I was surprised, and just had to share.
FEATURED AUTHOR J.D. Holiday
I was surprised, and just had to share.
FEATURED AUTHOR J.D. Holiday
This story is based on a puppy my brother, Ike’s dog Sheeba had. He ask me to take this puppy he named, Sidney Reilly after a spy series Ike and I watched together and loved. At the time I had a dog and didn’t think my older dog, Snoopy, would be happy with a new addition.
My bother said okay, but he felt sure this dog was for me and he kept it with that in mind.
When the puppy was 11 months old, my brother, Ike died of a heart attack. AND Sidney came to me.
I was wrong. Snoopy and Sidney got along, in their own way
|This is a painting to the book of my brother, Ike and Sidney. In the story I made his name, Reese, my brother’s middle name. Page 5.|
|This is Page 9.|
You can buy the book at Barnes And Noble using Paypal
~ JD Holiday
The Great Snowball Escapade, by me, JD Holiday is a chapter book for children 6 to 9 years of age. I first completed the drawings and then inked them with waterproof Indian ink artist pen. There are 3 of the 25 drawings from the process.
This is the first page.
In the story, Wilhemena Brooks,’ cousin, Bud Dumphy come to live with her family. Wil, as she likes to be called, finds her pink pencil sharpener is missing after Christmas. Wil knows Bud has it! Who else would have taken it?
Bud doesn’t like girls! In fact, Bud doesn’t like anybody. Wil tries to ignore him but he pulls her friends hair, taken over games, and when Bud is in trouble he making his “you’re going to got it” face at her.
After a snowstorm closes school, Wil and her friends go sled riding. Bud shows up and starts a snowball fight which lands Wil in her room for the rest of the day for fighting.
When her pencil sharpener is found, Right where she left it, Wil decides she has to try harder to understand her cousin and stay out of trouble. Her mother told her to be nice to Bud and to treat him like she would like to be treated. But where will that get Wil?
This is the image for the cover.
Find me at: http://jdholiday.blogspot.com
The Fox Is Back! What Does He Want Now?
JANOOSE & the FALL FEATHER FAIR
Margie whispered to Janoose and Mallard. “You know the painter who has been painting the factory? He is by the truck now. Is his going to paint the delivery truck, too?”
Janoose looked toward the truck. The painter quickly looked away, pulling his cap down over his eyes.
Mallard said with a laugh, “No, he’s not,” before Mallard hurried over to the painter calling, “Oh, Mr. Painter!”
#storytelling #parents #kidliterature
“Well, I have an idea!” Geordie said. He hurried back into his studio. Loud noises came from inside before Geordie shouted, “I have it!”
He came out carrying a sign that read:
“Maybe this will help,” Georgie said. “I have to get back to work. I’m close to a breakthrough. Let me know what happens.”
Cordelia peeked inside the door of the dark studio. She could not see anything. “What are you working on?” she asked Geordie.
“The greatest invention ever,” Geordie said. “It will be a treat for all of us.”
Geordie And The Beam Of Light, Future picture book by J.D. Holiday
Hello, before I return to Jorthus or undernoticed artists, or even rambling creative thoughts, I thought I would present a portion of a fan-fiction story I began many years ago. I had read some Fanfic, but had never tried it. I heard that it is a good writing exercise and a way to get the creative juices flowing when stuck on one’s own work. I gave it a try.
Now, I must say upfront that THE RACES, NAMES, OR PLACES MENTIONED ARE NOT MY OWN. (I elaborated on some concepts presented in two of my favorite bodies of work, THE LORD OF THE RINGS trilogy and DRAGONLANCE CHRONICLES.) That said, there may be some spoilers to those who may have never read the books or watched the movies/cartoons. But, mainly, this was just for fun.
Again, a disclaimer: I do not own, nor did I create, these characters. I wrote this as homage to my favorite writers, J. R. R. Tolkien as well as Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman.
It seemed that weeks, or months, had passed since his arrival here. It was difficult to trace time. Daylight came and went with no real sense of urgency. Here he was just beginning to understand the concept of eternity.
Existence carried on much like it did in life in this Resting Place, as it was referred to by its inhabitants. One could sleep if tired, or eat if hungry. Though the need was not as strong as it had been in the previous life. Here one did things out of habit rather than necessity. Food and drink were delicious and would fill the stomach, but there was never a point of real hunger. Only the enjoyment of taste and smell would drive one to partake of the bounteous harvest of this peaceful land. And of course, the mere love of eating is all the motivation a hobbit needs to eat his fill.
The Resting Place, a spirit realm that reaches to all of creation, was the mingling of many races from many worlds in peace and harmony. Here to rest, to recover from pains of both mind and soul. The physical pains were left behind on other planes. This was a place of healing and learning, if one was willing to heal or learn. Some residents in this land of glory were still clinging to old ways and seemed loathe to give them up.
This realm was extraordinary. It was a reality, in form and feel like the physical realities that the inhabitants had left behind, but clearer and brighter. Only spirits dwelt here, but not as a ghost or haunt might in the physical worlds; here all things were spirit so that when one reached out to touch a tree, it was actually the spiritual form of a tree and therefore tactile to one. The clothes and manners of those dwelling here were the forms chosen by them from their memories. They had homes that suited them and lands that were pleasing to them. They dwelt in happiness and contentment, for the most part.
The only discontent here is what they brought with them and would not release. That is why most were still here. Some spirits learned to move on to other realms, to find other greater places to dwell. Some remained here out of fear, some remained out of ignorance, and some remained out of loyalty to those that were not ready to move on.
Those that feared what was beyond this realm, quailed and shrank from learning how to move beyond. Those that did not wish to move on out of loyalty were allowed to visit both realms, and those that did not learn how to move on, were allowed to stay as long as it would take to learn.
But, some here stayed out of shame. They are those that could not or would not let go of their hurts. They did not feel that they should move on. The light beyond gave them little comfort, mainly guilt. They had a choice to make. To let go of their pain and move forward into the light of the Realm Beyond, or to fade into the comfort of the shadows and stay here forever. Or worse, to slip into the darkness where no hand or light could touch them.
On this particular day, the sun shone through the round window of a hobbit hole. Not an extravagant hole, a modest hole. Tastefully decorated, and just the right size for a single, male hobbit. The hall branched off onto a study, a bath, a bedroom, a sitting room with a large fireplace, and most importantly, a well-stocked kitchen.
Frodo Baggins sat quietly in the patch of sunlight that streamed in his sitting room window. He had been reading one of the books from his shelves. Books he had remembered from his youth in Bag End. As his desire to read the story he had picked out dulled, the words on the pages had dimmed to nothing. Now, he sat with a book of blank pages lying open and forgotten on his lap, staring out the window into the meadows and forests beyond.
He had wandered that countryside when he had first arrived, as most souls do. Exploring with an insatiable curiosity and undisguised wonder over the beauty and glory of these lands. But, over time, he had grown weary of the same sights and paths. He had settled into this little home and began to study other things. Things closer to himself. Things about himself. Things, he was not altogether comfortable about dealing with alone. Avoidance had been his next tactic to pass the time. He tried to occupy his mind with other things so that it would not stray onto paths of the soul that he rather not tread. He wrote stories. He read stories. He took short and frequent walks, baked large amounts of food, and even learned how to do his own gardening. He gave many dinner parties and had tea with Sam and Rosie every day that the weather allowed. Which was practically every day.
