Friday, May 17, 2013
Giveaway: 1 Author-Signed Paperback of Epic Fantasy, THE BURGEONING; All Entrants Receive a FREE eBook
Spark is a fireless, featherless and flightless dragon, the husband of Lipperella and the father of Laora. Spark and Lipperella were rendered featherless by the wizard Razzorbauch and the sorceress Demonica when they rounded up most of the dragons in the Mammvro of the Dark Continent and hauled them across the sea to harvest sukere on Razzorbauch's vast plantation on the Northern Continent in Good Sister, Bad Sister.
Spark's firelessness was considered contemptible by the other dragons for a time and he was exiled to the Peppermint Forest prior to The Collector Witch. After the death of Razzorbauch, he returned and married the dragon clan's Truth Teller, Lipperella. By a fortunate accident, neither Spark nor Lipperella were rendered sterile when they lost their feathers, as were the rest of the dragons, so they were able to produce the only offspring possible for the entire clan, in Stone Heart. And without Razzorbauch's terrible spells, these offspring had feathers and could fly.
Spark and Lipperella became instrumental in coaxing the dragons to give up hating humans and to become important allies of the Kingdom of Niarg and formidable foes of Queen Spitemorta in The Burgeoning. (and in The Reaper Witch and Doom to be released later in the year).
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
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.
[Dr. Richard L. Phipps]
Monday, May 13, 2013
He found Abaddon playing quietly with the yarn dolls which he insisted were "soldiers."
"So. You'll be leaving now," said Abaddon without looking up.
"I have no choice as you well know, Abbey," he said, squatting beside him.
"Sure," he said with a shrug and gravel in his throat, still refusing to look up. "He's your friend. He's your best friend, and he counts 'way more 'n I do!"
Lance went wide eyed at the resentment he heard in Abaddon's voice. "These days, you've gotten to be my friend too, Abbey," he said, putting his hand on the boy's shoulder, "but you know as well as I do what's going to happen to him if I don't get him out..."
"Well go then!" he said, flinging away Lance's hand. "But you're too late!"
"How? Wait a minute! You say I'm too late?"
"If you're so ready to leave, just go, but someone else rescued your friend James."
"I said somebody got him out..."
"I don't know. Some stupid knaves. Boy, is my momma ever goin' 'o kill them bad if she catches them. They'd better never get caught."
"How do I know you're not making up all this so I'll not leave?"
"You think I'd lie about something like this?" cried Abaddon with wounded fury.
"Yea. I'm sorry to say so, but from what I've seen, if it got you what you wanted, you sure might."
Abaddon yanked his scrying crystal from his neck, flung it at Lance and dashed out of sight into the lava tube.
Lance glanced at the talisman in his hands. "He was scrying the very moment I walked in!" he gasped, riveting his gaze back upon it. "Fates! Is that James? It is! He looks like a bearded ghost. And I don't know a one of those knaves, but each one of 'em looks familiar." He gave the pendant a thoughtful heft before clenching it tight in his fist as he sprang to his feet to find Abaddon. "I sure hope my putting it straight to him hasn't undone everything."
Ch. 21, The Burgeoning
Lance found Abaddon lying belly down on his bed. "What do you want, stupid?" said Abaddon, looking up suddenly from his scrying crystal. "Didn't your dumb Fairies ever teach you to knock to announce yourself to your betters when you enter their private quarters?"
"I learnt it as a courtesy for anyone, and I learnt that it wasn't the only courtesy one could use either..."
"Yea. Like this pie. I could say, 'Hey Abby, here's the best pie in the world. Want some?'" He gave a beckoning nod.
"That's vulgar clumsiness in place of proper respect for royals, but I've come to expect as much..."
"Well, better dig in while I'm being rude, so it won't get cold."
Abaddon scowled as he took the saucer, but his first delicate whiff of the pie arrested every urge he had in mind until he had wolfed down every bit of it. Lance sat on the bed and waited, looking at the backs of his hands.
"That was pretty good," said Abaddon, handing back the saucer. "Thanks."
"Why, you're welcome," he said, stumbling to recover from being completely thrown off by Abaddon's polite remark. "So, you were scrying when I came in. Did you see anything interesting?"
"Nay, not much. Just James and his idiot knaves on some old road out in the grass."
