Questions that Matter with Hailey Sawyer

I asked the questions that matter of Hailey Sawyer! The book will be released November 10, 2021!

Now, the interview!

Hello, Hailey! What is the hardest part of being an author?

For me, the hardest part about being an author is trying to figure out how to deal with what I like to call the “ping-ponging feeling” I have when I’m working on my writing. It’s the kind of feeling where at some points I’m like “Wow! This is awesome!” and other points I’m like “Wow! This is the worst thing I ever made.”

We can relate! In your opinion, what is the best Disney animated movie?

In my opinion, the best animated Disney film is The Lion King 1994. What makes this film work so well is not just the moving score and wonderful animation, but the little things as well. For example, The Circle of Life sequence gives the audience everything they need to know about the characters and the like in less than five minutes without even a shred of dialogue. Not only that, but even though Mufasa loves his job as king, he’s more than happy to take a moment to focus on what Simba is interested in and teach him things like how to pull off a good pounce. There’s also a part where Rafiki hits adult Simba with his stick to teach him how the past can hurt and how he can either run or learn from the past and adult Simba dodging Rafiki’s stick when Rafiki tries to hit him again. Two sidenotes. One, this film was a major influence for Kenji and Yuki: A Japanese Tale. Two, contrary to popular belief, this film did not rip off Kimba the White Lion. Don’t believe me? Check out YMS’ Kimba the White Lion video. It’s kind of long, but it’s more than worth the watch for its thoroughness and high entertainment value.

I love that movie! What’s the color of your toothbrush?

I have a pink and white manual toothbrush. It’s nothing too fancy, but it gets the job done.

Keep that smile clean! You can only have one kind of sandwich: what is it?

That would be a buffalo chicken sandwich on a nice roll with chopped onions and lettuce. I’m a huge fan of spicy food so if I had to have only one kind of sandwich, this would be the perfect one for me.

Turn up the heat! What’s your favorite sound?

Easy. My favorite sound is the sound of a soda can opening. I can’t quite explain why, but there’s something about it that sounds so satisfying.

It means something good is coming! What superpower would you like to have for a day?

That would be shapeshifting. To me, it’s such a versatile power because it can allow you to become something really strong like an elephant or something that can fly like a hawk or something really stealthy like a snake without needing any other powers.

And you would always win at hide and seek! What is one of your favorite quotes?

I have a bunch of favorite quotes. But if I had to narrow it down to one, I would say that my absolute favorite is by Dr. Hiriluk from One Piece, who said, “When do you think people die? When they are shot through the heart by the bullet of a pistol? No. When they are ravaged by an incurable disease? No. When they drink a soup made from a poisonous mushroom!? No! It’s when… they are forgotten.” For me, I think there’s a lot of truth to what he’s saying. See, when someone remembers a funny story about or looks at pictures of someone long gone, especially if it’s of a friend or family member, they’re keeping them alive in a sense.

So very true! Thank you, Hailey, for that insightful interview! Support Hailey by checking out the links below. Then, shift your shape and join us next time for another interview!

Happy reading! 🙂

Questions that Matter with Tia Cotant

I asked the questions that matter of Tia Cotant! But first, the book:

Now, we ask:

Welcome, Tia! Shark diving, bungee jumping, or sky diving?

Bungee jumping, it’s more certain, I don’t want to be dead!

Good choice! On a scale from 1-5, how afraid of the dark are you?

3 or 4, I’ve never been at ease in the dark, I prefer seeing what is around me.

I agree! You can only have one kind of sandwich: what is it?

I love Kiri’s sandwiches, they’re delicious!

I would love to try one! Time for a board game! Which is your favorite?

Harry Potter Cluedo, because I love Harry Potter and this game is very good, so putting them both together it’s just perfect.

Magic and mystery! What was the last movie, TV show, or book that made you cry or tear up?

It’s a movie: The Fault in Our Stars, it’s so sad, I cried a lot.

