Re: Mom

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 I enjoyed your “niarg.com”.  The lead photo brought back some memories.  I remember when the picture was taken.  I think the tractor was sitting about where Joyce’s and my house trailer sat.  The picture was taken to feature farm women who were helping in the war effort.  I don’t think the picture was taken the year that we moved to the farm [which you grew up on] (1943), so it likely was taken in 1944 or before the war ended in 1945.  I thought it was dumb that they had Joan and me climb on the tractor with Mom.  I guess that Mom was supposed to be taking care of her kids and farming at the same time.  Dumber yet was that they had me wear my “soldier” outfit.  The neatest part of the outfit was the hat, which they made me remove to better show my face.  I think the left part of the field in the background became the orchard and the little building in the background was the original part of the first hen house. 

You gave a very interesting description of Mom and the Sweet Williams.  I also brought Sweet Williams to Mom.  I don’t recall tying it to Mother’s Day; I simply did it when the Sweet Williams were in flower.  It seems to me that I started it when, one year, she didn’t have a chance to get over to the section of the woods that had a big patch of Sweet Williams, so I brought a bunch to her.  I remember doing this on more than one year, but I really didn’t make it into an annual affair.

I thought it was neat when I learned that you were bringing a bunch of Sweet Williams to Mom as an annual event.  Even so, I wondered if you might have started your annual event as a result of sentimental ol’ Mom having mentioned that I had, on occasion, brought her Sweet Williams when they were in flower.

 

Dick

[Dr. Richard L. Phipps]

 

Interview with Author Susan Waterwyk & Review of Lantamyra: A Tapestry of Fantasy

What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?interview 007 (3)1

I am Susan Waterwyk. I was born in Texas (the big flat part). I now live in the gold country of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains (one of the most rugged and beautiful places on Earth).

Please tell us a little about yourself (something different not contained in your bio).

Life is a canvas and patience is the first art. As a child I was often content to play by myself in an imaginary world populated with magical beings.  My first major artistic endeavor came in the form of music. When I was ten years old, I discovered, on a neighbor’s piano, that I had a talent for music, and my parents proceeded to give me lessons. I eventually went on to compete in the Van Cliburn Competition.  In high school, I became interested in architecture and did rather well in the science of building. The many paths of life that a teenager takes to adulthood led me away from art and into the mainstream of the working class and raising children, but the need to create art was always in my heart.  When I turned thirty, I began painting imaginary landscapes (or dreamscapes) on canvas. Writing poetry taught me how to paint pictures with words. My husband explained the technicalities of poetry, but I struggled for a long time with meter.  Then one day, while working in my garden, to the rhythm of the rake, I had a revelation from the working meditation, and a poem took its shape about the magic life creates. Writing poetry eventually led to the desire to write a story, but I had no inspiration until I had a dream of a conversation with a dragon.  A few days later, I began writing my first novel.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I love to sit on my deck and toss peanuts (roasted unsalted) to the birds and squirrels that come to visit Dragonwood. We named our little acre in the forest for the twisted red trunks of the manzanita trees. I also enjoy working in my garden, and I still paint from time to time.  

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?

phpWRjFo5AM(1)LANTAMYRA A TAPESTRY OF FANTASY: A story of a sanctuary world where refugees from two worlds (dragons and humans) co-exist peacefully.

Is this book part of a series?

Yes, if two books constitutes a series. I do not at this time have plans for a third book. The sequel is titled: A TALE OF TWO WORLDS.

Would you share a blurb with us?

Eighteen-year-old Tylya Lansing lives in a small town in the mountains of California’s gold country. Her grandmother Lenora claims to be from another world, and the story she tells of Lantamyra are irresistible, the magnificent vistas, the ancient gardens and enormous trees that are treasured assets, festivals that celebrate the seasonal changes, and dragons that play chess.  The most intriguing story, however, is about the women and men that learn to control the power of crystals.

In a rugged Sierra canyon, Tylya finds what her grandmother lost forty years ago (which stranded her on Earth) and it provides the means for them to journey to Lantamyra. Tylya is determined to learn the secrets of crystal power and become a keeper of dragons.

Would you share a short excerpt?

Nightkeeper Kyra Starszyn from Chapter 8: “This night belongs to lovers and dreamers, a night when threads of love are woven into a tapestry of fantasy, a night to magically transform into the character you wish to play. This is the night to banish hatred and all things sad and dark, a night to tell a story and share a whispered secret.” She placed a finger to her lips and blew softly.

Do you have plans for a new book? Would you tell us a little about it?

I am currently working on A TALE OF TWO WORLDS, the conclusion to LANTAMYRA. Earth is beginning to experience the Great Change (tectonic upheavals), and the gathering of refugees from countries all over the world is essential. Tylya and Lenora are in command of some of the missions, which includes a mission to retrieve the lost crystals of Atlantis.  Tylya’s former lover, Josh Hamilton, has taken the dangerous job of crystalseeker in the mine at Queen’s Heart.

How long have you been writing? And who or what inspired you to write?

I wrote my first pages on Mother’s Day 2005. I was inspired by a dream of a conversation with a dragon.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?

Yes, occasionally, and I intend to offer more in the near future.

Would you ever consider writing with a co-author?

It would depend on the type of book and the compatibility with the co-author. I   would be reluctant to sentence another human being to endure my artistic eccentricities.

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?

My title LANTAMYRA A TAPESTRY OF FANTASY was created in two parts. I created a few words in an “ancient language” and mixed them together. “Lan” means world or mother and “myra” means crystal. The “Tapestry of Fantasy” was added later to give the reader a clue on the type of book. I designed and painted the book cover on canvas to give the readers a visual dreamscape. I intentionally chose a dark foreground to act as a gravity well to draw the viewer’s attention into the picture and to some of the critical elements of the story , i.e., the dragon, the two moons, the White Queen (mountain on the left), Bodhran Rock (on the right). 

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?

No, the characters are fictitious, but I gave a few of them physical descriptions similar to a few people I know.  All events are fictitious.

Is there a certain Author who influenced you in writing?

Anne McCaffrey is my favorite author, but I have been influenced by many great authors.

Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?

I like all three and each has its advantages.

What is your favorite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?

The three books of the CRYSTAL SINGER series by Anne McCaffrey because of the imaginative world she created and the enjoyable characters that populated it. I have read each book several times.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Why or why not?

