The Royal Academy of Bards Challenge 26
Quoth The Raven, Nevermore


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December 30th, 2011

Announcement from Geonn Cannon
First off: To everyone who bought Riley subscriptions, to everyone who checked out my story on Kim Pritekel's site ( , in case you're not one of them), THANK YOU. To the people who voted me into the Hall of Fame this year, I have no words. My gratitude is boundless. You make writing fun, and you make it worthwhile. I hope to bring you many, many more stories in 2012 (and I'll do my best to keep a nice balance of free versus paid stuff ;-D). And to the lovely thread-weavers of the Academy of Bards... I don't know where I'd be without this site, and without you. You are just outstanding and I love being here. Now on to the lame advertising portion: Saturday is the absolute last day you can subscribe to Riley Parra Season 3! Or Saturday night. If I wake up Sunday morning and there are some orders, I'm not going to ignore them or check to make sure they came in before midnight. Odds are good that the paperback/ebook version will be available before Season 4 starts, but why take the chance? And all orders between now and the end of the subscription period will get the subsciber-exclusive Christmas story. Also, be sure to check out the FREE ebook containing the three stories from "Underdogs" in preparation for the 2012 release of the Underdogs novel. The free ebook features three stories that have previously been offered - Strays, Down Girl and Pack Mentality - and serve to introduce the world of Ariadne Willow to prepare people for her first novel-length story. And hey, it's free with cool cover art! So why not? See you all in 2012!

December 27th, 2011

Xena: Warrior Princess Christmas 2011 by Bard [Classic/Alt/Complete]
Xena has a plan. Bring out the mistletoe!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer Christmas 2011 by Bard [Bard/Alt/Complete]
The best gifts are from the heart.

December 23rd, 2011

Announcement from Bedazzled Ink
Just in time for Christmas... a new book by Ann McMan. Enjoy!! Claudia The forecast for the holidays is a good sprinkling of dust-busting as Ann McMan kicks up a storm of political intrigue, romance, and murder in her latest book, Dust, from Bedazzled Ink Publishing.

When it comes to finding dirt, Evan Reed is the best in the business. She's a dust-buster—a paid operative hired by political campaigns to vet candidates. She's also a foul-mouthed, cranky ex-Catholic, attempting to raise a fourteen-year-old daughter on her own.

When she's hired to investigate the background of a squeaky-clean and charismatic senator who might just be the next president, the last thing she expects to uncover is a murder. Evan's life is further complicated when she meets the senator's reclusive wife—who happens to be hiding some dust of her own.

You can pick up the ebook edition at Kindle, Nook, Rainbow eBooks, the Bedazzled Book Peddler and, any minute now, at Bella Books.

The print edition will be available soon.

Visit for the latest information, quick links to your favorite ebook vendors, and to read an excerpt

Announcement from Geonn Cannon
The Riley Parra Christmas story has been sent out to all my subscribers! If you've subscribed and didn't receive an email this morning, let me know and I'll make amends! If you haven't yet subscribed and get in before the December 31 cut-off, you will still get the Christmas story (the story will be sent as a zip file in email, not listed on the main page with the other stories of the season).

Thank you to everyone who has purchased! Be on the lookout at the livejournal group for information on the Season 3 paperback/ebook (which will not include the Christmas story) and news on Season 4!

Added Part 12 of New Quarters by K-Morgan [Original/Alt/Incomplete]

Santa's Little Helper by Geonn Cannon [Original/Alt/Complete]
An Underdogs Christmas/Solstice/Hanukkah story! Ariadne Willow takes the case of a local television reporter who is being blackmailed for something Ari, especially, can understand.

December 20th, 2011

Coward by Bard [Original/Alt/Complete]
What if you had a prophetic dream? Tomorrow, you are going to find love but there is a catch. There always is with those things.

