Welcome to my official blog! I'm the author of Winterborn, a middle grade fairy tale. Click on the Winterborn tab to read a description and the first chapter of the book.


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As winter descends upon Stony Hollow, a small cat named Jack hears the villagers whisper the legend of the Winter Fairy, who once brought joy to the village children before her own child went missing.

A curious boy ventures into the Dark Forest on a quest to determine if the Winter Fairy is fact or fiction while Becca, who cooks and cleans for the village witch, tries to learn the truth behind the forgetful ghost in the pantry. Meanwhile, in a cottage high on a hill overlooking the village, a stuffed rabbit who was brought to life by magic longs to return home.

When Jack learns a terrible secret, he alone holds the key to happiness for several hearts. Making things right is a lot for one small--albeit extraordinary--cat to shoulder.

Winterborn is an enchanting fairy tale full of mystery and magic.

Enjoy the first chapter of Winterborn here.
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Chapter One

The Ghost in the Pantry

 “You’ve really outdone yourself this time, Becca,” Jack said. “I knew you shouldn’t have poked your nose into Fizzbang’s things.”

Becca glared down at the little black cat. “I was only looking for a housecleaning spell,” she grumbled.

“Well, it must be one powerful spell. Look at all the cleaning you get to do now.” Jack sneezed and began grooming his fur.

“Ha ha,” Becca said dryly. “I didn’t mean any harm.” Weighted down with a mop, broom, and bucket filled with hot sudsy water, Becca took a moment to gawk at the task that lay before her. The walls of the workroom were covered with cabinets and shelves of books, bones, stones, and every possible shape of container filled with ingredients that ranged from common to the bizarre--and every bit of it covered with a thick blanket of black dust. One end of the room contained creatures that screeched, croaked, crawled, and slithered in glass cases that were nearly opaque with dirt. She shrugged. “Besides, I need to learn sooner or later. I am kind of a sort of apprentice, right?”

Jack looked up from his bathing. “Wrong. You’re not, and you know it. You’re here to do the cooking and the cleaning and whatever else Fizzbang deems adequately torturous.”

The reminder of her insignificance hit a little too close to home, and an overwhelming feeling of dread floated downward and settled on Becca’s shoulders along with the dust motes. With a mournful sigh, she set the bucket down and let the broom and mop fall to the floor with a loud clatter.

Jack brushed against her leg. “Besides, why would you even want to be like that old witch?”

“I don’t. I just thought… I don’t know, that I might learn something that would help me.” Her hands curled into fists. She turned to look around at the gloomy room, shrouded in cobwebs. Inky shadows pushed back at the thin light that came through the windows. Her fists unclenched, and her hands fell limp by her sides. “I feel so… powerless.” She moved a few steps to gaze at the dirty windows. “In the fairytales, there’s always a prince to come to the rescue.”

Jack leapt onto a shelf next to a jar that contained a huge toad surrounded by fly corpses. “Maybe this one was a prince once. Do you want to kiss him and find out?”

Becca let out a plaintive sigh, and Jack hopped down with a soft thump and wound his way around her ankles. “You know, those princes are overrated,” he said. “The stories never once address their bad points.”

“Like what?” Becca asked dully. What could possibly be bad about being a prince… or being rescued by one?

“Like… they have foul breath, green toenails, and large moles on their chins.”

“I thought it was witches that had moles.”

Jack shook his head. “Malicious anti-witch propaganda. And don’t take this the wrong way, but don’t you think you’re a little young to be thinking about getting married? You haven’t even grown into your ears yet.”

“Who said anything about getting married?” Becca asked, but what he said was true. She was in that awkward stage of growth, with her legs sprouting up like stilts and her arms as thin as willow branches. Her best features were her long pale hair and her slanted blue eyes—not an icy blue or a deep ocean blue, but somewhere in between, a bright, clear, almost-perfect October sky blue.

Not that it really mattered. She felt glum as she looked around the room. “I just want to get out of here. At least go outside and be around other people. There’s a whole world out there I’ve never even had the chance to see.”

Becca approached the window and wiped the dirt away from the glass so she could see the village. At first, the glass cleared, but a dark fog formed over the glass and solidified into more dirt.

“I can’t even look outside,” she said with a groan.

