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CAPTAIN FIN – What a NOVEL to me

CAPTAIN FIN – Cover reveal coming soon.

I’ve been working on a novel for what seems too long now, but in my defense time hasn’t always been on my side. The story CAPTAIN FIN is based on a screenplay written by the talented actor, writer, movie producer, and director, Kevin James O’Neill.

When Kevin approached me about writing this novel and I read the script, I can’t begin to tell you how excited I was, thrilled doesn’t cover the joy that I felt. I immediately fell in love with one of the characters, Hannah. Oddly it wasn’t at all from an angle or perspective that was presented in the script that he had handed me. But I could envision so clearly the direction that I felt he wanted to go; thus the reason he sought out a writer like me, a children’s author.

I was so worried about my time commitments. Already in the midst of writing BITTER BETRAYAL and working every day at a company that I am a partner, owner, and as the CEO am obligated to be committed to running every single day.

At one point I even told him, “Kevin, as saddened as I am, I don’t believe I have the time to finish Captain Fin. I love this piece, and if you want to take my ideas, chapters, and give them to another writer, I completely understand.” To my surprise, Kevin did not accept my offer but gave me a call instead. His words not only humbled me, but I felt as if he handed me a gift instead. I don’t think I will ever forget his words.

“Amanda, I can’t really see anyone else writing this novel. I love your ideas, what you’ve written so far, and I understand how busy you are. I’ll wait. I’ll wait until you have the time to write it.” I can’t tell you the shock I felt. To hear someone had that much faith in my work was amazing to me. #humbled #grateful

I was worried that the flow of the work would be jeopardized by the amount of time that it was taking me to write the story, again, time wasn’t on my side due to work and family commitments. But I recently went back and reread my early chapters as I’m polishing off the manuscript before sending it to my editor. I must say, I was pleasantly surprised. I fell in love with Hannah all over again!!!! Her spirit, strong will, the sadness that reflects through her eyes, and the way that she eventually withdraws from others due to the hand that life has dealt her with her gentle spirit still intact, kills me! LOVE HER!

I can only hope that I delivered the novel the way Kevin had envisioned; I know it is exactly how I imagined it to be. It was challenging and exhilarating at times, but writing this piece was such a blessing. The images that you see are components of my cover. The design will be released soon. I am looking so forward to sharing this beautiful story of loss, discovery, love, friendship, and hope with the world. I sincerely hope that you enjoy this book as much as I enjoyed writing it! CAPTAIN FIN, coming soon. #TLA19

Amanda M Thrasher

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The Dawnstone Tale – Chapter Two, cont’d

by R L Davis Hays

After hurrying to the eastern side of Nothshore, he had climbed atop an accommodating tree to observe the activity around the Wayward Inn. He spied at the windows until he found one particularly promising room — a small, dull, corner room; it had only two windows, one on the western side and one on the northern. Very possibly the office.

Sitting in the large oak branches for near an hour staring at the room, speculating on how to access the barred windows, he noticed that the northern sill was considerably wider than the others. An inner wall had been constructed in the office, allowing the pincher to conceal his lockbox from his employees.

This had led Keinigan to inspect the outer wall more intimately, which yielded a few dry-rotted boards just above the first floor level. Weighing his possibilities, he waited until he saw Wendal leave through the front. With the boarding house subdued, he had climbed up, pried the boards loose quietly, and then wriggled into the small interior of the false wall.

He was able to slink through the maze of beams and braces; his eyes adjusting to the darkness. The thin illumination of blocked moonlight and sparse warmth, visible to his fae sight, left him to rely more on his other senses. Much to his discomfort.

Grime and rat droppings were thick, and the space he had crammed into was not much wider than his chest. Forced to take shallow breaths (which seemed preferable to him considering the stinking contents of this crawlspace) he wrestled through an area that was good for nothing, barring perhaps to hide dead bodies. His mind was aglow with an image of his prize; a small box stashed beneath the second story window frame.

The splintered wood of a crossbeam snagged his head by the velvet ribbon so sweetly placed by Lyla. Wincing, he reached up to free it, only to flail in the confines. A cringe of dread braced his nerves as he jerked his head, ripping several hairs from his scalp. Tears stung his eyes, but with an angry snort, he started to move again. Dust that had collected over decades kicked up around his face, tickling his nose dangerously. His entire body squeezed shut as he tried not to sneeze. A moment passed before he could recover.

The effort it took to stay quiet was costing him precious minutes and driving him slowly mad with thoughts of the filth covering him. With each sweaty second, he could feel the contamination seeping into his skin, but he dared not rush.

He had seen some ladies in the windows of The Wayward house, and any strange noise could alert them to his presence.

Twisting his head around, he saw the solid blackness of a surface less than an arm’s length from him. It ran from the floorboards to the ceiling. He guessed by the distance from his entry spot that this was the encasement below the widened window. With an awkward bend of his arm, he released his dagger. Grabbing it tight, he shifted to lie on his side, maneuvering the dagger deftly along the cracks of the board obstructing the box.

As he ran his fingers down the crevice, he found what he needed. A rat hole. The vermin that had left their trail of droppings for him to follow had also done most of his work for him. By the splintering on it, he judged that the whole partition was brittle and rotting. He grinned eagerly in the dark.

With sweat rolling down his forehead and stinging his eyes, he worked. Patiently, with his breath making puffs in the sawdust, he whittled bits of plank away with his dagger tip.

After an eternity, Keinigan had a hole large enough to push his arm in, up to the elbow. That was all he needed, he hoped. It was near midnight, and the occupants would be returning soon.

