Saturday, September 30, 2017

Reveal Blast The King’s Ransom - Young Knights of the Round Table


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The King’s Ransom, book 1 of Young Knights of the Round Table


12Three Friends. Three Quests. Three Mysterious Predictions

In medieval Wales, eleven-year-old Prince Gavin, thirteen-year-old orphan Philip, and fifteen-year-old blacksmith's apprentice Bryan are brought together in friendship by one they call the Wild Man. When an advisor to the king is killed and a jewelled medallion is stolen from the king's treasury, the Wild Man is accused of the theft and murder. Filled with disbelief at the arrest of the Wild Man, the three friends embark upon a knight's quest to save their friend's life. To succeed, the three must confront their fears and insecurities, and one of them will have to disclose the biggest secret of all.








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Prince Gavin


Gavin’s gaze was drawn back to the castle’s battle-scarred walls and the heavily armed guards. The evil emanating from the structure surrounded and held him captive, like a lone deer surrounded by hungry wolves in the dead of winter, unable to move, its eyes glassy with fear, its limbs frozen by the hypnotic gleam of the wolves’ yellow eyes. Even knowing its life was ending, the deer wouldn’t break and run. So Gavin sat frozen in front of the castle.

The enormity of his quest enveloped Gavin and he sighed. Continuing on meant he might save the Wild Man, but he might put himself in danger as well. King Edward was his father’s enemy and possibly responsible for Aldred’s murder. If Gavin were caught, Edward wouldn’t treat him kindly. The young prince summoned his courage and focused on the Wild Man. It had seemed so simple last night in the company of Bryan and Philip.


Bryan


The air inside the blacksmith shop lay dense and heavy, making it difficult to breathe for any who ventured inside. The fire from the forge still burned red hot, even though the bellows hadn’t fanned the embers in some time. Sixteen-year-old Bryan submersed the newly formed sword into a cold bucket of water. Steam enveloped him, adding to the sweat already streaming down his face. With his free arm, he wiped his forehead and pushed back his soaked red hair.

The blacksmith, James, watched intently as Bryan Balyard lifted the sword out of the water, its blade cooler but still hot to the touch. Holding the sword in front of him, Bryan sighted down the blade’s edge as he’d been taught. Straight and flat, just as it should be. He made a few short cuts to check its balance. It responded well to his moves. Bryan handed the sword to James for approval. After checking its weight and doing a closer inspection of the craftsmanship, James nodded.

“You’re getting better. This weapon is good enough for a knight of the Round Table.”

Bryan beamed, his eyes reddened and watering from the smoke.

“I haven’t an order from any of Arthur’s knights, so make this your own.”

Bryan’s lower jaw dropped.

“Mine?” he forced out.


Philip

The late afternoon sun still held the day’s heat. Philip set the ax down and wiped his brow before getting a drink of water. Looking at the stack of chopped wood, he smiled sadly. Two years ago he would never have dreamed he’d be here, chopping wood for food and a dry place to sleep. He shook his head at his thoughts, his shaggy, ill-cut black hair falling unevenly across his forehead. Two years. It seemed like forever.

Two years earlier, he had lived with his parents and baby brother on their small farm up north. His parents worked hard to put food on the table and to pay off the farm. Philip’s main job was to watch baby Benjamin while his mother helped his father in their small field. When Benjamin fell sick, Philip helped his father clear the old stalks and rocks from the soil while his mother nursed the baby. He helped his father carefully plant the winter wheat and barley for harvest in the spring.

As autumn slipped into winter, Benjamin hadn’t gotten better. His tiny body burned with fever. Those last few days when Philip held him, the heat coming from Benjamin threatened to slowly engulf him like the embers of a dying fire.

Then one day, the heat drained from Benjamin’s body, and cold took its place. Philip didn’t understand at first why his mother and father cried. For days they’d waited for the fever to leave, and finally it had. Then he noticed the stillness of Benjamin’s body. His small chest didn’t rise and fall; he wasn’t breathing. Along with the heat, life had also left the tiny body.

Q_6








Book Sound Track for Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend, book 2 and The King’s Ransom, book 1 of Young Knights of the Round Table.