It depends on the book and the movie producers.  A few good examples: THE GRAPES OF WRATH, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD  and THE GODFATHER. Bad examples are far too numerous and are frequently described as “loosely based” on the book.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it? (eBook, hardback or paperback)

I’m reading the paperback NORTHANGER ABBEY by Jane Austen. In hardback I’m re-reading A TALE OF TWO CITIES by Charles Dickens. In eBook I’m reading THE COLLECTOR WITCH by Carol and Tom Phipps and LAKE CAERWYCH by J.A. Conrad.

Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn’t finish?

I will never read books that focus on horror, violence and hate. There are many books I have started but never finished. I will not single one out.

What do you think about book trailers?

I thought they were called “bookmobiles.” But seriously, I have not viewed any, so I cannot give an opinion.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?

Read your entire story aloud several times, the ear will often catch mistakes in logic, grammar, or anything else that interrupts the flow of the story, and my last advice is edit, edit, edit, edit, edit. I have even gone to the extreme of reading chapters backwards. I start at the end and read one paragraph then go to the one before it and so on, all the way back to the beginning of the chapter. WHY? Because it prevents me from getting wrapped up in my own story and reading over errors that are subtle and easily overlooked.

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?

Yes, because privacy is important for me to continue writing.

If your book was ever made into a movie, what actor/actress would you like to see play the main character(s)?

I don’t keep track of the Hollywood crowd anymore; I would have to delegate that task to the casting director.

Have you ever considered writing in a completely different genre? If so, what would it be and why.

No, I write fantasy for the heart and science fiction for the future, no other genres inspire me to write.

Do you think the current popularity of eBooks will last or do you believe it is just another passing trend?

I believe eBooks will endure as long as there are people and computers. It is so advantageous to hold a tablet that can contain many books, change the font size, define obscure or archaic terms, etc. However, there will always be a few humans who love to hold an old-fashioned book in their hands.

Considering Traditional Publishing vs. Indie Publishing, do you think one has a clear advantage over the other? If so, please elaborate.

I have not actually tried to obtain a traditional professional publisher. An attempt at obtaining a literary agent was aggravating enough to encourage me to try self-publishing. Mark Twain and Zane Grey self-published to start their careers, so I felt it was worth a shot. I believe both types of publishing have their own advantages and disadvantages.  A major disadvantage to indie authors is the way that Amazon presents their books. Amazon forgets that they are in the business to sell books. If the majority of reviews are good then those are the ones to display on the ad page. They should make the few bad reviews less noticeable like the ingredients on the back of a can of soup. If Amazon ran a restaurant there would be two signs in the front window: OVER 100 PEOPLE THOUGHT OUR FOOD WAS GREAT!!! and next to it THREE PEOPLE THREW UP AND TWO SAID THEY WOULD NOT FEED IT TO THEIR DOG!! How long do you think it would take before they went out of business?

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what did you do about it?

Early on I experienced writer’s block but not for long, if I was blocked from writing the next scene, I would simply jump ahead in the story and write a scene for another chapter.

 

Where can readers follow you?

Your blog details?  I have a blog on Goodreads.phpWRjFo5AM(1)
Your web site? Not at this time.
Your facebook page?
Your Goodreads author page?
Your Twitter details? @waterwyk
And any other information you wish to supply? Reader questions and comments can be sent directly to Waterwykarts@gmail.com

 

Buy Links for Lantamyra: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B009KWM4LW/

 

Carol 1

 

Thank you, Susan, for taking time out from your busy schedule to share with us today. It has been a real pleasure having you here on our blog. I hope you will visit again in the future.

 

Review: Lantamyra: A Tapestry of Fantasy

phpWRjFo5AM(1)Lantamyra is uniquely different from most other fantasy worlds. It is not break-neck action or violence racing you and your heart through every page. It is, rather, a page-turner of discovery and delight. The author, Susan Waterwyk, masterfully crafted the magical and at times whimsical world, to enchant, captivate and fill your senses with a place alluringly different, peopled with characters and creatures so fascinating that you can’t help falling in love…with Lantamyra.

From the moment Josh Hamilton, Tylya Lansing’s long-time love, finds her grandmother’s crystal scepter you are catapulted into a world where dragons rule and humans serve. But there is neither tyranny nor coercion involved in the relationship, which is almost a symbioses of harmony in which they live and work to achieve their common goals and the welfare of all.

Lantamyra is full of great wonders like the crystal starships and the vast myra crystals that are so powerful they are not only energy for the ships but give the keepers and the dragons their magical abilities. You’ll even meet the Keepers of Akosh, ancient magical beings and the founders of Lantamyra who have  the ability to open doorways into the crystal realm. It was they who originally discovered the amazing giant myra crystals on Lantamyra which are capable of powering vast starships to search for more living worlds.

Many other marvels will captivate and astound you during your visit to this incredible world, such as the wee fairy folk (not too bright, but definitely beguiling), the mants (rather frightening and venomous beasties), and the scarp (a seafood delight of monstrous magnitude) and much, much more.

So what are you waiting for? Open a portal and send for a dragon to carry you away to Lantamyra today. But be warned: you may not want to leave.

BY: Carol Marrs Phipps

Interview with David Coles, UK Author of The Diamond Seekers

davidWhat is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?

David Coles, born in Leeds, UK, live near Leeds having spent my boyhood in Lincolnshire, lived in Glasgow, Scotland and Scarborough, Yorkshire.

Please tell us a little about yourself (something different not contained in your bio).

Father of 3 daughters, 7 grandchildren and twin great grandsons. Married twice. A died-in-the-wool computer freak – by profession & hobby.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

More writing, reading (f&sf, historic & a little crime) writing, messing with computers & writing.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?

The latest book is ‘The Diamond Seekers’ – but you know about this from review coverJack Everett’s (my writing buddy) interview. We’ve signed contracts for first and second books in a series to be published simultaneously, working titles are ‘Damaged Goods’ and ‘Damage Limitation’ – British crime involving a DI White.

DG: a psychologically damaged Iraq veteran comes to Britain in pursuit of an imaginary love and causes mayhem. DL: a locked room murder committed by a magician? Oh yeah!

Is this book part of a series?

Certainly is, number 3 on the drawing board as we speak.

Would you share a blurb with us?

A magician commits a locked room murder? Interesting. But a locked room murder where the perpetrator is provably on the other side of the world? Now that is some trick.

And to fill in the idle moments; from the previous novel, there’s ‘King’ Richards out to get even and the sister of the guy he’s just watched die – now what’s she doing?

