Dear Readers,

I’m so excited to more of Calla’s story with you! Scroll down to read the very first journal entries from CALLA (Pixieland Diaries #2). 

The full book launches at the end of this month…
ORDER IT ON: GooglePlay / AppleBooks / Nook / Amazon / Kobo

Christina

Day Seventy-One

Dear Diary,

Today I drop some diabolic retaliation harmless prankster fun on my new royal subjects, the summer elves.

Trust me, they totally have it coming.

Why the revenge? Yesterday I held my first formal court as Queen of the Summer Realm. It should’ve been a bunch of long chats with all my elfy nobles.

Only no one showed up.

We are not amused.

Time to get tricksy.

Today marks my second formal court… as well as my mega payback prank. While I write this, I sit upon a throne of red flowers. The shade goes perfectly with my pink hair, matching wings and violet eyes. And let’s not forget my ermine cloak; it adds a splash of white to the look. Clutch.

Yet appearances come second to my dazzling plan for the morning. Although my subjects been avoiding me for weeks, that will end once the court doors reopen in just a few minutes.

I’ve so got this.

Sighing, I soak in the beauty of this moment. A huge atrium towers around me. Sunlight pours in through the open ceiling. The walls and tiles are painted gold. A pile of tiny purple bags sit in the middle of the floor.

Hello, elf bait. 

Those packets hold fairy dust, which is powerful magic that any fae wants. My prank lies in how these bags also contain… wait for it… a freezing spell. Grab one and you can’t leave the room until I say so.

My scheme is so brilliant, I can’t stand it.

There will also be plenty of witnesses for my glorious success. My parents, Poppa and Muti, wait nearby. So does my best friend and major crush, Prince Dare of the Winter Elves. Let’s not forget my buddy Bilge, the hobgoblin, and his piggy familiar, Oinky. Two summer elf guards—I call them Blond and Blonder—hang out by the back wall.

Speaking of the guards, they look expectantly in my direction. The moment has come to set aside my journal—it magically shrinks into a locket that hangs about my neck—and get ready for the fun to begin.

Prank on. 

– Calla

Day Seventy-One And A Half

Dear Diary,

When we last left my life, I was about to launch my tricky revenge on the snotty elves who’ve been avoiding me begin a lighthearted prank in order to chat with my standoffish subjects.

My guards wait by the golden doors to my court chamber.

This is happening. 

“Let’s begin,” I command.

Moving in unison, the guards open the doors wide. “Hear ye! Hear ye! Queen Calla now holds her second formal court. All noble elves may enter and be heard.”

I cup my hand by my mouth. “Guys, you’re forgetting the best part.” I gesture to the mountain of tiny silk bags that sit in the center of the floor.

“Right,” say the guards in unison. “Free bags of fairy dust!”

Staring at the opened doors, I brace myself for the onslaught. Any second now, a horde of elves will rush into this room, only to get caught like so many little spiders in my royal web.

Yet no one walks in.

I wait some more.

Still nothing.

Minutes go by.

Nada in the visitor category.

Hours slowly tick past.

And wouldn’t you know it? Not one summer elf shows up. 

In my fist, I hold the Scepter of Summer, a golden stick that packs all my queenly magic. I call him Sammy because that’s how I roll. Next I lift the scepter, a movement that should inspire awe in my subjects and friends.

That doesn’t exactly happen.

Instead of gasping in amazement, Blond and Blonder screech in terror as they run away. The main doors close behind them with a deafening slam. I’d be surprised, but my guards do this every time I crack out Sammy. Who cares that whenever I wield my scepter, I blow a few little things up? Sammy and I will fall into a groove eventually. Maybe.

From here, things get worse.

My parents—along with Bilge and Oinky—race to hide behind my throne. This isn’t the first time they’ve done a duck and cover move from my spellwork, either.

Dare saunters closer. Now I can enjoy one of my favorite views: the Prince of the Winter Elves. Dare is muscly and tall with strong bone structure and longish hair. Like always, he wears black body armor and a fur cloak.

“What magic will you cast with your scepter?” asks Dare.

“Another summoning spell.” I don’t need to explain why I’m casting this, either. You can’t rule subjects that you never meet.

Dare pulls his brows together. “You’ve tried that one before.”

“Only four hundred times. Something keeps blocking my magic. Maybe attempt number four-oh-one will be my lucky number.”

Dare nods. “Just point Sammy upward.”

