Next Time the Howlies Come for a Sheep, They’ll Bring a Skillet

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The howlies certainly loved their breakfast of roasted fish. After they followed Herio and Philpott back to the cave, they sat crowded around the entrance, staring inside as if the pair of them were about to hatch. The prospects of escaping looked more dismal than ever. And it was most difficult to fall asleep that night in the heavy closeness of the musky reek with all of those eyes watching them.

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They were awakened not long before daylight by being hauled to their feet and marched to the river, where they found several of the giants already up to their waists in the water, grabbing at catfish. Blue Eye even found their water bags and followed. This time breakfast lasted into the early afternoon, since the fish were harder to catch and five more howlies had appeared.

The next morning, Herio was awakened by a busy commotion outside to find the giants on their haunches, patiently peering in at him with wriggling fish in their fists. “Philpott,” he said. “Do you see what’s out here?”

 

Philpott rolled off his dusty pallet onto his knees. “Say,” he said, giving his greasy head a good scratch, “we’ve got that little box of lard which we were starting to get hungry enough to nibble at. I’ve got it and my skillet.” He began finding stones to set it on over the flames of a fire as Blue Eye waddled over with a fish in each hand to look him up and down with the silvery rings of his eyes. As he set to the task of making the fire, Herio began cutting up the fish. When the first piece went into the sizzling fat, a chorus of gasps broke out and the howlies crowded in to see. This breakfast lasted until evening, with the giants traipsing back and forth to the river all day.

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“Damn!” said Herio as he lay down on his pallet after dark. “What are we going to do tomorrow? Aren’t we running out of lard?”

“Yeap,” said Philpott.

Herio might have heard, but he was already snoring.

Herio jerked wide awake in the first broad light of day to the hearty medley of calls from athrasher4 sunset thrasher in the gnarled twist of scrub oak, growing out of the rocks at the mouth of the cave. He was on his knees at once. “That mockingbird wouldn’t be there with a crowd of howlies,” he said, getting to his feet. “Philpott! I don’t see a single giant out here.”

“Hey!” cried Philpott as he stepped outside. “Where the ding-dong blazes is my skillet? And my lard box. Those stinkers are thieves!”

“No time,” said Herio.

“No there’s not,” said Philpott. And with that, they grabbed up their things and were out in the chilly mountain air at once, jogging as they buttoned and tied their clothes.

It was a long way down the length of the mountain ridge without the unicorns. Even so, they found themselves covering ground nearly as quickly as they had managed while mounted, following the howlie tracks uphill. By sunset, they reached the upper end of the great meadow above the dry wash where they had found signs in the sand made by the giants, the morning they set out. A mountain burrowing owl rasped and cackled from the rocks of the divide as they made their way out into the thin dry grass under the vault of deepening blue sky.

“Well we certainly had our adventure,” said Philpott, walking backward for a step or two. “And we ended up with one of the wildest tales we’ll ever have to tell, but we might not even have found out where they live, let alone doing anything to discourage them. We didn’t change a thing. They’ll just keep getting into our sheep.”

“Oh yes we did,” said Herio.

“My word, what?”

“And it’s mainly what you did.”

“I’d like to know what that was.”

“Next time they come for a sheep, they’ll bring a skillet.”  

“I can see that I’ve talked to you longer than any sane fellow would’ve.”

“That’s it!” said Hero, stopping short and setting down his panniers. “We can butcher hit for them…” He squatted to stretch his back.

“I knew it was too late when you commenced to howling like one of them.”

“No, wait,” said Herio. “Look ‘ee here. Weren’t we starting to talk and trade? Really. I mean, we told them we were thirsty and they took us to water. We said we were hungry and they gave us fish. Then we cooked the fish and they let us go. Right?”

“Yea. For my bloomin’ skillet.”

 

“Let’s say that we want to graze this pasture for a week,” he said, standing up with his bags and starting to walk again. “We pay them a sheep first.”

“What?”

“We take a wether up there…”

“You mean right back up to that stinking hole in the rocks?”

“Yea. We take a sheep up there and butcher and cook hit for them, and tell them hit’s for a week’s worth of pasture. They’d love it.”

“I’ll bet,” said Philpott with a wide-eyed nod. “And how in the ever loving blue eyed world are you going to get the notion of a week’s worth of future grazing across to those wooly bellied wizards?”