 Would you share a short excerpt?

A pleasure… local color in York, county town

Leroy spent every daylight hour exploring his new neighborhood, the York warren of lanes known locally as the Snickelways. It was partly such a change from the somewhat run-down Midland city areas he had known for so long. The almost heaped-together jumble of modern housing and twisting alley ways and literally ancient houses and shops was something quite beyond his experience.

Once a resident truly knew their way around, it was possible to traverse the centre of York in minutes, unobserved, swapping time zones from the early fourteenth century of Our Lady’s Row to twenty-first century stores.

The area was home to the Hole in the Wall pub, the lantern tower of St Michael’s church which used to guide travelers across the marshes, the small carving of the printer’s Devil above a corner shop. A random walk would take Leroy from the Hole in the Wall to the Precenter’s Court lined with elegant old – and expensive – houses furnished with old street lamps and the most stunning view of York Minster imaginable.

As he walked, he noticed the blue plaques with dates and the names of famous occupants. The oldest date he saw that afternoon was 1610 and the most notorious name he recognized was Dick Turpin, a feared highwayman of the eighteenth century. He was disappointed to see that he was not the dashing thief of legend but the lowest of villains.

Do you have plans for a new book? Would you tell us a little about it?

Being one of a pair of co-writers has advantages. Jack’s working on the first draft of the third book in the DI White series, I’m working on the first draft of a sf. book, working title: Buccaneer. We have two sf books in a series which have more than a passing resemblance to the work of Jack Vance, a superlative writer – in fact, these two books are featured on the Jack Vance website. The third involves a planned theft from an interstellar tourist liner but leads to something far more macabre.

 How long have you been writing? And who or what inspired you to write?

My first short story was at 14 – it took 5 nights after homework on the kitchen table and was returned forthwith. The first published work was in 1971 so that’s 42 years ago. They were short stories to start with and it was John Carnell’s collection of ‘New Writings in Science Fiction’ that started me off. And that was how I came to meet Jack Everett – a short story in a New English Library competition was published in a magazine we both read. We lived 3 or 4 miles apart and Jack called me on the phone. We found that we enjoyed many of the same authors – Jack Vance for instance.

How did the decision to write as a team come about?

Jack was into novel length stuff and I guess I went along for the ride. We wrote an absolutely unpublishable novel together and never stopped laughing from start to finish. What better hobby can two guys have?

What do you enjoy most about writing as a team?

Neither Jack nor I had any very close friends at the time we started and we developed a very brotherly relationship. It’s a shared experience which has kept us close for well over 30 years and of course, with 2 people, it’s 4 times as much fun!

Can you briefly describe your writing process as a team?

It’s changed over the years. We started out writing alternate chapters with the objective of leaving the other with an impossible situation to get out of. That gradually changed into one of us – more than likely it would be Jack – writing a first draft and the other following on behind, filling in the cracks and applying the gloss paint. That has worked very well but we’re now into a third process; one or, as at the moment, both of us, write the complete first draft and hands it over to the other for a second layer and added material and also fact-checking.

Whichever method, anything that seems wrong to either of us is changed or removed.

Are there any particular challenges to writing as a team as opposed to writing solo, or do you find it easier?

No question, it’s far easier, far more enjoyable and there’s no such thing as writer’s block.

 Are there times during the writing process where you disagree on how things should progress? How do you resolve that?

If we can’t agree, it’s out. First, last and always.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?

Yes we do. Mostly when they request the chance to review. Many of our readers are Americans and we can usually send them the book as an eBook because postage costs an arm and a leg.

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?

Those that we publish through AcclaimedBooks.com, which is a not-for-profit co-operative, are usually my design and work. One of the covers I like the most is JihadUK which has an oil- painting-effect picture of London’s St. Paul’s Cathedral on fire. Unfortunately, several readers confused it with the Washington Capitol, one even taking me to task for damaging an American monument and complaining that it looked just like a painting! Can’t please everyone.

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?

Yes and yes. Though where it’s people who might recognize themselves, we seek permission; usually, they’re flattered. I was on holiday some years ago in Greece where they idolize their children. A waiter was bringing our meal, 2 trays held aloft in both hands and his 3 year old son came up and hugged him round the knees. He was immobilized until the little boy let him go. That went into a book.

Is there a certain Author who influenced you in writing?

Jack Vance, Jack Vance and Jack Vance. There are plenty of others but Mr. Vance stands head and shoulders above. He writes poetry, he hides cruelty and the macabre behind beautiful words. Ordinariness is changed to quirkiness.

Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?

Paperback with eBook a close second.

What is your favorite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?

That’s difficult. Jack Vance’s ‘Tales of the Dying Earth’ probably ranks top and I’ve read it 3 times and it’s not a small book. Why? Because of all the things I’ve already said about Jack Vance.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Why or why not?

Rarely. There’s so much that has to be left out of a movie. The only recent one that adhered to the book was ‘Lord of the Rings’ which was 3 movies.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it? (eBook, hardback or paperback)

Just finished reading ‘Surface Detail’ from Iain M Banks. He’s a favorite author but have to confess to some disappointment, it seemed to me to be a little self-indulgent.

Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn’t finish?

I never finished Alistair Reynolds’ Terminal World. Sorry Mr. Reynolds, I had always enjoyed his previous books.

What do you think about book trailers?

I rarely see them. Jack & I tried one but I don’t think it contributed much to the sales.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?

Keep going. Don’t get discouraged. If necessary, drink! And join a group of similar aspirants.

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?

Yes. Everett Coles writes our f&sf, Jack Everett & David Coles (and occasionally the other way round) our mainstream. There’s at least one other which must remain a mystery.

If your book was ever made into a movie, what actor/actress would you like to see play the main character(s)?

In ’The Diamond Seekers’ I’d like Michael Gambon to play the self-styled Italian prince, George Cloony (has to be since the likeness is remarked on!) to play Philip Madden, George Sewell to play John Jenkins, the MI5 man and Myleene Klass (ok, she’s a presenter, singer & pianist) as Astrid. You notice their mostly British, mostly TV.

Have you ever considered writing in a completely different genre? If so, what would it be and why.

We already write in several genres: f&sf, historic, crime, thriller… Jack says we’re the only author/s he knows of to write crime in the past, the present and the future.

Do you think the current popularity of eBooks will last or do you believe it is just another passing trend?