Bone By Starlight by Anders [Original/Alt/Incomplete]
Sela can see the worry reflected in Cress's light brown eyes. She knows the warriors and their mounts are exhausted. Cress would not have allowed them to stop and rest otherwise, if not for the risk of the horses going lame, a fatal proposition in this lonely forsaken place where nothing but bitter sage grass can thrive. They have been pressing north for 9 straight days now. A lightly armored band of women and horses thundering across the frozen tundra, traveling by starlight and resting by day.

Added Part 8 of Surviving the Storm by Alice D. [Original/Alt/Incomplete]

RSVP: A Squire's Isle Christmas by Geonn Cannon [Original/Alt/Complete]
The couples of Squire's Isle attend a party at the mayor's house, and one of them receives shocking news.

December 19th, 2011

A new bard joins us today. Welcome Freedom.

Announcement from The Academy of Bards
Message from OZ:

The first comments I received after posting up the premise for BC#26: Quoth the Raven, Nevermore were pretty much what I expected. I got lots of emails that said: “That's EVIL!” and “Are you nuts?” and “This is going to be impossible!” Yes, maybe and no, I don't think so.

AND THEN…the Bards got busy. What we ended up with were 11 competing entries.


BIG THANKS, as always to the Bards. You always seem to take the impossible and make it work.

Let's face it…those quotes were about as random of a collection as you can get.

BTW, Cyber Cookie to anyone who can tell me the common theme of each list. The first two might be easy…the last one, is quite specific. <.eg.>

Also HUGE THANKS go to my bud, D, who again submitted an incredible multifandom story for your reading enjoyment. I asked, she delivered. And then some. EVERY QUOTE is used in the story, in a trio (as required by the premise). Very creative ones. They all blend ever so smoothly into a terrific story called: In Search of Kringle .

We also have a non-competing entry-sorta from McFluffy.

Why? <.shrug.>

Guess my bribe money wasn't enough. LOL

These are a Seussical-like look at a few fandoms and we'll just call the endeavor: “ From Bad To Verse .”

Many THANKS to the Munchkins who pull all this together and to EVIL J, who makes the killer headers and the PunZles work.

Okay…go read…go vote. It's going to be tough but you can only vote for one story. The one you deem BEST. Voting ends on midnight, December 31 st .

Also if you can take the PUN-ishment…test your twisty mind and funny bones against EVIL J and I.

Check out the Holiday PunZle (deadline for entries is December 22 nd ).

Happy Holidays Y'all…ENJOY the stories.

Remember To Breathe by Freedom [Original/Gen/Incomplete]
There are two types of people that live in this world. Those that live in the light and those that live in shadow. Those that live in the light spend their lives making this world a better place for no other reason than that they believe it should be. Those that live in shadow spend their lives seeking the opposite purpose. For Lee this in an undeniable fate. This tale is the first section in an ongoing novel. This story will bring you love, hate, hope, despair, forgiveness, damnation, and redemption. It is amazing what you can endure if you remember to breathe.

Moon, Sun and Stars 2: Life of an Immortal by Kim Phoenix [Original/Alt/Complete]
For every action there is a consequence. Yoshiko will find that saying more than just words. Chaos runs rampant through the mortal realm. Lives are on the line as she tries to restore balance. However her past slams into her and she is left to decide… the fate of the guardians rest in her hands.

December 17th, 2011

Class of '88 by Norsebard [Original/Alt/Complete]
For Delia Corbett, the party marking the twentieth anniversary of her finishing secondary school turns into a magical, unpredictable evening with plenty of laughter and a few tears. Meeting her old classmates for the first time in years brings back a lot of memories - especially of Vicky Baxter, a honey-blonde beauty who was the first girl Delia kissed....

Mine by Marcia [Classic/Alt/Complete]
Xena and Gabrielle accept a mission to set up security for the ladies of a newly developed women's only village. Gabrielle struggles with managing her jealous feelings as women constantly toss attention and flirtatious glances at Xena, while Xena attempts to keep herself and Gabrielle focused on the mission.

Added Part 11 of New Quarters by K-Morgan [Original/Alt/Incomplete]

December 16th, 2011

Announcement from Ri
Three time travelers meet their soul mates traveling through time.

