Category Archives: Excerpts

Excerpts from my books!

Book of the Month Contest

Dear Readers!

From now on I will be featuring a Book of the Month! There will be plenty of opportunities to discus the book, ask the author (me) questions about that book, plot, characters, anything! Plus a free contest with a prize! Visit the page: https://natasjahellenthal.wordpress.com/book-of-the-month/ and join in the fun!

So, for the first Book of the Month I have chosen ‘The Queen’s Curse’ since that was my debut novel and to celebrate it recently hit the 100 review mark on Amazon!

For the free contest all you have to do is submit a quote from that book. Whoever submits a quote from The Queen’s Curse that gets the most upvotes before the end of March wins.

What do you win? An e-version of my new book ‘The Immortal’ to be expected at the end of this month or beginning of April at the latest. It’s a bit of a secret as I have not announced anything about the book yet! The book cover and synopsis will be revealed here soon, so make sure you follow me here to get the update in your inbox, or sign up to my newsletter (go to “Sign Up” in the main menu)!

Here is the link to view The Queen’s Curse on Amazon: smarturl.it/thequeenscurse

Submit a quote from the book below to be entered in the free contest.

You can submit as many quotes from the book as you want, which can increase your chances of winning!

Just click on ‘Leave a Reply’ to submit the quote.

To upvote (one per person), go to the comment (the quote) and click on “like”

All quotes submitted should be from The Queen’s Curse by Natasja Hellenthal. The person being quoted should be an author of the book. This must be a short excerpt quoted verbatim from the book.

Quote Text: 250 characters max. Please be careful to write the quote exactly as it appears in the text.

Page Number (Required): Please list the page number or location (kindle version) in the book where this quote can be found.

At the end of the Month I will count the upvotes (the likes) on the quotes and will make an announcement of the winner.

Thank you!

ANY QUESTIONS? Just send me an email to: natasja.hellenthal@gmail.com

TQCCOVERSMALL

Advertisements

2 Comments

Filed under book of the month contest, Excerpts, Quotes

Teaser Tuesday! Excerpt ‘SkyWhisperers’

person holding a glass ball

I am a Sky Whisperer.
I want to say I don’t believe it, but that would be a lie. I had always known that I was different, despite constantly trying to fit in. Terribly failing at it, of course. But despite everything, never had I imagined something like this. Somehow I wanted things to be like they were before. I guess it felt more familiar, and it was easier having the reputation of ‘WindTaker’ than being a Goddess. Well, I wasn’t one, or at least not yet, Xenthia had told me. That took some time and acceptance. I also never received any training or former knowledge of anything but being a simple village girl who worked in a bakery, making paper flowers in her spare time. But I was more than that now. I was happy about that at least.
What did Xenthia want from me anyway? By telling me this? What did she expect from me now? To perform a miracle? I didn’t in the least feel that I had any powers. Join them and leave my old life behind?
At first I presumed she came to me so that she could give me some answers about the disappearance of the wind. And then later, when she told me the story of my birthparents, I started to suspect she somehow had other things in store for me. It wasn’t just answers she was giving me. I felt like she was teaching me, preparing me, and I slowly started to think she somehow needed me. Perhaps she needed all of the Sky Whisperers’ help to generate wind, and she would train me so I could be of value to them. I was wrong. She had bigger plans for me. Much bigger plans.

Available worldwide on Kindle (FREE with KindleUnlimited) and in paperback HERE

SKYWHISPERERSCOVERKINDLE

Leave a comment

Filed under Excerpts, Uncategorized

Symbolism and thoughts on short story ‘Chained Freedom’ by Natasja Hellenthal

Chained Freedom Coverfinal1

“This is not a fairytale, but a true story,” storyteller Tana Woodwolf tells the audience at the start of ‘Chained Freedom’.

This is some more information, symbolism and random thoughts about ‘Chained Freedom’, a thought-provoking fantasy. I’ve written the story some years ago whilst being stuck in a rather, suffocating relationship. I always had the choice to step out sooner than I did, but I didn’t feel ‘free’ enough, or ‘ready’ enough, or even ‘strong’ enough to do so but moreover full of guilt.
Instead, I wrote this story, as all my stories are based on my own life and experiences to some degree. I’m not Tana, mind you, but I feel like I know her really well!
But it’s not just relationships, of any kind, we can relate this story to, and apply it to our lives; it’s any kind of loss of freedom really. Freedom; everyone’s birthright, but so very fragile and easily swept away from us, whether we let it happen consciously, or more than often not. It could also be through religion, our upbringing, conditioning and social dogma’s that we get trapped without giving it a second thought.
When are we really free?