“Magic dirt,” Jack mused. “Now I’ve seen everything.”

“Well, it’s a lot more than I’ve seen,” Becca said as she plopped down into a chair. A cloud of dust rose up from the cushion.

Jack affectionately head-butted her leg. “Are you finished having your pity party now?”

She cocked her head and gave him a sad smile. “I think so.” She reached down and absently scratched his head for a moment before rising, taking a duster in hand, and approaching a dust-caked shelf. She swept away the cobwebs and a layer of dust and peered at a row of apothecary vials corked with ornate blown-glass stoppers. “Solution of Secrecy, Sleeping Draught, Lamentation Tonic, Elixir of Enlightenment… Unpowder? I wonder what’s in this stuff.”

“Unless you want to end up cleaning the dungeon, too, I advise you to just keep on wondering.”

“There’s a dungeon? Why don’t I know about it?” Becca asked.

“I was exaggerating,” Jack said, “but I wouldn’t be a bit surprised if there were one somewhere beneath this mansion. Probably crawling with rats and spiders and—”

“You’re right,” Becca interrupted. “We’re better off not knowing if there is one.”

“Ignorance is bliss,” Jack cheerfully agreed.

Becca wrinkled her nose at something in a bottle that resembled dried bat wings and began removing bottles from the shelf. She washed down each shelf and then washed every bottle before putting it back in its place. She rinsed out her dirty rag before attacking a glass case housing several brightly colored frogs.

“All of these newts still have their eyes,” Jack said, gazing into a case of the slithering creatures. He tapped against the glass with his soft paw and watched the creatures wriggle underneath rocks and leaves.

“Maybe eye of newt is better fresh, like parsley,” Becca said with a shrug. “At least you’re entertained.”

“Hey, I’m here for moral support. It’s merely unfortunate that I’m incapable of using a broom.”

Although Jack may have had the best of intentions, when she returned from dumping the dirty water and refilling her bucket with clean, soapy water, Becca caught him sitting at attention with his eyes closed. He jumped awake, but his eyes slowly closed again as if the lids were drawn together by magnets. Touched by his efforts, she smiled and moved on to another cabinet.

A lovely wooden cabinet with doors featuring arched panes of glass that resembled cathedral windows held large canisters of dried herbs and wooden cases containing various crystals, stones, and runes. Wrapped in a dusty velvet bag was what appeared to be a small human skull etched with runes. It certainly looked authentic. A shiver crept up her spine as she wondered whose skull it had been. Not wanting to touch it, she tried wiping the dust from the outside of the bag. As she watched the dust swirl in the afternoon sunlight, she realized that the day was getting late. Jack was curled up in a patch of sun and sound asleep. Becca wiped the dust from her face, took a deep breath, and resumed cleaning with renewed determination.

What seemed like hours later, Becca stopped cleaning in order to start cooking dinner. Feeling dirty and more morose than physically tired, she dragged the mop, broom, and bucket down the stairs. When she was about halfway down the stairs, Jack zipped past her, clearly rejuvenated by his nap.

Becca sucked in a deep breath and hoped that Fizzbang didn’t hear Jack, who came and went to and from the mansion surreptitiously. She tried to keep the cat hair dusted up, and they kept all of their talking down to a whisper. Jack stayed out of sight, and, since Fizzbang wasn’t known for withholding criticism, Becca was fairly certain that she was unaware of Jack’s presence.

As she neared the grandfather clock at the base of the stairs, its cabinet door began to rattle. The old clock was a magnificent piece of work that had been designed with witches in mind. It featured a hand-painted face, moon phases, and other dials that predicted the weather and charted Zodiac phases and the paths of planets. The red hand on that dial was currently set on “Mercury in Retrograde”. As she watched, the weather dial began to rotate slowly until it stopped on a picture of a snowflake.

The door continued to rattle as if something were trying to get out. Tugging gently on the carved wooden knob, Becca opened the door and peered inside, but she saw only the typical inner workings of a clock.

Closing the cabinet door, she turned around and nearly jumped out of her skin when she realized she was being watched. The beginning of a scream burbled up out of her throat before she realized that it was only Fizzbang’s dog Edgar.