So did I! Do you know what your name means? Or who were you named after?

My name (Tia) means “princess” in Egyptian, or “little fairy” in Slavs.

And a beautiful name it is! Do you prefer the movie or the book?

I prefer reading, but I can admit that movies bring another side to our interpretation, it’s very good too.

So do both, I say! Thank you, Tia, for joining our squad! Support Tia by checking out the links below! Then, secure you bungee cords and join us next time for another interview!

Happy reading! 🙂

Questions that Matter with John Espie

The String Rider: A Time Travel Story About Love, Betrayal, and String Theory by [John Espie]

I asked the questions that matter of John Espie! But first, the book:

And now, we ask:

 Welcome, John! To start, what would you name your pet gorilla?


Taerg! What is the last thing you do before you go to sleep?

Um… lay down? (Am I reading these things correctly…?)

The interpretation is up to you! If you were a road sign, what would you say?


Proceed with caution! Is the glass half-empty or half-full?

Technically, it’s completely full: half liquid, half gas. Bam.

Bam! What would you tell your younger self?

“Everything you know to be correct? It’s not.”

Amen to that! Quick! Ask your spouse/closest friend/parent or sibling to describe you in three words. What did they say?

“Mow the lawn.”

Tell them you can’t—you’re in the middle of an interview! Have you ever had a dream at night that later came true?

My short novel The String Rider, available exclusively on Amazon at, was inspired by a dream, so… sorta?

Sounds good to me! Thank you, John, for ignoring your lawn to answer my questions! Support John by checking out the links below! Then, follow the Allirog and read another interview next Friday!

Happy reading! 🙂

Questions that Matter with Raymond Parish

I asked the questions that matter of Raymond Parish! But first, the book:

Now, the interview:

Hello, Raymond! What is the weirdest scar you have and how did you get it?

I have a perfect line across the bridge of my nose, a small indentation few people notice these days. I acquired it when I was 9 or 10 years old, roaming around a local scrap yard with a buddy, on an unapproved neighborhood outing. As I ran through the trash, I stepped on the edge of a thin metal hoop. Like something out of a Three Stooges episode it flew up and hit me square across the nose without touching any other part of my face. I remember bleeding all the way home, working on a story that quickly disintegrated into the truth. The good news: no broken nose. The pretty good news: a very odd-looking cut that eventually healed into a souvenir scar I’m just a bit proud of.

Ouch! How did you meet your best friend?

When I speak of my best friend of nearly thirty years, Jim, my wife reminds me that he’s my “best male friend.” And so, my wife and I met as therapists on the same treatment team at a public mental health hospital in Iowa. We collaborated, disagreed, developed a training team, and, eventually, went on a date. Establishing a relationship with her as a respected colleague and work friend was a powerful foundation for what became our marriage. More than a few years later, during the pandemic, it’s been an unexpected blessing to be stuck at home with my best pal.

What a sweet story! What’s your favorite word?

It’s a tie between folks and cool. I’m a lifetime Midwesterner and, for me, folks has a warmth that is lacking in other words that describe people, or groups of people. You’ll find the word in my novel…it just fits. Cool is a throwback to a previous time. My dad was a part-time jazz musician. He and his friends dressed cool: sharp suits, wide silk ties, two-toned shoes. Miles Davis was cool. Then, the Beatles were cool. Then, Carlos Santana was cool. I have aspired to be cool, with mixed results.

Gotta keep up with the changing times, folks! You can only have one kind of sandwich: what is it?

No contest: Pork Tenderloin. In Overnight Delivery, my central character, Hank, grew up in the family restaurant business. For this part of his story, I borrowed from my years as an adolescent and young adult working in restaurants in the Midwest. I breaded, seasoned, cooked, and consumed a staple of high cholesterol cuisine, the fried tenderloin sandwich…ketchup, pickles, and onions only, please. A healthier approach to nutrition has moderated my intake as an adult, but you will still occasionally find me, very excited, at the local drive-through in the heat of summer.