Stand By Me by Ben E. King

Fight Song by Rachel Platten

I’ll Be There For You by The Rembrands

B.B.B.F.F. (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic)

Float On by Modest Mouse

Learning to Fly (Brave) by Tom Petty

Learn Me Right (Brave) by Mumford & Sons, Feat Birdy

Touch The Sky (Brave) by Julie Fowlis





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AUTHOR BIO

Original_Author_PhotoI am a retired high school English teacher. A devourer of books growing up, my profession introduced me to writings and authors from times long past. Through my studies and teaching, I fell in love with the Ancient and Medieval Worlds. Now, I hope to inspire young readers and those Young-at-Heart to read more through my Tales & Legends for Reluctant Readers set in these worlds.













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Thursday, September 28, 2017

Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend


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Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend, Book 2


“Think before acting,” her father always warned. But Princess Guinevere is ruled by her heart. Her betrothal to King Arthur has not changed this. When Guinevere and Cedwyn’s latest adventure takes a dangerous turn, they find themselves embroiled in a life-or-death struggle as foretold by Merlyn’s Goddess of the Stones. Renegades—foiled in their attempt to kidnap the princess—steal the children of Cadbury Castle to sell as slaves. Guinevere and Cedwyn vow to rescue the children, but a miscalculation puts them all in more danger. The plan quickly unravels, and Guinevere’s impassioned decisions come crashing down as Cedwyn chooses to turn his dream of becoming a knight into reality. Will their courage be strong enough to survive, or will one make the ultimate sacrifice?





Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend snippets


1. The Goddess Speaks:

Many trials await the two of you. Perhaps the hardest are the ones you will have to endure alone.

“You, Guinevere, will find yourself lost. You—who are destined to be a great queen—will have to traverse a journey of immense pain and self-doubt. You must let your inner feelings guide you. The journey will be hard and painful. You must summon the courage of your soul to sustain you.

“You, Cedwyn, faithful friend of the princess and the queen. Your journey may be the hardest of all. You will be sent far from those you serve and love. Your duty will demand that you see this most difficult journey to its end. Whether it be death or life for you will depend upon many things. Your courage must also come from deep within your soul for one so young. Your love of family and friends must be great. But greater still must be your loyalty to the knight’s duty. For your knight’s vow comes soon. You must embrace it. You must defeat the temptations to turn aside for your own safety.

2. Great Sadness and Danger:

With saddened and heavy hearts, they left the gruesome glen behind and rode for the castle.

Samuel followed Guinevere, having chosen to ride beside Aaron. His tears dried, but the anguish not buried with his family. The grief was clearly evident in his hunched body, the anger in his clenched fists on the pony’s reins. Cedwyn worried about the boy’s state of mind.

Guinevere now led the trio, concern for the safety of the castle and the people there were marked by the hard set of her chin. Worry etched lines in her wrinkled brow and deepened her hollowed eyes.

Cedwyn brought up the rear. His eyes noted every movement. Ears tuned to the echoes of the forest, head swiveling at each movement and sound. Fear had taken permanent hold over his body—a feeling he was certain should have been as foreign to him as it would have been to Arthur’s knights. Cold fear tightened its grip on his heart and throat. Those who would kill the gentle monks would stop at nothing. Now the little group rode in the dark, a time when all earthly creatures took on the pallor of ghosts, and hidden danger lurked all around them.

3. Fathers and Daughters:

His finger on her lips stopped her rebuttal.

“Not now. Other issues demand the attention of the knights and kings.”…
“But Father…I promised.”
“So you did, daughter mine, but kings must rule with their heads not their hearts. This discussion is over. You are dismissed to go to your room. I have a knight there who will make sure your rest tonight isn’t disturbed.”
Her legs refused to move. She opened her mouth, but no words came.
“Go. Now Guinevere. Before I forget you’re my own flesh and have you flogged for the dangers you’ve brought upon us. Go!”
Guinevere ran from the room, fists clenched, tears streaming down her face.

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Book Sound Track for Guinevere: At the Dawn of Legend, book 2 and The King’s Ransom, book 1 of Young Knights of the Round Table.


Stand By Me by Ben E. King

Fight Song by Rachel Platten

I’ll Be There For You by The Rembrands

B.B.B.F.F. (My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic)

Float On by Modest Mouse

Learning to Fly (Brave) by Tom Petty

Learn Me Right (Brave) by Mumford & Sons, Feat Birdy

Touch The Sky (Brave) by Julie Fowlis




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AUTHOR BIO

Original_Author_PhotoI am a retired high school English teacher. A devourer of books growing up, my profession introduced me to writings and authors from times long past. Through my studies and teaching, I fell in love with the Ancient and Medieval Worlds. Now, I hope to inspire young readers and those Young-at-Heart to read more through my Tales & Legends for Reluctant Readers set in these worlds.





