Forever Four

I woke up four years old on a gorgeous June day alive with bird songs, and hollyhocks brushing the bottom of my window. I scampered out to the end of the sidewalk in the garden to meet Mom and Dad coming up the lane from the milking parlour on one of their Ford Fergusons to fix breakfast. “Good morning four year old!” called Mom from atop a fender. It was a most special day.

As we were eating breakfast, I remember them saying that I’d likely not remember a bit of the day when I got older, in spite of how very important it was to be four years old. What was I to do?

After breakfast I went outside and played amongst the snapdragons for a while. Suddenly I knew. I would perform a ritual that I would remember forever, or at least for as long as I would be able to. I ran to the rusty round bin we used for chicken feed and climbed half way up the ladder which was leaning against it. I paused, listening to the purple martins and the meadowlarks. Then I waved my leg in the air off the side of the ladder four deliberate times, one for each of my years. 

I do remember a much earlier sunny day. Perhaps I was two. I had my black and white teddy bear, wandering amongst honey bees tending the red clover, along the ditch of the South Road, a half mile away from the house.

 Mom heard a loon cry at the pond and thought it was me, so when the old black ’40 Ford which pinched the holy shit out of my finger suddenly stopped across the ditch, she boiled out in her apron with a face like a hornet and swept me off my feet with a hug.

So what happened when your memory came alive? Please let us know.

 

Tom Phipps

Zip the Cat

We used to live at the end of a long wooded lane between farms in Western Kentucky. Last fall, I returned home utterly exhausted from a day of teaching to find an unfamiliar cat waiting for me to get out of the car. When I came back out to go for a nice jog down the lane, I was surprised to find the cat trotting dutifully alongside me. “Well now, I’ve never seen the like,” I said to Carol as I peered out the screen door at the cat waiting patiently on the porch. I grew up with feral cats that showed up endlessly to live between the bales of hay in our barns and to drink the milk strippings which we poured into a pan for them on the milking parlour floor. They cleaned up the milk, kept down the mice and killed an endless succession of meadowlarks, brown thrashers, orchard orioles and cardinals. Nobody ever kept a cat in the house in my neck of the woods.

Carol was keenly interested in this cat on the porch. She had once raised hoity-toity pedigreed cats, Persian show cats actually, which she gave up in order to live with our parrot, our raven and me. She was impressed with the cat’s looks: a brindled grey with attractive splashes of white and hints of orange calico fur which was luxuriantly thick and silky, rivaling her best dressed Persians. When we went for our walk, the cat tagged right along. The next time we went to town, we bought a sack of feed. And by then, we were calling her Zip. Soon we determined that she was a Siberian Forest Cat.

Zip was a husky, able cat. She spent a lot of time in the trees ’round about, catching and eating squirrels. She also ate rabbits. And she was always on the roof of the house. I even found myself disappointed on the rare occasions that she was not around for our run. One day, I had to dash out of the kitchen to catch her when she was about to fall out of a rotted hole under the eaves. “Why, she’s pregnant,” said Carol. We fixed her a box with rags in a room all to herself in the back of the house away from the birds. This last spring, when I quit teaching for good to join Carol writing full time, we moved back to the family farm in Illinois and brought Zip and her kittens with us. When her kittens were getting big and still pestering her to nurse, she began deliberately losing them when we would go on walks. Shortly thereafter she vanished for good. I’m convinced that nothing got her. We found no carcass. Nor did we find her smashed on the road. So my question is, did Zip wean her kittens by taking off and having a new litter somewhere else, or did someone who knew the going rate for such animals see her and pick her up? Please let us know what you think. Tom Phipps

Spark Worries with Edward and Laora out Late

Part Five

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“I’m quite sure they’ll be along any minute with a completely sensible explanation of why they’re so late,” said Spark, trading anxious looks with Lipperella.

“I’ll go out and look for them right after this cake!” said Flash, champing and fuffing out crumbs from his mouthful.

“Don’t, or we’ll have to come looking for you, too,” said Lipperella. “Now all of you help me clean up before you go out for your evening flight.”

“I knew it,” declared Tors as he stepped into the kitchen with Gweltaz. “Please tell us we aren’t too late.”

“Too late for Edward and Laora, Uncle Tors?” said Flame.

