I’m Melanie Gilbert, your hostess for the moment. Here’s what you need to know about me:
- I write YA/NA fantasy and paranormal romance
- Once a month, 3rd Wednesday, I host a live Character Creation on my Facebook page where my fans can create one of the characters in an upcoming book.
- I enjoy jigsaw puzzles, but I haven’t put one together in a while and I miss it (my youngest is 2 and that would be a mess).
- I love board and card games.
- Starting April 1st at 7:30pm EST my new talkshow “The Bookish Life” goes live for the first time on my Facebook author page! My co-hosts, Lynn Shaw and Heather Karn are amazing and I’m so excited for this venture!
Keep reading to meet the author I’m hosting (she has awesome exclusive content) and to see the contest I’m hosting! Also, look for my favorite number (in purple).
If you’ve done YASH before, you know my bonus content isn’t here. If you’re new, or want a refresher, keep reading.
Here’s what you do: In this post I’ve listed my favorite number (in purple). Collect all the favorite numbers of all the authors on the Purple team and then add them together.
Once you’ve added up all the numbers, make sure you fill out the form here to officially qualify for the grand prize. Only entries that have the correct number will qualify.
Rules: Open internationally, anyone below the age of 18 should have a parent or guardian’s permission to enter. To be eligible for the grand prize, you must submit the completed entry form by April 5th, at noon Pacific Time. Entries sent without the correct number or without contact information will not be considered.
There are four teams – Red, Blue, Gold, and Purple – so make sure to visit them all for a chance to win even more books!
For more information, visit the YASH Homepage.
Now, let’s meet the talented author I’m hosting!
May I present, Debbie Manber Kupfer!
Debbie grew up in the UK in the East London suburb of Barking. She has lived in Israel, New York and North Carolina and somehow ended up in St. Louis, where she works as a writer and freelance puzzle constructor of word puzzles and logic problems. She lives with her husband, two children and a very opinionated feline. She believes that with enough tea and dark chocolate you can achieve anything.
Check out her book P.A.W.S.!
When Miri receives a silver cat charm from her omama, Celia, on the night before Celia dies she has no idea that the charm holds a secret, a powerful magic that saved her omama’s life and is about to make Miri’s a whole lot more interesting.
Join Miri on a mysterious and supernatural journey with her new friends, members of an underground St. Louis society known as the Partnership for Animagi, Werewolves, and Shapeshifters, better known as P.A.W.S.
Read more about the book here.
Sneak peek from JHARA (P.A.W.S. 6) On sale – Summer 2020.
Catch up with the P.A.W.S. Saga – all 5 books just 99 cents a piece on Kindle this week only (or free to Kindle Unlimited subscribers)
As the last summer weeks past, more P.A.W.S. students returned for the start of the new school year while Sandy got ready to leave. She was both sad and excited. Sad because this had been her home for so many years and excited and a little scared of the prospect of going to New Orleans.
It was set that she would go for one year then return to St. Louis to finish off her schooling. After that, it would be up to Sandy where she wanted to go.
At the end of August she boarded a Greyhound bus bound for the south. It was deemed unwise by Jessamyn for Sandy as a weather mage to travel on a plane as she could put not only herself but her fellow passengers in danger if she somehow created a storm. The bus she hoped could deal with bad weather.
On the bus she found a spot close to the back and spread out over the two seats hoping she could deter someone from sitting next to her.
She looked out of the window and was disturbed by what she saw. Big black clouds dominated the sky in the direction the bus was heading. Sandy felt the atmospheric pressure begin to rise in her head. She closed her eyes and tried to will it down. She slipped into a kind of half-sleep. In her dream she saw a fairy with gleaming silver wings. She was flying around in circles humming. In the center of her circle was a tiny tornado. Even though it was small, Sandy could feel it was powerful. Sandy listened to the hum of the fairy and made out a word: “Jhara.” Where had she heard that before?
She awoke suddenly with the word in her head. She took out a notepad from her backpack and wrote the word as she assumed it was spelled—JHARA in large capital letters. She circled the word with her pen, making circle after circle around it as if she was trying to keep it contained.
The bus stopped in Nashville. They had an hour’s break but it was pouring with rain and Sandy along with most of the other passengers stayed in the Greyhound station. Sandy took out her pad again and stared at the word. A woman in a multi-colored sari gazed over her shoulder and pointed.
“Do you know the story?” she asked.
Sandy looked up. “What? I’m sorry.”
“Do you know the story, Jhara? It’s a good one, but also terrifying. Once you hear something like that, you can’t put it back.”
“I’m not sure,” said Sandy. “It feels familiar. I had a dream on the bus and someone said the word in my dream, so I wrote it down to remember it.”
“Not sure it should be remembered,” said the woman shaking her head. “But if you want to know the story I can tell it to you.”