His hand touched the bottom of the lockbox. His coveted goal was near, but his mind compulsively reminded him that he was lying in vermin refuse. Fortunately, the furry residents of the nest were occupied elsewhere. He tried to focus only on his undertaking. Angling his dagger at the corner joist of the box in order to give the best pry point, he heard noises beyond the inner wall. He froze.

A person was milling about in the office.

Minutes ticked slowly in his brain as he listened intently, his muscles cramping and screaming for movement. Loose strands of hair pasted to his forehead by sweat and dirt itched him, making a panic of misery well up inside his chest. He fought to hold it in.

Footfalls came closer to his position, and he heard a scraping sound followed by a click above his hands. The image of Wendal, opening his lockbox with his suntanned hands just a mere half-mark away from a thief enclosed in his walls, popped into Keinigan’s fevered brain, and a giggle tickled him mercilessly.

There was a heavy thud on the board above his dagger tip and (for the briefest instant) Keinigan saw a splinter of dim candlelight at the corner seam.

Optimism fluttered in his soul as he realized his luck. The box was weakened already; his job just got a whole lot easier. His palms tingling, he waited for Wendal to close the wooden lid and leave the house. Hearing a faint creaking clack as the office door shut, Keinigan counted to twenty and then he positioned his dagger on the place where he had seen the flash of light.

Biting his dust covered lip to douse his giddiness, he popped the pommel of his dagger hard. The board gave a little. The nails straining to grip it in place, the wood groaned in objection. Loudly. Pausing in slight alarm, he craned his neck to listen for any noise inside the house before wedging his dagger in again.

He wiggled his tool; pushed again, and was rewarded with sudden movement, as the seam ruptured. His pulse surged. The board bent, opening under the weight of the bags nestled within. Still restrained by the opposite joint, the bottom did not crash down as he feared it might but, he was able to worm one nimble hand inside the hole. It touched the cloth of a small sack. With barely a breath, he painstakingly extricated his prize, allowing the board to relax and close.

Now, he was anxious to get the hell out of there.

The chill night air was drifting in through the loose entry fracture as he squirmed out backwards, finding his way blindly like a giant maggot with his feet thrashing in midair and dust clouding around his head. Finally, finding a foothold on the windowsill, he yanked himself free and hopped to the ground.

He crouched below the casement for a moment, certain that someone was aware of the activity. All was quiet around him. It had been a risk coming out hindquarters first; his fears had conjured images of a circle of thugs and Wendal watching him grapple out only to pin him to the wall with swords. But, there was no one.

Keinigan was scraped, cut, aching, filthy, and somehow had never been more elated. The more rational part of his brain was astonished by the depths to which he would go for money. He glanced down at the small sack in his hands, testing its weight. It felt as if there were at least fifty silver pents in coin and gems. Hysteria bubbling up from his insides, he had to quickly dash into the back alleys, heading for the city entrance before it erupted.

A heavy, spring sun was coming up over the horizon, showing its shy white face between sullen clouds as he was nearing the city of Eddermont to repay Big Lukas.

