Cora’s a young girl with two dreams: to be a dragon jockey when she grows up and to own a pet dragon now. She constantly buys “egg packs” at the dragon emporium in hopes that one will hatch into a rare pet-sized dragon, but only gets short-lived mayflies. However, when an unexpected egg does develop into something new, Cora may be over her head.

“I feel like this book should be made into a major motion picture; it’s that awesome. The writing is superb, the characters are fun, and the story is engaging, to say the least.”

“This is so much more than just a fantasy. It has great lessons about friendships, ethics, and even a child running their first business. Great book for a family to read together and discuss.”

“Dragons are cool, but after this book, I think I need one!”

Available on Amazon


CIR: What inspired this story?
BURKE: When I was younger I used to love those machines where you could pop a quarter in and get a random prize … but I never got the prize I wanted. I thought up a world where dragons came in disposable packaging like that and just sort of built outward from there.

CIR: What was the hardest part of writing this story?
BURKE: The choice to set it in a 1920’s style environment made one character start talking like an extra from Newsies, and I never really got him under control. That said, 20’s slang is interesting.

CIR: Who is your favorite character and why?
BURKE: Cricket. Short answer: because he’s a dragon. Long answer: he was fun to write because he was non-verbal and that’s always a fun challenge, seeing how many characters you can give to a non-speaking part.

CIR: What other books, movies, or shows might you compare to this story?
BURKE: It’s a classic “kid and pet” story. Kind of like How to Train your Dragon if it had been given a slow-paced Miyazaki treatment.

CIR: What themes do you address in this story?

BURKE: Growing up, letting go, learning to understand people in spite of differences, standing up for yourself and others, some mild environmental themes, and how to balance living under unjust laws with taking care of one’s family.


Since this book is targeted at younger readers, be advised that on “off-screen” death occurs (shots are heard). 


Learn more about H. L. Burke and her writing at



 posted in: Contemporary Romance, Short Story |  0

by Holly Schindler


Book 1: Come December


Natalie is new to town and feels invisible and painfully alone…until a mysterious stranger in a cemetery changes everything.


“A great romantic short story for the holiday season.”

“I truly enjoyed this well-written and heartwarming read.”

“A story that leaves you with a warm feeling of hope, and makes you wonder whose life you might affect?”

Available on Amazon


Book 2: January Thaw

Annie returns to her small hometown of Finley to celebrate her new-found success as an up-and-coming young artist…only to come face-to-face with Justin, her childhood best friend, and a journalist who recently penned a scathing review of her work. Can an artist and her biggest critic find common ground—or have Justin’s words destroyed their friendship for good?

“I am definitely a fan of the town of Finley and the cast of characters found there.”

“Another feel-good story. The characters are appealing and the town has its own personality.”

Available on Amazon


Book 3: Forget February


The legend of Amos Hargrove is nothing more than a silly fairy tale, according to the two people who are arguably the most broken-hearted in the entire town of Finley. His spirit does not still exist, and he does not play matchmaker or bring luck to those who need it… or does he?

“While Finley and Amos’s story is tragic I enjoyed the legend that built up around their love for each other and that a town would hold onto it and commemorate it each year.”


“An old-fashioned feel-good story, perfect for anyone who still has a bit of the romantic in them.”

Available on Amazon


Book 4: Dearest March


At fifty-five, Jo, the proprietor of Jo March Books: Depository for the New & Used, still clings to the idea of finding her very own Mr. Darcy, the star of her beloved Pride and Prejudice. When her ex-husband returns to town (at the same time gifts begin to appear from a “secret admirer,” no less), she wonders if she had wrongly pegged him as her adversary…

“This is my favorite so far, but I have a feeling you will need to be prepared to hear that a lot as the year goes on because the Forever Finley Short Story Cycle seems to get better as it progresses!”

Available on Amazon


Book 5: April’s Promise


Patricia has participated in the April Promise Couples Race every year of her three-decades-long marriage with her husband Timothy. This year, though, they find themselves facing a slew of new challenges that steal their second winds and force them to question whether they’ll make it past the finish line.

“Schindler has a way of capturing the realities of life and putting those realities into characters that the reader can relate to, empathize with and learn from. With Patricia and Timothy, I felt almost like Holly was a fly on the wall in my house!”

“Great look at a long-term relationship and done in an unusual way. I liked it a lot, particularly as I’m recently retired and have been married 37 years.”

Available on Amazon


Book 6: Mayday Mayday Mayday


Engagement should be a happy time in a young woman’s life, but for Natalie, it’s plagued with doubts. She’d only known Damien four months when she accepted his proposal, and now, when the two are together, she hears a distinct Mayday distress call. Where is the voice coming from?

Does it have anything to do with the enigmatic figure she encountered in the cemetery last winter? Or is Natalie finding a way to tell herself she thinks she’s about to go down in flames?

“There is definitely something magical about the town of Finley! I think it would be the perfect place to settle down in. Looking forward to the next installment!”

Available on Amazon


Book 7: Chasing June


Annie Ames returns to her childhood hometown to begin a project with her lifelong friend, Justin: a book documenting the romantic folklore surrounding the legend of Amos Hargrove, the town founder. But no one likes the fact that she’s “disturbing the dust”—rifling through old memories and a more than century-old legend. When Annie visits Mary, the town’s oldest resident, she opens an old trunk—and along with a treasured antique wedding shawl, discovers life-altering truths about her feelings for her closest friend…and about the legend of Amos Hargrove and his sweetheart, Finley.