* * *
In a village far away, there lived a man called Aviano. Aviano was a merchant. He sold birds in silver cages. The birds came to him through magic. He beguiled them with promises and then trapped them in cages. He imbued the bars of the cages with magic, so that the birds could only be set free by one who passed him silver. The magic was flawed though and sometimes he caught creatures in his cages that were not truly birds.
Once, for example, the raven he had beguiled turned out to be a magician who took on a raven’s form. He was rescued by a young girl who was punished for her deed. The punishment was immortality. The curse to live through the centuries and never be at peace. That curse, from what I hear, was recently broken, and another who is more suited for the task has taken the girl’s place.
But I digress. One day Aviano bit off a little more than he could chew. He captured a fairy called Argentia. He thought that the fairy would make a fine prize and that he would sell it for a thousand silver pieces, especially as she herself was the color of silver. This fairy however, was far more than she seemed. As she sat in the cage, she didn’t stress but rather she plotted. Plotted to destroy the bird man. For that though she would need silver, lots of silver.
She watched while Aviano sold his flock that day. He did a roaring trade and she counted seventeen birds leaving in their gilded cages with their new owners. The Bird Man’s pouch where he kept the silver became heavier and heavier.
That night while he slept, he rested the pouch at the foot of his bed, but he was careless and didn’t complete the ward spells he normally put in place before he slept. Maybe it was the goblet of oogleberry wine that somehow had found its place on his bedside table. Who knows? But in any case he entered the world of sleep without proper protection.
That night Argentia was released by a girl with chestnut hair. She thanked the girl, but did not leave immediately. Instead she fluttered into Aviano’s cabin and used a spell to exchange his silver coins with rocks. And so she was able to filch every last one before she took her liberty.
She chuckled at the thought of Aviano carrying around the pouch of rocks the next day. He did this for hours until hunger sent him into the village in search of a meal at the inn. He ordered a fine feast and opened his pouch to pay.
“What is this?” demanded the innkeeper. “I’m sorry but I do not take this currency. Come back when you have silver.”
Aviano looked down at the rocks. How had this happened? He marched over to the witch, Grisela’s cottage. She must have something to do with this. But she just shrugged when she saw the rocks. “Why are showing these to me?” she asked.
“I thought maybe … as you sell stones you might want these. They are worth a lot of silver.”
“No, they are not. They are merely common rocks you could find on the ground anywhere in the village. Take them away.”
That night Aviano wept. His fortune—he had lost his fortune. But that was not all Argentia had planned for him, though perhaps that is where she should have stopped. But the silver fairy never did anything by half measures, and the spell was only half complete. The stolen silver had a purpose. With it Argentia fashioned Jhara, a storm so powerful that it could devastate not only its target but all its surroundings.
That of course had not been the plan. Argentia wanted a precision weapon. She wanted to take out Aviano so that he could no longer trap the birds. It did not work. The fairy and the Bird Man wrestled and in the struggle a portal of silver opened into our world and the storm was flung through it.
The other side of that fateful portal was in the bay of New Orleans and the storm that was released would be remembered not by the name of Jhara but by another name—Katrina.
Argentia watched the devastation, the destruction of thousands of innocent lives and wept. She contacted a weather mage to help. Together they formulated a plan to trap Jhara into an artifact and send it away. Argentia initially wanted to destroy the storm, but the mage understood that was not possible. That with its destruction it would take much of America with it.
So instead they coaxed it into the artifact with a promise that one day it would have a worthy target. The artifact was taken by hand to St. Louis, or rather by flipper, as the mage transformed into a dolphin for the journey and swam up the Mississippi with the artifact embedded in her flipper. Jessamyn met her and took Jhara from her and concealed it in illusion in her chamber where it sits to this day.
* * *
“How do you know this?” asked Sandy. “Who are you?”
The woman in the sari smiled and shook her head. “Not now. Now you have a bus to catch.”
She walked away. Sandy tried to follow her with her eyes, but she blended into the array of people waiting in Nashville Greyhound station.
“The Greyhound Bus to New Orleans will be departing in five minutes. Passengers should return to their seats,” said the announcement.
Sandy made her way back to the bus and quickly drifted off to sleep for the last part of the journey.
Her dreams were filled with disjointed images. Storms and fairies and her Uncle Cyrus unsuccessfully trying to manage it all. Sandy woke up disjointed and fuzzy as the bus moved on towards New Orleans.
Alpha King is my first shifter book. My main character, a wolf shifter named Ryske, falls through a portal from our world to another. There, he finds the wolf shifters destroyed and the lion shifters vying for the throne. There’s only one thing to do, but can Ryske find the confidence he needs to lead his new people?
Keep going on your scavenger hunt now! Be on the lookout for my exclusive content with 3 book recommendations for you!
I’m so excited to send you over to visit J.C. Welker now! Have fun!