I think it will continue and I don’t believe it has peaked yet. For every person who prefers the look and the feel of a paper book, I’m certain there are two who like the neatness of an eBook reader and their fantastic capacity.

Considering Traditional Publishing vs. Indie Publishing, do you think one has a clear advantage over the other? If so, please elaborate.

For people like us – Jack & myself – it has to be Indie. The traditional publishers have made  a mess of the system. They’ve merged and taken over and treated books like packets of potato chips and jars of coffee – make as much money as they can and move on to the next as quickly as possible. A few years ago, I heard an established author saying that she was only ever as good as her last book – once she flopped, she was out – and she was. Indies do it for the sake of the thing, not to make a fortune, which is what traditional publishers used to do 25 years ago.

Would you ever consider writing on your own rather than as a part of a team?

I don’t think so, unless Jack stole my wife! The buddy system is just too good.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what did you do about it?  

In the days before the ‘team,’ yes. I went on to write some cover feature projects for the amateur electronics press which was my other hobby at the time and actually paid better.

Where can readers follow you?

Your blog details?   http://archimedespresseuk.blogspot.co.uk/
Your web site?        http://www.everettcoleswritings.com                                                                                           http://www.DavidBColes.co.uk
Your facebook page?   http://www.facebook.com/#!/david.coles.505
Your Goodreads author page?                                                                                                                       http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/834115.David_Coles
Your Twitter details?  https://twitter.com/DaveBColes
And any other information you wish to supply?

I’d lay my soul bare for you, Carol, but I’m pretty certain I don’t have one

 

Buy Links for The Diamond Seekers:

Barking Rain Press: http://www.barkingrainpress.org/products/the-diamond-seekers/

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/tag/archimedes%20likes?ref_=tag_dpp_cust_itdp_t&store=1

 

Carol 1

 

Thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule to share with us today, David. It has been a real pleasure having you here on our blog. I hope you will visit again in the future.

Author Interview & Review: UK Author of The Diamond Seekers, Jack Everett

What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now?

Jack 63aMy name is Jack Everett, I was born in Staffordshire in the English Midlands. I now live in rural Yorkshire in Lower Wharfedale.    

Please tell us a little about yourself (something different not contained in your bio).

For the last ten years I have been a member of Sebring Writers Circle, Florida and attend critique groups to hopefully help other authors and would-be authors

What do you like to do when you are not writing?

I love to travel and meet people.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say?

My latest novel is The Diamond Seekers which has just finished 4th in The Book Awards:510x765-DiamondSeekers the people’s choice. A man loses his family then receives a call from someone purporting to be his son?

Is this book part of a series?

No it is a one off.

Would you share a blurb with us?

A courier carrying a fortune in diamonds is followed by an assassin, in his panic he leaves an International airport and drives frantically away looking for a place of safety or at the very least a place to hide the diamonds in this strange land.

Years later an Italian godfather figure, the Russian mafia and the British security services are still looking for them. Does Philip Madden have the answers?

Do you have plans for a new book? Would you tell us a little about it?

For the 1st time ever we are writing a series of books featuring our hero: Detective Inspector Stewart White The 1st one in the series was originally published under the title The Tourist but has been purchased by a new publisher and will be released soon as Damaged Goods. The 2nd with a title yet to be chosen will follow quickly on its heels. The 3rd is currently in the formulating ideas stage.

How long have you been writing? And who or what inspired you to write?

Unfortunately I have been writing for over thirty years. I wished I could go back to those days with the knowledge I have now. My son who died in a motorcycle accident 13 years ago was the initial inspiration in my writing; I used to make up stories which some years later I decided to put on paper.

How did the decision to write as a team come about?

I met David after he had published a short story I had read and enjoyed. It just so happened that we only lived four miles apart and we agreed to meet.That was the start of a series of meetings the result of which was a partnership which has stood the test of time.

Can you briefly describe your writing process as a team?

We discuss plots and scenarios and mostly but not always I write the first draft with David rewriting and embellishing afterwards.

Are there any particular challenges to writing as a team as opposed to writing solo, or do you find it easier?

I don’t find it challenging because we use each other as sounding boards and we have, over the years, had thousands of laughs.

Are there times during the writing process where you disagree on how things should progress? How do you resolve that?

We never disagree because we meet weekly and read all of the week’s work. If there is ever a suggestion of unhappiness about the writing it is forgotten and started again. We never argue.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?

Because of the distances involved –worldwide- it is difficult to gift hard copies but we do offer electronic copies in the author’s choice of format.

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?

Currently our publisher has the final say on titles and cover design but we have had brainstorming when it comes to the title. David has designed several of our covers  

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you?

Often, it makes sense to use your own experiences.

Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing?

Several: Frank Yerby, James Clavell, Jack Vance and William Diehl to name but a few.

Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback?

I like to hold a book in my hands, smell the paper and feel it as I turn the pages but on holiday, ereaders are invaluable –it saves carrying a library-and maybe I will grow used to them.

What is your favorite book and Why?  Have you read it more than once?

The Demon Princes series of five books by Vance that I have read many times.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Why or why not?

Not often because the amount of content in a book would prove too costly to translate onto film. Look at the Lord of the Rings it had to be filmed in three parts and even then there was lots of stuff left out.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it? (eBook, hardback or paperback)

I am reading Kith and Kill an Agatha Christie style mystery by Geraldine James and yes I enjoy the type of writing that makes me think who did what to whom, when,where and how. I find it helps me in some of my own writing.

Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn’t finish?

I can honestly say I have read every book put in front of me but I struggled with Ullyses and there are many I failed to enjoy.

What do you think about book trailers?

We paid for one for our book 1/1:Jihad-Britain but I can’t honestly say it helped with sales. A review in The Sun newspaper probably did more but I will reserve my opinions on that as I am not the oracle on such matters.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?

Don’t start writing as a means to get rich as most writers don’t achieve that but if you have a longing to get words down, make a start on the journey and if you never get fed up you should become one.

Do you or would you ever use a pen name?

I have used several, most well known being Everett Coles under which we write all of our Fantasy/ Sci-Fi. Two of our books are featured on http://jackvance.com

If your book was ever made into a movie, what actor/actress would you like to see play the main character?

George Clooney and Scarlet O’hara ; or the two actors who recently married and had a baby in Downton Abbey.

Have you ever considered writing in a completely different genre? If so, what would it be and why.

I already write in several different genres and enjoy every moment of it, see my website.

Do you think the current popularity of eBooks will last or do you believe it is just another passing trend?

