15 November, 2015

#SpecialFeature :: Read an #Excerpt from The Legacy of the Feathered Serpent by Alica McKenna Johnson

*** Special Feature - November 2015 ***

About the Book

First an ancient Phoenix King and Queen and now a sleeping Mayan god, could Sapphire’s life get any weirder?
Sapphire. 15 years old, strong, intelligent, with newly acquired Phoenix powers. She travels through South America, with her recently-discovered family. Performing with Cirque de Feu Magique as a cover, the Children of Fire respond to the need of magical creatures to return home to Akasha. 
Powerful beings take a dangerous interest in the creatures they are called to save. The challenges of growing leadership and conflict with a Mayan god force Sapphire to realize she’s stronger than she thought.

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The Legacy of the Feathered Serpent - Excerpt


"In every conceivable manner, the family is link to our past, bridge to our future." Alex Haley

Llamas spit.
"Oh my god, this reeks!" my uncle Gavin said, gagging as he tried to wipe the llama spit off his face. His skin turned pink from the irritating green goo.
"Oh, gross." I tossed him a packet of wet wipes. "You were told not to scare them."
My empathy picked up the llama's happiness at his victory. The female llamas surrounded him, making odd cooing noises. Understanding what animals felt and thought didn't freak me out anymore, thank goodness. Animals have a very different view of humans than we think. It didn’t surprise me to find out that when some cats when they slither around your feet while you're walking, are trying to kill you.
The mountains of Patagonia, Argentina loomed above us, beautiful and desolate. Craggy rocks, spindly shrubs, and grass less than an inch high covered the steep slopes. Far below, the brownish gray mountainside gave way to stripes of bright green, terraced crops.
"Is not spit," Sasha said, his Russian accent making him sound harsh and arrogant. "Is digested food."
"Thanks for sharing," I said. Sasha looked less like a ballet dancer and more like a bear in his navy winter coat, heavy black boots, thick wool hat, and scarf.
"When is their father going to be home?" Sasha paced in front of me wrapping his arms around himself.
Since Sasha's Phoenix gift of dreaming brought us here, why was he complaining? I sighed and strengthened my empathic shields against Sasha's boredom, frustration, and worry. We had a common ancestor four thousand years ago, a Phoenix King, and now our 'gifts' brought us together.
I looked over at the mother and her two young children sitting in front of their mud brick hut. They glowed against the gray rocks with their smiling dark, ruddy faces and thick wool clothes woven by their mother from bright colors. 
"The sun is getting lower, and it looks like the mom has started to prepare dinner, so I bet it won't be too much longer." 
Wind coming off the top of the snowcapped mountains of the Andes whipped around us. I snuggled deeper into the itchy wool poncho.
"Papa, he's coming. Listen," said the youngest, a girl about four or five years old.
I followed the girl's happy gaze, but couldn't see anyone.
"What did she say?" Gavin asked. A red splotch marked his face, but at least the nasty green goop was gone. His Phoenix gift of regeneration would heal that mark in a few minutes. 
"She says her father is coming. But I don't see anything." 
I began to get a headache as I always do whenever I translate foreign languages into English. Thank goodness my gift only works with other descendants of magical beings. Otherwise I'd have a constant migraine as we traveled. 
"Can be she heard something," Sasha said.
A gust of wind blew over us from the valley, carrying with it the soft bleating of sheep. 
"I think I hear them," I said.
Ten minutes later, the echo of the sheep and the sharp yips of dogs became clear. Five minutes after that, the first black-faced, woolly sheep appeared. Sheep look so cute. And smell. I didn't know sheep smelled. My nose wrinkled at the pungent, musky odor.
The son, who looked about five or six, ran over to the large paddock and opened the gate. The sheep trotted inside. A few tried going another way, but one of the sheep dogs herded them into the pen with little fuss.
Their father rode up over the hill, on a sturdy horse with a heavy coat. He watched over his flock, sitting tall in a colorful, heavy wool poncho, a leather cowboy hat, and holding a child in his arms. 
"Is everything all right?" the mom asked reaching her arms up to take the child. 
"He fell rescuing a pregnant ewe. I wrapped it but haven't had time to do anything else."
Their oldest son moaned as they shifted him. 
"Hello, my name is Lichuen, what can I do for you?" the man called in Mapuche, an ancient language long forgotten by the Spanish-speaking people of Argentina. His wild protective energy skimmed my shield as if trying to figure me out. 
"Good afternoon, Sir," I said, trusting my Phoenix gift for languages would work. "My family and I would like to speak with you, if we may."
His eyes widened, and I could feel his surprise bounce off my empathic shields. "Yes, of course. Let me clean up and make sure my son is all right first."
Sasha poked me. "We must help son. He won't trust us or give us jewelry from Akasha if we don't."
I groaned and rubbed my temples. We needed the jewelry Sasha dreamed about.
Gavin sighed. "Sasha, if you knew this, why you didn't you say so? None of us is a healer."
Sasha crossed his arms. "I tell you what I remember of my dreams."
"Do you happen to remember how we heal him?" I asked. We were all learning how to manage our Phoenix gifts. I can't expect perfection, especially when I'm constantly messing up. 
