Best Adult Fantasy Series

Greetings Fantasy Nerds!

So this post is about my picks for the best Adult Fantasy series. You can probably guess a few I’ll be writing about, but hopefully you will get some insight and ideas for new books to check out!

The Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit box set

First and most important is The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R Tolkien. This is the big one I figured many people would guess to be on this list. I want to tell you a little bit about these but also what they mean to me as a person. 
The Lord of the Rings is full of not only incredible storytelling, imagery, fantastic details and an entire intricate fantasy universe, but it has so many important life lessons. “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future” words said by Giladriel to Frodo, reading these words inspired me and gave me hope that even I can make a difference in our world. Samwise being that rock and carrying Frodo through thick and thin (literally), how the fellowship came together against an impending darkness but held strong. While outside of the books, Tolkien also spoke about how luck and chance also played a huge role on how their quest to save Middle Earth is fulfilled. I attribute these books to shaping me as the person I am today.

Lets also talk about how Tolkien loved linguistics, and created fourteen, let me repeat that, FOURTEEN different languages for the Middle Earth universe. This man created THE most well known and vast works of fantasy ever to grace our world. The Hobbit and The Silmarillion are also extremely necessary reads along with The Lord of the Rings, I would suggest reading those before you read The Lord of the Rings because they supply imperative back story and lore.

I could honestly write a thousand page essay on why The Lord of the Rings is the best Fantasy Series ever, how Tolkien shaped the world of Fantasy as we know it, but for all you readers sake I will not do that with this post.

The Name of the Wind

The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss

This book was recommended to me by my best friend, and I just picked it up last week. It hooks you from the get go, an epic fantasy unfolds before you with vivid details, excellent descriptions, and even better storytelling. I honestly felt like it was the beginning of a dungeons and dragons campaign when I began reading it; Patrick Rothfuss truly sets you up for an epic adventure.

 You easily connect with the characters, especially the “main” character Kvothe, and feel their emotions. It’s not a typical fantasy either, it’s filled with tragedy and grit your teeth moments. Name of the Wind is the first book in The Kingkiller Chronicles, the second book is The Wise Man’s Fear, and the third book has yet to be released. If you enjoy fantasy this is a MUST read.

Warcraft Books

Arthas by Christie Golden

Now this series isn’t necessarily a “series” so to speak, but it’s a wide variety of books written by various authors, notably Christie Golden and Richard Knack. Whether you have played Warcraft or World of Warcraft, it isn’t necessary in order to read these books. They’re all well written, and go into depth of the lore of the World of Warcraft. 

My personal favorite of the many Warcraft books is titled Arthas written by Christie Golden. She is an incredibly talented writer that’s delves into Arthas’s struggles from growing, becoming king, falling in love, struggling to save his people and ultimately succumbing to the greatest evil, all the while she seamlessly shifts the point of view to Sylvanas Windrunner, an Elven ranger who would give anything to save her people. Her story is heart-wrenching as well as heroic, she is a main character in Warcraft as well as World of Warcraft, and my personal favorite character in any book series or game (seeing as I have a tattoo of her on my thigh). We will certainly revisit Warcraft in our post about best video games for Fantasy Nerds!

A Song of Ice and Fire

A Song of Ice and Fire box set!

I had Clever help me out with this one, since I popped in on her last list post to talk about a series. Here are her opinion’s on this series, which I couldn’t agree with more.

With a normal book, the tension that keeps you reading is wanting to know “how will the main character get out of this?” With the Game of Thrones series, that tension is wondering “will the Moran character survive this?” The is no assumption in these books that your favorite characters will make it out alive, or win in the end. George R.R. Martin is NOT afraid to kill PD beloved characters, and he does so quite often. This raises the stakes for the story and makes the plot far from predictable. 

Despite the fact that there are dragons and magic, this fantasy series is once off the most realistic to me. Not realistic in the fantastical world or events that take place, but real to human nature and the facts of life. The villains are some of the most horrific people, and they make you so angry, but a lot of the time they win because they are willing to do what the noble characters aren’t. There are very few black-and-white characters. Some of the characters that started out as villains become something else along the way, and the same could also be said for some of our heroes. People change and grow, and in a way that is the most realistic yet unpredictable part of the story. We love these characters even when they make mistakes, and we root for them to come to the right decisions in the end. 


What Do You Think?


What do you think of our list of top adult fantasy series? If any look interesting, click on the photos above to purchase them on Amazon. Is there a series you love that want on the list? Comment below to let us know! Next time, we will be covering the Best Mobile Apps for Fantasy Nerds!
Thanks so much for reading!


Clever and WTF 

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The Mastermind – Part 2

If you haven’t read Part 1 of The Mastermind, you can find it here. Now for Part 2!

We start with the background research on all the involved parties. Sorren finds every detail about them, from where our client ate lunch last Tuesday to when our potential victim last took her Pomeranian, Buttercup, to the groomer.

“Who gets a Pomeranian?” Sorren grumbles. “They’re barely even a dog. Just get a bloody cat, if you want a tiny ball of fluff to pamper.”

“But look at how cute little Buttercup is, and that pink collar is to die for,” I say with a grin.

He rolls his eyes at me and continues to peck away at the keyboard. “A German Shepard, now that’s a real dog. A fierce defender of the home, and doesn’t have to be carried on long walks.” He practically pets the page of the Facebook account for the man we’re supposed to frame.

“And we could always put him in a pink collar, too.”

“If you put a pink collar on a German Shepard, so help me…”

“Yes?”

“I’ll…”

“Keep in mind I can take you in any kind of fight.”

Sorren practically growls at me before returning to his work.

“I think now is a good time for me to go visit Cain,” I tell him.

“I’ll poison your food!” he shouts. “Pick up something deadly for me, would you?”

“Took you long enough to come up with that one,” I reply over my shoulder as I slip out the door.

I decide to jog to Cain’s place. It’s only 4 miles, and I like to fit in exercise wherever I can. A criminal never knows when she might need to outrun someone. My feet pound the pavement as I run through the familiar streets, breathing steadily. The buildings change from expensive flats, where I live, to seedy shops in grimy alleyways. In the city, a few blocks can make a huge difference in the scenery. It’s one of the reasons we picked the location. We can live a life of luxury, but still access the underbelly when we need to.

I push open the door to Cain’s nearly hidden shop.  I’m hit with the sharp sting of chemicals. Cain makes most of his money from drugs, but he’s the best chemist I know. I glance around at all the beakers and tubes while I wait for him to finish mixing another concoction. Cain carefully sits down a bottle and lifts a pair of goggles off his face.

“Ember,” he drags my name out in an almost reptilian way.

