To Court a Queen

Guys, I always buy what H.L. Burke writes.

They’re clean, pretty family-friendly, and tons of original fun.  Heidi comes up with amazing plots and characters every time.  There are no H.L. Burke dud books.  Each one is pretty fantastic stuff.

Check out her latest, and pre-orders are up!

 

He doesn’t want to get married, but he wants to be a frog even less.

To Court a Queen_Internet Use(1)

Knight errant, Devin, takes a shortcut through the woods, only to be captured by fairy forces. The fairy queen has run out of breathing males to fight for her hand, and Devin, while not ideal fairy stock, is breathing–for now.

Telling a vain fairy queen you’d rather not be her one true love is a ticket to life on a lilypad, so the knight agrees to face three challenges to win Queen Agalea’s hand. When a clever servant girl offers to help him navigate the trials in order to stop the constant bloodshed of the courtship ritual, Devin jumps at the chance. However, as he balances “flirting” with his “beloved” and overcoming tasks specifically designed to kill him, he finds his heart drawn to his new partner in survival.

 

H.L. Burke is the author of multiple fantasy novels including the Dragon and the ScholarHeidi-107 saga and The Nyssa Glass YA Steampunk series and Coiled. She is an admirer of the whimsical, a follower of the Light, and a believer in happily ever after.

H.L.’s social media links:
twitter.com/hlburkewriter (for random snarkiness and occasional book snippets)
facebook.com/hlburkewriter (for longer form random snarkiness, occasional book snippets, and #dailydragon posts where she shares her favorite dragon related finds)
Her website (and mailing list) for news and deals www.hlburkeauthor.com
my instagram for #TheodoretheDragon awesomness instagram.com/burkesdragons
and her reader group if you want to be the first to hear about beta and ARC reading opportunities as well as her day to day struggles and weekly live videos. https://www.facebook.com/groups/hlburkereaders/

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Robots, Cowboys, and New Books!

THE DAY the marauders came for us started with an ominous gray horizon. Dust flew in on the heavy winds that stirred up the dirt and grime stuck to every inch of our farmhouse, silt and debris like tears gathering in the corners of the old building’s eyes.

It had been eleven months since our father had passed, struck down by the roving gangs of rebels that plagued our country from the bottom up, the battles for power that had been fought, without end, for an entire generation.  No end to this war in sight.  No side willing to give in.

Papa had been a peaceful man, as sturdy as the strong oak that made up the sides of his enormous barn.  Not interested in politics or feuds, he wanted to raise animals and crops in peace until the end of his days, and then pass on the land to his two unmarried daughters – me, the old maid in her late twenties, and eighteen-year-old mousy Ruth, too timid to leave my side.  Mama had died of the influenza back when Ruth was two, and the loss had left her child heart as skittish as a tiny rabbit’s. She never left the property.

Thus bound, I had given up all hope of my own future, and had thrown all of my dreams and affection into the grand old farmhouse, the barns overflowing with happy animals, and the little plants straining to reach the expansive prairie skies.

It was a good life.

We had multiple artificial farmhands, bland male robot models that Papa had bought with his savings. They did the work of ten men, never tiring except for the six hours of battery recharging they required at night.

But then Papa was killed.

 

— Artificial Love, coming out February 2019

 

Happy New Year, friends and readers!!! So thankful for all of you and your motivation to keep me writing for Christ! 

This month I’m going to be focusing on getting you all excited for my new sci-fi cattlepunk short story, “Artificial Love,” coming out in February! It’s around 7k words, so the size of Lucent Sylph and Gem, both of my award-winning stories.   

The first piece of news I have to share is that I’m getting Seedlings Designs to make the cover!!  So stay tuned for that – cover reveal at the end of the month!  🙂

 

The Mayor’s Child

images

 

I have numerous brothers and sisters

I am somewhere in the middle

We’re raised by our father Luc

Our mother is dead

 

We attend a school each day

Teeming with shady teachers

They lie to us and lead us astray

I hate it there

 

But the man I hate most

Is our city’s mayor

He sits in a mansion atop a high hill

He has guards at His gates

 

Dad despises his guts

He spits at the TV when he appears

When his employees campaign at our house

Dad throws rocks

 

A couple of times I’ve found

Banners and fliers in the cellar

Old stained blood on the floor

And I know he’s killed some

 

He hates the mayor

 

See, the thing is my dad has campaigned too

Us by his side dressed up nice

The man with a dozen sweet children

But in the end, Dad always loses

 

Then one frosty morning

Everything changes

The despised mayor sends

His only kid to our school

 

It makes no sense

The boy has tutors

A hoard who serves him day and night

Why is he here in our slimy school?

