Thursday, 28 May 2020

Portrait of a Snow Queen by Micah S Harris



Title: Portrait of a Snow Queen
Series: The Chronicles of Aarastad Book 1
Author: Micah S Harris



An epic fantasy of forbidden romance that chronicles the coming of age of a princess who is possessed by the Snow Queen and fated to rule her kingdom with a strong hand and icy heart.


As a child, Princess Freyja looked into the Snow Queen’s cursed mirror - and was changed.

Now an aloof and difficult young woman with a wit as sharp as her tongue, the future monarch is in need of a tutor. And Ambrose, a failed poet, is in need of a teaching position. He just never suspected how dangerous the extracurricular activities would be!

Soon, Ambrose finds himself on a grand adventure fighting to save the vexing but alluring princess from the court occult conspiracies that have targeted her. He is opposed not only by sorcerers and the evil Snow Queen, but also the icy royal damsel who holds his heart.

Will Ambrose’s love cause Freyja to thaw…or will she put him in the deep freeze instead?

Sensuous, suspenseful, supernatural and filled with witty banter, this romantic fantasy will both turn up the heat and leave you thoroughly frost smitten!

A 2019 Critters Readers Poll top ten finalist in the category of Science-Fiction and Fantasy.

The price of this book as been steeply discounted on Amazon for this event!
Check it out!


Excerpt:

      “Now,” Lord Melchior said, producing a small key which he turned in a lock in the desk’s drawer. “I am going to read the account of what happened next in the words of my friend, Prince Rudolph himself, from a diary entry dated July 21, 1839.”

      He took out an envelope and removed some browning papers from of it, which he proceeded to unfold. Holding the pages at half an arm’s length, he began:


     Much time had passed since I last felt the chilling embrace of the Ice Princess (whom others call ‘Maiden’ but I know she was not so!). My hope was that the warm caresses of my beautiful young wife, which she rejoiced to administer and I rejoiced to receive, would one day put those of that witch out of my memory entirely.


      Indeed, the intervening years by far had been happy ones. My daughter Freyja was now almost three years old, and soon my darling Isolde and I would have a sibling for her.


     I remember that night that would change my young family’s life forever was an unusually freezing one for the spring. We had seen the snow on the mountain, and odd it was. We knew the wind was blowing down to us from off it.


      This unseasonable snow brought back memories of my captivity, and the icy caresses I had been forced to endure.


      But, I assured myself, certainly this snowfall is but a freak occurrence. I had handled the Ice Princess’s severed head myself. She had not been human, but that did not make her immortal or supernatural– only other natural. And she was long dead. Thus, I did not speak of my fears and unsettle my wife and daughter.


      That night, we awoke to a woman’s scream. I sat up in bed, all my fears immediately recalled upon waking. We found the nurse collapsed on the floor of the nursery and Freyja squalling uncontrollably.


      Our daughter was unhurt; we thought at first that she was only upset from the nurse’s screeching. But the nurse said that she had been awakened by Freyja’s cry at what she had seen hovering over her bed, and then she, too, had screamed at the eldritch vision:


      A tall pale woman with long white hair whose clothing tinkled like sleet against a window pane when she moved. Her sparkling gown fell to her feet shod in silver slippers, and a cloak of pale blue draped her shoulders, reaching to the floor and forming her train.


      At first, I feared the Ice Princess had reconstituted. But as I pressed the nurse for more description of whom she had seen, it became clear that this was a different entity, though her intentions for our daughter were no less frightening.


      She kissed Freyja’s lips, and then a toe, and then an ankle. “More than one but no more than three,” she said. Then the nurse told us the terrible doom this creature pronounced over our little girl:


      “A daughter for a daughter and the Snow Queen shall be avenged. Should this child escape me, then unto her progeny be my curse, until the Snow Queen is avenged.”


      She brushed by the nurse on her way out, leaving a trail of glittering frost behind, and the nurse some blackened fingers from the touch of her train.


      We searched the castle, but the frost trail did not remain long behind its source and had melted before we could overtake the creature.


      Thereafter we were on guard for the Snow Queen. Hot coals were kept burning on the window sills and at the threshold of each castle door throughout the days and nights until the unusual cold snap had passed. She did not return.