“Hey, Cain,” I greet him casually, pretending he doesn’t give me the creeps. “I need something to make someone seem dead, but that won’t do any lasting damage.”

“How long does this person need to appear dead for?”

“Long enough to fool the cops into taking said person to the morgue.”

“Interesting…I can have it for you in two days,” He flicks his tongue between his lips, “for ten thousand.”

“I’ll be back with the money in two days.” I hurry out the door before he can say another word.

Once the poison is ready, I send Sorren to deliver it to our client and get our payment. They will do the deed tonight. We’ve spent the last two days preparing everything we need. Now, we wait.

The call comes at 3am on the burner phone. Sorren and I head to the victim’s house for the big show. When we arrive, she lies on the floor, still as death and cold to the touch.

I turn to a tall lithe man that I’ve never seen, who must be our hitman. I hold out my gloved hand without a word. He deposits the empty glass vial in my palm with a stoic nod. I zip it into a baggy and pass it to Sorren. I glance at the nearly empty wine glass on the side table by the couch. I circle the body once before walking to the table. I lean down, sniff the glass, and examine its contents.

 I walk to the kitchen and pull a wine glass from the cupboard. Next, I open the wine cooler and search for a partially empty bottle of red merlot. I pour a splash into the empty glass and swirl it around. Then, I carefully wipe the glass down to make sure it’s free of prints, before planting it next to the other glass. I turn to the gentlemen and smile.

“Now, we give our man a motive,” I say.

Sorren swipes up our victim’s phone and adds a few texts and calls. In addition, he adds one new contact, named “Lover”. He places the phone precisely where he found it and takes a bow. I choke back a laugh.

“That’s it, gentlemen,” I say with a smirk. “Now I plant the evidence and we wait for the police to do their job.”

Sorren and I race down the highway towards the client’s house. We have to beat him back with enough time to plant the vial in his trash. Sorren veers the car off at the exit and I brace my arm against the dash. He swerves in and out of traffic along the roads. The seatbelt jolts me as he slams the breaks.

I tap my feet while I stare at the red light.

Tires squeal, and we’re off again. I grip the door handle as we turn into a high-class neighborhood. Lights off now, Sorren glides down the empty lane. As soon as we reach the house, I jump out, dart up the driveway, open the trash can lid, and dump the vial inside. The sound of the closing lid seems loud as a marching band cymbal.

We wind out of the neighborhood and turn back onto the main roads. Nearing the highway again, our client passes the other way in his black SUV. I grin at Sorren. But we aren’t done yet.

We continue driving until we pull up to the ME’s office. Sorren dials the number for the Medical Examiner and tells him to let us in the back entrance. Sorren had already contacted him outside of the office to show him the dirt we had on him. After that, it wasn’t hard to get him to agree to help us.

The door cracks open and a balding head pops out. We jump out and walk casually to the door, as the man keeps glancing around. He leads us quickly down a hallway and into a cold room practically covered in metal. Our victim is laying on one of the metal tables, covered by a sheet.

“Did you figure out how you’re going to fake the autopsy?” I ask the Medical Examiner.

“I’m not,” he says. He’s smiling and practically bouncing on the balls of his feet. It’s almost like he’s proud.

I glance at Sorren to make sure we’re prepared if the man’s betrayed us, but then he continues.

“I don’t need to. I’ll just tell them I can’t do an autopsy because of her religion.” He beams.

“But we need the results to get the police to arrest our guy,” I reply.

“No, you just need the toxicology, which I will still do. And I’ll alter the report to say that the level of the drug was fatal.”

I stare open-mouthed at this middle-aged balding medical examiner, who is somewhat devious. A grin spreads across my face. I clap him on the back.

“Go ahead and get the blood while we wait for her to wake,” I tell him.

The man walked into the room and shook hands with the gentleman he had come to see.

“I’m told you have important information for me,” the gentleman asked.

“I do,” the man responded.

“Get to it then. You better not be wasting my time.”

“I assure you that I’m not.” He noticed the gentleman tapping his foot impatiently. “The Mastermind is double-crossing you.”

The gentleman’s eyes narrowed. “How do you know I hired the Mastermind? And how do you know she’s double-crossing me?”

“Let’s just say that I was on the wrong end of one of her jobs, and I want payback. I was following her and noticed that after she met with you last night, she drove by this house and threw something in the trashcan before speeding away. I’m guessing she didn’t tell you she would be visiting your home that night?”

The gentleman’s face turned red and twisted with rage. He let out a sound between a grunt and a scream before he stormed out of the room. He marched down the driveway and flung open the lid of the dumpster. It was empty. The gentleman’s face paled.

“Today isn’t trash day,” he said.

“Then you’d better leave quickly. I trust you’ll take care of the Mastermind for me?”

“Just tell me where to find her.”

Our victim isn’t fond of the idea of pretending to be dead, but when we explain to her that if she doesn’t, someone will likely try to kill her, she comes around. By the time Sorren is done charming her, Mora actually thanks us for putting ourselves on the line for her. We take her to a hotel and wait for the news of an arrest.

The next day there is a press conference and the Detective says that they have a person of interest, but no arrest has been made at this time. We decide to make a toast to the impending end to our problems, and I go to fill up the ice bucket so we can cool our champagne bottle.

Halfway there, the hairs on the back of my neck stand up. I slow my pace slightly and cast my eyes around. I don’t hear any footsteps, but that doesn’t mean I’m not being followed. I change my grip on the metal ice bucket. I round a corner and spin to face the other direction. No one is there.

I hear a car door slam behind me and I turn toward the parking lot. The client is walking toward me, followed by his bodyguards. I evaluate the situation. If he showed up here that has to mean he knows I’ve framed him. I can’t outfight him and all his men, but I know I can outrun them.

I release the ice bucket and bolt back around the corner. Gunshots pop as I immediately turn the next corner. I sprint down the walkway and take as many turns as I can, hoping to lose them. I can tell they’ve split up because I hear pounding footsteps from multiple directions. I keep a mental note of where I am. I know I have to make it back to the room, and soon. When I reach the right spot I round the corner, only to find two armed men racing toward me.

I dart back as bullets fly. I crouch and pull a handgun out of my ankle holster. I aim up and let fire two rounds into the chest of each guard when they rush around the corner. I peek around the corner to see the way is clear. I sprint to the room, swipe my key, and yank the handle. Sorren is crouched behind the bed with a gun aimed at my head.

“Where’s our girl?” I ask.

“She thought it would be a good time for a nice stroll.”

“So she’s hiding in the bathtub then?”

Sorren just smirks at me, as I join him behind the bed and reload.

