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Friday, May 31, 2024

Excerpt: Faeries Don’t Lie (Heart of the Worlds Book 1) by TF Burke + giveaway

Can Two Worlds Survive an Augury?

by TF Burke
Genre: YA Epic Fantasy
Can Two Worlds Survive an Augury?

Releasing a Chandarion’s god-like magic into the world isn’t what sixteen-year-old Aunia, the village’s outcast, intends. She only wants to impress Mathias, a visiting seventeen-year-old pegasus flyer, who fiercely believes the choice—either Faery or Mortal world surviving—has come.

Her action calls forth the Boggleman, a soul-sucking ghoul, who abducts her dad, eats her faery friends, and sets Dagel demons on her isolated village. And worse.

The worlds of Ahnu-Endynia are full of faeries, pegasi flyers, myths, secrets, and themes of belonging, despite being misunderstood. And if you don't watch carefully . . . You might be pulled into the Betwixt. . . the space between the worlds.

Excerpt 1 – FAERIES DON’T LIE – TF Burke

Explaining true love to a garden faery wasn’t easy. Aunia tapped her pitchfork against the stone-slabbed floor and wrinkled her nose against the golden dust while her faery friend, Jennium, landed between a nanny goat’s ears. The escaped animal froze in place in front of the long wooden goat pens while the faery sat cross-legged on her furry perch, folding her iridescent wings, purples, blues, and yellows.

Another of Jennium’s mind-pictures arose in Aunia’s head. This one was of the villagers, old and young, dancing arm-in-arm in twisting steps around a bonfire—fiery sparks rising to the stars.

“That’s the party afterwards. True love is how you feel. How your heart would give away every constellation to see your beloved smile.” Aunia flipped her blond braid over her shoulder and wished she could disappear into the slithering crack along the stable’s high-vaulted ceiling—or, better yet, fly away to the faery world . . .if that doorway wasn’t watched. “But like I said, there’s no one here for me.”

Unlike the two lovers exchanging mating beads this night, she would stand in the shadows as an outcast, too different to be accepted. At sixteen years of age, she needed to accept this would be her life. She scooped another pitchfork of dirty hay onto the dung heap.

Jennium propelled another image—Aunia’s father standing, back turned and shoulders slumped, at his favorite fishpond. The faery tipped her raven-haired head as if to ask, “And where’s your father’s true love?”

Aunia’s hands slid on the pitchfork. She couldn’t answer that. Her father refused to talk about her. But it was obvious he clung to her memory—whoever she was. And he had to have loved her real mom desperately. Why else would he have treated Nehla like a sister. A sister he couldn’t save from being skewered by a wild boar. An accident. An awful, terrible accident.

Stomping, Aunia passed the long pen of bleating goats and turned up the middle junction of horse stalls to the quadruple-sized hay-less stall that had been Nehla’s pottery work area. She frowned at the grain buckets lining the shoulder-high wall where clay boards used to stand. She padded to Nehla’s pottery wheel, draped with a green and yellow blanket, and pressed her knuckles against the scratchy wool. Three years later and it still hurt.

With a light jingle, Jennium landed on Aunia’s head and projected another image—a woman’s silhouette, but not Nehla.

Aunia pulled her hand away from the pottery wheel. For a moment, she made out the curve of the woman’s left cheek, so like her own. Then, the silhouette was gone.

“I don’t remember my mother,” Aunia said. “But she probably had faery sight like me. Maybe she could even see people’s glows.”

A whiny buzz brushed against Aunia’s hair and a shiny green bug dove behind the stall’s black walnut wood.

Jennium launched up, and Aunia winced at the tug, reaching to free the faery’s tiny feet from her braid. Jennium yanked through, chittering, and landed on an empty pottery shelf—one that rested on iron spikes nailed into the wall. Those spikes had been made from Nehla’s sacrificed pot hooks to keep faeries from breaking freshly made bowls.