"Gollmoor? It'd have to be Gollmoor, but they could be anywhere out on it. Did you watch long enough to see anything else?"
"I didn't get a chance to because of your clumsy entry."
"Did you see a river...?"
"I just said I didn't, stupid."
Lance studied him for a moment. "Abbey, would you do me a huge favor and scry your dad again, long enough for me to tell where he is?"
"Why? So you can run off and leave me here with your crazy Fairies and Ratman and be where he is?" he said with gravel in his throat. "That's really stupid, you know. Sooner or later Momma's going find him and his knaves and they're all going to die, screaming and kicking. No way she won't do it, either. And if you're with them, she'll really kill you, 'cause you're his friend and my kidnapper. She'll figure out ways to kill you for an extra, extra long time."
"Oh, I don't doubt that for one moment, Abbey. That's why I need your help, and that's why your father needs it, too."
"You and James need me?" he said, suddenly free of his sullen demeanor.
"Way more than you might imagine. Only you can save us from being killed by your mother and Demonica."
Abaddon went altogether wide eyed. "Lance my magic is still little," he said. "It's not nearly big enough to stop my momma or Nana Demonica. They'd kill me, too!"
"Oh no Abbey. I'd never put you in that kind of danger. All I need is for you to scry your father again so I can figure out just where he is. I think I know of a way to protect him, if I can get to him quickly enough."
Abaddon took on a sullen look at once.
"Look Abbey, you really wouldn't think much of me if I let a good friend of mine die when I might've been able to save him, would you?"
Abaddon picked at a piece of lint on his bedspread, his mouth set tightly.
"So could you?" said Lance, carefully.
"Maybe," he said, looking up from his piece of lint. "But you can't leave me here with the old Fairies. You're going to need me along with my crystal. You don't think James and his knaves are going to just stay in one spot and wait for you to get there, do you?"
Lance drew a breath to speak but let it out. "Hmm..."
Abaddon's eyes lit up. "Then you'll do it?" he said with an excited bounce on the bed. "You'll take me with you?"
Lance nodded slowly, stunned at himself for agreeing to Abaddon's ruse. "Well then," he said softly, "let's look at your crystal."
Abaddon already had it out, staring at the shapes of James and his companions appearing amongst its swirling colors.
Ch. 26, The Burgeoning
Friday, May 10, 2013
When Mom was a little girl growing up in Moonshine Prairie, her folks would stop the buggy on the way home from church to let her pick sweet williams. And from the time I heard her tell the story when I was a kid, I made sure that she had a nice big bouquet of the phlox she called sweet williams, every single Mother's Day.
When the day came that Carol and I had to go west to spend our time teaching on the reservations, I was no longer able to give Mom her flowers. We climbed Peacock Peak one Mother's Day, and near the top in a grove of Piñon Pine, we found some kind of white phlox growing which was much smaller than sweet williams. I wanted to pick them and somehow send them to Mom, but there was no way we would ever have been able to climb back down the mountain with them.
One summer when we were back home, Mom's hip broke and she fell. After a spell in the hospital, we took her out to my sister Joan's in North Carolina and got teaching jobs. The teaching jobs didn't work very well. My school decided to teach all year, which would have crippled our writing, and Carol had a childish buffoon for a principal who was determined to make life hell for anyone with the nerve to come from Arizona. We made it until December and then found jobs on the Navajo res in New Mexico.
We had just announced our decision to move back west, and were going to leave in the morning. Joan and I were sitting at the kitchen table, playing our fiddles. Mom announced that it was her bedtime and began shuffling out with her walker. Just after she had navigated between Joan and the refrigerator, she paused and turned to me. "Well, I guess this the last I'll ever see you," she said serenely.
"Mom!" I said. "Don't be ridiculous. We'll be back this next summer."
We had just gotten moved when Joan rang us with the news that Mom was gone. The thing that came to mind when I hung up the phone was remembering Mom taking the time out of her hectic spring day to walk a mile down into the woods with me to see an ovenbird's nest. This May will be the first chance I've had in all these years to go to the woods for sweet williams. I reckon I'll leave a handful on her grave.
