Building on a Theme

Happy last day of November, SEers! We’re doing something a little different on Story Empire today. We’ve chosen one word to use as a theme and are sharing a few short sentences built around that word from one of our books. Our theme word is “Tree.”

Pretty basic, right? But it can appear in so many different ways—from a sparkly holiday tree to a twisted skeleton in a dark forest, or a leafy giant in the full bloom of spring. Maybe the trunk bears the initials of young lovers, or odd territorial markings from a hidden tribe tucked deep in a jungle.

How have you used “tree” in your own works? Feel free to share in the comments below. In the meantime, here are a few treats from Story Empire.


Book cover of Food for Poe by Mae Clair shows attractive young couple, a black cat and Christmas ornamentsMae here, kicking things off with two lines from my Christmas novella, Food for Poe.

Breck led her into the family room where a fire burned brightly in the hearth. The Christmas tree was in the same place as last year, its branches decked out with shiny balls and twinkling white lights.

Food for Poe combines the magic of Christmas with the whimsy of light romance, a creepy folktale, and one very special cat. It’s been described as “feel good tale” with a touch of the paranormal.

Available for .99c, it can purchased be from AMAZON.


When We Finally Kiss GoodnightCiao, amici! Staci here. I, too, am sharing two lines from a Christmas novella. Mine is called When We Finally Kiss Goodnight.

Near a stately limestone fireplace stood a two-story Fraser fir festooned with gold ribbons, burgundy clusters of balls, bronze spires, etched-glass ornaments, and giant blush poinsettias with gilded edges. Thousands of white lights twinkled through the needles and reflected off the decorations.

When We Finally Kiss Goodnight has been called a “charming holiday romance” and I’m told it heats things up on a cold winter’s night. It’s a one-that-got-away/second-chance-at-love tale with elements of romance, humor, and folklore. Available for 99¢, you can download it here from your favorite eBook store.


Hi Gang. Craig here, and we have to remember the theme is tree, and not Christmas. This is my way of saying my snippet is a bit creepier. This is a full novel called Will O’ the Wisp.

The ancient tree was bigger than my truck. It was an oak, and the lower branches were bigger than we were. Its scarlet leaves rattled in the breeze, but determined to hang on for a few more weeks. “It has to be hundreds of years old,” I said, “and it doesn’t take too much imagination to see witches hanging from its branches.”

Laura squeezed my hand back and moved closer. “Do, do you think that’s the hanging tree?”

Will O’ the Wisp is available on Amazon for $2.99.

North American Continent http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UPH6BNS

Rest of the world http://a-fwd.com/asin-com=B00UQNDT2C

From one of my reviews: “It’s another mashup of genres in Will O’ the Wisp. If I were to take To Kill a Mockingbird (Harper Lee), The Body or It (Stephen King), Any Harry Potter book, and a script from the TV show Stranger Things and throw them in a blender, it would make the smoothie that is this book and it would be a very tasty smoothy.”


Hi everyone! Harmony here 🙂

Like Craig, my theme is definitely on the creepier side. Any of you who’ve read my scary book The Glade will know why, lol 🙂 Here are my couple of lines on ‘Tree’ …

She strained her eyes, and tried to penetrate the thick gloom within the old oaks that surrounded the garden.  But she couldn’t make anything out; nevertheless, her guts had clenched tight, and she just knew that either somebody or something was in there. 

Many reviewers have likened The Glade to a Stephen King type book. Here are a few words about it … “Readers who like to curl up during the long winter evenings and feel the delicious chill of fear running up and down their spines need only turn to The Glade to have all their expectations fulfilled.”

The Glade is available via Amazon priced at $2.99 US and £1.99 UK. It’s FREE if you’re on Kindle Unlimited. If you’re looking for a cosy Christmas Read, don’t buy this book!

The links are:

AMAZON US

AMAZON UK


Hi, SE Readers. Joan here. I’m sharing a couple of lines from Unknown Reasons, a romantic suspense novel and the second book of my Driscoll Lake series.

The blaze had been an accident. He was sitting on the rickety back porch of the old structure puffing on a Marlboro when he heard a car. His mother would have been furious to know about his newly acquired habits, although he often thought she suspected something. It was possible she had followed him, so he tossed the cigarette and ran for cover in the nearby woods.

Here’s a brief excerpt from  a review: Brian is a reformed bad boy with something to prove and Rachel… Rachel was born into wealth but never let it influence her. Unfortunately, it influences how others perceive her. If opposites attract, then these two are destined to come together. If they manage it, they’ll set the town ablaze.  Too bad someone beat them to it.

Unknown Reasons is available in both eBook and paperback. The eBook is only $2.99. Click here for the universal purchase link.


Hi everyone, PH here with a couple of lines from The Bow of Destiny, Book 1 of The Bow of Hart Saga:

Athson braced himself against a tree. “Go away, father. You’re dead.” Fir limbs caressed his face and clothing as Athson marched into his camp. 

Here is an excerpt from Fantasia Reviews which chose The Bow of Destiny as its 2016 Book of the Year: “If you love fantasy, whether it is in the vein of R. A. Salvatore, Piers Anthony, or even J. R. R. Tolkien, we cannot strongly enough recommend this book. It is a great fantasy, original and fun, but at the same time, it pushes the envelope just enough to become something more, something greater. “

The Bow of Destiny is available on Amazon in e-book (also Kindle Unlimited) and Audible where it’s performed by Tim Bruce. The e-book is only $0.99 and print will be offered ivery soon!


Please leave your comments below and feel free to share using one of the available buttons. Thanks for reading along today!

65 thoughts on “Building on a Theme

  1. Pingback: Author Inspiration and Last Week’s Writing Links – Staci Troilo

  2. A willow tree is central to my series as it holds not only a portal to another world, but it also connects to the life essence of one of the characters. Here is an excerpt:

    Ar’ch looked out to his and Sofia’s willow tree and frowned. The once beautifully golden willow tree now shone a shiny silver, and he hated it. As he stared at it and contemplated why it had changed, he gasped in horror as an entire branch broke off and crumbled to the ground. The tree had never even lost a leaf, and now it was starting to fall apart.

    The oracle appeared next to him and said, “The savior is dying.”

    Ar’ch jumped back. “Woman, you startled me!”

    She placed her hand on his arm and looked at him with such a deep sadness that he felt it in his core. “The savior is dying.”

    Liked by 4 people

  3. Love the ‘tree” theme and excerpts! Here’s one from DOG BONE SOUP: “The storm passed over during the night and the sun was poking its head through the treetops by the time I opened my eyes. I heard Mum’s moccasins in the kitchen. Everyone else was still sleepin’.”

    Liked by 4 people

  4. Great excerpts! Congratulations, Mae and Staci on the Christmas novellas. Trees can most likely be found in some form or another in almost every story. I’ve never really thought about it, but they can help establish a setting, a mood, or a plot. Great post!

    Liked by 3 people

  5. Birds whistled serenades, trees soughed, their limbs gently swaying in the morning breeze, the sun cascading through the leaves, spreading warmth and glow over this wondrous land. And yet, a serial killer stalked the streets. ~ From CLEAVED

    Liked by 7 people

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