Monday, April 25, 2016

Rapunzel is here!

I'm very excited to announce the release of book #5 in my fairy tale series - Where Dreams Come True.

Watch book trailer

Once Enchanted (Where Dreams Come True Series)
Copyright © 2016 Marie Higgins

Cover Design by Sheri McGathy


When she entered the children’s ward, some of the children cheered and waved. The head nurse rushed to her and curtsied. “Welcome home, Princess.”
“Thank you, Mrs. Meyers. Is my father around?”
“He is still in a meeting, I’m afraid.”
Clarissa grinned. “Good. That means I can spend more time with the children.”
There were many new faces but a few she’d recognized from a year ago. These were the terminally ill children that came in regularly for treatments. Her heart went out to them, wishing she could cure them somehow. But for now, her friendship would just have to suffice.
Charlotte, the sickest out of all of them, lay in bed but her gaze followed Clarissa. When she moved closer to the girl’s bed, she smiled wide.
“It’s so good to see you again.” She patted the girl’s hand tenderly.
“I have missed your stories, Princess.”
Chimes of the phrase me too rang through the room and Clarissa laughed. “Do you want me to tell you a story, then?” The chimes turned into shouts of excitement, which made her laugh harder. “All right, I shall.”
Mrs. Meyers brought a chair for her as the children gathered around…well, those who could get out of bed, anyway. “What story do you wish me to tell?”
The children were silent as they looked from one to the other. Finally Charlotte straightened slightly in her bed. “I would love to hear the story about the man and the Rapunzel flower.”
Clarissa had always told the children stories, making them sound as if they were fictitious. They’d be surprised to know that most of these stories were true. But it was more fun to tell them as though they were not real.
“Once upon a time,” she began and the children hushed, “there was a man who was to become king, and he fell in love with the most beautiful girl in the kingdom. He wanted to win her love by doing something no other man had dared to do before. He wanted to obtain for her the most beautiful of flowers…the Rapunzel flower. But the only place the flower grew was near a tower in the east forest where a wicked old witch lived, recluse from the rest of the kingdom.”
She paused, linking her fingers together and resting them on her lap. Before she continued, she noticed a man had walked into the room, wearing a familiar uniform. It surprised her to see Ryder here, but then, he was probably assigned to keep watch on her today. Secretly, she found herself hoping he was there for her and not his duty to watch over her. He smiled at her as he leaned against the wall, folding his arms over his wide chest.
“Nobody else had dared enter the witch’s gardens,” she continued, peering back at the children. “But this man was different. He was the bravest in the whole kingdom, and he would do what was necessary to win the fair maiden’s love.” She lowered her voice for this next part. “So one night, he scaled the large rock wall that separated the witch from the rest of the kingdom, and entered her gardens. Cautiously, he crept to the Rapunzel flower and plucked it from the ground.”
She paused, trying to create a suspenseful moment. The children seemed enthralled with the story so far as they all leaned toward her and remained silent.
“But before this man could leave, the witch jumped in his path, stopping him.” Some of the children sucked in their breath. “She wanted to cast a spell over him for stealing her flower, but he convinced her not to harm him. He told the witch of his great love for a fair maiden, and how he wanted to impress her with the loveliest flower in the kingdom. The witch was taken with this man’s devotion, so she promised to let him go on one condition.”
Once again, she paused for affect. But the children became restless and asked, “What was the condition?” She sneaked a peak at Ryder, and he even appeared eager to hear the rest of the story. She bit back a laugh and focused on the children.
“Her condition was this—that he could take the flower to the fair maiden and marry her, but their first daughter would have to be named after the witch.”
The children cringed and shook their head.
“Ewww…” one said. “Why would anyone want to name their child after an ugly witch?”
“Well you see,” Clarissa interrupted, “a long time ago, the witch had been a beautiful woman and many men had vied for her attention. But when they discovered she was a witch, they hated her. Over the years her heart hardened, and she built the rock wall to separate herself from the rest of the kingdom because she felt everyone had judged her harshly.”