“How are you—”

A screech from the stable’s front door sent Aunia crouching behind the pottery wheel.

“The bottle in the back ought to muffle the evening proper,” said Sigmus with his deep wheezy voice.

Aunia tensed. Her father’s closest friend would still be livid about the faeries shoving tadpoles in his boots from yesterday’s yesterday. But it had been his own fault. He had insulted the water fae.

Aunia tiptoed forward and peeked over the stall’s wall. These two were supposed to be stacking wood for the cooking fires. Her father’s head and shoulders, glowing with his usual brick-red aura, seem to float above the horse pen-wall—or did until he dodged a buzzing insect.

Sigmus swiveled, cracking his hands together, presumably squashing the bug. “Ain’t no grace-fall smushing your own pest.”

Dad jutted his jaw. “I can’t do that.”

“And you get a grumping every beading.”

Dad’s red glow dulled. “I am happy for them.”

“Sure. It makes all the sense you hankering to sneak off to the sheep cave.”

“Fish pond,” Dad clarified.

“Well, I’ve a better idea. Wait here.” Sigmus waddled up the middle aisle toward her.

Aunia ducked, pressing a hand over her mouth. Her sigh filled her palm when his footfalls veered toward the nearby tack and storage room.

Sheep-cave? No one was allowed near them. Dad himself had told her the Boggleman lived there now. She eased to a trousered knee and considered. Sigmus was probably just saying that for shock and her father was looking to wander off to be alone.

She had wanted to sneak away earlier, too. Sneak past the gate-minders to the woods for a game of tag with the moss-gnomes or maybe cajole a dryad into playing a whistle-tune. She had almost made it through the gate but got caught, so she ran and hid in the stable.

Aunia leaned against the chest-high wall. It would be better to stay with faery friends instead of being in the village.

The tack room door grumbled open, followed with chalky scuffles from dried leather and thud-clack of ceramics. Sigmus hooted. He probably stashed another bottle of the apothecary’s cider brandy.

Sigmus exited the tack room, popped the bottle, and shouted, “Figure you’ll get a fair healing, spilling out your sorrows.”

“There’s nothing to spill,” her father called back.

Stars. How long am I going to need to hide while they drink?

Sigmus pranced past her stall. Aunia inched forward. Her father stood about ten yards from her in the middle aisle and close to the dung heap.

“Ah, so you say,” Sigmus said. “But I knows these beading ceremonies remind you of yer Tamorian lady wife.”

Tamorian? Lightning crackled in Aunia’s belly and erupted against the back of her throat. “You’ll tell him about my mother but not me.”

Dad whirled in her direction, his glow retreating to a scant fingers-width around his head. She marched out of the pen while Sigmus stepped in her way.

“Move, Sigmus,” she said. “I’m talking to my father. My dad, not yours.”

Sigmus raised his hand. “You’re supposed to be stirring them stew pots.”

“Like you gathering wood?” Aunia tried sidestepping him but Sigmus’ elbow clipped the side of her head. She hunched-over, wishing she could melt Sigmus “Sourling-Beast” into pudding ash.

About the Author

Bookbub-Amazon Goodreads
TF Burke currently works with NYT David Farland’s Apex-Writers as an admin and marketing specialist, where she schedules industry leaders for weekly multi-Zoom calls, provides content for social posts, and hosts several writer-focused Zooms.

Her published works includes hundreds of newspaper articles, blog posts across various platforms, anthologies, including MURDERBUGS, the second volume of the Unhelpful Encyclopediam a collection of short stories in WHIRL OF THE FAE, and the first book of the Heart of the Worlds Series, FAERIES DON’T LIE.

When not writing or wearing other hats, she can be found with a sword and a dagger in her hands for medieval-style fencing tournaments and melees, something she’s been doing since 2010.

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  1. This sounds like a really good fantasy read! Thanks so much for sharing it.

  2. The cover looks good. Sounds like a good story.