He tried to limit the time he was allowed to sit alone and think about the things that had passed, or what could have come to pass. When the dark moods came upon him, he would retreat into his comfortable little hole and hide from the queries of others. They wanted to help him feel “better”, but could not. Only he could do that, though he did not know how. At these times, he felt restless, though venturing out seemed impossible. He wanted company, but all those he knew would know too much about his troubles. He felt lost and alone, and the brighter the day shone outside his house, the darker the shadows seemed inside.
He was in one of those moods now. The books had lost their appeal. The meadow seemed too bright, a brightness that would expose his darkness to all that saw him. He wanted to hide. He wanted to escape. He wanted something. Something else. Something that was not in this small, close hole and something that he had yet to find outside.
Slamming the blank book closed, Frodo kicked his footstool aside and went to the bookshelf to replace the book. As he slipped the book into place his eyes fell on his hand. Though spirit matter, his third finger was still missing. He had thought it odd at first. When he had asked about it, some spirits had suggested that perhaps a strong power had separated the finger even at the essence level of being and that the matter would regrow with time. That had confused him. Although the ring had been on the finger at the moment of separation, Gollum had thrown the digit away. It would have been burned to nothing in Mount Doom.
Perhaps as I should have been…
Sam had suggested that he had grown accustomed to not having it and the spiritual form was simply adjusting to that perception. That was too kind and, Frodo felt, too easy an explanation. It was easy enough to hear those around him say that he was forgiven for any wrongs, for they only knew as much as he had told them. It was easy for them to say that the missing finger did not mean anything, for they did not know what was in his heart. They had not been in his mind at the moment it had been lost. They did not know, could not know.
But, there was one here in this realm that would know. The Master of this Realm could see into his heart and lay bare his mind. He would know. He did know. Although Frodo had not faced Him yet, he felt that perhaps he had already been judged. Some dark part of his heart whispered to him that the finger was gone forever to be a reminder of what he had done.
How can I forgive myself …
His musings were cut short by a noise at his door. It was not a knock. It sounded as if someone were trying to pry open his door lock. Curiosity stirred inside him for the first time in months. He moved to the door and placed his hand on the center knob just as the thing swung open. He jumped out of the way with a startled cry. He was not sure what to expect on the other side, but the form that met his eyes took him by surprise.
There, crouched in the center of his doorway was a Halfling. But not in form nor dress, a hobbit such as himself. This being was slender, slightly taller in height than Frodo himself, dressed in an outrageous colored tunic, leggings, and boots with a fur vest. His ears had small points, similar to an elf’s and a wide, child-like excitement in his brown eyes. He had chestnut colored skin that wrinkled as he smiled up at the astonished hobbit, and his long, brown hair was tied up in a topknot that overflowed down his back.
At the sight of Frodo, the figure leaped up with one hand extended and introduced himself in a frenetic, high-pitched voice.
“Hello! Pleased to meet you. I’m Tasslehoff Burrfoot. Your door is fascinating. Too bad it wasn’t locked. Nobody locks their doors anymore. It’s terribly frustrating. I heard there were other halflings about, ones that I’m not related to and came looking. There seem to be a lot of doors in the ground around here. Do you all live underground? Is it hard to keep the grass roots from dropping dirt on your head? Are there any tree roots in there? Do you live alone? Are there a lot of others like you? What do they call your kind? I’m a kender. We come from Krynn. It’s not around here, but we seem to end up here anyway. Where are you from? Which world, I mean. There are so many. I’ve met a lot of fascinating people around here, wherever ‘Here’ is. Why do your feet look like that?”
This strange individual had barely stopped to breathe in his excited speech and had shook Frodo’s hand and pushed past him to explore the hobbit’s hole uninvited. Frodo was momentarily at a loss for what to do or say. He stood by the open door with his mouth agape, watching the kender manhandle just about every item in his home.
“Oh, I…uh, who are you? And why are you here?” he stammered, as he closed his front door.
The strange little fellow waltzed up to him again and smiling, shook his hand again. He spoke very slowly and with exaggerated clarity.
“I’m sor-ry. I did-n’t kn-ow that you were fee-ble-mind-ed.”
Frodo almost laughed at this but felt a little insulted as well. He pulled his hand out of the other’s grip. “I’m not feebleminded! You just took me by surprise is all.”
“Well, then. I’m Tasslehoff Burrfoot. I’m a kender from Krynn. I died, I guess. And after spending some time with my friend Flint, he’s a dwarf, we came here with the rest of my friends. Except Fizban wasn’t around at the time, which kind of disappointed me. But, he’ll probably get around to it later seeing as he’s busy being a god on Krynn and all.”
Frodo saw his eyes begin to wander onto the shelves again and decided to keep the kender’s ramblings on track. “You died on Krynn, you say. Where is Krynn?” he asked conversationally.
“I don’t really know. It had three moons and was far from here, I think.”
He stopped to think hard on the subject and this allowed Frodo a moment to get his bearings on this intrusion. The fellow did not seem to be hostile and neither did he seem to be in a hurry to leave, so Frodo decided to find out as much as he could about him. He had heard mention of other “little folk” in this realm, but after extensive wanderings and never seeing any halflings other than hobbits, he had given up the search. Now, out of the blue pops this kender.
“I’m sorry, I do not mean to be rude. My name is Frodo Baggins. I’m a hobbit. That’s the name for halflings in Middle-earth. That is from where I hail.” He tried to be polite for he had no idea what kind of temperament a kender might have if insulted. Had he known a kender’s temper, he would have counted himself lucky that he had chosen the course of diplomacy instead of ordering the creature out of his home.
Tasslehoff came back to the present with a snap. “Baggins! I’ve heard that one before.”
“You have?” Frodo was astonished and intrigued. A faint cloud of paranoia slithered under his heart as well. What was being said about him?
“Yes, I met a Baggins fellow just yesterday. Is it a common name?”
“Well, no, not as common as some. Did you meet Bilbo?”
“Yes, that was his name. Slightly older than you. Likes to talk about dragons. He walked with me for quite a while, then said he was hungry and went home. If I’d known that he lived in a hole, I would have gone with him. I’ve never met anyone that lived in a hole before. Well, no one that intentionally lived in one, anyways. We were so busy talking and walking that I didn’t really see how odd his feet were. Do all hobbits have feet like that?”
Frodo smiled, his suspicions gone. “Yes, I believe they do. Are there other…kender? I had thought that I had explored this land well enough, but I’ve never seen one of your kind before.”
“Well, that doesn’t surprise me!” Tasslehoff said knowingly as he plopped into Frodo’s favorite chair and placed his colorful boots on the ottoman. “We kender rarely stay in one spot. Besides, something that I’ve noticed about this place is that if you don’t expect to see something or someone or somewheres, then you probably won’t. It’s kinda like the Abyss in that way. You have to Think about going somewhere new before you can get there. Me, I’m always looking for someplace new, so I usually find it.”
Frodo found himself being pulled into this conversation as he sat on a small, wooden chair near his fireplace. This lively visitor had certainly gotten his mind off his troubles. Now, his interest peaked, he was anxious to learn more of these other halflings and this other world.