“So did the man follow the witch’s orders?” Charlotte asked, pulling away from her pillow and sitting up in bed.
Clarissa nodded. “Indeed, he did. He presented the fair maiden with the Rapunzel flower and they married. Their first child was a girl, and they named her after the witch.” She paused again, but not as long this time. “However, the story did not stop there. Oh, no. The witch wanted more. Much more.”
The children’s eyes widened, but they didn’t ask questions this time.
“You see, for a few years, the witch had been watching the little girl from afar, and the witch wanted the girl for herself. So one day when the little girl was playing in her yard, the witch snatched her and took her to the large tower.”
Prickles of recollection ran over her arms and up her back. She tried shaking off the eerie sensation, but she couldn’t. The dream she’d had this morning had seemed so real. Was she finally remembering what had happened back then?
She continued before the children became restless again. “Nobody saw the witch take the girl, so when her parents noticed she was missing, they scoured the kingdom looking for her, but she couldn’t be found. Several days passed, and the search grew hopeless. But then one day, the man realized there was one place they hadn’t looked.”
“The witch’s tower,” a little boy shouted.
Clarissa laughed. “Exactly. The witch’s tower.” She rubbed her hands over her arms, hoping the unsettling awareness still within her would disappear. “The man decided he was going to sneak back into her yard and watch her. Two more days passed and he couldn’t see any trace of his daughter. But then one day he watched as the witch called up to the tower window, “Rapunzel, let down the rope so I can climb up.”
One of the girls giggled. “They named the girl after the flower?”
“No, but this was what the witch called her, because the little girl reminded the witch of the lovely flower.”
The children nodded and the little boy asked, “Then what happened?”
“Just as the little girl lowered the rope out the window for the witch to climb, the man jumped out from his hiding spot and knocked the witch unconscious. He then climbed the rope and rescued his daughter.”
They clapped and cheered, but Clarissa motioned her hand to calm them. “The story isn’t over yet.”
“It’s not?” one asked.
“No. You see, just as the man had left the tower with his daughter, the witch became alert and attacked the man. She hit him with a large stick. Thankfully, the king was strong, so he fought her, and of course, eventually killed the witch.”
The children stood and cheered. Clarissa laughed, clapping her hands at their display. She loved their reaction. They always responded this way with her stories. Perhaps that was why she loved coming to the children’s ward so much. Their infectious laugh was the best kind of medicine.
“Princess?” one of the children asked. “What was the witch’s name?”
Clarissa shook her head. “I’ll have to save that question for another time. Perhaps we can make a game of it.”
Once again, the children shouted with excitement. She looked at Ryder. His smile stretched from ear to ear as he applauded. Her heart warmed to see the enjoyment etched in his expression. Just as she remembered, his eyes gleamed with happiness. She realized how hard it was to look at anything else when he was in the room. He was such a handsome man—one she would love to get to know a little better now that they were grown.
As many times as she’d told that story over the years, she thought her memories would bring back the fear she once had of strangers. But the fear was no longer with her. Perhaps she hadn’t recalled how it had really happened word for word, but she’d only been six years old when the witch had kidnapped her, so she didn’t remember a lot. Had these reoccurring dreams opened up her memory in some way?
Her father hated this story, and scolded her for telling it to the children. But she was happy to know he loved her enough to rescue her and destroy the witch, which of course was the moral of the story, anyway.
Of course, she couldn’t help but sigh knowing her father loved her mother so much that he risked his life by climbing the rock wall to get her the Rapunzel flower.
She leaned back in her chair. Perhaps that was the very reason she hadn’t found a man she’d consider marrying. She wanted a love like her parents had. She wanted a man who would risk his life to prove his love.
Too bad that was the fictitious part of all of this. There was no man out there like her father.