Edgar was almost as scary to look at as Fizzbang herself. To say he was old was a tremendous understatement. She was absolutely certain that Fizzbang was using arcane means in order to keep the dog “alive”. His eyes were white with layer upon layer of cataracts. What patches of hair remained were thin and gray. His teeth were nearly extinct. Without magic, he should have passed on decades ago.

“Edgar?” Becca said, softly. “What are you looking at?” She reached down to pet him, but then thought better of it. He might be harmless, but he occasionally showed up in her nightmares.

As creepy as Becca found the little scruffy dog, he was Fizzbang’s dearest possession. He was wearing a musty old green velvet suit with a ruffled collar that had been white at some point in time. Fizzbang didn’t seem to notice the deteriorating state of the outfit. Or the dog. Gazing blindly at a spot next to her, Edgar growled at nothing in particular in a voice that sounded like dry leaves.

For a moment, she wondered if he could smell cat, or was he growling at the bumping noises emanating from the old clock?

The dog remained in the hall and continued to stare and growl at nothing as Becca put away the cleaning supplies in the cupboard at the end of the back hall and pulled off the filthy apron. After scrubbing her face and hands with soap and clean water, she felt refreshed enough to tackle the task of preparing dinner and went into the kitchen, where Jack had already claimed a spot on the rug in front of the open fireplace they used for cooking.

Most houses in the village had been equipped with wood-burning iron stoves for decades, or so she had heard from Jack’s explorations. She had been cooking in clay pots and crudely carved stone vessels over an open fire for as long as she could remember. She had once asked Fizzbang why she didn’t consider updating the kitchen, which looked positively barbaric. The fireplace leaked when it rained, and her aprons were stained with smoke from the fire. Even her clean aprons were gray. Seeing as Fizzbang was the richest citizen of Stony Hollow, it couldn’t be a matter of expense. The old witch had scoffed at the idea and said the old fireplace worked just fine for her.

Despite the primitive conditions of the kitchen, out of all of her chores, cooking was the one Becca actually enjoyed, and she had become quite capable at it. Even Fizzbang, who made it her purpose in life to find fault with every single thing Becca did, had very little to criticize in her cooking.

“Do you think keeping a beloved pet alive for decades makes Fizzbang seem more affectionate?” Becca asked as she tied on a clean apron.

“It’s hard for me to process the words Fizzbang and affectionate in the same sentence, but, sure, in a kind of sick and demented way, I’d say it does,” Jack replied.

“You think it’s a good idea, then? So, if you suddenly expire after eating a bad lump of fish, I should use any means to keep you up and about?”

“Don’t even think about it,” Jack said, his voice dropping so low that it was almost a growl.

Becca flashed him a toothy smile as she pulled aside the curtain that served as a door to the pantry. Turning, she found herself looking into the face of a startled ghost.

“Sorry,” said Becca. “I didn’t mean to scare you.”

The ghost, who had light hair falling to his shoulders and the handsome face of a young man, smiled as he nervously fondled the silver cufflinks on his lovely embroidered coat. “Quite alright. I seem to be lost.”

“This is the Widow Fizzbang’s pantry.”

The ghost peered around the pantry and seemed to take in the various pots, bags, and jars. “I suppose it is a pantry,” he said. “However, I don’t precisely recall how I came to be in this particular pantry.”

“I’m afraid I don’t know either,” Becca said. Tired of having different versions of the same conversation no less often than twice a day, she took a slow, deep breath and put on a polite smile.

The moment stretched into an awkward silence before the ghost said, “Where are my manners? I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure of meeting you before.” As he extended his hand, he frowned. “That’s strange.”

“What is strange?” asked Becca, letting him take her hand

“I can’t seem to remember my name, either.”

Becca shrugged. “Perhaps it will come to you later.” When the man continued to peer at her expectantly, she added, “I’m Becca,” and withdrew her hand.

“Pleasure,” said the man with a smile. “Um… Perhaps you were looking for something in here?”


“Ah, rosemary!” The ghost turned about in the cluttered pantry. “I know I saw it…” As he trailed his finger through the air, Becca’s eye was drawn to the ornate rings on his fingers and the ruffled lace cuff on his shirt sleeve. “Here!” He triumphantly extracted a jar from the pantry and presented the jar with a grand flourish, which made Becca wonder what kind of person he might have been before he began haunting the witch’s pantry. “Your rosemary.”