“Did they see you come in this room?”

“I don’t think so,” I tell him, “but I don’t know how long they’ve been following us.”

“It doesn’t make sense. We saw their car going the other direction last night. They couldn’t have been tailing us.”

“They must’ve had someone else following us,” I say.

We pause when we hear a muffled conversation at the door.

“How many?” Sorren asks.

“There were six, now there are four,” I say with a smirk.

“If there’s any time for cockiness, it’s definitely now,” Sorren tells me with a wink.

We hear a loud bang, likely them trying to kick down the door. Sorren and I ready our weapons. The banging continues and the door starts to bend inwards near the lock. We hear shouting, what sounds like “Put your weapons down.”  Sorren and I glance at each other but don’t lower our weapons. More shouting, some clatters, and a couple of thumps against the wall. We still don’t move until we hear a voice say, “You are under arrest for first-degree murder.” At that Sorren raises his eyebrows and stands.

A few moments later there is a knock at the door. “Everyone ok in there? We’re coming in.”

The police bust down the door and enter the room. Our victim exits the bathroom. By the confusion on the Detective’s face, I know he recognizes her. I wrack my brain for a way to explain this one. We were planning on being long gone by the time the police figured out she was alive.

“Thank goodness you’re here. Those men came to finish the job!” Mora cries out.

“But you were dead,” the Detective says with wide eyes.

I watch our victim to try to figure out how she will respond to all this.

“I almost was, but I woke up in the morgue. I guess they didn’t use enough poison.” She shrugs her shoulders. “Thank goodness the ME never did the autopsy!”

The Detective’s eyes narrow. “How did you get out of the morgue without anyone noticing?”

“Oh, I didn’t. I begged the nice ME to give me a head start before he told you that I was alive. I knew those men would come after me again once the news was out. He felt so terrible about thinking I was dead, that he helped me,” she finishes with a sweet smile.

The Detective’s eyes soften, but he crosses his arms as he turns to us. “And who are these two?”

Before we can open our mouths, the victim responds. “These are my friends. I went to them to help hide me.”

“Very well, but I’ll need to interview you all later at the station.”

“Of course,” I tell the Detective, knowing I plan on never seeing him again.

With that, he turns and exits the room to take our client to jail. We close the door behind him, and I turn to Mora.

“That was quick thinking,” I tell her.

“I’ve always been good at spinning a tale,” she says with a grin. “Besides, it was the least I could do when you were putting your lives on the line for me.”

I nod and hold out my hand to her. She goes in for a hug and I glance over her shoulder to see Sorren smirking at me.

“Don’t forget, Sorren helped too,” I say with a smirk of my own.

She gives him a tight hug that lasts much longer than my own. I force down a laugh as Sorren glares at me.

With that, we ride off into the sunset, or whatever the equivalent that criminals do.

The man watched her drive away from the hotel with her partner. She was laughing! It wasn’t fair. The police had swooped in to save her, but he wouldn’t let her get away next time.

Would you like to see more of Ember and Sorren? If you liked this story, leave a comment below.

Thank you so much for reading!

Clever

The Mastermind – Part 1

I know, I know. Us outlaws are supposed to slink into the crowded inn wearing a dusty black cloak that’s faded to grey. We’re not supposed to draw attention to ourselves. But I can’t help it that my favorite color is bright pink. And if you’re going to wear such a fine pink cloak, you should wear it well, am I right? There’ll be no slinking around in this baby.

Besides, I’ve found the bright cloak to have the same result as the drab one. Sure it draws attention right away but to the cloak, not my face. I could walk back into the same place an hour later, no pink cloak, and not a soul would recognize me. 

After I do the deed though, I can’t be seen within a hundred miles of this town in my pink cloak. I’d bet my whole payout that the only description anyone will be able to give is a girl in a bright pink cloak. Have I convinced you of my genius yet?

If I haven’t, don’t worry. There’s more where that came from. Genius is basically my job. People pay me to come up with plans that they could never dream of. They pay me to find ways to get whatever it is they want. They call me “The Mastermind”.

Look, I didn’t come up with it. I know it’s not terribly creative, but it stuck.

After I have a drink at the bar, I make sure I’m seen crossing the street to the fancy manor before I slip in the back. I don’t need to make sure I’m seen when I exit. The huge blast that engulfs most of the house, just after I run out, takes care of that for me. Before anyone can react, I’m four blocks away slipping down an alleyway. I quickly stuff my cloak into my backpack, maneuver through a few side streets, and come out onto the main road heading the other direction from the manor. I smile as I see a few people pointing the cops in the direction I originally ran.

 A few minutes later I knock on the backdoor of an almost-as-fancy manor house. The door opens and I’m yanked inside before a voice starts berating me.

“I told you I wanted subtlety!” the man yells at me.

“I hate subtlety,” I reply. “Besides, what you really meant was that you didn’t want to be caught.”

“Everyone can see that house burning for miles, and I’m the first person they will suspect.”

“Actually, you’ll be the second,” I interrupt him, “and the cops will have no reason to look past the first.”

 He eyes me skeptically but waits for me to continue.

“An hour before the house went up in flames, I paid a visit to your other enemy. I told him I could take out some of the assets of your mutual opponent, for a small fee of course.”

“He paid you too? I want my money back.” He crosses his arms and glares at me.

“That money is the bonus you’re paying me for taking out both of your enemies at once. You see, when I paid him that visit I made sure I was seen wearing this.” I unzip my backpack and pull out the bright pink cloak. “Not exactly subtle, is it?” I flash him my most charming grin. “It’s the same cloak I wore when I was seen running from the burning manor. Also, I may have planted a few items while I was paying him that visit. I think the police will tie it all together nicely.”

He stares at me with his mouth open. Then he remembers. “I assume you have the item?”

I reach into my bag one more time and hand him a wrapped bundle. He takes a peak and nods his head.

“I don’t think he’ll notice it’s missing,” I tell him with a wink before I exit.

“You’ve got another job,” Sorren says as he plops onto my soft couch and puts his feet up on the coffee table.

“They’ve been vetted?” I ask.

“Come on, Ember. Would I be bringing this to you if I hadn’t already done the decoy meetup?”

“One can never be too sure with you,” I say with a smirk. He laughs and chucks a cushion at me.

Sorren is my partner in crime. We’ve been doing this a long time, and we have our routine perfected. He checks the messages and makes sure no one is surveilling the drop point. If it seems safe, he arranges a fake meeting with “The Mastermind”. He scouts the location to make sure it’s not a setup. Then, he sets a second meeting with the real Mastermind.

