Betwixters:Once Upon A Time
Laura C. Cantu
Genre: Middle-grade fantasy
Date of Publication: July 1, 2017
Number of pages: 288
Cover Artist: Laura C. Cantu
When you believe, magic awakens.
A mysterious forest near the cozy town of Herogate, England is more than what it seems. The gnarled trees appear to breathe, gloomy storms follow you around, and prowling shadows come to life before your very eyes. Referred to as The Dark Wood by the townsfolk, the forest is guarded by a strange old man and creatures not of this world. Even the locals never set foot in the bewitched woodlands, and trespassers have a way of turning up dead.
When Noah Walters moves to town with his parents, his father—a contractor working on a top secret project for a private security firm—makes Noah promise to never enter those woods; but he doesn’t know that Fate has other plans.
Noah and his new best friends, Ethan and Skye, are chased into The Dark Wood by Grucker, a schoolyard bully, and their lives are changed forever. They are forced into the heart of the forest, where they discover a lost fairy who needs their help to find her way back home before it's too late.
Join Noah and his friends on a magical adventure as they race against time and plunge headfirst into the unknown. They are challenged with secrets to keep, a dangerous mission to accomplish, and a test of courage that will bring them face-to-face with magical creatures they thought only existed in fairy tales.
This is more than a tale of discovery, mystery, and excitement; it’s an epic adventure that will usher you into a world where magic is in the air, in the trees, and in every heart.
Book Trailer: https://youtu.be/9nrNadww4QU
Meeting a Monster -A True Story
When I was
younger, a group of newly acquired friends and I tried to think of something
eerie to do on Halloween night. Little did we know, that we would see something
truly terrifying that would change our lives forever.
teenagers, we decided that visiting a cemetery was just about the perfect way
to give ourselves a good scare. I had just moved to town, and my new friends
insisted that there was a glowing tombstone in an old, run down graveyard off a
gravel road about thirty miles outside of town. So, we piled in a small,
two-door car and drove, excited about the prospects of having some good ghost
stories to tell on the way.
The road we were
driving on was a narrow, two-lane service road with lots of potholes, hills,
and curves. The locals had spread rumors that “devil-worshipers” often held
ceremonies along that road, and one of the girls, who was sitting in the back
seat, seemed to be enjoying herself as she recounted the spooky stories. She
spoke of how the Satanists skinned animals alive, and how there were strange
sightings in the area. Her last story was about the glowing gravestone; she
claimed it was cursed.
We drove farther
and farther from town, well over thirty miles, and I fidgeted in my seat. I was
beginning to have second thoughts about going so far out into the night, especially
since I hadn’t let my mother know where I was going. Back then, we didn’t have
mobile phones. If something unexpected or dreadful happened, there would’ve
been no one around to help, and my mother wouldn’t have even known where to
I shook my head,
trying to shake off my growing apprehension as silence suddenly fell over the
car like a soft, suffocating blanket. I cleared my throat to speak up but
thought better of it. I didn’t want to be the one who chickened out and insist
on turning back.
headlights pierced the darkness of the night and bugs thumped into the
windshield as we continued to drive along. That’s when it happened.
The car came to
a screeching halt.
There, in the
middle of the road, sat a coyote. The driver of the car, a sixteen-year-old
girl with short curly hair named Angie (her name has been changed to protect
her identity), honked at the coyote. To our amazement, it didn’t move. Instead,
it lazily looked in our direction as if it had nothing better to do than sit in
the middle of the road, blocking our way.
blinked. The lights of the car reflected on its retina, causing its eyes to
glow a dull shade of red.
When it did not
budge this time, Angie yelled and honked again, but this time she held her hand
down so that the horn blared into the night air.
It was then that
the coyote stood on its two hind legs and turned toward us, a tall looming
monster with sharp teeth and penetrating eyes.
slid from the steering wheel as we all sat in amazement at this towering beast.
It seemed to be looking us over, mulling over what it would do next. Was he contemplating eating us?
I couldn’t find
my voice. All I could do was sit there, slack-jawed and bewildered.
Just when I
thought we were going to have to flee for our lives, the creature turned and
ran away, its movements akin to that of a running human.
Everyone in the
car finally found their voices to scream! Angie whipped a U-turn, and we
hightailed it back to town.
Even today, over
twenty years later, the vision of that creature is still clearly etched upon my
memory. That was the day that I began questioning how magical and mysterious
our world truly is. -Laura C. Cantu
Laura C. Cantu is a multitalented artist, visionary, and humanitarian. Throughout her life, she has felt an overwhelming desire explore the mysteries of the unknown and to expand her awareness and experiences. By allowing her perspective to shift and change, Laura has learned to unleashed her imagination and use it to guide her through creative processes. She passionately follows her dreams and has achieved high levels of success in her various careers. As a professional dancer, Laura won six national titles and placed fourth in the Professional Argentine Tango World Championships. She also stretched her creative muscles as a visual artist with drawings that toured across the globe. Adding to her diverse accomplishments, Laura earned her master’s degree in Oriental Medicine in 2012, which has afforded her opportunities to assist many along their journeys to realizing wellness.
Despite her already jeweled career, there is another passion Laura delights in—the art of storytelling. Her first young adult fantasy novel, Xandria Drake: Ancient Rising, earned rave reviews and a Goodreads' book of the month award. Currently working on The Vathylite Realms, Laura is harnessing and focusing her energies to craft engaging stories that are meant to bring joy, inspiration, and awareness to all who read them.
Laura is on a mission to live a life of inspiration, truth, and empowerment. With future books pending release, she continues to dance as a hobby, study energetics and wellness, and explore her imagination. Laura also enjoys drawing and creating 3D art and animations, hiking, meditation, playing guitar, and spending time with her family, friends, and pets.