Three Quick Fantasy Reads

Free stories

For your reading pleasure, three of my stories are available for free on Smashwords. These tales are very short and pack a punch—wizards, warriors, assassins, witches, ravens, mice, war, love and mayhem.

WWG Print Cover ArtThese three stories are also included in Wizards, Woods and Gods, twelve dark fantasy tales exploring the mysteries of the Otherworld through tree and animal lore, magic, cosmos, love, war and mysticism.

Amazon (Kindle and Paperback)
Barnes & Noble


Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

Pattern Sense

Pattern Sense Cover ArtIt all started with a mouse. Driven by the nocturnal activities of said mouse, a knitter discovers a strange power in the stitches of her latest knitting project. But when her heart is broken, she learns that love is more powerful than even the strengths and pitfalls of the earth’s own magic.

ISBN 9781310979842
3500 words


Earth Blood

Earth Blood Cover ArtThe earth keeps secrets. A warrior discovers an ancient power in his veins when he’s plunged into the political corruption of a war devised to hide the truth of his mother’s death.

ISBN 9781310981081
1950 words


The Om Tree

Om Tree Cover ArtTrees know things. A tree planted by a god at the dawn of a forest and raised in close proximity to an energy well beneath a wizards’ citadel knows a great many things. In this tale, a wizard-assassin loses what is most dear to him and thereby learns the true nature of his art.

ISBN 9781310244094
2100 words


© F.T. McKinstry 2018. All Rights Reserved.

Winter Light

Winter Light, by F.T. McKinstry

In the north where I live, light in the wintertime is precious. The days are short and the sun hangs low, making it feel like afternoon or evening even in the height of day. The shadows have a long, abiding air about them and the warmth of the sun feels strange, not quite real. Shining brightly, it paints stark white lines on the sleeping trees, brings color from the gray and glitters on the snow and ice. Wildlife responds to the scant warmth with gratitude.

The Otherworld is near.

Photography Prints

© F.T. McKinstry 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Frost Moon

Frost Moon

Frost moon is a Norse name given to a full moon in November. The moon is particularly beautiful and mysterious this time of year, when the leaves are in color, the branches are bare and the winds are cold. A while back I was moved to capture this in an oil painting.

Tonight, we’re there. It’s supposed to snow in my neck of the woods so I might not see it…but I’ll feel it. Wherever you are, enjoy.

© F.T. McKinstry 2014. All Rights Reserved.

Lone Mountain

Pale as the moon casting amethyst and indigo shadows,
Distant as a dream, yet close as light,
A mountain shines through the whispering boughs of a twilit wood.

Photography Prints

© F.T. McKinstry 2014. All Rights Reserved.

The Cat Thwarter

Oona in the Apple Tree

Oona in the Apple Tree

Ahh…cats. A writer’s best friend. Splendid traits aside, it’s always best to remember that cats are, at the end of the day, predators capable of wicked things indeed. I live in the woods; I have three cats that are prodigious hunters and one that can climb thirty feet into a tree without catching a breath. There is nothing romantic about this, even to a seasoned cat lady. I’ll spare you the horror stories.


River the Tree Climber

This spring, a robin built a nest in a beech tree by the house. It’s a beautiful thing. From the windows we can hear the chicks twittering and rustling around in the nest. As they’re being fed, they make a lovely, hopeful sound rich with the sort of high-pitched frequencies to which cats are particularly sensitive. In this picture you can see one of the chicks at the top of the nest. It was difficult to get a good shot without doing something obnoxious involving a ladder. I didn’t go there. The adult robins yelled at me from the trees as it was.

Robin's Nest

Robin’s Nest in the Beech Tree

Hemlock and the Cat Thwarter

Hah! Thwarted.

Needless to say, these little beggars were in serious danger (again, speaking from experience, here) so we had to do something. An old tomato cage and a wire cutter did the trick. I have affectionately dubbed this the “Cat Thwarter.” (Yes I made that word up but it works: something that thwarts.) Here it is, with my cat Hemlock lurking in flagrante delicto nearby.

So far so good. Cats. Wicked creatures.

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

More Cat Posts…

Yoga Crasher
Hemlock and Editing
Puss in Books

© F.T. McKinstry 2014. All Rights Reserved.

The Warlock’s Spell

The Warlock's Spell, by F.T. McKinstry
Stars shine in the dark as the moon looks away.
Away, disinterested.
A sword will cut the fair
And call it love.
Love, forsaken.
Come to my hand as a shell washed upon the sand.

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

From The Riven God, Book Four in the Chronicles of Ealiron.

© F.T. McKinstry 2013. All Rights Reserved.

The Maiden

By sun and stone, by fog and sky,
By night the winds come singing;
By dawn the robin’s joyful cry
Shall join the bluebells ringing.
Fair, the Maiden’s feet upon the dew.

From out the fields of amber green,
Beneath the low sky raining,
A wily stag her heart to tame,
Her wildness changed to yearning.
Breathlessly, the violets face the sun.

Columbine, to draw her near,
Goldenrod, to find her;
Myrtle blossoms she holds dear,
Hawthorn blooms will bind her.
Velvet red, the petals of the rose.

When the sun’s crown rules the skies,
Grapes ripening on the vine;
The stag shall look with longing eyes
Towards the harvest time.
Fear not, the twilight’s strange disquietude.

The raven does not mourn the night,
Nor wolves the kill’s last breath;
The owl, she revels in her flight,
The stag, his ancient death.
Tears of blood fall sweet upon the stone.

Little Tree, by F.T. McKinstry

© F.T. McKinstry 2013. All Rights Reserved.