A beautiful alien woman named Vorkin meets Joanna, a maid that works in the hotel they are staying at, and immediately strikes up a friendship. So much so that Vorkin becomes flustered. On her planet there simply are no best friends. And her friendship threatens to annihilate the time line.

Heather, who wants to be Scarlett O'Hara, the belle of the ball. But Anne warns her, she cannot alter the past, or it will alter the time line, and that is against the rules. But when Anne meets Morgan, will she break those rules herself?

For the first time, Fantasy Time Inc. ebook is now available at a great low price on Kindle;

Announcement from Blue Feather Books
We're very happy to welcome yet another member into the Blue Feather family.
Angela Koenig is a voracious, lifelong reader of almost everything, particularly historical fact and fiction. A child of the Midwestern plains, she has seen the sun rise over the Acropolis and the moon set over the Pacific.

Rebellion in Ulster is her debut novel.

Rebellion in Ulster

During a visit to relatives in Ulster, Rhodes Scholar Jeri O'Donnell's plans for a scholarly life are shattered by a tragedy that kills her beloved cousin, Fiona, and sends Jeri to the Armagh Women's Prison. In Armagh, Provo volunteer Jill Leary attempts to recruit the young American for the IRA, while the mysterious Arkadia O'Malley seeks nothing less than Jeri's soul.

When Jeri is released as precipitously as she was imprisoned, she chooses to embrace Fiona's struggle as her own and joins the Provisional IRA. Jeri is sent out of Northern Ireland to be trained, first to the Irish Republic and then to Eastern Europe. Cool under pressure and fierce in action, she becomes the ideal urban soldier whether in Rotterdam, Belgrade or Belfast.

Attracting women has never been difficult for the intense young woman from South Boston, but Jeri's inconsolable remorse over Fiona's death makes intimacy virtually impossible. Several women try to reach her, but the violence of her life only drives her further from human comfort. Although she can never quit questioning the morality of her actions, Jeri has a taste for fighting that she once hoped to leave behind in the streets of Southie. When a bomb in Belfast explodes early, either through accident or design, the resulting carnage plunges Jeri into a despair that forces her to reconsider what choices, if any, are left to her.

Moon, Sun and Stars by Kim Phoenix [Original/Alt/Complete]
Being gifted with magic is a blessing and a curse for Talia. She has lived her life running from the scorn that people show her but now she works for a formidable organisation. Blaming herself for past mistakes, fate binds tightly around her to become something that she had lost long before she could even remember.

December 14th, 2011

The Academy would like to welcome a new bard today. Hello Kim Phoenix!

Announcement from the Academy of Bards
Our new Uberlist is up. -
If you like support the uber list by linking it on your blogs, sites or Facebook accounts.

Spirits of the Ancients by Kim Phoenix [Original/Alt/Complete]
Energy, magic and Gods galore… What will a warrior do when she is faced with all three? With only a mysterious blade in her possession and a loyal friend to accompany her, she returns home to see what the Queen of Ardious has summoned her for. Only to find more questions than answers, the Gods intervene and she is left to fix their mistakes while learning who she truly is.

Xena Warrior Princess Episode 30: Is There A Doctor In the House by Bard [Classic/Alt/Complete]
One year removed from the villain, Xena makes a stand in Thessaly. Gone is the doubt, replaced with conviction. This is her moment and this is her fight. Battle on, Xena. The last, thirtieth episode of the first season is out. Don't be sad; expect a gift on Dec 24th and there is the second season to look forward to in 2012.

Culture Crash: The Bard And The Biker by Norsebard [Uber/Alt/Complete]
Pamela Johnstone, a quiet, unassuming author of bodice-rippers and cozies, finds herself stretched beyond her breaking point when she is thrown into a series of dangerous situations. She and the tough-as-nails biker chick Robin 'Lone Star' Kendall are forced to work together to fight off a ruthless enemy dead-set on hurting them - but the odds aren't in their favor...

Rescue in Zoess by Ri [Uber/Alt/Complete]
This is a take off on Rachel Zoe's show with a Xena touch.

