Jeanne Owens, author

Blog about author Jeanne Owens and her writing


Leave a comment

In The Beginning – Tell A Story Day 2016

Well, today is once again Tell A Story Day, but unfortunately, I didn’t remember in time to come up with a story, so I’m resharing this one from last year.

Jeanne Owens, author

So, I found out a couple of days ago that today is Tell A Story Day. I had been playing around with the idea for a story the last few days, so I decided to use it for Tell A Story Day and share it here and treat you all to a BRAND NEW story featuring my mercenary sorceress character, Marissa Cobalt (star of Kismet and Tell and Chronicles of Riss)! Enjoy!

In The Beginning:

An Early Adventure in Sorcery

Sunlight glinted on the blue water of the Incara Ocean. The day was beautiful, bright and sunny. There was a light warm breeze that blew my long blue hair into my face, but I didn’t mind. I just stood at the railing of the ship and stared out at the water. I’d never seen the ocean before, and my fourteen-year-old self couldn’t get enough of the sight.

Sailors and…

View original post 1,935 more words

Advertisements


6 Comments

In The Beginning – Tell A Story Day 2016

So, I found out a couple of days ago that today is Tell A Story Day. I had been playing around with the idea for a story the last few days, so I decided to use it for Tell A Story Day and share it here and treat you all to a BRAND NEW story featuring my mercenary sorceress character, Marissa Cobalt (star of Kismet and Tell and Chronicles of Riss)! Enjoy!

 

In The Beginning:

An Early Adventure in Sorcery

Sunlight glinted on the blue water of the Incara Ocean. The day was beautiful, bright and sunny. There was a light warm breeze that blew my long blue hair into my face, but I didn’t mind. I just stood at the railing of the ship and stared out at the water. I’d never seen the ocean before, and my fourteen-year-old self couldn’t get enough of the sight.

Sailors and other passengers came and went along the deck behind me, but they wisely didn’t bother me. We’d only be at sea a few days, but everyone had already learned not to anger me.

As I stared out at the ocean, my excitement at being at sea and at the prospect of finally being on my own and making my way in the world waned as my mind drifted back to that fateful day a few years ago…

* * *

“Are you ready to go, Marissa?” my teacher, the sorcerer Althor, asked from beside the front door of the tower we called home.

“Almost!” I called back from the kitchen. “I’m just finishing up!”

I was about to take the last bite of my sandwich when a silver tabby kitten jumped up onto the table next to me. He purred and pawed at my hand, and I giggled and pinched a piece of ham off the bread and gave it to him. He gobbled it up and I gave him a quick pat on the head. “Don’t worry, Aster. I’ll only be gone a few days. I’ll be back before you know it. So be a good boy, ok?”

“Marissa!” Althor called again.

“Coming!” I crammed the last bite of sandwich into my mouth, picked up my travel bag from the floor, and hurried out of the kitchen as Aster gave a small mew from the table.

“It’s about time,” Althor said with a frown on his darkly bearded face. “Honestly, we’ll be there in just a few moments. You couldn’t have waited until you got there to eat?”

I craned my neck to look up at him. I was only a child, after all, and he was a rather tall man. His height, his dark brown hair and beard, and red sorcerer’s robes made him seem a rather imposing figure to any person, let alone an eight-year-old girl. Despite that, I gave him a rather obstinate reply. “I was hungry! I didn’t want to wait!”

He’d been expecting that response and gave me a wry smile in return. “And here I thought you were so eager to get home and see your parents.”

“I am!” I paused and frowned slightly as a thought struck me. “What do you think they’ll say about my hair?” I asked him, worried. “It wasn’t blue the last time they saw me. You don’t think they’ll be angry, do you?”

Althor knelt down, smiled kindly, and placed a hand atop my head. “Don’t worry, Marissa. I’m sure they’ll love it.”

I gave him a small smile. “Thank you, sir.”