If at any point things go wrong, he pretends to be just another middleman. He tells the cops he doesn’t know anything, except that he meets another guy to pass along the info to. The cops tell him to set up the meeting. When the other guy, who doesn’t exist, fails to show, he tells them the guy must have figured out he’s compromised. They let him go and we switch locations. Who needs a chain of unreliable individuals to mislead the police when you have one you can trust, who is also a very good liar?

I stuff the cushion behind my head and lean back in my seat. “When’s the meeting?”

“In two hours.”

I jump up and grab my backpack. “Let’s go then.”

We arrive at the actual location where we hold the final meeting with enough time to scout and prepare. It’s positioned an hour from my house, to make it difficult to find us. When we’re done, we get back in the car and drive a short distance away, but still with a view of the building. Ten minutes later a vehicle pulls up and five armed men get out.

“I love it when they treat me with the fear and respect I deserve,” I say with a grin.

“Maybe I’m the one that scared them,” Sorren fires back.

We exit the car and saunter into the abandoned warehouse. Our footsteps echo in the cavernous space. The men watch us without a word. We stop a couple of feet away and wait to see which of them will speak first. I’ve already pegged the leader, but sometimes they try to play games. Not this man though. His bulky frame moves a step forward.

“I’ve got a proposal for you.”

“Let’s hear it then.” I like to get right to the point.

“I need you to frame a man for murder.”

“That’s easy enough,” I reply.

“You’re not going to ask why?” he asks with one eyebrow raised.

“That would be unprofessional. I only ask what I need to know.”

“Good,” he says with a nod. “What do you need to know, then?”

“Who do you want to be framed, and whose murder am I framing him for?”

“Lucas Higgins and his girlfriend, Mora Lane. He’s my – “

“I don’t care who he is to you, and anything you think I need to know about him my friend here can find out in ten minutes.”

He purses his lips and glares at me but nods his head. 

“Now, are you going to pay the girlfriend to disappear, or kidnap her? Either way, you’ll want to do it soon. I’ll need to start draining her blood now if I’m going to get enough to convince them she’s dead.”

 “It will be much more convincing if she’s actually dead.” He flashes me a grin that doesn’t meet his cold, dark eyes. “Don’t worry; I’ve already hired someone else to do it. You won’t have to get your hands bloody, so to speak.” He chuckles at his joke. “You can let us know how it should be done to fit your narrative. We’ll bring you to the scene, when it’s done, to oversee the arrangements.”

I don’t give away my emotions, not even a widening of the eyes. I’m fine with framing an innocent person for murder, but I draw the line at actually murdering an innocent person. I’m not stupid enough to tell these armed men that, though.

“We’ll need to do our research and planning. Then I will let you know what I need from you. Do you have a timeframe you need this done by?”

“A week, if possible.”

“Of course it’s possible. When we meet again, I expect payment in full, per my usual terms.”

“Because you never fail, or so I’ve heard,” he says.

“No, I never fail.” With that, I turn on my heels and walk out.

“What are we going to do?” Sorren asks once we’re back at my place.

“The Mastermind always finds a way,” I say with a wink. “Let’s think it through. We obviously can’t let them kill an innocent girl.”

“Do we warn her?”

“We can’t predict how she will react, and they will tie it back to us if she just disappears. We may have to warn her, but we need a plan first.”

“So we find the killer and make sure he fails,” Sorren says.

“They’ll just send another.”

“Then we have to stop him, but make it look like he succeeded.”

“Right, that way it doesn’t fall back on us. We can’t have the Mastermind getting a bad reputation.”

Sorren smirks at me. “It might be good for your big head if you failed a job.”

“It wouldn’t be good for our wallets.”

“They pay upfront,” he replies. We both laugh.

“What we need to do is make sure that our client can’t come after us when this is all done,” I say.

It gets quiet as we think for a moment.

“How to fake her death then?” I ponder aloud. “We can’t use my blood draining idea, because they’ll recognize it. They want a body.”

“What if we use it to our advantage that you get to pick the method of death?”

“Hmmm…that’s an idea. We give them a murder weapon that’s not actually a murder weapon.” I tap my finger on my chin. “Poison.”

“Perfect, a fake poison that makes her look dead.”

“Exactly. We’ll have to get to the medical examiner, though. We need to make sure he doesn’t perform an autopsy before she wakes and that he reports her as deceased.”

“That shouldn’t be hard. I can dig up some dirt to get him to cooperate…”

“Or we just tell him the truth, that the girl is in danger if we don’t fake her death,” I interrupt.

“And what if he decides to tell his police friends to arrest everyone?”

“You’re right. Besides, blackmail is way more fun.” I grin at him.

“Now the final question, who are we actually framing for the murder?”

“Who do you think?” I ask with a glint in my eye.

You can read Part 2 of The Mastermind here. Comment to let us know what you think so far. If you liked this story, feel free to share it with the buttons below.

Thank you so much for reading!

Clever

Best YA Series for Fantasy Nerds

Welcome, Fantasy Nerds! I’m so excited for the start of a new collection of blog posts, the “Best Things for Fantasy Nerds” series. Over the next few weeks, WTF and I will share some of our favorite things for Fantasy Nerds to check out! SO…if you don’t have time (or money) to do all the things, we will try them out for you and let you know the best. I’m kicking it off with the best YA series for Fantasy Nerds because I like to read and write YA fantasy. Next time, WTF will give you her opinion on the best adult series.

Who’s ready to find a new YA fantasy series to read?!

Harry Potter

Harry Potter Books 1-7 Special Edition Boxed Set

You know I had to lead with this one. My all-time favorite place to escape is the Wizarding World of Harry Potter! Seriously, I’m obsessed, but who isn’t?

This is me last Halloween!

J.K. Rowling makes Hogwarts so real that the reader can imagine themselves there, wand at the ready. The brilliant part is that there is a house that everyone can identify with (Ravenclaw here!), and the books really celebrate each individual’s strengths.

The other great thing about this series is that it’s simple enough that I could enjoy it in middle school, but when you re-read it as you grow older you can find so many new hints and themes that you missed. I could go on forever about Harry Potter, so let me stop myself now. Comment below with your Hogwarts House!

A Court of Thorns and Roses

A Court of Thorns and Roses Box Set

This series quickly became my recent favorite after my husband got it for me because of the Beauty and the Beast retelling (that’s an obsession for another day). But if you think this series is going to be predictable, you are wrong. The Faerie world is so immersive and creative, and with hints of darker relevant themes.

 It blew my expectations out of the water, and I literally cried when I finished the series because I was so sad to say goodbye to the characters. Sarah J. Maas gives her characters so much depth and most are not who you expect them to be. By the end of the books I really felt like I knew them, and this gave the action and plot so much more weight.