"Sapphire, can you connect to Akasha?" Gavin asked. "Can we connect to Miu somehow?"
"Then what?"
Gavin shrugged. "We hope something good happens."
I closed my eyes. "Well, I guess it's a plan. A terrible plan, but we'll see what happens." 
I turned towards the fire where they placed their son. "May we try to help your son?"
His turquoise eyes narrowed, his distrust pinged against my shield. "How?"
I pulled my fire pendant out, hoping he would recognize the symbol. He didn't. "We are Children of Fire, descendants of the Phoenix King. I'm hoping by connecting to him, we can heal your son." 
His distrust didn't lessen. "I dreamed of this. You're here for my family’s legacy, for the gifts given to my family before white man came, from the god Quetzalcoatl himself."
Not good, I hadn't meant to upset him. "Yes, I'm sorry but we are here for them. Sasha saw them in a dream given to him by Shamash."
"His leg is broken and bleeding badly," the mom said.
Lichuen looked at his wife in silent communication. 
"What's happening?" Sasha wasn't as patient.
"I don't know yet."
"You will heal him," the father said, a commandment not a question.
"Of course." I turned to Gavin and Sasha. "We're being given a chance. Now what?"
"We'll sit next to him and do our best to connect to the energy of Akasha."
Sasha dug through his pockets pulling out three cases. "I did remember that we should take out our contacts. Seeing the fire in our eyes will help convince him." 
I took a case and removed a glove, gasping as the bitter cold wind hit my skin. 
"I'm not sure this is a good idea," Gavin said as I removed my contacts. 
"We need the jewelry, right?" 
Gavin frowned but went along with it. 
I put the case in my pocket and looked up. Lichuen’s eyes widened, then he nodded.
I sat next to the injured boy and almost threw up. The jagged edge of his bone tore through his lower leg. I looked up at the mountain peaks waiting for the wind to blow away the coppery smell of his blood. 
Once my stomach calmed, I looked down at the boy. His ruddy face looked ashy, and his eyes were bright from pain. The jewelry didn't matter. 
"We're going to help you." My necklace began to warm up as the connection to Akasha opened. The boy moaned. A wave of pain and fear cut into my shield. I cupped my hands and held them up, letting the energy from Akasha fill them. 
Gavin and Sasha opened their connection and channeled more energy to me. My hands lit up with purple flames. I tipped my hands and let the flames fall like water onto the boy’s wound. 
He cried out as the bone snapped back into place. Lichuen moved closer and grasped his son’s hand while his wife held onto their younger kids. The muscle and skin began to repair. Sweat beaded on my forehead. I looked away. How could Miu handle stuff like this? 
The energy faded as the skin finished healing over, leaving nothing but a pink scar. I slumped, trying to catch my breath. My hands, red and blistered, ached. I watched as cool blue flames danced on the red skin healing the burns. 
"Thank you," his mother said as she ran her hands over her son's leg.
"I can't fix the blood loss," I said. 
The shepherd smiled, lines carving into his weathered face, his eyes bright. "My wife knows herbs. He’ll be fine. Please let us get him settled and join us for tea." He scooped their son up and took him into the small home. His wife followed them.
I turned to the others and let them know what happened.
Sasha pursed his thin lips, his thick blond eyebrows coming together as he frowned. "What do you think they will serve us?"
"We will be polite and grateful for whatever they give us," Gavin said. "They don't have a lot and what they share with us will mean less for them later.”
Sasha's wind chapped cheeks turned even redder as he flushed with embarrassment. "Of course. I was curious only."
We moved to the logs which surrounded the fire. Gavin tucked his long legs close so his feet didn't land in the coals. Sasha, being five-six, had a little more room than Gavin At five foot two, I was a little taller than our hosts, and I settled on the worn log without a problem.
The mother passed out cups of maté and plates of homemade bread and cheese made from sheep’s milk. I liked the salty white cheese and chewy bread. She served the tea in gourd cups with metal straws. The straws had flat bottoms with holes in it like a tea strainer so you didn't have to worry about drinking the tea leaves.
The little girl came over and stared into my eyes, her face so close to mine that our noses bumped. 
"You have fire in your eyes."
"Let me see," said her brother. 
"No." She grabbed my face, her little hand rough with callouses. 
He pouted but went over to Gavin. He didn't dive in like his sister, but looked from a distance. Gavin leaned forward once I told him what they wanted. The boy gasped and moved in closer, looking into Gavin's pale green eyes. 
"Children, please let our guests enjoy their tea in peace." Their father sat down and sipped his tea through the metal straw. 
When finished, Lichuen picked up a small bundle wrapped in leather. 
"This has been passed down in my family since the beginning of time." 
He unwrapped the bundle, his thick, work-worn hands showing the greatest reverence. His family scooted closer to see. Clean raw llama wool filled the bundle. The rancher brushed the wool aside to reveal his family's treasures.
"This is a feather from Quetzalcoatl." He held out a beautiful iridescent feather. The green in the middle faded to yellow at the edges. Lichuen laid the feather against his arm with the quill at his elbow and the tip falling over his fingers.