Sounds delish! What is your favorite smell?

Due to several medical procedures, I have a limited sense of smell (there seems to be a nose theme developing in my interview). A strong smell I love is Eucalyptus. Pungent and relaxing at the same time. Sweet and savory. A scent that takes me to a tropical place while sitting at home in 20-degree weather, with snow on the ground. It wakes me up and calms me down.

The nose knows! What is one of your favorite quotes?

Progress not Perfection. This is a slogan from the Twelve Step Program of recovery. I had the quote etched into the ID bracelet I wear when riding my bicycle. For me, it speaks of the opportunity for folks to stay curious, learn, and grow throughout the life cycle, with a bit of freedom from the relentless pressure of our lightning paced, magnifying glass, give the right answer the first time, every time world. As a writer who moved cautiously to the fiction world after four successful non-fiction books, it gives me permission to do my best work, publish, and improve. On a much larger scale, it’s a good message for folks to live from.

Always improving! What’s the most marvelous thing you have ever seen with your own eyes?

At the risk of giving a clichéd response, I have been gifted with being present for the births of all three of our children. Each day is locked into my visual memory bank. I’ve been to many magical places on our planet. Canyons. Rivers. Oceans. Gardens. Mountains. Wildlife. Forests. None of these compare to the focused energy of the moments when our kids arrived in the world.

It is the greatest thing you can see! Thank you, Raymond, for answering my questions! Support Raymond by checking out the links below. Then, join the cool folks by coming back next Friday for another interview!

Happy reading! 🙂

Questions that Matter with Joyce Reynolds-Ward

Broken Angel: The Lost Years of Gabriel Martiniere (The Martiniere Legacy) by [Joyce Reynolds-Ward]

I asked the questions that matter of Joyce Reynolds-Ward! But first, the book:

Now for some questions!

Welcome again, Joyce! What is your most bizarre talent?

Making roosters crow and turkeys gobble. I showed chickens in 4H when I was a kid. Part of doing that meant hanging out in the show barn with my critters, and, well, sometimes things were slow. I learned to crow in at least three different forms and amused myself by making tom turkeys gobble. Now does that skill carry over to the wild turkeys? It’s inconsistent, though I did amuse my friend Phyllis Irene Radford by calling in a wild turkey tom during the spring while we were researching a setting for one of her books set in the city of Eugene, Oregon. It’s not sufficient for hunting purposes, though. Every time I’ve gobbled at a wild turkey here in Wallowa County, I’ve gotten a suspicious glare. I suppose I learned a different turkey language from what they know–and those turkeys are very wild.

That is quite a talent! Name the top five things you take with you during a zombie outbreak.

First of all, my friendly neighborhood large animal veterinarian or vet tech. Seriously. Have you ever SEEN all the apparatus on a large animal vet’s farm call truck? It has everything you need, plus veterinarians are skilled at working on patients without getting bitten. It’s a job requirement.
Second, the best damn PPE I can get my hands on, including masks.
Third, as much cheap Aqua Net hairspray I can find. It gets used as a cheap art fixative, and if I have to, maybe I can lacquer the heck out of any obnoxious zombie’s face.
Fourth, a nice, sharp machete and appropriate sharpening equipment.
Fifth, a weed whacker with the longest blade attachments I can find and the highest speed engine possible.

Sounds like you’re not going down without a fight–you’re on my squad! If you were reincarnated as an animal, what animal would that be?

Everyone who knows me knows the answer to that–a horse. While I’d like to be something glamorous, say one of the performing Lipizzaner stallions at the Spanish Riding School, more likely I’d end up as a chestnut mare herding cattle. Though if I did that in competition, it’d be glamorous in itself. Or else be a rodeo bucker, and only work 8 seconds a day 2-3 times a week for about five months, then spend the rest of my time wandering the big ranch spread with my herd.