The Throne of Glass series is also an amazing read, but Feyre and the Court of Dreams have a special place in my heart. Which Sarah J. Maas series is your favorite?

Eragon

The Inheritance Cycle Series 4 Book Set Collection

Harking back to my youth again, Eragon was also one of my favorites. From the moment that baby dragon hatched, I was hooked. For how young Paolini was when he wrote the books, the creatures he creates are very impressive. This series also has a great example of a magic system with proper limits, to keep things from being too easy for Eragon. Paolini manages to subvert expectations in the end, but it still felt right to me.

Six of Crows

The Six of Crows Duology Boxed Set

Leigh Bardugo’s Grisha Orders are so well thought out and the world she creates isn’t your typical fantasy world. She steers away from the medieval setting that a lot of fantasy writers use, and instead gives us an Amsterdam-inspired city. Kaz is one of those chararters that you can’t help but love despite his criminal nature. I was really rooting for his whole gang. Bardugo’s combination of worldbuilding skills and deep characters make for an amazing read.

Six of Crows is my favorite Grishaverse series by only a hair. I do have to give a nod to the amazing villain she creates, the Darkling, in her Shadow and Bone series. However, Kaz and his gang won out over the heroes in that series for me. I have a feeling the new Nikolai duology might become my favorite (he is my favorite character), but since that one’s unfinished I won’t list it yet. Tell me your favorite Grishaverse series or character!

Red Queen

Red Queen 4-Book Hardcover Box Set

This magic system has to be the most creative and ingenious that I have read. I love the way Aveyard allows for the users to combine their powers, in a way. During one of the big battle scenes when the Nymphs (water) and Shivers (ice) worked together to make an ice bridge for someone to run across, I was so jealous of her imagination. I also really loved that brain lightning magic, and the Singers and Whispers…I could go on and on! The magic in the series is so original and detailed with the widest range of unique abilities, some of which I’ve never seen.

The Queen of the Tearling

The Queen of the Tearling: Book 1

The plot for this series is so phenomenal and original. The different narrators, the mix of new and old, and how everything tied together made an interesting read. This series satisfied my YA fantasy genre expectations, while throwing in so many unique aspects from other genres I love (sci-fi, dystopian, historical fiction). It created a completely new reading experience for me.  I also never saw the plot twists coming. The ending had me floored, and I don’t think I will ever forget it.

Another great thing about this series is the heroine. She really finds herself throughout the series, and I felt like I went on that journey with her. She is so relatable in her self-doubt and insecurities, but also her fierce pursuit of what is right.  She also makes a great leader who is willing to sacrifice for her people. In the words of the author, “For Kelsea, it’s all about the job, and I wish there were more such heroines out there.”

The Modern Faerie Tales

Modern Faerie Tales: Tithe / Valiant / Ironside

I must confess, this series was suggested by WTF. It is still currently in my Amazon cart, so below are WTF’s thoughts on what makes this one of the best series.

Holly Black captures modern fantasy effortlessly. It’s the perfect balance of dark and magical. There is a gruesome realness in Holly Black’s Modern Faerie Tales. She captures not only the whimsical, but the terrifying side of fantasy.

Her character development is impeccable; you go from loving to hating back to loving a character as all of their story unfolds. She isn’t afraid to show flaws in her characters as well as their strengths. If you haven’t read Tithe, Valiant, and Ironside, I suggest you do so immediately!

What Do You Think?

What do you think of our list of top YA fantasy series? If any look interesting, click on the photos above to purchase them on Amazon. As an Amazon Associate we do earn from qualifying purchases. Is there a series you love that wasn’t on the list? If it’s an adult series, come back in two weeks to see if it made the best adult fantasy series list! Or maybe it’s a series we haven’t read. Comment below to help us discover your favorite! If you enjoyed it, feel free to share this post using the buttons below.

That’s it for now, Fantasy Nerds. Thanks so much for reading!

Clever and WTF

Dark Thoughts

The creek behind Olivia’s house loomed from the tree line, seemingly growing larger as the sound of cicadas grew increasingly louder. With effort Olivia finally wrenched her eyes away, shaking her head as if to clear it. She slammed the blinds down and shakily walked to her bed. 

Olivia plopped down onto her bed, pulling her laptop into her lap. Flipping it open the screen came to life lighting up her face. She winced as her eyes adjusted.

Keys clacking she typed into google “swamp monster”. A flurry of images popped up, some of them terrifying creatures dripping with sludge. “Ughhhhh” Olivia sighed as she rubbed her eyes. “What the hell am I doing,” she said aloud to herself and gently closed her laptop and set it on her bedside table. 

Olivia nestled under the covers, closing her eyes she thought to herself, “Please don’t have the nightmares again…” 

Olivia woke in a cold sweat; jolting upright she whipped her eyes around the room. Darkness surrounded her until her eyes adjusted, her dresser top drawer still open with clothes spilling out, posters all in place. Until her eyes landed on the corner of her room. It looked like a slump of clothes, but it was moving up and down ever so slightly as if it was breathing. 

“No….” Olivia gasped under her breath. 

She couldn’t peel her eyes away no matter how hard she tried. She was afraid if she looked away it would move. Suddenly she heard a squelching noise, like tentacles sloshing through mud, and the slump began to shift and grow. Empty lifeless eyes began to shine inhumanly in the dark and fix themselves on Olivia. The slump began shifting and sluggishly moving towards her. 

Olivia’s heart felt like it was beating out her chest, her vision began to swim. She yanked the cover over her head, her breath hot and heavy.

 “1… 2… 3…” she counted under her breath until she reached thirty. She snapped back up and threw the cover off towards where the slump was, but the cover just floated to the floor. No trace of anything being there moments ago. “The fuck,” Olivia said as she slammed her head back into the pillow.

The next afternoon Olivia’s twin brother Oliver rushed up to her, lightly hitting her shoulder with his. “Hey Oli, I was thinking we could go skip rocks and hang out by the creek,” he grinned mischievously at her, “and maybe see who can get across the rock path the fastest?!”

Olivia sighed. “Can I tell you something?” She was suddenly feeling anxious.

“Sure sis, what’s up?” he replied.

“Well,” she said biting her lip, “I’ve been seeing that swamp creature thing again, the one with the dead eyes.” She looked up at Oliver expectantly, like he would say something to fix everything.

Instead, he laughed and said, “You’ve been seeing that thing since we were eight years old Oli, it’s all in your head.” He swirled his finger around his temple making a face like she was crazy.

Olivia nervously chuckled. “Yeah I guess you’re right…” she trailed off.