I could feel a magical connection to Akasha radiating from the feather. 
"It's beautiful, and very powerful."
"What is it?" Sasha asked, his eyes glued to the magical feather.
Oops, I need to remember to translate. "Sorry, it's a feather from Quetzalcoatl.""These were given to my ancestor, by a man from another world who was born from people of fire." 
Lichuen paused until I told the others. 
"He passed these along to his son and his son to his son and now they are in my care." 
He held out his weathered hands palms up. A silver arm band glinted in the pale light. Metal curved in delicate swirls with a liquid-looking red line flowing down the center of each swirl of silver. In the other hand was a thick wrist cuff of hammered gold with symbols carved into it.
The silver arm band hummed with an energy that told me that Shamash had given it as a gift. The other one felt different. It vibrated with the energy from Akasha, but something more—something wild and windy.
"May I see the writing on the gold cuff, please?" I asked.
Lichuen turned it, but did not hand it to me.
"The cuff says, 'To a most treasured son, love Quetzalcoatl,'" I said, first in Aztec then in English.
"I didn't know other beings brought things from Akasha to Earth," Gavin said, his fingers twitching with the desire to touch the amazing piece.
"When I received these, my father told me we needed to hold onto them until the Ones of Fire came again. The cuff from Quetzalcoatl will help you get into a secret room where he slumbers." Lichuen paused and stared at me. What? Why is he staring at me? Sasha nudged me. Oh, yes. I translated. He started speaking again as soon as I nodded. 
"Many, many years ago Quetzalcoatl walked among our people. He admired the beauty of the Aztec and Toltec women and blessed many of them with children. The people built Quetzalcoatl shrines, worshiped his children, and the priests created elaborate rituals and celebrations to honor him.
"One day his red brother, Camaxtil, came and took him away. Legend says they went to battle giants and other gods who would harm the Aztec and Toltec."
Lichuen’s voice drew me in, and his gestures emphasized the importance of his words. I translated each time he paused, so the others could follow the story.
"During Quetzalcoatl's absence, drought ravaged the land and the crops did not grow. A priest had seen Quetzalcoatl cut once, and he did not bleed. The priests decided that the gods must need blood because they didn't have any of their own. When their normal sacrifices didn't bring rain, the priests decided to hold a huge sacrifice in honor of Quetzalcoatl, hoping it would make him happy and end their suffering.
"The priests sacrificed prisoners on the summer solstice, along with the devout who felt called to offer themselves to the gods, and a virgin from each household. Including the king’s youngest daughter, Quetzalcoatl's great-granddaughter. Both Aztec and Toltec temples and pyramids ran red with blood that day. They drummed and sang to drown out the screams of terror as they took prisoners to the altar and cut their living hearts from their chests.
"During the ceremony, Quetzalcoatl did come. He flew over the people, a large magnificent feathered serpent, like a beacon of hope in the sky. Here is where the stories and the myths part ways. According to the priests, Quetzalcoatl, screamed out in joy and blessed earth with his tears. The rivers filled, the crops sprang to life, and the wells filled with sweet clean water once again. The people danced and cheered and the sacrifices continued," he said.
We leaned forward, engrossed in his tale. Even Gavin and Sasha, who had to wait for me to translate, hung on his every word.
"My ancestors knew something different. They knew Quetzalcoatl cried for his grandchild. Her lifeless turquoise eyes looked up, as if in her last moments of life she looked for Quetzalcoatl to return and save her. No one ever saw Quetzalcoatl again. People reported seeing him, and the priests still sacrificed people to honor him, but never again did he bless the people with children or wisdom."
I blinked to fight back the tears. My throat dry, and I cleared it several times in order to finish translating the story.
Lichuen leaned back and looked at the sun. He twisted his cup in his hands while his wife finished the tale.
"My family says that Kukulcan or Quetzalcoatl tried to find a doorway to Xilbalba, the spirit world. But something went wrong, and now Quetzalcoatl sleeps in a hidden city waiting to be sent home," she said. 
"I am sad to give up my family’s treasures, to not be able to pass them on to one of my own children, but this is what must happen. You need the cuff to free Quetzalcoatl." Lichuen stroked the silver arm band and beaten gold wrist cuff. His turquoise eyes were bright and watery. 
Over the past few months, Uncle Gavin taught me about our family as he felt a strong connection to our family's history. I didn't feel that connection, but it would break my heart to have to give up the journal my mother left with me when I was five. I knew from one of her entries that my mother also felt connected to our magical past.
Family ancestry shapes who you are and who you'll become. It's more than genetics. It’s quilt patterns, recipes, holiday decorations, and secrets. For some people their ancestry shows up in special gifts and abilities passed down over centuries. While I grow, learn, and try new things, the ties I feel to our ancestors ground me and help me feel connected even when I am alone.
