Tag Archives: writing

Finally!!!

Announcing the release of Andrew Joyce’s latest work, Mahoney.

via Finally!!!

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Carthinal’s Story. Part 1

I’ve posted something about the people in the Wolves of Vimar series. I have now started writing about Carthinal. At the beginning of The Wolf Pack, Book 1 in The Wolves of Vimar series, he is an apprentice mage. During that book, he becomes a full mage, having taken his tests that ended his apprenticeship.

He is a good-looking half-elf, with auburn hair and incredibly deep blue eyes, almost indigo. He is ambitious in magic, and with his good looks, females of all ages tend to pursue him. He does not discourage them.

In this, part 1, of his story, he is sixteen, but, being a half-elf, his development, both physical and mental, are more that of a boy of twelve.

So let’s begin his story.

Carthinal1

Carthinal dragged his feet as he entered the house accompanied by his nanny, Blendin.
He had just returned from his grandfather’s funeral. The old man had passed away suddenly the previous week. Before that, he had seemed full of life. Carthinal could not understand what had happened. His grandfather was the only relative he had in Bluehaven, his parents and his grandmother having died.
His father had been an elf, and so, although sixteen and nominally now of age, Carthinal’s development was slower than true humans and he appeared in both physical and mental development to be a young boy of eleven years old.
The house felt empty, devoid of life. Carthinal went into the garden at the back of the house. He sat on his swing and swung idly back and forwards. What would happen to him now? Would they send him to his father’s people in Rindisillaron? It was a long way away, and he had no recollection of his paternal grandparents, although they had been in Bluehaven when he had been born.
He looked at the house. He heard the laughter of his grandmother, and his grandfather’s deep voice. He even thought he heard his mother calling to him, although both his parents had been dead for the past eight years. He jumped off the swing and picked up a stick.
Slashing at the plants in the garden gave him a little satisfaction. “Why did they all die and leave me?”
Blendin came out and found him still destroying the garden. “Come, master Carthinal. This won’t help. You need to come in and have something to eat.”
“Shan’t! I’m not hungry” He slashed at a tulip.
“What have those poor flowers done to you? You know you’ll be sorry once you’ve calmed down a bit.”
“I don’t want to go back into the house. There’s no one there. It ‘s dead. Just like Mother and Father, Grandmother and Grandfather.”
Blendin sat down on a bench and pulled the boy towards her, holding him tight. “This is now your house, Carthinal. Your grandfather left it to you in his will. You are a rich young man. If you no longer want to live here, you can sell it, I suppose, and buy somewhere else.”
Looking into the boy’s indigo eyes, Blendin saw the deep hurt he felt. She brushed his auburn hair from his face and gently led him back to the house.
The servants worked as usual. Carthinal’s grandfather had arranged that money should be sent to Promin, the butler, who then paid the other servants. Carthinal had his meals in the nursery with Blendin, although Premin had said that as the master of the house he should eat in the dining room. Carthinal could not bring himself to eat alone in that large room.
The days passed. Gromblo Grimnor, the lawyer who dealt with his grandfather’s affairs, appeared frequently at the house.
Carthinal found him snooping around in his grandfather’s study one day.
“What are you doing?” the boy asked him, frowning. “Why are you here? You’ve been coming a lot recently.”
Gromblo Grimnor smiled. With his mouth, anyway. He looked Carthinal up and down. “There are a lot of loose ends to tidy up, child. I need to come here to find things out.”
Although sixteen, Carthinal had always been treated as a child, and so he turned and left the lawyer to do what he needed to do. The law did not know what to do about a boy whose chronological age said he was an adult, but whose development said he was a child.
Eventually, he went out every day to walk around the town. Sometimes he stayed out all day. He hated being in the house. He felt so alone. He considered going back to the school his grandfather had sent him, but they, like everyone else, did not want a sixteen-year-old who looked and behaved like and eleven-year-old. His grandfather’s money had kept him there, but now, they didn’t want him.
Visits by Gromblo Grimnor increased. Carthinal asked Promin why the lawyer was there so often. The butler shrugged and shook his head.

Blendin had no idea either. “I don’t know the workings of the law,” she told him. “Perhaps it’s because your grandfather died so suddenly, or perhaps because he was so well off. Or it might even be because of you. You are an adult in Grosmer law, but still a child, really. That’s a bit confusing for the lawyers.”

What was Gromblo doing? Will Carthinal find out? Come back on the first Tuesday of June to find out.

Please leave a comment in the comments box and say how you like this story. Or even if you didn’t. That’s helpful, too.

Free, Free, Free

 

Wolf-Moon-Promo-Ereader

Did you get your FREE copy of The Never-Dying Man? Now you can get Book 3, Wolf Moon free from today. 24th April until Sunday 28th April.