Ah what you need is a crystal ball, if I knew the answer to that I could probably make millions. All I want is for people to read my work and enjoy it, in any format and by whatever manner they choose.

Considering Traditional Publishing vs. Indie Publishing, do you think one has a clear advantage over the other? If so, please elaborate.

Traditional publishing has the means to push forward authors into the public face by spending money to promote their works. This obviously gives them a massive advantage over the Indies.

Would you ever consider writing on your own rather than as a part of a team?

Only if anything ever happened to my partner.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what did you do about it?

Can’t help with this one as we write all ideas down as we think of them. If I ever pause or stall I have my partner who has my back.

 

Where can readers follow you?

Your blog details?  Everettcoleswritings.blogspot.com
Your web site? Jackleverett.me.uk
Your facebook page? Jack_59
Your Goodreads author page? Don’t know if I have one although some of our books are on there I know.
Your Twitter details? Jack_59
And any other information you wish to supply? criminalties.blogspot.com and archimedespresse.blogspot.com
Carol 1

Thank you for taking time out from your busy schedule to interview with us today. It has been a real pleasure having you here on our blog, Jack. I hope you will visit again in the future. See my review of The Diamond Seekers below.

 

The Diamond Seekers Review

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Philip Madden takes an early retirement from his job at deciphering codes for the English intelligence service when he looses his wife and son in a car crash. He spends the next four years living by himself in a state of melancholy distraction until he answers the phone to a man claiming to be an illegitimate son he never knew existed. As this is sinking in, a former colleague comes for a visit and is shot to death where he stands in the bedroom by a sniper a half mile away.

Feeling converged upon, and suspecting that he might be the intended target, Philip flees to Austria to stay with his old college chum, Rudi. Though he becomes fast friends with Rudi’s mother and falls in love with his sister, his visit is quickly spoilt by phone calls from a kidnaper who is holding his newly discovered son in a coffin. To remove Philip to safer surroundings, Rudi and his family take him to their hunting lodge in the Alps, where they continue having encounters with people, either dangerous or dead, who seem to have connections with an Italian magnate known as il Principe who has a finger in a substantial amount of the crime throughout Europe and the UK.

Philip’s struggle to find out just who exactly is after him and what it might take to call these people off takes him back to England where he finds more danger yet and millions in diamonds buried in a far-flung Yorkshire graveyard. Without warning, things are not at all the way they had seemed. Suddenly, impossible parties have been in charge all along.

The Diamond Seekers, by David Coles and Jack Everett is an engaging and worthwhile mystery whose characters are believably realistic out of recognition of the very kind of human behavior examined in Machiavelli’s seminal essay The Prince. Like Machiavelli’s prince, their own felonious and proud patriarch, who is openly devoted to his grandson and his family, shrewdly dotes on his hired help with a strategic wisdom which earns their love and admiration at the very moment he is engaging them to serve his interests. Realistic characters make the best entertainment. And I was indeed fascinated, particularly with the eerie similarities to the stories I’ve heard out of Chicago and ‘Vegas. I will certainly be looking for their next book.

Purchase Links: Amazon.com & Amazon.co.uk

Carol Marrs Phipps

Fantasy: Escapism or Genius?

Mel 060902_170600

I recently watched a National Geographic episode on J. R. R. Tolkien’s, “Lord of the Rings” and what inspired him to write it. 51P5KQW1FDL__AA160_ National Geographic DocEvery writer takes in their surroundings and life events and puts them into a box, opening it up later during the writing process. Lots of what we live, we write.

However, fantasy writers seem to be attacked more often than other fiction writers. While “attacked” might be a strong accusation, it is the most apt description. Fantasy writers seem to be frowned upon where other fiction writers are praised. Even sci-fi authors get the “Oh, I’m so sorry” look from people when telling them what genre they write.

I’ve said it before, though: Every writer includes fantasy in their work.
But the real reason for the “attack” is that people hear that you are a fantasy writer and immediately assume you can’t handle real life so you escape from it. The biased opinions don’t fade easily, either. Unless of course you are Tolkien, George R. R. Martin or Terry Brooks. If you are not a well known, successful fantasy author, you better have a thick skin. Apparently people equate success and riches with intelligence. But have you ever looked at a fantasy/sci-fi book and thought to yourself that the person must be some kind of bumbling idiot?

Every writer out there interacts with society on so many different levels, but the one key thing they all share is a deep, intellectual understanding of their fellow human beings. Good writers, fiction or otherwise, know what makes people tick. And they’re smart!

So think about that for a moment and now look at fantasy and even sci-fi authors. Look at the worlds they create, look at the underlying politics, the issues, the people and then ask yourself if you think they’re idiots or geniuses. It takes a certain level of intelligence to write, yes. But personally, I think it takes exceptional intelligence to write fantasy or sci-fi. So go ahead, call me a nerd or a geek. I know I am. I know how to face real life issues like a pro and roll with the punches. Because I take what I learn and I put it out there in my writing for the world to see and to help those who are struggling with life issues to find a solution somehow. What’s your writing IQ?All writers do. We’re equals, no matter what genre we choose to focus on and channel our skills into. Tolkien was a genius.



Mel~

~ I’m a blogger: www.caledonialass.blogspot.com

~I’m an author: www.mlchesley.webs.com

www.writing.com/authors/relanda

~Find me on Twitter: @MLChesley

~Find me on Facebook: www.facebook.com/mel.chesley

Adversarius Blog Tour with Mel Chesley

Interview with Adversarius Author Mel Chesley

 

What is your name, where were you born and where do you live now? My name is Melissa Chesley. I go by Mel, though. I was born in Chicago, IL and now live in Homer, AK.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarize it in less than 20 words what would you say? Adversarius, Shadow of the Rose: Book One is the title of my book. It’s about an ongoing war between two kingdoms, an arranged marriage where the bride has lost her memory and how a group of people try to get her back before it’s too late. (I think that’s more than 20 words, though, sorry!)

Do you have plans for a new book? Is this book part of a series? ‘Adversarius’ is part of a series, yes. So I have plans for another book, that will be book two, titled ‘Veritas’.

How long have you been writing? And who or what inspired you to write? I’ve been writing off and on since I was 19, but got serious about it when I hit my 30’s. I’ve always been inspired by other fantasy authors such as David Eddings, Melanie Rawn and the like. I didn’t read Tolkien until the first movies in the ‘Lord of the Rings’ series came out. But ever since, he’s been an inspiration to me.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews? Absolutely. If I approach someone to do a review for me, the least I can do is provide the book.

