Siobhan's Secret Raven and Hummingbird Book 1 by Nikki Broadwell Genre: Fantasy
Kat’s life is a disaster. Her mother is dead and her stepfather has kicked her out of the one home she’s always counted on, leaving her nothing but the Celtic knot locket Siobhan gave her on her eighteenth birthday. Unable to focus enough to hold down a job she ends up at the women’s shelter where she sees the truth of what life can dish out.
And on top of all that she is positive that her mother did not die from natural causes. But without a dime to her name she has no way to prove it.
In the shelter she meets Cerridwen, an older woman who seems kind enough. But when this same woman appears in Kat’s dream as the goddess of the underworld and keeper of the magical cauldron of inspiration, Kat is more than a little disturbed. Just a dream she tells herself the next morning, dismissing her uneasiness.
In the meantime a strange man seems to be stalking her, his torn jeans and filthy Grateful Dead T-shirt indicating that he’s a drug addict who she wants nothing to do with. And why are there enormous dark birds everywhere she looks? She’s never seen a raven in the city.
As life shifts around her Kat discovers a world she didn’t know existed, her grasp on reality disappearing as she struggles to understand what is happening.
Her eyes were large in her triangular face, the look in them beseeching. “Please,” she whispered. “Please help me.” When two gray feathers drifted down, she bent to pick them up, a hopeful expression replacing the one of despair. She gazed at the soft feathers in her hands before lifting her eyes to the heavens once more.
Morrighan made a derisive sound. “She thinks we’re angels. And we are far from it.”
“We are not that dissimilar.”
Morrighan turned her dark stare on the healing goddess. “We could not be more unalike, Airmid. For one thing angels have wings, and for another they are associated with the religious nonsense humans have conjured up to explain everything from deja-vu to what they refer to as miracles. And now that poor woman down there is holding two feathers and thinking goddess knows what about where they came from. Really, Corra—couldn’t you have been a tiny bit more careful? That dress is shedding.”
Corra backed away from the railing, her bird eyes fastening on the goddess of war. “When you are in the shape of the raven, you shed as well.”
Morrighan laughed, running her fingers through her glossy hair. “But mine are black. No human would bother picking them up.” A moment later a dark bird could be seen circling the castle. “One of my friends is here now,” she murmured, looking up.
“If you are so anxious to leave, why not fly away and leave us in peace?” Corra asked, her harried movements sending feathers flying in all directions. “And why you’re at it, ask the Dagda what is so special about this girl.”
“I think I shall—there is nothing better than a flight through the clouds.” Morrighan gave a laugh just before she shifted to raven, her beady bird eyes just as haughty as her human ones. Her wings extended as though testing for a second, before she lifted off. She joined the other bird, their dark shapes gliding upward on the thermals before tumbling downward together and swiftly flying out of sight.
“Oh, I find her so annoying,” Corra hissed. “I’m sure that was Dagda in his raven shape. I hope she finds out why he’s given us this assignment. Since when is he interested in the human realm?”
Arianrhod made a dismissive gesture. “The reason does not matter. What matters is that we focus on our charge and stop arguing about the details. As far as Morrighan’s sexual nonsense, that’s her business.””
“But her entire reason for being is alien to what the rest of us believe,” Corra continued.
“She represents death,” Airmid added.
“No, Airmid, that is not true,” Arianrhod said. “She may be the goddess of war but she does not court death, nor does she symbolize it. She is one of us, and we must see all sides of her. She is a necessary part of who we are.”
A clatter of hooves announced the arrival of Rhiannon, the horse goddess, her white mare coming to a halt at the doorway. Birds fluttered around her tangled mass of red hair, intelligent emerald eyes peering at the other goddesses as she slid off the horse’s back. Her name meant white witch or great queen, her magic lay in the healing birds that flew around her that could put people to sleep or bring the dead back to life. A gown of crimson flowed around her legs as she marched to where the other goddesses stood by the railing. “Is that our charge?” she asked, leaning over to peer downward.
“I would have been here sooner but I had an errand to run first.”
“Let me guess. Pwyll?”
Rhiannon turned to face the moon goddess. “Are you jealous of my consort?” she asked sweetly.
Arianrhod smiled for the first time. Rhiannon was a favorite of hers. “Not all all. How are he and your son, Pryderi?”
“It is Pryderi who has troubled us of late. If I had known how hard being a mother would be I might not have succumbed to Pwyll’s charms.”
“Likely story,” Corra said, smoothing her dress with tapered fingers.
Rhiannon laughed. “Yes, he is a mighty lover, my mortal prince. I will mourn him when he is gone.”
“Now that we are all assembled,” the moon goddess said, turning back to look down, “what shall we do about this poor underdressed woman who the mighty, all father, Dagda, has placed in our care?”