Chained Freedom’ is a short story featuring Fay Comyenti, first daughter of Sula and Felix from the first book in a Fantasy drama series, ‘Call Off The Search’ (Comyenti Series), and how she helps a woman break free from a magical entrapment.
Fay is not the main character, but an important side-character, who reminds the main character of Chained Freedom, Tana Woodwold, of her own inner strength.

Short synopsis:

Tana Woodwolf wakes to find herself trapped within a strange land. She learns quickly from the faces of the others that this is no paradise she has been transported to; it is a prison.
Unable to escape, Tana soon discovers that a dark and malignant force is dragging them, one-by-one, to unreachable higher rooms of the tower from which they never return.
If she is to ever escape from there then she will need to use all the guile and strength she has within her. Does one of the others hold the key? Or is it something else within the prison that she needs to study?
As the darkness comes nearer, a strange voice whispers, ‘Look and be free… You have to let go of what you know.’
Should she trust the voice? Should she trust the others? Does she even have a choice?
As despair and terror closes in around them all, only one person can discover the truth and save them…

Symbolism of Chained Freedom (spoiler alert!)

Tana, once free, is determined to also help free the other slaves. She won’t rest until she has found a way to do so. She cannot be completely free, until then she is still chained. Little does she know that the Wizard is the very embodiment of Evil and can never be defeated. It’s the balance of life, of light and dark, of right and wrong. It is more than that: as long as men continue to do evil, hurt other people, the Wizard will live. Only people with dark thoughts are being transported! That’s the first rule.
As for the other slaves, they are people like Tana, who cannot be broken free from the outside, but themselves will have to try to find a way from the inside.
Some people aren’t ready yet and live with a curtain (the magic wall), closed over their eyes. Others, like Tana, with a little help, can see an opening and find a way to lift the veil to let the light in again; a way to see the world in its true light and find goodness. Hope is the key that can open the heart which is the way. Compassion and love are the door(s).

Tower: Patriarchal dominance and world-leader ship. The prisoners end up there (close to the evil wizard) as a first warning and to actually been given a second choice. Not the real criminals are being put here, as they get a harder punishment, but people, like Tana, with minor crimes.
Prisoners: that’s what we all are unless we break through. Also a reference to ‘free range’ animals, or caged domesticated animals, who can’t escape at all. The prisoners know, like farmed animals, that they will end up dead and live in fear (both have been proven).
Wizard: Pure evil. But really it’s not about him, he is just a symbol. That’s why he has no face, no name, no voice and no real role in the story, because it’s about the slaves and their own inner wizard, their own evil inside of themselves. You can choose to do either good or bad. But you cannot be good to others if you’re not good to yourself first.
Disbelieve of their fate: What have they done wrong to deserve this? That’s a real life question of many people in ‘chained’ or difficult situations.
The Magic wall: the curtain or veil that is drawn over our eyes, making us forget our innocence and to be in touch with the real world around us.
Fay: the helper, someone who believes in Tana, for we all need someone to have faith in us; to do what seems the impossible.
Chains: invisible, but they’re still there. Also our responsibility to help others. We can never be truly free unless the whole world is. Until then we are still half-chained or with
one hand.

The message that Tana is trying to give to other people is: Be good, do good, be kind to one another. If you don’t, you’ll end up in the tower. Because she had found kindness and a love in her own heart, hope and a lightness in her being, maybe by doing good, helping others, she found a way out and the wizard ‘let’ her escape, because she was changed and no longer evil.
I believe that with the right mind-set and help people indeed can change.
This story to me is the ultimate story of good and evil, right and wrong and how we can all fight our own evil in ourselves and help others. Surely by helping others you reduce the evil in your heart. The opening in the wall in the end was bigger and felt easier for Tana to find.

Quotes:

“If you cannot change a situation why not improve the quality of life around you?”

“You see, you’re only chained if you allow yourself to be chained. Your soul, the real you, cannot be put in shackles and will always be free.”

“You can’t possibly make holes in the wall for everyone. I don’t think it works that way,’ Fay said. ‘You’ve seen it with your own eyes. They have to, like you did, create their own doorway.’
‘So, I’ll show them how. I can teach them how to escape, I’m sure I can.’
I had a feeling she didn’t agree with me.
‘I’m not saying you can’t, but how does the old saying go; prevention is better than a cure?”