How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books? Well, this first book, the title ‘Adversarius’ means Adversary in Latin. That’s the basis of the book, we find out who the adversaries are. Veritas will be next, because some truths are about to be revealed and the third book will be titled ‘Bellum’, meaning War. This first cover design was sort of my idea. I’m half Scottish and Celtic knotwork is very well ingrained in me and I love it. So I thought it would be a fitting border and the empty throne is very significant to the story. One kingdom in this war has been left wide open, without an heir for the moment. The cover designer for this book was Dara England.

Have you ever based characters on people you know or based events on things that have happened to you? Funny you should ask. Some of these characters are based off of people I know. They created a character for an online role playing game and I asked to use them in my book, so I know them pretty well. As for events, not so much. There are some things with my characters that I have experienced, but not much.

Is there a certain Author that influenced you in writing? I’d say Tolkien, but like I said, he came about after the fact. So to pick just one, I’d have to say no, not really. It’s always been a dream of mine, to write. I don’t think my style matches any of the authors I read or have read. Some say I have a style similar to authors I have yet to read.

Which format of book do you prefer, eBook, hardback, or paperback? Personally, I prefer paperback books. I like hardback, but they don’t give as well. Ebooks are okay, but just not the same.

What is your favorite book and Why? Have you read it more than once? Hmm… I’d have to say ‘Faerie Tale’ by Raymond E. Feist. I love that book and have read it like three times, I think. I love the Fae and the stories behind it and this book brought it into the real world. It’s a great book.

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favorite/worst book to movie transfer? Not all books transfer well, I don’t think. If you’ve read any books before seeing the movies, you always lose something in translation. You make a connection to the characters you are reading and then to see them up on the screen is sort of heartbreaking. Not everyone sees those characters the same way you do. I do think all of the Lord of the Rings transferred well, but a lot of that has to do with Peter Jackson’s love of the stories and the respect he has for Tolkien certainly brought those books to life rather well.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it? (eBook, hardback or paperback) I’m currently reading a book called ‘The Infinity Bridge’ by Ross Kitson. I’m enjoying it! It’s a YA ebook and it’s a fun read.

Is there a book you know you will never read? Or one you tried to read but just couldn’t finish? There are lots of books I have tried to read and just couldn’t finish. However, at the risk of getting hate mail, I have to say I will never read ‘50 Shades of Grey’.

What do you think about book trailers? I think if they are done properly, they’re a great marketing tool.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer? I would say, stick with your writing, no matter what. You’re going to get people who love it and those who hate it. But write for yourself and don’t try to please the masses, because you won’t please everyone. If you love writing, just do it!

Do you or would you ever use a pen name? M. L. Chesley is sort of a pen name for me. The ‘M’ stands for me, Melissa. The ‘L’ is for my husband, Larry, who helps me write a lot of my stuff, but won’t allow me to give him credit. So we agreed upon this pen name.

If your book was ever made into a move, what actor/actress would you like to see play the main character(s)? Oooh! I would love to see Kate Beckinsale play Kayta. I think Adrian Paul would make a great Black Rose and I’m sort of torn on who would play Nightshadow well.

Have you ever considered writing in a completely different genre? If so, what would it be and why. Yes I have. As a matter of fact, I have some story ideas for paranormal books. It’s still in the creating process, but I am hoping to get to those as soon as I finish this trilogy.

Do you think the current popularity of eBooks will last or do you believe it is just another passing trend? Yes, I think ebooks are here to stay. They’re becoming quite popular with our society. Everything is electronic and sometimes people have a very short attention span, so it’s super easy to get your hands on short stories through electronic publication.

Considering Traditional Publishing vs. Indie Publishing, do you think one has a clear advantage over the other? If so, please elaborate. I don’t think so, no. The only thing I see is the author has more control over their work if they go the indie route. But it seems to me, the author has to do most of the marketing themselves either way.

Would you ever consider co/authoring with one or more other authors? Heck yeah! I’d love to co-author a book.

Have you ever had writer’s block? If so, what did you do about it? Yes, I get it once in awhile, but mostly when I am trying to figure out where to go with the story. I will walk away from it and do something else for a couple days, not thinking about the story at all and it will come to me out of the blue. Then I get right back to writing.

Where can readers follow you? Lots of places!

Your blog details? www.caledonialass.blogspot.com

Your web site? www.mlchesley.webs.com

Your facebook page? www.facebook.com/mel_chesley or www.facebook.com/MLChesley

Your Goodreads author page? http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/6645211.M_L_Chesley

Your Twitter details? @MLChesley

Thank you Mel for taking time out from your busy schedule to share with us today. It hasbeen a real pleasure having you here on my blog. I hope you will visit again in thefuture.

Thank you, it was fun!

 

Blurb:

Two kingdoms, two goals.

The king of Relavia is determined to wipe out his warring neighbors in Paridzule, a worthy adversary for over five hundred years. News of an arranged marriage between his son and the daughter of his lifelong enemy has fueled the temper of Relavia’s tyrannical king. What he doesn’t realize is the true measure of his son’s honor and how far he is willing to go to gain peace.

Author Bio:

M. L. Chesley is an Alaska based author, online blogger and MMORPG junkie. She has been writing fantasy for several years. Between writing, work and family she barely has time for much gaming, but some days, raids take precedence over all. If you would like to learn more about her world, created in this book, go to www.mlchesley.webs.com. You can also follow her blog at www.caledonialass.blogspot.com.

Purchase Links:

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Adversarius-Shadow-Rose-ebook/dp/B00AJA967O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1357087212&sr=8-1&keywords=adversarius+shadow+of+the+rose

Smashwords:https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/262445

Excerpt : Kayta sat up, sweat drenched her skin and she clutched at the sheet that covered her. She couldn’t breathe, her throat constricted. After a moment, she gasped, filling her lungs with air, tears streaming down her cheeks. She looked around frantically, trying to get her bearings.

“Easy now,” someone moved to sit beside her and held her gently by the shoulders.

“Wh-where am I?” she whispered.

“Shh, do nae speak. Try tae be quiet,” the voice was low, the accent odd to her ears. Kayta pulled up the sheet to her chin and looked around. Beds lined the walls on either side, and lanterns were lit and turned low. In the dim light, she could see the face of the person who sat beside her, trying to soothe her.

