A Past and a Future
by Penny Lockwood Ehrenkranz
Publisher: Sam's Dot Publishing
First Printing, October 2010
Author's website: http://pennylockwoodehrenkranz.yolasite.com/
Ashley, younger son of Brandon, Duke of Ashland, sat brooding in front of the fire. Although it was late spring, the stone castle was drafty and always cold. Deep in thought, he tried to ignore the gaiety around him, as party guests frolicked and made merry. A spark from the fire fell on his blue silk hose, and he flicked it away angrily. He sat up straighter on his chair and adjusted his dark blue brocade jacket. He noticed a small smudge spot on one of the white lace cuffs protruding from the right sleeve. He rubbed at it absently, but that only pushed the soot deeper into the fabric.
Ashley glanced back over his shoulder. A small group of musicians, gaily dressed in green and gold brocade, played a rollicking dance tune. Dancers of all ages bobbed, swayed, curtseyed and bowed to each other as their feet flashed through the intricate dance steps. Serving girls wove among the dancers, tankards of ale and goblets of wine balanced on their huge trays. Ashley sighed and turned back to his fire; he had never managed to conquer those dance steps.
Ashley picked up a poker leaning against the stonework and shoved it into the pile of burning logs. The flames danced higher, the sparks flying like tiny fairy lights. Ashley sighed and looked back over his shoulder again. Princess Thalia danced with his brother, Gerand. Her small blond head was thrown back in laughter, her cheeks lit with a rosy glow. She was dressed in a low-cut, lime-green brocade dress, the full skirt trimmed in the finest ermine. Around her neck flashed a choker of emeralds and diamonds. Woven into her hair were strings of pearls. Gerand’s tall muscular frame, topped by his head of thick, black hair, created a stark contrast to the small plump princess as he propelled her around the dance floor in an intricate maneuver. Ashley sighed again. Thalia was so lovely, if only he had been born first, she’d be pledged to him, not his older brother.
Ashley stirred the logs while muttering under his breath. A rainbow of colors flickered, and suddenly an image of Princess Thalia appeared, hovering in the huge fireplace. Several more words created Ashley’s image standing alongside Thalia’s. When a hand touched Ashley’s shoulder lightly, it startled him. The images flickered and disappeared.
“Impressive, Ashley of Ashland,” Thalia’s soft voice murmured.
Ashley spun around quickly, a blush coloring his pudgy cheeks. “Good evening,
Princess. I thought I was alone.” Ashley stood and bowed, his eyes never leaving Thalia’s face.
“You were. I just came to see if my future brother-in-law would like to dance with me?” Thalia’s cheeks dimpled slightly as she smiled, extending her hand.
A collection of sixteen fantasy and soft science fiction stories, A Past and a Future has something for every reader to enjoy. From sorceresses, evil magicians and dragons to blue-skinned robots and telepathic empaths, each character is unique in their own way. Each of the sixteen short stories is well written and with such detail that you will find yourself transported into the different worlds, overcoming obstacles and challenges along side the characters. Each story is an adventure you won't soon forget.
I would recommend A Past and a Future to anyone who enjoys reading fantasy or soft science fiction stories.
Link to page to order: http://sdpbookstore.com/anthologies.htm
** Go about 2/3 of the way down the page
Be sure to come back on Friday when I share an interview I did with Penny. You won't want to miss it!