“The other prisoners and I had one thing in common: our enslavement, chains or not, and there surely would be more people after my leaving, perhaps I had been replaced already.
Am I free?
Even though I could have easily walked away and forgotten all about the mysterious evil wizard and his slaves, I just couldn’t. Until then, my freedom was still in chains.”

End Note:

After nearly ten years of being thrown backwards and forwards, of living in doubt and insecurities, of a life half lived in freedom, half in chains, I managed to free myself from my own forged shackles. But, complete freedom is of course a big word. I will always have my responsibilities as we do, some I created, but since then I’m much stronger and aware and am no longer shackled. The chains I wear these days or made of invisible soft silver cords.
I’m even more conscious of the meaning of freedom and what we are all doing with it once we have it, or what we do to get it back when we don’t.
Every day in freedom is a gift. Many don’t have it and are still fighting that struggle, some have lost their lives.
We are all bound to each other through invisible, silver lines as I call them. They are not just those attached to our family and friends, but to everyone. I believe we owe it to others who are less fortunate and need our help, even if we don’t know them.
We cannot help everyone, but everyone can help someone.

‘Chained Freedom’ is available here:

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00IK4OWXE

Listen to the book here:http://www.booktrack.com/read/d9408688c713442e8476cf3a46693f5a

1 Comment

Filed under Excerpts, Uncategorized

Sample Chapter

Chapter 1

Awakening

Misery on a spring morning; the morning of my awakening

Full awareness of the pain and revealed lies

That morning an end came to my sleeping state.

When I was thrown back into those mystery games …

Morning had begun to spread its foggy wings over Ceartas; a land of golden hills and luscious green woods. The colours would change with the seasons; warm reddish colours in the autumn. Now that spring was here, a bright sparkling fresh green dominated the landscape. Flowers of every colour imaginable seemed to raise their tiny heads; in the dense woods, the hilly meadows and even the cultivated fields. It was a time of new life, a time of transformation.

A luminous red sun rose slowly above the hills and valleys of Ceartas, revealing tiny houses scattered about the land. The drowsy vale was still bathed in a thin mist that had formed in the cool night. Dew clung everywhere; on the sweet pine, the bitter scented oak trees, the new grass, the sleepy daffodils, the snowdrops and even the early bluebells; making the Royal Forest shine gloriously as if filled with diamonds in the light of the new day.

On the highest hill for miles around stood a huge old castle, surrounded by deep, dark icy water. Some said its moat held ancient fish-like creatures with the sharpest of teeth that would eat anything touching the surface within minutes. The grey castle had towers facing every wind direction, and each tower had numerous oval windows; they appeared small at first, but their sheer size became evident the closer one got. From the castle, the tiny houses in the valley below appeared to constitute a reasonable sized town. One could even consider it a city, with its big flat grey stones carried down from the mountains to the east, which the people used as a pavement. The town, Satrea was founded many centuries ago, and its castle, Tarac, was one of the first buildings constructed for the first king.

In this almost crime-free land, the mysterious young Queen Artride of Ceartas now ruled. She was as much feared and hated for her deeds, as she was loved for her enchanting appearance.

The castle towering over Satrea functioned as a constant look-out for the people. Most were hardworking farmers and craftsmen; using the rich soil to grow their crops in the fields or their skills to make their living as had the many generations before them. Everyone in Satrea worked for the RoyalKingdom; but only the servants, guards and the knights lived in the castle and surrounding buildings.

This particular spring morning was cool, and everything was quiet apart from the occasional singing bird. The people and animals slowly awoke with the rising of the sun. Like the earth beneath them, refusing to part from the protection and safety of the night with all its hidden mysteries. It was a time in between. Between night and day; a time of passing, of a quiet waiting; a time of listening and learning. A time where great things could be accomplished.

The castle square was deserted, and everything in and around the castle silent. It seemed that nothing could disturb this serenity; not even the soft wind rustling through the dry leaves of the dying Royal Oak tree in the square. It almost sounded like a sigh or a whisper calling out someone’s name; everything else seemed to hold its breath.

A sudden bang broke the silence; like thunder on a clear day. Only after a few skipped heartbeats did the sound appear familiar. It was the angry slamming of a wooden door; which had come from the courtyard.

A young woman was crossing the square taking big brisk steps. Dressed in the clothes of a knight, she was almost running. Her long, fair hair, almost golden in the light of the rising sun, danced across her back and shoulders with every step.

She wore tight fitting blue leggings with knee length black leather boots and a chain mail skirt, with a blue and white overcoat displaying purple shoulder pads. She was also wearing a soldier’s girdle without its sword. Her hands were coiled in tight fists.