Raven and Hummingbird Book 2
The Celtic all father god, Dagda, has positioned himself on Earth to maximize his power. But his emotional fate is not so simple; he has broken all the rules regarding humans and gods. In the meantime, his daughter, Katel is poised on the brink of her half-goddess power, which is considerable. Dagda’s attempts to keep her under his control are wearing thin.
Due to Dagda’s illegal actions, the light snatchers have surfaced, their intention to leach the color from all worlds. What the future holds is now as uncertain as the wind.
“I’m going over there,” Brant told her once they arrived at the hardwood forest near the homeless camp on the edge of the city.
Kat gazed at where he pointed. “But that’s the homeless camp.”
“Yeah, I know. I like talking to them.”
“I’ll take Pooka with me, then.”
Brant nodded. “She knows what to do.”
“Really? How do you know that?”
“Because she’s not really a dog, she’s more like a protection spirit.”
Kat laughed. “You are too much.”
He shrugged and headed off, his hands deep in the pockets of his low-slung shorts.
“Okay, it’s you and me,” Kat whispered, taking a trail she knew. It led into what she liked to think of as the magical part of the forest, the place where she could swear she heard fairies and tiny creatures whispering. The sun always shone there, despite what the weather was up to everywhere else. She couldn’t remember how she’d discovered this place. Someone had brought her here, and led her down these shadowy trails to locate special herbs, but for some reason the person was nameless and faceless, a blank in her memory.
Pooka loped ahead, floppy ears alert as she stopped to sniff this or that. She had to be part sheepdog with her long black and white fur and intelligent brown eyes.
Kat hurried down the trail that Pooka chose, not surprised when she came to a cleared area with chamomile growing. She bent to add it to the basket slung over her arm. It was so nice to be on her own for a change where she could think and process all that had happened this past month. But instead of processing she was overtaken by a vision. She was with Brant, but he was older—closer to her own age. He was handsome and attentive, his arm around her waist as they walked together under the trees. She knew they were heading toward a pond where they would strip off their clothes and go skinny-dipping. And after that they would make love in the tall grass. Pooka’s bark snapped her out of it.
She shivered, her heart pounding. The idea of making love with the kid she was raising was disgusting and immoral. It was barely ten seconds later that a man was standing in front of her, the same one who’d bothered her several times in the past. But she hadn’t seen him in a while, and never here. He was wide-shouldered and barrel chested with coal black hair and piercing eyes the color of the sky just before the stars appeared. Pooka snapped at his legs, her mouth curled back in an angry snarl. When the man kicked at her, Kat shouted, “Leave her alone!”
He moved closer, his hands making intricate patterns as his eyes pinned her like a bug. From her past experiences she knew that if she didn’t run right now, she’d be rooted to the spot until he was finished with her. She moved backward away from him, stumbling in her haste. And when Pooka distracted him, taking his gaze from hers, she turned and ran. Behind her Pooka’s growls grew even more ferocious, the man shouting at her in a language Kat couldn’t understand. She heard the thunk of his boot connecting with Pooka, the whimper that came afterward.
Raven and Hummingbird Book 3
Kat’s life is out of control. Earth is in the clutches of some unseen force, with something even worse around the corner. In the meantime, Bran, the god she loves, has taken off for Otherworld and has yet to return.
A drink from the cauldron of wisdom and inspiration should have given her something to work with, but whatever she learned has either left her brain or wasn’t there in the first place.
As chaos ensues around her, Kat careens from one place to another, her ability to effect change lost in a sea of doubt. Her destiny lies in the balance, but circumstances keep getting in the way.
But it’s when her memories are stolen, that the threads that held her together unravel. The Fae world is ready and willing to claim her, but are they trustworthy? Her life is about to change in ways she can’t imagine, and if she isn’t careful, she’ll lose all touch with who she is.
Bones rattled as the witch shook the bag and muttered her questions. She pulled the drawstring open and let them scatter across the dirt floor, the action causing the candle to flicker and nearly go out. “It is as I thought,” she mumbled, her gaze moving from the bones to the shadow on the cave wall. “I will make you whole again, and when I do, you will assist me.”
She moved the candle in its holder and examined the bones again, gnarled fingers running through her matted gray hair. “They tell me that I am the one who will bring down the world. Once I am finished the world will reflect what I, and others like me, want.” She rose from where she kneeled. “But first I must stop the girl who has come from the god’s loins. She is my nemesis and my trial. If she succeeds, I will fail.” She glanced down again. “And I cannot fail.” She bent to gather the bones together, replacing them in the velvet bag. Turning, she placed her hand on the wall where the shadow hovered. “Soon, my love. We will be together very soon.” Outside the cave the wind came up, howling like wild dogs. The candle blew out, plunging the cave into darkness.
