Look out there. Beyond all the houses, with their paved streets and sour tangerine light. Beyond all that.
Go into the dark, where streams appear and vanish with every thunderstorm. Where crickets and cicadas sing until the sun’s first light seeps into the horizon. Where the eyes of coyotes, deer, raccoons, and foxes run on shadowy legs among the oaks, maples, ash. Where the farmers stake their claims again the wild with their patchwork quilt of corn, soy, wheat. Where the lone barn light is all you can see for miles on the narrow, broken highway.
This is my Wisconsin.
So many treasures hide on these old state roads, if you take the time to look.
Take this old school.
I passed this school every week for two years, when I’d drive my sons to a 3K program a few towns over. The structure itself is roughly a century old, I’d say, if not a bit older—nothing like the bones of abbeys on the islands of the United Kingdom, I know, but any door can lead to a story. It’s all in how you walk in, be it with your feet, or your mind.
Or, if you’re very, very lucky, both.
River Vine, the setting for my novel, is partially inspired by a summer camp in central Wisconsin my family visited for many summers of my childhood. My parents worked in the kitchen and chapel, while we young ones were let loose among the sandy paths and wildflowers. I loved getting lost in the trees, transporting myself to Narnia and beyond even while the “proper” campers were herded from games to crafts to sing-alongs and so on. Towns, cars, technology—they weren’t real. This land and all its magic—all the possibilities laughing among the tall grasses, fluttering on fairy wings—this was real.
And that’s the sort of magic that helped inspire River Vine, the setting for my novel Fallen Princeborn: Stolen. It’s a land apart, separated by a cursed wall that not only affects those living behind it, but anyone who crosses it, as Charlotte will discover as her bus travels deeper into rural Wisconsin, ever closer to the wall and all it contains: the mystery. The nightmare. The love.
So what are you waiting for? Go outside. Find that path that always catches your eyes but never your feet. It’ll probably lead nowhere. It will surely eat several precious minutes from your day. Nothing around here has any sort of magic.
With that attitude? You bet your boots the magic’s hiding.
So go out in just your socks. Feel the broken pine needles and the twigs and those whirly-gig seeds beneath your cottoned feet. Take in the world with your eyes, ears, nose, and that most precious sense no storyteller can live without:
A sense of wonder.
Fallen Princeborn: Stolen. Coming Halloween 2018
In rural Wisconsin, an old stone wall is all that separates the world of magic from the world of man—a wall that keeps the shifters inside. When something gets out, people disappear. Completely.
Escaping from an abusive uncle, eighteen-year-old Charlotte is running away with her younger sister Anna. Together they board a bus. Little do they know that they’re bound for River Vine—a shrouded hinterland where dark magic devours and ancient shapeshifters feed, and where the seed of love sets root among the ashes of the dying.
Fallen Princeborn: Stolen is the first in a series of young-adult dark-fantasy novels by Jean Lee. Watch for book 2 in March 2019. Read Tales of the River Vine, a collection of FREE short stories based on the characters in the Fallen Princeborn omnibus.
About the author
Jean Lee is a Wisconsin born and bred writer excited to share her young adult fiction with those who love to find other worlds hidden in the humdrum of everyday life. Lee’s short story collection Tales of the River Vine is currently available for free download on Amazon, Nook, and other markets. Her serialized fantasy Middler’s Pride is available via the Indie E-magazine Channillo. Lee’s first novel, Fallen Princeborn: Stolen, debuts Halloween 2018 from Aionios Books. She currently lives in the Madison area with her husband and three children.
Links for Stories:
Find and follow Jean Lee
Other books by Jean Lee
Tales of the River Vine
A collection of short stories to accompany the Fallen Princeborn Omnibus, by Jean Lee, an exciting new author of young-adult dark fantasy.
For full details of this book and other stories, many of which are available FREE online, please visit Jean’s Book Page
Shield Maidens of Idana: Middler’s Pride
After a humiliating dinner with a suitor, Meredydd sees only a dull life ahead, destined to crush her heroic spirit–that is, until she’s accepted into the Shield Maidens. Surely nothing but glory and adventure await, right? And they do…if Mer can first overcome the most dangerous enemy of all: herself.
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