“Life in the Seven Kingdoms is never dull . . .” 

–Jen McConnel, School Library Journal


Deleted Scenes from the new Valentine’s Day Fairy Tale

A Sneak Peek at the Cutting Floor for Trouble at the Valentine Factory

None of the sketches on this page are in the newest Seven Kingdoms Fairy Tale, but I thought they might give you a chuckle.

Want to read more? Here are all the places you can get the book (ebook, Kindle, paperback).

Bronze cupid on a turtle fountain

Once you start looking, cupids . . . and friendship . . . are everywhere.

Friendship, bees . . . family, a magical dragon . . . two big holidays in one.

The eleven-year-old royal Saffron twins—Princess Saffy and Prince Magellan–have to save the Seven Kingdoms from the Blackfly Queen’s dangerous new magical candies!

The trouble starts when the Blackfly Queen introduces a brand-new holiday guaranteed to make her the most beloved queen in the Seven Kingdoms: Valentine’s Day!?!

This year, Valentine’s Day falls on the same day as the Rose Monday Parade. Instead of delighting the crowds with traditional candies, the queen has a dastardly plan.

She’s making Consternation Hearts with magical powers, a.k.a. candy hearts with messages good for every day of the year. . .like “Go to the Water Dungeon!”

These Deleted Scenes are a little love note to readers who love the Seven Kingdoms  . . . (or those who might love it once they visit . . .) Enjoy!

Princess Saffy isn't known for tact

A sketch of the eleven-year-old royal Saffron twins, Princess Saffy and Prince Magellan, visiting Prince Nero in the Blackfly Castle.

“The dragon lifted its head and hissed.

“Now what?” Saffy followed the dragon’s gaze. “Oh. We’ve got company.”

The upper gallery of the hexagonal courtyard sported a cupid at each corner.

Nero glanced up at the gallery as if pink cupids with white wings were normal Blackfly Kingdom decorations. He picked up a tray of fresh eclairs and held them out. “Would you like one?”

“Thanks.” Magellan bit into his. The swoon-worthy cream had made King Schwartz famous all over the Seven Kingdoms and beyond.

With an eclair in her hand, Saffy smiled at Nero. “So how long has the Blackfly Kingdom had cupids?”

Magellan choked on his eclair.”

Cupid hanging around a bookstore in Germany

cupid with gilded wings in a bookstore
Kaub castle is red and white plaster with gray turrets. It stands on an island in the middle of the Rhine River

The real tollbooth castle on the Rhine River that inspired the Blackfly Castle.

The Breakfast Barge

barge steaming on the Rhine River

When time is short, the royal Saffron twins decide the family needs to eat breakfast on the barge.

Note: Cardi, Star, and Nelke are the twins’ younger siblings.

Another Note: The breakfast goes fairly well . . . until the Blackfly queen joins them . . .

“Cardi, Star, and Nelke were still asleep when Saffy and Magellan got home with the dragon. Saffy went down to the kitchen and made batter for the apple fritters. Cook had already set out the vat of oil for frying, but Saffy had to light the fire under it and wait for it to get hot.

Magellan woke Cardi and Star and they carried dishes and tablecloths and napkins and cold drinks out to the barge. February was cold enough to keep everything cool. Magellan and Saffy peeled and chopped apples and added them to the batter Saffy had made. She fried the apple fritters and tiny, round doughnut holes. In between batches, she packed up everything she could find from the pantry.

Fortunately, Cook had already made the tiny almond cookies shaped like bishop’s hats and ordered the cheeses, sausage, ham, butter, and crispy rolls for the breakfast. So all the twins had to do was get Cook’s planned breakfast onto the barge.

Saffy put an apple fritter on a tray that was already too full.

“Good morning, Princess Saffy.” Cook stood in the doorway with her hands on her hips. “Decided to make the apple fritters yourself this year?”

“Oh!” Saffy turned and the tray of fritters wobbled dangerously. A fritter fell onto the floor, but Saffy ignored it. There were bigger things to do. “Good morning, Cook! We have to get to the German Corner before the Blackfly Queen. So, I thought we could have breakfast on the Carnival barge.”

“Perfect.” Cook put on her white apron and washed her hands. “Why don’t you let me take over while you get the rest of them organized?”

Saffy set down her tray, gave the beaming Cook a hug, and ran up to the royal bedrooms to wake her parents and grandparents.”

Five-year-old siblings can be ferocious!

““Nelke, don’t—” Saffy called out.
A split second later, Nelke charged into the cloud of armed cupids, shaking her box of Consternation Hearts like a rattlesnake about to strike. “You leave my brother alone, you nasty cupids!””

Book cover image Trouble at the Valentine Factory
This Valentine holiday story plays before book 3 in the series.
ruins of the castle that inspired the Saffron Kingdom
The ruins of Rheinfels castle, the model for the dragon-friendly home of the Saffron twins
cover image
For more adventures with the Saffron twins, try Under Pressure With a Squash: The Multiplication Problem