Keinigan thought to himself, “Problem solved. I’ll finally have some left over.”

~~~

Translations from Jorthus series available from Amazon.com. Visit the author page for more information on the books, or join the conversation on The Worlds of Jorthus page on Facebook.  http://rldavishays.webs.com/apps/blog/

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Chapter Two of The Dawnstone Tale begins…

Chapter Two

INSIDE A WALL, Nothshore, Myretrae.

 

The young faerlin’s avenues eventually led him into a small, confined space inside a wall of the Wayward Inn boarding house on the eastern end of Nothshore in the middle of the night. He would have bemoaned this fate, if he were not so keenly aware of how he got into this predicament.

Earlier in the day, Keinigan had arrived in the seaside town, eager to gain some useful ideas on where he could get money enough to pay Lukas. He had traveled from tavern to pub, chatting and flirting until he met with one young woman of ill repute who was relaxing before her evening duties began.

Her name was Lyla. He had given her his business before and he fancied that she liked him more than she liked the usual customer. She had brightened when she saw him and, after a little chitchat, she had agreed to start work early just for him.

After an exhilarating romp in her room at the Red Palms Inn, he sat naked on the end of her hard-packed, cotton mattress as she playfully combed the snarls out of his hair. Her hands gathered the jagged blonde waves up and, embracing them with a velvet ribbon from her bedside table, she tied it into a neat tail.

Stroking his head, she had leaned forward to kiss his slanted ears tenderly. Her small bosom smashed into his back as she did so, sending a pleasant shudder through him. He had smiled, content for that moment.

It was not until she had dressed and opened her window drapes to the sunset washed buildings outside that he let reality creep back into his thoughts. Lyla was sprinkling her bedcovers with a fragrant powder to disguise the scent of lovemaking as Keinigan pulled on his breeches and boots. Looking up at her, he had asked, “Where can a fellow get his hands on a bag of silver?”

Not looking at him, Lyla had laughed, “You could work here. We make five pents per customer.”

“Right, but you have to give most of that to the pincher, for housing and protection. I doubt I could make enough tonight to get out of trouble.” He had made the comment sound like a joke, but he was halfway considering the idea of renting himself out. Lyla cocked her head at him sardonically.

“The boys work the south side of town, hon. I was only joking.”

“So was I,” he said innocently. A thought had crept into his mind and he then ventured, “How much does Wendal, your pincher, take?”

She was picking up old clothes around her room; her gangly legs peeked out from beneath her skirts every so often to tempt his gaze. She shrugged. “Three out of our regular five. Anything above that, we keep. That’s why I like big tippers.” She shot him a scathing glance, but he was oblivious to it.

Tossing his tunic and vest on, he had headed for the washbasin to rinse his hands, continuing his train of thought aloud. “How many girls work in this boarding house?” he asked. “About twenty rooms, is it?”

“Yes, but not all Wendal’s girls stay here. Some o’ them rent rooms at his other house on the east end. The Wayward is much nicer. That’s where he has his own apartments.” Finished with as much cleaning as she wanted to do, she was standing with her hands on her hips, waiting for him to pay her and leave. She had a living to earn and he was wasting her valuable time casually scrubbing his face and neck.

“Do you have any cologne?” he asked offhandedly. When she shook her head, he grunted with disappointment. “Does he just keep all the money he takes from you ladies or does he ever buy you anything with it?” He dried his face on his shirt, noting with horror that he needed to launder it. “Does he have partners?”

“You lookin’ to get hired?” She had giggled. “I’m afraid you’re out of luck. Wendal works alone. And, no he doesn’t buy us gifts or anything with his money.”

“The kecker.” He smiled as he wrapped his arms around her small waist one more time and pulled her close. “If you were mine, I’d make sure you got roses every day and a diamond at least once a week.”

She smirked up into his sparkling green eyes. “That’s why I love seeing you, Keinigan. You are so full of figshat. You always make me laugh.”

He pressed his lips to hers; the supple touch made him crave her again. She had pulled back and placed one finger on his mouth. “We better stop or it’ll start costing you extra.”

Bending his forehead to hers and letting his hands caress her shoulders, he tried his best to stay focused on his errand. He had been trying to find a subtle way of asking her where her pincher stowed his fortunes, but his mind filled with more carnal thoughts. Questions faded in and out, losing all coherence as his body ached to be smothered in her scent again. At last hope, as she was pushing him towards the door, he had blurted out, “What does he do with his money?”

“AH!” She was exasperated. “I don’t know! He puts it in the lockbox for his retirement, I guess. Now, will you just pay me and go?”

“He has a locked box? In his room?” He had tried to sound dense.

“No, silly, in his office. Hidden. He has the only key. Keeps it on his neck, but you’re not good enough to steal it from him. So, give it up. Now, are you going to give me my money or do I have to send Wendal after you to collect double?”

Keinigan was bounced out the door and dug into his belt pouch as she shoved. Fishing out a gemstone he had swiped from someone’s purse earlier, he stared down at it; his rebuffed passions waning. The stone was worth ten silver pents, but he supposed that the information she had given him was worth a good tip. He stuck it out to her and smiled, “Can I have credit for later?”

With a tilt of her brown curled head, she had smirked, “What, and leave me with no tip? You still owe me one from last time, hon.” She snatched the gem and shut the door, leaving him in the graywood hall of the inn with his plans.

*****

Translations from Jorthus series available from Amazon.com. Visit the author page for more information on the books, or join the conversation on The Worlds of Jorthus page on Facebook.  http://rldavishays.webs.com/apps/blog/

author, books, Cereal Authors, Children's story, childrens stories, Fiction, JD Holiday, YA

Character Quotes: from Simple Things by JD

         Simple Things

by J.D. Holiday, a Christian Middle Grade Novel.

Simple Things cover DONE copy church in it  Kirby craned his neck as the truck drove down the street. Then the Speedy Delivery driver limped down their front stairs shouting, “Hey! Hey!”

Shaking his head, Kirby went to the front door wondering what to say to Gram. She would not believe this.

The doorbell started ringing as his grandmother came into the living room. Her cherry color hair bobbed and her bony arms outstretched while wiping her hands on a dish towel.

