All posts by Stormy Smith

Sneak Peek: The Prologue

I posted the prologue to Bound by Duty to my website this weekend and I want to make sure everyone gets a chance to preview it! I would love to hear what you think. Are you getting excited?! It’s only 10 days away. 🙂

Bound by Duty – Prologue 

Her stark white hair fell down around her face. For the first time in one hundred years it wasn’t pulled back in a waist-length braid. Her crimson robes were torn and stained. She bit back a groan, her lips a tight line as the pain ripped through her once again. The invisible knife raked its way up her back as wounds no one could see flayed her skin and weakened her resolve. It had been days of this and she wasn’t sure if she could continue. As she looked up and met the queen’s eyes, Lavignia pushed the anger down and forced compassion to rise yet again.

“What is it you hope to learn, Julia? What is it you think you have to gain from all of this?” she asked weakly as she tugged on the restraints that kept her tethered to the heavy wooden chair. Her power was already weak when the Hunters had found her, and the enchanted chamber had dampened what remained to a tiny flame. 

The room was dark, but the sun was slowly rising. An orange and pink glow filtered through the small window above Julia’s head. The colorful rays that should have resembled hope of a new day only shed light on the reality that Lavignia would never leave this room alive.

Julia stepped from the shadows and walked slowly toward Lavignia. She stopped and crouched down, putting herself at eye level.

“Oh, Livvy, dear. Don’t do that,” she said, her tone patronizing as her ice crystal eyes narrowed. “Don’t pretend you can still look down on me from your Elder tower. Don’t pretend you can utter your polite words and suddenly I’ll remember who you are versus who I am. I know exactly who I am. I am the one who rules them all. I am the one they will bow down to and worship. I am the Queen. Not you. Or your sisters. Your time is done.”

She looked back over her shoulder to the Hunter who stood in the still dark corner of the room and nodded. The Hunter’s eyes burned bright orange as Lavignia’s screams echoed off the walls. Julia raised her hand and the screams dropped to whimpers. With that same hand, she reached out and took Lavignia’s.

“Livvy, look at me,” she commanded. Dazed, dim violet eyes struggled to focus and find hers. Julia tightened her grip, digging her scarlet nails into Lavignia’s already tender flesh, making her yelp and their eyes connect.

“Livvy, you need to tell me,” she said.  “I know you see it. You knew this day would come and you know I won’t stop until you tell me. I scoured the lands for you. I know there are others left, but they can be saved. You can save them, old friend. You just have to tell me.” Her tone was persuasive and gentle, but the frantic look that passed through her eyes told Lavignia the truth the queen couldn’t hide — she was scared.

“You won’t harm the others? You will let them live out their lives hidden and free? You will swear an oath?” Her words trailed off and Lavignia’s eyes closed, the torture of the last few days taking its toll. She could only hope the oath would keep her people safe.

She didn’t see the triumph that straightened Julia’s posture or the sneer that twisted her thin, painted lips. “Of course, my dear. I swear to you that I will not seek out and harm the remaining Elders. I swear that I will not take their freedom.”

“Your blood,” Lavignia said, her words barely audible. 

Julia removed a small dirk from the folds of her skirts and repeated the words as she slid the blade down her palm. As the deep red drop hit the floor, she sent a small wave of power through to heal the wound, reveling in the knowledge that she had won.

“Now, Livvy, darling, you must tell me.” When Lavignia didn’t respond, Julia whipped back around to the still silent Hunter. “Help her. Give her what she needs. NOW!” she commanded, panic finally breaking through her controlled facade.

The Hunter flicked a wrist at Lavignia and she suddenly straightened, her eyes luminescent and shining at the welcome invasion of power that flooded her system, giving her renewed life for a few precious seconds.

With sudden clarity, she saw the future that had eluded her. She looked down on Julia with authority and pity as the words that would cement the queen’s fate fell from her lips.