“Abyss?” he queried as he started to brew some tea out of habit. The kettle hung from a small hook in the front of the hearth so the tea-water stayed warm. “What is the Abyss?”
Tasslehoff seemed astonished. “You’ve never heard of the Abyss? Well, let me tell you about the time….”
The kender went off on a long and rambling tale of a land of the dead that he had visited by accident where dwelt, at that time, a dark goddess of great beauty and power. He told of gnomes and mages and a time-traveling device. There seemed to be no end to the kender’s ability to talk. One tale seemed to blend into another and Frodo felt that he might need to take notes in order to keep things straight. Little did he know that with Tasslehoff, repetition of a tale was par for the course. Though, the tales often varied with the mood.
The time passed so quickly listening to the kender, that when Tasslehoff finally came to a halt in order to put a sweetcake that Frodo had given him into his mouth, the hobbit was shocked to see the window behind Tasslehoff was dark. Frodo jumped up, “Oh, It’s night. I’m terribly sorry, I didn’t notice the time. I’ve kept you far too late, Tasslehoff.”
“Call me Tas, all my friends do.” He hopped up as well, though he seemed confused as to why he was being ushered to the door. “Am I late for something?”
Frodo was taken aback. “Oh, I assumed that you would want to be home by dark.”
“Oh, no. I don’t really have a home. I’m staying with my cousin, Gintilli*, for right now because she’s new here. Her place is huge because she hasn’t decided whether she’s staying or not, yet. She takes care of her half-sister, who doesn’t go anywhere, so she made a big house so she could explore without leaving it. But, I don’t have to be there all the time. I’m trying to get Gintilli to leave with me, but she feels bad about leaving her sister alone.”
“So, you are not expected somewhere for the night?” Frodo asked cautiously.
“Oh, no! I can stay all night if I want. Don’t worry about me. I don’t really get tired much anymore, so I can talk all night and all day! In fact, that’s why Flint went to visit some gully dwarves he’d met a few months back. He said that I needed the rest. Though, I thought it strange at the time, since Flint can’t stand gully dwarves. But, I’m not a bit tired. So, I went exploring.”
Tas settled back into the sitting room and began eating again. Frodo was not entirely sure how he felt about the prospect of Tasslehoff staying all night in his home. He was not properly prepared for a guest. He did not wish to be a bad host, but he was not really ready to be a host in the first place. At least, not to an overnight, and possibly indefinite, guest. He had enjoyed the kender’s company and his tales were new and fascinating. The kender, himself, was cheery and talkative, albeit a little intrusive and blunt at times, but Frodo was flustered, nonetheless, at this sudden turn of events. He hurried to the kitchen to check his cupboard for proper meals. He could not let a houseguest go hungry. Then he looked for fresh linens and inquired about the kender’s sleeping and bathing needs.
“I’m fine.” Tas grinned. “I’ll just stay awake. And I bathed before I left the house.”
Though, from his description of who he had visited in the last few days, there was no telling when he had “left the house”.
Tasslehoff watched Frodo bustle about the house for a while, then decided to follow him in case he went anywhere interesting.
“You don’t need to make all this fuss over me!” Tas chimed in behind Frodo, who seemed startled to find Tas there. “I just came to visit. The food is delicious though. Do you make it yourself? Gintilli and I usually just ‘think’ stuff up. Did you know that you can do that here? Just think about something hard enough and it shows up. Like magic. Though, I daresay the cooked stuff you gave me did taste better than the food we got. Maybe we didn’t think about the flavor of the food hard enough. Do you have anything to drink around here?”
“Yes, of course. I have some ale and some mead.” Frodo led him to the kitchen where the two settled for a while. Frodo started a fire in the small fireplace where he heated his pots. Tasslehoff took one sip of the offered ale and began another tale of his world that told of an inn that was renown for the best ale in the land. The Inn of the Last Home, it was called, and it was in the town of Solace where he had lived for a long time with his dwarf friend, Flint, and a half-elf named Tanis.
Frodo listened intently, spellbound by the kender’s enthusiasm and descriptive tales. Krynn was a world of dragons that talked, some good and some evil. Humans, elves, gnomes, dwarves, and kenders fighting draconians, dark mages, and minotaur. He told of his adventures with his closest friends, Flint and Tanis, along with a pair of brothers, Caramon and Raistlin, a knight named Sturm, and an elf maid called Laurana.
They had saved their world from the dark goddess by blocking her from entering the physical plane of Krynn and killed the bad dragons with ancient weapons called Dragonlances. He talked about the love between Tanis, the half-elf and the young, beautiful Laurana that was a scandal among the elves, and of the sultry relationship Tanis shared with a captivating human woman named Kitiara, who was a half-sister to the twins Caramon and Raistlin. He even went off on a tale about a wooly mammoth that he encountered as well as sharing a few stories that he knew of the adventures of his Uncle Trapspringer.
Frodo learned quite a few things out about Kender during all this talk as well. They love to tell tales, they get sidetracked easily, and they seem to have no concept of personal property. He listened and asked questions until he found himself fighting to keep his eyes open. He was in the habit of getting a good night’s sleep, though he did find that he was not as tired or sleepy here as he had been in life. The need for sleep seemed to rise out of habit rather than necessity, as many things did in this realm. As he realized how weary he was, he also looked around to find that they had eaten nearly everything he had had in his larder. He had not really been aware of time passing as he listened to Tasslehoff’s tales but they had been sitting for quite some time. Looking into the sitting room, he saw that the sun was shining into the room. How long had they been talking, he wondered.
Tasslehoff was about to launch into another tale when a knock came at the door. Frodo jumped up with a hasty, “Excuse me” and went to the front door. He noticed that his legs did feel a bit odd. Not as though as they had been asleep, like they would have if he had sat for an extremely long time in Middle-earth, but like he simply had to get used to walking on them again.
As he reached for the doorknob with his right hand, he stopped cold. For a brief moment, he thought that he had seen his missing finger. His heart skipped a beat. Then it was gone again, as if he had imagined it. He began to ponder this odd phenomenon, when the knock came again and jogged him back to the moment.
He opened the door, and there stood Samwise Gamgee. He looked a bit worried, wringing his hands and shuffling from side to side as Sam used to do when he was upset. As soon as he laid eyes on Frodo, he seemed to relax.
“Oh, there you are, Mr. Frodo. I thought something had happened to you,” he said with an exhale of relief.
“No, Sam. I’m fine.” Frodo ushered his old friend inside with an outstretched hand. “Come in, come in and will you please stop calling me, ‘Mister’ Frodo. We are all equals here, you know that.”
“Of course, I know it, but it’s hard to remember it.” Sam tried to explain his reluctance to give up what was a comfortable habit. “I’m just so used to thinking of you, and referring to you like that, Mr. Frodo. If you get my meaning.”
Frodo had tried to break Sam and Rosie of the habit ever since he had seen them again and knew that it was probably futile. They would call him that until they no longer felt the need to do so and there was nothing he could do to change it. He smiled and sighed as he led Sam into his kitchen.
“Well, there is someone I’d like you to meet,” he was saying and then stopped. The kitchen was empty. “Now, where’s he gotten off to?”
“Who, Mr. Frodo?” Sam asked, curious at his friend’s good mood.