 

Those who voted for his father are few

They’re afraid to speak up around us

Luc’s children abound

And teachers tear the mayor’s picture

 

Why is the mayor’s son here?

 

He’s tanned and average-looking

Nothing like what expected

I thought he’d be peaches and cream and golden

Like his father

 

The boy his famous father always kept off the TV

Only guesses as to his character

The cameras on him now

The teachers disgusted

 

He makes friends so fast my toes curl

He gives out gifts like he’s infinitely wealthy

But not cheap, shallow money

Real things that make personal sense

 

My dad, in anger, beats me

His belt a stinging whip

He breaks my arm under his fists of stone

My mouth is silent, my heart already dead

 

It’s my plan, I own it proudly

My brothers and sisters we plot

Around the locker rooms at recess

On the rusty playground at lunch

 

But the mayor’s son looks at us and we think he’s heard

Does he know?

 

My dad gives me the weapon gladly

Wringing his hands and patting my greasy head

My broken arm limp by my side

I am his favorite child now

 

The mayor’s son keeps no guards

His small arms aren’t strong

His voice is firm but gentle

His step soft and light

 

This will be easy.

 

On the last day of the semester

All my brothers and sisters

We storm through the school doors

Handguns clutched in jittery hands

 

The teachers see us and step aside

The few children who voted for the mayor run in fear

We are unopposed

Unstopped

 

The mayor’s son steps out of a classroom

He walks straight for us

No surprise in his eyes

Nothing to defend himself

 

Hands out in welcome

He is alone

 

We gun him down without mercy

My siblings and I fill him full of holes

We kick his head when we’re done

We stand triumphant over his lifeless body

 

But suddenly the boy pulls out his cell phone

He had it all along

He could have summoned his guards

Rescue was one call away

 

But at this time he calls the mayor

We hear the man’s voice pick up

“Dad, I’m dying but don’t be mad

Luc’s children don’t know that it’s wrong.”

 

They have no idea what they’re doing

 

When the mayor’s guards come to our father’s house later that day

Dad acts like his hands are tied

He gnashes his teeth and curses

But his gun lies still at his feet

 

They take only me

Somehow they knew

I was the schemer

It was my fault

 

I’ll never forget the look in his eye

When he asked his dad to forgive us.

When he breathed his last

When his blood stilled cold

 

The large gates on the hill open

I’ve never been in here before

My knees are liquid

My breath is a panic

 

I shall die now

The mayor runs forward with arms open wide

He himself who I’ve seen on TV

He clutches me in arms so strong

My breath disappears entirely

 

Why is he hugging me?

What is this?

 

“You are my son!” he says

And I think he has actually gone mad

“I killed your son!”

And it comes out in a sob

 

With a smile that thaws out my dead heart

That peaches and cream and gold

Looks straight into my soul

And he says

 

“You were always my son

I adopt you back today

I chose you from the moment my wife gave you birth

But Luc abducted you from me.

 

Even if I had extended a hand

You thought you were Luc’s son

You did his bidding

You were his, in bondage

 

So I waited until the perfect timing for your heart

And then sent my own son.

I knew if you killed him, and you saw his death

Your heart would be ready

 

Luc would have no hold on you

The law would have no hold on you

Your teachers would have no hold on you

Your debt would be paid

 

And I would draw you here back to me.”

 

It’s too much for me to understand

To trade one perfect son for me

To adopt his enemy

To choose me and love me

 

His plan

 

If thought that my soul would contain no other emotion

But I was wrong once again

For behind the mayor

Appeared his dead son

 

Alive and well

Bullet holes like scars

Marring his hands and feet

“Come live with us, my sibling!

 

You too are the mayor’s child!”

 

 

“For He chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in His sight. In love He predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with His pleasure and will– to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves. In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that He lavished on us.”

Ephesians 1:4-8