He stood back up and grabbed his staff from beside the door. “Alright. Time to go.” He opened the front door and we stepped out. We stood on the top step and Althor turned around and pulled the door closed, then pushed back the sleeves of his robe, place a hand on the door, and whispered a few arcane words. A light blue light glowed briefly around his hand. When it faded away, he turned back to me, took my hand, and called out “Teleport!”

There was bright flash of white light, and then the tower was gone and we found ourselves standing in front of a small house at the edge of a little village.

A pretty middle-aged woman with long brown hair ran out of the house, followed closely by a tall, middle-aged man with shaggy black hair.

“Marissa!”the lady called as she ran up to me. She knelt and gave me a tight hug. The man stood behind her and stared down at me with a big smile on his face.

My mother finally released me, then took a closer look at me. “What did you do to your hair?” she asked in surprise.

“I..uh…I had a little accident,” I said sheepishly.

“An accident?” my father asked.

“Something went wrong with a spell,” Althor said. “She was supposed to turn a flower blue, but something happened and her hair changed instead. We’ve tried to change it back to black, but for some strange reason, it won’t change.”

“Well, I like it,” my mother said with a smile. “It suits you, Marissa. Doesn’t it, dear?”

“It looks very nice,” my father said, though I didn’t think he really meant it.

“Come along inside, now, dear,” my mother said, taking my hand. “Althor, would you like to come inside for a drink?” she said with a bright smile. “It’s the least we can do to thank you for teaching our daughter.”

“Uh, well, maybe just a quick drink,” he said, trying to hide his embarrassment.

* * *

Althor didn’t stay long. He only had one drink with my parents before excusing himself. He was not a very sociable person, after all, and listening to my parents talk about how pleased they were with my progress in studying magic seemed to embarrass him, which he tried to hide with a gruffer than normal attitude. When he left, he made sure to remind me to return to him promptly in a week, after checking that I knew how to do the Teleport spell correctly.

The next few days at home with my parents went by quickly. I had a fun time visiting. I enjoyed catching up with my friends in the village. Well, the few I had managed to make, anyway. Even as a child, I was known to be a bit…temperamental. It was also Solstice Fest time, so the village was decorated for the festival with colorful streamers strung from building to building across the village center, and wreaths hanging on all the doors. Even the tree at the center of the village had been brightly decorated. There was a chilly nip in the air as everyone gathered at the village center to celebrate and exchange gifts, but there was no snow this time. My parents gave me a beautiful blond doll as my Solstice Fest gift, which I loved.

As the end of my visit drew near, things took a turn for the worst.

It was a couple of days after Solstice Fest, and the evening before I was to return to Althor. I had finished packing my travel bag and had gone to bed when it happened.

I was just about to doze off into sleep when I heard yelling and screaming from outside the house. I sat up in bed, called for my mother and father, and tried to make sense of what I was hearing outside.

Getting no response, I slid out of bed and crept to the front of the house. The door was open and there was no sign of my parents inside, so I peered out the door into the growing darkness of evening. What I saw rooted me to the spot.

A least a dozen bandits filled the street, laughing madly as they rounded up the families from the houses next to mine and from across the street. Some bandits held the villagers at weapon-point while a few other bandits went into the houses.

My parents were standing at the edge of the street, facing a couple of bandits who pointed swords at them and were trying to make them kneel, but my parents were refusing to back down and let them into our home.

One of the bandits frowned and said something I couldn’t make out. The next thing I knew, their swords seemed to move in a flash, and then my parents dropped to the ground.

Something snapped inside me at the sight. I didn’t think. I just acted. A growl sounded from my little throat as I stepped out the door. I stalked across the yard towards the bandits, my hands held in front of me, and chanted, Infinite Earth, mother of all, grant me the purifying power of fire. Burning fire of justice, gather in my hand.”

As I drew near the bandits, a large swirling ball of flame appeared in the palm of my hand. I raised my hand, readying to throw it, just as the bandits realized I was there. They grinned evilly at me, then noticed the ball of fire I held. The grins melted off their faces, and I tossed the fire at them as I called out, “Fireball!”