“Tasslehoff. I wanted you to meet him. He’s a fascinating fellow, Sam.” Frodo was peeking around corners and behind furniture as if his visitor was playing a game of hide and seek. He had wandered from room to room and after peering inside a wardrobe and finding nothing, he stopped with his hands on his hips. He suddenly noticed Sam staring at him as if he were completely insane.
“He was here a moment ago,” he said in his own defense.
Sam decided to try a new topic. “Not to interrupt, but I came over to see if you were alright. Rosie and me was worried about you, seeing as how you usually come over to tea before dark.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry, Sam. I meant to come over last night, but I met Tas and we started talking and he started telling his tales. I lost track of time. Please give my apologies to Rose.” Frodo halfway gave up his search for the kender, though he wondered where he had gone so quickly.
“Well, we don’t expect you to live your day around us, mind you. But, seeing as how it has been two days, I just thought that I would pop by and see if you were …well…”
Frodo stopped in shock. “Did you say two days?”
“Yes, Mr. Frodo. When we didn’t hear from you. Well, we got worried.”
“Two days?” he repeated to himself in wonder. Then he laughed. A full-hearted laugh.
Sam smiled to see Frodo in such a wonderfully good humor and began to chuckle as well, though he did not know what they were laughing at. It was just good to see Frodo laugh again.
“No wonder I was running out of food,” Frodo wiped a tear from his eye. “We sat and talked for two days! And I didn’t even know it. No wonder I’m so tired.”
He sat down on a nearby bench and held his head in his hands as the laughs became less hysterical, then rubbed his face and scalp to wake himself back up a bit.
“You mean, that you haven’t slept in two nights, Mr. Frodo?” Sam seemed worried again. “That can’t be good for you.”
“I don’t think it really matters that much in this realm, dear Sam. Don’t worry over me. You did that enough in life. But, I do apologize for missing tea, and not giving any notice or explanation. It was just that Tasslehoff talked almost non-stop and all he had to say was so very interesting.”
“If you say so, Mr. Frodo.” Sam sounded as if he was beginning to doubt if this Tasslehoff really existed.
“I’m not crazy, Sam.” Frodo chuckled, he began to doubt that statement himself, though. “I found him trying to pick the lock on my front door. It seems that is a common thing that kender do.”
“Kender?” The tone implied that Sam had heard of them before.
“Yes. Have you heard of them?” Frodo jumped up. “Where have you known that name from?”
Sam looked as if he were caught with something that he should not have had. “Oh, I believe that Gandalf had mentioned that name to me. Just a few days ago.”
“Gandalf?” Frodo contemplated this new information a moment, then shrugged it off. “Well, he did say that he had met quite a few new folk around here. And he did say that if one is not expecting to…”
He got a sudden thought and shouted. “Tasslehoff? Are you still here?!”
This outburst startled Sam, but he was even more startled when a voice from two rooms away answered.
Frodo smiled triumphantly. “Sam, I want you to meet Tasslehoff Burrfoot.”
*Gintilli Dibbertill is a kender created by my best friend for role-playing the DRAGONLANCE role-playing world by Wizards of the Coast. The Player Character claims relation to the Burrfoot clan, though that is unsubstantiated. She and her sister do not appear in any books or movies.
That is the beginning of my fanfic. I hope you enjoyed it. It was fun to write and it filled a need in me to give Frodo a place to deal with feelings over his ordeal and possibly move on to a relationship as the other hobbits had done. Yes, it is a love tale. I had a crush on Frodo ever since seeing the 1978 animated movie The Lord of the Rings.
If you liked it or would like to read more of it, please leave a LIKE or a comment to let me know. Thank you for joining me in this little experiment!
My new book BITTER BETRAYAL like the award-winning title, The Greenlee Project, focuses on consequences of action. I’m passionate about protecting impressionable teens that are between the ages of thirteen and sixteen years olds. Teens this age fall into the YA category, which caters up to eighteen years old, but there’s a huge maturity difference between a thirteen and eighteen-year-old teen, so I have to write carefully. In today’s world with all of the technology and freedoms that teens have, every parent thinks their kid is protected and makes wise choices, but they are wrong. Dating has been complicated these days as kids hook up and have casual sex because it’s what kids do at parties if they’re a couple or not, at least that’s what the kids are saying. Their answers, “That’s what kids do, kids have been doing it for years.” And they have, right? Does is it make it right? But when alcohol and minors are involved, dating or not, he said she said, becomes the question of the day, and whose version of a terrible truth does one believe when innocent lives are at stake? “If you have a daughter or a son, who do you protect? Or how do you protect them? Whose version of the story do you believe?” Everything is fun and games until it gets out of hand and complicated!
Excerpt of BITTER BETRAYAL Copyright © 2017 Amanda M. Thrasher
Every kid who planned to attend Stacie’s lake party was preparing the necessary groundwork to avoid complications for when the actual event rolled around. Stacie had already discussed her plan with her partner in crime, Sophia, working out every detail to a tee. Sophia would spend the night at Stacie’s, then Stacie would go to Sophia’s; they’d make a routine out of it for the next few weeks. The night in question, party night, there shouldn’t be any red flags at all. And if there were, they had a plan for that as well. Sophia’s Aunt Chloe, would put in a text on their behalf and if the text wasn’t enough, a call would be placed as backup. Patterns. Stacie had learned from her brothers that patterns didn’t raise red flags, but sudden changes in behaviors did. Stick with the pattern, and worse-case scenario her parents might make a comment about her staying at her friend’s home too much, but it wouldn’t be weird or out-of-the-norm behavior for her.
“That’s a great idea!” Sophia agreed.
“Right!” Stacie said proudly. “It’s practically a no-fail plan if we start getting them used to it now. They’ll think we’re just taking it in turns, yours, mine, yours, mine, sometimes yours, and then mine, and we’re home free!”
Sophia took a sip of her Coke and tried to calculate how many people would show up. Imagining each face of those they’d invited and had said they’d be there, she quit counting after thirty.
“Dang, girl, it’s going to get too big if we’re not careful.”
Stacie wasn’t worried. She had every intention of making sure everyone stayed outside of the house as much as possible. There was plenty of room, no need really for anyone to go in and out of the cabin, except maybe the girls to use the bathroom. The guys, hell, she’d seen her brothers disappear behind a tree on numerous occasions out there in the woods. Her mind was focused on food, as in snacks, and alcohol, as in beer and whatever else they could get away with that night.
“I’m already nervous, about your dad, I mean. And the beer part; not sure about that.”
“Don’t talk like that,” Stacie said somberly. “You’ll make me second-guess myself. I don’t need to envision him and what he’d do to me if he had any idea what I’m planning. He’d absolutely freaking kill me!”
Sophia hesitated, and then asked Stacie a question she wasn’t sure her friend would answer. “Then why do it Stacie, the risk? It’s crazy. You know what I mean.”
“Do what?” Stacie purposely avoided the question, knowing exactly what Sophia wanted to know.
“Why risk him finding out? You get away with so much; I mean really, compared to most kids. Let someone else throw a party. You could let someone else take that kind of risk.”
