild tangle of gray eyebrows and beard that ran together at the edges squinted suspiciously up at the tall boyar. “Sit. You loom and my neck hurts.” 

There was no other stool or chair in the place, so Vasili sat obediently on the floor. Since this brought him eye-to-eye with the tiny man, he did not demur. “Dyedushka, I do have great need.” 

“Thought so.” The other picked up the bowl that had been sitting on the table, and quaffed it in a long draught. He reached for the bottle. “Speak, boy.” 

“My father is dead.” Vasili knew better than to waste the domovoi’s time with pleasantries. 

“Aye.” The bowl filled, the beard smoothed back, the gnarled hands lifted the sweet liquor reverently. 

“Our neighbors… are not happy.” Vasili watched the old man drink the strong honey wine like it was no more than water.

“No more’n they should be.” The bowl, empty, hit the table. The dark eyes bored into Vas’s own. “But that was your father’s doing.” 

“Our lands fail.” Vasili might not have agreed with his father, but the fact remained that without the raids and seized land, people would have been starving. 


“What do I do?” Vasili the Boyar asked helplessly, sitting on the hard dirt floor, spreading his hands palms-up in supplication. 

“Marry the Shaman’s daughter.” The reply came abruptly, more abruptly than the young man had expected. 

Vasili shook his head, trying to understand. “Who is she?”


Find out along with Vasili, and see if he is able to discover his heart’s desires, in The Hearts’ Enchantment. Along with all the other stories to read, new authors to discover, and a perfect book on such a day. 

3 thoughts on “Anthology Release Day!

    1. Sorry, Draven. I’m happy, but I was recalling VDays I spent with partners who were… not good for me. Better to be alone than that, I think. Which doesn’t help you at all, I’m afraid.

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