“I haven’t figured out that one yet. But you’d have to take them the sheep first, at least.”

“Well you kept wanting to draw pictures…”

“That’s it!” cried Herio, whirling about, mid stride. “What if we figured out what sort of picture, and put it on a parchment and took it with us?”

“We?” said Philpott. “Well, I reckon I can help butcher a sheep. But you’d better have one damned good picture with you, is all I can say.”

Ch. 10, Doom, The Heart of the Staff

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps

 

 

 

WHAM! First Ever FREE BOOK Promo 2/28/19 – 3/04/19

FREE for the FIRST TIME EVER and the ONLY TIME this year. WHAM! Timewalker Book 1  getbook.at/WHAM  2/28/19 – 2/04/19.

 

They took her world. They took her family. They said it was for the greater good.

They lied… 

From husband and wife writing team, Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps, WHAM is an imaginative and original dystopian fantasy where technology and magic stand side by side. 

“Rarely have I seen fantasy and science fiction married so successfully.” 

When Children and Family Assistance police drag her mom, her dad and her beautiful sister out the door into the night and beat her senseless, Tess Greenwood finds herself alone, her every move watched by the hidden World Alliance. Almost blind after her beating, she flees to the forbidden Broadstreet compound and a troll named Maxi.

So begins Tess’s journey from quiet teen at home to fierce young woman, determined to get back her family any way she can. Even if she must travel time itself. 

But time is one thing she has little of. Those arrested in the night seldom live for long, and beautiful young women are destined to become toys for the elite.

Frantic, Tess tries to pull herself together to save her loved ones and her world… and the clock is ticking.

Get your copy and enter the world of the Timewalkers.

“At first, I thought this was your typical dystopian story, but I quickly learned it is so much more. Layer upon layer was peeled back as I read, revealing themes of corruption, power, and greed as well as familial love and loyalty that spans the ages.”

DOWNLOAD YOUR COPY! 

Recently Tom and I woke up to this in my email:

CONGRATULATIONS! – 2018 Fifth Annual New Apple Book Awards for Excellence in Independent Publishing

Your book ‘WHAM! Timewalker Book 1‘ was chosen as an “Official Selection” in the YA FANTASY category of our Fifth Annual Indie Book Awards! 

We are excited and most honored to have been chosen for this award.

COMING SOON: WHAM! Audio Book

LISTEN to the beautiful voice of SKY WILDMIST as she reads TIME DOES NOT EXIST, the intro to WHAM!

Welcome to the SEASONS Blog Tour @ErnestineRose25 #4WillsPub #RRBC

 

Reflection

 

There I was, just minding my own business

Doing all the things I thought I was supposed to do.

I ate fruits and vegetables,

Even juiced and detoxed sometimes.

I exercised.

Four laps around the lake, or three miles on the treadmill

To no avail.

And every summer I went to the clinic

So that cold machine

Could squish my ninnies

In unfathomable pain.

You know it, the mammogram slam.

So relieved when it let go

And I could breathe again.

 

I gave up everything

That was supposed to be a threat:

Microwave popcorn,

Barbecue on the grill,

Even bologna sandwiches.

I sold my car

So the smog wouldn’t get me.

I gave up my summer tan.

I gave up smoking, too, all kinds,

Paid money for a newer house

Less chance of asbestos poisoning.

I run from gamma rays and alpha particles. I read labels 24/7.

 

But still. . .

On that last check-up,

Some abnormality,

A pattern they couldn’t make out.

“Why me, Lord?” I asked Him.

“Does it run in the family?” he said.

Two aunts, dead, two years apart.

He nodded but didn’t say a word.

So here we are.

“What next?” was my first question.

“Where do we go from here?”

“The usual paths, chemo and surgery.”

“No.” I said, before he could get it all out.

“Early detection is half the fight.”

“No!” I yelled louder this time.

He cocked his head and looked at me strange,

Unaccustomed to being challenged.

 

“No,” I said, softer this time.

“I won’t. I’ve seen what that can do.”

“But your life. . . “

“My life is determined by a Higher Power.

I won’t have it taken from me.

I’ve seen the effects of chemo. . .

Sick. Pain. Wasting away. No energy. No hair.”

“But if it can save your life. . .”

“It can’t. Only He can.”

“Does this mean you’re rejecting treatment?”