She was heading for the castle doors, and while maintaining her fast angry pace she muttered through gritted teeth, ‘This time she has gone too far … too far!’

The knight did not slow down as she approached the castle guards. The two men steadily watched her as she came towards them; then raised and crossed their spears before the massive oak doors to block her way. No one other than Royal families, their servants and some knights, had ever entered before without prior invitation.

She did not care whether the guards could see her rage or not. She couldn’t care less about anything anymore after what she had learnt earlier that morning.

Coming to a halt in front of the two fully armed men, she glanced quickly at their emotionless faces. The left guard had a black moustache, a thin mouth and cold grey eyes like the castle walls. There was an unreadable expression beneath his helmeted head. The right guard merely looked impassive with his pale glazed-over blue eyes and big nose.

She had never really paid attention to the guards before, but she had assumed there were many of them, working shifts. Now, with this new morning, she had at last seemed to have woken; noticing things, actually seeing again after what seemed to have been a long time.

Knights had no reason to be in the castle, living in the outer buildings nearby; even if she was actually a commander and officially had to report the actions of her company to the queen or discuss situations with other commanders. Usually all meetings, which were very rare anyway, happened outside of the castle as was protocol, they were held mainly in the knights’ quarters or out in the hills. And the trustworthy queen’s messengers briefed her about new developments and relayed her demands back to the commanders.

She had therefore never met the queen in person; not many knights and commanders had in fact. Everyone knew she was avoiding contact and wild speculation was spreading because of this.

Only twice had she been inside the immense castle. The first was when she was knighted five years previously. The second and last time was about two years ago when she received a medal after a big conquest. It was at that moment the old king himself promoted her to commander. The two events in the castle seemed a blur to her now and she did not recall much of it, something she now regretted.

‘Open the door … please.’ She tried not to sound upset or polite; just nonchalant, like those men. She had learned to contain her emotions over the years.

The one with the moustache replied sternly, ‘Who is asking?’

She knew they had to ask this question, but she was annoyed all the same. She was after all a commander; who should be allowed to enter the castle with permission. If the guards only cared to look at her shoulder pads.

‘Commander Tirsa Lathabris of the Seventh Company of Ceartas.’

Now she had their attention and they stared at her and her shoulder pads! The Moustache cleared his throat and asked again with a blank face, his eyes staring at her, ‘State your business, Commander?’

‘I have something to discuss with her.’

‘With whom?’ the other guard suddenly barked at her, alarmed. The guard, protecting the castle and the queen had more authority than a commander, therefore her rank made little difference.

‘With Artride of course!’ They were really getting on her nerves now.

‘That is Queen Artride, even to you!’

‘All right, Queen Artride. Now I am asking you this again; will you open the door for me? She is waiting,’ she added, lying.

‘She is waiting!’ The Moustache repeated incredulously, shaking his head while his companion stared at her.

It was obvious they didn’t take her seriously and if she hated anything about how people treated her it was just that. She was young, slim and appealing; not the usual commander type, but why would they question her intentions? Surely they knew her reputation? Perhaps that was the reason why they were questioning her.

The man on the right examined her face more closely. ‘So you are the Commander Lathabris; the one from the stories, the heroine?’ There had only been one female commander in the whole history of Ceartas; so there was really little doubt that it was her. However, she had kept to herself and had no idea what stories had been circulating roundabout her; not that she cared. Perhaps they had expected her to be different: taller or more mannish or something? She had after all done what no one had ever done in the history of Ceartas.

‘I am here on official business!’ she added trying to contain her growing frustration about the time wasted talking.

The Moustache glared at her like she was some rare object. He said, ‘We’re sorry we did not recognize you.’ Tirsa had always refused permission to have her image painted, even though she was called by many a name, such as ‘The Snake’ and ‘Golden Angel’. Both guards noticed not only her fair beauty: her green shining eyes like jade, her straight nose and perfect mouth and skin, but also the unmistakable deep hidden fury within those eyes; a combination she was well known for. It had to be her.

‘I have not been around for a while; so perhaps I have become history already.’ Her lips tried to form a smile, but it was a sad smile and the two men felt a little uncomfortable.

‘Do you have an audience with her majesty, Commander?’ the Moustache asked a little more pleasantly, but in an aloof voice.

‘Yes!’

‘You are wasting your time, Commander. We know you haven’t. We are told this before we start our shift.’