Don’t miss this opportunity to find out what happens to the other members of Wolf who escaped in The Never-Dying Man.

The group called Wolf have been enlisted into the Erian Army against their will, and they soon learn that an invasion is planned into their homeland of Grosmer.

As the heroes make their escape, they accidentally stumble upon an old Dwarven city, and become friends with them.

Facing enemies on all sides, the five must find where their loyalties lie, and save their homeland from certain destruction.

You can get Wolf Moon by clicking here, or on the picture.

If you want to buy the other books in the series click here for The Wolf Pack (book 1)

or here to buy The Never-Dying Man (Book 2)

If you buy any of these books, I would be very grateful if you would post a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Reviews are important to both authors and readers as they help authors get visibility and readers to find out if they think they would like the book.

With thousands of books being published each day, you can see it might be a problem to get people to know the book exists.

Please leave a comment in the comments box. 

 

A couple of extracts from Author Sean Robbins

 

Sean, whom I featured last week, has kindly provided me with a couple of extracts from his book, Crimson Deathbringer. I hope you enjoy them

Sean tells me that Max is a car, just in case you become confused.

Extract 1.

We returned home at around two AM. I was tipsy, and with Liz pressing up against me and kissing my neck, I didn’t realize we’d arrived until Max said, “Jim, we’re in front of your home.”
I owned a one-story Colonial house in Nassau County. Nothing too fancy, but not too shabby either. I got out of the car and walked through my small garden with its wintering rose bushes that looked like wooden candelabras to the front door with Liz holding my arm. I said, “Cordelia, I’m home.”
A soft, feminine voice said, “Welcome home, Jim.”
The door of my house opened. We entered the living room, laughing and kissing each other. Then, a faint smell of expensive cologne hit my nostrils, and I found a tall, blond man sitting on my favorite sofa. He had piercing gray eyes and a completely unfashionable goatee, and he was wearing a long black trench coat. There were not one, but two freaking lethal-looking machine pistols next to him on the coffee table.
There were a few small blood stains on his shirt, my sofa and the floor.
Liz let out a tiny shriek. I put my arm around her shoulder and said, “Don’t worry. Everything’s fine.”
“Hi, Jim. It’s been a while. Merry Christmas,” said the man.
My heartbeat hadn’t returned to normal, but pretending that it was an ordinary visit, I answered with an air of nonchalance, “Hi, Kurt. So nice of you to drop by. Just a few days ago I thought splashing some blood on my sofa would give it that gritty, rebel look.”
Yep. Kurt von der Hagen, the legendary freedom-fighter, tyranny-battling rebel, ruthless terrorist, deadly super-assassin, and number one on every security agency’s most-wanted list was sitting right there in the middle of my freaking living room. Right when I was about to propose. King Kong wrench, thrown.
Liz looked at me with wide eyes. “Why’re you two talking like you know each other?”
“Sweetheart, meet Kurt, whom I’m sure you recognize from all the wanted-dead-or-dead posters,” I answered. “Newsflash: He’s my best friend. We’ve known each other since we were in elementary school. Kurt, this is my girlfriend, Elizabeth.”
Kurt stood up, grimacing with pain and clutching his side, and in perfect Spanish—which I could mostly understand but couldn’t speak—said, “It’s a pleasure meeting you, Elizabeth. May I say you look absolutely stunning.”
Liz looked lost for words, but one didn’t become an acrobatic pilot/stunt woman without fast reactions and the ability to think under pressure. “Charmed, I’m sure”—she said in English—”but in case you haven’t noticed, you’re bleeding all over our furniture. Let’s patch you up, and then you can tell me what Public Enemy Number One’s doing in our living room.”
I snorted. “Public Enemy Number One? Huh! John Dillinger ain’t got nothing on Kurt. Mr. Super Assassin eats the likes of him for breakfast.”
“With all these movie references, I confess half of the time I have no idea what Jim’s talking about,” Kurt said, “but I can already tell the two of you are perfect for each other.”
Liz asked, “You’re ‘best friends’ with someone who doesn’t watch movies?”
“It’s a very long story,” I said.
Liz had some medical training and had dealt with many wounds and injuries in her career. She went to our bedroom to bring her bag of medical tools.
“Cordelia?” I said.
“Yes, Jim?”
“What’s going on outside?”
“Nothing much. All quiet,” she said.
“Did anyone follow Kurt?”
“Not so far as I can see, and you know I can see a lot.”
“Full lockdown mode,” I said.
Half-inch steel sheets covered all my housed windows and doors. The only way someone could enter now was using explosives.
“This won’t stop SCTU, you know,” said Kurt.
“True. But Cordelia can see them coming, and it’ll give us more time to figure out what to do,” I said.
Liz came back to the living room. Kurt took off his trench coat. I got my shoulder under his arm and helped him walk to our dining table and lie on it. Liz slashed Kurt’s shirt with a pair of scissors. She unwrapped the piece of cloth around Kurt’s waist and examined the bullet wound on his side. I tried to look over her shoulder.
“Give me some room,” she told me. A couple of minutes later she added, “It isn’t bad, but you’re losing too much blood. Hold still.”
She debrided the wound and started patching Kurt up.
“Before I forget, Cordelia?” I said. “Aren’t you supposed to inform me if an armed man tries to enter my house?”
She asked with concern in her voice, “Jim, are you all right? Have you had brain trauma recently? Do want me to call a doctor?”
Much like her owner, Cordelia was a wise-ass. Liz couldn’t stifle a laugh.
Kurt flinched. “Don’t make me laugh. It hurts too much.”
Cordelia continued, “This is Kurt, your oldest friend. He’s been in this house 523 times already. The last time he was here he was covered in blood and heavily armed too, and he was accompanied by Allen, who was carrying a grenade launcher.”
Liz laughed. “What? No bazooka?”