“Good idea.”

This room wasn’t always an atrium; it used to have a ceiling. During my tenth attempt to summon my elves, I somehow blew off the roof. It’s an improvement, in my opinion. More air.

In any case, this next summoning spell will be the ticket. No question about it. I tighten my grip on Sammy.

“Here goes,” I announce. My cheering section from behind the throne goes into action.

“We’ve always loved you,” says Muti.

“Don’t kill yourself,” adds Poppa. “Or us.”

“I brewed extra healing potion, just in case,” offers Bilge. Oinky snuffles his agreement.

“Thanks, guys.” What else can I say? They mean well.

I lift my arm. Tendrils of golden light whirl about the top of the scepter. “I do hereby command thee, Sammy the Scepter—”

Suddenly, Sammy melts into liquid gold on my palm. From there, he drips to the floor, reforms as a ball and proceeds to bounce around the room.

Not again.

Little click-clack noises sound as Oinky runs out from behind my throne to chase Sammy around the chamber.

I slump back onto my seat. Which isn’t a good idea, considering how the thing’s made from prickly roses. “I don’t get it,” I moan. “Sammy worked great the first day I wielded him. Remember how I blew up all the bad people at Lotti the Snotty Potty’s Big Fat Fake Wedding? That was awesome.”

Dare nods. “It was.” And he should know. Dare’s body double was about to marry the Snotty Potty in question.

“And there’s more,” I continue. “I even rebuilt the Summer Palace after the wedding, easy peasy. But now Sammy’s being a DISOBEDIENT LITTLE CREEP!”

I have to yell that last bit because Sammy and Oinky are now bouncing around the far side of the room. For his part, Sammy pauses in mid-air, spins around, and then keeps right on bouncing.

Smart ass.

Blond and Blonder burst back into the chamber, see Sammy and Oinky, scream in terror, and then run in my direction. The guards land in a slide before my throne. I’d be shocked, but Blond and Blonder do stuff like this whenever Sammy’s bouncing around.

“A message, your Majesty.” Blond holds up a large envelope that’s perched atop a golden pillow.

“Thanks.” I hold up my hands. “Toss it here.”

At this point, there’s supposed to be some formal falderal where the guards step up to my throne, say a little speech, and then hand over any official message. So annoying. Earlier today, I issued the Royal Decree Of High Velocity Mail Delivery. Now they can just toss things at me.

Blond chucks the envelope at my face. Catching it, I tear open the message. Boo. A repeat. This exact same note has been sent to yours truly at least ten times.

Oh Queen Calla,

You are hereby invited to visit me at my palace in the Winter Lands. I have information to assist your reign.

– The Gargoyle King

I offer the letter to Dare, who scans the contents. “I can’t believe he’s still at it,” says the prince.

Dare knows everyone in his territory. According to the prince, some gargoyles do live in the Eidolon Mountains. They never had a king, though.

“With your permission,” says Dare, “I’ll take this back to my court. Perhaps my mages will find some way to detect the author.”

“Sure. Have fun.”

Dare slips the envelope into the folds of his cloak. The Mages of the Winter Court have been casting spells to detect the Gargoyle King for days. Nothing has worked yet.

All of which is really beside the point. Writing a diary means being totally honest.

So here goes.

Today’s Fairy Dust Prank was a total failure.

My subjects are still avoiding me. As in, the palace hallways are forever empty. People leave food at my door and run. It’s unacceptable.

“Sammy!” I call. “Get back here! It’s time to cast another summoning spell on my court.”

My only reply is more boinging around the room.

I slump even lower in my seat, a movement which makes the rose prickles dig deeper into my butt cheeks. Maybe it’s that Sammy always drains my energy, but I can’t find it in me to care about a perforated behind right now.

Bilge tiptoes out from behind the throne. He’s a squat green hobgoblin with a bald head, tiny eyes and pointy ears. Normally, tusks jut out from his lower lip. Not now, though.  Bilge’s tusks just molted. As a result, my hobgoblin friend thinks he’s a sexy creature. In fact, when Bilge talks these days, it’s like he’s a human DJ on a racy radio program. I constantly imagine saxophone solos going on behind him.

“I know why the summer elves avoid it,” says Bilge.

“Tell me,” I declare. “Can’t wait.”

Which is a total fib. We’ve already had this why everyone avoids Calla conversation multiple times today. I could live without another repeat.