“Of course I am,” replied Oliver, “now let’s goooo!” He skipped off to the back door that led to the creek. Oliver seemed like a light in the looming woods and creek. Olivia sighed and followed.

An hour later, Olivia and Oliver were laughing and seeing who could skip rocks the furthest. Oliver was throwing a very thin, smooth rock. Olivia watched as it skipped seven times and flew into some brush on the other side of the creek. It landed out of sight with a sickening squish. Oliver didn’t seem to notice, but Olivia felt shivers down her spine. Her hair stood on edge, and she began feeling uneasy.

“Oliver is it okay if we head back now?” she said as calmly as she could.

“Why?? Because my rock went the furthest so you’re giving up?” he said laughing and began to skip another rock.

“Oliver, please…” she trailed off, seeing movement in the brush. She saw two glimmers of those dead eyes fixated on her. “OLIVER NOW PLEASE,” she screamed this time as she scrambled up and began turning towards their house.

“Shit okay, are you seeing it again?” he asked brushing off his hands on his clothes making his way back to Olivia.

Her bottom lip trembled. “Yes… it’s looking right at me.”

Oliver calmly made his way back to Olivia and they headed home as quickly as they could. 

That night Olivia crawled into bed, unnerved by the day’s events. But Oliver always made her feel better, sometimes even silly for “seeing” the creature. She sighed and hit the light next to her bed. She began to close her eyes but felt that same uneasy feeling creep in.

She dared a glance around her room and noticed dark spots on her carpet leading into her room. She flicked her light again in a panic. Muddy smears that vaguely resembled footprints lead straight under her bed.

“What the hell,” she thought, “these weren’t here when I came in.” Panicking she glanced around wondering if she should make a run for it.

Then she heard it, a sickening sloshing sound.

A sludge covered hand emerged and curled its tentacle-like fingers on the end of her bed. Olivia couldn’t move a muscle, couldn’t speak, couldn’t look away. Gradually the creature became visible, and with slow heavy movements pulled itself into her bed, those lifeless eyes peering through layers of mud unblinking, unwavering.

Olivia tried to speak but couldn’t find her voice. Instead, she just watched the creature as it crept closer, hearing nothing but the sickening pop and squish of its movements. It spoke, breaking the eerie silence.

“Do you believe in magic?” The creature smiled wickedly at her, dead eyes fixated on her, unmoving, unblinking, just staring. The raspy muddy voice continued, “Magic is real my dear, but it isn’t always good. Some of it is evil, even unintentionally…”

“Wha- what do you mean?” Olivia stumbled to get the words out.

“All those years of imaging me, thinking of me, even seeing me in your head. You created me. I manifested from your thoughts Olivia, YOUR magic.”

“I don’t… How?” Olivia’s vision began to blur as she grew more frantic. “What are you going to do to me??” Olivia said, trembling.

“Well, you made me Olivia… I can do to you whatever you’ve imagined…” Olivia’s eyes grew wide in panic, realizing all of the horrid painful thoughts she’s ever had, as the creature of her making descended upon her.

My Writing Process

So traditionally speaking I don’t follow “normal” writing techniques. I don’t believe there are any solid “rules” to writing, and if there are, well… Rules were meant to be broken.

Where To Begin

A majority of the time my stories stem from thoughts, experiences or dreams. For example; being outside and alone in the dark of the forest, hearing a sound or thinking I see a figure, then BOOM my imagination runs wild with some elaborate story. I usually have an idea and think “wow that would be an INSANE ending to a book/story” and then I build around that ending. It might not be the easiest way, but it works for me. In order for me to dive in and write I need to be excited about my story and want to figure out how I will build it and get to that ending.

Keeping Notes

Whenever I have an idea I type it down in a note on my iPhone so I don’t forget, because if I don’t, I WILL forget. I also have these stickers, that my older sister gave me, where you write a word count for the day and stick them in a journal, or planner etc. These work wonders for keeping me on track. If you also struggle with keeping on top of your writing, try getting a planner for jotting down quick ideas no matter where you are.

Confidence In Your Work

I was also extremely nervous to put my work out into the world, but over many years I figured why am I writing these stories if no one reads them? Once I posted my first story it was like ripping off a band-aid, painful for a moment but in the end it needed to be done. Positive reinforcement from not only my friends and family, but other authors online who would cheer me on, helped me a lot with finding the courage to post my writing. I suggest joining a group of friendly writers, because we all know the struggle, and we are all here to build each other up.

Basically, my advice is to follow through with your ideas and write the way that works for you. Don’t give up, and take it at your own pace.

If you missed Clever’s writing process, read it here.

The Music Box

I finish polishing the wood and open the lid of the music box. A tinkling melody floats into the crisp dawn air. Today is our anniversary and the song is the one we danced to on our wedding night.

Not our customary first dance with our families surrounding us, their joyous smiles and tear-filled eyes watching. Although that song, and that moment, was wonderful, I’ve chosen another.

The song that played next on our playlist, after the guests had left. The moment when we looked around the backyard of our new home, weary and deliriously happy. I took my new wife’s hand and pulled her up for one last dance in that gorgeous dress, alone at last. I can still taste the sweet icing on her lips when I kissed her. As the music continues, the smell of the honeysuckle bushes fills my nose. For a moment, I’m back there again.

I’m not sure when I closed my eyes, but I open them now to examine the box I carved. The oak is smooth in my hands and cream-colored velvet lines the interior. Satisfied, I carefully place the jewelry box into a gift bag.

I sneak back into the house and place the bag on my wife’s nightstand. I carefully slide into bed beside her, my side now cool. I drift off to sleep as I wait for her to wake.

“What’s this?” a soft voice asks, slightly hoarse from sleep.

“Open it and see,” I reply as I sit up and stretch groggily.

Her face lights up in that way it does whenever she gets a surprise. When her eyes twinkle that way, she looks so youthful that the slight wrinkles around their edges disappear. She yanks out the pink crinkly paper and beams. She gently removes the box and sets it in front of her on our puffy peach comforter.

She opens the box and gasps when the music plays. I watch her face expectantly, and I can tell the exact moment she recognizes the song. Her eyes go wide and her mouth pops open slightly as she turns to me.

“It’s the song…” she begins.

I just nod with a crooked grin on my face.

“I love it.” She grins wide and rewards me with a kiss.

I hold out my hand to her and we climb out of bed. She rests her blonde head against my chest as we move along with the music.

As I shuffle through my parent’s room in a daze, my eyes fall on a carved wooden jewelry box. The flicker of a memory appears in my mind: running into this very room with a scraped elbow to find my parents dancing to the music. I forgot about my injury as they pulled me into their dance.