Extract 2.

The crimson space fighter and its wingmen attacked Invincible, laser cannons blazing. Maada’s vessel dived at high speed, pulled its nose up at the last moment, and did a firing run close to the starship, hitting her repeatedly from bow to stern. The gray space fighters followed it, raining deadly laser bolts on the Akaki ship. Energy bolt after energy bolt tore into her, scoring devastating hits. As soon as the Xortaag vessels veered off, a massive ball of multihued fire engulfed Invincible, and in a flash, she blew up into millions of minute glowing shards shimmering in dark space.
Five thousand sailors, vaporized. Just like that.
And Varina.
The thought of his daughter made Tarq feel his hearts were about to give out. His only child, who could not wait to grow up, was dead. Varina, who loved his pranks, and who never got tired of listening to the stories of how her father had saved the galaxy multiple times, was gone, and it was Tarq’s fault.
The command ship was under attack. Someone shouted, “Brace for impact!” The vessel shook violently. Tarq did not pay any attention. He stared at what was left of Varina’s ship, and overwhelming grief cut through him like a thousand sharp knives. Trying to use physical pain to block his mental anguish, he grabbed his two front antennae and pulled them so hard the agony made his vision blur. That worked. For a brief second.
His PDD beeped. It was a video message from Varina. With terror in her eyes, she said, “Father, we did our best,” and the message cut into static.
His daughter’s last thought before being murdered by the Xortaags was how she had disappointed him.
The thought made his gut churn. He twisted his antennae as hard as he could. The severe pain pushed him to the brink of losing conscientiousness.

Here is a link to the Sean’s Amazon Author Page.

https://www.amazon.com/Sean-Robins/e/B07PS1116K

 

A visit by author Sean Robbins

seanrobbins

Sean is a brand new writer who has a book that will shortly be released by Creativia, the same publisher who has published my fantasy books. Sean’s book is currently on pre-order. The link is at the end of this post.

 Welcome and thank you for giving me the opportunity to feature you on my blog, Sean.

What is the first book you remember either reading or having read to you?

Dick Sands the Boy Captain by Jules Verne. I was 8 years old at the time. That book opened up a new world for me and turned me into the bookworm I have been ever since.

Who is your favourite author?

My favorite author is Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files), which is probably how I ended up writing in a first-person POV with the same light-hearted, funny tone as he does. The fact that my MC’s name is Jim is purely coincidental though

What is your favourite book?

I honestly don’t think anyone can answer this question, but I have read The Dresden Files series three times (!), so maybe that.

If that book isn’t a ‘classic’, what is your favourite ‘classical’ book?

Gone with the Wind, hands-down.

Apart from writing, what is the thing you enjoy doing the most?

Reading novels, watching movies and teaching- I am an English teacher.

If you weren’t a writer, what job would you do?

My own day job

Why do you write?

This is how it started: I have got purely obsessional OCD. What this means is a thought enters my mind—usually something negative—and doesn’t leave. I end up having to think about it 5000 times a day, and once this starts, my life is ruined for a week, two weeks, a month, or six months. I’d tried a lot of different ways to get rid of this problem: therapy, medication, meditation… Nothing ever worked, until I read an article that said the people who had this problem had an overly active imagination, and it would help if they channeled it into something productive, like writing.
I’d always wanted to be a writer. This is literally a childhood dream, one of those you give up when you grow up. I had the story of The Crimson Deathbringer in my mind for years (even started writing it and stopped a few times). When I read that article, I was going through a tough time in my marriage (fighting with your wife is no fun, even for sane people), and my mind had gone into its life-destroying over-drive, so I told myself, “Well, you’ve tried everything else, let’s give this a shot.”
And then a miracle happened.
My mind put the same energy it used to put into producing BS and making my life miserable into coming up with stories. Ideas would come to me fast and furious, and I had to stop whatever I was doing several times a day to write them down. I’ve been OCD-free since then (I know, I sound like a recovering alcoholic). When TCD (cool, eh?) was finished, it took my out-of-control brain half a day to plan my second novel, which is about a nerdy scientist and a sexy female mercenary who use a time machine to defeat an alien invasion

A question I can’t answer, myself. Where do you get your ideas from?

