The Second “Quick Read” Book is Here!

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Holly Barbo

GENRE: Dystopian
Life is tough for Zoe in the new world. As a small child, her voice can never be heard and she may as well be invisible. Except as a slave.

“Come. What is your name?”

The child opened her mouth to answer. Nothing happened. She tried again but not even a squeak emerged. Looking around, Zoe picked up a stick from the pile near the tent and wrote in the dirt: ZOE.

“You can’t talk?”

The little girl shook her head.

“Well, no matter. Let’s get some food in your belly and perhaps we can get you cleaned up afterwards.”

Zoe was given a bowl with a ladle of stew. She was so hungry she forgot the manners her parents had instilled and brought the bowl to her lips, slurping the first food she’d had in days.

The woman called to her husband in the tent. “Better come eat. I found a starving waif and she could probably eat your portion, too.”

The man who came out of the tent was big and had a bandana on his head. Zoe immediately jumped to her feet and, dropping the empty bowl, began to back out of the firelight.

“Sit and eat, Cane. You are scaring the child.”

The man gave the ragged girl a dismissive look and filled his bowl.

Turning to Zoe, the kind woman motioned the youngster back to the fire and, picking up Zoe’s bowl, ladled more stew into it before she prepared a bowl for herself.

Zoe couldn’t be sure, but the man looked like one of the soldiers who’d killed her parents. Her eyes large with fear, she couldn’t keep from staring at him as she chewed the last of the offered stew.

The woman picked up the bowls and grabbed a bundle from the tent. She put her hand on the little girl’s shoulder but turned to her husband. “Go on to your meeting with the other officers. Zoe and I will be at the stream.”

“I may be late, Maude.” And with those words Zoe knew beyond any doubt he had been with the group who’d killed her parents, and had certainly slit her mother’s throat.

Maude led Zoe downstream from the camp, and in a secluded little cove she handed the girl a sliver of soap. “Go wash up. I brought an old camisole of mine and some twine. It will do until your clothes are dry tomorrow. My husband has just received a promotion because two officers in his group were killed in a rebel skirmish. We’ll be leaving for the front in the morning.”

She chattered on as Zoe took advantage of the soap and scrubbed off the grime and blood. Maude worked on cleaning the stains from the child’s clothing. She suspected some of the soiled areas were blood stains but a glance at Zoe’s body only showed superficial bruises and scrapes. She wasn’t going to question the frightened child. It wasn’t important.

As the child emerged from the water, Maude handed her a towel. “Where are your parents, child?”

Zoe looked down, not wanting to meet the kind woman’s eyes as fresh tears rolled down her face. How could she tell this woman that her husband had murdered her parents but had never seen the little girl hiding in the root cellar? Or that the elevation in his rank was due to her father killing two men. The woman was nice but it wasn’t safe for Zoe to be near her husband. The little girl was leaving as soon as she could.

Holly’s world is shaped by her love of family, the beauty of the natural world and an irrepressible creative drive. She has always been curious and sees life through questions. These four characteristics color her writing voice and her stories frequently evolve from her asking “What if….?” Her tales tend to have non-urban settings with nature contributing to the plot, building discordant themes inside a seemingly peaceful refrain.

My motto: Weaving Alternative Worlds with Threads From Today.

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The Healers is here!

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Holly Barbo

GENRE: YA Fantasy
There are no monsters on Ose. People can be monstrous enough.

A virulent disease sweeps through the budding civilization on the planet Ose. As people are dropping like flies, the healers’ guild is not making headway in finding a cure.
Just as every hope seems lost, young Ree comes into her sage powers. Despite having to fight the disapproval from those who think her too young and inexperienced, she comes up with a cure from unusual natural sources.
The race is on to get ahead of the epidemic. Time is tight, and a swindler’s “miracle cure” makes matters worse.

With Ree and the healers’ lives in danger, is the whole planet doomed?

Ree smiled and turned away to scan the verge of the grassland where it met the woods. There seemed to be a very subtle movement in the tall stalks as the inconsistent breeze moved the tassels of ripe grass seeds. Ree gazed with casual curiosity at the wind-kissed grass. Her nonchalance gave way to amazement as she realized she and Catri were not alone. Slowly, she sat up straighter and reached out to Catri.

At Ree’s touch, Catri opened her eyes and looked at the young woman’s alert posture. “What is it?” she whispered.

Ree barely breathed the answer, “I’ve never seen any animal like this. It’s beautiful, but what it is, I don’t know.”