I was raised by fairies in a sylvan glade under a massive oak tree. My early life was spent wandering fields and woods searching for acorns and berries and staring at the cloud shadows racing across the landscape while listening to the whispers on the wind. The woods have always called to me, their silken tones luring me onto narrow paths leading to the hidden magical places.
Magic and the mystical are alive and well in all my books. Celtic and Norse fantasy, time travel, murder mixed up with ghosts, humor and steamy romance, and a shapeshifting coyote, all inhabit my novels. If confused about where to begin--start with Moonstone, book 1 of Wolfmoon.
My books are not what you would call literature, and yet they are not mere entertainment either. They are unique--humorous at times, sad at times, and page-turners that take the reader into a world separate from this one. I do not write to market, I write from my heart.
I couldn't stop writing if I tried--it is the heart and soul of me now. I am still astounded by how my characters lead me on, taking me down meandering paths where I hadn't planned to go. The muse sits on my shoulder most days, and when she's absent I flounder and realize I need a break. I love all things magic, including the Tarot, the runes, divination of all kinds, ghosts, clairvoyance, astral travel--you name it. Magic is all around us if only we open our eyes to it.
I lived in the Pacific Northwest for sixteen years before moving to the desert southwest with my husband, a cat and a dog. The move was hard because I left family behind, but Arizona is a wonderful place to be and the weather, at least in the winter, is delightful!
Can you, for those who don't know you already, tell something about yourself and how you became an author?
I was a silk artist and am now a full time writer—I think I may be up to 25 books written? I majored in art and english in college and switched back and forth so many times that they finally had to tell me to graduate and get out of there! I’ve always loved to write and to read but only began writing seriously at the beginning of 2000. My father’s journal kept while he was a POW for 3 and a half years was my inspiration—I wanted to write a story of his and my mother’s life together and what war does to a marriage—but...because this project was so draining and emotional I decided to write a fantasy to take my mind off it. That book was Wolfmoon, which ended up as four books...and the rest is history.
What is something unique/quirky about you?
When I’m out walking I look for tiny habitats where tiny humans could live...think fairies…
Tell us something really interesting that's happened to you!
When I was writing my coyote shape-shifting story, a coyote visited my front yard. I had been writing about my story coyote getting shot and when I looked up and met the eyes of the coyote outside, I got a chill...he or she was lame.
What are some of your pet peeves?
I don’t like crowds and I don’t like hikers who go out and talk loudly...I hate it when people think animals are vicious or dangerous when in reality humans are the ones who fit this description.
Where were you born/grew up at?
I am an army brat so lived here and there—my formative years were spent on a 400 acre farm in Virginia where I spent many many hours wandering the hills and the woods alone with my imagination.
If you knew you'd die tomorrow, how would you spend your last day?
Writing, hiking, drinking wine.
Who is your hero and why?
Einstein and Jung are two of my heroes—would love to meet and have a conversation with them.
What kind of world ruler would you be?
Peace would be my ultimate goal, and the resurrection of the wild places would be one of my agendas. Everyone would be required to be unplugged for at least a week in order to really SEE the exquisite world we live in!!!
What are you passionate about these days?
Getting rid of the current administration and saving our planet. These themes are front and center in my writing, even if I write fantasy.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
Yoga, hiking, drinking wine.
How to find time to write as a parent?
I am old enough to have grandchildren so no difficulties in that area.
Describe yourself in 5 words or less!
Quirky, tightly wound, empathetic, caring
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
When I began to write…
Do you have a favorite movie?
Many...The King of Hearts comes to mind. But I loved Bandits and watch it regularly.
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
Nearly all of them would make good movies—I am visual so they are very cinematic, or so I’ve been told.
What literary pilgrimages have you gone on?
Went to Scotland to find the landscape for my Wolfmoon books—had to make two trips...poor me!
As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?
Hawk, Raven, jaguar
What inspired you to write this book?
These books came ot me just as most of my books do...mostly I feel they are being channeled…
What can we expect from you in the future?
I am working on a 4th book for this series, I have a third book partially written in my Fehin and Airy series, and...I just wrote the prologue for a story that has to do with our current situation...first lines ~The animals knew, the birds knew, even the tiniest insects were aware long before humans took notice. It began slowly, first honeybees dying out, a few dozen gray whales washing up, plastic over many beaches, fish populations scarce...~ you get the drift. It will be a dark fantasy possibly with alien beings as the protagonists.
Do you have any “side stories” about the characters?
My Fehin and Airy series features the children of the main characters in Wolfmoon series.
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