“You will have your time, but it will end. She will be born to the one who got away. Inside her, the five families will merge and only a man who is both king and companion will tame the wild and set her free. She will be your undoing. She will lead them all.”

Julia reared back, Lavignia’s words not the ones she expected. Seconds later, her dirk was buried deep in Lavignia’s chest. Lavignia collapsed back against the chair, a content smile mocking the queen from her lifeless face. 

Julia’s breath heaved in and out in short bursts as she turned to the Hunter. “I made an oath. You did not. Find them. Kill them all.”

Character Introduction: Bethany


Name: Bethany Marie Jackson

Age: 18

From: Cleary, Mississippi

Hobbies: Formerly a pageant queen and barrel racer. Currently a connoisseur of frozen yogurt, collegiate California surfers, DIY decorating her first apartment with her new bestie and watching romantic comedies.   

Music taste: Anything pop, top 40 and classic country. But, she only breaks out Merle and Johnny when she needs to reconnect with herself.

Favorite colors: Black and pink. With rhinestones. Like her beloved cowboy boots.  

What she doesn’t want anyone to know: She keeps a box of postcards in her closet. Every state and major town she visits, she buys one to prove she’s living her dream of seeing the world. 

What she wants everyone to know: That no matter what life hands her, she’ll choose to be happy and make the best of it. She doesn’t need anything but good friends and killer pair of heels to make it through. That said, she’d take Prince Charming as long as she had control of the white horse. 

July 4th Teaser! 

A few weeks ago I had the pleasure of working with Catarina over at Reading and Things to do an author takeover. If you didn’t get to see my interview, you can check it out here. Included in that post was a new teaser, and for those who didn’t get to check out the takeover, I wanted to make sure you got to see it, too. It’s a scene I love from the beginning of Bound by Duty, and gives you a preview of Amelia’s power and her relationship with both her father and her brother. 

Take a look, and let me know what you think!

   I dropped to my bed as the tears threatened and Rynna’s voice faded into the background. I bit the inside of my lip, the metallic taste and the shot of pain stopping the onslaught of emotions. I was on my own. I’ve always been on my own, I reminded myself. Swallowing down emotions I didn’t want to acknowledge, I hung up the phone, not caring if Rynna was still on the other end.  

     After my conversation with Rynna, I tried and failed multiple times to focus on my homework. The longer I sat there, hearing her words inside my head, the more my power spun and built inside me. From the deepest corners of my heart, the hurt bubbled over and it was quick to respond. Ever my internal champion, it warred with the pain — pushing, shoving, and growing in response. I was a war-torn battlefield of emotion. My gut ached, my anxiety built, and the power vibrated through every cell. Something was going to have to give. There was only one place I could go, one person who would understand what I was dealing with.  

     As I pulled up to Cole’s gym, I felt ready to burst. All of the pain and anger my father’s words had stirred up inside me were snowballing into something near hysteria. My power and emotions were so closely tied that I couldn’t control either. I needed Cole and needed him quickly. I had to keep myself from running into the training room looking as frantic as I felt. Luckily, I didn’t even have to get all the way through the doors before Cole was pulling me into a hug.  

     In a split second, all of his strength and soothing emotion enveloped me and the swirling inferno slowed. This was Cole’s gift, his ability to calm the raging storm of my emotions, and thus my power. Before he left, from the time I was a baby until I was ten, he would be the one to pull me out of my nightmares and allow me to sleep. He was also the one to help me keep my power in check, to stop the surge before my father sensed it and locked me in my room again. Dad always claimed it was for my own protection, so they wouldn’t see. So they couldn’t know what I was. But, they had to know. The Hunters had arrived just after mom died and they knew I was an Elder. The Hunter knew exactly what he was doing when he demanded my betrothal to the prince.  

     Cole’s strained voice broke my train of thought. “Hey, there. It’s okay. Ame, what happened?” He had my head tucked under his chin and I had to turn it to the side to stop my voice from being muffled by his shirt.  