Sounds good to me! Diamonds or pearls?

Unquestionably pearls, either saltwater or freshwater. Freshwater pearls have interesting shapes to them. But definitely pearls of some sort. Diamonds are kind of boring–when it comes to gemstones, I prefer the colored stones. There’s a reason why the family gems in the Martiniere Legacy are emeralds, with pearls and citrines–they’re much lovelier than diamonds. Star sapphires are also gorgeous as well (I used to make stone bead jewelry, though I didn’t work with the really expensive stones). I’ve written a couple of things where colored stones play a role–rutilated quartz is one of my favorite stones to make magical, because of the golden or black threads in clear stone.

I’ll have to look that stone up, it sounds pretty! Cook in or eat out?

I’m afraid I’ve gotten boring during the pandemic. Cooking in has become much more appealing to me. That said, I’m one of those lucky women whose husband loves to cook, and prefers to cook. He keeps me surprised with his creations–in a most excellent way. I suppose I’ll eat out again, but since we’ve been keeping to a pretty strict quarantine due to both of us being older and high risk, it’s going to be a big brave step before we do.

Stay safe! What is the last thing you do before you go to sleep?

I usually fall asleep while reading a book. Doesn’t matter if it’s on my iPad or hard copy…a half hour reading before going to sleep is what I prefer to do. I’m also an eclectic reader–while I write science fiction and fantasy, I read widely, including fiction and nonfiction. Right now I’m devouring Beverly Jenkins’s Black Western Romances, and learning a lot about history that I never even suspected. But I also like Craig Johnson’s Walt Longmire books–he puts a lot of craft into his work and they’re quite deep. My reading also includes history, social science, and nature/environmental works.

The perfect bedtime routine! Do you believe in aliens?

I don’t NOT believe in aliens. While aliens aren’t a part of my latest series, the Martiniere Legacy, they’re a part of my first series, the Netwalk Sequence. My characters gradually figure out that a piece of rogue technology that goes around killing cities is alien technology gone bad, not a war machine created by a weapons manufacturer. There have also been some interesting local sightings out here in Wallowa County (Northeastern Oregon) that have some fairly credible sourcing. I based one of my standalone books, ALIEN SAVVY, loosely on one of those sightings.

Realistically, I do think the existence of aliens is probable, and that it’s also probable that we either cannot comprehend their nature, or that they’re watching us and have left us alone for whatever reasons–including the likelihood that physics simply means that such things as the Galactic Federation can’t exist. Though I don’t know. I don’t necessarily think that scientific research is limited or that there’s a cap on what can be known or designed. Every time it’s been proclaimed that a limit exists–it gets blown out of the water. I think our science is just insufficiently advanced to reach the levels of interstellar travel.

To believe or not to believe….Thank you, Joyce, for answering questions with us again! To support Joyce, check out the links below! Then, rev up your weed whacker and join us next week for another quirky interview!

Happy reading! 🙂

Questions that Matter with Trish Arrowsmith

Nursery's Rhyme by [Trish Arrowsmith]

I asked the questions that matter of Trish Arrowsmith! But first, the book:

Now, the answers:

Welcome, Trish! What is your favorite word?

Syzygy. I find it aesthetically pleasing in almost every font and handwriting style. It’s fun to say and it has a tendency to catch people off guard when they hear it. Unfortunately, we don’t get to use it often as it doesn’t have a place in everyday conversation.

A unique choice! What is your favorite sound?

Snoopy’s laugh. I can’t help, it’s contagious. I think a good part of it is nostalgia, the rest is just because it’s funny. I’m not a huge fan of any of the rest of the sounds from the Peanuts shows but Snoopy’s laugh makes it all worth it. I crack up every time I hear it.

An awesome sound! What’s your favorite flower?