“Perhaps the summer elves avoid any faeling,” offers Bilge.

I shrug. “That might explain things.”

For years, everyone thought I was a faeling, and that includes me. Faelings are human babies who soak in enough magic to become a pixie or whatever. It’s not exactly the height of cool in Faerie.

Poppa and Muti fly out from behind my throne. They’re tree sprites with crinkly faces, long gray hair and short white robes. Their little wings flap in a steady rhythm. It might be weird to call someone of ankle-height your parents, but I got used to it ages ago.

“Bilge is wrong,” says Muti.

“How so?” I ask.

“The problem are your pranks,” adds Poppa. “You’re not evil enough. Offering packets of faerie dust is just too nice.”

This is an ongoing theme with my parents. Calla is overly kind. 

“I’ll work on being mean,” I offer. My parents exhale with relief. I turn to Dare. “What do you think?”

Dare gives me the side-eye. He only participated in the why everyone avoids Calla conversation once. His theory is simple: Sammy scares people. And the sneaky prince doesn’t have to repeat that; I know what he’s thinking.

So I shoot him the side-eye right back. “You’re wrong.”

Dare winks. “I didn’t say a word.”

“The problem is not Sammy. My scepter is awesome.”

“Yet when you use it, the scepter tires you.”

“Only a little.”

Actually, a lot. As a matter of fact, just lifting Sammy earlier today was a total energy suck. Not that I’ll admit this to Dare.

“Here’s what’s important,” I declare. “Someone’s magically protecting my court from summons to my wonderful presence. Who? Why?”

Dare keeps working his side-eye. I can almost hear his voice in my head. There’s one answer to your many questions: It’s all Sammy’s fault.

Sadly, in this case, Dare may be right. Partially.

“I suppose it could be Sammy… just a little.” An idea hits me. “I’ve got it! I’ll practice wielding Sammy and show everyone what a great team we are.”

Blond and Blonder race for the doors. “Run for your lives! The incompetent queen is about to kill us all!”

I really wish I could fire them, but they’re the only two who enter my presence. 

The guards aren’t alone in getting spooked, either. Poppa and Muti flit away at double speed. “See you later, honey.” They make a beeline out the missing ceiling.

“Oinky and I must also leave,” announces Bilge. “It will draw my portrait while I’m gone.”

Bilge pulls a small vial from his pocket and drops it onto the floor. Matching puffs of red smoke appear around him and  his pig. When the mist clears, those two have also vanished. Bilge is a potions master, so the puff and go is his version of an emergency exit.

I roll my eyes. “There was no need for everyone to run off. I didn’t say I’d test things out right now.”

“What was that about Bilge and a portrait?” asks Dare.

“Bilge wants to get a girlfriend before his tusks regrow. I said I’d draw him in his less toothy state. He needs it for some kind of dating exchange thing. I try not to ask too many questions.”

“Indeed.” Dare grins. “When do you plan to practice your spell work?”

“First thing tomorrow. The Buttercup Forest.”

“See you then.”

Dare lifts a wand from under his fur cloak. It’s a gift from my mother, the Ley Queen, and it helps Dare transport back and forth between the Summer and Winter realms. He waves his wand. Blue magic surrounds him.

One second, there’s Dare. The next, I’m alone. Unless you count Sammy, who still bounces up a storm.

Honestly, who could find him scary?

I decide to spend the evening in the royal library. Sure, I’ve checked the place a dozen times, but there must be a book somewhere about wielding my scepter. Maybe it got stored on the wrong shelf.

And if that doesn’t work? I’ll try something else. I simply won’t give up until I figure this thing out.

After all, that’s what it means to be queen.

– Calla

Day Seventy-Three

Dear Diary,

Today was my first official test with Sammy the Scepter. I might have melted the Buttercup Forest.

Oops.

– Calla

Day Seventy-Four

Dear Diary,

Second day of scepter testing. I got the Buttercup Forest back. All the trees can now talk. They keep saying how I suck at being queen.

Stupid trees.

– Calla

Day Seventy-Five

Dear Diary,

Day three of testing. Sammy was a pain in my pixie neck today. I spent all morning chasing his little bouncing butt all over the palace. Didn’t cast one spell.

There must another way to find out what’s wrong with my subjects.

And it needs to include a good prank.

– Calla

CALLA launches on July 28, 2020…
ORDER IT ON: GooglePlay / AppleBooks / Nook / Amazon / Kobo

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