No. It means I’m rejecting YOUR treatment.”

And I went home and cried.

 

I thought about it, long and hard.

I don’t want the life or death my aunts had,

Life oozing out of my pores for months.

Unliving life, not living it.

I want to be me.

All of me, preferred,

But most of me if that’s not possible.

Hmph.

I could stand to lose some weight anyway.

And who doesn’t like to shop?

And if he doesn’t love me without them,

He didn’t deserve me in the first place.

So I called the office and made an appointment.

 

He was glad I called.

He started his campaign again.

“The protocol—“

I cut him off.

“The protocol,” I said, “is research.

Find out what’s best for me.

In the meantime, I’ll do my own due diligence.

There are survivors all over the world

Who don’t depend on hospital policies,

Or big drug companies building up their profits.

There are doctors taking chances,

Really trying to find a cure.

So you do your thing, and I’ll do mine.

And if my way doesn’t work,

I’ll meet you in the OR.”

 

So I did. My own research, that is.

Everything from mushrooms to peroxide.

Naturopaths with great track records,

And waiting lists four miles long.

It would take weeks, months even

Just to get in for an exam.

And I didn’t have that kind of time.

And don’t even think about insurance.

What little I had wouldn’t cover experiments,

Not to mention a pre-existing condition.

So I lifted my eyes again and said,

“Why me, Lord?”. And He smiled.

And the words I heard but did not see were

“This will only make you stronger.”

 

So I gathered my strength, my faith,

And my determination to live and go on loving.

I walked to the mirror

And took a good, hard look.

“I’ll miss you guys,” I said to my image.

“We had some great times, you and me.

But the time has come to part our ways.

I want to live.

And I don’t want my life compromised

With worry, pain, or weakness.”

“I want to live!” is the last thing I said

Before counting to ten and I was out.

Not down for the count, but out for the moment.

I’d come to terms with who I am

And who I would become.

Why?

I want. . .

To live!

 

 

 

 

 Ernestine Rose,

                                                                                       October, 2013

 

 

Author Bio:  Ernestine Rose grew up on the west side of Chicago during the turbulent 50’s and 60’s. Adopted by an older couple, she spent a great deal of time as a child reading and participating in dance and drama club activities in school. Bradley University and the University of Dallas prepared her for a successful career as a teacher of English, speech and theater in Peoria and Fort Worth, where she earned numerous educator awards.

As a retired public school teacher and mother of four sons, she made her debut as an author with the publication of three books: 7 Tips for A Successful Marriage, Raising the Roses, and Tales from the Family Tree, all in 2012.  She later produced a romance novel, Monday Morning Blues. Her most recent work reflects her experience as a caretaker and widow, Seasons: My Journey through Grief. Inspired by Toni Morrison and Alice Walker, her focus in both writing and theater is on the power of language, love, and family. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter, and her website.

 

BONUS!!! The Author is also hosting a giveaway during each day of her blog tour. Simply comment on each stop to be entered. You can win a copy of one of her e-books or even a $10 Amazon Gift Card!! (There will be a total of 13 giveaways!!)

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.  Thanks for supporting this author and his work!

 

Welcome to “THE SLEEPING ONE” Blog Tour! @KarlJMorgan #4WillsPub #RRBC

Karl Morgan Bio

With a long career in finance and as author of almost twenty books, I like to say that words and numbers are my life.

I have had a lifelong fascination with stories in the science fiction and fantasy genres, whether it was the Tom Swift novels by Victor Appleton I read as a young boy, or television like Lost in Space and Star Trek. More recently, I have devoured film series like Star Wars, Harry Potter, and Lord of the Rings. That fascination is combined with a keen interest in cosmology, astrophysics, quantum physics, and spirituality.

That quirky combination along with the fantasy genre allows me to craft stories that reinforce the importance of family, friendship, and love. The protagonists must overcome incredible danger and challenges to survive their journeys, but eventually end up on top. It goes without saying that as a finance guy, my life has been less action-packed than my characters (thank goodness).

With Carl Prescott and The Sleeping One, I ventured back to comfortable territory. Many of my stories reinforce our direct connection to the Divine. While that is an element of this story, the sequels feature that relationship to a much greater extent. That element in my stories is an homage to what I believe really matters in this life.