Stacie stared out of her bedroom window. She thought about the question that Sophia had just asked. Why did she take such stupid risks? This one by far the worst she’d ever contemplated taking, and if she pulled it off, what next? But why risk literally making her father so furious? She could lose her car, be grounded for life, have her brothers hate her for embarrassing them, her dad the Coach, and her mother would look at her with such disappointment in her eyes that it would hurt. Why? She thought about all of the times they had moved. All the tricks and stunts she had pulled over the years, no one had asked her this question before. Being asked such a question head-on irritated her and made her feel uncomfortable. She didn’t have an acceptable answer, because there wasn’t one. Taking the risk made her feel like she was in control of something and that certainly was an unacceptable selfish answer. Stretching out onto her bed, she finally answered Sophia. She said the most shocking thing she could think of, but her answer didn’t surprise Sophia, though she’d hoped for something different. Her answer was chilling and convincing.
“I guess because I can.”
Sophia’s phone buzzed, and she held it up to show Stacie the message. Her mom’s response was “yes.” Stacie could spend the night, but she had to pick up her clothes. Phase one in motion; phase two, start stockpiling snacks; phase three, work on possibly hiding beer and a bottle of liquor. She could swipe beer from the fridge in the garage, a few from the house, and find a spot to hide them from her parents and brothers when they came home. Oh and don’t forget the housekeeper—she’d have to think about that one; she’d need a secure hiding place. But that was going to be the easy part. Phase four, getting everything to the lake house, unnoticed: that was going to be difficult.
“I don’t want people to feel like they have to drink it though, the beer and stuff, you know what I mean?” Stacie stated. “I do know I don’t want to be responsible for that, pushing alcohol on anyone. That I know is way bad, off limits. Gotta be their choice.”
Sophia started to laugh and interjected something for Stacie to consider. “Yes. I get it! Can I make a suggestion?”
Stacie nodded. “Shoot.”
“I don’t think you should supply it at all—liquor or beer. Or even suggest or recommend it. In fact, I don’t think you should insinuate it’s OK to bring it or anything at all relating to it, if you know what I mean.” She raised her hands to silent Stacie when she tried to object. “Let me finish. Look, you’re already risking the party. But if you supply the alcohol or say it’s OK that people bring it and someone gets sick or worse, and your parents or their parents find out, can you seriously even imagine? Stacie . . . your dad is the new coach.”
Surprisingly, Stacie didn’t object. “I could just say bring what they want to drink. Then it’s up to them, not me.” She smirked. “Because I already know they’ll bring it. It’s what they do. Right! No worries; they’ll be plenty of booze.”
“That’s a great way out of it. That way you’re supplying the venue but not any alcohol. Who knows what they’ll bring, but you’re not the one who’s supplying it.” Sophia lowered her voice, as if she shouldn’t say it for fear of upsetting her friend. “If we’re lucky, they really won’t be a bunch of alcohol there. We don’t need the trouble.”
It was decided right then and there: that’s what they would do. When the time came, they’d announce that everyone coming to the party would bring their own beverage. Stacie would never admit it, but she felt one hundred percent relieved about that scenario. Why couldn’t she just tell her friend the truth: she didn’t want to be responsible for kids on booze anyway. It made her feel semi-responsible while being completely irresponsible. She pushed the irresponsible part out of her head. Who didn’t have parties at their age? It’s just that hers would be ten times better than everyone else’s. Keep blocking out the negative, focus on the positive, she told herself. At least there would be no drinking and driving, and no trashing the house or damaging property. Think of it like a great big camping trip for teens. That was responsible, wasn’t it? That was the theme. Camping party for teens, with no mention of alcohol at all. They would focus on cooking, hanging out, and fun for everyone!
Reece couldn’t wait to text Payton. Surely she was over being disappointed and mad at him; the excitement of spending extended time together had seemed to help. Not to mention they still had plenty of regular date time to hang out, prepare, and anticipate the big party ahead. It was all everyone in their circle was talking about—a night at the lake, all night.
Reece: Can’t wait to see you. Picnic?
Payton had a test, but when it came to that boy, she couldn’t say no, and without hesitation she texted back.
Payton: OMG Yes. Can’t wait!
Reece: love ya DTB
She didn’t try to analyze why she couldn’t text him back. Maybe he was driving or was about to hit the locker room shower. Who knew? All she cared about right then was that in a few hours she’d be at meeting that boy at the dam. From there, she knew she’d hop into his truck, plant a great big kiss on that beautiful face, and they’d head to their tree by the lake. Texts to Aubrey to make sure she’d cover her during lunch and advisory, no problem. Quick text to Maddie; she’d know how to get out of the make-up test that she was scheduled to take after she’d been sick. A great knack that Maddie had was thinking on her feet. She was always good with coming up with excuses if someone needed one—plus an added benefit, the teachers loved her!
Maddie: Easy peasy. Tell her you’re double-booked for tests due to being out sick, but immediately ask if you can come back by after school to take it. Chances are she doesn’t want to stay late and will reschedule for lunch tomorrow.
Great idea. Payton recognized that asking the teacher if she could come back the same day after school and take the test showed that she was sincerely sorry for missing it in the first place, booking two tests during the same lunch period, and she was trying to keep up her grade. Again, Maddie had come up with another great idea on the spot!
Payton: Do you think she’ll check with Ms. Taylor?
Maddie: Nah. Why would she?
Maddie: No problem.
As soon as the bell rang, Payton ditched her friends and literally ran to her car. Reece was already waiting for her when she arrived at the dam. Pulling up next to him, he rolled down his window as she parked and climbed out of her car. His smile radiated across his face, making Payton smile too. She couldn’t see his pretty green eyes, because his shades covered them. Hopping into his truck, she leaned over, held his face in her hands and kissed him hello. He reciprocated, kissing her back just as sweetly. As soon as they pulled up to their spot, Reece parked under the branches of their tree.
“Let’s eat,” he insisted, pointing to two brown paper sacks on the floorboard.
They jumped out of the truck and perched themselves on the back of his tailgate. Perfect picnic weather: clear, with lots of sunshine and a cool breeze. Rummaging through the sack, Reece handed Payton her favorite sandwich. He smiled, knowing he’d done a good job with his restaurant selection. Pleasing her pleased him.
“I want you to eat that, now, ya hear?” he mocked playfully.
“Thanks, Dad, I will,” she replied, knowing he was watching her eat.
She’d never been so relieved that she accidently looked decent. Her outfits were typically planned, but she’d half haphazardly thrown together something that morning. Her jeans fit her perfectly, and the light sweatshirt she’d pulled out of her closet complimented her casual look, black, low-top converse, and she looked cute.
It didn’t take long for the conversation to turn to Stacie’s party. Surprisingly, Payton brought it up first.
“Give me the details. I can’t stand it.”
Recce took a bite of his sandwich, washed it down with a swallow of water, and dove into his bag of chips. Making her wait for information was fun. Payton wasn’t good at being patient, and knowing he had information she wanted made him laugh. She asked him again, only this time she had that whiney girlfriend-working-it voice, not quite irritating, but almost.
“Seriously. C’mon babe. I’m dying here. Give me details!”
“You already know most of them,” Reece said. “Stacie’s throwing a party at her parents’ lake house, we’re invited, and it’s going to last all night due to location. The real question is, how are we going to pull it off?”