They just appear to me on their own. I can’t turn my brain off even if I wanted to!

When you go out to eat, what type of food do you prefer?

I prefer anything sweet. Often I don’t even order food and go straight to desert

Do you enjoy sport? Do you prefer to watch or take part?

I am a swimmer, and I play volleyball regularly. I love watching soccer to, and hockey when the Canadian National Team plays.

What, in your opinion, is your best trait?

I am super positive, which you can probably tell by the tone of my book.

Which is your favourite city?

Amsterdam.

Do you cook? If so, what is your favourite thing to cook?

No. Like never. The maximum cooking I have ever done is to put chicken or fish in my steamer.

Do you have any siblings? Do any of them write?

No. I had a younger brother who sadly died a few years ago.

Can you swim?

Big time swimmer here.

 

Here is a bit more about Sean.

“Who am I? I am Spiderman.”
Well, not really, but this should tell you all you need to know about me and my writing style.
I’m a huge Marvel (plus Game of Thrones, Star Trek AND Star Wars) fan, which shows since my novel is loaded with pop culture references. If you are a sci-fi fan you will enjoy them tremendously. I even went full Deadpool in my first draft and broke the fourth wall multiple times, until my editor told it was distracting and kept taking her out of the moment. Shame. Those fourth-wall breaks were hilarious. Still, I can guarantee a few laugh-out-loud moments. Case in point: The “good” aliens in my novel are a race of pranksters, whose main goal in life is pulling other people’s legs (They have four legs, hence the slight change in the idiom).

And here is what his book is about.

The Crimson Deathbringer Cover

The Akakies, a peaceful, technologically advanced alien species known as “the galaxy’s pranksters,” are under attack by the Xortaags, a vicious military race bent on conquering the universe. The Xortaags are deadly, but Tarq, the Akakies’ chief strategist and legendary shadow master, has a plan.
Meanwhile on Earth, Jim, a wise-cracking, movie-quoting, OCD-suffering fighter pilot, is about to propose to his girlfriend Liz when his childhood friend Kurt shows up at his house, injured and covered in blood. Kurt is a freedom fighter/super- assassin hunted by a brutal military dictatorship’s security forces. Soon after, Jim, Liz and Kurt’s lives are set to crash with a galactic war that threatens the very existence of the human race.
Can our heroes save humanity from the wrath of an overwhelming enemy?
The Crimson Deathbringer seamlessly blends breathtaking action sequences with mischievous humor. If you are a science fiction/space opera fan, this book, with its memorable characters, formidable antagonist and Game of Thrones style shocking moments, is written especially for you.

To pre-order, click here.

You can connect with Sean on his website.
Author Website: https://seanrobins73.wixsite.com/website

It would help Sean, a new writer, if you could reblog this.

 

 

Another Chance at a Freebie.

theneverdyingman

From tomorrow, April 15th, the second book in The Wolves of Vimar Series, The Never-Dying Man, is FREE for 5 days only. The offer ends on Friday 19th April.

Hurry and get your copy before it’s too late. You can get it by clicking on the title or the book cover. You will be taken to its Amazon page where you are.

You can also get Book 1, The Wolf Pack, by clicking here,

thewolfpack1

and Book 3, Wolf Moon, here.

Wolf-Moon-Promo-Ereader
On Tuesday, I will be hosting a new member of the Creativia family. Sean Robbins has his very first book on pre-order. It is a scifi tale, so especially if you are a fan of that genre, don’t forget to come around and find out more about Sean and his book. It sound interesting.

3 Pairs of Commonly Misused Words

 

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There are some words that are commonly misused. Here I intend to point out some that have drawn my attention recently.

People have a tendency to copy what others say, and so this misuse is to some extent, self-perpetuating. I only wish everyone who misuses these words would read my, and other people’s blogs that point them out. Unfortunaltely, that is not the case, and never will be.

1 Unconsciously/Subconsciously

Unconscious means being unaware of your surroundings, being knocked out.
The boy was knocked unconscious when the football hit him on the head.
Subconscious is a part of the mind that you are unaware of. Thus doing something without awareness doing it, you are doing it subconsciously.
The boy subconsciously brushed a lock of haiar from in front of his eyes.