      Still, I never let drop my vigilance, especially when winter arrived, until that day of great familial happiness – which became the last such that I would ever know.


      On Freyja’s eighth birthday, she received a large package. I unwrapped it and found it contained a looking glass in an ornate metal frame. My heart was heavy with love for my eldest daughter that day, and our new addition was darting about our feet to my joy. In this bliss, I smiled into the mirror – and saw the most hideous leer reflected back at me.


      Clearly, the Snow Queen was behind this vile present and had hoped that Freyja would open the gift and look into the glass. But to what end? She surely would gain no great revenge from simply frightening the girl. I would learn all too soon what was her scheme.


      For Freyja had come behind me and was already staring into the mirror. And who she saw staring back at her – yes, I saw, too – was the Snow Queen! Freyja recognized that face at once, and now it was hers!


      From that moment on, my daughter was changed. The Snow Queen’s personality dominates her own to this day with no sign of remission, despite all our efforts.


      My wife, though she saw that Freyja had already slipped beyond us, was screaming for me to do something if I loved her. I fetched Ifguter’s axe that had severed the head of this creature’s daughter. I should have called for Caius whose father’s weapon was his alone to wield. The blade was enchanted, there was thus a ban upon it, and the handling of it was beyond me.


      Knowing all this, I still swung, with my wife’s shrill screams filling my ears, at that awful face in that glass that transfixed my daughter. I shattered the mirror and sent a tiny splinter to lodge in Freyja’s eye – and an eye of her sister, whom her mother had not removed from the room as I had ordered.


      Those pieces still retain the Snow Queen’s reflection! Thus, my own hand insured that neither Freyja herself nor her sister would ever see my oldest daughter again as anything but the Snow Queen. Asa now views the whole world as an uncertain place where good appears evil and evil appears as good. All is fearful in her eyes, but nothing more so than her own sister.



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Micah S. Harris is the Author of the epic fantasy romance Portrait of a Snow Queen, which took third place in the category of science fiction and fantasy in the Critters Readers Poll.  Strong female protagonists and banter are trademarks of his work. Portrait of a Snow Queen is no exception and is recommended for older fans of Frozen and lovers of the witty verbal sparring in The Princess Bride.

He won the 2016 Pulp Ark Award for best novel for Ravenwood, The stepson of Mystery: Return of the Dugpa. He is also the Author - Along with artist Michael Gaydos (Marvel’s Jessica Jones) - of the graphic novel Heaven’s War, a historical fantasy pitting the Oxford Inklings against Aleister Crowley.

His lifelong love of movies also influences his fiction, whether a fairy tale retelling, horror story or paranormal mystery. He taught film on a collegiate level and has chronicled, both in print and via podcast, fascination lost genre gems.



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Top Ten List:
Top Ten Esoteric Fun Facts About Micah S. Harris
  1. My teddy bear Boo Boo ran away from home because I wouldn’t stop sucking my thumb. After this intervention caused me to declare my sobriety, we found him hanging out in a nearby tree.
  2. My childhood pets include a Venus fly trap, a pink chicken, and a wolf spider…at least, it might have been a wolf spider.
  3. As a kid, I read the book The Gingerbread Rabbit, so I had to have my mom bake me a gingerbread rabbit. He was delicious.
  4. I attended the graveside memorial service for Schlitze, a sideshow “pinhead” (he suffered from microcephaly) who was the inspiration for the character of “Pepper” in American Horror Story. He can be seen in the 1932 cult classic movie Freaks. I wrote a book about him.
  5. I was friends with the late Verne Langdon, make-up man on the original Planet of the Apes and the old TV game show Match Game among his many other projects. His company used to cast the foam rubber for the old stop motion animation Pillsbury Doughboy.
  6. I have always loved cats. My last one was named “Emmy” after Emma Peele from the old British Avengers spy show.
  7. I am a life-long Tar Heel who grew up nearby the real Mayberry: Mount Airy, N.C.
  8. My favorite movie is the 1933 King Kong.
  9. My favorite book is a tie: Winter’s Tale by Mark Helprin and unexpurgated, uncut Count of Monte Cristo by Alexander Dumas
  10. I have the heart of a little boy…I use it for a paperweight.



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