     “It’s Dad. Rynna says he took off. Since we’re gone, he can finally be free.” I punctuated those words with as much sarcasm as I could before tears filled my eyes and a sob filled my chest. Cole was the only other person in the world who understood what our father could do to a person’s self-esteem; what spending a childhood with him could do to you. It was why he left when I was ten and he was eighteen. At that point, I wanted to hate him for it. Now, I understood. Even then, I understood that it was because of me that he had to leave. I was born and mom died. Mom died and dad went crazy. It was all because of me.  

     I pulled away, furiously swiping at the tears on my cheeks and feeling even more ashamed for needing my brother, yet again, to save me from myself. “I’m sorry, Cole. I shouldn’t be here. I shouldn’t be putting this on you. I don’t know why he does this to me. Why I let him.” 

     Cole’s aura changed from soothing to angry. He wasn’t trying to help me anymore. He was pissed. “Damn it, Amelia. Don’t do this to yourself. How many times do I have to tell you this isn’t your fault? None of it is. If you need me, you come to me. That’s our agreement.”  

     Cole lightly gripped my chin between his finger and thumb and forced my head up to meet his eyes, his voice softening to a whisper. “Right, Ame? That’s our agreement. That’s why you’re here, so I can help you. You know that’s what I’ve been trying to do ever since I left.”

Character Introduction: Aidan Montgomery


It’s time for your next character introduction! This time it’s the scrumptious Aidan! The photo is clearly someone older than Aidan would be, but work with me, people. 😉

Full name: Aidan Levi Montgomery

Age: 19

From: Originally born on Catalina Island in California, but after age three, moved all over the state.

Hobbies: Mixed Martial Arts training, watching football, surfing

Favorite color: Blue

Music taste: Loves alternative, can sort-of stand top 40, hates country. Has an affinity for classical music but won’t admit it out loud.

Quote that keeps him going: “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes you just might find you get what you need.” – Rolling Stones

Favorite foods: Seafood from hidden local spots, anything Italian and giant chorizo breakfast burritos. 

Likes: Having his own apartment, playing chess, going after what he wants, being spontaneous, working out and being outdoors. 

Dislikes: Doing things “because everyone else does,” anything with mushrooms, entitled rich kids, cold pizza and the thought of living somewhere with winter. 

Little-known fact: Given the choice, he’d rather read the book than see the movie.

Character Introduction: Amelia Bradbury


Over the next few weeks, I am going to introduce you to the line-up of central characters in Bound by Duty. I’ll include a photo of someone I think best reflects the character in my head, but I imagine as you read the book you’ll find your own vision of who they are.

Without further adieu – Amelia! 

Full name: Amelia Rose Bradbury. 

From: Gualala, California. Her community is off the beaten path and well-protected with spells that only allow other Mages to find it. With views of both the mountains and the Pacific Ocean, it can’t be beat.

Current home: Brighton, California. A little beach town that considers the board walk and community college its only claims to fame. Amelia wanted a taste of “normal” and thought Brighton was the ticket.

Family: Older brother, Cole. Father, Nathaniel. Mother, Liana (deceased).

Favorite foods: Cherry Pepsi, sausage and green pepper pizza, caramel lattes and anything Greek/Mediterranean.

Go-to musicians: The Civil Wars, Jon McLaughlin, Ron Pope, Sara Bareilles, Florence and the Machine.

Likes: Being near the ocean, sarcastic banter, Sunday dinners with her brother, hamming it up in photos with her bestie to decorate their new apartment and smokey-eyed mysterious boys who make her feel too much. 

Dislikes: Being told what to do, making small talk, anything with mayonnaise, heavy metal music, the word “control” and video games.

Little-known fact: Had her destiny not been chosen for her, Amelia would have become a marine biologist. 