December 12th, 2011

Added Part 30, Part 31 and Part 32 - The Conclusion of Like Life by Gin [The Devil Wears Prada/Alt/Complete]
( Third story in the 'Like' series. Part 1: Like Andrea , Part 2: Like Family ) It's not as much a 'story' as Like Andrea, just a continuation of that universe, much like “Like Family” was.

Added Parts 4 of Clear Conscience by Jynaki [Original/Alt/Incomplete]
Iocca Barnes, creator and producer of a successful television show exposing the infidelities of others. Her motto, sensational confrontations equals sensational ratings. When her life fails victim to her own creation, she retreats to her beach house away from everyone, away from her past. Iocca’s life is as she wants it. Until, she reluctantly becomes friends with her alluring and beautiful neighbor, Ariel.

December 11th, 2011

Added Part 8 of Deadtown by Phair & Anders [Original/Alt/Incomplete]

December 8th, 2011

Announcement from the Academy of Bards
We weren't sure if we were going to do a PunZle for this Challenge. J had other evil stuff to do and my graphics programs is still dead; however we do so look forward to the annual solstice death threats. LOL

So, we threw this little guy together. Items are related to the holidays. Your instructions: figure out what the PUN-tastic pictures represent and send us a list of your answers or at least your best guesses. I have to admit, EVIL J stumped me on three of them. Which is really sad considering I came up with the suggested items list. <.shrug.> I got out-eviled by J.

Maybe I should put that on a bumper sticker.

Answers are due by solstice, December 22nd at midnight and you get to pick which time zone. Send your list to: One winner, the one with the most correct answers. If there is a tie, the winner will be chosen at random from the tied entries. Academy goodies for the winner. Good luck.

Is There Life Out There? by Carrie Carr [Original/Alt/Complete]
I've always been a huge fan of the movie, It's a Wonderful Life. I think we've all wondered if those we love would be better off without us, and that's the premise of this little ditty. Amanda gets tired of being everything to everyone,
and feels a little sorry for herself. It takes a visit from an old friend to show her the truth.

Added Part 10 of New Quarters by K-Morgan [Original/Alt/Incomplete]

December 6th, 2011

Healing Love by Yorksbard [Classic/Alt/Complete]
It is more than half a year since Japa and Gabrielle is struggling to move on. How can the love that Aphrodite has for her best, mortal friend help, and does Aphrodite have what it takes?

The Wedding by Yorksbard [Classic/Alt/Complete]
In an ‘alt' Xenaverse… well, for all we know, maybe they actually did this! Anyway, Xena proposed to Gabrielle somewhere around the end of season 2 or maybe season 3. This is the story of the ensuing ceremony.

Tooth decay warning: This little story is an unashamed mush-fest. A thorough tooth cleaning is recommended after reading.

Aftermath by Wendy Arthur [Original/Alt/Complete]
"FBI Agent CJ Carson and successful actress, Kate Marshall-Carson's lives are busy as they approach the holiday season, each of them hoping for some time off. But as CJ deals with one of the worst cases of her career, Kate proves that she is strong in more ways than one. Learning life's lessons can be tough as the darkness threatens to take hold of the agent. But can Kate hold it all together? (Sequel to After The Storm , After the Honeymoon and After Vermont)

Fire and Ice: Love on the High Seas by Stein Willard [Original/Alt/Incomplete]

December 2nd, 2011

A new bard joins us today. Hello and welcome Lucylee!

Announcement from Geonn Cannon
Here we go! This is the final story in Riley Parra Season 3. Everyone who has bought subscriptions, THANK YOU! Be on the lookout for a special treat (a story) around Christmastime only for subscription-holders, just for being you. And no, no hints (an extra Riley story) And all of those who were waiting until the entire season was available, now's your moment! We'll keep subscriptions open until December 31, so you have until then to get in. With your subscription you get the super-sekrit present (it's obviously going to be an extra Riley Christas story) and you'll get a free copy of the ebook when it's available! Otherwise, you'll just have to wait until the ebook or paperbook are made available.