Payton’s entire face lit up. She didn’t even care that it was at Stacie’s parents’ lake house. She heard two things, “all night” and “Reece.” Her eyes sparkled, and she tried to contain her excitement. She already knew, just like Stacie, that she was going to pull her friends Aubrey and Maddie in her plan. Schedule a sleepover night, but one without raising any concerns. It wasn’t unusual for them to spend the night at each other’s houses, but Payton felt the need to secure that date. She thought if she had a viable reason in place that she’d be gone, and her parents checked up on her, all would pan out.
“I feel as if I should come up with something more than a sleepover, like a sleepover for a reason, to ensure that date is blocked.”
“Whatever you think will work, do it. Anything in particular in mind?” Reece asked.
“Maybe an opening of a movie, like we plan a sleepover specifically because we’re going to said movie.” Payton looked down at her legs, which were swinging back and forth as she sat on the edge of the tailgate.
“I think you’re way overthinking it,” Reece stated. “Just stick with the sleeping at Maddie’s or Aubrey’s and have them do the same. Worse-case scenario, you can always say miscommunication and you ended up at the wrong house.”
Payton agreed that might the best way to go, if she couldn’t come up with a viable excuse for the date in question. Lying to her parents made her nervous. But going to the party and spending extra time with Reece suddenly seemed worth it. She couldn’t believe she’d have a whole night with him. The excitement and anticipation of being with him for so long was consuming her every thought. He was excited as well, but showed it differently than she did. He’d already prepared his own groundwork. He’d be going fishing and four-wheeling for the weekend at Trevor’s Dad’s place, with Cody and a few other guys. If a group of boys were going, his dad would probably talk openly with the boys. They all had the same story and Reece had even pulled in Royce as back-up. As an added bonus, Trevor had asked his dad if he really would take them out to their hunting lease or at least to go fishing and ride the four-wheelers, in the next few weeks. His dad not only agreed, but started making plans as well. Only downside that they could see, which wasn’t a downside at all, they’d be taking a boys trip!
Reece’s phone vibrated and a message flashed across the screen. Payton never asked who it was, but she was dying to find out. He never mentioned it, but tapped away, ending with the infamous DTB. They wrapped up lunch and sat and visited for a few minutes in the bed of his truck. She didn’t want to leave, and truth be told, he didn’t either. Sitting in between his legs, his arms wrapped around her, she wished the party was already here. His warm breath hit the back of her neck. She took her hands and ran them softly through the back of his hair. Turning around to face him, she stared into his green eyes. He pulled her closer and kissed her. She kissed him back. Her phone broke the momentum this time; alarm, time was up. She had to go. Seeing him during the week always made her happy, but leaving him was always hard. She never dreamed, at her age, she could feel the way she did. Once last kiss and another, and then one more, before Reece finally peeled himself away and said goodbye.
BITTER BETRAYAL Copyright © 2017 Amanda M. Thrasher
Writer’s All Have A Thing, What’s Yours?
Like most writers, authors, I’ve been writing for years. But when I sit down to write a new piece, though I’ve evolved slightly over the years, my primary process has never changed. It’s kinda like my personal thing, my way of doing it, that kicks off the project and keeps me motivated and excited throughout the entire thing. It’s possible other writers use the same method, I don’t know, but it works for me.
So what is it? It starts with an idea, of course, but ends up with an entire book mapped out in my mind. Naturally, my head is often spinning, don’t get me wrong, I like it that way. This can lead to one sided conversations for those around me. Distractions during activities that I’m involved in, being there in person but not really being there, and never being as involved as I should in group projects since my mind wanders to engage in the story that I’m writing. (Certain this isn’t always easy for those around me, but don’t worry, upon release of the work all returns to normal).
Preferring to have a complete understanding of my entire storyline, the reason things will happen the way that they will, my characters, a lovely twist, and theories on ways that I could pull it all together, my mind is racing all of the time before an actual word is written. Personally, I like to visualize each scene as I write, hoping to recreate in words the things that I see in my mind. If I do this correctly, the words paint a visual picture for my audience.
For me, not all writers, this can be a slow draining process, especially when the topic is a controversial or brutal one such as bullying, cyberbullying or date rape. Each chapter can be a depleting energy experience. And if I’m not mistaken, it’s because authors want their characters to be so life life-like, that it can actually feel as if they’re experiencing some of the things that they’re writing about for their readers.
Trying to compensate for this slow process of mine, I try to write relatively clean. The results, for me, tend to be less time consuming regarding actual clean up of the final manuscript. Since each chapter can be exhausting, mentally, I’ll ensure it’s a decent chapter before moving on. By the time the manuscript is complete and reworks begin, the rewrite process isn’t as bad as dealing with raw work.
I’ve been working on my new YA, BITTER BETRAYAL, since the middle of 2016. It’s almost done; clean up, and then off to the editors (I use two editors, content and copy line). The topic is controversial but incredibly important. Each time I sit down to write the material has flowed, this is a good thing, but the nature of the topic is controversial, important and difficult to discuss. That is the reason I believe it takes me a tad longer to write these pieces. After a few chapters, a mental break is required. It’s the emotional side that’s exhausting. Characters that are so life-like they could go be anyone’s son or daughter, and that’s truly heartbreaking.
I’m excited about the release of my new piece. It’s important to me to get the word out in a delicate manner for young impressionable teens. But it’s imperative that the message is strong, and I hope that the images expressed through words that I’ve written deliver not only the entertainment factor but more importantly the message I’d hoped to share. Below is an excerpt from my new novel. What’s your ‘thing?’
BITTER BETRAYAL Copyright © 2017 Amanda M. Thrasher ISBN – 978-1-946329-18-9 & ISBN 978-1-946329-19-6 Tentative release April 2017.
Cover For Me
“They say there are two sides to every story and somewhere in the middle lies the truth; there’s no exception to this one. But whose truth will you believe?”
DTB CU there!
(Don’t text back see you there).
The message flashed across her phone, and that’s all it took. Not even a whole sentence and suddenly all she could think about was getting out of there. Payton hadn’t heard a single word the kid standing in front of the class nervously speaking had said, as her fingers frantically tapped away on her phone. Looking back, what was she thinking?!?!
Payton – Cover for me
Payton- Really? J
Aubrey – Nah
Payton – G4I
Aubrey – 182
Payton – U don’t hate me J Luv u
Five, four, three, two, and the bell finally rang. Payton shot out the door. Aubrey, her best friend since 6th grade, took her time and shoved the books she’d left behind in her backpack. Payton’s behavior though frustrating at times wasn’t surprising. She was head crazy about that boy, Reece Townsend, and it helped that Aubrey liked him as well.
With less than ten minutes to freshen up, get across campus to her car and make it to the dam in time to meet Reece, Payton didn’t have time for small talk with anyone. Dodging in and out of kids, she avoided eye contact with as many people as she possibly could. The boy’s football coach, Coach Duncan, was headed her way. His voice, undeniably recognizable, bounced off the walls and echoed through the corridor before he was physically present. When finally in view, she purposely looked at her feet and rushed passed him. No way was she making eye contact with him; questions about her brother and his playing time on the field at college would stall her.
“Whoa girl, where’s the fire?”
Coach grabbed her arm as she tried to rush past him, her whole body swung around forcing her to face him. Arm still in his grasp he shook his head. “Slow it down girl! If only my boys had moved half as fast this morning.”