Is there anything you wish I would have told you? The Q&A is officially open, but I won’t tell you anything that might be a spoiler! 

— Stormy 

It’s time for the cover reveal! 

I can’t tell you all how excited I am for this moment. And how blessed I was to find an amazing designer who understood my vision for the story and how I wanted Amelia and her power represented — Toni, you are AMAZING! 

The fact that you’re seeing this means that things are getting REALLY real. Takes my breath away, people are actually going to read my book, OHMYGOD REAL. 

I am so pumped to have you along for the ride. 
— Stormy 

My announcement – finally!

I’ve been teasing for about a week now that I had some big news to share and it is finally time! 

To give a little context though, let me tell you about the last week of my life. Three weeks ago I sent my manuscript out for beta. I asked for feedback by last Sunday and I had a whole group of wonderful ladies comply. I dug in and in the first day ripped through the majority (let’s not be coy…it took me six hours). Then, it came time for my crit partner’s edits. Since my very first draft, she has been the brutally honest one. (She might have made me cry) I was a little nervous. Actually, I let her pile of print-outs sit on my coffee table for two days I was so nervous. 

Then, I dug in. And as I dug in, I alternated between wanting to curse her name and wanting to buy her diamonds, because she GOT IT. She went line by line through 93,000 words and questioned EVERYTHING. She got annoyed. She drew hearts. She circled and crossed out and underlined. And in the midst of all of that she forced me to take this book from good to great. I’m not even done editing yet and I can tell you that between the collective beta edits I received, and her critical eye, you are going to get the best I could have possibly given you. Each person who touched this saw something different that could be improved and I took each comment to heart. I didn’t change everything, but I listened to them.

Now I’m sure you’re wondering what that has to do with my news…well, it means that I am more excited BY THE DAY about what this book is and can be. And I’m taking all of this seriously. As I thought ahead to book two and started mapping it out, I also started thinking about titles. Initially, this was supposed to be the “Duty” series, but the more I mapped out of book two on paper, and of book three in my head, I realized that just wasn’t going to work. And because I have no one to answer to but myself, I made the executive decision that I’m changing my title. 

My debut novel will be titled Bound by Duty

I know, it really isn’t a huge change. But what it does is set me up for two more books in the “Bound” series. My other secret is that I think they will be called Bound by Spells and Bound by Prophecy

And then the big drum roll…the Bound by Duty cover is going to be revealed the week of June 9th! I’m working with YABound BookTours (they are SO highly rated and I’m still shocked I was able to get in with them!) and they will be working with their extensive blogger base to launch this baby into the world. I’ll be coordinating with them on an official blog tour in August after I launch as well. 

For now, that’s all I’ve got! I’m working to secure more marketing opportunities every day. I’m doing this thing up right! 
— Stormy 

Teaser Tuesday 5/20

It’s time again! We are just over two months from the release and so much is happening. I am editing like CRAZY and making all kinds of decisions that are changing the trajectory of the story line even to this minute. I have 13 days to get this to my professional editor and I hope like hell I can stick to that June 1 deadline. It might be midnight that night, but I’m going for it!

In the midst of all of this, I’m also working on my marketing plan, because there is no big publisher that’s going to make sure the world sees this puppy. I’ll just throw it out there that if you have any random thoughts on how I could market my book to a larger audience, please shoot me a message at! Between hours of editing and my actual job, my brain is a little burnt. 

Let’s get down to to business – this is Teaser #3!

As soon as I stepped out on the giant deck, the sea air hit my face. It tangled in my hair, whipping it around my shoulders as if playing hide and seek in the dark strands. I exhaled, not realizing I had been holding my breath.

I stood there a moment, just listening to the waves beat against the sand as the tide came in. The full moon came out from behind the clouds, brightening my path and leading me to the stairs that would take me down to the beach. I didn’t hesitate. Almost leaping to the bottom, I kicked my gladiator sandals off as soon as I hit the sand and ran toward the water. Just as the tide touched my toes, the hair on the back of my neck stood up.