I am the son of an Air Force pilot and as such, I have lived in many places, never for more than four years at a time. Thankfully, as an adult, I have lived in Chula Vista, CA for the past thirty-seven years. I met and married Aida, the love of my life, thirty years ago. Our grown children have made us grandparents four times over. It is a blessing to be around such wonderful parents and children.

My new goal is life is my stories. I hope you can follow me on this new adventure.

Character Interview- Professor Bertrand Aloysius Thorndike VII

KM- Professor, thank you for taking the time to talk today.

BAT- I am happy to be here. Please call me Bert.

KM- Thank you, Bert. Your family plays a major role in this book. Tell us about the school’s founder after whom you are named.

BAT- It is difficult to know much about one’s five times great grandfather. He did found this version of the school, but it was not the first or last. Before the end of the first millennium, spiritual education was quite normal and schools were plentiful. Around the time my ancestor was born, the Catholic Church began to eradicate those schools by linking them to Satan. The Church wanted to be seen as the sole arbiter of religious education. It is recorded that my ancestor was also the first verified holder of the Invisible Hand talent in more than a thousand years. Shortly thereafter, the school he attended was burned to the ground. The survivors started this school on an island that is now part of the nation of Denmark, out of the way of prying eyes and zealous priests.

KM- Did most of the students and faculty move too?

BAT- That is impossible to know. Obviously, enough did to reconstitute a school.

KM- The school in now in the Azores. When did that happen?

BAT- Around 1500AD. The island off mainland Denmark was not suitable for a growing institution. As well, their neighbors were not happy with the settlement of what they considered witches and wizards so close to their homes. Eventually, a small island in the mid-Atlantic became our home. Other than the few workers who help at the institution, we are invisible to the outside world.

KM- You son is heavily featured in this book and series in general. What would you like to say about him?

BAT- First, since so many have the same name, we tend to use the number instead. One Bert talking about his father Bert or son Bert would be confusing. I am afraid that in this tale, Eight is not a good son. I hope one day you can tell his full story.

KM- Yes, that is highlighted in book three.

BAT- Thank you. Due to an unfortunate set of circumstances for which I take full responsibility, my son left Thorndike to join the Masterson Academy. As you know, there has always been animosity between the two schools. Let us say that feeling is on full display throughout this story. As well, there is something wrong at Masterson these days. The hatred between the two schools is worse than ever before, well, for a least a few centuries. I just cannot put my finger on the cause. It seems most sinister.

KM- That is certainly true. Hopefully, Carl Prescott and his friends help resolve it.

BAT- Perhaps, but this resentment among the schools is older than time. There are always those who choose to use their gifts for self-gratification and gain. I am not certain a few new students can ever change that.

KM- You could be right, Bert. Before we close, do you have any questions for me?

BAT- Yes I do. As you know, I am over one hundred years old. Do you plan to retire me soon? I wouldn’t mind, you know. Perhaps I could retire on the other island where my grandchildren live?

KM- Perhaps one day, Bert. You continue to play a pivotal role in books two and three. I think the presence of seasoned adults like you, Alistair, and Alex are needed to keep the students moving in the right direction.

BAT- That’s totally fair. Thank you for inviting me.

 

Karl Morgan Social Media and Contact Links:

Book on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07L7HHNB3

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/karlmorganauthor

Amazon author page: https://www.amazon.com/Karl-Morgan/e/B00A57RWPO

Website/Blog: http://www.karljmorgan.com

Twitter handle: @karljmorgan

 

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.

Welcome to the “HELP FOR GRANDPARENTS RAISING GRANDKIDS” Blog Tour! @Healthmn1 #4WillsPub #RRBC #RWISA

Raising my Twin Grandchildren: Endings and Beginnings

By Harriet Hodgson

After our elder daughter was killed in a car crash and our former son-in-law died in another car crash, my husband and I became GRGs – grandparents raising grandchildren.  Wow, did our lives change!  We are back to booming rock music, school concerts, ringing phones, text messages and emails, sleepovers, and school trips.

Since I had been cooking for two so long, it took me several months to adjust to cooking for teens again.  I go to the grocery store every other day and am cooking constantly.  Teen slang has changed drastically and I had to learn new words to communicate with my grandchildren.  I had to learn about new teenage customs, too, such as the boy’s prom tie matching his date’s dress.