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Monday, September 25, 2017

Reveal Blast - Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend

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Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend, Book 1


At the dawn of Camelot, one young girl is about to take her place beside the greatest king in England’s history…. She is a mere child of twelve. But in these medieval days, this is the age when childish things must be put away and greater responsibilities accepted—all in preparation for a betrothal of marriage. For young Lady Guinevere, on the advent of her thirteenth Birth Day, the whole idea is quite unbearable. After all, what could be better than spending her youth playing with her best friend Cedwyn, roaming the grounds around the castle looking for mythical creatures or hunting rabbits? However, the wizard Merlyn—her teacher and friend—knows that destiny has a way of catching up with a person. His arrival sets in motion a series of events that will lead Guinevere to her destiny whether she is ready for it or not.



The Legend Within
by Cheryl Carpinello
Arthurian stories are steeped in legend. While perceived as fiction, legends often contain elements of factual happenings. It is left up to readers to decide if they believe or not.
In the Arthurian tales I write, I always add one or two of my own legends. Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend contains one of my favorites: The Legend of the Red Deer and the Unicorn. I’ve recited this story at readings and at Medieval Festivals where I have been the storyteller. Here it is:


The Legend of the Red Deer and the Unicorn

A long, long time ago when the forests were young, the unicorns roamed the land of what is now called England. They numbered in the thousands. One day a red deer washed up on a sandy shore during a violent storm. Not knowing the land, the red deer soon became lost, unable to find fresh water and enough grasses to eat. The unicorns found the deer near death from thirst and starvation. These kind creatures nudged and pushed the deer to fresh water and later showed it the best grazing grounds and the safest places in the forest to bed down.

Before long the unicorns adopted the deer, which, in turn, promised that all future generations of red deer would protect the unicorns. A few years later, another red deer washed up on the shore, was discovered and saved by the red deer and the unicorns. The two deer later mated and left the unicorn herds.

Hundreds of years passed and in those years, the red deer herds grew in number until there wasn’t a forest without the deer across the land. Sadly, the same could not be said for the unicorns. As men populated the island, a myth arose about the unicorn. It was believed that a unicorn’s horn held strong magic for man, and some even thought it could cure all of men’s ills. To that end, unicorns were hunted ruthlessly for the magical horn, their bodies left to rot once the horn was harvested.

The numbers of unicorns across the land dwindled to just a handful when the unicorns and the red deer met once more. The unicorns asked if the red deer remembered when the unicorns had saved them. The red deer remembered because the memories of the first red deer were passed on to each new deer. Filled with dismay at how few unicorns remained, the red deer kept their promise to protect the unicorns.

Today if you are lucky enough to come across a herd of red deer in England, you must be very quiet and patient. If you wait long enough and look hard enough, between the legs of the red deer, you may catch a glimpse of white. At the middle of each herd, the unicorns thrive and play.

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Guinevere: On the Eve of Legend, book 1


Excerpt

Hard to believe that last night she had been so happy. Now, her world had fallen apart. It’s not that I don’t expect to get married. I know I must. But not now, not so soon. And to spring it on her and not give her the opportunity to participate in the decision stung like the bee that had bitten her last summer. Suddenly, the magic of the unicorn seemed so far away. Her eyes started to water. She blinked and tried to wipe the tears away before Cedwyn saw them, but she couldn’t.

“What’s the matter? Why are you crying again? Is it because of that decision your father made?”

Guinevere nodded in reply.

“What do you have to do? Is that what the king and Merlyn were talkin’ about last night in the hall after everyone left?”

“It must be,” she said, wondering if Merlyn had known even in the forest. “When did you see them?”

“I sneaked back into the hall after everyone had gone to bed to see if there was any more circlette left. I saw them with their heads together, but they didn’t see me. They were discussin’ some secret.”

Shaking her head, Guinevere said, “That’s why Father waited for Merlyn before he said anything to me. They came up with this idea between themselves.” She felt so betrayed.