Calla Lily. Overall, I’m not a flower person. I do think many flowers are pretty and some of them smell good but an equal number of them smell awful. While I appreciate the thought behind receiving them as a gift, I’d prefer not to have them in my house. I would much rather keep them outside, where I feel they belong, so bees and butterflies may take advantage of what they have to offer. I like flowers more for their role in nature than I do for their perceived beauty. With that being said, the calla lily looks like a colorful leaf. One solid petal that doesn’t make a mess as it approaches the end of its life.

Let them nourish our bees! What do you think the best invention is?

The printing press. Could you imagine a world without mass market books, textbooks, newspapers, or magazines? What a cold, lonely world it would be.
I have nothing but appreciation for the scribes that spent their lives writing and rewriting various documents and I still hold a love for the (hand)written word. I enjoy nothing more than filling page upon page with ink in my own handwriting. While I don’t believe the pen and paper will ever fully disappear (I hope they don’t), I’m thankful for the calm and comfort my bookshelves bring to me.

Nothing like holding a book in your hands! If you were a road sign, what would you say?

Proceed with caution. That’s it. No other warnings or hints as to what you will be getting into. You have to be brave enough to move forward and curious enough to see if you make it through. A few would realize they enjoy the chaos and might choose to stick around for a while.

We love a mystery! Are you high or low maintenance?

Low. Very low. I do put on make-up and straighten my hair every day. I also get my nails done. But…while they recommend getting your nails done every two weeks, I get mine done once a month. I put make-up on so I don’t look like I’m walking around dead (I don’t sleep very much so it helps to be able to cover some of the evidence). The same with my hair, it is naturally wavy but I have one huge one that rolls out right above my ears. If I want to look somewhat approachable, it’s helpful to not look like I just crawled out from under a bridge or like I’m going to stop you to ask your favorite color.( A little Monty Python reference…anyone?)
I also work hard for the money I earn. I don’t like to waste it. The only things I willingly spend money on are the things that make me the happiest: Books, tattoos, and coffee.

The best things to spend money on! Which season defines you?

Summer. Summer by far. I love the heat and am the happiest when it hits triple digits during the summer. Those days when you feel the heat radiating through the soles of your shoes from the pavement. I live in the desert and summer brings out the most dangerous and most interesting animals. I like to think I fit in among those creatures.

Let the sun shine! Thank you, Trish, for answering these important questions! Support Trish by checking out the links below! Then, look up how to pronounce syzygy and join us here next week for another interview!

Happy reading! 🙂

Questions that Matter with E.B. Roshan

I asked the questions that matter of E. B. Roshan! But first, the book:

And we begin:

Hello, E.B.! What is the hardest part of being an author?

Wondering if I’m deluded and everything I wrote is actually super-lame.

A common feeling among us writers! What’s your favorite word?

Janjal…there’s no English word that quite encapsulates the mix of chaos, noise, irritation, and random, bothersome activities that is “janjal.”

An interesting choice! What’s your biggest screw-up in the kitchen?

Salt instead of sugar in the banana bread. Need I say more?

Not at all–poor taste buds! What superpower would you like to have for a day?

My husband is a jet-pilot….I’d like to get up there under my own steam and wave at him.

I can imagine he’d be surprised! Diamonds or pearls?

Neither. I really like fake jewelry. The bigger and blingier, the better.

Always sparkle! What is your favorite potato chip flavor?

Salt and vinegar.

One of my favs, too! What is your motto?

Boutez en avant (Keep moving forward!) It’s actually my family motto, and supposedly dates from the days of William the Conqueror.

And a moving motto it is! Thank you, E. B., for joining this quirky team! Support E. B. by checking out the book! Then, keep moving forward to read another interview!

Happy reading! 🙂

Questions that Matter with Sandeep Jayaram

CHICKEN: The night is short. The nightmare isn't. by [Sandeep Jayaram]

I asked the questions that matter of Sandeep Jayaram! But first, the book:

Now, we ask:

Welcome, Sandeep! What is the weirdest scar you have and how did you get it?

