Spirit of the Sea Witch
Keepers of the Stones
Genre: YA fantasy
Publisher: Shifting Sands Publishing
Date of Publication: 1.23.18
Number of pages: Est 400.
Word Count: 100K
Cover Artist: Bob Kehl
Desperate to escape the wrath of the vengeful sky goddess Madhea, a group of brave young explorers flee to the sea in search of safe haven for their people while the apprentice witch Dianna steals away Madhea’s dragon to The Shifting Sands.
Though they are an ocean apart, the future of all humanity lies within their entwined fates.
Before they can defeat Madhea, they must stop the vindictive sea goddess Eris from destroying the world.
Sample Scene Two
The dwarf took a swig of his fiery drink, then coughed while pounding his chest, his nose and cheeks turning even redder. Alec wondered why Grim drank that poison if it made him sick, but then he was reminded of his father, always with a tankard in hand. Mother had said that his father drank to forget the past. Perhaps Grim had memories he was trying to bury, too.
Grim cleared his throat before capping the flask and slipping it back inside his vest. “Aye, there is truth in that, for then the sea witch will have all the power.”
Gorpat snorted, then her other eye flew open. Her brow drew down, the heavy folds nearly falling over her eyes. “Don’t say ‘witch,’ Dada.”
The dwarf looked over his shoulder at his giant daughter’s scrunched features. “Sorry, my pearl.” He turned back to Alec, pulling a cloth out of his vest and wiping glistening drops of sweat off his brow. “Her ma don’t like me speaking of the demon fish so.”
“Demon fish?” Alec was confused. Was he speaking of the ice goddess’s sea-dwelling sister?
Grim solemnly nodded. “The torso of a beautiful maiden, the tail of a fish, but the heart of a serpent.”
Alec rubbed his chin, sharing a puzzled look with Des. “You are speaking of the sea goddess, Eris?”
The dwarf frowned. “Aye, ’tis the same bitch,” he mumbled, casting a wary glance over his shoulder.
The giant’s eyes nearly crossed as she frowned at her father.
“I’d no idea she had a fish’s tail. Is she a siren?” As far as Alec knew, the ice goddess Madhea had no tail, though his brother had told him she had wings that buzzed angrily like demonic little pixies. How strange her sister would be so different.
“Nay, she is no siren.” The dwarf shook his head, snickering. “The sirens are angels in comparison.”
He snorted. “I find that hard to believe.” Alec had heard too many tales of sirens luring ships to the rocks and then baring rows of shark-like jagged teeth and feasting upon shipwrecked sailors as they screamed for mercy.
The dwarf’s eyes hardened. “Then let us hope you never meet Eris and find out for yerself.”
“Sing the song, Dada,” the giant pleaded, nearly knocking Alec back with a wave of her hot breath.
Grim looked over his shoulder at the girl, shaking his head. “Nay, my pearl. ’Tis too sad.”
“Sing, Dada. Pur-lease.”
He flashed her one more doleful look before heaving a resigned sigh. “Very well.” He cleared his throat, straightened his shoulders, and began with a soft hum.
Alec had to strain to hear at first, but then Grim’s voice grew so deep and strong, it filled Alec’s bones with the reverberations of a snow bear’s roar.
“Goddess of ash and sea.” The dwarf’s tone was so rich and pure, Alec’s heart nearly broke from the beauty of it. “Please return my child to me. Though ’tis four score since she wandered this shore, my spirit doth cry Annalie… Annalie… Annalie.”
Alec stared at the dwarf through the campfire’s dancing flames, struck dumb for a long moment before he realized his blurred vision was not from the smoke or fiery drink, but from his own sheen of tears. He looked at Des, who was drying his eyes as well.
Alec didn’t know if Grimley’s beautiful voice or the song’s sad story had stirred these emotions, but sadness soon turned to fear, an icy tendril coiling around his spine like a serpent threatening to choke his last thread of sanity. Realization soured his gut. “Eris steals children?”
Grim leveled Alec with a sinister glare, the reflection of the fire dancing in his haunted expression. “Laddie, the witch takes anything she damn well pleases.”
About the Author:
Tara West writes books about dragons, witches, and heroes while eating chocolate, lots and lots of chocolate. She's willing to share her dragons, witches, and heroes. Keep your hands off her chocolate. A former high school English teacher, Tara is now a full-time writer and graphic artist. She enjoys spending time with her family, interacting with her fans, and fishing the Texas coast.