Wednesday, May 8, 2013
Lance shifted on his saddle in the thick whirling snow and gathered his collar over his muffler as he peered from under his hat at the top of the mountain. "Well Abaddon," he called out cheerfully over the wind, "we'll be over the top directly and we'll be getting out of this weather!"
"My momma's goin' 'o kill you for stealing me away from her," said Abaddon with a baleful snarl. "And when I tell her all about it, she'll hurt you a whole lot for a long, long time before she stops your heart."
"Oh, she'll have to catch us first," said Lance buoyantly, as a shudder ran through him.
"She'll catch you, all right! Oh, yes she will! And it'll be a lot of fun!"
"After five long days in the cold, it's a mercy we won't have to sleep out in this," thought Lance with another shudder as the unicorns stepped their way up, crunching loose shards of stone through the new layer of snow. Having grown up here, he was familiar with the sudden fierce winter storms up in the Pitmaster's Kettles. He glanced aside at Abaddon. In spite of how good he'd always been with children, the boy unnerved him. "I'll do it for James," he thought, wishing he did not have to. Abaddon looked up at him with a red-eyed glower, as if he knew exactly what he had just been thinking, giving him a sudden bristle of goose flesh. He quickly turned away. "Surely he doesn't read thoughts. I've never heard that Spitemorta does." He looked back again to suddenly feel guilty for thinking all of this at the sight of Abaddon looking right at him with the innocent smile of a boy on an adventure. He smiled back and began searching for the path over the top. "Here we go!" he called out. "Right yonder! Just keep Sheba close to Stepper and we'll soon be out of the weather in the heart of this ol' mountain!"
"What do you mean? You don't mean we're going clean inside it, do you?"
"Sure do," said Lance with a nod. "This is a vulcan mountain. Its top was once a cauldron of melted red-hot rock. If it weren't for the snow, you'd see frozen rivers of rock running down it's sides from long ago. That's what all the black rock between the trees was, 'way back down below, before we ever started up here. The top of each one of these mountains for miles and miles is a deep pit. that's why they're called the Pitmaster's Kettles. And here we are." He slapped his hand onto his hat in the furious wind at the very top of the slope as his unicorn hesitated between a pair of boulders on the rim, stepping restlessly from side to side before finding his first steps of the steep decent beyond. "See out yonder? the whole top of this mountain is naught but a giant deep hole. And here we go, on the path right down into the mountain, but you watch out and keep Sheba close behind. I don't want you falling off the side. It's a long way down."
"I better not fall. My momma would kill you even worse if I did."
"Yea, and your dad wouldn't be too happy either."
Abaddon gave a contemptuous snort, but quickly donned a look of excited expectancy in spite of himself. Soon they were below the wind, carefully finding their way down the narrow path, knocking loose rocks to go skittering and bounding off into the depths. He anxiously peered down into the crater, but strain as he might, he could not see the bottom. "Hey," he demanded. "It's gettin' darker and darker. How are we going to see? In fact, what's going to keep us from falling off?"
"Stepper and Sheba. The unicorns see a lot better in the dark than we do and they're completely sure-footed if you don't rush them. They'll find their way. Besides, it'll get lighter before long."
"You're crazy. It's been getting darker and darker."
"Well, when you get down far enough, there's quite a lot of glow lichen growing, though we're not far enough to tell it yet. Have you noticed it getting warmer?"
"The wind's died down is all. It's not any warmer."
"Well, what do you suppose happened to all the snow, Abby?"
"You're not allowed to say things like that! You're supposed to call me 'Your Highness!'"
"Well, maybe when you earn it..."
Abaddon drew a breath for a furious shout, but fell silent with a gasp at the sudden sight of a faint glow, far below in the blackness.
Ch 2, The Burgeoning
Monday, May 6, 2013
That evening, James tiptoed into Abaddon's nursery and put a light kiss upon his forehead. Abaddon stirred under his blanket but neither opened his eyes nor changed his breathing. James smiled, assured that he was safe and at peace, in spite of his mother's long absence. He turned and tiptoed back out, gently drawing closed the door.
Abbadon's eyes flew open the moment the door shut. He clambered from his bed and went to the window where he peeped out at the skinweler in the courtyard. "Momma's goin' 'o be very mad at you Daddy, when I tell her what you've been doing while she's been gone," he said with an eerie red glow in his eyes in the moonlight. "Oh yes. She's goin' 'o be real mad."
Ch. 45, Stone Heart
(Click on Title or book image to download FREE)
Friday, May 3, 2013
The hay shed was finished by June, and nearly the whole neighborhood showed up to help put up the first hay which ever went into it. Two of the Allisons brought over an extra hay loader apiece, and after a long private discussion about safety and responsibilities and not getting carried away in front of everyone, Dad allowed me to drive the hay loader. I nearly burst my buttons.
I drove Old Crip in first gear, idling astraddle the windrow, pulling the hay wagon which in turn pulled the hay loader along behind, languidly clanking and squeaking, feeding up the hay. Two men forked and tramped the hay from the loader onto a sledge which covered the back half of the wagon. When they had a stack that rose three feet or better above the loader, I stopped the tractor, un-hitched the wagon and pulled the sledge and hay to the front half of the wagon bed with the tractor and a cable. Then I hitched up the wagon and we were under way again, the men loading the back half.
The load of hay was drawn alongside of the end of the hay shed and parked under its hood. Dad stood by the wagon and pulled hand over hand on a trip rope which ran up into the shed under the hood to a heavy two tined fork suspended by a carriage which scurried toward the hood along an iron track under the ridgepole. The carriage reached the end of the track under the hood and tripped, dropping the fork to the wagon. It fell fluidly, feeding itself a long loop of heavy hay rope.
Dad mounted the wagon and drove the fork into the center of the front half of the load. After tramping it home, he pulled up a couple of levers, setting trip fingers in the hay, near the points of the tines. He took up the trip rope and slid off the side of the load with a bound, hollering: "All right!"
On the far side of the shed, a hand started his tractor and began backing, taking slack out of the hay rope which ran to the foot of the building, up to the eave, then along the track under the ridge pole to the carriage under the hood and down in a loop to the pulley atop the fork. As he backed, a large dollop of hay broke free of the wagon load, rising to the hood. The neighbors clapped and cheered as the fork engaged the carriage, jerking the hay inside. Dad waited a moment for the hay to travel to the far end of the shed before yanking the trip rope, dropping the hay to the mow floor.
When the hay was up and the neighbors gone, Dad went up into the mow to pull the rope inside. He crawled along in the tight space atop the hay, just below the track and ridge pole. From below we heard a muffled: "Ow...! Ow...! God...! Ow...damned... son of a bitch!" He appeared in the doorway shortly, squeezing shut one eye with streaks of blood running from the crown of his bald head.
What on earth happened up there, Harry?" said our hand. "Of course you don't look much like ye want to talk about it."
"Well," said Dad with a rumpled glance about with his good eye, "I was a-crawling along, and damned if a son of a bitchin' straw didn't poke me in the eye. Well I reared up with a jerk, and damned if a son of a bitchin' nail a-stickin through the roof didn't stick me in the top of my head. Then I jerked back and poked my eye again on that same cursed straw, which made me run my God damned head into that same God damned, son of a bitchin' nail again!"
Wednesday, May 1, 2013
Abaddon is the son of King James of Loxmere and the witch queen Spitemorta of Goll. He is also the great-grandson of the fearsome Demonica, the most powerful sorceress of all time.
Demonica abandoned Spitemorta's mother Ugleeuh at birth and returned to her keep across the sea in Head to continue her pursuit of power through her fortune in mines and arms. She has long dreamed of ruling the world, but she knows that in order to do that, she will need the Great Staff of Power and its Crystal Heart. When she hears that her very granddaughter has the Staff in Stone Heart, she becomes Abaddon's nanny. In time, she and Spitemorta leave Abaddon in the care of King James and go off on a hunt to find the Heart. Whilst they are away, James discovers that Spitemorta is a witch and that her influence over Abaddon is evil. In an effort to save him in The Burgeoning, he has his steward Lance hide Abaddon. When Spitemorta finds out, she tortures James and puts him in the dungeon.
Lance takes Abaddon to his childhood home in Mount Bedd to see the Fairy sisters who raised him. They find Abaddon to be dark and troubled and in the sway of the Pitmaster, but under their influence he decides to help Lance find King James and get him to safety, out of Spitemorta's reach and thereby begins a transformation which continues throughout The Reaper Witch [to be released this year] and eventually turns him into a hero.