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What Choices We Made -- Short Stories From the History of Onweald, Volume 1

Would the world of Onweald be the same if Enara had acted differently all those years ago? Join Chariss’s early ancestor on the shores that become Arcana. Rescue a dragon and flee a screaming horde of edras demons. Step into a fantasy realm where romance and humor meet sword and sorcery—where choices of the past shape the world of a powerful heroine. Step into What Choices We Made.

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Excerpt From Dunny & Quill
From the History of Onweald ca. 7100
By Sandy Lender

Dunny groaned some more, rolling to lift himself off the floor. “You’re a bad man, Quill Valiant.”

“You knew that coming into this. What do you think of fire?”

Dunny glanced to the crystal barrier. “How solid you think that is?”

“You’re not up for asphyxiation today?” Quill asked.

“It’s a small cavern. I think it’d fill up before all that ice melted.”

“Agreed. So it’s back to the box of rocks.” Quill opened the little wood box and set it on the floor between them. Dunny crouched down to peer in.

“I wouldn’t get that close to them,” Quill whispered.

“Seriously?”

Quill shrugged.

They both leaned back.

From her imprisonment in suspended animation, the dragon did the only thing she could. She rolled her eyes in impatience. Stupid mortals, she thought. The green one!

“So d’you know what all they do?” Dunny asked.

“Well, he talked kinda fast. . .”

Dunny rose to his full height of three feet four inches then and scowled at his human friend. “You cannot be serious. We came on this quest to get a dragon and her chalice out of an ice prison in an ice cave, and you knew that coming in, yet you forgot which crystals would help when we got here?”

“No, no, now I didn’t say that. I’m just remembering that he talked pretty darn quickly.”

The green one! the dragon thought in distress. The green one! Stupid idiot mortal human male! The green one!

“All right. How about the red one there. It looks like it would produce fire. We should avoid a fire one.”

“Agreed,” Quill said. “And I think you’re right. I remember him mentioning fire.”

“How about the yellow ones? He gave you several. What’re they for?”

“Yellow. . .yellow. . .more fire?”

“Quill. So help me.”

“I’m just kiddin’ with you. I think the yellow ones raise what you throw them at. For instance, I fling one at the cave floor and shards of dirt and rock come up.”

“Useful. We could use them around the base of the wall.”

“Agreed again. But let’s see what else we’ve got. There’s this pretty blue one. I think that summons faeries.”

“Okay. What’s this peachish brackish one?”

“Oh, yeah, don’t touch that. Pig’s testicle.”

“What? Whatever for?”

“Edras love ’em. Throw that among a horde of edras and they’ll stop to fight over it every time.”
Old wives’ tale, the dragon thought. Get to the green one.

“Great,” Dunny said. “What about this green one?”

“Hmmm. I don’t remember. Let’s try a couple of the yellow ones.”

The dragon had wanted many times in her years of imprisonment to get free of the ice, but never had she been so filled with the desire to get out and eat a human. So she watched in absolute fury as the human and the dwarf each took a yellow crystal and stood what they thought would be a safe distance from the ice before flinging the stones, full force, toward the base of her prison. She fumed as she waited for them to regain consciousness.

***

You can read the rest of "Dunny & Quill" and other short stories in the new release What Choices We Made, Short Stories From the History of Onweald, Volume 1 by Sandy Lender. With monsters, magic, romance, humor, sword and sorcery, What Choices We Made is available now at Amazon.com.

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An Excerpt from a Scene
A Deleted Scene from Choices Meant for Gods, Book I of the Choices trilogy
From the History of Onweald year 7220
By Sandy Lender

Chariss hadn’t dropped the skirt back the few inches to the floor yet, hadn’t lifted her head completely, but lifted her eyes, her heavy lashes, to take in his countenance, as if assessing whether or not he was joking. And then she gave him a wry smile. “Well, I have to wear something provocative in case you should decide to ignore me again for the next week. Someone has to marry me and I might as well start attracting—”

He figured he deserved the teasing, and gave her a devilish grin as he reached out for her arm again. She let out some sort of squawk in the middle of her naughty speech as he whisked her back into his arms. “That’s enough of your saucy tongue,” he said. “What am I going to do with a conniving wife?”

Chariss didn’t get to answer. He had planted a kiss on her that he wasn’t releasing. It seemed entirely inappropriate, all things considered, but entirely intoxicating. All the butterflies in her stomach responded in happy flight, and she relaxed in his arms. Ah, how wonderful it would be when she could hold him like this at any time she wished and no one could question it.

Right now she felt she had to worry about someone walking through the door to “catch” them. And any number of people would find this scandalous. She was so caught up in that thought that she didn’t pay any attention to herself, to her hands. She so liked the feel of his hair. It was very soft, and just long enough that she could run her fingers down to the ends with no trouble at all. And she so liked the feel of his chest. He was very strong, and the fact was apparent when…oh. She broke off kissing him with a start, and he smiled down into her eyes.

Her look amused him. He moved her the pace or two it took to place her against the door. “Oh, look, we’ve been here before,” he whispered, putting his lips to hers again.

But she struggled to stop him. “Nigel, really, someone—”

“And I’ll have you here again,” he breathed against her neck.

She closed her eyes, willing herself to come back to her senses, but, strangely enough, closing her eyes actually blocked this insanity all that much closer to her.

***

You can read the rest of this deleted scene from Choices Meant for Gods and a selection of short stories in the new release What Choices We Made, Short Stories From the History of Onweald, Volume 1 by Sandy Lender. With monsters, magic, romance, humor, sword and sorcery, What Choices We Made is available at Amazon.com now.