The answer did not come from Catri, but instead was spoken inside of Ree’s head. “I’m a lyrix. We are ancient inhabitants of this world. My name is Raow. We prefer to stay hidden. There are few of us left now, but at one time, long before the race you call the Ancients arrived, we were the psychic species that held this world together.” Raow had both Catri and Ree’s undivided attention.

Catri, who had also heard the creature’s voice in her head, spoke first. “Your kind is legend. Stories from the Ancients refer to you, but I have never heard of anyone seeing you. Thank you for this gift.”

Raow continued to focus on the younger woman, though he didn’t seem to mind Catri’s involvement in the conversation. Ree studied the fascinating animal. Raow was about twenty inches high at the shoulder. He was covered in fur from his four paws to the tips of his pointed ears. His tail was no more than five inches long and he had a ruff of fur from under his jaw to behind his ears. Raow had intelligent, gold eyes. The rest of his coloring seemed to shift and change with what was around him as if he was a figment of their imagination. But Raow was quite real.

Ree spoke, all the time keeping his gaze. “I’m honored that you decided to make yourself known to us. Can you tell us why?”

Raow returned her scrutiny. “We lyrix choose who sees us and who will be accepted as part of our family. Ree, we share a special type of kinship. You are a sage with barely awakened powers. This is so new, you haven’t become aware of it. I’m here to provide guidance in these skills and to be in your life when you need me.

The Founders, book 1 in The Sage Seed Chronicles, is currently available on Amazon. The Unraveling, book 3, will be available June 7, 2016.The Reweaving & The Lost, books 4 & 5, will be available fall of 2016.


Holly’s world is shaped by her love of family, the beauty of the natural world and an irrepressible creative drive. She has always been curious and sees life through questions. These four characteristics color her writing voice and her stories frequently evolve from her asking “What if….?” Her tales tend to have non-urban settings with nature contributing to the plot, building discordant themes inside a seemingly peaceful refrain.

My motto: Weaving Alternative Worlds with Threads From Today.

The Founders Is Here!

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Book 1 of the Sage Seed Chronicles
AUTHOR: Holly Barbo

GENRE: YA Fantasy

There are no monsters on Ose. People can be monstrous enough.Disaster strikes the beautiful world of Ose. Marisily is one of the Sages who can help heal the planet when nuclear winter pushes the civilization back to the brink of destruction. Only she doesn’t know her own powers yet.

It is survival of the fittest as vicious outlaws destroy all that remains, kidnapping, enslaving and killing those weaker than themselves.

With a bounty on her head, alone and betrayed by her own father, can a young woman find the strength and wisdom necessary to rally the good people of Ose and rebuild their culture?

Sari worsened as the day wore on. She was too weak to fight off the effects of the abuse and the fever at the same time. Marisily was at her mother’s side when she died. She closed her mother’s eyes and wrapped her in a clean sheet. Then she sat at her mother’s side and rocked back and forth as the tears rolled down her cheeks. Eventually, her sobbing breaths quieted and she wiped her cheeks.

Dazed, Marisily resumed her duties. She had made a stew in the afternoon with the thought that the broth would be nourishing for her mother. Now she served it to her father for dinner. Jed came in from his workroom and started eating when Marisily quietly said, “Mother’s dead. I have prepared her for burial.”

Jed gave his daughter a long look before he answered. Marisily sensed he was considering saying something that she wouldn’t like and she steeled herself for it, but when he spoke all he said was, “I am sorry to hear that. She was a good wife. The only thing she didn’t do was give me a son. I’ll move her body to the workshop before I go out tonight.” He scooped another piece of meat from the stew and chewed thoughtfully. “Daughter, I don’t think I can continue to support you. I will give you a choice. Rory, the herder, needs a wife. He’s a friend of mine. I don’t believe he has ever cleaned his place and though he is eight years older than me, he is lusty enough to keep you busy. I think he could take you to wife tomorrow. Or you could leave. It makes no difference to me. As your father, I don’t need to give you a choice, but since I’m grieving the loss of your mother, I will be generous. If you are still here tomorrow morning, I’ll know your decision is to wed.” He finished his meal and pushed back from the table. “I am going into Morraton to meet with friends. I’ll bring my new wife home after I bury Sari tomorrow.” Jed put on his heavy coat and smiled to himself as the door closed behind him. He didn’t believe his daughter had enough warm clothing to survive. She would either set out tonight and freeze to death or would stay and leave with Rory tomorrow. It didn’t make any difference to him. She would be gone either way.