Inch-wide scar on my forehead on account of being tossed by a cow.
Setting? Childhood. Summer vacations. Ancestral village.
Our cow, Mahalaxmi, had given birth to a calf, Gauri, a few weeks ago. Gauri was pretty friendly and I would take every chance to hug her. Though seemingly unaffected–at least that’s what I thought–her mother ended up butting me. Result? I took a small flight and landed a few metres away. The scar still remains. Evidence that cows are gun molls dressed up in leather.

That’s a moo-ving story! (Sorry) Next question! What’s your biggest screw-up in the kitchen?

Meat on the ceiling.
Setting? Teenage. At home. Following mom’s instructions.
This resident male had, on that fateful day, been entrusted with the rather simple task of cooking the dog’s food. Of course, mom hadn’t factored in the cricket match on TV. Completely immersed in the game, I ignored the whistling sound assuming it was from the spectators at the stadium.
Result? During the lunch break, I sauntered into the kitchen to find chunks of meat dropping off from the ceiling. The pressure cooker had blown up.

That story was a blast! (I really am sorry!) What’s the color of your toothbrush?

White with a red band.
Setting? Bathroom. Maid in the house. My first battery-operated toothbrush. While the colour of the toothbrush doesn’t really have a significant role to play, ‘your toothbrush’ does set off memories. I was in complete panic because the batteries in my toothbrush had failed. The maid saw me flapping about and asked what the matter was. I told her, irritated with her interference. Her response was to use the toothbrush the way normal people do.
Result: Face as red as the red band on the electric toothbrush.

A brush with embarrassment! (I’ll stop…) What would you want to be written on your tombstone?

Releasing soon.

Haha, it’s perfect! (See? I stopped) What is your favorite smell?

Halston Z 14.
Setting? Days before the mobile phone. Pleasantly ticking over in nervousness. Visiting a girl.
I was on my way to her apartment. It was on the first floor of a building, overlooking the parking spaces. She was ultrafabulous but I could never bring myself to become a title contender. That fateful day, she opened the door a full ten seconds before my finger reached for the bell. Surprised, I asked how she knew I’d come. I could smell you, she said. I went, Bad? She shook her head and her hair cascaded around her like in that poem, The Highwayman.
Result? Sometimes fragrances do what words can’t.

An interesting way to start a date! When was the last time you got the giggles at an inappropriate time?

At a funeral.
Setting? A few years ago. Body laid out for last respects. Mourners around.
My intention was to head out for a drink with a friend. Coming down the steps from his apartment, we found out one of his neighbour’s had passed away. As he felt it was only right to go in and offer his condolences, he asked me to join him. At about this time, a really fat mourner was attempting to bend over to touch the feet of the dear departed. This is a Hindu thing. Anyway, the man was clearly struggling. There appeared to be some invisible force that held him back from achieving his goal. In a second, all guesswork ceased as the seat of his pants tore wide open with a sound resembling the mating call of a velociraptor. I burst out laughing.
Result? Swift and firm ejection from said premises.

Oh, my! Sometimes the laughs just burst out like a sneeze! What is one of your favorite quotes?

Well, it’s my own. Casual text can lead to a pun in the oven.

Sound advice! Thank you, Sandeep, for making us smile today! Support Sandeep by checking out the links below! Then, put your puns in the oven and join us again next week for another interview!,p_n_feature_browse-bin:618073011&rnid=618072011&s=books&sprefix=Chicken+book,aps,980&sr=1-28

Happy reading! 🙂

Excerpt from Ember of the Planet

Here is an excerpt from book one, Ember of the Planet!

“Ashla!” she yelled, throwing open the door and running in.

The cottage was empty.

Everything was just as it had been when they had left together. The medicines and herbs were still scattered all over the floor by the bed. The mostly uneaten food that Ashla had made for Ember was still on the table. Nothing had been touched, cleaned, or put away. The wood in the fireplace was cold. The one bedroom was empty.