The bell rang again as Gram reached it. At the door, Kirby stood to one side while she opened it. The deliveryman leaned against the doorjamb and holding his head. “Someone stole my truck,” he said.  Kirby winced thinking this will not end well.

 

Dedicated to my parents, Ira and Ruth Day,  Simple Things is about the Cameron children worried that they will not get the toys they asked for for Christmas because their mother is a last minute shopper. The uncle that Trisha Frankel has lived with most of her life with has died. The only option she has is to find the father she does not know, even though her uncle said, “He was no good.” Trisha takes her dog, Mitch to search out her father and find out what he is like for herself. Along the way, her dog is stolen. The most likely suspect in the dog’s disappearance is a man connected to the Cameron children Phoebe, Tucker, and Kirby. Phoebe, Tucker, and Kirby are busy trying to figure out if their Christmas gifts will arrive. But helping Trisha makes them realize that sometimes the lives of others are more important than their own interests, especially at Christmas time.

More on the book:

http://jdholiday.blogspot.com/p/latest-middle-grade-novel.html

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Truth, As Strange As Fiction: Betsy Wetsy

betsey wetseyThe Authors Words: Betsy Wetsy – The Back story for Simple Things by JD Holiday

The Christmas in 1956 a truck delivering gifts from the Spiegel catalog company caught fire on route to New Jersey the week before the holiday. My parents ordered the toys from it that year. Once informed by mail that the accident occurred my parents must have been in a panic. After all, they spent all the money they had allotted for Christmas on that order. But Spiegel, one of an American  direct order catalog company at that time founded in 1865, assured them they would make good on their delivery, even if some of the items would not be exactly what was ordered.

The Spiegel along with the Sears catalogs consisted of numerous pages devoted to toys for the Christmas season which us kids poured over from the time the catalogs arrived in the mail thorough the Christmas season until that wonderful Christmas morning. My parents, to make the excitement last for us, or maybe them, they liked sharing the season’s enthusiastic passion with us. For the whole month of November up until my parent acquire the expected toys would take us to the 2 or 3 local toy stores several times to observe the items we fancied. They would either go back and buy what we liked or order from either the or SEARS catalogs. I wanted the Betsy Wetsy doll that drink and wet, bottle and diapers included! The Betsy Wetsy dolls were originally issued by the Ideal Toy Company of New York in 1934. It “drink-and-wet,” and was one of the most popular dolls of its kind in the Post–World War II baby boom era.

We were about to get ready for bed Christmas eve when commotion began outside the single family home we rented in Totowa, New Jersey on the same block a the town cemetery. The surprise of this intrusion changed the nightly routine. The family was sitting around our living room as people did in the 1950s just to watch the beauty of our decorated and lit tree. The door bell rang to the front porch of the house. My father got up and went to look. “No one look out the window,” he commanded.

He was clearly expecting something to happen. We would learn much later that he and my mother were not so sure the toys would actually make it by truck from the companies headquarters in Chicago.

My father closed the door behind him as he went out onto the porch where muffled voices began followed by a lot of bumping and crashing sounds.

Our mother scurried to get us upstairs to our rooms and into bed leaving us children unsure of what was occurring.

Christmas morning, I was thrilled to see all the wonderful looking packages under the tree. That is until I ripped open the box to see my Betsy Wetsy doll. But it wasn’t her. It was a doll I haven’t seen before. I received a knockoff.

I cried throwing the baby doll to the floor, “It’s not her!”

But she’s a baby,” my father said, with a sympathetic facial expression for the rubber baby. He bent down and picked up the doll and rocked it while holding it tenderly.

I don’t want her. I want Betsy,” I told him.

But look. I think the baby’s hurt,” he said, mocking more sadness.

I looked over his arms to see the baby’s face. She didn’t seem to be hurt, but just so cute. I took her from him and hugged her. My Betsy. I was five.

©2018  J.D. Holiday https://jdholiday.blogspot.com/

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The Dawnstone Tale — a fantasy novel excerpt continued

by R. L. Davis Hays

translations cover front 96

 

Chapter One (cont’d)

***********************************************

After awaking in Gala’s bed with her cinnamon arms draped over him in a gentle entrapment, Keinigan had promised to get her the twenty silver by that afternoon. She let him slip out with sharp distrust in her black eyes, but he indeed did return within six hours, despite the gray rainfall that beleaguered the land.

He had proudly presented a small pouch of coins that she counted quickly in front of him. Keinigan felt offended at this show of cynicism before Gala reminded him of the last time she had taken his silver without checking it first. He conceded that she was better off counting it. She did not ask him where he had acquired the silver pents, and when she promptly turned back to the young human with whom she had been flirting as Keinigan entered, the fae realized that his time with her was concluded for now. He was free to go.

Which, he did with her rejection chafing him sorely. He had hoped to enjoy her favors once again before turning to the arduous task of finding more money.

He had borrowed the minor amount from Big Lukas, a local moneylender in the coastal region. Once the Slider Guild was paid, he had less than thirty hours in which to scrounge up twenty-five silver pents to pay Lukas.

The pent coin, so called because of its five, flat sides, was the most common monetary increment minted throughout the civilized lands on Jorthus. Silver was a rare mineral and, therefore, the base of the value system. The agreed upon value of a stamped coin was represented by its size, shape, and weight as well as the mineral from which it was made. As copper and gold were abundant, they were usually used for jewelry or smaller, round coinage. For higher increments of value, one would seek out either silver “pents” or gemstones. Gems were highly prized and held a steady value to all peoples on the world. If one was rich, it was easier to carry gemstones than bulky amounts of their stamped coin equivalent.

The interest that Big Lukas charged was exorbitant, and the faerlin planned to pay him back within one day, avoiding any accumulation. He also hoped that he would not have to work for it. Thus, the entire remainder of that day he sought out wealthy-looking patrons in the marketplace that had heavy pouches dangling from their belts in the hope that he would not have to think harder on the subject.