Marisily cleared the table, giving her father time to go down the trail to town, keeping an eye on the window until he disappeared from sight. There was no way she was going to remain. Angry at her father’s offhand comments, total insensitivity and arrogance, she was also fully aware of her danger. Marisily had been very lucky that her father had given her a choice. She had been thinking about where she would go. There was a place that she had seen several years before. At the time, Jed had been gone on a journey to obtain yarns spun in Osily. Sari and Marisily had ranged miles from the cabin picking berries. They had separated, to cover more area. Marisily thought hard about where that place was. They had meandered through the foothills during that gathering trip.

She brought out her coat, and put on all of her warmest clothes as well as a few things of her mother’s. Her father would never allow her to leave with anything he deemed his property and that included everything in the home. Marisily knelt by her bed and, rolling back the rug, she removed the floorboard. She pulled out a heavy, knitted hat, scarf and gloves that she had made for her mother’s upcoming birthday and donned them. Her mother would be happy that she was using the gift to survive. Quickly, Marisily emptied her secret cubbyhole of her journal and other small treasures. Gathering what she could carry that she felt her father wouldn’t miss, Marisily stepped outside and disappeared from her childhood home. She had no intention of ever coming back.

Holly’s world is shaped by her love of family, the beauty of the natural world and an irrepressible creative drive. She has always been curious and sees life through questions. These four characteristics color her writing voice and her stories frequently evolve from her asking “What if….?” Her tales tend to have non-urban settings with nature contributing to the plot, building discordant themes inside a seemingly peaceful refrain.

My motto: Weaving Alternative Worlds with Threads From Today.


Holly author, Books, Exciting new developments, Friends, Newsletter, Paper Crane Books, Paper Gold Publications Leave a Comment


2016 is off to a flying start. My friend Sheenah Freitas, who was the heart and soul of Paper Crane Books, has moved on to other occupying endeavors and has closed or greatly transformed the press as we know it. That left my books without a home press for a brief time.

In the last few years I have made a lot of contacts while social networking. One was Ella Medler who has a press currently located in Ireland. We’ve done some multi author projects together both as writers and also with her press: Paper Gold Publications ( That is where my books are now and the move means all sorts of exciting little changes.

First off is the re-releasing of Sunstone and Tendrils which will launch on January 29, 2016. That is just the beginning. Tendrils will be available only for a short time so snap it up while it is available.

The Sage Seed Chronicles are undergoing a face lift with new covers and some polishing around the edges. Those will re-launch a little later in the year. These and other informational goodies will be announced and explored in depth on my newsletter. To stay up-to-date you can sign up for it on my website or by going to this link: By following the latest news you will be able to answer the above equation. 😀

Join me in my exciting updates. It will be a banner year! Hugs

It’s a New Year-YAY

Holly author, balance, Books, Dreams, Exciting new developments, other genres, Patience and writing, persevere, Personal responsibility, pet, Readers, steampunk, strength to overcome, the creative process, Year highlights 1 Comment


highlights 2015I haven’t written a post in a long while as life pressures have intervened. It’s crazy how stress dries up creative juices. It also translated into writers block for my book writing …but the log jam is breaking. It is January 1, 2016 and I’m ready to mentally drop 2015 into the dust bin and celebrate the dreams and possibilities of a new year.

I really don’t believe in making resolutions as they frequently fail the longevity test within a month. Yes, I intend to keep going on the meal portion control, no sugar and active habits I’ve established. I’d like to increase my toning exercises and my blog writing. That is as close as I’m going to a New Years Resolution list.

On the upbeat side I’m delighted to report two books brewing in my head! (Big YAY!! and a growing pile of research notes). Last year saw my seventh book launched and the twelfth contribution to a multi-author anthology. (A thirteenth multi-author collection is coming out March 1st.) You can see them all here:

Six of my seven books are in the soft science fiction- fantasy genre. But the seventh was a mixed genre collection of short stories. I do enjoy other flavors besides scifi-fantasy and the two books stewing in my brain are more in the contemporary-thriller line. Hope you are ready to explore with me.  *GRIN*

The final months of 2015 brought more positive changes: We have a new lovely family member. Misha moved into our home and hearts in late October. She is a 3 year-old siamese/rag-doll mix and a month later I opened my ETSY store: SimplyElegantWoods.

It was something I had contemplated since 2011 and finally got it together. This store will be expanding it’s offerings in the next few months from jewelry…. to wands?   *wink*

On the main business front there is a wonderful showroom in the Design Center in Seattle (William & Wayne) who is interested in our custom furniture pieces. We will be taking a few of our beauties down to the big city in the early months of this year.