Our grandchildren were 15 ½ when they moved in with us and turned 18 in February.  In a few weeks we are scheduled to appear in county court.  The purpose of the hearing is to end our status as the twin’s legal guardians.  But my grandparenting will continue, for the end of my guardianship is, in many ways, a new beginning.

From now on I will be interacting with two legal adults.  Though I will modify my grandparenting, my mission to protect, nurture, and love my grandchildren will be the same.  This has become clear in recent months, as the twins applied to colleges, evaluated them, chose their schools, and made plans for the future.  Each day the twins seem more mature and that is satisfying.

I have matured as well.  Brook Noel and Pamela D. Blair, PhD write about the growth that can come from grief in their book, “I Wasn’t Ready to Say Goodbye.”  They think grief “can manifest itself, by choice, as growth,” a view I agree with wholeheartedly.  The authors think mourners may create a meaningful new life by sharing their struggles, a suggestion I followed.

Bruce Campbell writes about creating a new life after loss in his article, “Ten Keys to Successful Coping: Key 10, Move Beyond Loss to Build a New Life,” posted on the CFIDS and Fibromyalgia website.  To create a new life Campbell says you need to focus on the future, have realistic expectations, nourish yourself, cultivate a sense of gratitude, and create new meaning.  “Helping others shifts you from preoccupation with your situation and your suffering, and gives a sense of new meaning,” he writes.

Becoming a GRG created new meaning for my life.  How do I see the future?  The twins need a home to return to, so my husband and I plan to stay in our home until our grandchildren graduate from college, and maybe longer.  I see my grandchildren exploring new ideas, learning new things, making new friends, and finding a soul mate.  I see us attending family events, planning weddings and, if we live long enough, holding our great grandchildren in our arms.

The court ruling will not change my sacred mission of being a GRG.  All of life is a series of endings and new beginnings.

 

BIO:

Harriet Hodgson, Health and Wellness Author

Rochester, Minnesota resident Harriet Hodgson has been a freelance writer for 38 years, is the author of thousands of articles, and 36 books. She has a BS from Wheelock College in Boston, an MA from the University of Minnesota, and additional graduate training.

Hodgson is a member of the Association of Health Care Journalists and the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi). She is a contributing writer for the Open to Hope Foundation, The Grief Toolbox, and The Caregiver Space websites. Visit www.thecaregiverspace.org/authors/hhodgson to read her articles.

Hodgson has appeared on more than 185 talk radio shows, including CBS Radio, dozens of television stations, including CNN, and dozens of blog talk radio programs. A popular guest, she has given presentations at public health, Alzheimer’s, bereavement, and caregiving conferences.

Her recent work is based on Hodgson’s 21 years as a family caregiver. She was her mother’s family caregiver for nine years, her twin grandchildren’s guardian and caregiver for seven years, and is in her fifth year as her disabled husband’s caregiver. Visit www.harriethodgson.com for more information about this busy wife, grandmother, caregiver, and author.

www.writelife.com    harriethodgson@charter.net

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.

 

Welcome to the Visionary Fiction and the Soul Blog Tour @pdeblassieiii #4WillsPub #RRBC

Visionary Fiction and the Soul Blog Tour

 Goddess of the Wild Thing

And

The Unholy

 Excerpt: Goddess of the Wild Thing

“Shirley spoke up, “Maybe we just gotta give it up and say there’s no good out there and no damn good men.” Shirley spat on the sidewalk, as she was prone to do when attitudes turned south and a pissed-off mood overrode a physician’s reserve. A petite woman, hovering around five-foot-three, she was a spitfire to friends and foes. Her red hair was a fine match for her spicy temperament. She never hesitated to snap her tongue, making an envious woman or cocky man shrivel and long to crawl into a nearby hole and cry. Shirley lived as a healer and a warrior, a woman who cared tenderly for the hurting and raged viciously at pretense and abuse.

Eve, Shirley, and two other friends, Tanya and Samantha, were plagued by man troubles the way pollution settles in during dusty days and humid nights in the Middle Rio Grande Valley of Aztlan del Sur. They were four esteemed professional women who could have any man they chose. Yet time and again, they went for the lower, the bad, the  worst. They sabotaged the good, the permanent. Commitment was a frightening consideration for four women who’d suffered childhoods of parental dysfunctional neglect and split-ups. They often quipped, “We found each other because like finds like.” Tonight, Eve’s troubles were front and center. She’d done it again or at least worried she had. The glitch in the man was in the type she attracted: charmers—striking and untrue. Suffering had begun. Time was critical. To stick it out or get out was her dilemma.  Things with a new man had taken a terrifying turn.”