Life, as always, was not being kind to him. He detested manual labor and refused to beg, so he sought another way. Being left with enough to make one well-placed bet to try raising the full loan amount, Keinigan headed to the warehouses. He usually considered himself lucky at gambling. Not enough to make it a lucrative profession, but lucky enough to pick winners when he really needed them.

This night, his luck failed him.

The warehouse district of Eddermont, commonly known as The Dungs, was always teeming with some sort of game action, as well as questionable characters. Tonight, the bets were being exchanged on a number of large, long-furred rats. The seedy owners trapped, trained, and cared for the rodents. They would starve them for one day, and then race them along deep, narrow trenches that ran below the warehouse floor as drainage against flooding in that area. Several owners gained speed from them by hanging bits of food at the end of the trenches.

The rats skittered around inside their cages; a few were hungrily gnawing at the wooden bars encasing them. Keinigan looked them over. Choosing a sleek, muscular rat as his favorite, he placed his remaining money on the vermin. The odds would yield enough to pay back Lukas and have plenty to spare. This convinced him the Emmissars of Fortune were smiling on him at last.

Keinigan saw several familiar faces in The Dungs. Some he was glad to see again and some far less so. He was chatting with an eight-fingered thief from the lower end of town when he noticed a hooded person inspecting the cages. The tall, straight-shouldered figure seemed familiar to him; though, he could not have said a name or placed a face to it.

He did not give the cloaked figure any more thought at that time. It was only after the race — after he had lost all his money because a mangy, rotund rat considered unlikely to waddle, let alone win, had made a frenzied dash for the finish line — that Keinigan puzzled on how his luck had turned against him.

Many people lost or won money throughout the dark hours on many events, but only one individual walked away from that particular race with silver. Keinigan stood on the side of the trenches, stunned. Engulfed in angry shouts, he stared numbly at the exhausted rat as it collapsed at the end of the track, gasping. The little creature was not even eating its reward; it was simply lying on its side, beginning to spasm. Keinigan’s brow furrowed. Hunger had not driven that rat so furiously to win. Something else had. He stared at the animal as mumbling, cursing folk jostled him. Trying to see what would come of this odd behavior, his vision was continuously blocked.

Frustrated, Keinigan glanced over to the exit. He glimpsed the cloaked winner retreating by the far door. Two other figures also slipped out of the warehouse after it. Keinigan assumed that they were disgruntled gamblers bent on exacting a refund.

He turned back in time to see a heartbroken trainer carrying the limp, twitching body of the winning rat out of the race area. Keinigan did not call attention to the odd ailment of the rat or the fact that only one person had bet on it. He quietly decided to leave that information stored in his brain for a later time, as he had no idea how it had been accomplished. He could prove nothing.

Still, he decided to follow the winner’s path, morbidly curious if the other men would overtake the lucky gambler or not.

*******************************************************

The two “angry pursuers” had left an obvious track in the damp, sticky night, even though Keinigan slumped along without any real hope of overtaking the mysterious trio. He was mainly giving his mind time to deal with the reality that he was now broke again.

Following the trail into a dark passage, he stumbled over a soft object. With an irritated curse, he lifted himself out of the mud and froze. He smelled blood. At his feet was a body. Instinctively, he turned to run. As he did so, a fading warm glow outlined a second body propped against the alley wall. Both men had their throats slit, deeply. Warm blood spilt down their chests, into the mud, and formed a gory river that trickled into the shadows.

Keinigan got the distinct impression that neither of these dying humans was the winner in the dark cloak. He was also certain that they had not gotten their refunds.

Impulsively, he snagged a money pouch off the nearest one. It was sticky with fresh blood and desperately empty. The faerlin dropped it in revulsion. Steeling his nerves, and resisting his instinct to be gone from this scene of death, he crept closer to search their bodies. He promptly found it was a fruitless effort, for the being that had taken their lives had also cut their belt pouches open. A grating noise disturbed the end of the alley. He whirled about, snatching out his dagger in reflex. This was a bad place to be caught.

A cat fled a tumbling box; Keinigan’s heart skittered as quickly as the animal before he felt the chill stillness creep back into the alley. Looking at the paltry find from the pouches, he gave up the tracking game to mourn his loss in the safety of his inn room.

The rest of the night crept by with the shadows nagging him about the pitiful state of his affairs, which he had created by steadfastly honoring his life of crime. The nagging strangely reminded him of his mother; Keinigan responded by drinking the last of his redberry wine in order to drown it out.

Sleep began to take him, and as dawn broke over the corroded town of Eddermont, his reckoning came.

********************************************************

Translations from Jorthus series available from Amazon.com. Visit the author page for more information on the books, or join the conversation on The Worlds of Jorthus page on Facebook.  http://rldavishays.webs.com/apps/blog/

author, books, Cereal Authors, Children's story, childrens stories, JD Holiday, publishing, Teens, tweens, YA

Art Work, Simple Things by JD Holiday

Simple Things cover DONE Signed

© 2018 by JD Holiday

This is a painting I did for my latest book, Simple Things, a middle grade Christian based story.  It will be published by Dancing With Bear Publishing.

 Simple Things is about the Cameron children worried that they will not get the toys they asked for for Christmas because their mother is a last minute shopper. The uncle that Trisha Frankel has lived with most of her life with has died. The only option she has is to find the father she does not know, even though her uncle said, “He was no good.” Trisha takes her dog, Mitch to search out her father and find out what he is like for herself. Along the way, her dog is stolen. The most likely suspect in the dog’s disappearance is a man connected to the Cameron children Phoebe, Tucker, and Kirby. Phoebe, Tucker, and Kirby are busy trying to figure out if their Christmas gifts will arrive. But helping Trisha makes them realize that sometimes the lives of others are more important than their own interests, especially at Christmas time.

 

~ JD Holiday

author, books, Cereal Authors, Excerpts, Fantasy, Fiction, Romance, Ruth Davis Hays, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized, YA

The Dawnstone Tale — continued

by R. L. Davis Hays

translations cover front 96

CHAPTER ONE (cont’d)