Becca took the jar. “Thank you.”

“You’re most welcome. It was very nice to meet you, Becca.”

Becca nodded. “It’s been nice to meet you, too.” She turned and walked out of the pantry, leaving the ghost among the jars and bottles.

Jack was sitting on the floor and facing her. Becca could almost detect an amused look on his face. “Don’t forget the salt,” he said.

Becca groaned and turned back to the pantry. She pushed the curtain aside and, once more, startled the ghost. “Oh, sorry.”

“Quite alright,” said the ghost. “I seem to be lost.”

Becca took a deep breath and reminded herself to be patient. “This is the Widow Fizzbang’s pantry. If you don’t mind, could you please pass me the salt?”

“Yes, actually, it was just… here.” He plucked a glazed ceramic crock from a shelf. “Careful not to spill. ‘Tis bad luck, at least where I come from. Say, I don’t believe we’ve met before, have we?”

“Thank you,” Becca said, taking the salt and letting the curtain fall back over the pantry as the ghost waited expectantly for an answer. When she turned to face Jack, her shoulders slumped, and her eyes dropped to the floor. “I know that was rude, but I do get tired of introducing myself every time I simply need salt.”

“There is something wrong with that ghost,” Jack said.

“You’re just now noticing that?” Becca asked as she dumped the ingredients on the large wooden table that occupied most of the floor space in the room and retrieved a wooden bowl from the hutch.

“No, but it suddenly struck me as more than just a little sad. Not only to be an earthbound spirit, but not remembering anything.”

She went over to the wooden box of ice that they used for cold storage and fetched a freshly plucked and washed chicken that had been delivered by one of the butcher’s sons earlier that day. “I’m sure most ghosts don’t have an entirely accurate memory recall.”

“Not entirely accurate is a bit of an understatement in this case.” Jack shook his head.

“That statement is a bit of an understatement,” Becca said as she went about preparing the chicken. She looked at Jack to see if he got her joke.

The cat was preoccupied with his thoughts. “This reeks of black magic.”

“Considering that he’s haunting Fizzbang’s house,” Becca said, “that’s hardly a surprise.”

Excerpt from Chapter 10: The Body in the Library

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 The cover was made of some type of wrinkled tan leather that had been stitched with strange symbols. In the middle of the cover was a patch of fabric covered with scrawling handwriting in black ink. “The Witch’s Best Book of Shadows,” Becca read aloud. She opened the book, and something crawled out of it and back into the hole in the floor.

“I think I feel a hairball coming up,” Jack said.

 Becca flipped through the book, reading the titles of articles aloud as she went, “‘So You Want to Catch a Fairy,’ ‘What Have You Conjured Lately,’ ‘That’ll Teach ‘Em: Curses That Kill, Injure, and Maim,’ ‘Magical Herbs and How to Find Them in the Wild,’ ‘Witch Worthy Wards: Installation and Termination.’ Here, maybe this is something… an herb called huffleberries. ‘Singular doses were known to induce a passing spell of forgetfulness while multiple doses resulted in a prolonged, extreme state of being dis… com…b—’”

“Discombobulated,” Jack said, smoothly. “It means confused.”

“Why didn’t they just say that? ‘Results may vary by age, weight, size, and magical immunity. Warning to witches: Huffleberries are reputed to decrease magical ability, so extra care is required while handling.’”

“That might be something, but let’s keep looking.” Jack peered at the pages. Although he couldn’t read, there were some very grim illustrations. “I shudder to think who might have bothered to take the time to create these pictures. Witches really are a weird lot, aren’t they?”

Becca nodded as she turned pages. “I’d hate to know what she dreams about. I mean, what motivates a person to want to pursue such things?” She barely touched the corners of the pages with her fingertips. Who knew what they were made of?

There were notes scrawled in the margins of the pages, as if Fizzbang had added her own personal touches to a recipe she’d been given. However, instead of adding an extra egg or a teaspoon of vanilla to a cake, the notes recommended, “Roots are tough. Need a good sharp axe to chop at them. Look for the newer nodules on the roots. Avoid the shriveled ones.” Or, “A sugar spoon is the perfect size and shape instrument for scooping out the eye.”

“What do the notes say?” Jack asked.

“Trust me, you don’t want to know,” Becca said, feeling queasy.

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