2. Insure/Ensure

Insure is when you pay money to a third party against the possibility of a particular thing happening. so you will receive recompense if the insured thing happens.
I have insured my house against fire and flood damage.
Ensure. To make sure something does or does not happen.
I will ensure that my daughter does her homework on time.

3. Unkempt/unkept

Here’s one I heard on the news the other day. The item was about graffiti in the city of Brighton. A councillor said “It makes the town look unkept.”

Unkempt. Untidy, scruffy.
When she got out of bed, her hair was all messy and she looked unkempt.
Unkept No one looking after it. Belonging to no one.
I’m not sure this is an actual word, so I looked on line and found it used as an adjective.
Can I buy the unkept land at the side of my house?

I hope you enjoyed reading about these three pairs of words.
I love to hear your thoughts, so please leave a comment in the comments box.

How a farmer’s son became the companion of a Prince

This is a chapter at the beginning of Elemental Worlds. At least, it was going to be the first chapter, but I decided to eliminate it. It tells how Pettic, the son of a farmer, came to be the friend and companion of Crown Prince Torren of Pondoria.

Later on, Pettic needs to put his own life in danger when the prince is kidnapped.

The-Stones-Of-Earth-And-Air-Promo-Hardback-EreaderThe-Stones-Of-Fire-And-Water-Promo-Hardback-Ereader

Pettic woke up early. It was still dark, but he could hear his mother moving around in the downstairs room. Today they would have to get their chores done early. Today they were going to take the two day journey to the capital city of Ponderia.
Pettic had never been to Glitton. In fact he had never been further than a half day’s journey from the farm his parents owned. This journey was to celebrate his thirteenth birthday.

 

He poked his little brother in the ribs. ‘Derkil, get up. We need to do our jobs quickly. Don’t forget today is the day we’re going to Glitton.’
Eleven-year-old Derkil rolled over and opened his eyes, then closed them and rolled back.
‘Derkil, come on, get up!’
At that, Derkil opened his eyes wide and laughed. ‘Did you think I’d forget, Pettic? I’ve not been to Glitton either, remember.’
With that, the younger boy jumped up and dressed quickly. The two boys climbed down the ladder leading from their loft bedroom into the main room of the cottage.
Their mother was preparing breakfast and packing a large hamper to take with them. ‘Come on, boys,’ she exclaimed when she saw them. ‘Go and get your jobs done. Your father’s milking the cows today, so I can pack the food we’re taking, but the chickens need feeding, the sheep watering and checking over, the dogs and cats fed and the horse harnessed to the wagon.’
Their father, Brimar, was pulling down hay for the two cows to eat while they were being milked when the boys appeared. ‘Get on as quickly as you can, lads,’ he called. ‘I want to be on the way as soon after sunrise as possible.’
‘When will Yelldon be coming?’ Pettic asked.
Yelldon was a neighbour who had handed over the running of the family farm to his son the previou year. He was still an active man, though, and agreed to look after the farm while the family were away.
‘At dawn, he said,’ replied Pettic’s father. ‘I want to be ready to leave as soon as I’ve told him what’s what.’
The two boys ran to their tasks and finished before the sun poked its head over the horizon. Yelldon arrived soon afterwards. Being an experienced farmer, he did not need much instruction. It was more a case of telling him where things were.
‘Are you ready Helra?’ the boy’s father called impatiently to their mother. Pettic could swear his parents were as excited as he was about the coming visit.
Helra came out brushing a lock of her long chestnut hair from her eyes. ‘Just making sure everything is left tidy.’ She climbed onto the wagon to sit next to her husband on the driver’s seat and they trotted out of the farmyard about half an hour after Yelldon had arrived.
They drove through through familiar land for the first half-day until they reached the village of Prind. The land around was fertile and quite flat and much was produced. Here they came each week to the market to sell any surplus produce and buy things they did not produce themselves. People came from the towns around too and not only produce was exchanged, but news too.
They called in at the local tavern and bought some lunch and exchanged comments with the various friends and acquaintances gathered there before continuing onwards.
The boys found this second part of the journey much more exciting, and, truth to tell so did the adults the adults. The land began to rise into rolling downland as they left the plains behind. Here the farming was predominantly sheep. As it was summer, the spring lambs were growing quickly and many had been rounded up to go to the markets.
The first day ended with the family approaching the town of Clind Row. This town seemed like a huge metropolis to the boys who had never before seen anywhere bigger than their village. In fact, it was quite a small town.
They found an inn for the night and as soon as Brimar ensured their horse was well stabled, the family went into the inn and had a hot meal. Brimar struck up a conversation with one of the locals and stayed down drinking ale, but Helra and the boys went up to their room. Pettic wanted to stay down with his father, but Helra had insisted he was still too young, thirteen in two days or not.
The next day was much the same as the previous one, except they ate the food Helra had packed rather than eat in inns or taverns.
About an hour before sunset, a city appeared over the horizon.
‘Is that Glitton?’ asked Pettic.
‘Yes, that’s the capital city,’ replied Brimar. ‘That is unless I’ve taken the wrong road somewhere,’ He winked at his wife.
‘Oh, no,’ wailed Dirkil. ‘Could you have done that? What happens if it’s the wrong place?’
‘Stop teasing the boys,’ scolded Helra with a smile. She turned to Dirkil. ‘Yes, it’s Glitton.

