Friday, April 25, 2014

Abaddon Has A Red Glow in His Eyes


 Part Two
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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 Stone_Heart_Cover_for_Kindle
 (Click on Title or book image to download FREE)



Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Ow!


hay1The 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.
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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.
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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.
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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!"
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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.
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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." 
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"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!" 

Tom Phipps

Friday, April 18, 2014

Ahead of Their Time


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In February we went to the woods for oak poles to build a new hay shed. Dad tramped all over the woods, measuring trees at breast height, carrying an axe to mark the ones which suited. He hauled out the cross-cut saws, setting and filing their teeth. He mounted aCrosscut Sawwooden box over the drawbar of one of the tractors and loaded it with chains, axes, mauls, wedges, a jug of kerosene, a sack of corn cobs and a small sack of potatoes, and we were off to the timber.
We crashed through a thicket that had grown across the lane where it entered the woods, following a large hogback. We left the lane well into the woods, making our way to a group of marked trees, saplings springing upright behind the tractor.
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"Here," said Dad, handing me a cross-cut saw. He walked slowly around the first tree, looking fig01up into its crown. Presently he chopped out a wedge shaped notch from the side of the tree's trunk facing where it was to fall. He took the saw and started it at the inside of the notch. "All right," he said, "you take your end. Don't struggle with it. You let me do the cutting. Just follow me back and forth to keep the saw from binding."
Dust trickled into a pile on the roots in front of me. "That's the time," he said. "Now you're a-getting it. Now let's change sides. When I say, 'timber,' you run for the tractor, right now."
Pulling out of the cut which was about a third of the way through the tree, we started from the other side, about an inch further up the trunk. When we reached the first cut, he took a quick step back away from the tree and hollered: "Timber! Go on, get!" With a groan and a pop, the tree slowly settled toward the notch. Then picking up speed, it furiously crashed to the ground.
I rushed back to smell the cut and stand on the stump.  
"Here. Hold this right here at the end," he said, feeding out his measuring tape along the trunk. He marked a spot with his axe and stood, reeling in his tape whilst I scampered up and down the trunk.
We heard a tractor coming into the woods. Directly, Grandpa appeared with the hired hand on the fender. He dismounted and shuffled up with a mallet and a heavy spade-like chisel.
"What's that, Grandpa?" I asked.images
"A spud."
"Good," said Dad, looking up.
Grandpa set to work at the opposite end of the log from Dad, driving the spud along the trunk under the bark with his mallet, quickly peeling it away.
Dad and the hand disappeared into the woods for a time, talking as they went. Grandpa fastened a chain around the large end of the log. I lay down on my back, idly shoving at the massive pole with my feet.
"Hey!" said Grandpa. "You don't want to do that. If you get that thing to rocking, it could come down on ye. That old cu'se is heavy. It'd kill ye." He gave a chuckle and slowly sat down on the images (1)stump. "When your Uncle Jake and I were kids, we were looking after some calves that we were a-running in the big hollow. There was a big old hollow gum tree, a-lying there, near where we were a-fooling around. It had its top cut off and was still a-resting on its stump, like this 'n' here. Jake went to lying in the leaves on the downhill side, a-doing just what you were a-doing. Well directly, it rolled off the stump and on over him. It's a good thing he was in kind of a soft low spot, 'cause all it did was mash him into the mud and leaves." He paused with twinkling eyes.
"Well, he wasn't through. Directly he crawled clear up inside it. It rocked a little as he went along, and then, doggoned if it didn't take off a-rolling and bouncing down the hill. It really went a-kiting! Boom, boom! Bang! It was one dickens of a long way down to the creek. I tore off down the hill to see if he was all right, about the time the log came up right smart again the trunks of a couple of large ironwoods that stood on the bank of the branch.
"When I got to him, he'd crawled out white as a sheet, just a-reeling, steadying himself again one of the ironwoods. I said: 'Are ye dizzy?' And he said: 'This ain't dizzy!'"
Later in the morning, I looked up with a start to see an old man who looked like a tall version of my granddad standing there, watching me work.
"Look 'ee there at that rotten old carcass your dog just drug up, Tom," said Grandpa.
"I had to walk over here to make sure that thing there didn't cause Harry and his hand too many headaches," said the old man with a spit and a nod at Grandpa.
"Grandpa just told me about you a-rolling down a hill in a log when you were a kid," I said.
"I was just ahead o' my time is all."
"How's that?"
"Well back before the first automobile, I had to come up with some way o' going for a spin. 'Course, your uncle Albert 'as done one better 'n that."
"So what did he do?"  
"Well," he said, "he and his older brother were down in the bottom early March, and they came across this crow's nest, 'way up in the crown of a yellow poplar. Well Albert's older brother, a-being full of piss an' vinegar, decided for to shinny up to it. He worked and scuffled and strained, and after so long a time, he peeped over the edge of the nest and hollered that theah was a mess o' young ones.
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"Well by then, your uncle Albert was on his way up, too. He come up just below his brother and said, 'Let me see.' So his brother got hold of a fist full of young crow, all belly and pin feathers and held it out, as far as he could manage. Albert craned his head 'way back with his mouth open like this, in time for the crow to kerdobble right square into his mouth. Well he let go right now and dropped clean to the ground.images (2)
"Now you might 'ave allowed that I was ahead o' my time, but Albert flew neigh thirty year before the Wright Brothers ever got off the ground."

Tom Phipps

Friday, April 4, 2014

Guest Post: A Forest Path, a Living Throne and a Magic Fairy Stone

A Forest Path, a Living Throne and a Magic Fairy Stone
by Susan Waterwyk
 March 30 2014 032
Our little acre in the Sierra Nevada is called Dragonwood for the twisted serpentine manzanita trees that live in the shadows of towering ponderosa pines and other evergreens. From my bedroom window I can see a path into the forest...a magic path.
The magic begins each morning when I open up the drapes. The morning sun sends glory-rays that penetrate the shadows and light the path to tempt me to walk into woods. Every path into the forest is a path to magic, for every forest is a kingdom of shadows, cool, silent, sheltering life.
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The deer that visit me each day are the ones that made the path. Soon the mother doe will be followed by the spotted fawns, and every Spring, one or two mothers will find shelter in my woods and birth their babies here. To see a newborn fawn take its first steps in life is magic indeed.
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Walking down the shaded path, I soon reach my little brook, dry now and waiting for the rain to return so it can flow again. Across a two-plank redwood bridge and up the other bank is a magic place —the Throne of the Goddess.
I named the twisted manzanita, the Throne of the Goddess, because the first time I sat on it, seventeen years ago, I felt like a goddess watching all the life around me, the butterflies and bees visiting the tiny pink bell-shaped flowers of the manzanita, and listening to the ever-present bluejays and the tap-tap-tap of the woodpecker.
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I told Hubby I wanted stones steps leading up to the throne with white crystal quartz on either side of the stairs. I had planned to sit here often and think divine thoughts and create beauty in the Universe. That’s what a goddess does, right?
“Stone steps, lined with quartz, I can do that,” he said. “Is there anything else Your Divinity requests?”
“Yes, I want a pool to reflect the moon so I can invite the fairies to dance.”
“A small pond, I can do that,” he nodded thoughtfully, “but it’ll only be seasonal with the rains....”
“And I want a mighty waterfall to plunge into the moonlit pool.”
“A mighty waterfall?” his voice full of doubt.
“Yes... at least eight hundred and fifty millimeters high.”
He did the math. “Okay, I can do that.”
That was seventeen years ago. Working on the weekends, a little at a time, everything came to pass. We even placed standing-stones next to the throne and a small stone bench next to the pond. When my granddaughters were born, I held them in my arms while I sat on the throne and told them a fairy tale or two When they grew older they sat on the throne and created their own stories of princesses, castles, dragons and fairies.
blog pic, Waterwyk
The years pass quickly.... Time took its toll on me. These old bones don’t walk the path as often as before. It takes more effort to climb the steps and sit upon the throne, but I feel blessed to have experienced so many magic moments here at Dragonwood.
I've sat beside the little pond at night and seen falling stars reflected in the water. I've listened to the soul-soothing music of my little waterfall.  Magic mushrooms and fairy rings have appeared over the years. Last Easter, the fairies gave me mushrooms shaped like little brown cups. My husband said maybe they were offering cups of love and hope. We needed it then, and we need it even more now. This may be our last Spring at Dragonwood.
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The full moon just before the Spring Equinox was perfect for the fairies to come visit. We decided to walk the path and look for mushroom fairy rings and to take some pictures for this blog.  Alas, not one mushroom was found.
“When it was wet it was too cold. Now it’s warm but too dry,” he said.
“I’m still wishing for a fairy ring.  This time we’ll take some pictures.”
“If we get more rain... if the fairies show up... if they decide to give you a fairy ring and not something else like the cups last year.”
“Don’t be so pessimistic! They always show up.”
“Maybe they've already been here.” He pointed to the ground near the standing stones.
“A lichen covered rock, pretty.”
“Not the big one! The smaller one.” He picked it up and gave it to me.
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It looked like it had been hand painted with lichen!! I promise with all my heart that we did nothing to enhance the features. We picked up the stone and just took the picture. The smiling face was a gift of love. Then, in the lower center, I noticed an image that looks like a side view of a butterfly. I told Hubby that is the gift of hope! He said the image on the lower left looked like a symbol for our home, a tree on a hill with distant snowy mountains above it.
“Maybe the fairies are telling us to not give up yet. Maybe we will be able to keep Dragonwood,” he said.
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“Where there is love, there is always hope.”
Blessings of life,
Susan Waterwyk
P.S. My magic path into the woods inspired me to paint pictures, write poems, and eventually led to writing books. Here is my favorite poem and painting.
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 Twilight Magic
 Along a winding shaded path
As twilight deepens into night
The trees begin their evening song
And from the branches fairies come
To guide me with their glowing light.
Now strolling down this magic path,
Where flowers only bloom at night,
I watch the fairies tender care
Of blossoms in the pale moonlight.
A flicker here…a glimmer there
Of wings a-flutter on the air.
From hollow trunk and mushroom top,
The fairy folk observe my walk,
And as I pass beyond the wood
Into a glade, I hear
The music of the pipes and flute
Come drifting to my ears....

The multi-talented Susan is also the author or two wonderful fantasy/sci-fi books, Lantamyra and A Tale of Two Worlds. She is currently writing the third and final book of this magical trilogy.
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Blurb for Lantamyra
For the chance to journey to another world, Tylya Lansing is willing to give up everything on Earth, including her lover, Josh Hamilton. All she has to do is find her grandmother’s crystal scepter, lost for decades in a rugged Sierra Nevada canyon. Since she was a child, she has heard stories of Lantamyra, a world where magic is created with myra crystals, where mind expansion is granted crystal powers, where keepers and wards respect and protect life. Once the scepter is found, she journeys to this earth-like world that is recovering from an ice age. Areas of the planet have been terra-formed by the mysterious Keepers of Akosh to provide sanctuary for the endangered species of two other worlds—humans from Earth and dragons from Lanluong. She learns that Earth is about to experience catastrophic changes from earthquakes and volcanic eruptions, and Lantamyra may provide the only hope for humankind to survive. Tylya is determined to learn the ancient Akoshic Secrets of the Ways, a mind-expanding process necessary to control the power of myra crystals and to become a keeper of dragons.
Excerpt from Chapter Five: Annoyed that her warning was shrugged off so easily, the queen brought her head close to Tylya. “You will pay for your training with your labor, but you will pay a higher price to become a keeper. It will change you in ways you cannot imagine…”
Lantamyra is an intriguing story with plenty of drama, humor and memorable characters and exciting scenes. Written for mature adults more than young adults, Lantamyra is not formula fantasy, no stereotypical evil villains.
Excerpt from Chapter Eight—Nightkeeper Kyra Starszyn: “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 in the character you wish to play.”
My Review for Lantamyra
Fall in Love with Lantamyra; I Did

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 star-ships 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 star-ships 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.



A Tale of Two Worlds, Amazon Imae
“The Earth, once asleep, has awakened, from deep in her belly come cries; her mountains and valleys are shaken and seas rise up to the skies.”
The ancient Keepers of Akosh can do nothing to prevent the catastrophes. They have known since the sinking of Atlantis that the living world of Earth would awaken. Volcanic eruptions, earthquakes and tsunamis threaten the people of the Earth so the Keepers spent thousands of years terraforming the primitive world of Lantamyra to serve as a sanctuary for the refugees from Earth. Now the Gathering begins.
The dragons that rule the three Great Houses of Lantamyra need the giant myra crystals from Atlantis to strengthen the large array in the House of Gaia Jade to be able to return to their homeworld, Lanluong. The Keepers of Akosh authorize a mission to Earth to locate and retrieve the crystals before the earthquakes bury them deeper in the abysmal depths of the Atlantic Ocean.
Recently arrived from Earth, Tylya Lansing has been trained in the Secrets of the Ways and knows how to use the powerful myra crystals. She is now a keeper of dragons in the House of Gaia Jade, and her first-hand knowledge of modern Earth makes her the best candidate to command the mission to find and retrieve the lost crystals of Atlantis.
Tylya’s lover, Josh Hamilton is also from Earth and trained in the Ways but chose not to serve the dragons. He is a crystalseeker working in the mine at Queen’s Heart located near an active volcano. The job is extremely dangerous since long exposure to myra crystals causes crystal sickness, and worst of all, ghosts of seekers are hungry for living energy and they wait in the myra crystals to feed on him.
My Review of A Tale Of Two Worlds
I was enthralled from the very opening paragraph of a Tale of Two Worlds by Susan Waterwyk. This author artfully weaves together just the right balance of descriptive prose and dialogue. She creates a world so vivid and tangible the reader soon feels like a participant in the tale, rather than a mere observer.
A Tale of Two Worlds is the second book of Waterwyk’s planned trilogy about the fantastic world of Lantamyra where dragons rule fairly and justly over the humans that share that world with them. But, Lantamyra’s history is tied to two other “living worlds”, the dragon homeworld, Lanluong, and the human’s homeworld, Earth.
Long ago when the Keepers of Akosh learned to travel between the stars in their fantastic spaceships powered by giant myra crystals, they searched far and wide for other “living worlds” like their own.  In time they found a number of these “living worlds” and used their great myra crystals to open portals to travel between them. Unwittingly, the keepers upset the balance of the dragon homeworld causing great upheavals which threatened the very existence of the dragons by the constant use of the portals.
As soon as the Keepers of Akosh realized what they had done they set about rescuing as many of the dragons as they could, relocating them to the safety of Lantamyra where the dragons ruled and lived in peace with the Keepers of Akosh and humans who had come there from Earth to serve dragonkind.
But the dragons longed for the day they might return to their own world of Lanluong and the Keepers felt honor bound to fulfill the dragon’s wish as soon as it was feasible. First however, they had to recover some of the giant myra crystals from the ancient site of Atlantis where the crystals had been submerged under the sea since the isle’s untimely demise.
Once the myra crystals were recovered there was one problem. There would be repercussions for using the crystals on such a massive scale again, only this time it would be planet Earth that would undergo horrendous upheavals that could entirely wipe out the human population. So the Keepers of Akosh had trained a number of chosen humans to aid in the “gathering” of a select number of the human race in order to prevent their extinction from the coming disaster and transport them to Lantamyra where they would be safe. In A Tale of Two Worlds this destined time is at hand.
A Tale of Two Worlds is a highly imaginative and enchanting tale surely destined to become a classic that the reader will remember long after the final page. It is time for “the gathering”. Read A Tale of Two Worlds and hope you won’t be left behind.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Fletcher Fawkes Told Me it Was My Turn


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Gary Harrison stumbled into quite a gold mine for old fiddle tunes in its twilight, a weekly hqdefaultgathering of old musicians and people who came to listen, in a one room school house in a little place called Bible Grove (once known as Georgetown). There was always quite a crowd, though they were nearly all elderly. We drove down there quite often and learnt quite a few tunes.
One evening we found the place more packed than usual, with folks milling about, having pie whilst waiting for the musicians to get settled in their circle of chairs with their 5492092_3530UDPNTinstruments. Since I grew up on a dairy farm with fresh skimmed milk in my tea, I passed by their smelly fat homogenized stuff and got a Styrofoam cup of black coffee and sat down with it next to Fletcher Fawkes, an old bald headed fiddler known to everyone as Guy. Guy gave me a nod from behind his crooked spectacles as he shifted a fresh chaw of tobacco around in his mouth, 450866spitting into a Styrofoam cup of his own. As usual, he had his fiddle all wired up with electrical tape to a dinky little speaker which always made his instrument sound shrill. He would have been much better off without it, but I always allowed that it made him feel up to date.
PhotoheadingOTThe music began with a flourish of microphone feedback as Bud Ingerham with his flattop and brilliant red bow tie played a boisterous Dixieland rendition of Wabash Cannonball on his tenor banjo as the rest of us $T2eC16J,!)EE9s2ufWcHBQ)NtMgitg~~60_35followed along the best we could. The next tune, Natchez Under the Hill (Turkey in the Straw) was led on the fiddle by old Benny Sutton who sat in the chair to Bud's left.
On it went chair by chair, until it got around to Guy. He bashfully beamed, spit in his cup and shifted about on his seat as he thumbed his strings and raised his fiddle to his collar bone. He began playing Town Hall Jig. I would be next.
3healthrisksI picked up my coffee from the floor beside me. "Funny it's gone cold, just like that," I thought as I took a swig. "Better drink 'er down quick."
Suddenly, I could see how it all was. "Holy rollercoaster in a cup! God forbid!" I thought as I spied my hot cup of coffee on the other side of my chair whilst vomitous waves played up and down my throat. "Mercy, mercy! You putrid old grasshopper! You ghastly foul old fart!" I thought as I considered the gustatory nuances of his sputum, his overpowering bouquet of fetid, sugary rot clinging to my lips. "Oh how could I already have it swallowed...!"
Guy gave me a gentle poke. "Look alive Tom," he said innocently enough. "It's your turn."
large_EarlScruggs-453As a rush of prickles came up my spine, I raised my banjo in my cold sweaty hands and played an urgently feeble version of Silver Bell.
Tom Phipps