Heartfelt Sounds

Heartfelt Sounds


C.M. Estopare

Author Bio

Writing is my forte. Art races through my veins. I love everything fantasy, from video games such as the Elder Scrolls, to novels such as The Woman Who Rides Like a Man. Some might say I spend too much time writing, living and breathing, within my fantasy worlds–and they’d probably be right. But, creating places for others to escape to is my passion. Crafting worlds that not only enthrall my audience, but swallow them whole–keeping them away from the waking world until the very last page–is what I live and strive to do. I enjoy taking the beauty of a mystical place and weaving black vines of drama beneath it’s rolling emerald plains. I enjoy entertaining others with pieces of my imagination and questioning static worldviews in the process. Most of all, I enjoy the simple act of creating.

As for who I am, I am a girl who loves dogs and yoga. Coffee is my preworkout (before writing and running) and I am an advocate for poofy natural hair!

As a veteran of the United States military, I’ve journeyed to plenty of places that have sparked and fed my (somewhat overactive) imagination. Not only am I excited to share what I’ve seen through dark, and sometimes rose-colored glasses, I am ecstatic.


Orphaned Naia Belle is an apprentice songstress, attached for life to her silkhouse in the illustrious pleasure capital of Sorrel, Felicity. But as the dark clouds of war descend upon Felicity, Naia, ill-prepared and not yet fully trained, is forced from her home and into a nightmare she never imagined.

Driven once more from the haven she finds, posing as a boy and conscripted into a foreign army, Naia struggles to remain hopeful in spite of the trials she faces. Then she discovers there are those who wish to reopen Heaven’s Gate and allow titans to walk the mortal realms once more. Only one power can stop them.

As her friends and allies fall around her, beset by sand wraiths and the soulless dead, with everything she loved now lost to her, Naia faces yet another challenge: the blackened plains of the Void, where she may learn the true power of her voice. A power the necromancers and titans would kill to stop.

Book excerpt

“In this bitter world…”

Fans glide open with a snap of paper. My eyes stay to my hands and fingers as they sail over sixteen strings. As the long cherrywood body of the zither rocks beneath me, in time to the foot falls of the dancers.

“…who can declare the difference between love and hate?”

The dancers still, their faces stoic.
“In these mortal realms…”

I cast my gaze up to steal a look at our audience. Three women curve their legs beneath skirts which balloon out around them. They litter the carpet like fallen petals. They are not strangers, nor are they patrons.

A gray haired woman snaps her gaze from the dancers to me. Hard opal eyes narrow to slits. She raises a hand, her drop sleeve rises with her like the erratic tail of a ghost. A crooked finger frees itself from the long crimson sleeve. It points, squarely at me.

Althea’s eyes—they make me shiver.

I snap my gaze to my fingers. I breathe. I sing.

“…who can declare the difference between right and wrong?”

Feet shuffle as the dancers behind me glide into the next act. Fans disappear into the deep pockets of pastel colored drop sleeves. Lacy cloth draped upon the stage resemble wind and they shower themselves with it. The tissue-like fabric floats in the air around them as they make movements to hold the falling cloth there, suspended in midair. Floating about their persons.

Before they snap the cloth back with quick hands, sliding the cloth along the length of the stage as they jump and leap like tumbling winds. They form a line now, as rushing feet halt. They form a line, heads bowed to the front.

I open my mouth.

“Someday, I would like to ask—”

Hands strike out—vipers reach for their prey. They strike at opposite intervals.

“’In this world, who writes the scrolls of our fates?’”

Arms move as waves that heave. The lead dancer raises her right arm to the sky, questioning the gods.

“Someday, I would like to ask—”

The leader falls. Arms forward, legs curved behind her. The dancers begin to vary in height, resembling the mortal who fights through trials. She comes from nothing. Gains strength from what the gods place before her. Trial after trial, failure after failure—she prevails. The final dancer raises her right arm in a straight arc—her body rises onto its toes. She has ascended.

“’When mortals dream, who plucks the strings of the ancient zither?’”

Hands soar across an ocean of silver strings.

As one simple pluck ends with a sharp twang.

As a string upon my precious zither rips from its wooden base.

My hands shake as I take both ends of the little silver string. I tie them together only for them to wind apart again.

Again and again and again.


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