Aaron stepped inside, looking even taller and more menacing in Ember’s cottage. He looked at the state the main room was in and made a noise in his throat.

“Not much for housekeeping, were you?” he teased.

Frowning, Ember pushed past him and ran back outside, calling, “Ashla!” as she ran. She took off down the hill on foot, heading for the woods where they gathered wild herbs and fungi. Her hope fading and her panic rising, she ran, Aaron following after her. His horse was grazing outside the cottage, but Havalea followed them, too.

The woods were just as they always were, no sign of Ashla anywhere. Ember ran through the trees yelling her name, all the way to the tree that had grabbed her the day of her fever. She stopped before it, looking up at its branches. They swayed gently, innocent-looking like every other tree there.

Ember stomped her foot and yelled at the tree, “Where is my sister?”

There was no answer, obviously.

“Why did you do this?” Ember screamed, pushing against the tree. Except for the energy exchange in the palms of her hands, the tree didn’t feel any different. Ember kept pushing on the tree. “Why did you pick me? Look at what you’ve done! I didn’t want any of this!”

“Um…Princess?” Aaron asked quietly from behind her. “Are you alright?”

“Do I look alright?” Ember snapped, leaning against the tree and hanging her head.

“It’s hard to say. You’re yelling at a tree.”

“It started it.” Ember gave the tree a final push and turned away. Her shoulders slumped, her head down. “Ashla isn’t here. It doesn’t look like she’s been here.”

“Then we head back.” Aaron turned and walked away. Havalea moved to the side to give him a wide berth as he passed, her ears laid flat on her head, baring her teeth when he deigned to glance at her. When Ember approached, she nudged her and got on her knees so Ember could mount.

It was a long ride back to the castle.

Ember of the Planet


Here is a short excerpt from The Healer and the Guardian! It’s hard to do too many excerpts without giving anything away, but I’ll post some more of the other books later…Enjoy!

There were tents and sleeping bodies everywhere, but there were also many still awake. Those who couldn’t sleep the night before a battle. Some were tending to fires, lost in thought of their lives and loved ones. Others paced or cleaned weapons or played games. Ember walked silently through them.

Her stomach ached and she winced, putting a hand there. The tug on her abdomen was growing; that’s what was wrong. The Pathfinder was doing something and it was close enough she could feel it. Her eyes scanned the distance, looking out through the darkness in search of something she could not yet see.

There was still a lot of activity by the large meeting tents, the captains busy with planning. Regardless of what they thought of her, Ember thought it best to warn them that she felt something was off.

She didn’t make it to the tent before there was a loud shriek, followed by a growl and a sickening crunch. Those near Ember were on their feet instantly, everyone looking toward the sound. Several people from the meeting tents came out as well.

“What was that?” someone asked.

No one answered, but the night had gone still again. Captain Donnet sent some guards to investigate. Ember was still frozen where she’d been, still looking around her as though expecting to see a ghost.

What she spotted was worse, thanks to Otera’s night-vision. The dirt between the two meeting tents parted as a beast stepped out, as gracefully and quickly as if it were coming out of the water. Its jaws turned toward the captain, but Ember’s arrow misted it seconds before it bit him.

He had only had time to look at it before it was gone, his eyes shifting back to Ember as the mist collected at his feet. He seemed at a loss for words.

“We’re under attack!” Ember screamed, breaking the transfixed stares around her.

All at once, the ground opened, and the lizard-like creatures slithered into the camp. People scurried to grab their weapons, to avoid the jaws filled with teeth. The creatures were the size of wolves with stubby, but fast legs and a row of spikes down their backs. As Ember watched, one of the creatures knocked a man down with a swing of its tail and was about to clamp its jaws on his head when her arrow took it out. The captains were shouting orders to those around them as they fought off the creatures, so Ember turned and ran.

The Healer and the Guardian, Ember of the Planet book three