Thursday, December 20, 2012


Hello, Katie. It's so nice to have you on my blog today.

I see you have a short story for us today, one that leads into your YA book ELIXIR BOUND. Always nice to get a little pre-story.
Tell us!

An Elixir Original Short by Katie L. Carroll

This short story takes place before the events of my YA novel Elixir Bound. Siblings Katora, Kylene, and Bhar Kase are performing their annual celebration of the Winter Solstice.


  “Do you have the acorns and your offering for the sacrifice?” Bhar asked with an impish grin and a glint in his blue eyes.
Katora raised her right eyebrow. “All but one, and Kylene should be getting it right now.” She thumped her younger brother on the shoulder with her fist. “You know the Great Mother doesn’t approve of sacrifices.”
Bhar laughed as he ran deeper into the trees of Faway Forest. Katora shook her head in annoyance and wondered if Bhar would ever be serious about anything. She shifted her backpack and followed his indelicate footsteps.
She stopped in a small clearing. Bhar stood in the center, a series of stacked rocks interspersed at regular intervals around him. She dropped her pack outside the rocks and sat inside the circle, legs crossed.
Katora had been coming to this place on the Winter Solstice for as long as she could remember. Her two older sisters used to participate in the ceremony, but they had recently moved out of the family home. They now held their own traditions. This was the first year they wouldn’t be there, and Katora wasn’t sure she wanted to be there either.
Still, Katora would honor the Great Mother with Bhar and her younger sister, Kylene. As Katora thought of her, Kylene loped into the clearing, cheeks rosy and long blond hair wild. Quick puffs of breath escaped Kylene’s mouth in the crisp air.
“I’ve got it.” From her pocket, Kylene pulled a small nut ending in woody cap. “Freshly fallen from an oak tree.”
Katora help up her hand, and Kylene tossed the acorn. Katora caught it easily and set it on the ground next to three others, each one collected during a different season. A hearty vine with withered essenberries also lay on the cold dirt. As Kylene sat, her gray cloak, the same color as the cloud covered sky, fanned out behind her and touched Katora’s cloak at the corner.
“Let’s begin.” Katora rubbed her chapped hands, souvenirs from years of farming, together. “Bhar, you did bring the trowel, didn’t you?”
Bhar produced the tool from his pants pocket. “Of course. Do you even have to ask?”
Katora grinned and glanced at Kylene, who failed to hide her smile. They both knew Bhar needed to be asked. He took his place next to his sisters. Behind him, his cloak touched each of theirs and completed the circle.
“Please present your items,” Katora said, tapping her offering of the vine.
A playing card appeared in Bhar’s hand, seemingly from nowhere. With a flick of the wrist, he tossed it among the acorns and vine. Kylene kissed a small book and gently placed it on the ground. The three siblings grasped hands and closed their eyes.
Katora chanted, “Mother Nature, we gather and return the fruit of the seasons. Take these and our personal offerings from our hearts to yours. As the cold of winter takes hold, offer in return safe passage to spring.”
A moment of silence passed before Bhar began to dig a small hole. Except for the scrape of the trowel in dirt, he worked in complete silence, the forest quiet as it fell into the sleep of winter. Katora and Kylene deposited the offerings into the hole. All three scooped the soil back over the hole and patted it down.
They grasped hands again, fingernails caked with dirt, and hummed. Their melody pierced the silent forest and rose to the top of the trees and beyond. A gust of wind swirled through the clearing, lifting their cloaks in the air behind them.
Katora’s eyes widened as Kylene’s hand gripped hers tight. Bhar turned his face to the sky. Katora felt her hair fly about her face as she watched Kylene’s locks do the same. Still, they kept humming. When their tune finally ended, the wind abruptly stopped.
A long sigh escaped Katora’s mouth, deflating the pressure in her chest. Nothing like that had ever happened during the ceremony.
“What was that?” Kylene asked in a whisper.
“A coincidence,” Bhar said with no trace of his playful smile.
Katora pounded her fist on the ground. “That was no coincidence. I’ve always been a bit skeptical that the Great Mother paid any attention to our little ceremony. But now…I believe she does.”
“Yes.” Kylene nodded her head repeatedly. “I always believed she did, but this is a nice confirmation of our faith.”
Bhar blew into his hands. “I’m cold. Let’s go home and heat up some milk and chocolate.”
Kylene’s brow wrinkled as she said with hesitation, “It is cold. And we must be home before dark.”
“I’ll catch up with you two.” Katora gathered up her pack as Bhar and Kylene left the clearing.
She heard Kylene tease Bhar about his offering. “What is Mother Nature going to do with a playing card?”
“More than she’s going to do with a book,” Bhar said. “Definitely more than she’ll do with an essenberry vine. Katora’s offering was definitely the worst.” 

Kylene laughed at Bhar’s joke, and Katora was compelled to defend her choice. Every essenberry vine on Kase Farm was a gift from Mother Nature. The vines provided a means of wealth, and therefore survival, for the family. She didn’t bother arguing because her siblings’ voices had already faded away.

Just as she stepped back into the trees, Katora spotted a small bluebird perched high up on a leafless branch. Its beady eyes stared down at her. The bird opened its beak wide and let out one sharp chirp.

“You coming?” Bhar’s shout echoed through the forest.

She glanced back up at the oak tree, but the bird had vanished. As she jogged to catch up, Katora felt Mother Nature’s presence. It wasn’t only in the physical bounty of the forest, but also deep inside Katora’s own heart. She breathed deep and the winter air felt fresh instead of cold.
Young Adult Paranormal Fantasy

Katora Kase is next in line to take over as guardian to a secret and powerful healing Elixir. Now she must journey into the wilds of Faway Forest to find the ingredient that gives the Elixir its potency. Even though she has her sister and brother, an old family friend, and the handsome son of a mapmaker as companions, she feels alone. It is her decision alone whether or not to bind herself to the Elixir to serve and protect it until it chooses a new guardian. The forest hosts many dangers, including wicked beings that will stop at nothing to gain power, but the biggest danger Katora may face is whether or not to open up her heart to love.
If you’re interested in reading more adventures of the Kases, Elixir Bound is on special today only, December 20th  for $1.99 at the MuseItUp Bookstore and Amazon.
Katie L. Carroll began writing after her 16-year-old sister unexpectedly passed away. Writing was a way to help her sister live on in the pages of a story. Her YA fantasy Elixir Bound is available from the MuseItUp bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other ebook retailers. Her picture book app The Bedtime Knight was published by MeeGenius. To learn more about Katie and her books visit her website at
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  1. Thanks so much for having me, Lorrie. It was a lot of fun to share this winter story with your readers. Happy Holidays!

  2. It's my pleasure,Katie. You're always welcome to return for another spot. Love the cover. And a Happy Holiday to you, too.

  3. This is beautiful writing and completely captures my imagination! Gotta get the book now!

  4. Katie, your book sounds wonderful. Congratulations. This would make a great Christmas gift.

    Lorrie - thanks for sharing with all of us!

    Merry Christmas everybody!

    1. Thanks, Penny. And no wrapping required for it either.

  5. Katie and Lorrie-
    Thanks for sharing this lovely holiday story. Am on my way to get Elixir Bound (as I learned I am not getting it for Christmas!)

  6. Katie visited my blog awhile back, but I didn't get a chance to snag a copy of Elixir Bound. This reminds me to read it.

    I hope you're doing well with your sales, Katie.

    1. Thanks for the support, Marva. I hope your books are doing well too.