Category Archives: Free Read

Happy St. Patrick’s Day Excerpt

So, things are ticking along here and for this St. Patrick’s day I am mainly vegging on the sofa doing edits following a lovely walk in Glen of the Downs. As a treat for you, here’s an excerpt from A Hollow in the Hills and a belligerent leprechaun called Art.


‘Don’t say anything, okay?’ he told her as they approached a stall staffed by a small red-haired fae dressed in a green hoodie, with the shiniest shoes Izzy had ever seen. ‘He’s a lep, and if they lose it there’s hell to pay.’

‘A lep? Do you mean a leprechaun?’ She smiled. ‘But aren’t they… I don’t know… lucky? Jolly?’

Jinx looked at her as if she’d never said anything so stupid in all the time he’d known her.

‘You saw them at the museum didn’t you? Cudgel and his mob? Did they seem jolly? Look, ever seen a poltergeist?’ She shook her head. ‘Well, anyway, doesn’t matter. He’s way worse.’

The leprechaun scowled at them and proceeded to shove more things into a backpack.

‘Where are you going?’ asked Jinx.

‘Puck’s Castle,’ he said. ‘It’s the only safe place. Something terrible is happening in this city and I don’t want any part of it.’

‘Oh, come on, Art,’ Jinx began, but the leprechaun glared at him, then stared at Izzy, as if noticing her for the first time. He shook his head, blinking and took a step back. Afraid. It was unmistakable.

‘You need to stay away. I don’t know what it is but it feels wrong and it all centres on you. On the two of you but mainly on you, Cú Sídhe. You’re all about Hollows, kith and kin, but we’re not. My kind, I mean. We’re solitaries, only tolerated because we’re useful and do the jobs the mighty Aes Sídhe don’t want to sully their hands with. When the shit hits the fan we’re first against the wall. That goes for all the wanderers, the outsiders, the ones who don’t belong. But listen, mate, the Cú Sídhe are usually next to get it.’

‘But why Puck’s Castle?’

‘Don’t you know anything? Puck’s Castle? Puck? The Púca, Jinx, king of the wanderers, lord of wild magic. First among us? Hell’s bells, Holly did a job and a half on you. Did she beat our stories from you? The Sídhe had their gods and we had ours. They’re all gone but they linger on. They can be called back. Sometimes. Some say they’re just sleeping under the earth or in a Hollow in the hills.’

‘The Púca’s a story.’

‘Yeah,’ said Art, zipping up the rucksack and swinging it over his shoulders. It was almost as big as he was but didn’t impede him in the slightest. ‘And I’m off a bleedin’ cereal packet. There’s a lot of it about. Try to keep up, doggy.’


Just remember, they’re all dangerous. Even if they’re cute and grumpy.


Book 3, A Darkness at the End, is coming along and due out in September. I’m deep in edits. At the end of the month I’m off to Eastercon where I’ll be moderating the “True Love and Trophies” panel at 7pm on Friday. Should be great fun.


I think we can all blame thank the fabulous Celine Kiernan for #InTheWild. I asked for pitures of A CavanCKHollow in the Hills if anyone saw it in the wild. So she put it in a bush and sent me a photo.

As you do in Cavan….

(thank you Celine! You are fab!)

Poor Jinx, however does not appreciate nature in any form. He’s a city fae.

And then others got in on the act. 😀

John in Dundrum



Eventually, even I gave in.

With the library cows



Luckily the booksellers of Dublin and Drogheda came to our Jinx’s rescue

Here it is on the shelves. Not quite in its natural habitat though. That would be the hands of readers.

If you see A Hollow in the Hills out in the wild, send me a photo – @rflong #IntheWild #Galavanting (because that’s clearly what it’s doing) #HollowInTheHills.

Dubray Grafton Street
Dubray Grafton Street
Dubray Grafton Street
Dubray Stillorgan
Hodges Figgis
Dubray Dun Laoghaire
Waterstones Drogheda
Waterstones Drogheda
Waterstones Drogheda








































In other news, check out Dublin2019 Irish Fiction Friday today – featuring me!

Shoes, Ducks & Maids of the Sea – Free ebook

So here it is folks – the IBbY ebook for Children’s Book Day.

Shoes Ducks and Maids of the SeaShoes Ducks and Maids of the Sea is a collection of thirteen short stories retelling the classic tales of Hans Christian Anderson with an Irish eye. There are stories from Paula Leyden, Oisín McGann, David Rudden, Sheena Wilkinson, Deirdre Sullivan, Claire Hennessy, Paul Timoney, Anna Carey, Siobhán Parkinson, Sarah Webb, Darragh Martin and me!

You can download Shoes, Ducks and Maids of the Sea here and check out the awesome stuff on, the new website for international Children’s books featuring articles, reviews and children’s lit from all around the world.

And come along to the launch tonight at 6.30pm in the Workmans Club, Wellington Quay, Dublin, if you can.

The Wolf’s Destiny, an excerpt for the holidays

Hope everyone is having a wonderful holiday. As a bit of a Christmas present, and perhaps for some post breakfast/lunch/dinner reading, here’s the opening of The Wolf’s Destiny, book three of A Tale of the Holtlands. In The Wolf’s Sister, Jeren and Shan met when she fled her brother Gilliad’s realm, fearing his growing insanity. In The Wolf’s Mate they fought to stay together among his people, the Fey’na, and battled against their ancestral enemies the Fell’na, cementing their relationship and facing two divergent prophecies – one which predicted their separation, the other spending their lives together. And now, in The Wolf’s Destiny, prophecy and their past come back to haunt them, threatening to tear apart everything they have built together.