“So, what is it that you have to do? Why have we run away from home?”
“My Father the King and apparently Merlyn have decided that I am to marry King Arthur in two years and become his Queen. I’ll have to leave the castle, my home, you, and everything I’ve grown up with,” she added, not realizing that Cedwyn was staring at her with his mouth wide open.
“He even promised Grandfather’s round table to King Arthur. All without asking!” She finished, sure that she had stated her point clearly. Her eyes strayed to the hand that Arthur had kissed. Quickly she averted them.
“Are you sure they said King Arthur?” Cedwyn asked, his amazement showing in his voice.
“Oh yes! I’m sure.”
“That’s fantastic! He’s gonna be a great king! He’s gonna bring all of England together. I heard some of the knights talking about him last night. They said that he is the bravest and best warrior they have ever seen. And the smartest!” He looked at Guinevere and shook his head. “And you are gonna be his Queen!” Disbelief washed over him. “I wish someone would make a decision like that for me!”
“Really? Then you can marry King Arthur!” she said, standing up and stamping her foot.

Then she turned and stomped up the rise.



AUTHOR BIO

Original_Author_PhotoI am a retired high school English teacher. A devourer of books growing up, my profession introduced me to writings and authors from times long past. Through my studies and teaching, I fell in love with the Ancient and Medieval Worlds. Now, I hope to inspire young readers and those Young-at-Heart to read more through my Tales & Legends for Reluctant Readers set in these worlds.





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Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Naomi By Mya O'Malley








EXCERPT 1-
Naomi


She sensed it before she heard the news. She could feel it deep in her bones. All night long she had tossed and turned, unable to find sleep.

Nick.

“No,” Naomi wailed into her pillow, pounding her fists.

No.  But, of course, she knew it was true. After all, she had a sixth sense about things such as this.  Damn, Nick. Why? How?

It had been several months since she had taken in his disheveled form, those cowardly eyes scanning her face, pleading for forgiveness from the other side of the depressing, stained, plastic divider at the county jail.  
Forgiveness that was difficult to give, although she had been working on it.  Too late, Nick. It’s way too late for you now. Part of Naomi’s heart ached for Nick’s troubled soul. For the troubled child he had once been.
Another part turned cold as she conjured up his face in her mind. As she had woken from a fitful night’s sleep, the image of Nick crying out, lost in the empty dark place where challenged souls lacked peace and closure, was too overwhelming to dismiss as a bad dream.
“Bryce.” Naomi spoke his name aloud, even though her fiancĂ© was most likely sound asleep at his house just up the dirt road.
She needed Bryce.
But Naomi knew Bryce would have to wait.  Right after her first cup of coffee, she would have to call Officer Marty to confirm the facts of what she already knew to be true.
How had it happened? Possibilities swirled through her mind. Endless scenarios came forth. It could be anything. Nick had been doing time for his part in the cover-up of Maggie Field’s death. Prisons could be dangerous, particularly for someone like Nick, a man who struggled to keep his emotions in check and often had difficulty conforming to the rules.
One with a dark, menacing presence.
One with attitude.
Memories of the not so distant past slammed Naomi. Images of Ryan and Maggie . . .
Maggie.
The ghost that had all but consumed her. Maggie had reached out to Naomi, demanding peace. Naomi admitted to herself that she had become obsessed at that time in her life. Preoccupied with putting both Maggie and Ryan to rest. Luckily, Bryce was loyal and patient to the core during the first hectic months of their new relationship.
What would he say now, knowing that a spirit was back? Knowing that this time it wasn’t the sweet spirit of a girl named Maggie or a quirky, kindhearted man that needed her help?
This time it was worse, far worse.
This time the spirit was unsettled, tortured—and to make matters even more daunting . . .  
He was her ex-boyfriend.
Would Bryce be as understanding about Nick as he had been with Maggie and Ryan? Hopping up out of her bed to make her cup of coffee, Naomi figured she was about to find out.  

