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Happy Mother’s Day to all my fellow moms out there!  Hope you’re enjoying a day as relaxing as the scene in the painting above!

I’m giving away an e-copy of The Cauldron Stirred, the first book in my young adult paranormal fantasy series, Guardians of Erin.  Comment below or on my Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/judithsterlingfiction/ by midnight, May 15, 2018 (Eastern Standard Time), and you could win!

In the meantime, here’s a scene from the book in which Maeve Donoghue (the protagonist Ashling’s mother) witnesses a touch of magic while looking at an ancient manuscript’s carpet page:

I gestured toward the manuscript on the table. “It’s incredible. Look at how interlocked the animals are.”

Mom nodded. “Some of them are so contorted, it’s hard to tell what they are. But that’s typical of the beasts in Celtic manuscripts.”

I pointed. “These look like swans. But what’s this?”

“A wolf.” Aengus’s arm brushed against mine as he, too, pointed.

All of a sudden, the carpet page came to life. The entire illustration lifted off the page, morphing into 3D. Ribbons of knotwork and scrollwork wove in and out of one another. Animals whose necks and limbs had once been linked now split apart. The wolves leapt over the shifting image and crept beneath cords that undulated like waves on the ocean. The swans glided across the loosened lines as though navigating ripples on a lake. In the center of it all, a multitude of colored bands broke free and rose higher than the rest, twisting and turning into the shape of letters which hovered above the whole: A-I-S-L-I-N-G.

I gaped at the word. Mom’s hand, still on my back, went rigid.

Her hand dropped to her side. “What the…” Words failed her.

Aengus yanked his arm from mine as though scalded. He stepped back from the table and from me.

Like magic, the page’s three-dimensional version vanished. Its flat counterpart lay as lifeless as before.

Mom blinked hard and shook her head as if to clear it. “Either I need glasses or I’ve been at this too long. Sorry, but I need a break. You two carry on without me.” She scuttled out of the room.

I pivoted around to face Aengus. “Did you see something strange?”

His eyes narrowed. “Did you?”

“You know I did.”

“I don’t know what you mean.”

I pursed my lips. “I think you do. I’d be willing to bet that you and my mom saw exactly what I just did.”

“Which was?”

“That whole page was alive. And the word ‘aisling’ stood out as plain as the nose on your face.”

He nodded and appeared to be deep in thought.

After a good ten seconds, I planted my hands on my hips. “Well?”

His gaze found mine. “Well what?”

“You saw it, right?”

He hesitated, then sighed. “I did, but I’ve no time to discuss it now.”

“When then?”

“I couldn’t say.” His eyes shifted, and he looked to the nearest window. “I’ve matters to attend to.” Without another word, he turned and left the room.

I stamped my foot. Secrets. Diversions. Dreams I couldn’t remember. Feelings I couldn’t explain.

I’d had my fill. One way or another, I would uncover what was really going on at Breasal Manor and inside myself.

Again, happy Mother’s Day!  And check out this amazing carpet page from the Book of Kells: