Just when you think you’re safe, Spring rolls around again, and before you know it, it’s time for the A to Z Challenge. I didn’t participate last year due to having too much on my plate, so I’m really looking forward to getting back in there this year. (Remind me in May that I actually wrote that.)

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Previous: Of Mushrooms and Men


Hazel awoke on a cold stone floor with a pounding headache. She pushed herself upright and looked around, surprised to see she was still in her father’s workshop. She must have fainted, probably from all the smoke. Had something gone wrong with her spell?

No, the spell had worked. There had been a bright light close to Ash’s chest. That had meant something.

She got to her feet and started across the room, but it was like shadows had solidified around her, clinging like tar that made her movements heavy and strained. When she stopped, the shadows receded, but as soon as she tried to walk again, the shadows returned like night-tempered chains. Her father had done this. He had trapped her here.

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Previous: A Star Enshrined Heart


Holly gave silent thanks that they never found a corpse on the road. She had spent a fair amount of time holding her breath in anticipation, but nothing ever arose—either in the air or on the road ahead of them.

“Ravens aren’t always a sign of death,” Norman said, perhaps noticing her relief. “They are the world’s oldest messengers, before pigeons and owls and other such birds became more fashionable. They are the eyes of the gods, keepers of gateways and of memories.”

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Previous: Crossroads Conundrum


Hazel woke up and stared at the ceiling. A jagged crack seared across the stone surface to a corner where moss began to grow. She lay still a moment, savoring the softness of the bed before she realized a lamp had been lit in the room. Someone had been in her quarters. Again.

Annoyed, she got up from the bed and went into the main room. A fire had been lit in the hearth, and the poker that had been lying on the floor had been returned to its proper place. The basin, ewer, and mirror were all still on the table, along with a cloche-covered tray and lit beeswax candles. Hazel continued to eye the room, but nothing else looked out of place, and the warmth from the fire helped ease her tension.

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Despite Sweden being considered one of the most secular countries in the world, religion still plays a big part in many of the holidays. Honestly, I think Swedes will embrace just about any reason to take a day off work or, in the case of today, eat pastries.

Swedes love pastries.

Like, a lot.

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