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Tuesday, March 22, 2016

NEW RELEASE!! My Cinderella story...

I'm thrilled to introduce you to book #4 of my Where Dreams Come True Series - "Keep on Believing", my historical Cinderella story. Here is a teasing excerpt...

“Uh…I take it the proposal didn’t go as planned?” Darby asked as he wrung his boney hands against his middle.
“It was a disaster.” Chris marched into his bedroom in search of another change of clothes.
“What happened?” Darby’s short, skinny legs stumbled over each other in attempt to keep up with Chris’s wide strides.
“She said no,” Chris snapped. “Actually, her very words were—If you would consider working under my father as the Financial Advisor’s Assistant to the king, I might consider your proposal.” He made the tone of his voice a little higher to sound like a woman. Over his shoulder, he threw Darby a stare. “Apparently, being a schoolteacher isn’t good enough for Rosanna or her family.”
Tears swam in Darby’s eyes. He slowly shook his head. “Oh, how sorry I am for this, my friend.” He wiped his eyes. “This is all my fault. I fear I’m not very good at being a soothsayer. If I hadn’t encouraged you to talk to her or court her…” He hitched a breath, which elicited a high pitch sound, and slapped his hand over his mouth. Tears filled his eyes faster.
“Darby, it’s not your fault.” Chris needed to calm his friend down before the poor man swooned from stress, which he’d done several times before. “I was the one who wanted to get to know her. If I didn’t want to meet her, I would have ignored your advice.”
Sighing heavily, Darby shook his head as his breathing regulated. “From now on, I shall just stick to dabbling in magic and leave my soothsayer hat buried in the ground where it belongs.”
Chris chuckled. “Yes, stick to your magic. The more you practice, the better you’ll become.”
Darby scurried back into the other room, so Chris closed the bedroom door and proceeded to change his clothes. He and Darby had been together for years. They met at an orphanage. Both were amongst the oldest children in that center. Darby was only older than Chris by five years, but his deformities made him look like an old, hunched over man. Darby wasn’t exactly bald, but the hair on his head sprouted in different areas, and over the years, it had grown longer. The man’s arms and legs were twisted, but he could still manage to walk and use his hands. And although most children found him repulsive at first, Chris knew they would just have to get to know him in order to realize what a special person Darby O’Brian really was.
He definitely kept Chris entertained with his magic. After all of these years, the poor man could still only call himself an apprentice. Darby tried hard, but most of the time, his spells didn’t turn out exactly right. In the end, the mayhem Darby caused made them laugh.
After Chris shucked his dirty clothes and dressed in clean ones, he joined Darby in the main room. His friend stood by the stove, stirring a spoon in a pot. Well, actually, the spoon was stirring itself while Darby was staring out the window.
Chris grinned. His friend’s magic could handle smaller tasks, thank goodness. “What are we having to eat?”
Darby jumped as if startled and stretched his hand toward the spoon, but instead of grasping it, he managed to knock it away from the pot. Flying through the air, the spoon spun, flinging food around the room.
Chris ducked. Thankfully, the sailing food particles didn’t dirty his clean clothes. Darby squealed and raced after the spinning spoon, his hands clumsily trying to grasp onto the utensil that was clearly still under a spell because it wouldn’t stop swirling.
Hiding his smile behind his hand, Chris moved to the stove and peeked inside the pot. Carrots and potatoes floated in the boiling thin sauce, along with a few chunks of meat. They couldn’t afford much, and they had to make the meat last as long as they could.
Grunts and groans from Darby jerked Chris’s attention to his friend. Running with hands in the air, he kept up with the flying spoon, but was too short to touch it. And jumping was out of the question for this little twisted man.
Chris chuckled and moved to help. When the spoon flew past, he grabbed it. Immediately, the spell that had been around the utensil broke, and the spoon was now just as normal as the others in the cupboard.
He handed it to Darby. “Here, I believe this is yours.”
His friend’s face turned red. “Indeed, it is. Thank you, Chris.”


Sunday, March 13, 2016

St. Paddy's Day Sale & Giveaway!

Between March 13th through March 20th, you will have a chance to win a $100 Amazon Gift Card! Experience these amazing authors and enter for a chance to win. Follow the bottom box for how to enter the giveaway!

Both of my books - "The Sweetest Kiss" and "Champion" will be on sale for 99 cents during this time. Check the other stories for sale prices, as well.