Thank you to everyone who has purchased already! You... well, you keep me stocked with frozen pizza and soda (writer fuel).

3.13 FALSE IDYLL - Riley begins to suspect Priest and Sariel are lying to her about something big, but she's too happy to care. Usually. Sometimes it's all she can do to stay upright. When the truth finally comes out, Riley's drastic attempts to put things right could mean the end of everything. See you in Season 4! (Sidenote... in anticipation of the upcoming "Underdogs" novel, three stories in the series are now available for free at Smashwords! The stories included are Strays, Down Girl, and Pack Mentality. )

Announcement from Blue Feather Books
Blue Feather Books is pleased to welcome Jennifer McCormick into our growing family.

Jennifer McCormick was born in North Carolina. She's always had a fascination for space exploration and the unknown. She enjoys all things science fiction and fantasy, from books and movies to video games. As a child, Jennifer was an avid reader and always had an interest for writing. Her interests are shopping, reading, and just spending time with family and friends. She currently live in beautiful northwestern North Carolina with her parrot.

The Midas Conspiracy

In the distant future, humans have succeeded in colonizing worlds far beyond the Milky Way. But, after being driven nearly to extinction in a galactic war, humanity is unsure which among the alien races can be trusted.

Leara Sorani is a Valori, a race of hermaphroditic humanoids charged with keeping the peace in the universe. Her suspicions of the human corporation, Midas Pharmaceuticals, have driven her to infiltrate the corporation's headquarters, where she obtains proof of a sinister plot aimed at aliens: Midas Pharmaceuticals is planning to release a deadly plague that will target all aliens.

Space mercenary Cybil Reynard is hired to track down Leara and retrieve the sensitive information she stole, by any means necessary. Cybil tracks her target to a remote outpost facility in the harsh and unforgiving wastelands of a frozen planet, where, hunter and prey meet face-to-face. Leara shares her information with Cybil, embroiling Cybil in the conspiracy.

Cybil and Leara are forced into an uneasy alliance in order to halt the obliteration of intelligent life. But can Cybil overcome her tragic past and her own reservations toward aliens? The fate of the universe, as well as that of the beautiful and mysterious Leara Sorani, are in her hands.

Not Everyone Likes Fish by Lucylee [Classic/Alt/Complete]
There are many first time stories out there that have Xena and Gabrielle coming together in perfect harmony. Their lovemaking is the picture of perfection and nothing ever goes wrong. This is not one of those stories. Mine is a Xena and Gabrielle first time story where everything goes hilariously wrong.

Added Part 9 of New Quarters by K-Morgan [Original/Alt/Incomplete]
After life turned on a dime for Addy and Karen, it took them to their “New Quarters” in Scotland. They are now together, they are in love and their lives are about to take a whole new turn when Addy has a bright idea that throws them into a new spin. What fun, drama, perils, and adventures could possibly be awaiting them as they face a new life together? Will Karen survive the twists and turns? Will Addy hold her ground? Will there be more miracles? What else could possibly happen in this story to maybe give us yet another one?
Reader be warned: You will laugh and you will cry.

December 1st, 2011

Xena's Birthday by Norsebard [Classic/Alt/Complete]
Back home in Amphipolis to celebrate Xena's birthday, Xena and Gabrielle have to deal with all kinds of issues, like Ares bringing unwanted news, Aphrodite showing up with an embarrassing gift, Iolaus and Joxer drinking too much sweet ale, Cyrene making so much food that it could support an entire battalion - and someone from Xena's recent past hoping to re-connect with the Warrior Princess...

Added Parts 3 of Clear Conscience by Jynaki [Original/Alt/Incomplete]

Added Part 19 - The Conclusion of Just A Breath Away by Colleen. [Uber/Alt/Complete]
Broken Promises. Lies. Betrayal. Indifferance. When the human spirit is wounded by love, how long does it take to heal? As Carson Galloway starts a new life, those open wounds and painful memories may block the path to complete happiness.



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