“We meant your mother’s delicious cake,” said Tors, grabbing up a piece with an appreciative glance at Lipperella. “What about Edward and Laora?”

“Oh nothing. They’re just missing is all,” said Flash.

“Well, not really,” said Spark, “just a little late. They’ll be here directly, I’m sure.”

“I’d have thought so long before now,” said Lipperella, “particularly since Laora knew we were50313_327693446601_8122729_n going to have this kangaroo rat pie. She and the rest of the Mob spent hours chasing down all the rats for it. Oh here, Gweltaz. Have some. There’s plenty of that left, as well as the cake. You too, Tors. And here’s some rat hair gravy to go over it. Want me to warm it up?”

“No need,” said Gweltaz, as he and Tors gobbled down their pie, watching the Mob file out for their evening flight. “This is delicious, Lipperella. Have you tried pickling them? I sure miss the pickled voles you used to make.”

“Yea I have, but I just can’t get the pimentos to stay in their eye sockets like the voles.  

“Hmm,” said Tors, “‘late’ and ‘missing,’ you say. Is that really the same as, ‘Oh nothing?'”

“Yea,” said Gweltaz. “No reason we can’t help you go find them. I mean, we hear what you’re saying, Spark, but you and Lipperella both look worried.”Sinornithosaurus_mag

“Well,” said Spark, sharing his worried looks with Lipperella, “we’ve been letting them explore where they like so long as they return when we say, and until this evening they’ve never been late…”

“Then it’s not long ’till dusk, so…” said Tors, swallowing his last bite of pie.

“So let’s round up the Mob and get cracking,” said Lipperella, tossing aside her apron.

 

The Burgeoning, Ch. 30The_Burgeoning_Cover_for_Kindle

Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps

The Gemstone Chronicles, Book One: The Carnelian

Cover, Gemstone ChroniclesThe Gemstone Chronicles, Book One: The Carnelian is a delightful Young Adult fantasy tale by William L. Stuart that can be read and enjoyed by all ages.William L. Stuart, Pic

The last thing Beebop expects as he and his grandchildren, Aidan and Maggie, start out on a day of rock-hounding in the Georgia countryside is that they will discover anything out of the ordinary. What they find is a stone that profoundly rocks their world, turning their beliefs and their very lives upside down.

The odd stone marked with a cross is curious enough by itself, but when it is discovered to be inhabited by an elf named Findecano Saralonde and a troll named Yul, Beebop and his family begin to wonder if they are losing their minds or if these beings are indeed real. After all, how could such creatures live inside so small a stone?

As it turns out, not only do this elf and this troll truly exist, but real magic has to be a certainty as well. Findecano was imprisoned in the stone when Dark Elves wanted him out of the way because he knew that they had stolen the gems of power from the Elven Bow of the Light Elves. The Dark Elves wanted to weaken the barrier between the human and the elven realms so that they could rule over them both.

Having stumbled onto this, it is not surprising that Beebop and his family end up returning with Findecano to his land to find the missing gems of power, whether or not they want to go. Just what does happen makes entertaining reading for the entire family.

I truly enjoyed this fanciful tale and look forward to reading the next books in The Gemstone Chronicles.

Review by:

Carol Marrs Phipps

 

Books by Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps

It is the very worst time to be in the woods.
Oisin’s plan is to come with his bow to help Aedan and Doona lead a party of children into the forest to gather the maidenhair seedlings his people would take across the sea as they flee the trolls who hunt them as prey. Maybe he can be back in time for supper.           
Dyr’s plan is an early evening head smash for the foolish Elves who think they can steal away to the sands of the endless eye sting water and build their strange float huts. They will make a glorious feast.
But on the way, Dyr’s brutes stumble across Oisin’s gathering party and attack, leaving Aedan mortally wounded and scattering Doona and the children to flee in terror into the dark mountain woods, only to be run down and captured by the bloodthirsty trolls.
Can Oisin find the bonfires of the trolls and rescue them before it’s too late? And what then? Will any of them live long enough to reach safety?
Minuet Dewin, eldest daughter of the wizard Razzmorten, practically raised her half sister Leeuh, who was abandoned by her mother. For many years, Minuet is Leeuh’s passionate champion. As time passes, Leeuh becomes increasingly hard to defend as she grows determined to be awful at every turn. Whilst undoing her dangerous pranks, Minuet finds herself the target of her hatred and jealousy. And when they fall for the same prince, it looks like war.
Suddenly Leeuh vanishes. She returns years later, compliant and sweet as she always should have been. Minuet is stunned. Should she trust her, or will it be the very death of her?  
Rose is not inclined to believe idle gossip, but as she ruminates on the way her  parents acted when she confronted them with what she’d heard she becomes convinced they didn’t tell her everything. But why? Determined to uncover the entire truth for herself and learn if she is really the daughter of an evil sorceress she sets out on a desperate quest to a forbidden forest that has the unsettling reputation of swallowing up those foolish enough to enter.
           