Brenda Novak: Hanover HouseThis Heart of Mine
Marie Higgins: ChampionThe Sweetest Kiss
Judy Baker: Better She Love
Anna Sugg: Spirit Catcher
Sheri L. McGathy: Within The Shadow of Stone
Liz Talley: Cowboy Crush
Robert Goble: In Older Worlds 

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Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Fun evening at the library

Three local authors were invited to be in an author panel / book signing, and I was one of them. I've held a workshop at the library before, so I was more than happy to do this again. However, this time, I shared the spotlight with two other awesome authors who live in my area - Josi Kilpack and Melissa J Cunningham.

It was fun answering questions from people interested in becoming authors themselves. And of course, the book signing afterwards, is always entertaining.

Thanks to Brigham City Library for hosting us!

Here are some pictures from the event that my daughter took.

Sunday, January 24, 2016

My very first Young Adult Fantasy story!

I'm very happy to announce that my very first YA Fantasy story has been released!!

I'm also very nervous. This is the first time I went out on a limb and wrote this kind of book. Thanks to my niece, Dusti Miller, she helped me turn this story into one that readers of all ages will love. (grins)

I thought I'd tease you with the prologue. ENJOY!

Salem, Massachusetts 1720

Jasper King dashed across the field, ducked under the wooden gate, and ran as fast as his fourteen-year-old legs would carry him. Fear of the unknown spread through him like wildfire. With each step, his buckled shoes slipped on the damp grass and he struggled to stay upright. Afraid he might drop the black, leather-bound book, he clutched it tighter and hurried toward the house as though the devil himself was on his heels.
As he came closer to the two-story A-framed house, tears stung his eyes. Ma’s laundry hung on the clothesline, and the aroma of baked bread and freshly churned butter filled the air. When he reached home, he would feel safe and secure. He hoped. But then he must find a way to get his brother back and destroy the book—Satan’s own tool—once and for all.
Jasper’s mind reeled with fear. How had he allowed this to happen? As he sped past the well, his toe caught a stone. He stumbled and flailed to the ground. The book flew from his hands and bounced open in front of him. Sharp rocks bit into his knees and palms and he cried out. The pages, like wicked eyes, pierced his soul. Panic grew inside him, overshadowing the pain of his wounds.
Jasper scooted away from the book. He dared not touch it for fear its vileness would sink into his skin like venom from a snakebite.
“Let me be,” he shouted at the book. “You will not take me!”
Above him, thick, dark clouds gathered in the sky, and the air turned chilly. The wind whipped violently around him, tearing at his clothes and hair. Jasper’s heart sank in despair. He knew what was coming. He swallowed hard and clenched his fists. Not matter what, he couldn’t allow the book to weave its magic spell around him as it had David.
Only a short time ago, he’d watched helplessly as the book had taken his brother. Taken him! David’s screams still echoed in Jasper’s head. He covered his ears, closed his eyes, and prayed the memory would quickly disappear.
There was only one logical explanation. Jasper’s grandmother had been hung for witchcraft, and although the family believed she’d been judged wrongly, Jasper now had a different opinion. Obviously, the book held some kind of power. Had his grandmother truly practiced witchcraft and cast a spell on its pages?
A high pitched whistle emanated from the book. In the distance David’s voice called out to him.
“David? Where are you?” Jasper cried.
“Please…help…me…” Each word of David’s plea grew softer until it silenced completely.
Tears spilled down Jasper’s face. He wiped the back of his cuffed sleeve across his cheeks as helplessness expanded in his chest. What would he tell his ma and pa? He was certain they would never believe what happened. Even now, Jasper wondered if he was dreaming. But he’d watched how the pictures on the pages shifted and grew…
He shivered. Nay, this was not a dream. Something evil had settled inside the book and was after him, even after snatching his brother.
A white mist swirled from the pages, rising up like smoke from a chimney. Within seconds, the mist had transformed into hands…their beastly claws reaching toward him.
Jasper cried out. He scrambled to stand, but slipped and slammed to his knees once again. Perhaps he would meet his brother’s fate after all. Who would tell his family what happened to them? Who would destroy the vile book so it never devoured another soul?
Warm tears slid down his cheeks. He blinked them back and looked toward the house. He saw his ma running through the tall grass toward him. She called out, but the bitter wind kept her words from reaching his ears.
The white mist thickened around him. Jasper’s body froze, as did his mind.

Perhaps this was a dream after all…

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