“Who are you?” she whispered again. The man chuckled, his long black hair hung loose around his shoulders. There were bruises on his face, a greenish tinge indicating that they were healing as well as a few cuts.

“I’m Farrehn,” he told her. He turned his head to make sure they were not disturbing anyone, and his eyes caught the lamplight. The red of his eyes indicated his race.

Adversarius Review

By: Carol Marrs Phipps

 

For 500 years the kingdoms of Paridzule and Relavia have been enemies. When it looks as if a marriage between their progeny might unite the kingdoms and end the centuries old hatred and rivalry the king of Relavia is infuriated. He devises a plan intended not only to stop the marriage of his son, Alabassin to Princess Kayta Ni’adzul, but also to seize control of Paridzule at last.

Before long the beloved king and queen of Paridzule are unexpectedly killed in a horrible ‘accident’. And on top of that Kayta and Hedric Ni’adzul, two of the three heirs to the throne of Paridzule, are lost at sea when the ship they are on is attacked by pyrates.

Things are definitely going King Li’endrin’s way at last and it appears he may soon conquer the weakened kingdom of Paridzule with very little resistance.

However, a priest of Fizan, Goddess of Justice, an assassin and four warriors from Haldera have another plan after they are charged with a dangerous task by the goddess herself. A task which could upset Li’endrin’s nefarious plans and give Paridzule a fighting chance to survive…If only they are successful.

Adversarius is a totally engrossing fantasy tale that has just enough rollicking adventure and intrigue with a bit of romance to keep you turning those pages will into the night. The cliffhanger ending will leave you longing for the immediate release of book two of the trilogy.

 Thank you all for joining us today for ML Chesley’s Adversarius Blog Tour. One lucky commentor will win an eBook copy of Adversarius. Winner will be announced  on this blog on Tuesday, 1/15/13, so do check back to see if you have won. The winner should then email us at car01am@yahoo.com with their contact info so we can send them their ebook.

The Tyrant King Blog Tour with Cheri Chesley

 

Review of The Tyrant King

 When a mysterious stranger with an eerie resemblance to Gregory Gildersleeve, her deceased husband, arrives upon the heels of a devastating letter bearing the news of her younger brother’s death, Queen Krystal is catapulted into a series of events wrought with intrigue, danger and heartbreak. As time passes she learns that her beloved husband, Jareth, and the Kingdom of Fayterra are the true targets of the stranger, now known to be Gregory’s son, Donovan Gildersleeve. However, Donovan considers the destruction of everything and everyone important to King Jareth part of his revenge against the king he considers responsible for his father’s death.

Though Queen Krystal came from peasant stock she proves once again that there is nothing common about her as she takes up her sword and prepares to defend and protect those she loves, propriety be hanged!

There are an abundance of page-turning revelations and mysteries in this fantasy tale to keep you up well after your bedtime. But this engrossing story won’t make you regret the missed hours of sleep.

By  Carol Marrs Phipps

Interview with Cheri Chesley

 

I’m Carol Marrs Phipps and today I am interviewing Cheri Chesley, the very talented author of The Tyrant King. The eBook was released on July 20, 2012 and print version July 31.

Hello Cheri. I want to thank you for granting this interview today. How are you doing?

A little sleepy, actually. But otherwise great! 🙂

We’ll begin our interview today with a few “Cheri” trivia questions.

Favorite Book: That depends entirely on my mood. It’s like asking me which is my favorite child.

Favorite Author: Again, tough to narrow down. I love Gail Carson Levine, Jessica Day George, Shannon Hale, C.K. Bryant, Ali Cross and Karen E. Hoover. And that’s just the top of the list.

Favorite Genre: I read pretty much everything but horror and erotica. But, right now, because I’m writing fantasy, I’m reading fantasy.

Pet Peeve: Having to repeat myself. Especially with my kids.

Place you’d most like to visit and why: Ireland. It’s always been Ireland. Part of my family heritage can be traced back there, and I love ruins, castles, scenery, and the like.

Please tell us a little about yourself.

I was born and raised in AZ, where I nurtured an early love of books and writing into creating my first novel in high school. I married in 1996 and had 5 children in rapid succession (I had twins, so that helped). In 2006 a series of personal and family incidents caused me to refocus on my writing. Now I’m writing, working, raising my kids, and trying to keep it all together–like everyone else.

 What is your worst nightmare?

Call it a superstition, but I don’t believe in acknowledging my deepest fears and having that information out in the universe.

Were you inspired by any other writers?

Certainly. Most of the time it’s books I read and think, “I can never be that good” that inspire me to be the best I CAN be.

Would you tell us a little about your upcoming book? Is it a stand alone book or part of a series?

The Tyrant King is the sequel to my first book, The Peasant Queen, and it takes place 4 years after TPQ ends.  Trouble starts when a stranger arrives in Fayterra with a link to the past that threatens to spiral Krystal’s entire peaceful world into chaos. I really think it’s the best thing I’ve written so far.

There is an unofficial fourth book in the planned trilogy that I released last year called The Wild Queen. It’s primarily for readers who liked my villain from The Peasant Queen (there were surprisingly many of them) and wanted to know more about his past.

The final book in the series, The Lost Princess, will be out next year.

If you could become one of the characters in The Tyrant King who would it be and why?

For a long time I’d have said Krystal, because in so many ways she was me. But, really, I’d want to be Alana. There’s a lot more to that character than the readers get to see. Maybe someday I’ll write her story, too.

When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?

The seeds were planted in high school, but I waffled about it for a long time. Sure I’d love to be a writer, but is it hobby or profession?

It wasn’t until 2006 that I began to take myself seriously as a writer. It seems like a long journey, since it encompasses over 20 years of my life, but I wasn’t writing all that time. I was spending a lot of it growing up, getting married and having my own family.

What genre(s) do you write?

My current focus is YA fantasy, with a dash of romance. But I have several irons in the fire, so to speak. I have contemporary YA, good old clean romance, middle grade fiction, even a couple of mysteries.

 

How do you come up with the title and cover designs for your books? Who was the designer of your current book?

I work with the amazing Deirdra A. Eden for my covers. She does awesome work. The titles are mine–usually the third or fourth attempt at finding the “perfect” title for the story.

What do you think about book trailers?

I’m still on the fence. I admire so many of the trailers I’ve seen, but I’m not sure how effectively they help sell books. And I admit part of that is due to my severe creative handicap at coming up with one of my own. 🙂

Is there any book that you know you will just never read? If so, why not?

