Away in an inbox, Holiday Adventure Awaits

Hi Readers,

This is Future Ran again. I hope you enjoyed my antics last week and part 1 of our exclusive holiday adventure. (If you missed it, read it here because part 2 is coming at you right after my note.)

This week I’m not here to razz my younger self. I really want to, but I’m being the bigger character and refraining. Why? Because I have an important question to ask. Another fantasy author saw our books and thought they were grimdark horror tales.

My jaw is still on the floor. I do not costar in grimdark horror.

Our scribe won’t even read grimdark tales, let alone horror. (She tried reading It by Stephen King on a dare. But she had so many nightmares, we performed an intervention and removed the book from her phone.) So there is no chance she’d ever write a story like that.

This author’s comments hurt our scribe, Melinda. (The nameless author claims to be a NY Times Best Seller, so we can’t discard her opinion outright especially since we want in on her next boxed set. It’s tailor-made for us. We just need to convince her of that.)

Melinda tries so hard to do right by us on her tiny paycheck. We’re grateful to her for sticking it out even though she takes a loss on every book. (We love you scribe. Yes, we know you’re reading this.)

So, I have to ask you, dear readers, do our book covers in any way suggest we’re grimdark horror tales?

Please don’t be shy. If we’re sending the wrong message, we need to know. Our books are high, hopeful fantasy. We may take dark twists, but we don’t even approach Stephen King territory. We run screaming in the other direction.

Please, please hit reply and let us know if we’re sending the right message. And now, what you’ve been waiting for:


Shards for His Present:

A Curse Breaker Christmas Exclusive

Part 2

(Parts of this story are set before EnchantedOther parts are set in the future, [after Darkens, Faceted and Falls] but you already knew that. Read Part 1 here.)


Ran squeezed the glass globe. It fit the palm of his hand as if it had been made for that purpose. Its internal glow–green like his father’s eyes–entranced him and the baby framed in its glass heart.

Oh, my God, that’s me! I’m the baby. 

“Away in a basket, on an uneven floor–a shadow fell over the baby lying there,” sang the old woman hanging glass baubles on the lumir-lit tree.

Her song reminding Ran of her presence and her gift until the baby opened green eyes and waved a tiny hand at him. Ran stared into the reflected eyes of his infant self and the world began to swirl around him. A cave he hadn’t seen since he was four years old was coming into focus, and his eyes hungered for it.

Once-bright curtains cordoned off this shadowy corner. A layer of grime dulled the colorful wheels decorating each one. She was singing again, the old lady, but her song was sweet on this cold night.

“Away in a basket, no crib for his bed, the little baby Ran lay down his sweet head.”

But he didn’t fall asleep no matter how many songs his mother sang. After two hours, she blew out a frustrated breath and ceased rocking the basket. It was just large enough to fit a fractious ten-month-old baby who had no intention of sleeping.

“You’re not going to sleep, are you?” Beku said.

Baby Ran waved his fist at her. She sighed, taking that as a “no,” then rose, rubbing her back as she drew aside a worn curtain seeking her bed.

She looked so old. Had she always been so much older than Papa? Back in the park, Ran struggled to remember, but remembering pulled him out of the memory sequence, so he tabled that question for later.

“Fine, stay up until your father comes home. He can deal with you then,” Beku–no–mama said as the dream the glass globe was spinning, pulled Ran deeper in and he merged with his baby-self.

That must be how I always knew things I shouldn’t. Future versions of me must have dropped by for a visit in my head.

Baby Ran waved his fist again and all thoughts of future ‘Rans’ faded. He went back to searching the shadows for the Bright One, the young man with glowing green eyes. But he wasn’t here. Worn curtains with dull patterns met his searching gaze. Where was the Bright One with the aura that tickled?

Not here where he belonged. Baby Ran frowned as a shadow stepped from the billowing curtains and a chill wind rushed through his little alcove. Someone was coming. Hope rose. Maybe it was the Bright One.

Papa, Future Ran corrected.

His baby-self shoved him down, quieting his voice in their mind.

“Hello little one,” said a young man in white fur cloak as he bent over the basket, hands extended for a pick-up.

He wasn’t the Bright One. He had a hook nose and a jewel winked in his earlobe. Inky designs of stags and hunting men wound around his neck and vanished into his collar. The beginnings of antlers curved out of either side of his head. Between those bony buds, a fur cap perched at a rakish angle.

“You and I are going for a little sleigh ride in the snow.” Under his hook nose, a malicious smile twisted his juice-stained lips.

Ran opened his mouth to object but no sound emerged as two large hands lifted his baby-self out of the basket.

Click to read part 3 now.


Until next time, this is Future Ran signing off. I must go hug my scribe. Please hit reply and tell me if our covers are giving readers like you the right impression or the wrong one. Here’s a handy reference:


Thank you so much! You rock! {And we roll. Not kidding. If you’ve read Faceted, then you know how we roll. [Hint: teddy Bear power!] 😉 }

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Until next time, dear reader

This is Ran, son of Sarn, “the baby-napped Character” wishing you a great week!

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