There is only one road to the capital. Even your father can’t get that wrong.’
Brimar aimed a friendly punch at his wife who ducked, laughing.
The little party soon passed through the gates of the capital city. All four of them looked around in wonder. Here the houses were built of stone and looked huge to the country folk. The roads, too, were paved and not the muddy tracks they had known in the villages around their farm. There were churches with tall spires or towers that looked as if they were trying to reach the heavens, so tall did they seem.
They found an inn and asked if they had rooms, but were told all were taken due to something called “The Proclamation”.
The innkeeper sent them off down a side road to a smaller inn. ‘It’s clean and does good food, but it’s not so fashionable as this one, although I say it myself. They may have space for a family if you don’t mind sharing a room.’
That turned out to be the case they booked the room for a week and unloaded their things. A groom took their wagon into the coach-house and their horse to the stables. Brimar was secretly glad the other inn was full. This inn was, as they had been told, small, but it was clean and the landlord friendly. It was also cheaper than the other one, an important consideration for the country folk.
They ordered a meal and this time took it in their room. They were all tired after travelling and so they went to bed early. Being used to going to bed with the sun and rising with it too, it was no hardship.
The next morning, Helra told the boys to put on their best clothes. She had insisted they were going to the big city, home to the king, and so they should look their best.
Dirkil protested. ‘But mother, it’s not as though the king or anyone important will see us. My best clothes are so-o uncomfortable.’
Helra insisted, however, and as usual she got her way.
Shortly after they had eaten, and Helra had inspected the boys (and incidentally, her husband too) they set off to look at the city. It was huge. No one in the family had ever been in such a big place. It was busy too, and noisy. On every street corner, it seemed, there was someone selling something. Flowers here, sweetmeats there, pies too. They entered a square where a market was in full swing. The stall-holders cried their wares, calling to passers-by to look at what they had for sale. The scents of food and flowers filled the air. The boys wanted to stop and look at the wares, but their father hurried them on.
‘Why can’t we stop to look?’ asked Pettic.
‘We’ll look another time,’ replied Brimar. ‘We have a week here, after all. I thought we’d begin by looking at the palace. Today, I believe, they’ve opened it to the public because it’s the Prince’s thirteenth birthday.’
‘Just like you, Pettic,’ pointed out Dirkil.
‘Oh, I hadn’t noticed,’ replied his brother, sarcastically. ‘I thought we were here to see the king!’
They passed through some inner gates into the oldest part of the city. Here the houses were even bigger and the place looked tidy and well kept. The streets were clean and the windows of the houses were polished. Helra surreptitiously peeped into one of the windows as they passed.
‘It’s beautiful inside,’ she whispered.
They came to the palace gates and were admitted. After crossing a large courtyard with a variety of buildings in it, they arrived at the main doors and were ushered into a large hall. There were chairs in this hall as if there were going to be some kind of ceremony. The ceiling had flags hanging from it. Brimar told the boys they were the emblems of all the nobility and knights who would be called on to fight for their country in times of war. The ceiling itself had large wooden beams and the walls were covered with tapestries, mainly scenes of warfare and hunting.
Several families filled the room, all with at least one boy around Pettic’s age. Some sat on the chairs and some walked around looking at everything there was to see. Those on the chairs were looking bored as though they had seen it all before, which they may have done because they were all richly dressed. Their parents were talking quietly together as if they had known each other for a long time. These were obviously noble families, but what were they waiting for? That they were waiting for something was obvious.
After looking around at the tapestries, and Helra admiring the fine stitching, Brimar suggested they sit down ‘for a rest’.
Dirkil protested he did not want a rest. He was not tired. Why could they not go and look at somewhere else. They had seen this place now.
‘Your mother needs to sit down for a while,’ Brimar responded.
Pettic looked at his mother. She did not look in the least bit tired. What was his father up to? Anyway, he needed to go to pass water. He had been holding it in for quite a while now, and he was getting desperate. He whispered to his father who went to one of the guards standing around the room and asked.
‘Come with me, young man,’ the guard told Pettic, and walked off through a door on the opposite side of the room from where they had entered.
Pettic followed and the guuard took him down a number of corridors until they came to a door.
‘In there is the garderobe,’ said the guard. ‘I need to be in the Great Hall now and so I trust you can find your way back. If you get lost, just ask one of the servants. There are usually plenty around.’
With that, he walked off leaving Pettic in front of the garderobe door.
When he had finished, Pettic left the garderobe and started back towards the Great Hall. After a while he found he had become quite lost. He was just beginning to panic when he spotted a young boy of about his age at the end of the passage.
‘Hey,’ he called, ‘I’m lost. I need to get back to the Great Hall. Can you tell me which way to go, please?’
The boy stopped and looked round. He came down the corridor towards Pettic.
He was about the same height as Pettic but with dark hair whereas Pettic’s was fair. He had brown eyes and was wearing a dark blue jerkin over a maroon shirt. Pettic knew these were the royal colours so he assumed this boy was one of the royal attendants.
‘I can show you the way back. I’m not wanted for a while yet,’ the boy answered.
