Out of the Past
by Shauna E. Black
When Shauna E. Black was a young teen, her English teacher made the mistake of offering extra credit for original short stories, and was suddenly swamped with Shauna’s writing. Dutifully reading each story (at least, she wrote encouraging things in the margins), this teacher inspired Shauna to follow her dreams, leaving her with a warm spot in her heart for all English teachers.
Today, Shauna still keeps a box in the attic full of early manuscripts, most written in pencil on lined paper. She lives in the high desert of the southwest with her husband and four children. On springtime hiking adventures to the many Ancestral Puebloan ruins near her home, she finds inspiration for her writing. She also likes to experiment in the kitchen, perform in local singing groups, and travel to exotic locations to collect wind chimes. Visit http://shaunablack.com for more information.
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“Soul in Ashes Series – As an exile studying the healing arts in a foreign land, Alswyn discovers ash magic that could destroy a delicate peace treaty and plunge the countryside back into war. Now she must reveal the truth of her sordid past, risking her new life as she uses forbidden knowledge to counter the ash magic and catch the sorcerer before her adopted homeland is destroyed.
Out of the Past: Episode 1 – Alswyn can no longer avoid the peace treaty delegation from her homeland when Lady Serrin, the king’s foreign bride, falls prey to a mysterious illness, and Koen discovers a demon summoning circle in the castle’s slim tower.”
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“Somebody escort that boy to safety,” Ghalad said.
“No!” I yelled as a soldier moved toward the boy.
Suddenly, the boy’s expression shifted. His skin took on a waxy appearance, like a candle held too long near the fire. He grew, shooting up until his head nearly touched the ceiling. He was now easily twice as tall as Talorc. His body became blackened wood. Muscles exploded under sharp thorns that jutted out along his limbs and around his head. … where its mouth should have been was a hollow cavity that held a glowing red coal.
Before anyone could react, the golem grabbed the nearest soldier in massive hands of gnarled wood and lifted him up. The man screamed and hacked at the golem’s hand as he neared its face. The scream petered out. The man struggled and gasped for breath. When he came close to the golem’s face, a blast of hot air blew from the coal in the golem’s mouth and enveloped the soldier. His body exploded into ashes.