 Author Bio:  Paul DeBlassie III, Ph.D. is a depth psychologist and award-winning writer living in his native New Mexico. He specializes in treating individuals in emotional and spiritual crisis. His novels, visionary thrillers, delve deep into archetypal realities as they play out dramatically in the lives of everyday people. Memberships include the Author’s Guild, Visionary Fiction Alliance, Depth Psychology Alliance, International Association for Relational Psychoanalysis and Psychotherapy, and the International Transpersonal Psychology Association.

Website

Facebook

Twitter

To follow along with the rest of the tour, please visit the author’s tour page on the 4WillsPublishing site.  If you’d like to book your own blog tour and have your book promoted in similar grand fashion, please click HERE.  Thanks for supporting this author and his work!

It will Take Daniel and Ariel to Save the World from Spitemorta and Demonica

 

“Grandfather?” said Rose.

“Yes?”

“Do you and King Neron think war is unavoidable?”

Razzmorten sighed and looked at her with a grave face. “Without a miracle, yes indeed,” he answered.

“Thank you for being straight with me, Grandfather,” she said as she cast a worried look at Fuzz. “We’d feared it would be so, but we were hoping that, you know, with the Elves being Elves…”

“Sure. You’d hoped they’d have some magical and quick solution.”

“Yes.”

“Rose, I’m afraid that even though the solution will indeed be magical, it will not be at all quick.”

“Grandfather! It sounds as if you know how to stop this war.”

“Yes I do, Rose, but it is neither in my power nor that of the Elves.”

“Then, who can possibly do it?” she said, as Mystique traded places walking in the path with Abracadabra.

“Oh, Daniel or possibly Ariel, or perhaps both of them together…”

“But they’re babies!” she said with a gasp. “It’ll be years before they’re old enough to do such a thing. What’ll be left of the world?”

“Not much as we now know it, I fear,” he said, bearing the most haunted look she had ever seen come from his kindly and steadfastly optimistic old eyes, “not much at all.”

Ch 31, Stone Heart

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps

 

WHAM! Personality Profile: Mistress Samantha Bodine (Sam)

(Mistress) Samantha Bodin

“Sam”

Age 34

5’8”

124 lbs

Amber Eyes

Blonde Hair

 

Samantha Bodine is the Mistress (or Madam, to put it less delicately) for the girls chosen to service the elite leaders of the World Alliance at the secret undersea capitol of Atlantis. She originally arrived in Atlantis as one of the chosen, but decided to remain and become a Mistress in hopes of helping the girls who were chosen to avoid the pitfalls, and actually survive their 5 year service. Many did not, and Sam wanted to change that. When first meeting a new girl Sam was cool and professional, perhaps even brutal, but she believed each one must completely understand the brutal reality of her new life in Atlantis. Later, as she and her new charges get to know each other she lets them see her softer side and they discover she is their strongest supporter and staunchest ally. And in the case of Nia Greenwood and Jill Macintyre, Sam becomes their dear and trusted friend.

 

Excerpt from WHAM! :

“So, awake at last!” the shapely thirty-something blonde said, as she glided into the room like a model moving down a runway. “I am Mistress Bodine, but you may call me Sam. That is short for Samantha, of course.”

Nia blinked and tried to sit up on the bed she had recently awoken to discover herself lying in, though she had no memory of how she had come to be there. “An accident or sudden illness?” she wondered as she tried to focus on the older woman’s face. She tried once more to sit up, but discovered she was restrained. A stab of fear ran through her as she turned her panicked eyes to gaze around the room. She noted the pair of guards at the door and her heartrate increased enough that the monitor they had her attached to began to beep. She swung her head back to stare at the blonde woman. “What is this place, and why am I here in these restraints?” she asked, her voice trembling with fear and anger.

“Why, you’re in the Capitol, Nia, don’t you remember being chosen for this honor?” Mistress Bodine said as she reached over and reset the monitor so it ran quietly once more.

“The Capitol!” Nia repeated her alarm growing as she struggled uselessly once more against her restraints. “Chosen!” she spat, her lip curling…is that what you people call it when you abduct someone against their will to become a girl toy to the monsters now running the world?”