Another possible exciting event for 2016 involves the steampunk book I wrote: Sunstone. It is modulating into other forms. Right now it is becoming an audio book and… there is a possibility it will take on a bigger exposure. Only time will tell if talks become reality. Stay tuned.   *Another big GRIN*

So as you can see I’m ready to ROCK! Coming with me?


Featuring: When Sparks Fly

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By Dawn’s Early Light by Kristine Raymond

Monica Russo was more than ready to start a new life and leave her old one behind. The last thing she expected was for her car to break down in the small town of Celebration. Joe Callaghan has never quite recovered from his disastrous marriage. When he happens upon a woman stranded on the side of the road, it doesn’t take long for him to become enamored and when sparks fly, he knows he’s finally found the right woman. Once the fireworks fade, will their destinies be changed by dawn’s early light?

Ignite by Andrea Michelle

Playing with fire was sure to burn, but I couldn’t stop myself. I loved him into insanity. He left a gasoline trail across several states when he walked away from me to become a screenwriter, but I held the match that would ignite us both. Again. I’m Angel Solis and this is the story about how heartbreak, deception and betrayal can lead a person to insanity. I only hope that the madness will ignite a lifetime of love from the ashes left behind.

Moonlight and Music by Grace Augustine

Blake McIntyre was one of the most successful marketing representative in the music world. He’d built a great reputation and even taken a few artists to the top of the charts…that was until he was fired from a job he’d been at for fifteen years. Renee Manelli worked her way up the legal corporate ladder from receptionist to Chief Legal Assistant to the CEO of a prestigious law firm. One of her goals was to retire early and pursue her lifelong dream…her music. The journey that begins at 2 a.m. changes the lives of all involved. Anything’s possible When Sparks Fly.

Fireworks over Fairfield by Maryann Jordan

Welcome back to Fairfield, home of good friends and romance. Brock Sinclair retired from the military, living a solitary life, moved to Fairfield looking for his estranged daughter. Jean Roberts was a widow not looking for another love. When they meet, neither can resist the sparks between them. When an arsonist threatens the town and Jean, Brock will fight to save her. Along the way, both discover that love the second time around is just as sweet.

Something in the Mix by B. Maddox

Ivy Smith is trying to get her life back on track after a failed marriage. Everything in her life seems to be falling in place, especially now after a blast from her past reappears. However, someone else has other plans for Ivy and has been watching her every move. When Drew Evans waltzes into her life again, sparks start flying and her stalker starts making his presence known. Can Drew keep Ivy safe while figuring out who is stalking her and is there something in the mix for the two of them?

Patriotic Rodeo by J.M. Nash

Kennedy’s life would never be the same after the horrific night when her husband was brutally taken from her. She kept her heart protected and vowed to never love again, until a bull rider appeared in town. Tucker. One touch was all it took from him. Kennedy felt the fireworks start and knew that her life would forever be changed. Was she ready to let go of the past and move on or would Tucker end up a distant memory…

Fly Boy by Anne L. Parks

A weekend fling in Tahoe turns into something more for Jordyn and Grant. When tragedy strikes, Grant is left wondering what happened to the girl who stole his heart over the 4th of July weekend. When the two meet again the next 4th of July – sparks fly. Will Grant be able to let go of his pain and let Jordyn back into his life?



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Guest Interview with Author Morgan Straughan Comnick

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Today I’d like you to meet a fellow author in Paper Crane Books. I met Morgan when she joined the press a couple of years ago. She is a lovely, creative person, a spinner of tales and a teacher.  It is a delightful combination.

She agreed to sit down with me for an interview. Please welcome my friend Morgan. (*applause from the audience*)

Morgan promo

#1. Do you plot out your novels in advance or do you write on the fly?

I am an organizer, so I plot an outline for each story with major events, quotes I want to use, and such. However, once I got into being an author for a company, I have learned to write on the fly at times, seeing how my ideas may not be functional to the story like I planned YEARS earlier or having an idea strike me that I can’t ignore. A few chapters I have done have happened this way. So, I suppose I am both now!

#2. What experience do you want for your readers?

I want them to find something they enjoy in the world I created with my imagination, a story meant to be told by its characters; I am merely the note-taker for their amazing adventures. This is why I add so many genres in my book. It is YA, primarily paranormal/romance, but I also weave in mystery, adventure, Christian fiction and ideology, teenage issues, school life, life lessons, comedy, nerd culture, self-discovery and worth and more. I have many events in my books that are from my life, just in a different setting or a character handles it the way I dreamt of if I was brave enough to. I want my readers to know that I am inviting them on this journey with open arms and that I connect with them in some way or another. What a ride we will have!

