Retreat, bonuses, and chapter 27 of the voice in the forest


Hi Everybody!

So… I think I lost my marbles! This weekend, I’m doing a virtual writing retreat, which isn’t the bananas part, it’s fantastic and I’m super excited. The bananas part is that Heart of Cinders comes out next week!

And the amount of things I’m doing simultaneously right now when NaNo is right around the corner in November is… boggling the mind.

SO, what does that mean for you?


First of all, it means bonuses!

I have my Patreon going for those people who want to read Crossroad Inn but don’t have access to Vella on Amazon as it’s only available in the states right now.

Well, not only am I releasing extra episodes every week over there for this month, but I am also writing a Patreon exclusive story with some of the lore of the Cinders in Midnight Glass world.


Can’t wait for that to be ready and tell you all about it.

The other bonus will be a Crossroad Inn bonus episode published to Vella that will come out on Halloween. Because the witches of the Crossroad Inn said, of course!

Don’t forget, Heart of Cinders comes out on the 19th!

Coming up

Next week I will give you all the links to the new books, and I can’t wait for you all to read them! I will also have some deals on some of my friends books coming up soon!


I am also updating and slightly messing with my website, and that will be done by next week as well. 

But, quick reminder: This story here in the newsletter is a sandpaper rough draft. We’ve changed POV’s and all kinds of things as we have gone through it. There are holes and redundancies and a whole lot of mess I will need to rewrite before I put it together and give it to you in a book form as well. 

While we write it here, while it’s a hot mess, I really would love your feedback. 

And when the website is all updated, you’ll be able to find all the old chapters there. 

Chapter 27 of the voice in the forest

Chapter 27

“Are you sure,” Montgomery asked, standing by my feet while I put the last of the books up into the metal springs that were part of the bed frame instead of a separate box spring the mattress sat on. “Maybe we should spend a little more time with these books before we go downstairs.”

“We made an initial check,” I said, climbing out from under the edge of the old bed. “Now, I think we should go down to work in the garden for a few hours, make an appearance, and then come up and get back to work.” I sat down on the bed, shifting around and bouncing a bit.

“How does what you’re doing now help with either of those objectives,” Montgomery asked, cocking his head to the side and furrowing his brow at me.

“Just making sure,” I said, ducking my head down over the side to look under the bed again. “Yep. They stayed just fine.”

Walking out the door, Montgomery was still standing in the middle of the room looking at the bed.

“Are you coming?” I whispered from the hall.

“Oh,” he said, turning and shaking his head as he trailed after me. I bit my lip on the smile tugging at the corners of my mouth. He seemed like he was still back in my bedroom trying to make sense out of my flopping around on the bed.

We made our way down the hall, and it wasn’t until we got to the bottom of the stairs that the it became clear his little diversion in the dining room wasn’t cleared up yet.

“But this wasn’t in my plan,” Mother yelled from somewhere I couldn’t pinpoint but her voice filled up the entire house.

Getting out of the house for the next few hours was a very good idea. I didn’t want to go to get a snack and run into my mom or someone else who was hiding from her while she was still on the dark train from furious.

Making my steps light and swift without running, I got to the back door. It helped to have Montgomery with me so I could follow his lead and not worry about getting lost, which would probably still manage to end with me in the cross hairs no matter my plan to avoid Mother.

Once we made it out the back door to the little garden of mine, I took a deep breath and relaxed the tight knot in my shoulder.

“Are you sure this is better than us just staying in your room?” Montgomery asked.

Picking up my gloves and the little tools from where I last left them, I said, “Yes. If we just happened to be somewhere inside doing something my mother wouldn’t care about, like researching the history of this place, and she found us? Nightmare.”

I shuddered and slipped my gloves on, sitting on the edge of the planter box and starting in on the process of ridding the bed of all the dead and withered plants and weeds. 

“So, what are we hoping to find in these books?” I asked out loud although I was actually asking myself more than Montgomery.

“Arabella, are you okay?” He asked and I couldn’t help but laugh.

“Just thinking out loud. In a perfect world, what would tell us what we need to know?” I looked up at him for a minute and shrugged before going back to work on the beds.

“First, I gave up a long time ago finding out anything about myself. Now, I have my name. Anything else is just a bonus.” He smiled and a wave of something close to happiness, a foreign concept recently in my life, washed over me.

“You have no idea how good it is to see you so happy,” I said.His answering smile was radiant and I had to look away.

“Why do I hear something else in your words, that it isn’t enough for you?” He asked, sitting on the edge of the walled bed and flicking a weed.

“Be careful moving anything while we’re out here. Someone may see you.” I raised an eyebrow and looked pointedly at his finger.

“Oh, I know. They spy on you.” He brushed his hands off on his pants, which must have been a very old habit because he couldn’t get dirty anymore.

“Mother, and everyone else, seems to be waiting for me to screw up.” I stretched out my neck, where a lump was forming in my throat speaking about this so frankly. “That, unfortunately, even if we find a way to free you will be my shackle until the day my mother dies.”

“Shackle…” His voice trailed off and he stared at me, his face stunned as if he was looking at a puzzle and had just figured it out. “That’s why you want to help me so much. Because you don’t think of yourself as free.”

“No. I thought that was pretty clear. I’m not free to do a lot of things.” I yanked on the weed in front of me with a little more force than necessary and kept going with my task.

“Arabella, I want you to know, even if you don’t manage to find a way to help my soul move on, you have already helped me. And you’re not a failure.

”Even though he said it in a soft voice, with genuine care and concern laced in it, I still flinched at the word failure. I nodded, although I didn’t believe myself. Helping Montgomery move on, doing what I could to understand who he was, and how he was here felt like it was an answer. And I didn’t want to let go of it.

“Do you think that any book other than the ledgers of the house would really tell us anything about me? I’m not important.” He shook his head.

“Montgomery, you may not realize, because you’ve been stuck here, but the Blackwell family is a huge deal. Everywhere, not just in this town. But here, where the estate and the money and the businesses that built it all have been centered through so many years, it’s gigantic.”

“Which seems to suggest that something like a family member dying young should be known. And you don’t know anything about me.”

“You’re right. But I haven’t always been a Blackwell. And I wasn’t even aware it mattered, who the family was, until I was much older. But this house…” I looked up at the brick building and sighed. “This house makes it all much more clear.”

“It does?” He asked, turning to look at the house too and I laughed.

But just as I did, the door slammed open and my mother stepped out, her hair wild around her face, coming out of her careful coif, and her hands on her hips. Her face was twisted into a wild eyed grimace.

“Ara, what are you doing?” She screamed.

My heart dropped into my toes. How long was she on the other side of the door?Did she see me talking to Montgomery?

Was she going to force me to go back to the hospital?

Ta da!

As always, happy reading!

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