50 Shades of Gray. Honestly, I’m not remotely tempted. I’m simply not a fan of graphically sexual or violent books.

Do you have any advice for new writers?

Write. And read. And write some more. And share. Be open to learning how to make your writing better.

Would you share one thing about yourself that no one else knows?

That is impossible, since my husband knows everything about me. But something that perhaps is not well known is that I hate berries. I really do. I won’t eat anything with berries in it–unless it’s store bought blueberry waffles. Weird, but true.

When and where do you usually write?

I write whenever the impulse strikes, and wherever I am–I always have paper of some kind with me. But I prefer to sit at my desk when I’m working on my stories. That’s where I take all my scattered ideas and try to make sense of them.

Why did you choose Indie Publishing?

I was traditionally published at first, but they declined to take on the sequel so I decided to publish it myself. It’s next to impossible to find a publisher willing to start in the middle of a series.

But the more I get into it, the more I realize I like it. I like having control over the finished product–cover, formatting, editing, etc. The Tyrant King went through a professional edit after I was done editing it myself and sending it out to writer friends and reader friends for feedback. I believe in putting out the best book I can.

Are you currently working on something new and if so would you give us a sneak peek of what it is about?

I plan to have another book out by the end of the year. It’s called City of Light, and it’s about a young woman who purposely thwarts a demon’s prophecy to save her sister’s life.

Is there anything that I didn’t ask that you wish I had?

I don’t think we covered whether or not I have any pets. 🙂 For the record, I have the perfect little dog for our family. She’s a recent acquisition and we call her Sunny.

Where can readers follow you?

Blog: http://www.cheri-chesley.com/

Website: http://www.cheri-chesley.com/p/home.html

Goodreads author Page: http://www.goodreads.com/author/dashboard

Twitter: https://twitter.com/CheriWrites

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Cheri-Chesley-Author/117640374915557?ref=hl

Any other info you wish to share:

Readers who have read The Peasant Queen may enjoy the alternate ending I added to my website.

Also, I put up the first chapter of The Tyrant King on my site for those who want to read more.

Thank you so much Cheri for taking time to interview on our blog. It has been a genuine pleasure getting a peek into your writing world.

The Day My Brother Became My Hero

 It has been far too long to remember just what I was doing out in the yard amongst the bees and the dandelions, but it was a glorious spring day. I looked up at a rattle of bicycle fenders to see one of my brother’s chums hop from his bike, leaving its wheel spinning in the grass. “Hey Cricket!” he called, trotting straight up to my brother.

“Hey, what’s up, Ronnie?” I hollered.

They weren’t about to notice a six year old girl. After all, they were all of nine or ten. The screen door to the kitchen clacked shut behind them. I was on my feet at once to find out what they were up to.

“Yea?” said Mom, planting her ball of dough on the bread board as I stepped inside. “And Ronnie’s welcome to stay here and play all afternoon if he wants.”

“But how can he show me his new puppy? His puppy’s at his house. That’s why he came to get me.”

“Take your sister if she wants to go…”

“No way!”

“Or stay here.”

“She ruins everything,” he said, throwing down his cap. “Can’t she go to Kay’s or something?”

“They’re gone for a week, kiddo,” she said, rolling out her dough this way and that. “So how about it Carol? Want to go with Greg and Ronnie to see a new puppy?”

“Sure,” I said, in spite of Greg’s smoldering look as they tramped out the door.

“You need shoes.”

“Can I wear my brand-new red tennis shoes?”

“Oh…try to keep them clean.”

“Goodie!” I cried as I dashed over to their cardboard box on the closet floor to sniff at their new rubber before tying them mercilessly tight, since they were a full size too large. I watched my two feet walk as I stepped outside.

“I’m ready,” I said as I caught up with Greg and Ronnie at the end of the lane.

They kept their backs to me and set out, trading mumbles.

“Hey!” I cried, clopping to keep up. “This isn’t the way to Ronnie’s house. Mom’s going to… 

Suddenly Greg wheeled about, giving me a shove that nearly knocked me off balance. “No she isn’t, or I’ll fix you up a whole lot worse.”

“Why would she ever find out?” I said, knowing in my bones that I was still going to pay for this.           

“Good! Just stay far enough behind us not to be nosy and keep your mouth shut.” And with that, he and Ronnie resumed their saunter down the buckled sidewalk, past the catbirds and the daffodils, and past the privet and the picket fence which was at last replaced by parking meters and paving brick. They walked into a dime store and bought some candy.

“Could I have some?” I said. “I didn’t bring any money.”

Greg took a big bite of his candy bar. “Then you don’t get any,” he said, thrusting his chewing mouth into my face.

They looked at boy’s toys for some time and then went to the park to spend the afternoon, playing baseball. No one was about to let a girl play. I looked all about for clover in the grass to make bracelets, but there was none. I might have gone home, but Greg would get into trouble and take it out on me.

Presently it was past time to go and Ronnie was convinced that it was at least an hour late. “We’ll take a shortcut,” said Greg with a wave, as he set out at a brisk jog.

I ran along after them until we wallowed through some daylilies and clambered up a bank to the tracks with my side aching. A green heron called, somewhere beyond the chorus of cricket frogs. I could scarcely keep up. I watched the white toes of my red tennis shoes come down upon tie after tie. Once in a while, I’d slip off a tie and stumble. I was falling behind. Just as I heard a train whistle, my toe slipped off the back of a tie into a deep hole, catching me hopelessly fast by the heel and setting me down hard. There was the whistle again. I couldn’t begin to reach my laces. Greg and Ronnie were getting too far away to hear. White hot terror flooded me as I yanked and yanked on my leg.

Suddenly they were running for me, wide eyed and waving their arms. “The train’s behind you!” screamed Greg as he grabbed below my knee and pulled with everything he had. “You idiot sister!” he sobbed as Ronnie heaved from under my arms. Without warning, we were on our sides in the nodding weeds of the steep bank as the train raced by.

“My shoe!” I wailed. 

Greg shot to his feet. “I’ll get your damned shoe after the train’s past,” he said, furious that I’d brought tears to his eyes.

Mom met us at the screen door. “Just in time for supper,” she said. “Did you have fun?”

“Yea,” said Greg. “The uh, puppy’s real cute and stuff.”

“Can we get one sometime, Mom?” I caught Greg’s eye. I could see that he was ’way more than merely glad that we got home. He might have had his awful moments, but he would certainly do for a brother.