“I’m glad to see you have some spirit, Nia, but I warn you…never again say anything derogatory about those who run our world government if your life has any value to you. Cooperation and compliance will serve you well here and guarantee that when your short five-year service has ended you will be allowed a most comfortable retirement in the country of your choice. You can even pursue another career at that time, or if you wish, you can marry and have a family.” Mistress Bodine smiled and studied Nia intently making the younger woman feel like a fish in an aquarium. “There is no other vocation in the entire unified world that offers these benefits. Now do you understand why you are called chosen?”

“You people are really incredible!” Nia said. “You almost act as if you truly believe girls have any choice in the matter.”

“Well of course you have a choice,” Mistress Bodine replied with a benign smile. “You can fulfill your service to your government like a good and loyal world citizen, or you can refuse and be executed as a traitor. Her smile widened. “So, now that you understand the terms of your service what do you say I release you from your restraints and I’ll show you around?” Without waiting for an answer, she continued, “ And then after a nice meal somewhere, someone will take you to your quarters and you can get a nice hot bath and some sleep.” she added as she began undo Nia’s restraints.

“Wait,” Nia said. “What makes you think I’ll choose to comply with your terms of service rather than execution?”

Mistress Bodine sighed and sat back to look directly into Nia’s face. “I have been mistress here for twelve years, Nia, and in all that time not a single young lady has chosen execution. Now…I’ll grant you that a fair number of them agreed to service with the idea in their heads to escape at the first opportunity, but they choose service over death initially.”

Nia frowned. “What do you mean…initially?”

Mistress Bodine resumed unfastening Nia’s restraints as she replied, “there is no escape from service in the capitol other than retirement or death, Nia. Remember that. Those who forgot that, paid the price.” She sat back and smiled blandly at Nia once more. “There, you’re free. I advise you to get up slowly. You’ve been unconscious for a while and may suffer a bit of vertigo at first.”

“Unconscious?” Nia said with and eye roll. “You mean drugged, don’t you?”

Bodine shrugged her slender shoulders indifferently. “What does it matter, you’ve been out of it. Now, up you go. Let’s get on with things…I have other things to do today.”

 

Excerpt from WHAM! :

“So why did you come?” said Nia, now that the room was quiet.

“I had every intention of coming ’round to see how you’d managed,” said Sam, “though I’d have waited until tomorrow so you’d have had time to rest and sort out all this that you’ve just been through.”

“So what came up?”

“Well your watcher contacted me, so I came right over to make certain you didn’t do anything foolish.”

“My watcher? In the skinny?”

“Yes…”

“I did think he was kind of an ass,” said Nia. “What exactly did he tell you?”

Sam’s eyebrows went up. “He thought you were contemplating suicide, Nia,” she said. “Was he correct?”

Nia looked away for a moment. “Even if it’s true that we’re retired from this, this service after five years and allowed to live out the rest of our lives as we choose, it doesn’t matter,” she said. “How could it? Everything’s been ruined. It certainly has been for me. After what happened to me last night, I’ll never be the same again. I can’t possibly pick up where I left off with my life and marry and raise a family. I’d be better off dead. And I wish I were!”

“Hush!” said Sam with a stern nod at the door, though her face softened the moment she turned to Nia and the sight of her made her think of a beautiful broken doll. “Nia. I do understand. I went through that very thing myself, years ago.”

WHAM! Character Profile: Jill Macintyre

 

Jill Macintyre

Age 19

5’

94lbs

Brown eyes

Red hair

 

Jill Macintyre is a young woman of Beak descent from what was once the Kingdom of Marr, captured by Children and Family Assistance and sent to Atlantis to be a sex slave for the World Alliance. She is a major supporting character and good friend to Nia Greenwood, one of the main characters, and the eldest sister in the Greenwood family.

Beaks are a diminutive people making up the Kingdom of Marr in medieval times, (Heart of the Staff series) who spoke Goblish-Beakish and had scarcely joined the Iron Age. They decorated themselves extensively with blue tattoos which they preferred to enhance with blue woad stain rather than to cover with clothes. They built wooden stockade style castles atop great mounds and made a life of raiding and plundering their neighbors as well as farming. The Kingdom of Marr made up of an extensive region of fens called Beakmore or the Beakmoor, that were known as the Gobbler Marshes (Marshmallow Marshes) during the Peppermint Forest days, which surround a raised pastoral part of the Kingdom known as Caistealbeak, which includes the village of Caistealbeak which surrounds the Beak Castle, known as Caisteal-Beak. Modern day Beaks still favor tattoos, but most speak Modern Niarg speech and dress in the current fashion.