In my anger, I had made a mistake. I was so angry, I hadn’t focused my energy correctly with the spell. Plus, I had only just recently begun to learn the spell and so I hadn’t perfected it yet. So, I sort of made the Fireball a little too powerful. The Fireball also overshot its target and ended up landing in the middle of the street before it exploded.

The resulting explosion wiped out the bandits…along with the villagers who were in the street with them, and destroyed all the houses at that end of the village. The explosion also sent me flying, backwards and away from the unintended destruction.

Needless to say, the rest of the village wasn’t too happy with me. Sure, they were glad to have been spared being raided by bandits, but losing part of the village didn’t sit too well with them. So they exiled me, even though I apologized profusely and even offered to help rebuild. They just didn’t want to take a chance on me losing my temper like that again.

Heartbroken at the loss of my parents and my hometown, I used the Teleport spell to return to Althor.

I stood staring at the front door of the tower for a while after the spell dropped me off there. I didn’t know what to say to Althor. How was I going to tell him what had happened? How could I face him? He would be upset with me for using a spell I hadn’t perfected yet like I had. Would he understand my anger at the bandits, and would he accept that I was sorry for what had happened as a result of my wayward spell? Would he continue to keep me on as his student? Because I really did want to keep learning magic. I wanted to learn all I could, in honor of my parents, who had been so proud of me. And I also wanted to learn more so I could eventually strike out on my own and fight the evils of the world, like those bandits.

Taking a deep breath, I finally reached out and placed my palm against the door. A pale blue light surrounded my hand briefly as the wards on the door lowered. Then I grasped the door handle and pushed the door open. I stepped inside to learn my fate with Althor.

* * *

The sound of a throat clearing behind me snapped me out of my reverie. I turned from the ship’s railings and the sight of the blue ocean to see a sailor standing at attention. “I’m sorry to disturb you, Miss Marissa,” the young man said. “The captain ordered me to inform you that dinner will be served shortly.”

I gave him a short nod of acknowledgment. “Thank you, Jeen. Tell the captain I will be there shortly.”

As he left, I turned back to take another look at the ocean. A lot had happened in the six years since that incident. But I had learned all I could from Althor, and now I was finally on my own and ready to make my own way in the world. Evildoers, beware! Marissa Cobalt is coming for you!

I turned from the ocean and headed back to my room to get ready for dinner.


Leave a comment

The Dognapped Princess (Chronicles of Riss excerpt)

I’ve decided to share an excerpt from one of the stories that can be found in my Chronicles of Riss story collection (available as e-book from Amazon and other sites). Hope you enjoy it. I had fun writing it and have been playing around with the idea of doing something similar some time (a fantasy Nancy Drew-ish series of stories or novels).


I was sitting at a back table in Eli’s Tavern in Westover, eating a delicious bowl of lamb stew, when they walked in. I spotted them out of the corner of my eye as I was taking a bite of stew. Two people stood in the tavern’s doorway, looking around the room. One of them was a tall, skinny young man about my age of sixteen years. He had a pock-marked face framed by greasy black hair and wore the plain clothes of a houseboy. He also seemed to me to be rather nervous, like he really didn’t want to be there. The other person was a plump, middle-aged brunette woman richly dressed in a red silk dress and fur-trimmed traveling cloak. Instead of nervousness, I picked up a sense of anxiousness from her, as if she was desperate for something. The duo spotted me, and made their way toward my table. I continued to eat as I watched them approach. I knew what they wanted. They wanted what everyone who comes to me while I’m eating wants – my help as a problem-solving sorceress-for-hire.

“I’m terribly sorry to bother you while you’re at lunch, Miss Marissa,” said the woman as she and the young man sat down across from me. The young man kept his head down, not bothering to look at me or his companion. “However, I am in desperate need of your help.”

See? I told you.

“Naturally,” I said as I set my spoon aside and brushed cobalt blue hair out of my eyes. “So, what can I do for you?”

“My baby is missing and I want you to find her and bring her back.”

“Your baby? Well, sure, I could find her for you. But isn’t this a situation more appropriate for the city constables to handle?”

The lady shook her head emphatically. “No, no, no. I can’t get them involved. The letter expressly said not to.”

My brow wrinkled slightly in suspicion. “Letter? What are you talking about? I thought you said she was missing.”

“She is. She’s been stolen.” The lady reached into a pocket of her cloak and pulled out a folded slip of parchment, which she held out to me. “Here. This should explain things somewhat. I received it this morning.”

Curious, I took the note and read it. Here is what it said:

If you want your precious Princess back, deliver 1,500 gold pieces at noon tomorrow to the

abandoned warehouse down by the docks. I will return Princess to you then. Do not go to the

authorities. If you do, Princess will die.

Sounds like a fairly standard ransom letter, I thought, so I doubt we’re dealing with a criminal mastermind here. There was one thing in the letter that stood out to me, though. “Princess?” I asked.

“Yes,” the lady answered. “That is her call name. Her full registered name for showing is Lysa’s Little Snow Princess.”

“Call name?” I repeated in confusion. “Registered name? Showing?” Then I realized what she was saying. “Wait a minute. Are we talking about a dog?!”

“Yes. My baby, Princess, is a champion show dog. She has won multiple Best In Show awards. She’s entered in the annual Westover Dog Show that is scheduled for tomorrow night. Please, Miss Marissa, get my Princess back!”

“I don’t know. I’ve never looked for missing pets before.”

“Please? I need my Princess back. I don’t want to pay the ransom, but I will if I have to. But if I have to pay to get my baby back, I’d rather pay you, Miss Marissa, than the villain who took my Princess. I’m even willing to pay you the ransom price.”

My eyes lit up at the though of 1,500 gold pieces, but I kept my voice neutral as I answered. “Well, I do like animals, so I guess I can find her for you, ma’am. So, could you tell me everything that’s happened so far? But would you mind starting with why you felt it was alright to come to me if the ransom note didn’t want you to go to the authorities?”

“My husband suggested I go to you, after I showed him the letter. He said that you had just returned last night from a mission for the Lords of Westover, and that he doubted anyone else in the city knew you were back yet, not even the ransomer.”

“True. I was on a job for them, and I did get back very late last night. But how did your husband know that?”

“My husband is one of the Lords, of course. Lord Abarond.”

My eyes widened a little in shock. What?! I thought. That rotund, bald, mustachioed annoyance is actually married?!

“I’m sorry for neglecting to introduce myself earlier, Miss Marissa,” she continued. “My name is Lysa, and I’m the wife of Lord Abarond. The young man with me is our houseboy, Dirk. He also helps me take care of Princess.”

Dirk continued to look at the table, not even bothering to acknowledge Lysa’s introduction.

“All right,” I said. “So, what exactly happened to Princess?”

“Well, Dirk had taken Princess out for a walk late yesterday afternoon. When he returned, it was well into the evening. Princess was not with him, and he seemed a little upset. When I asked him what was wrong and where Princess was, he said she’d been taken.” Lysa paused to see if Dirk would say anything, but he just continued to stare at the table, so she continued the story. “According to Dirk, someone came up behind him and hit him in the back of the head, knocking him to the ground. He was only dazed for a couple of moments, but by the time he came to and got up, he saw Princess being carried by a someone running down the street in a hooded black cloak. They turned down a street, and Dirk gave chase, but by the time he got there, they had disappeared. Dirk searched until it got dark, but he wasn’t able to find them or anyone who had seen them. So he came back to tell me what had happened. By then it was too late to keep searching, so we decided to look again in the morning, in the meantime hoping that Princess might find a way to escape and come home on her own. But this morning, I found that ransom note waiting for me instead of Princess. I showed it to my husband, who suggested I come to you for help. And so here I am, Miss Marissa, asking for your help.”