Tears well at the memory as I plop down onto their bed, box in hand. I sigh as I glance around the room, wondering where to begin. I knew this would be difficult and emotional, which is why I put it off for over a month. I thought I was ready to face the remnants of my parents’ life and all the memories it would bring to the surface, but now I’m not so sure.

My chest tightens painfully, like my ribs are cracking, and my breaths become shallow. To distract from my grief, I open the music box. The tune I recognize floats through the air, and the notes seem to give off a shimmer of light. I don’t even know the story behind the song. Now I regret that I never asked them.

The light from the music turns to a bright glow. I rub my eyes as the room seems to fade before me. I jump up when the bed disappears and I’m standing in the backyard. I wonder if grief is causing me to hallucinate.

I turn to take in the scene before me. Lights are strung across the yard and a wooden archway stands on the far side. Plastic chairs and tables are littered with plates and cups. I hear the song play, but not from the box in my hand. The music is louder and coming from a large speaker.

Movement beside me draws my eyes. I blink a few times as a younger version of my father pulls my mother up from her seat. Her cheeks are flushed and curls of hair stick to her face, but they both look happy. They lean into each other as they dance slowly around the yard.

The image fades away and I am alone again on the bed. I snap the lid shut and stare down at the box in my hands.

It took me a while, but I finally found an antique dealer who was willing to talk to me about the music box. I open the door to his store and a little bell chimes. The smells of wood and musty paper fill the space. When I look around, I become slightly concerned that one of the stacks of assorted objects might tumble down upon me.

An elderly man, surprisingly lithe for his age, maneuvers under and around furniture and piles of old books. He grasps my hand in both of his and shakes it heartily.

“Welcome. Welcome,” he tells me with a flourish.

I fight the urge to giggle.

“Come, have a seat.” He motions me further into the shop. “Right over…” He spins in a circle before moving a rather precarious stack of items to a nearly buried desk. “Here.” He points to the now empty chair.

I slide a glance to the dusty seat and raise my eyebrows slightly. I’m wearing my only pair of dress pants.

“Oh, umm…” The shop owner proceeds to wipe the surface of the chair with his shirt sleeve before giving me a sheepish grin.

I sit and thank him for seeing me. I hold out the box for him to examine. He grasps it firmly in both hands and opens the lid slowly, a fact I appreciate, especially considering the state of some of the items in his shop.

“You say the box showed you some kind of vision? Tell me how that happened,” he says.

“I thought that’s what you were going to tell me,” I reply. I’ve noticed that I’ve been more irritable lately, and I remind myself that this man is helping me. “Please, I don’t know how it happened.”

“That’s not what I mean, my dear. Tell me the circumstances surrounding the event. What were you doing just before? That will help me tell you why it happened. We already know its magic, but the source…”

“Magic isn’t real,” I interrupt him.

“Not until you’ve seen it,” he tells me with a wink.

“Then how come more people haven’t?”

“Because it’s extremely rare, of course.”

I contemplate his words for a moment. There’s a truth to them, I suppose. Now that I’ve seen it, how can I really deny that magic is real? What other explanation is there?

I sigh and begin to tell him the story of how I rediscovered the music box. He leans toward me and watches my face as I talk. He nods his head as I tell him of how I wished I knew the story of why my father chose that particular song. When I pause, he motions for me to continue. I describe the vision for him, and he nods again.

“Well then, the reason you saw the vision is that you wished for it.”

“So I just happen to have a magical, wish-granting music box?”

“No, of course not,” he replies with a chuckle.

“But you already told me it was magic, and you just said…”

“What I mean is, you didn’t just happen to have it. Your family didn’t stumble across some magic artifact. Think about it. Your father made this box.”

“So my father went ahead and made a magical box for my mother. How did he know how to do that?”

“I never said he knew how to do it.”

“Ugh,” I groan. “Then what are you saying?”

“I’m saying that magic is rare and powerful. It can only come about from an act of loving creation.”

“Oh yes, the magic of true love,” I roll my eyes.

“You need more than just true love. Lots of people are in love. Magic only becomes a part of an object when it is made selflessly for someone you truly love, and the creator pours their heart and their hopes into the creation.”

“How do you know all this?” I ask.

“I’ve seen it,” he replies with another wink.

My Writing Process

Let me start by saying I don’t believe there is a “right way” to write. What works for me may not work for you. I don’t believe there is a single rule that must apply to every writer, except that if you write, you’re a writer. That’s it.

But writing is rarely that simple, is it? I found that reading about other authors’ writing process has helped me as a writer for two reasons:

  1. It gives me new ideas to try out, that sometimes improve my process.
  2. When I read about someone who has a similar process to my own, especially if I feel that my process is atypical, it makes me feel validated as a writer.

So here are a few things about my writing process that I hope will help you put words on the page. I will warn you, my process is probably contradictory to a lot of the writing advice you see out there.

I Don’t Write Every Day

Now, if you do write every day, please don’t stop on my account. But don’t feel like you are a failure if you cannot feasibly write daily. The common advice is to treat writing like a job. We take time off from our jobs, right? You get weekends, sick days and vacation days. So allow yourself time for a break.

Don’t get me wrong, I like to bring a notebook on vacation to jot down ideas. That’s the fun of it though. I don’t have to interrupt my vacation to sit down and write something. I let the experiences inspire me and I take note. When I get back, I usually have new ideas I’ve been pondering throughout the trip that I can start working on.

Speaking of treating writing like a career…with no other career do we say that if you don’t do it every day then you can’t call yourself one. Are teachers still teachers during summer vacation, or must they give up the label? If a soccer star takes a day off, do they have to return their medals? You are still a writer if you take a day off!

I also don’t write daily because I do have other priorities in my life. You must absolutely make writing a priority if you want to succeed at it. But it is ok to acknowledge that it is not the only priority, and for some of us, it’s not even the first. My writing time is usually when my husband is asleep or at work. I do try to save the one day a week we have off together to spend time with him. This is my “writing weekend”.

Jerry B. Jenkins is a very prolific and famous author. He admitted that his family is the #1 priority, and would never write when his children were home and awake. Instead, he stayed up late and sacrificed TV. Try listing your priorities and find ways to give up things that are below writing, not above it.

I Don’t Set a Word Count Goal

I find that some days I can write more than others. Some days the words just come easier. All writers have experienced this. I still try to sit myself down at my writing desk and write something on those hard days. However, I’ve found that if I set a specific word count goal, and the words don’t flow that day, I begin to feel guilty. This usually stops me from coming to the keyboard the next day. I don’t handle failure well. Can you relate, writer friend? 