Keinigan watched the newcomers from behind the bar. They touched and whispered with a familiarity he identified, though seldom shared. Trying to appear nonchalant and busy himself about the bar, his eyes were continually brought back to the young woman. She was breathtaking. Light eyes, the color of amethyst, had ensnared him instantly. Her skin was cream, smooth and flawless, filling a slight yet curvaceous vessel. The openness in her expression made him want to defend her, please her. Follow her, anywhere.

He had no doubt that her traveling partner felt the same towards this magnificent lady. The companion, whom Keinigan could tell was most definitely male (even covered deep in a hooded cloak), did not leave her side for an instant.

The thief had considered assailing the pair once they left, so he could relieve his debt to Gala. But, as soon as the woman had unwrapped her veil with the graceful movements of a dancer, revealing a fall of fiery golden tresses down her back, Keinigan had forgotten all about the money. He thought of nothing but burying his face in those tender waves and taking in their sweet fragrance.

“You thinking of my forty silver, Keinigan?” Gala’s voice jolted him out of his fantasies. Her stare followed his, and she nodded to the two seated at the table. “Think they have that much?”

“You think me insane?” He whispered over the bar top, “Look at that man. I can’t tell his race, but he easily has three blades on him.”

“That are visible.” Gala chuckled at Keinigan’s discomfort.

“And take a look at that sword. He must be an ex-soldier. I am not about to die for forty figgin’ silver,” he stated before catching on to the number. Shooting a glare at her, he snagged her arm. “Hold on, I thought we had settled for twenty?”

“Well, either way, you had better start thinking of how you’re going to get it, smart guy. Time is wasting.” She tapped him on the head with the serving platter she was still holding.

“By the way,” Keinigan grinned. “You make a cute serving wench, Gala. Think you’ll get a big tip?”

“Laugh all you want, Keen. You’re going to be the scrub-boy,” she smirked back. Then she fell silent and serious again as she glanced at the couple.

“What?” Keinigan sensed that she was disturbed by something.

“Do you recognize him?” She gestured with her head towards the beautiful woman’s companion.

Keinigan shrugged. “I can’t get a good look at him with that hood on. Why? You know him?”

Gala shook her head. “His hands. They’re strange. And he keeps himself well hidden. I’ve been over there three times and still haven’t seen his face. I wonder who he is.”

Keinigan felt completely uninterested in the man. “Who cares?”

“By the color of that hood, I’d swear it was one of ol’ Cylas’s fingermen, but the fellow’s manners are too good. Plus, he doesn’t talk like a mercenary. He speaks very… well, fancy talk; you know, the way they talk at court.” She was not really speaking to Keinigan anymore and this put him off.

“Oh, yes, I am frequently at the courts, dancing, dining, and hobnobbing with all the town officials. I know exactly what you mean,” he babbled to himself.

Gala turned back to him, grinning at his jealousy. “Oh, you’re at court a lot, just not that kind of court. There’s a slight difference.”

Keinigan sneered at her jab.

She slid around to face him fully; a cat with a squirming mouse in its claws, her dark eyes watched him. “Back to the point of my money, then.”

Hanging his head, he raked a hand through his shaggy hair. He was hoping to get her onto a different subject, one that might lead to more pleasant positions and situations.

“I suppose I’ll hit the cockfights or The Dungs tomorrow. I can usually get a fair amount there.” He was feeling morose.

“Oh, Keinigan.” Gala was shaking her head, her eyes sad. “When are you going to stop living like this? You lose money faster than anyone else I know. You have got to get into a more stable line of work. Or, at least, stop getting caught,” she clucked sympathetically. “Why won’t you accept a steady guild status or tump in some other town? That would help. Don’t you have any money stored anywhere? Didn’t you save anything from when you were in the Northgate militia?”

His head snapped up at the name as if she had struck him. “Don’t open that wound again, Gala. You know I wasn’t paid. The only money I came away with was what I’d stolen from the militia’s looting. As a convict, I didn’t have the right to have money, remember?”

She apologized.

He stretched up tall, trying to settle his anger at the memories of his futile past. The young faerlin’s eyes fell again on the couple by the door. His keen ears had overheard the conversation about ports and a voyage. The man mentioned getting enough money for passage somewhere. Keinigan quickly calculated that it would be more than twenty silver pents. The possibility of robbing them surfaced again.

Then his eyes fell on the black scabbard hanging off the man’s thigh, and his ambitions died there. That weapon looked as if it was well used and he did not doubt that he would find out just what the blade of it looked like if he tangled with the man. Although he could not see much of the fellow, he sensed a disagreeable aura coming from him.

He pulled Gala close to him again. “You said that his hands were strange, how so?”

She held up her hands to illustrate her narrative.

“His nails are not flat like ours. They come out and down a bit, like talons almost. And they are a darkish gray.”

Keinigan’s brow creased in concentration. “Sounds familiar; though, I can’t remember where I’ve heard that kind of description before.”

“He’s not full-blood human,” she conceded. “Could he be part ogre? Or faerl?”

Keinigan looked offended at the comment. “The Fae don’t have claws, Gala.”

She shrugged the statement off. “Well, maybe I can get him to take that blasted hood off.”

Headed over to them again when the couple stood up, she paused. Having finished their meal, the man was tossing a few silver pieces on the table. The woman drew in close and, stretching up, embraced the man in a kiss. The hood slid back to reveal ashen skin, black hair, a striking face that was accented by piercing blue eyes, and tall, pointed ears.

Gala let out an involuntary purring noise and Keinigan did not care for its sensuality in the least. Admittedly, the man was good-looking, and any hope of stealing the red-haired woman’s affections away seemed faint suddenly.

Their kiss was cut short by Gala’s reaction. The man turned and bid them goodnight, pulling his hood close over his face again before swiftly helping the woman into her thin cloak.

They departed without another word.

****************************************************

Translations from Jorthus series available from Amazon.com. Visit the author page for more information on the books, or join the conversation on The Worlds of Jorthus page on Facebook.  http://rldavishays.webs.com/apps/blog/

books, Cereal Authors, Excerpts, Fantasy, Fiction, Literary, Romance, Ruth Davis Hays, Sci-Fi, Uncategorized, YA

The Dawnstone Tale — a fantasy novel, Chapter 1 continued…

by R.L.Davis Hays

Ruth Davis Hays Book Cover Collage 1

Chapter 1 continues:

~~~

The Drunken Faery Tavern was nearly empty; the few lamps that burned gave a secretive light to the place. The stale smell of ale filled Lylith’s mind with images of dark deeds and careless laughter. It was the kind of tavern she imagined would appear in the tales she read; the sort of stories that always initiated some unknown youth into the dark paths of crime, only to have him save his ladylove at the end.

Alone, she would have never stepped foot into this little pub, yet with Lord Dharromar Weiss on her arm, she felt untouchable. Her new acquaintance bore an intensity that made most harm-doers back down without a second thought. The worn, leather scabbard and intricately carved hilt of his blade, resting with ease on his hip, made those that did give them a second thought turn away as well.

They sat at a small, scarred table near the door. Her companion kept his dark green hood drawn low over his stern face until a loud rumble from her belly caused him to smile.

“That hungry, m’lady?” he chuckled as they settled and signaled the barmaid. “We should have stopped sooner.”

Lylith smiled. “Pardon me. I suppose I am hungrier than I knew. My mind was rather occupied with other things before.”

They exchanged the secret smile of new lovers. Blushing, Lylith changed the subject when the waitress appeared beside them with two mugs and a plate of roast venison, the aroma prompting another internal growl. She asked Lord Weiss, “Will we reach the port soon?”

“There is a town a few leagues ahead where we can bed down for the night. Then, if we get an early start tomorrow, we should reach the port town of Nothshore by evening,” he answered after the food was on the table. The dark-skinned waitress withdrew sourly, appearing put out by the arrival of these latecomers.

Unable to resist the succulence, the young sengheir was quick to eat, but Lord Dharromar was silent for a long time, spurring Lylith to look up from her meal. He was watching her intently.

“Are you absolutely set on this course, m’lady?” he asked.

“Yes, I should think. I want to see this island. At least try. I’m not able to explain it other than to say that I feel compelled to go there.”

The gentleman nodded in understanding. “Then, we go.”

“Do not feel that you must accompany me, Dharromar –” Lylith began. He raised one pale hand to ward off her dismissal. She glanced at the candlelight reflecting on his gray, claw-like fingernails. It was captivating; they were one of his weird qualities that fascinated her, making her crave to know more about him.

“I have learned that it’s better not to argue with a magda on a course of action when they say that they are ‘compelled.’ Besides m’lady, the night we met I did promise my sword for your protection and myself as your guide. I never go back on my word. Without our word of honor, what are we but the Beasts of Chaos?” He shook his head and added, “No. I will accompany you to the ends of this world if I must. As long as you have need of me.”

She smiled gratefully. “I am glad. I have enjoyed your company these past few days. You have proved to be a most helpful guide. And, I cannot deny that you are most helpful in other ways, too.” She giggled as the memory of their first, passionate encounter flowed back into the forefront of her mind…

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

She had traveled into the unfamiliar lands outside her home for less than a day when she sought refuge in a small, two-story inn that boasted the name of The Regal Lion, though its crippled and weathered boards hinted that it held the name from ages long past.

Rains swept over the landscape and night was quickly following. She knew she would be staying here until the morning. That was if the stained, thickset crowd inhabiting the tavern did not chase her back out into the downpour. The heavy, wooden door creaked shut behind her, causing all heads to swing towards the newcomer. She could feel their eyes crawling over her greedily.

With a mixture of natural interest and inexperience, she surveyed the room, meeting each pair of eyes one by one. Some fell away at her glance and returned to their mugs of ale; some leaned closer with perverse glee. Her skin felt sullied by these stares. Her heart began to tremble as she marveled at her audacity to attempt this trip alone and on foot.

Then her eyes fell on another individual, one that seemed wholly unique in this place. Dark blue eyes gleamed from the far side of the room, mimicking the color of tumultuous clouds etched by flaring moonlight. His lean frame lounged against a carved doorway which opened onto a staircase. His stare did not frighten her. It seared her, intrigued her. His lips held her gaze with a sly, inviting grin and trapped his thoughts inside. Modest, yet elegantly detailed clothes draped over his muscles, defining his shape rather than hiding it. The firelight caressed his pale skin and glinted across the smooth fall of hair that was as black as the deepest shadows in a nightmare.

The buzz of conversation resumed around the stuffy tavern, the other patrons fading back into their own business. She stood mute, pondering her next step. The fire popped and jumped in a short, stone hearth to her left. Tables, crowded with travel-worn patrons, filled the room before her and a line of hunched backs covered the bar that stood opposite the fireplace.

Neither hungry nor tired, she was simply seeking a safe haven. The tavern staff seemed busy with the room’s demands and she did not know the name of a single soul in this town. She felt very lost.

Her glance was drawn back to the man by the stairs. He had not moved. She felt a tingle run through her as she met his intense, knowing eyes again. He was merely leaning on the wall, his arms crossed over his broad chest comfortably, one booted foot cocked against the baseboard. But, his smile threatened to strip her dress from her skin, exposing and fulfilling all her wanton desires.

Her heart lurched; brushed by his fire. It seized a curiosity within that had consumed her for many years; the neglected lust for uninhibited adventure that propelled her dreams through restless nights. This man’s expression stoked that buried inferno, giving promise of its release.

He had nodded a friendly greeting. The shape of his face was most pleasing, framed by the ebony hair. There was something audacious about him. A dark radiance sparked deep within those sultry eyes, rimmed in their black lashes.

Perhaps lured by his savage beauty or because of the impudent confidence in his stance; either way, she had decided that making his acquaintance would surely prove most exciting.

Not knowing what was socially proper, and not really caring about convention, Lylith had walked straight up to him and asked why he smiled at her.

He did not react as one shocked by her behavior nor did he make any polite excuses. He had simply smiled broader, which revealed slight fangs, and stared deep into her large, violet eyes.

“I was imagining what you would look like on my bed, m’lady,” his resonant voice had purred.

“And where is your bed, sirra?” she had asked, aroused by his blatant comment.

One black eyebrow arched as he replied that it was upstairs, third door on the right.

She had nodded and given a mischievous grin. “All right, m’lord.”

With that, she walked straight up to his room. Her sense of adventure engaged, she was not one to play senseless games.

He had followed behind her after a brief moment of surprise and confusion, but the “introduction” that followed was, to her, quite remarkable.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

After the brief reverie, Lylith found that she had been staring at Dharromar for quite some time. They were both silent. His smile was inquisitive and kind.