‘Thank you very much,’ Pettic said. ‘I suppose you work here. Are you some kind of page, doing your training?’
The boy smiled. ‘Yes. I am in training.What do you do?’
‘My father’s a farmer in a village two days’ drive away. We only have a small farm, but we do have two cows,’ He drew himself up a little as he said this. ‘Not many farmers have a cow. They get their milk from goats. My mother makes butter and cheese from the extra milk. It tastes different from goats’ cheese and butter.’
‘Yes, I know,’ the boy answered. ‘I’ve had cows’ cheese and milk. I prefer it to goats’.’
Pettic was pleased to meet someone who liked the cows’ milk and cheese. Most of his friends preferred the goats’ but that was mainly because that was what they were used to.
The pair chatted on as they wended their way back to the Great Hall. Pettic learned about life in the palace and the boy learned about Pettic’s life on the farm.
When they reached the door to the Great Hall the boy said, ‘It sounds a great life, living on a farm. So free. I loved the story you told about falling out of the tree you were climbing. I’m not allowed to climb trees.’
With that, he ran back the way he came and Pettic entered the great Hall once more.
His parents had been getting anxious about him and were pleased to see him back. He told them about getting lost and meeting the trainee page and how the boy had shown him back to the Hall.
‘I think we should tell him why we are here, don’t you, Brimar,’ Helra said suddenly.
Pettic looked at his mother and frowned. ‘We’re here for my birthday, aren’t we?’
‘Yes, dear, of course, but there’s something else too. Now I don’t expect it will come to anything, but the king sent out a proclamation a few weeks ago. Crown Prince Torren is thirteen today, just like you and all the other boys here today.’
Pettic frowned. His father continued. ‘The king sent a proclamation to ask if any boy with a birthday on the same day as the Prince would care to come to the palace today, then the prince would choose one of them to be his friend and companion. So here we are.’
Just then, the first of the boys was called and he stood and went through a door at the far end of the room.
‘Mother, Father,’ Pettic said. ‘This is ridiculous. You know one of the nobles’ sons will get it. We should go now before we’re embarrassed.’
‘No, son,’ Brimar insisted. ‘We’ve come this far and I don’t intend to leave until you’ve at least seen the prince. The king has said he’ll leave the interviewing and choice entirely to Prince Torren. It’s said the prince is not in the slightest snobbish and I think everyone here stands a chance.’
Pettic sighed. The boy who had been in to see the prince came out and another boy went in.
This went on for a while until Pettic’s name was called. He stood and looked at his parents for help. His mother gave him a little push and he crossed the room towards the little door feeling as if all eyes were on him. (Which of course they were.)
He entered a small room. There was a large table in the centre and a window behind it. Pettic bowed to the pair seated on the other side of the table. A voice he recognised bade him be seated.
He looked up eyes widening as he saw the boy he had been so casually talking to, and whom he had unceremoniously asked for help. He could hardly believe he had been in the presence of Prince Torren and not known it.
Next to the prince was a man that could only be the king. He was a tall man with the same dark hair and brown eyes as his son, but he sported a well-trimmed beard. He looked a kind man and he smiled at Pettic to give him courage.
Prince Torren also smiled at Pettic. ‘Well, Pettic, we meet again. I hope you won’t hold it against me for not telling you who I am. I’ve so little chance of talking to someone not of my family, who doesn’t treat me as different.’
‘N-no, Your Royal Highness.’
Prince Torren asked more questions about Pettic’s life on the farm. Pettic quickly relaxed and soon had both the prince and his father laughing at some of the tales he told. Eventually, though, Prince Torren told Pettic he had seen enough to make up his mind, and dismissed the other boy.
‘You were a long time in there,’ his mother said when he came across the hall to them. ‘I was wondering what was happening.’
Pettic smiled. ‘We were just talking, mother. Prince Torren is friendly. Did you know he showed me the way back from the garderobe when I got lost?’
‘What?,’ Dirkil said ‘You were talking to a real prince and didn’t know it? I’d have spotted him right off.’
‘I don’t think so. He looks normal and speaks normally too.’
It took a long time for all the boys to be interviewed. Derkin had been complaining for quite some time about being bored and Helra said she would take him out to look at the market. Thus it was that when the last boy came out, only a restless Pettic and his father were sitting waiting.
‘Why can’t we go and meet mother and Derkin, father?’ Pettic asked.’It’s not as if I’m likely to be chosen, is it? The prince’ll want someone from his own class as a companion.’
Brimar insisted they stay. They had come this far and they were not going to leave before they found out who the prince had chosen.
It was only about ten minutes after the last boy had come out that the prince and the king emerged from the little room. Everyone stood and bowed as the pair went to a platform next to the room where the interviews had been held. The king bade everyone to sit and took his place on the throne. Prince Torren stood next to his father, glanced once at him and then stepped forward.
‘I have made my decision,’ he began. ‘It was not an easy one. All of you had things to recommend you to me, but eventually I thought there is one of you I took to immediately.’ The prince paused and looked around the room. His eyes caught Pettic’s and held. ‘I would like to employ as my companion, and I hope my friend, Pettic.’
Pettic eyes scanned the room. There must be some mistake. There must be another Pettic here. But no, no one else was moving, and all eyes were on him.
The prince smiled and said, ‘Yes, Pettic, I’ve chosen you. Come up so everyone can see you.’