From the beginning Rose’s journey is beset with pitfalls and challenges. She doesn’t get beyond the stables before her younger brother appears and blackmails his way into becoming her self-appointed protector and traveling companion. Together they evade the Royal Niargian Guard, survive a cyclone, escape from the castle of Rose’s betrothed, discover Elves really do exist, as do werebeasts, cyclopses and centaurs, then negotiate the perils of the Valley of Illusions.
           
When they reach the Chokewood Forest they encounter a horde of miniature devils, choking fruit, and cannibals who take them captive. However, before the cannibals can turn Rose and Lucas into their next feast, a bizarre hag crashes the cannibal’s party and rescues them only to lead them into a mad fantasy forest that appears very like a dream world, where nothing is as it seems. The crone announces that they are now her prisoners and they ‘owe her’ for saving them. She takes them to her cabin where they discover the hag is the very sorceress they seek. And then things really get strange.
A great evil awakens to shatter Niarg’s peaceful world.

In her remote island keep off the shores of Head, the fearsome sorceress Demonica at last learns from her unfaithful husband Yann-Ber the whereabouts of the long lost Staff of Power. He crawls before her to tell her that it has turned up in the hands of her granddaughter Spitemorta, the new queen of Goll, hoping to buy his release from her horrid curse of boils. She is ecstatic about the Staff, but will never forgive his faithlessness. He will be released, all right. He will get to die in one year, after the most excruciating boils yet to come.

Demonica leaves for Goll at once. She arranges an accident for the nanny of Spitemorta’s son, becomes the new nanny herself and offers to teach Spitemorta how to develop her considerable powers. Spitemorta accepts at once, thereby uniting the two most dangerous sorceresses of the age, determined to conquer the world. Their first step is to find the First Wizard’s Stone Heart which would make the Staff the most powerful tool of all time.

The Burgeoning

With both the Great Staff of Power and the Stone Heart in their hands at last, it seems that nothing can stop Demonica and Queen Spitemorta from crushing Niarg and conquering the entire world. King Hebraun of Niarg is dead and not a single Elf is left alive in the Jutwoods.

 Spitemorta’s husband, King James, tries to ride out of Castle Goll with her Great Staff of Power, but is tortured by Demonica and her and locked away to die in the fleas and fetid straw of the dungeon. He manages to escape across the Great Barrier Mountains, just as the army and people of Niarg are sent out into the countryside by Queen Minuet and Wizard Razzmorten, who flee to the Pitmaster’s Kettles in time for Spitemorta and Demonica to effortlessly destroy Castle Niarg. Is this the end of everything?

The Reaper Witch

The_Reaper_Witch_Cover_for_Kindle

Niarg has fallen to the dark sorceresses Demonica and Queen Spitemorta. The dragons have fled from their caves. Confident that Queen Minuet and Wizard Razzmorten are dead, and that the trolls have eaten every breathing Elf, Spitemorta brings down the last hamlets of the Northern Continent as she prepares to conquer the rest of the world.

But Queen Minuet and Wizard Razzmorten do live and are hiding in the crater of Mount Bedd with the Fairy guardians of the Forest Primeval, where they wait for what remains of their army before fleeing to the Black Desert to live beneath its burning sands with the dragons and all of the Elves who escaped Demonica’s great troll raid, down their hidden river.

Is this truly the end of Niarg and freedom everywhere in world? Can Elves, dragons and men live outside her bondage, or will the Reaper Witch find them and enslave them once and for all? 

DoomDoomComing in 2014: The final book in the Heart of the Staff series

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.