 

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Reviews for What Choices We Made

What Choices We Made
In What Choices We Made, fantasy author Sandy Lender has given us another great treat for those of us who loved her first book, Choices Meant for Gods. In this book of short stories, we are again transported to the magical world of Onweald where we are then treated to insane dragons, magic powers, killers, rescuers, and all sorts of unexpected characters along the way. The only sad comment I have to make is that each story she treats us with isn’t long enough—you get that feeling of “Oh darn! That’s it?!” each time you read an ending to one of her short stories. It is, however, a great way to whet the appetite for when her second book comes out. And after reading fantasy books for a lifetime, I find that her writing style is fresh and new, much akin to the descriptive passages of Tolkien, and the snappy dialogue of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series. While I eagerly await the publication of her second book, I’m happy to fall back into Onweald for an excellent, if too short, history of the world she’s created. What a great and fun way to spend an evening!
—Linda Bindner, Kirksville, Mo.

Incredibly Wonderful
After reading Choices Meant for Gods by Sandy Lender, I was held spellbound. Lender had done the impossible: she had revived the genre of high fantasy and brought it back to life, handling this impossible task with a deft hand and great scope.
After reading Choices Meant for Gods, I knew I had read the work of a genius and found it hard to believe that it was her first novel.
Upon hearing of What Choices We Made, I was a little skeptical to read it. A companion book to the trilogy? I was wary of reading it as I was afraid it would take away from the power of Choices Meant for Gods. Thankfully, Sandy Lender is an author who loves to prove me wrong.
What Choices We Made was a sheer delight from start to finish. Not only do we learn more about the land of Onweald, but we get to know and learn more about some of the most amazing characters to grace high fantasy literature in years and, though short, this collection packs a whollop!
We get to visit with Chariss and Hrazon when Chariss is a child and just coming into her powers. We find out what happens when two unsuspecting men are charged with the task of releasing a dragon by order of the wizard Hrazon. We also meet with Gella, a young woman who possesses the Geasa, who must heal a king’s protector from harm and her heart from herself.
The stories in this collection are a rare gift, a look inside an already amazing world. Each story is a gem, a precious jewel, that shines when you read the words Lender has written. She has crafted such wonderful stories that you can’t help but fall in love with the world of Onweald all over again.
Filled with shocks, twists, turns, humour and magic, What Choices We Made is the work of a word artist at the height of her craft. What Choices We Made will leave you wanting more and will fill the need until Choices Meant for Kings, the second book in the epic fantasy trilogy, hits the shelves.
I know that I’ll be reading What Choices We Made again and again. It’s a treasure that deserves to be read.
—Jamieson Villeneuve, Ottawa, Ont.

Sandy Lender is not going to stop until she has me reading the fantasy genre on a regular basis. Now she has me reading up on dragons and dwarfs…a great writer for any reader.
—Michael S. Witherspoon, Tampa, Fla., author of Read My Shorts

Sandy Lender’s scene detail and dialogue make each character and the world she has created enchant you and entertain you and even make you laugh out loud. In some ways, you will begin to wish the world of Onweald was a real place to see and experience, and you can…in her books.
—Laura Crawford, Minnesota, Crawford Writing and Marketing

Review
Sandy Lender, author of the Choices trilogy has written this short story collection based on the wonderful, fantasy world of Onweald. Within this collection you will learn a little bit more background information on your favorite characters from the Choices books as well as be introduced to a few new ones.
This book gives you five short stories like Dunny & Quill, Joveran Border Crossing, Brell’s Rite of Passage, and Dewberries and Bonds, plus a deleted scene from Choices Meant for Gods, the first book in the trilogy and a sneak peek at the second book, Choices Meant for Kings.
I thought Quill and Dunny from Dunny and Quill were a bunch of fun characters that fit together, kind of like The Odd Couple. What with Quill being a human and Dunny a dwarf. Even though they get on each other’s nerves, they made a great team. Then there was the story of how Chariss became who she was today. What I liked the most about this short collection of stories was that it was like getting an exclusive back stage to experience all the makings of how a character was created and the history behind the book. I think this is a great introduction to new readers of Ms. Lender’s Choices books, even though I know they will fall in love with her books as soon as they read them, like I did.
—Cheryl K., Colorado

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Suggested Book Club Questions for What Choices We Made, Short Stories From the History of Onweald, Volume 1
If you’re a member of a book club or other reading group, you might use some of these questions to start a discussion about What Choices We Made. Keep in mind that Fantasy Author Sandy Lender is available to attend book club meetings by phone or to speak at book festivals. Contact her publicity manager to work out the logistics.

In “Joveran Border Crossing,” the young Chariss embarrasses Hrazon pretty badly with her innocent-sounding question before Hrazon realizes what danger her question has put them in. Did you ever embarrass your parents with an “innocent” question in public? Or have your kids done this to you? Tell the group all about it—juicy details are encouraged.

In “Enara’s Choice,” Enara scoops up a disoriented sea turtle and carries it to the Meredore Ocean’s edge. What can anyone tell the group about sea turtle conservation? What special conservation efforts are near and dear to your heart?

In “Dewberries and Bonds,” what happens to Gella at the end of the short story? Did you expect this to happen? Why did The Protector, Sir Odan Kar, do this?

In “Dunny & Quill,” what’s wrong with the dragon the friends are trying to rescue? Considering the danger and Quill’s lack of preparation, why do you suppose Dunny has come along on this adventure with his human friend? Do you have friends who would risk important things like finances or job security to help you? Do you have friends you would risk such things to help? Share with the group what kind of friendship that is or if that is something reserved only for family in this day and age.