Managing a slight smile, she pointed toward the bathroom. Coach raised his hands in the air shook them back and forth, stopping her from saying another single word. He wanted no part of what could pop out of that girl’s mouth. She was liable to say something for the shock value alone. He didn’t need to know, want to know, or care to know for that matter. He let her on her way, no questions asked. A healthy spritz of perfume, lip-gloss, duck-lip practice, and Payton climbed into her car.
“What took you so long?” he said.
Payton’s love of her life, well at least to a sixteen, nearly seventeen, year-old love struck teen. One look at his face with that smile and she melted. It was bad enough they attended different schools, but him a senior, narrowing down his college options meant she’d be stuck there without him. The thought of it made her cringe. She obsessed about him leaving on a daily basis, even when he asked her not to, but she couldn’t help it. Not today she told herself pushing the thoughts out of her head. The best part of his day was right then as he watched her walk toward him. He was sitting on the back of his tailgate, swinging his legs back and forth, waiting for her to join him. He tapped the cool metal, her cue to join him. She grinned. So freaking hot! He always looked that way to her, and all she wanted to do was wrap her arms around him and kiss that face of his! Her grin turned into a girlish giggle.
“What’s so funny?” he asked.
“Whatever!” A cute smirk crossed his face. “Something.”
She grabbed his face in her hands, laughed out loud, and kissed him before stepping aside to hop up next to him on the tailgate, but Reece playfully pulled her back toward him instead. Standing face-to-face, she brushed his sandy-brown hair to one side revealing his green eyes. She could get lost in them; they were that pretty, at least to her.
“What?” he asked.
“Nothing,” Payton giggled. “You grabbed me, remember?”
“I did. But why are you staring at me like that?”
His breath hit her face. Truth be told all she wanted at that moment was for him to kiss her; really kiss her. Move Payton. Move now; she stepped back and took a deep breath.
“I’m just looking at you, that’s all. You’re kinda cute like that.”
He rolled his eyes. But Payton could tell by the boyish smirk that crossed his face that her comment had pleased him. She loved that look on his face. He looked a few years younger, like a real kid. It was sweet.
“You know I’m supposed to say that kinda stuff,” he said as seriously as he could, but it wasn’t working.
The long cotton skirt she’d chosen to wear that day wrapped around her legs as she swung them back and forth on the tailgate. Sandals, painted toes, and a T-Shirt completed her outfit. Her long dark hair with a delicate headband, complimenting her outfit, finished off her look.
“You look hot. But I know you know that, so I’m not going to tell you!”
He laughed. “Just kidding. You look amazing. Beautiful as usual!”
Payton’s face lit up. She leaned in and kissed him gently on the lips. Funny thing, though, she thought Reece was the most beautiful thing she’d ever seen. They’d actually argued about that statement once. Guys aren’t beautiful, he’d stated. They could be handsome. Good looking, sexy, dope, hot or even cute, but not beautiful! Men were not beautiful. But it didn’t matter what he thought. To Payton he was, and she could look at him all day long.
“Hey, you never did answer my question,” he said.
“What question was that?”
“Why were you late?”
“You idiot!” She nudged him playfully. “I’m not late; you’re early, and for the record, I’m the one who’s usually waiting for you!”
He held her by the elbows, leaned in, and kissed her quickly on the lips. She would have kissed him back, but he’d already pulled away. Just as well, she wouldn’t have wanted to stop, and that wouldn’t have been good since time wasn’t on their side.
BITTER BETRAYAL Copyright © 2017 Amanda M. Thrasher
ISBN – 978-1-946329-18-9 & ISBN 978-1-946329-19-6 Tentative release April, 2017.
Most writers have written a piece at some point in their lives that is special to them; I am no different. My piece has become a series, one that I will probably continue to write until my ideas no longer flow anymore. I always think of this piece as my mother’s book since I originally wrote it for her. Growing up in England, she loved the fairies, collected them and told me fairy stories for years. When diagnosed with a terminal illness, I wrote her a fairy story, Mischief in the Mushroom Patch. She never read the book in print but did read the first seven chapters. I told her the ending before she died. She made me promise to finish it and send it in. I had no idea that story would change my course from writer to author or how many people it would touch.
That book, my mother’s book, led to the creation of a character called Pearle. Based on the likeness of real live person I had never met, Jeni, requested by Beverly Hutton, whom I had never met. She had purchased my book Mischief in the Mushroom Patch and took the time to write me an email to tell me that she had enjoyed it. She also made a request, a suggestion, asking if I would consider creating a character with a disability since she thought her daughter would have loved Mischief in the Mushroom Patch. She said her daughter always asked, “Where were the books for me?”
After reading that email, I contacted her back and asked her to give me a minute to think. After a while, I created a beautiful little character by the name of Pearle. Placing her in a chariot, created by the elders, Pearle whizzes around the mushroom patch. However, though she can not walk, she can fly with ease. Pearle will forever remain in the Mischief Series. We have done much work with this series, Beverly Hutton and I. We visited the Shriner Hospital and donated books and made fairy wings with the children. Her daughter had fifty-three surgeries at that hospital; we also spent time with the children at the Texas Lions Camp, Jeni’s favorite. We spent all day with all of the children teaching them about writing and creating stories.
When you create a story, that is special to you, it is inevitable, it will touch others. I love this series. I do! The characters are sweet, loyal and it teaches kids and adults alike how to be kind. Kind is rare these days it seems.
Each book is written to stand alone, so it is not necessary to read them in order. My favorite so far is the third book in the series, Spider Web Scramble, because it focuses on the characters working together to help Pearle achieve her goals. It won a Gold Mom’s Choice Awards® Recipient in its category and received multiple five-star Readers’ Favorite Reviews. I hope you enjoy this excerpt.
Chapter 3 – Preparation
The mist was thick early the next morning. They were leaving the mushroom patch and meeting at the meadow. From there they’d fly across the tall grass to the forest edge; the final destination was the forest itself. Lilly’s hair, though perfectly combed when she left, was now a matted mess. Pearle, eager to fly, sat patiently in her chariot, waiting for the others to arrive. Free fly days were her favorite; a time when despite her usual confinement to her chariot she was felt uninhibited and free. The hall monitors checked their pocket watches as the fairies breezed past them; it was early, even for fairies with so much energy to burn.
“Pearle, I couldn’t find you this morning,” Lilly giggled. “It was then that I knew you’d already be here.”
Pearle beamed and hovered out of her chair. She flew with ease as her tiny legs dangled below her. Her body felt as light as a feather. Darting in between her friends, giggling as she flew, she hummed her favorite fairy tune. Boris reached above his head and tugged playfully on the hem of her lilac dress. Laughing, she darted away from him and slipped through his fingers. He chuckled. Pearle, having so much fun, was always a joy for everyone to see. Her cheeks were flushed with the crisp cool air and her eyes sparkled as she flew in circles around them.
“Pearle, do slow down. If you continue to fly so fast, you shall tire yourself too early, will you not?” Lilly asked.
Boris gently tugged Lilly’s beautiful curls. “You’re not Mademoiselle,” he said. “Pearle can fly as fast or as high as she wants—after all, it’s our free fly day!”
Lilly’s lips puckered up. She knew Boris was right, but that didn’t stop her from worrying about Pearle. Everyone was protective of little Pearle, including Boris.
Boris lowered himself downward, hovered a perfect two inches off the ground, and nailed his landing perfectly. He was pleased that Lilly had not only noticed, but also complimented him.