Someone was there.

Instantly, a jolt of power raced through my veins. I tried frantically to calm it back down, to maintain control. But, against all effort, I’m sure my eyes went from their normal hazel to bright violet, as they always do when my power takes over. I stood there, staring out at the sea, trying to decide how to react. I couldn’t draw attention to myself, but I could protect myself if I had to — I had learned that much. I felt my power build; like small pinpricks of electricity racing through my veins, filling my blood inch by inch. I forced myself to soften my stiff posture, but kept my right hand open and out in front of me in case I needed to use it.

Since moving to Brighton, I’ve been working to actually use my magic, but it still feels like a second person trapped inside me that I can’t force into compliance. Sometimes it works with me, sometimes not. We’ve been fighting this battle for as long as I can remember and in times like these, when I didn’t know what I was dealing with, I trusted it more than myself. I stood there, my body still as my power rippled beneath the surface and cautiously probed around me, just waiting to be unleashed.

I slowly started to turn around when he said, “Oh, so you’re hiding from them too, huh?”
His voice was smooth and almost melodic, with just a little fire behind it. I somehow knew he was smirking even though I couldn’t see him. The moonlight hadn’t breached the shadow from the deck where I could see his outline sitting on a picnic table. He was sitting on the top, with his feet on the bench and elbows on his knees. I heard the old, weather-beaten table creak and groan as he set his feet on the ground. A shiver ran through me; he looked dangerous.

“Do I know you?” Something told me I’d seen him before. The fear that had ignited my magic instantly turned to curiosity, the danger melting to intrigue. I could actually see the thready, purple wisps spreading out, poking around, trying to get a read on him. It’s a good thing humans don’t actually see our power unless we let them. Abruptly, I turned back toward the ocean, kicking myself as I mentally drew it back in.

(Unedited and subject to change)

As I’ve also said on my social channels – there is some big news coming later this week so stay tuned! Those signed up for the newsletter will get it first!

Teaser Tuesday! 

Happy Tuesday, friends! 

In the indie world, we love themes. And a constant theme is Teaser Tuesday, so I’m playing along this week with a second Duty Bound teaser. After this week, teasers posted to the site will not be promoted to social channels for two days following the post. So they truly will be exclusives and found here first. If you want to get the scoop early, and not worry about Facebook hiding things, please sign up using the form to the right. I will only send out teasers and updates on the release. No rambling posts. No spam. Promise.

Enough of that, let’s get to it!

Teaser #2

Without looking back at me, he squeezed my hand tightly, our fingers interlaced. His pressing hard into the divots between the bones in my hand. He clutched at my hand as if I could keep him here, pull him away from the memories that overwhelmed him, that threatened to pull him down into a place I could feel he didn’t want to go.

“You can tell me. But only if you want to.” I put the words between us and let the silence follow, turning back to stare at the sky and give him time to decide. I had no idea what he had been through, what he would say, but I understood what the darkness of truth could do to you if you let it.

“I don’t know why, but I want to tell you, Amelia.” Aidan pushed his other hand through his hair and left it behind his head. “It’s insane because I never tell anyone this stuff. But I want to tell you. Before this goes any further, I want you to know who I am.” 

He still wasn’t looking at me so while I saw him in my peripheral, I did the same, keeping my gaze on the clouds. “Then tell me,” I said, making an unconscious decision. I surprised myself when I finished with, “Tell me and I’ll tell you.”

The longer Aidan held my hand, the more I got used to the feel of my nerves being raw and the increased sensations. As I laid there and waited for him to speak,I felt him slide his middle finger up and down in a slow rhythm between the bones of my hand. I could feel the callouses on his palm and the heat he radiated. It was soothing and for once I truly felt in control, at least as far as my power was concerned. My heartbeat, however, raced triple time as I had time to realize that I was laying on the forest floor holding hands with Aidan Montgomery, waiting for him to peel back the layers of man I wanted nothing more than to know. Someone I could give some of my truth to and who wanted to give me his in return.