"I'm sorry," I said. "I wish there was another way. Even if we didn't need it, there is an evil force, the Sons of Belial, who might find you and your family and try to take the jewelry."
Gavin tugged on my sleeve. "Tell him we would like to offer him a gift, for keeping these important pieces safe."
"My uncle would like to offer your family a reward for keeping the arm band and cuff safe." I twisted the hem of my poncho. 
"It was an honor to have such magical items in my care," Lichuen said, his voice proud.
"We do not wish to offend you," I said. I'd managed to loosen a strand of yarn and kept wrapping and unwrapping it around my finger. "We would like to do something, a gift of friendship and family."
Husband and wife shared a look. She smiled, her teeth bright against her red-brown lips. "We could accept a gift from family, but you need to hurry. It's getting late."
Gavin practically vibrated next to me. "What did they say?"
"They said they can accept a gift from family, but to hurry."
"Tell them we'll be right back," Gavin said, jumping up with Sasha following.
Delighted squeals echoed over the mountain as the kids unpacked the baskets we brought. We gave them toys, fruit, spices, several pots, combs and brushes, beans, and grain. 
"They are lovely gifts and very appreciated." She began to repack the spices. "But the sun is close to setting, and navigating the mountain is difficult in the dark."
"Yes, very difficult." Lichuen glanced at the sun sinking below the horizon and stood up. "How did you find us?" 
"The family who rented us the horses drew a map to the base of your hill. They wouldn't come up, something about you both being curanderos or witches. And Sasha’s dream told him where to go the rest of the way," I said.
"Ah yes, my wife is a seventh daughter, and a curandera or healer. I'm surprised you're here tonight. It is the full moon, and well known that I am a seventh son and a werewolf."
My whole body stiffened, and for a moment I couldn't breathe. A werewolf—was he serious? Lichuen turns into a snarling vicious monster? "What?" 
"You did not know." He sighed and rubbed his rough hand over his face. "In about half an hour the moon will rise, and I will change into a werewolf. You need to be going."
"How do your family and your animals stay safe?" 
And more importantly how would we stay safe?
"Sapphire, what's wrong?" Gavin asked.
"Give me a minute, he’s explaining something to me," I answered, holding my hand up to keep him from talking.  
"I do not become a mindless monster, wolves are not blood-thirsty animals. They do kill for food, but they also protect and nurture." Lichuen reached over and mussed his son's hair. "I could never hurt my family. However, strangers on my land might not be so lucky."
I looked up at the sky. A sunset of pinks and oranges lit up the wispy clouds. 
"It will take us a while to get down the mountain in this dim light. We should go."
"I would invite you to stay for dinner, but I am concerned for your safety," Lichuen said.
His wife smiled and took her husband's hand in hers. "You must come back and tell us all about how you save Quetzalcoatl. Come back when there isn't a full moon, and we'll have a feast."
"Thank you, I look forward to when we can come back." I turned to Gavin, and switched languages. My head ached from switching between Mapuche and English. 
"We need to leave."
"Why?" Gavin's green eyes became serious as he looked between me and the family as if he could somehow determine what was going on.
I cleared my throat. Despite everything I'd seen already, I couldn't believe what I was about to say. 
"He's a werewolf, and the moon rises in less than half an hour. We have to leave his territory by then."
“Sasha we need to go,” Gavin said. “Sapphire, please thank them for us.”
"Thank you for tea and for the gifts of your ancestors." The words rolled off my tongue. Am I being taught proper manners in my dreams when I visit Akasha?
"You are most welcome. Careful going down the mountain. The trail is narrow, and there isn't much light. You need to be quick," Lichuen said.
As we walked to the corral icy fear swirled through my body. I wasn't happy with riding the horses during the day, I didn't know how I would cope in the dark. It felt wrong to try and force an animal that big to do what I wanted. The woman who rented them to us assured me my horse would follow the one in front of it, all I had to do was stay on.
"Come on, Sapphire, it's time to go," Gavin said, standing next to my horse. For a moment I considered seeing my first werewolf instead of getting on the horse. Gavin made the decision for me when he picked me up. I managed to keep my hands on the reins instead of clinging to the horse's mane as we started down the mountain.
A sliver of moon peeked over the horizon, and I welcomed its light while worrying about what dangers it would bring. We were not far enough from Lichuen to be safe yet. I could still hear the laughter of his children and the bleating of sheep on the icy wind.
I couldn't see the ground clearly, and the wind tugged at my clothes. "Gavin, are you sure we should be moving this fast?"
"I have excellent night vision," Gavin bragged. "You don't need to worry. Anyway we're just going at a walk."
I didn't feel reassured. It's great that Gavin can see rocks and holes in the path, but what about me? I didn't feel like falling down the side of a cactus-filled mountain with a horse!
"Sapphire," Sasha said, "horses have excellent night vision."
I reached out a shaking hand and patted the horse's neck trying to let her know I trusted her with my safety. Maybe I should call her by name. What was it again?
"Do you remember my horse's name?" I asked. 
Gavin laughed. Rude.