***
Moments after she hung up the phone with her friend, Officer Miriam Marty, Naomi reached for her coffee mug but then placed it back on the counter with a gentle thud.
Damn, Nick.
Miriam had confirmed Naomi’s worst suspicions and provided the bare facts surrounding Nick’s death.
He was, indeed, dead. But the strange thing about it was that it appeared to have been intentional on his part. It was too early to say, but Miriam suspected that traces of drugs would be found in his system.
An overdose? Could he have intentionally taken his own life? No, that didn’t sound right. Then again, how well did Naomi even know Nick anymore? For that matter, how well had she ever known him? Naomi supposed it was easy enough for an inmate to have the means to obtain drugs. And, let’s face it, prison life could be grueling.
No, no. Something didn’t feel right about this. Nick’s sentence was only to last just a few more weeks, why would he purposely harm himself? As Naomi tried to make sense of the news, she paced the floor. Zelda, her loyal feline companion, weaved in and out of her legs as Naomi stopped and grabbed her coffee mug from the table.
Sharp rapping on the door startled Naomi, causing her to spill her coffee on her blouse. “Shoot!”
Voicing her own displeasure at nearly being stepped on, Zelda screeched as she tore into the living room. Naomi snatched a napkin, wiping at her top as she made her way to the door.
“Are you ready?” Bryce raised an eyebrow as Naomi stepped to the side to allow him through the front door. He leaned over and placed a quick kiss on her forehead.
“Ready?”
“Ah, yes. Remember? We were going to grab a bite and then head over to the trail for a walk?”
Yes. That’s right. She and Bryce had plans this morning. With everything going on, she had clearly forgotten.
“I . . . I’m so sorry. Give me a minute to change my shirt. Sit, I’ll be right back.” She scurried up the stairs to her bedroom to change. This could be a good thing, the time alone with Bryce. His young daughter, Holly, was in school, and she could have Bryce’s full attention.
Dressed in a clean shirt, Naomi sprinted down the stairs and grabbed her sneakers. She attempted her best smile as she tied the laces. “Almost ready,” Naomi managed.
“What’s with you? Why are you out of breath?” Bryce cocked his head as he studied Naomi.
“Just excited to spend the morning with you,” she offered a bit too cheerily, glancing up at him as she felt nagging guilt rise in her throat. He wouldn’t be happy about the news regarding Nick, and that was putting it mildly. He simply couldn’t even begin to understand. He would tell her to leave it alone, not to get caught up in somebody else’s problems.
Naomi swallowed hard and gripped Bryce’s warm hand as they made their way to his truck. Once inside, Naomi glanced at her fiancĂ© and then gazed down at her lap.
“Bryce?” she whispered.
Concern etched his handsome face. “What is it? What’s wrong?” He reached for her hands.
“We need to talk.”

Soundtrack



Character Interview- POV of Bryce


DDB: It’s wonderful to get a chance to sit down and talk, Bryce. It seems you and Naomi have been at it again, getting wrapped up in the spirit world, that is. Tell me about it.

Bryce: Well, I think Naomi would all the credit there. She’s the one who attracts these lost souls.  It’s as if she’s a magnet for the paranormal. Seems like every time I think things will quiet down, another spirit turns to Naomi, seeking closure.

DDB: Is that a bad thing?
Bryce:  (laughs) Actually, I hate to admit it, but no. I think one of the very things that drew me to Naomi is her gentle, generous soul. I believe that’s why these lost souls gravitate toward her.  And, hey- life never gets boring, that’s for sure.

DDB: I can only imagine. Without giving away any of the story, I will say that you and Naomi have been through a lot in this book. I worry that all of the stress may cause problems with you and Naomi.

Bryce: Oh, Naomi’s had a rough time, but she’s such a strong person. I won’t lie when I say  our love will be tested. I don’t have the connections to ghosts like Naomi does, so I can’t imagine what she goes through while trying to help these souls, but I admire her dedication to these spirits. She certainly has a gift.

DDB: Yes, absolutely.  I do recall her determination, but I also remember the paranormal became all consuming for Naomi in the book, Maggie. That must be difficult to deal with.

Bryce: When Naomi sets her mind on something, she gives it her all. What could be more admirable? Sure, at times, it’s frustrating, but when you take a step back and consider the big picture, it’s all worthwhile. I wouldn’t have her any other way.

DDB: What a wonderful role model Naomi must be for your beautiful little girl, Holly.

Bryce: The best. Naomi selflessly considers the safety of both myself and Holly before worrying about herself.

DDB:  Why do you suppose these ghosts are connected to Naomi, I mean, I know she’s a kind soul herself, but have you ever considered there could be another reason?

Bryce: Every single day lately, but that’s for another time and another story.

DDB: Wait– are you saying there will be a third book in the Maggie series?

Bryce: Yes- it’s in the works now. This will be the last in the Maggie trilogy.  This one had really opened my mind to all of the possibilities of fate, destiny and the paranormal.

DDB: Sounds amazing. I can’t wait to read it.  Thank you, Bryce, it’s been wonderful talking with you.  I can’t wait to see what you and Naomi have in store for us next.  Is there a title to the upcoming book that you can share?

Bryce: Thanks, DDB. It’s been a pleasure talking with you as well. I suppose I could give you the title- the final book in the Maggie trilogy is titled Entangled Souls.

DDB:  Wow- that sound absolutely perfect for the series.

Bryce:  Oh, just wait.