(unedited and subject to change)

First Duty Bound Teaser!

Five days of having a Facebook page and website and you guys have already gotten me to 75 likes! I’m overwhelmed and so thrilled that you are this excited about my book. I think I’ve worn a permanent smile since I launched both pages Friday night.

To give you a little update, I’m in the process of editing the second draft and this weekend (EECK!) the manuscript will be shipped off to my wonderful beta readers. Once I gather their feedback and edit again, it will head out to the true editor (June 1!). I can’t believe that less than a year ago I sat in a hotel room and had my first conversation with Amelia…it is just crazy.

But, let’s get down to business! This is your first look at Duty Bound – enjoy!!!


We were sitting at the kitchen table, in a rare moment where my father had left his study and seemed lucid, and I couldn’t stop fidgeting with my coffee cup as I tried to hold his gaze and “be the adult” I thought already was. It would have helped if the questions he asked were rational, or if his too-long dark hair wasn’t sticking up in every direction. If the glasses he shouldn’t need if he used his powers weren’t smudged and his eyes weren’t wide and looking a little too wild. I knew this look and where our conversation was headed before I even answered, but I also knew it was time. I had played my part. I made sure he ate, I got good enough grades to get scholarships and more than anything, suffered through his endless rants about how it didn’t matter what he’d said 18 years ago, that I wasn’t going to marry the Prince and that “they could never have me.”

I tried to speak softly, but firmly. I felt like I was the one talking to their child. “Dad, I did listen to you. I’ve heard everything you’ve said. But, I have to do this. No matter what happens, I know that I have this time – just three years – to myself. I’m going to be near Cole, so I’ll still have family close.”

I winced as he slammed his palm on the wooden tabletop. “Don’t you talk to me about him!”

I sighed, and tried to put my hand over his, cursing myself for bringing up Cole and aggravating the situation further. “I know, Dad. But I just want you to know I won’t be alone. I’ll make friends — human friends. It will be everything you ever wanted for me.”

“No, Amelia,” he said, sounding defeated. “This is nothing I wanted for you. I wanted to go away from here. I wanted to take you far, far away from here. But I…I just…couldn’t.” I watched his pupils dilate and the flash of green that meant he was losing control again.

“They are watching, Amelia. They are always watching. They can’t believe it; they can’t believe you have what they want,” he said.

He was looking around the room, as if King Julian’s Hunters were right there listening behind the pantry door. I couldn’t take it when he got like this, when he started begging. “They’ll leave you alone, you know that, right? You just have to try a little harder to convince them. You have to stay in control, Amelia.”

I had grown to hate the word “control” more than probably anything in the world. I was a constant failure at it, and that one word was the source of almost every argument my father and I had ever had. Taking a deep breath, I tried to placate him, to stop his hands from shaking as his emotions rose and the pressure in the room grew. It was a struggle to maintain my own power as it fed off of his and my emotions rose in reaction to the despair I heard in my father’s voice. I had long-accepted his eccentricities but it wasn’t often his anger gave way to fear, as it was doing now.

“It’s OK, Dad. I’m going to be OK. I’ll do everything you taught me. I won’t use my power. I’ll stay under the radar. I’m going to be fine, Dad, do you believe me?” His fingers tightened on mine as he nodded, a little too franticly, standing and yanking me in for a rare hug.

The weight of my lies was a stone on my chest as I tried to relish our short embrace. I was going to Brighton to experience a normal life —that part was true — but I was also going to try to figure out exactly who I was. I never believed I could get out of the betrothal, but at least I could go in prepared — something my father refused to do for me. I would find someone to explain what being an Elder meant and how to control the power that was growing faster than I knew how to handle.

(This is unedited and subject to change)