“Were you having pleasant thoughts, m’lady? You didn’t seem to be listening to me, so I stopped talking.”

“Oh, I am sorry.” Lylith laughed at herself. “I was just remembering how we met.”

They both grinned and, surprisingly, she saw him blush as he looked down at his plate.

“I will concede, m’lady, that is a most pleasing thought, but we do have the problem ahead of us of how to pay for the voyage. You, as you have said, have no funds to pull from and I cannot access mine this far west.”

Lylith shrugged. “I could use majiks to get us whatsoever money we need.”

Lord Dharromar shook his head and glanced around the bar. “No, no. Besides the fact that actions of that kind are illegal, we don’t want to wreak havoc upon the economic balance of a small port town. I can get the money needed. But, it will take a little time.”

“How long? Will we miss the ship?” Lylith’s voice had a strange distressed tone to it.

He glanced at her, concerned; then he shook his head. “I think not. The clouds gathering this evening foretell foul weather tomorrow. Possibly rain for a few days. I don’t think the ship will leave port in a storm. We have time.”

A playful thought came to her. She reached out to draw tiny circles on the back of his hand resting on the table. “Then we do not really need to get up early in the morning, do we?”

His warm fingers captured her slender hand and he brought it to his lips. The hot breath trickled down the flesh of her arm with intimate promises.

“I am your most humble servant, m’love,” he whispered.

******************************************

Translations from Jorthus series available from Amazon.com. Visit the author page for more information on the books, or join the conversation on The Worlds of Jorthus page on Facebook.  http://rldavishays.webs.com/apps/blog/

 

Amanda Thrasher, Article, author, Book Marketing, books, Cereal Authors, chapter books,, Children's story, educators, Fiction, Life, Literary, parents, publishing, Sharing, Social media, Teens, tweens, writer's life, YA

TLA 18 – What’s this all about?

Signing copies of Bitter Betrayal in the featured author area at TLA 18.

Sooooooo the coolest thing that I believe as an author, Amanda M. Thrasher, and organization, Progressive Rising Phoenix Press, that we are a part of on an annual basis is the TLA (Texas Library Association) Conference. I have attended this conference for years, signed as a featured author for at least five years, and we have committed as a publisher, for now, four years.

Being an author first, and a co-owner and CEO of an independent press founded by authors, we continually try to locate and find ways that bring the most ‘bang for our buck’ for our authors. What exactly does that mean when it comes to TLA? In case you are not familiar with TLA, it is a professional organization promoting librarianship and library services in Texas. Through legislative advocacy, continuing education events, and networking channels. The conference usually has between 5000 to 6500 attendees, if not more, and often consist of librarians (academic, public, and private), educators, consumers, category buyers, publishers, vendors, to name a few. 

Being that it takes place during the week, most attendees go on their companies time and dime. This is good for us, (publishers and authors) because the visitors are pre-registered and literally plan up to a year in advance to attend the conference which brings a different type of ‘crowd’ versus people just look for something entertaining to do. So what do all of those people do?

Signing ‘The Greenlee Project’ at TLA 18

Everyone attends sessions as they listen and learn about new techniques, equipment, products, and don’t forget they all get to network and socialize as well. Meeting the authors is always a big draw, especially the featured authors, and so many fantastic publishers are represented such as Penguin Random House, Scholastic, McMillan, Disney, Chronicle Books, Capstone, Hachette Book Group, Simon & Schuster, Little, Brown, Book Co., to name a few…. Oh yeah, and us 🙂 as well, Progressive Rising Phoenix Press.

I am not big on the author to author events (me personally), that become book swaps. However, I will always tell our authors, or any other that ask, that I believe in this particular trade conference. This one is worth saving your $’s for and vesting in the trip. It moves yearly, location, but is always in Texas. We network; share our work with the librarians, teachers, and readers. Sign books, and pick up book orders. I have attended and signed at ALA, BEA, and TLA. For us, PRPP, I still believe we receive the most value for our vested dollars in this event. If you have ever considered going, as a company, but you are not sure if it is worth it or if you are an author and you do not know if you should spend the dollars here are my top reasons for doing so:

1) It is a professional trade show; attendees are pre-registered, and that means a guaranteed X amount of participation.

2) Attendees are there with a purpose to do the following: Place book orders for their locations, receive free books for review, and to share new talent or books with their districts. If you have a new title or an old title with limited exposure, it is the perfect place to share your work with the experts or potential real buyers.

3) It is expensive, yes, but with a joint effort it can be done and is worth the $’s spent due to the added benefit of buyers, readers, vendors, librarians, educators, all under one roof at the same time.

4) Networking with different schools, librarians, teachers, readers, is priceless, especially when they are all book lovers and want to be there with you.

5) We have placed multiple bulk orders through this conference, introduced new titles and authors, and re-launched older titles.

6) Negotiated contracts for services authors cannot receive on their own, such as Lexile scoring, contact made through TLA.

7) Received great submissions & we do not solicit authors.

8) Met librarians, teachers, educators, and others that we have stayed in touch with and shared our catalog, and new titles over the year. They have come back, and picked our latest work, sharing it with their districts.

9) Featured author area: the authors are reviewed and scheduled to sign. The advertising is great, and visiting with people as you sign your work is fantastic, but having them come back year after year, remembering you from the year before as they look for your new work….is…..priceless.

10) Often it seems as if we accomplish more at this one trade show than at ten regular author events. Those often seem time-consuming, turn into author swaps, and end up with minimal unit sales.

TLA

Copyright © Amanda M. Thrasher 

Amanda M.Thrasher

Progressive Rising Phoenix Press