You can read about Pettic’s adventures in the four elemental worlds he has to enter in order to rescue his friend in The Stones of Earth and Air, then in The Stones of Fire and Water.

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Here is something about the book.

After the Crown Prince of Ponderia starts behaving strangely, his best friend Pettic discovers that the prince has been replaced by a doppelganger, and the real prince kidnapped.

Unable to accept the loss of his friend, Prince Torren, nor the cruel impostor to become the new king, Pettic sets on a quest to rescue his friend. After he sees the fake prince meet a mysterious man, Pettic discovers that the prince has been imprisoned in another plane of existence.

With the help of Blundo, the court magician, Pettic finds out that the only way to enter this other world are four keys, each of them associated with a different element. As Pettic sets on his seemingly impossible quest, he discovers that the four lands that hold the keys are all vastly different… and more dangerous than he could have ever imagined.#

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Thank you.

 

 

Those Were the Days. A poem by my Mum

Today, for a change, instead of posting my own writing I thought I’d let you see a poem written by my Mum. She died in 1992, but would have been chuffed to see her poem on the net. She had a terrific sense of humour.

This one is one of several she wrote about growing old.

 

Everything is so much further
Then it ever used to be.
The little shop around the corner
Seems twice as far to me.

The buses were always punctual
I could go with the greatest of ease.
But now they seem to be early
And my legs do just as they please.

The stairs are made so much steeper
I’m flat out when I get to the top
Amd the print in the papers is so small
That my eyes are beginning to pop.

I can’t do with the way people mumble.
I only hear half of the tale.
They tell me the news in a whisper,
Or shout till I feel I could wail.

The dresses are made so much tighter
Especially round waist and hips.
And diets are all in the fashion.
No goodies, like good fish and chips.

Even people are different this day and age
They all seem to look so much younger.

Yet people my age seem old and withdrawn
And look to be dying of hunger.

I met with a friend the other day.
She really looked old and withered.
I’m sure I look younger than that, I thought,
And I know I’m not half so bothered.

I looked in the mirror to see for myself.
For I’m really not ready to go on the shelf.
But a grey-haired old woman was looking at me.
Even mirrors are not like they used to be.

 

Spring. A Poem

110daffodils

Dandelions, like gold, cover the meadows.
Newborn lambs frolic in fields.
New leaves on the trees are casting their shadows
And winter’s cold grip quickly yields.

At the edges of woodland the primroses glow
And cowslips their scent fills the air.
Anemones dance when the breezes do blow
And birds sing with never a care.

Then bluebells and campions come into bloom
Their colour the blue of the sea.
The cuckoo, that herald of spring, will come soon
His call echoing over the lea.

The song of the blackbird is like molten gold.
His notes are so pure and so clear.
Hearing him seems to banish the cold
And brings joy to all those who hear.

Robin is nesting, and other birds too,
The hedgehog is active once more.
The young of the deer and the badger and shrew
Play their games as in old days of yore.

The sun climbs higher and higher each day
Giving more of his heat and his light.
It sparkles like stars fallen into the bay.
All smile at the beautiful sight.

Hope and excitement come with each spring morn.
What blessings will come with this day?
New starts can begin once again with each dawn
And send us all hopeful away.

 

I hope you like  this spring poem. Please tell me what you think in the comments.