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Author Judith Sterling is my guest.  Her second book in her young adult paranormal series is being released on December 19. I love reading her stories about her family and I’m happy to have her share one with us. At a time when kindness is sometimes a rare and precious commodity I enjoy reading stories about love and in it’s triumphs in real peoples’ lives. As you know I truly believe that in the end Love Always Wins! I know you’ll enjoy Judith’s story and blurb for her books.

Christmas, for me, is all about family.  My husband and I don’t buy gifts for each other.  Any extra money goes toward presents—some tangible, some experiential—for our 14-year-old identical twin boys.  It’s not a sacrifice; it’s a joy, and one we wouldn’t trade for the world.

It might not be a popular notion, but our family actually gets along.  Every Saturday night is “family movie night,” and we take as many day-trips to cool locations—particularly historic ones—as possible.  We love spending time together.

Don’t get me wrong.  We have our disagreements.  Heck, our boys can argue up a storm!  But they’re also best friends and support each other no matter what.  As a family, we express our love for each other before we leave the house in the morning and again at bedtime.  In fact, the last thing we hear from our boys each night is, “Good night.  Love you.  You’re the best mom and dad in the world.”

Now, my husband and I know that last statement is false.  We make mistakes all the time, and ever since we brought the boys home from the NICU (neonatal intensive care unit), we’ve been winging it, unsure of ourselves and questioning choices big and small.  But one thing we’ve done right:  those boys know every single day how much we love them.

In my Guardians of Erin young adult paranormal fantasy series, my main character and her family have a similar bond.  People might criticize that as unrealistic or a throwback to The Brady Bunch.  They might say readers won’t relate to it.  But I write what I know, and with all the strife and dysfunction in the world, it’s important to remind people that familial harmony does exist.  Not every moment, but often enough to act as a strong, near-magical balm which can soothe our sorrows and brighten even our darkest days.  If I can share that spirit of love through my books, then I’ve done something worthwhile.  For all I know, it’s the one gift my readers need most.

Blurb for The Cauldron Stirred (Guardians of Erin, Book One) – It is important to read this book. Judith will be giving a free e-book copy to the first few people who leave a comment on this blog.

Ashling Donoghue never dreamed moving to Ireland would rock her perception of reality and plunge her into a mystery that brings legend to life.

At seventeen, she’s never had a boyfriend, but she feels an immediate connection to Aengus Breasal, the son of the wealthy Irishman who’s invited her family to stay at his Killarney estate.  For the first time in her life, a guy she likes seems attracted to her.

But Aengus is secretive, with good reason.  He and his family are the Tuatha Dé Danann, ageless, mythical guardians adept at shifting between this reality and the magical dimension known as the Otherworld.  Evil forces from that world threaten the Breasals, the Donoghues, and all of Ireland.  Ashling must open her heart, face her fears, and embrace a destiny greater than she could ever have imagined.

Blurb for The Stone Awakened (Guardians of Erin, Book Two) – the one releasing on 12/19:

Since moving to Ireland, Ashling Donoghue has tackled one challenge after another.  Now the mystery of her parents’ disappearance seems unsolvable.  Are they dead or only missing?  No one—not even the godlike Breasals—has a clue.  Hope and fear war inside her, but she’s determined to find answers and stay strong for her siblings.  Even as she hones newfound powers, her banshee-in-training sister Deirdre needs her support.

Ashling could use a little help herself.  She’s struggling to navigate her first romance, and while Aengus Breasal stirs her body, mind, and soul, his nemesis Lorcan does too.  Both men harbor secrets about her past life as Caer.  One has ties to Aoife, the scheming wind demon whose influence is on the rise.

As the Stone of Destiny awakens, so does the conflict within.

Excerpt from The Stone Awakened:

            Thunder shook the night as the Dullahan’s black stallion reared beneath him on the sweeping lawn below. The horseman thrust his severed head toward the sky and called out the names of those he hunted.

            “Dylan Donoghue! Maeve Donoghue!”

            Powerless to stop him, I watched from the bedroom window. The glass panes infused my palms with the chill of death itself. Out of sight, my parents screamed, then fell silent. The sound of laughter followed.

            Exultant. Spiteful. Malignant.

            Aoife! The wind demon whose foul plot shattered my family with a single blow.

            Hate and despair welled inside me. “No!”

“Ashling, wake up!” My sister shook me awake.

She switched on the lamp between our beds, and I scanned the room. The same sash windows as in the dream. The same luxurious décor in shades of periwinkle, white, and gray. Even my slippers beside the bed were the same. But the night was quiet, and there was no immediate danger.

Deirdre tucked her long, blonde hair behind her ears and gave me a knowing look. “Another nightmare about the Dullahan?”

Nodding, I wiped the sweat from my brow. “And Aoife.”

“Sounds almost as bad as my dream the night he took Mom and Dad.”

“We don’t know he took them.”

“We don’t know he didn’t.”

“They’re not dead!” Dread clutched my heart, and I pushed out a long breath to calm myself. “They can’t be.”

Author Bio:

Judith Sterling’s love of history and passion for the paranormal infuse everything she writes. Flight of the Raven, Soul of the Wolf, and Shadow of the Swan are part of her medieval romance series, The Novels of Ravenwood. The Cauldron Stirred and The Stone Awakened are part of her young adult paranormal series, Guardians of Erin.  Written under Judith Marshall, her nonfiction books—My Conversations with Angels and Past Lives, Present Stories—have been translated into multiple languages. She has an MA in linguistics and a BA in history, with a minor in British Studies. Born in that sauna called Florida, she craved cooler climes, and once the travel bug bit, she lived in England, Scotland, Sweden, Wisconsin, Virginia, and on the island of Nantucket. She currently lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and their identical twin sons.

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