I thought over her story for a couple of minutes while I ate. “Do you have any idea who might have taken her?” I finally asked.

“No,” Lysa answered. “No idea.”

“How about any dog show rivals? You said Princess is a multiple champion, and she’s entered in the show here tomorrow. Maybe a competitor took her to get her out of their way.”

“But the note said that if I pay them at noon, I’d get her back. And the show isn’t until six in the evening…”
“It’s very possible that whoever took her only said that to get your money, and they actually have no intention of returning Princess to you, even if you pay.”

“It is? Then you have to find her, Miss Marissa! Please!”

“Don’t worry. I’ll find her. I promise. Now, what about any dog show rivals? Given the timing of the incident, it’s highly possible one of them took her, and I’d like to start by investigating them.”

Lysa thought for a minute, then hesitantly answered, “I hate to think that someone could hold a grudge against me and Princess enough to do something like this. But if you think it might be someone in the dog show, well, there are two people who come to mind, whom I’ve had arguments with at the last couple of shows. I suppose it’s possible one of them might have been more angry with me than I thought.”

“Who are they, and do you happen to know where I can find them?”

“Alfred Jemmson, who is staying at an inn on the east side of the city, I believe, and Myra Alistar, wife of Noel Alistar, the prominent merchant.”

I nodded. “I know of him. So his wife shows dogs, huh? All right. I’ll begin investigating after I finish eating, and will let you know what I find out as soon as possible.”

Lysa nodded. “Thank you, Miss Marissa. I really appreciate your helping me.”

“Oh, one other thing. What does Princess look like?”

“She is a small dog, about the size of a house cat, with long white fur, black eyes and nose, and a pink collar studded with diamonds.”

“Okay. Thank you. I’ll let you know something soon.”

Lysa stood up, and Dirk followed suit. I’d almost forgotten he was there, he’d been so quiet. “Thank you, again, Miss Marissa,” Lysa said. “I look forward to hearing what you find out.”

And with that, she and Dirk left. I finished my bowl of stew, which had grown cool by then but which still tasted good, and then left as well to start looking for the purloined pooch, Princess.



2 Comments

Chronicles of Riss – the “official announcement”

Ok. I know I posted about this yesterday, but I’m going to call this the “official” announcement of its release since I have links to all sites now. And so, without further ado…

Chronicles of Riss, the  short story collection “prequel” to my book Kismet and Tell, is now available!

81JrrbPrt1L._SL1500_

Confronting evil sorcerers. Fighting monsters. Dueling metal golems. Searching for a sea monster. Hunting lost treasure. Finding a missing show dog. Competing in talent contests. Helping lost children. These are just some of the widely varied exploits that the young mercenary sorceress Marissa “Riss” Cobalt shares in this secondAdventures in Sorcery book. Riss reveals how she ended up as a mercenary and chronicles some of the many adventures, ranging from fun to serious, that she’s had prior to the events of Kismet and Tell.

 

Get it here:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Scribd

iTunes

Kobo

Page Foundry

 


10 Comments

Makes Me Smile

61I8+Ivg6FL._SL1000_

I was on my Facebook author page yesterday, and one of my followers posted a comment on a picture I’d shared. She said she was currently reading my book, Kismet and Tell, and that she was enjoying it. She asked if I had plans for any more books. I thanked her and said that I was playing around with an idea for another book, but was currently working on another project. I also mentioned that I have some short stories that are some “early adventures” of KaT’s main character, Riss, and that I’ve been thinking of collecting them together and putting them out, but that I’ve not really gotten around to working on it yet. She replied that she liked that idea, that she’d be interested in learning more about the character. She also said she really liked my writing style. I thanked her and said I’d try to work on the collection soon.

It’s so nice to hear some positive feedback on my work, to know that at least one person is getting a little enjoyment from my stories. It makes me smile and gives me encouragement to keep going 🙂

What do you all think of the short story collection idea?