Sasha sighed, as if I offended him and turned in his saddle showing off his skill and comfort on the large black animal he rode. "Her name is Bonita."
"Cool, thanks." Sasha jerked his head, which normally would have made his shaggy hair flip about in a very dismissive way, but with a hat on, Sasha looked like he had some weird tic.
The dark night encouraged silence to avoid alerting anything hiding in the inky blackness where we were. The moon rose, glowing pale yellow in the sky. Unfortunately, it wasn't high enough yet to light the rocky trail we descended.  
Rocks tumbled as something large came our way. 
"Gavin! Sasha! Sapphire!" Taliesin called out. 
Thank goodness, maybe Taliesin could talk to the werewolf and keep us safe.
"Taliesin, what are you doing here? Is everyone okay?" Gavin said. We had left Taliesin and the others back at the ranch where we were staying, since there weren’t enough horses available for all of us. I had to go, Gavin insisted on going, and since Sasha was the one who knew where we were going he came along, which meant the rest had to stay behind.
Taliesin came close enough that I could see him, and even in the cold and riding a horse, he looked GQ perfect. He's so irritating. 
"Everyone’s fine."
"Then why you are here?" Sasha sneered as he straightened his posture.
"Something is wrong." Taliesin looked around. "I was reading in my room."
"Our room," Sasha muttered.
Taliesin rolled his eyes. "Anyway, I knew I needed to get to you. So what kind of trouble are you in now?"
He looked right at me. Rude!
Gavin rubbed a hand over his face. "The man we visited is a werewolf, and the full moon is rising."
A howl echoed over the mountain. We all froze, maybe if we didn't move he wouldn't sense us. The sound of rocks falling down the mountain followed the next howl. The horses whinnied and began to stamp their feet, ready to get away.
"He's coming," I whispered.
"I can't reach him," Taliesin said, after a moment. "The werewolf is focused on getting the intruders out of his territory and protecting his family. We need to leave."
"We are leaving. Have you told him that?" I said.
"Of course," Taliesin flipped his white braid over his shoulder. It caught the moonlight and glowed silver. "But he doesn't care. We have to hurry."
"Can you make the horses understand what we need to do?" Gavin asked. "We need them to take over and get us down the mountain safely."
"I'll try." Taliesin bowed his head. No one moved or made a sound while we waited. After the longest minute ever, Taliesin looked up. "They understand and will help us."
We murmured our thanks and settled back into our seats. The horses took off - right down the side of the mountain. This time human cries echoed through the air.
My eyes stung as cold wind whipped around my face. I clung as well as one can to a massive beast careening down a mountain. Rocks kicked up around us, hitting our legs and the horses. They didn't want to stay around the werewolf either.
"Sapphire!" Gavin screamed. I want to yell that I was okay, but I couldn't breathe, couldn't move. All I could do was cling to Bonita.
She swerved to the right. Sliding in the saddle, I dropped the reins. Desperate to stay on I grabbed her mane. I screamed when my dangling leg hit a cactus and the sharp spines pierced my skin through my jeans. My arms shook as I hauled myself back into the saddle. The stirrups flopped about, but I managed to shove my feet into them. I waited for my life to flash before my eyes.
"Please," I begged. "Please keep me safe."
Through the panic coming off Bonita I felt determination, strength, and a little bit of protectiveness.
Good enough for me. I put my trust in her and held on with the best of my ability. My stomach roiled as Bonita jumped. I screamed. My legs protested as I clenched them even tighter around her back. Bonita’s powerful muscles bunched and stretched under me as she ran from the monster behind us. We had to be close to the edge of its territory, right?
A fierce howl echoed around me. Nope, we weren't far enough away yet.
Bonita jerked to the right.
"Sapphire," Gavin yelled. We ran along the edge of a deep ravine. I couldn't see the bottom, only blackness. Everyone else raced down the other side of the ravine. No. Oh, god, no. I couldn't do this alone. Frantic, I grabbed at the reins while I tried to remember how to get the horse to go where I need to.
"I'll get her, Gavin," Taliesin said. He turned his horse sharply around, then headed back up the mountain.
"We're going the wrong way," I said to the horse, the reins staying out of reach. "Please, we need to stop and go back."
Energy as soft as a moonbeam flowed over us. Bonita snorted and stopped, prancing in place, turning around. Taliesin came towards us, his forehead glowing blue-silver under his hat.
"Come on," he whispered to the horse. "Come on, girl, this way. We’ll be safe, but we need to go."
Never have I felt so glad to see Taliesin. My eyes fill with tears. "Thank you."
"We're not safe yet." Taliesin turned looking up the mountain. "I don't see the werewolf, but we need to hurry."
"Thank you for coming back for me, and for sending the others on," I said.
Taliesin shrugged. "Their horses are listening more to me than them right now." Taliesin turned the horse’s head back up the mountain to the top of the ravine.
Bonita screamed and reared up on her hind legs. My fingers tangled in her mane, holding on. I smiled as she lowered her bulk back down to the trail. I did it! I held on! Go me! Something slammed into me, knocking me from the horse and into the rocky ground. My chest burned as my breath was forced out of me. A snarling, gray werewolf pinned me down. 