Her face was set in lines of dissatisfaction. ‘What do you mean? I have to see the Queen today; it is a matter of life and death and I insist you open that door for me now … or … you’ll be in serious trouble!’ she added with such a furious fire in her eyes that both men became momentarily startled.

Her ominous tone did seem to have the desired effect; however, the guards quickly regained their composure. ‘That’s what they all say, Commander,’ the guard on the right answered. If it was a matter of life and death, he surely would have heard about it. Guards were rapidly briefed about those matters by the messengers, never personally by a commander. Therefore it couldn’t be as important as she claimed. It was probably a personal thing, the experienced Moustache figured. He had seen that kind of anger before with the folk of Ceartas during his night shifts at the castle gate, and afterwards he often heard it was about the penalties they did not agree with that had been imposed by the strict queen.

‘What?’

‘Sorry. You have to apply for an audience first. That’s the rule for everyone and you do know how it is with rules here,’ he added in a lighter tone, affected by Tirsa’s natural weight and charisma as a commander.

She did.

‘And how long will that take?’ she asked the Moustache, ignoring the other guard.

‘You can discuss it with the head of the Royal Guard. He keeps her agenda. If it is that important you should make contact with him.’

‘And where might he be?’

‘I am told he will be back on duty this afternoon.’

‘Who is replacing him at the moment?’

‘There is no need to.’

‘Yes there is! I want an audience right now!’ Her tone was becoming more threatening.

They ignored her.

She bit her lower lip and sighed, trying to come across friendlier, calmer. Holding her voice level she said, ‘Look. It is most important and I really do need to talk to her, so I insist on making an appointment.’

‘Understood, Commander. We will make a note,’ and the Moustache jerked a chin at the other guard to do so, which he did, quicker then Tirsa expected.

‘You will hear from one of the messengers of the Royal Guard later on today regarding when and where you can apply for an audience to meet the queen.’

Later today? Tirsa practically exploded inside, but was trying desperately to remain calm. She was known for her hot temper when she was angry and could come across just as cold-blooded; hence her nickname, The Snake. And of course she was fast …

Slowness when speed is needed is one of the many problems of this system!

‘So how do you decide what is urgent or not?’

The guards glared disdainfully at her and remained firm; shifting back into their straight positions, like statues as they were trained to do.

Protocol.

If she had just stressed that it was to do with the safety of the queen, she would have been in by now. She felt foolish for her lack of planning. She was never very good when it came to that. She was much too impulsive.

‘I see,’ she stated in a calm voice as she turned around. She knew she definitely could not wait until late afternoon or whatever time they had available for her. That would cost her more time than she could afford.

In a matter of seconds she turned her lithe body and caught the left guard full in the belly with a rapid and powerful side-kick. He immediately fell forward with a gasp; dropping his spear to the floor. Tirsa grabbed it and hit the other guard; who was too surprised to respond quickly, on the head. However, because he wore a thick bronze helmet it didn’t have much effect. He probably would have a headache later on, but he was still on his feet, pointing his spear dangerously towards her with wide eyes, ready to strike. With her ‘borrowed’ spear she managed to knock his spear out of his hands and with a puzzled look he watched it drop to the floor. She then struck him hard with the spear on the back of his knees. When he fell to the ground she whacked him unconscious with the wood on his unprotected neck. That did it!

In the meanwhile the Moustache was trying to get up, so she had to wallop him on the neck with the spear as well; which proved to be very effective indeed.

‘I am so sorry,’ she said dryly. ‘But, I’m sure you’ll remember me now.’

She dropped the spear and quickly glanced around. Fortunately nobody had witnessed the commotion.

The two men lay on the floor in rather awkward positions, so she placed them both into sitting positions against each side of the castle door. It was quite a heavy task, but in a matter of moments she succeeded. It looked as if they were asleep; which probably did happen, because normally nothing really threatening occurred around here. Perhaps that was why they responded so slowly.

The real threat lives inside the castle! she thought grimly.

Tirsa breathed in deeply; she knew there was no turning back now. A serious penalty hung over her head if the queen found out. She might even lose her job, but she couldn’t care less. Oh yes, she will find out soon enough!

Blind anger raged through her body like a furious flame as she thought about the merciless queen. She struggled to think clearly. With a lot of effort she lifted the heavy iron bar, which barricaded and held the massive doors shut. It slipped and fell with a loud metallic crash on the stone floor and she looked nervously around.

All was quiet in the courtyard. With all her strength she pushed against one of the doors and after a moment it slowly opened inwards and she hurriedly slipped inside, closing the door behind her with the same effort. She was in!

Leave a comment

Filed under Excerpts