“This is the 7th installment of the Forever Finley Short Story Cycle. I’ve loved all of them and can’t wait for each month to come for a new installment. We were introduced to Justin and Annie in another installment so it was fun catching up with them and learning another piece of the puzzle that makes the town of Finley so special.”

Available on Amazon

Book 8: A Hundred Julys


Norma Johnson, the owner of Finley’s only antique store, has always felt she was mysteriously drawn to the small town. Forced to host the July vintage car show, she bumps headlong into the legend that has surrounded Finley for a century—and in so doing, gains a new perspective on the far-reaching effects of love…

“Another emotion-filled entry in the saga of Finley. I liked how the author wove magical realism into the tale and used it as a hook to get two delightful people together at a time when both thought love was in the rearview mirror.”

Available on Amazon


Book 9: August Moon


It has been said that seeds of love planted beneath an August moon will bind two meant to be together—forever.

Two different couples—one currently hoping to find common ground in their relationship, the other a legendary pair wandering the town in their relentless attempt to reunite—find their paths have suddenly intertwined like wild Midwestern vines under the red August Heart Moon. Will Mark and Jo decide their late-in-life romance can find new direction? And how will the fabled Finley’s search for her beloved Amos be impacted by the planting of her enchanted moon seeds?

“I enjoyed one more piece of the puzzle of Amos and Finley’s story. I highly recommend this short story cycle. It doesn’t have to be read in order. You can jump in wherever you like. Me? I’m an order kind of gal and love to start at point A and finish at point B. If you do that you get the bigger picture and it makes the whole cycle one big lovely read!!”

Available on Amazon


Book 10: Song for September


Dreams often linger like a haunting melody.

Michael is a failed musician at heart and a coffee shop barista by day. Will the century-old legend of his hometown provide the magic he needs to finally succeed—and in so doing, will Michael have the power to assist in the long-awaited reunion of Finley’s first sweethearts?

Available on Amazon


Book 11: October Omen


Superstitions float around us constantly. We choose to believe or discount them based on where our hearts happen to be at that particular moment.

Kelly Marx, Finley’s premiere wedding planner and dress designer, is on a mission to get access to a Civil War-era shawl for Natalie, the latest bride to hire her. But Mary, the elderly owner of the shawl, isn’t the only force to come between Kelly and her goal. When the shawl goes missing, Kelly also encounters mysterious characters and a slew of bad omens—but what does it all add up to? What does it foretell? Where will Kelly’s skeptical heart lead her?

“I enjoyed October Omen! Not only was there more of the legend of Amos and Finley, but there was also a few Indian legends, omens(good and bad), and the love that one town has for helping out their fellow neighbor in need. I love how each installment can stand alone, yet as a whole, the story is building and I can’t wait to see what happens next!”

Available on Amazon


Book 12: Pale November, December Bells

The conclusion to the Forever Finley Short Story Series…or is it?

Named for the young woman who died tragically before her wedding day, Finley is a small town unlike any other. Founded shortly after the Civil War by Amos Hargrove, Finley Powell’s grieving fiancé, Finley-sites of today still believe that Amos’s undying affection—and a million little miracles—will reunite two hearts meant to be together. Will the legend that has perpetuated the idea of their forever love finally be fulfilled? Can a happy ending actually be the beginning of a new chapter for a town called Finley?


Available on Amazon



Get the entire collection in one boxed set!

Forever Love in the Town of Finley.

True love never dies—or so Amos Hargrove, a brave Civil War soldier who lost his beloved before they could marry, still believes. His spirit, some say, pervades the town he founded and named for his sweet fair-haired young beauty. In Finley, dreams come true, love blossoms, and second chances are unearthed. Is Amos’s spirit truly at work, granting wishes as he continues to search for his own love? Does his unfulfilled desire continue to have an influence on those who call Finley home? What will it take to finally unite two souls meant to be together?

Forever Finley is a collection of stand-alone short stories that explore the many facets of love—whether that love takes the form of friendship, romance, or passion for one’s life calling. These warm, uplifting, often magical tales detail loss and perseverance, the strength of the human spirit, and the ability of love to endure…forever.


Available on Amazon


CIR: What inspired this uniquely constructed series?

SCHINDLER: I’m a hybrid author (my fifth traditional release is out May ’16 with HarperCollins); in my indie work, I wanted to experiment with formats that most publishers don’t often explore—specifically, I really wanted to get back to shorter fiction (a format I love but hadn’t written in much since my days as a master’s student). Come December was initially going to be a stand-alone short story. But I was so surprised by the response (I moved 19K copies during the holiday season) that I wanted to propel the story forward.

CIR: What would you compare the cycle to?

SCHINDLER: Forever Finley is a short story cycle, meaning each story is a stand-alone and can be read in any order; on their own, each story creates one picture of the town of Finley—when read together, they create another. Other famous examples of short story cycles are Washington Irving’s The Sketchbook of Geoffrey Crayon (which features the short stories “Rip Van Winkle” and “The Legend of Sleepy Hollow”)…occasionally, even Tan’s The Joy Luck Club is categorized as a short story cycle.

CIR: Who is your favorite character and why?

SCHINDLER: Actually, the small town of Finley is a character—and the connecting thread for the entire cycle. People find themselves drawn to Finley for reasons they can’t explain; meanwhile, legends regarding the Hargroves, Finley’s founding family, swirl through the town. Is it all mere coincidence…or could it possibly be magic?

CIR: What did you enjoy most about writing this?

SCHINDLER: For the first few months, I was truly being a “pantser” rather than my usual “plotter.” Once I knew I was going to extend the book, I had to run with what was already “live.” That’s true every single time I return to Finley; I can’t revise previous chapters, which offers a fresh and exciting challenge each month.