“Well done, Boris. Mademoiselle would be pleased with such a fine hover and landing.”
Jack was waiting for them at the edge of the meadow.
He patted Boris on his back. “What took you so long?” he joked.
“As soon as we get to the forest we’ll find our web, then we should ask permission to scramble.” Jack sounded serious. “Something tells me scrambling as a group and helping Pearle—no offense Pearle—will be harder than just jumping from web to web.”
“None taken, Jack,” Pearle said softly. “You can have my fairy-twists for a fairy month if you like.” She then pulled out a handful of fairy dust and asked, “Did everyone bring dust with them?”
Boris and Jack shook their heads.
“Why?” Boris asked.
“Because I think we’re supposed to gift the spiders if we borrow their webs. Remember, the elders will not have gifted on our behalf this time,” Pearle said.
“That’s right,” Lilly agreed.
Rosie, Ivy, Pearle, and Lilly had all been to the dusting parlor to receive their allotted amount of dust from the dust monitor.
“It is possible we won’t need fairy dust today,” Lilly stated. “But if we do, we’ll share.”
“On the count of three then?” Jack hollered.
“Count of three,” the fairies replied.
“One a-fairy, two a-fairy, three a-fairy, go!”
They flew as fast as they could above the tips of the tall grass, over the meadow, to the other side of the forest. They knew the largest spider clan lived deep there among the large oak trees; their webs shouldn’t be too hard to find. Lilly had envisioned small groupings of webs to practice upon as a group for their first few times. If they could complete a small course, they could practice a larger course later. They still had the power of the dust once the actual race took place. Fairy dust would increase the springiness of the webs. Boris and Jack were already excited about that part. The extra power was rumored to throw fairies so high into the air that they hadn’t come down for hours, though it was just a rumor. It didn’t take long to find a group of webs. Boris and Jack inspected them for holes. They didn’t look too shabby; not brand new, but the webs certainly hadn’t been neglected.
“These are in pretty decent shape,” Jack said, checking them out. He landed on one of them, jumped up and down, and flipped over. Landing on his rear he yelled, “Is anybody there?”
No answer. Jack hollered again.
“Hello. Is anybody there?”
Jack’s voice echoed through the forest, bounced off the trees, and returned to him. He shrugged his shoulders, winked at Lilly, and flew high into the treetops. He didn’t see any signs of a single spider.
“I think it’s safe to say we can use the webs,” he said. “No one’s home.”
Boris clasped his hands and yelled, “If these are your webs, could we please talk to you?” Nothing.
“Lilly, do you think we can jump?” Jack asked.
Lilly thought for a moment. “Since we can’t ask for permission, if we gift the spiders, it should be fine to use the webs.” She stuck her hand in her pocket and pulled out a handful of beautiful sparkling dust. “Dust. We must leave fairy dust. It’s the polite and right thing to do.”
Boris had a worried look on his face. Time spent in the dust factory for wasting fairy dust still on his mind, he had to ask. “What if they’re not in the forest, Lilly? Wouldn’t we be wasting the dust? You know the penalty for wasting fairy dust.”
Lilly shook her head. “Boris, if the spiders aren’t coming out because they’re afraid, we must make it right by offering a gift.” She put her hand on Boris’ shoulder. “If they truly aren’t here, maybe someone else can benefit from the dust. I think Mademoiselle would tell us to leave the gift.” She placed the dust at the bottom of the webs. “We’d like to be able to come back and practice. If we gift the spiders, we’ll be able to do that, so the dust stays!”
The fairies would gift the spiders, then scramble the webs or at least try. Boris and Jack excluded, the fairies placed dust at the foot of the web. They knew how to jump the webs and scramble the course individually. But the challenging part was figuring out how to scramble from web to web with Pearle. That would take lots of practice and they didn’t have much time. Jumping was one thing, but scrambling meant jumping from web to web with no wings, and the actual race would be timed. If they could get Pearle through the course and to the last web, she could fly on her own from there, and at least have a shot to reach her star. But how were they going to make that happen? They were about to figure that out.
Boris jumped onto the web first. No flying allowed, Jack reminded him. He sprung into the air, arms waving and legs flailing. Jack followed. Ivy jumped onto the web next, followed by Rosie. Lilly lowered herself onto the sticky web. Pearle, sitting on the web, was being bounced up and down as the others jumped on the web. There has to be a way to assist Pearle or Mademoiselle wouldn’t have shared such beautiful words with her, thought Lilly. Your physical size, my little one, is not an issue; it’s your strength from within that will determine a win, a strong heart that will set you apart. Lilly asked everyone to stop bouncing for a moment.
“I think I have a plan that just might work,” Lilly announced.
Everyone stopped and waited for Lilly to explain. The gleam in her eyes indicated she’d figured something out. But before she could announce what it was, Boris made an announcement of his own.
“I have an idea,” blurted out Boris.
“What is it, Boris?” Lilly asked, genuinely wondering about his plan.
“We could fairy bomb Pearle. You know, like we do off the lily pads into the brook when we swim. But now we’d bomb Pearle from one web to the next web.” Boris waited to see what everyone, specifically Lilly, would say.
To his surprise, Lilly was smiling.
“Boris, as odd as that sounds, you may be onto something. I like your plan better than mine!” Lilly announced, surprising everyone. “In fact, I think we could fairy bomb Pearle quite nicely from one web to the next web and scramble the whole course if we all work together.” She smiled and added, “Well done, Boris. Nice one!”
Jack chimed in as well. “Don’t forget that on the day of the actual scramble, the webs will be covered in dust. Extra bouncy. Pearle could spring from web to web on her fairy rear.” He pointed to the branches above and at a web located to the left of where they stood. “It just might work. We should try it and see.”
Pearle giggled at the very thought of it. “I’m willing to try.”
“Oh my!” Lilly squealed. “It’s going to work. I just know it. Boris, we have a plan!”
They had a plan all right. A fairy-bombing, web-scrambling, plan!
Copyright © 2016 Amanda M. Thrasher
Spider Web Scramble Mom’s Choice Awards® Gold Recipient
The Mom’s Choice Awards® (MCA) evaluates products and services created for children, families and educators. The program is globally recognized for establishing the benchmark of excellence in family-friendly media, products and services. The organization is based in the United States and has reviewed thousands of entries from more than 55 countries. Around the world, parents, educators, retailers and members of the media look for the MCA mother-and-child Honoring Excellence seal of approval when selecting quality products and services for children and families.
Character Quotes: Janoose And The Fall Feather Fair
Character Quotes: Janoose watched Mallard talking to the painter in the factory yard. “He reminds me of someone. Humm. Does he look like the fox, Margie?”
“I didn’t get a good look at him. I do know that the fox is out of jail for stealing feathers from the farm and is in a reform program,” Margie said. “If he steals feathers again there are other feather factories who won’t think twice about taking those stolen feathers no matter how they were gathered. Such a shame.”
~ Janoose And The Fall Feather Fair by JD Holiday & Luke Brandon Winski
Author and Illustrator JD Holiday
Rachel Rueben YA Author & Novelist
The best stories from the world's best authors
A New Fantasy Experience
Author Rachel Rueben YA Novelist at Large
Not Just Another Word Press Blog! © 2012 Dellani Oakes