About the Author
Being told she was a horrible speller and would never learn to use a comma correctly, Alica never thought to write down the stories she constantly had running through her head. Doesn't everyone daydream about flying on a spaceship while walking to school? 
Not until she was thirty did Alica dare to write down any of the people living exciting lives in her head. The relief was instantaneous. By giving them life on the page they could be released from her mind and given greater adventures. 
As her books grew in size and the voices in her head learned to wait their turn, Alica found a loyal group to journey with. Women who would help her slay her commas, and use their magical gifts to traverse plot holes, transform words into their proper spelling, and release characters from any Mary Sue spells they might be under. 
In-between magical adventures, Alica is mom to two personal kids, five foster kids, has one exceptional hubby, a bunny she knows is plotting her death, and some fish, aka her daughter's minions. 

Contact Her

First Book in the Series

There should be a law, a Universal Rule, as to how much weirdness can happen to a person. 
Fifteen-year-old Sara walks into the San Francisco Center for the Circus Arts determined to ignore the freaky things happening to her. As powers she doesn't want and can't control overwhelm her, Sara must decide if she can trust the strangers who say they are her family ... descended from a common ancestor four thousand years ago.
Sara clings to her contented and well-planned life as a foster kid, successfully working the system, as dreams, powers, and magical creatures drag her towards her destiny. 
When the ancient evil that killed her parents comes to San Francisco, Sara is forced to choose between her fears and her desire to protect those she loves. 
Sometimes great things are thrust upon us. Sara wishes this supposed 'greatness' didn't include a new name, unicorns, and catching on fire. 

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