#3 What inspires you in our writing?

Like stated previously, the events and people in my life inspire me greatly. We are the authors of our own life stories and the world is full of amazing characters; we just have to be open enough to find them. Anime, manga, and other works, be it books, shows, or films, also fuel my writing fire. Music and walking calm my soul, allowing it to translate the ever-going gears in my mind.  My imagination is always on, which is good for the creative person that I hope I am, but it can also be a hindrance at times.

#4. What are the most important attributes to remaining sane as a writer?

Authors are considered sane?! That’s a newsflash to me… o.0 I kid! Mostly…HA!

Like with my teaching, one must be organized, yet at the same time, as flexible as the world’s largest rubber band. There have been times that I plan to write, but life gets in the way, or the iron is not hot. However, I have deadlines that I have to be punctual on (which I am). Time management is also huge and you have to know yourself as a worker. You must expect the unexpected at all times and even then, sometimes you’re hit with something out of left field that rattles you.

Remember that you love writing, sharing the world and characters you have created with the world, whether it be one person or ten million, I think the thrill of experiencing this is the same and keeps you in check, to write more. I know my students and fans, who are just as passionate with my author life as I am, lift me up with I am slipping into the void of creative soul sanity, unbeknownst to them.

#5. Have you ever read or seen yourself as a character in a book or a movie?

Well…Stary Moon, the main character of my “Spirit Vision” series, has traits, looks, interests and experiences that I have/had had, except she is braver than I am…and has awesome powers! 

When I really enjoyed a manga or anime (especially when I was in middle and high school), I would pretend I was a character from the series or add a character to their world, like a mental fan-fiction. I even wrote some of my ideas in Word documents! I don’t do this anymore…well, as much!

#6. Why do you think what you do matters?

I have inspired my students, by working to obtain my dream, to go after theirs.  I get to share my beloved characters with the world and have them loved by others, a surreal feeling. My voice was locked tight inside me due to my shyness and the bullying I went through, but with writing, I was able to be myself and not be myself, expressing my thoughts, my wishes, my goals, my fantasies. I get to connect to people in a way very few do. This is why writing matters.

#7. If you could travel to the past in a time machine, what advice would you give to the 6-year-old you?

If it was the six-year-old me in kindergarten, I would warn her that even though you love dinosaurs, you may want to look for a career pathway that is less sandy and not located in the blistering desert sun! If it was my first grade self, well, that was the year the bullying started, over a misunderstanding on the playground. How shy, how lonely she was. I would pat her shoulder, give her my most gentle smile, and tell her that what happened was not her fault, and one day, she would meet true friends that would love everything in her goody-two-shoes soul. I would direct her to go out and explore the playground, using her imagination to create worlds without shame; they will come in handy to her one day. Maybe if I would have had this outlook back then, the worse attacks on my self-esteem could have been ignored for I would have been stronger.

#8. If you would clone yourself, which of your characteristics you wouldn’t want to be cloned?

I’m weird; I like the traits I have, but since society seems to want to snuff them out, I am timid, guard myself at times. There are traits I wish I had more of, or were lessen. I wish I was a little braver, stronger, healthier, had more self-esteem. I also wish I was less scared of everything. I do desire to stop stuttering, to be better at phonics and math, and wasn’t allergic to oranges.

#9. Are you making some influences on the world or constantly being influenced by the world?

I think it’s a cycle of both. I want to influence people to follow their dreams, see good in everything, know that life is a gift you only get once, and show every single person they shine. Yet, the world has shown me beauty and darkness, changing my outlook on certain ideals, making me grow a backbone and a bigger heart at the same time. The two theories go hand-and-hand.

About Morgan Straughan Comnick

Educator of young minds by day, super nerdy savior of justice and cute things by night, Morgan Straughan Comnick has a love for turning the normal into something special without losing its essence. Morgan draws from real life experiences and her ongoing imagination to spark her writing. In her spare time, she enjoys doing goofy voices, traveling to new worlds by turning pages, humming child-like songs, and forcing people to smile with her “bubbliness.” It is Morgan’s mission in life to spread the amazement of otaku/Japanese culture to the world and to stop bullying; she knows everyone shines brightly.

For more information about Morgan and her works through Paper Crane Books, check out her website, which also have links to all her social medias: