Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Feature: HOMESPUN, from the upcoming Tabor Heights short story anthology

How, you may ask, can you get hold of this anthology?

Especially since it'll be FREE?

Come to the Mt. Zion Ridge Facebook party on CYBER MONDAY and find out.

CLICK HERE to go to the page and mark that you'll be attending.

First story in the anthology is HOMESPUN

This is the story behind the story, telling how Joel and Emily Randolph met and fell in love and came up with the idea of Homespun Theater, the community theater in Tabor Heights.

Excerpt:

A little body with an amazing mop of black curls squatted in the pool of light from the Green Room door, playing with one of the wooden tops that Gregori liked to carve during performances while waiting for his lighting cues. She looked up as Joel approached and opened her mouth as if she would say something, then shook her head. She stood up and held out her hand.

Bemused, Joel bent over. He had learned a long time ago that no matter how small the children, they hated when adults went down on one knee and emphasized how short they were. He shook her hand.

"Hello. I'm Joel. What's your name?"

"I'm Max."

"Max?" He grinned, sure he had heard her wrong.

"Max? What are you doing out here?" A little woman with pure white curls and a neon orange jogging suit paused in the doorway, leaning on her glossy black cane. "Honey, remember what Mommy told you? Don't go running around strange places." She took hold of Max's hand to lead her back into the Green Room. "I'm sorry. We just got here, and she's been riding for six hours and... well, you know children. If they can't run around once every hour..." Her smile was full of mischief and life, and Joel found himself grinning back at her.

"But it's not a strange place," Max said, all seriousness. "It's a theater. I know all about theaters."

"You do, huh?" Joel gestured for them to precede him into the Green Room. "How's that?"

Sunday, November 11, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: TEAROOM FOR TWO, Susan Page Davis

Book 1 of the Tearoom Mysteries published by Guideposts.

One of the fun parts of going to a writing conference is learning about the projects of other writers, or publishers. At the ACFW conference this past September in Nashville, I was lucky enough to meet up with a Guideposts editor and she gave me this book.

Fun! I'm handing this one to my mother, and I'm sure this is one of those series we're both going to be racing each other to read the next installment. Guideposts' books are part of a club, but I think -- don't quote me on this -- individual books, especially older series, can be bought individually. I sure hope so!

Jan and Elaine are cousins, widows, who decide to combine their resources and their love of tea and open a tearoom in Maine, where they were children together. In the course of picking up bits and pieces for their tearoom, such as decorations and mismatched teapots and tea cups, they stumble into a mystery that turns downright thrilling, and even dangerous at times.

Don't worry -- this isn't Cabot Cove, where anyone and everyone runs the risk of being either the murderer or murdered.

The first mystery deals with an ugly old teapot the cousins pick up for practically nothing at a flea market. Their first clue that something is up is when the dealer tries to buy it back. Then other people get downright rude, invasive, and dishonest, trying to get their hands on it. As the mystery deepens and the stakes rise, Jan and Elaine prove they're smart and tough, even when it could be dangerous to refuse to back down, or do the right thing.

The perfect way to spend a chilly, wet fall afternoon. I was almost glad to have a miserable cold and an excuse to just sit and read for a couple hours straight. Brew a pot of your favorite tea and dive in.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

Feature: SHATTER SCATTER

Fantasy from Mundania Press:

Sequel to WOLVES ON THE WEST SIDE

Be careful what you wish for!
Aggie, Brody and Lara learn the hard way that tampering with magic and investigating without the guidance of their mysterious guardian, Anton Dorayn, leads to big problems. All they meant to do was test a few theories, but a supposedly harmless picnic in the park stirs up magic and opens a doorway into another world. Is it the home the three barely remember?

Between finding Werelings who claim to be relatives, a waterlogged ghost searching for her true love, magic that doesn't follow the supposed rules and wizards who suddenly want to kill Lara, it's not a day in the park by any stretch of the imagination. All they know is that they have to protect the friends who fell through into the mirror world with them and unlock the secret of the magical disaster that hit them ten years ago, before unraveling magic destroys the land, and possibly the world.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Feature: WOLVES ON THE WEST SIDE

Fantasy from Mundania Press:

A freak storm dumped two battered children into a river in the Cleveland Metroparks. No clue to their identity or why anyone tried to kill them. Yet that mystery was nothing compared to the secrets the girls protected.

Lara could work minor magic, though she didn't know how she did it. Aggie could turn into a wolf. They knew they came from another world, but didn't know how or why, where that world was, or how to get home.

Their only chance to find answers was to stay together, follow the stray bits of magic that they sensed around them, and find Aggie's twin brother.

But first, they had to survive high school.

Sunday, October 28, 2018

Off the Bookshelf: DRAGONS AT CRUMBLING CASTLE, by Terry Pratchett

This is another collection of the late Sir Terry Pratchett's early writings.

What's really fun is seeing all the drawings that he seems to have done to illustrate his stories. These are little more than scribbles, pen or pencil scratchings, not great artwork by any means, but quite enjoyable, giving some added depth to the characters and setting, a clue to his feelings about the fantastical worlds he created when he was just starting out, and another side to the author's personality and talents.

Lots of fun, reading the sly digs at local customs and rivalries and just inspired silliness. I especially enjoyed reading the stories about the Carpet People -- which I discovered at the end of the book were the launching point for an entire book. One of these days, when I get my reading list down a few more feet, I intend to buy the Carpet People book, which launched Pratchett's writing career, complete with his original illustrations.

For writers in general, and for fantasy and humor writers in particular -- especially those who adore Discworld and mourn the loss of the creator -- this is sure to be a fascinating look back at the beginning of things. And encouragement for those of us who are still waiting for that big break to launch us high enough to be discovered.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Feature: THE WOLF THAT WAS

Fantasy from Mundania Press:

Sequel to BITTER SWEET

Tirian grew up knowing she would inherit her mother's duties as village wise woman, but without inheriting her mother's magical gifts. It didn't help that her mother insisted Tirian herself was magic. When an enemy wizard killed her mother, she despaired of ever finding an answer to that puzzle.

Then she met Bran, a man cursed by that same wizard: a wolf by day and a man only by light of the waning moon. Forced to choose between her new friend and the villagers who would never truly love her, Tirian decided it was time to seek answers for them both. Their journey took them to Stonemount, where King Fallon feared his new queen conspired to steal his throne, and a lonely child waited to grow into the most powerful enchanter in the world.

Their search united them, but their answers could tear them apart forever. Could a wolf that was a man at heart, and the maiden with a wolf in her soul ever find a world that would let them simply be, much less be together?