 

***

Excerpt from Wham!

“I’m starting to worry about Jill,” said Nia as she swallowed her last bite. “Should we have the waitress fetch a skinny?”

“She’s right behind you,” said Sam.

“Sorry I’m late,” said Jill, taking a chair. “What’s good?”

“My hamburger and onion rings were wonderful,” said Nia as she poured herself another tea.

“You’re all right?” said Sam as she wiped her mouth and parked her napkin under her plate so that the breeze wouldn’t take it.

Jill rolled her eyes and nodded.

“Well the only problem with your being late is that I have an appointment in twenty minutes,” said Sam as she rose to leave. “I don’t mean to be rude. Now you’re sure you’re all right? And Nia, I’ll be back at your flat in plenty of time for supper.”

“I’ll be there,” said Nia as Sam picked up her bag and stepped between the benches onto the promenade.

“There was something about that which sounded like she’s staying with you,” said Jill.

“Long story,” said Nia. But yeh. Kind of. She came to see how I’d managed after my first assignment, but there’s more to it.”

“Merciment! I forgot about that. Are you all right? Was he really awful?”

” Here came the waitress to take Jill’s order. Nia turned aside and blinked to keep from having tears. “I’ll live,” she said as the waitress left. “But I’m not yet up to talking about it.”

“No problem,” said Jill as she put ketchup and mustard on her hamburger and took a bite. She gave Nia a thumbs up sign as she chewed. “Wow! This hamburger doesn’t taste one bit like old rotten butcher shop filth.” She nodded at Nia’s bag. “Is that a book?”

“You’re asking? You’ve not seen one before?”

“I knew what it was. That’s just the first one I’ve ever seen. Could I look at it when I’m done eating?”

“Sure. But I thought you were taking a reading class.”

“I am. But the teacher has a sublim board. We haven’t got to actual books yet.”

“And you never saw a book back home, either?”

“Never.”

“So what kept you?”

Jill rolled her eyes as she swallowed. “I had an assignment this morning,” she said. “Vile old hog of a banker. He could’ve been my granddaddy. He had a big round belly. I swear! Had to ‘ave been years since he could see his toes or his wee tassel when he stood. But at least I’ll not have to put up with the likes of him again. No one will.”

“What are you saying?” gasped Nia. “Did something happen to him? You didn’t do anything to him, did you?”

“Not the way it turned out. He spared everyone with his heart failure. I think that when he woke up from his nap tied to the bed and saw me in his kitchen cutlery, he couldn’t manage. Really. A man in his shape shouldn’t ‘ave been forcing his awful diddling and bruises on people.”

THEN… The Trailer

 

Goodreads Review for THEN…

 

 

THE EPIC FANTASY SAGA Continues 

If you Loved WHAM! you will be swept away and into THEN, part 2 in the Timewalker Series by Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps. THEN is a gem of book. The epic story continues with artful weaving of time, history, language, and psychology of the characters. The predominant theme is the hero’s journey in a sci-fi Dystopian reality that connects characters and the plot through different times of the past, present and future. This interlacing of time is done brilliantly and with concise clarity. In this journey, there is loss, magic, mystery, conflict, awakenings and reunion as well as serious sheer adventure that stems right from the extraordinarily unique imagination of the authors. There is a classic and timeless quality to THEN that reminds me of varied authors like Chaucer, Tolkien, and Edmund Spenser’s epic book, The Faire Queen. Within the textural and sensual depths of the beautiful imagery and remarkable creativity in THEN, it is quite apparent that the allegories from this extraordinary Sci-Fi Dystopian Fantasy are evident in our world today as archetypes and stereotypes in our reality. It takes a highly crafted and thoughtful author to be able to hold the story to its genre while allowing the reader to see parables that are current to today. The Heroes Journey in THEN is a journey of the soul of finding inner truths against the background of super-natural reality wedded with obstacles and deception as well as innocence and magic. The authors have done a brilliant job! I highly rec. this book to both young adults and adults.

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