Instead, I try to set a time goal. As long as I show up and do my best to work on my writing, it is a successful day! If at some point the next words don’t come; I work on research, editing, anything, during the time I set aside. The key is not to beat yourself up if 1,000 beautiful words don’t pour out of you every day. Guilt will kill your muse most effectively. Which brings me to my next point…

I Reward Myself

Make sure to end your writing session on an encouraging note, so you will want to come back the next day. What will motivate you more? Ending by saying “I only wrote 300 words today” and thinking that you’re a failure, or ending by saying “I sat down and wrote today!” and thinking that you are a writer? For me, it’s always the latter. 

I also like to do a little something to acknowledge that I completed a writing session. This can be as simple as putting a word count sticker in my planner (or writing it in your favorite color if you don’t have stickers). Looking back and seeing the stickers filling my planner is encouraging to me. Besides, who doesn’t love stickers?! You can also eat a little piece of candy or save a favorite beverage to only drink when you are writing. Sometimes I have a special blend of coffee for my weekend writing sessions. Think of a little reward that will motivate you and make writing exciting!

I Write Out of Order

If you’re like me, you often struggle with the beginning of a story. There’s so much pressure on crafting the perfect opening! Or maybe you wrote the first few chapters/pages and you’re stuck in the middle. When this happens, I like to think of a scene I’m excited to write: an epic fight scene, the first time a character meets their love interest, the first glimpse of magic. Jump ahead and write that scene, even if you don’t know what comes before it. This gets me pumped to continue. Write the scenes you are most passionate about when you feel your motivation flagging.

I also feel it’s easier to connect the dots between a few sporadic scenes than overwhelming yourself with how to get from where you are all the way to the end. To be honest, when I first read this tip my perfectionist side was appalled. It had never occurred to me that I could write out of order. I encourage you to try it the next time you’re stuck, even if the thought makes you break out in a sweat. 

My First Draft Lacks Detail

My first draft is usually just getting down the bones of the story. It also tends to be dialogue-heavy. If I stop to think about the details of the surroundings during an action scene or the characters’ gestures during a conversation, I feel like it interrupts my flow. I try to write what comes to me and it is often lacking all the details. If I let my critiquing brain come in during the first dump, I think it hinders my creativity. I go back later and allow myself to “sit” in each scene and see where I can add to it. Stephen King gives similar advice in On Writing. “I most often see chances to add the grace-notes and ornamental touches after my basic storytelling job is done.” Try out not editing or thinking too hard about the details during the first draft of a chapter to see if this works for you.

Try Something New

I encourage you to try at least one new approach to your writing process. Just remember, if my process doesn’t work for you, that’s ok. Comment below to let me know how it goes, or share your unique process!

To read WTF’s writing process click here.

Nothing

Lucy took a long drag of her clove cigarette “I’m disgusting…” she thought to herself as she yanked her hood over her hair. She was looking at her feet as she trudged along the pavement, beat up black boots slapping the wet ground, not noticing the man she was about to run into.

“Ooooof… shit sorry” she mumbled as she slammed into someone, glancing up her words caught in her throat when she made eye contact with bright golden eyes. Almost too light to be human.

“No problem” he said confidently with a smile that tugged up the left side of his mouth, bright white teeth poked out from his lips. “Where are you headed?” He asked.

“Just down the street to the gas station” Lucy mumbled as she fiddled with her zipper.

“I’ll walk with you” he said and smiled even wider.

His eyes glistened and Lucy saw a glimpse of pointed teeth, but she blinked and they looked normal again.

“Sure, okay, it’s not far”

He sauntered into step with Lucy and they walked in silence for a moment.

“So, what are you going to gas station for?”

“Just an energy drink before work” Lucy replied.

“Ah, did you sleep okay?” He asked questioningly.

“Why does he care?” Lucy thought to herself, but replied anyway.

“I don’t sleep well…” she trailed off “why am I telling this random stranger about myself” she thought, mentally kicking herself.

She peered left at him shyly, he was looking intently at her and flashed another smile. Again Lucy swore she saw long pointed teeth, but in a flash they were gone.

“What the fuck” she thought to herself.

A few more seconds of silent walking passed.

“Where are you headed?” she asked quietly, wishing almost instantly she could reel the words back into her mouth.

The man chuckled “Does it matter?” he said smoothly “I’m walking with you now”

He looked at her and held eye contact for what felt like an eternity. Uncomfortable, Lucy tugged at her sleeve.

“Uhm…” Lucy hesitated “I’m gonna put my clove out real quick” she said walking to the side of the pavement.

She crouched down, back facing the stranger. She squished her clove into the ground, the cherry going out with a faint hiss. She felt the mans presence linger above her. While still crouched she turned her head to see him looking down at her. Eyes glistening and mouth pulled back into a smile again, but this time his lips seemed to spread too wide, and his teeth were growing longer and sharper.

Lucy shook her head but this time it didn’t go away. He leaned in closer to her, reaching for her chest.

“What the fu- stay away from me!” Lucy exclaimed and stumbled back into the gravel behind her.

“I’ll scream if you come any closer” she threatened.

“Do it. No one will hear you, Lucy.” He practicality sang her name but with a hint of poison in his voice.

“Fuck you! I didn’t tell you my na- HELP!!” Lucy screamed, but no one within distance heard a thing.

Her eyes widened as she looked at the man. “What did you do to me?”

Body shaking Lucy tried to scramble backwards and up at the same time but the man moved at her with inhuman speed and slammed his hand against her chest. Lucy yelped in pain and tumbled backwards, the man caught her mid fall and stabbed his hand into her chest.

Lucy tried to scream but nothing came out. A couple shuffled past them, giggling and holding hands, but didn’t so much as glance their way. It was as if they were invisible.

The last thing Lucy saw was the mans face stretching impossibly far, sharp teeth growing longer as her chest gave way to utter blackness around the mans hand. Slowly her vision faded until there was nothing. She was nothing.

Life Is What You Make It

Life Is What You Make It

Some people say you have to love yourself before you can love someone else, I used to believe that and follow it. But, I think loving yourself is a life-long process of growth and learning. Every day there are obstacles to tackle, mountains to climb, lessons to learn that make you a stronger and better person. Every day is a chance to be the best version of yourself, ways to improve.

Only you can make yourself happy, only you can make your life the way you want it to be. You can’t rely on anyone else, you have to stand up and own your life; mistakes, triumphs, and everything in between. There is no one who exists nor will ever exist that is exactly like you. You’re unique, different, and beautiful in your own way. You have to see it, hold your head up and realize you are awesome and life is what YOU make it.