Two lives, one love, one destiny. Continue reading The Wolf’s Destiny, an excerpt for the holidays

Free Octocon Anthology

As part of the run up to Octocon, the National Irish Science Fiction Convention held (funnily enough) in October, my story CARRYING KEPTARA is currently available as part of their free showcase anthology, along with stories by Peadar Ó Guilín, Brian J. Showers and Derek Gunn.

It’s available in ePub, Kindle and PDF formats.

Plus they are running a short story competition.

What are you waiting for? RUN!


Free Read: Old Friends, Part Five

So, here it is, the last part of the story. I hope you have enjoyed this. It’s been a bit of an experiment so if you have enjoyed it please let me know.

If you missed previous instalments, you can read Part One Here, Part Two Here, Part Three Here, Part Four Here.


Old Friends: a Tale of the Holtlands

Part Five

The light burst into a million fragments, whirling about them like a nest of fireflies struck in two. Reese gasped for breath, as if doused in water. The shock from the breaking of his spell, and horror to see how close he had come to succumbing covered his face. He stumbled back, clinging to Elysse.

The Enchassa screamed a curse. Her body swirled to smoke and shadows and, an instant later, she reformed right beside the lovers. She lashed out towards Elysse and the twisted claws she bore for nails sliced into the girl’s throat. Reese tried to turn, to defend his betrothed but too late. His mouth distended in a silent scream. The Enchassa turned on him, ready to finish the slaughter. But before she could, the power Tyria had always sensed in him detonated.

Continue reading Free Read: Old Friends, Part Five

Free Read: Old Friends, Part Four

Today its part Four of Old Friends. If you missed them, you can read Part One Here, Part Two Here and Part Three Here.


Old Friends: a Tale of the Holtlands

Part Four

Tyria only heard the faintest sound to warn her of attack. Turning, she caught the Fell’s stomach with the swinging blade, disembowelling it. It kept coming, momentum propelling it. The extended claws sliced through the heavy leather of her jerkin.

Armour, she thought through the wave of pain that engulfed her. I need armour. She kicked the next attacker in the gut, and beheaded it. Lots and lots of really strong armour.

Hot slick  blood spread through her cotton undershirt.

Keep moving, she ordered herself. Don’t think about them, about Reese, about anything. Keep moving. If you stop, you die.

The blob of light moved further out over the lake of blood and all around her the dark shadows, with claws as sharp as steel, writhed and thickened. Their own rancid blood pooled beneath her feet, and splattered across her face. She spat it out.

Continue reading Free Read: Old Friends, Part Four

Free Read: Old Friends, Part Three

Part Three of Old Friends today. If you missed it, you can read Part One Here and Part Two Here.


Old Friends: a Tale of the Holtlands

Part Three

The cave, which formed the entrance to the abandoned mine, was a dark cleft in the rock face, as if a giant had smote a gash through the side of the mountain. Nothing would induce the horses to go any nearer. They couldn’t have taken them in there anyway. But the reaction told Tyria all she needed to know. Dancer’s instincts were good and Tyria trusted the horse. There could be no doubt now. Too many pieces slotted right into place. Tyria drew her sword and lifted it as if in salute. Closing her eyes, she whispered a prayer to Al-V’Annin the Bright, Warrior god and Avenger of the Lost. He remained the one god in whom she felt able to place her trust and here, now, she needed his protection. The metal pressed cold and hard against her palm. It sucked away every last weakness from her. Her foster sister, had once declared that the sword was Tyria’s true love, her one and only bedfellow. Sometimes that thought was a comfort but there were also times when Tyria prayed for it not to be true.

Continue reading Free Read: Old Friends, Part Three

Free Read: Old Friends, Part Two

Part Two of Old Friends today. If you missed it, you can read Part One Here


Old Friends: a Tale of the Holtlands

Part Two

They rode through the forest Tyria remembered as bright and green, filled with birdsong and the rustling of living things. Around the manor, the forest remained the same, but as they climbed into the hills, the birdsong died away, and shadows clung to the edges of her vision. Fewer flowers crowded the edges of the path, and finally they vanished, leaving only briars and weeds.

Reese sagged in the saddle, more affected by the change than she was.

“Are you all right?”

“Yes. But it hurts inside, as if this will never recover. Can’t you feel it? The earth itself is fighting a sickness.”

“What sort of sickness?” She knew, or could guess, but she asked anyway to keep him talking. It always started like this. A poison, a curse, the Fell.

Continue reading Free Read: Old Friends, Part Two

Excerpt Monday: Old Friends, part one

Excerpt Monday Logo

Once a month, a bunch of authors get together and post excerpts from published books, contracted work or works in progress, and link to each other. You don’t have to be published to participate–just an writer with an excerpt you’d like to share. For more info on how to participate, head over to the Excerpt Monday site! or click on the banner above.

Old Friends: a Tale of the Holtlands by R. F. LongOld Friends: a Tale of the Holtlands

Part One

Invitations weren’t part of a warrior’s day to day experience. Tyria knew two things: people who wanted to see or spend time with her always had an ulterior motive; people in need of help just came straight out and asked.

Reese’s note was curt, almost rude. As her oldest friend, there should have been some sort of greeting at least. It had been four years and she hadn’t even had word he was home. He asked to see her, but didn’t say why. It had to be bad. Continue reading Excerpt Monday: Old Friends, part one