Saturday, August 31, 2013

An American in London - Kurt Bold's journey

by Helena Fairfax
The Antique Love is the story of Kurt Bold, a man from Wyoming.  The day Kurt steps into an antique shop run by a young English girl, Penny Rosas, his life changes for ever.
I wanted to meet Kurt at the start of his journey, to find out what kind of guy he is.  So we arrange to meet one lunchtime....

helena fairfax, the antique love, antiques
The window of an antique shop in my village in the north of England
Scene:  An Edwardian pub in south west London, opposite an antique shop.
I've come to this pub today to meet Kurt Bold, the hero of my novel The Antique Love.  When a gentleman stands up in the window front, and beckons me over, he's everything I'd imagined *.  Tall, broad-shouldered, with the sun falling through the window onto his dark blonde head, Kurt seems every inch the rugged cowboy...apart from one thing.  He's holding a copy of The Financial Times.  A newspaper more suited to an accountant than a country cowboy.  Hmmm.  A mystery.

Kurt holds out a hand, and envelops mine in his, before helping me into my seat.  What a delightfully courteous man, I think.

"How are you, Kurt?" I ask, looking into his sun-creased features.  "Are you enjoying living in London?  It must be so different from your home in Wyoming."

"Sometimes I get a little homesick," he concedes.  "I miss the wide open spaces.  Guess I don't like to feel boxed in."

I glance around the crowded pub. Every female in the place, from the barmaid to the trendy office workers, has her eyes on Kurt, and is wiping away drool.  Kurt doesn't appear to notice.  He takes a sip of his bourbon.

I'm guessing Kurt is a man of action rather than words.  I take a sip of my ginger beer.  Silence falls.

"So," I say brightly.  "What do you think of the women in London?  Any romances in the air?"

Kurt's grey eyes darken like a stormy sky. "I'm not one for all that romance, and stuff," he says.

A chill descends, and I wonder if I've said something wrong.  I look away.   Something draws my eyes to the rain-soaked street outside.  A young girl is standing in the window of the antique shop across the way, arranging a display of porcelain dolls.  She's a pretty girl, but she looks a little tired.  She appears to have something troubling her.

I switch my gaze to Kurt.  "Have you ever been in Penny's Antique Shop?"  I ask him.  I indicate the shop opposite, and Kurt's expression brightens.

 "Looks a real interesting place," he says.

I give him a small smile.  "Why don't you finish your drink, and call in?  Take a look around.  You might just find something to interest you in there."

Kurt nods, looking at the girl in the window.  "Yeah," he agrees slowly.  "I might, at that."

He finishes his bourbon with one last swallow, and stands, holding out his hand.  "It's been real good talking to you, Ms Fairfax," he says.

I put my hand in his.  "Likewise," I say with a grin.  "Although I think I did all the talking."

Kurt looks a little sheepish.  We shake hands, and he makes his way through the crowded pub, back to the street.  I watch as he crosses over the road to the antique shop.  He pushes the door wide, stands on the doorstep for a couple of seconds, and then he's gone from my sight...
...and into the first page of The Antique Love!

* literally - since I invented him :) 

I hope you've enjoyed meeting Kurt.  If you'd like to find out more about The Antique Love, here is the blurb:

  One rainy day in London, Wyoming man Kurt Bold walks into an antique shop off the King's Road and straight into the dreams of its owner, Penny Rosas.  Lively, spirited and imaginative, Penny takes this handsome stranger for a romantic cowboy straight from the pages of a book.  Kurt certainly looks every inch the hero...but he soon brings Penny's dreams to earth with a thump.  Kurt's job is in the City, in the logical world of finance—and as far as Kurt is concerned, romance is just for dreamers.  Events in his childhood have shown him just how destructive love can be.  Now he’s looking for a wife, right enough, but what he wants is a marriage based on logic and rational decisions.  Kurt treats Penny like he would his kid sister, but when he hires her to help refurbish his beautiful Victorian house near Richmond Park, it’s not long before he starts to realise it’s not just his home she’s breathing life into.  The logical heart he has guarded so carefully all these years is opening up to new emotions, in a most disturbing way… 

The Antique Love is available as an ebook from the Muse Bookstore, from Amazon, and from all major e-tailers.
You can find Helena Fairfax on Facebook, Goodreads and on Twitter @helenafairfax.  If you've enjoyed this post, please call in at, where Helena shares more stories and photos.

And if you've enjoyed this post, or have any questions about Kurt and Penny, or Penny's Antique shop, please let us know in the comments.  We always like to hear from you!

Friday, August 30, 2013

A Little Magic?

King Brandan and King Joachim requested an interview. I’m not sure this is a good idea, but when a king summons it behooves one to listen.

King Brandan: Welcome to the Dragon’s Lair at Palace of the Twelve Pillars. I hope your trip wasn’t too stressful.

King Joachim: Yes, welcome. I am so happy you could join us today. We know you have a lot going on in your life, so your visit is much appreciated.

King Brandan: Now that you are here we have a few matters to discuss with you. First: Magic. What’s with all the magic rules? There is so much that can be accomplished with just a little spell.

Chris: Yes, but more can be accomplished when humans, Kningrad and Mantion partner with Asha. Use of magic is tied to emotions and too often it is used selfishly for power and subjugation of others. Feelings of hatred, anger, envy and other negative emotions can be manipulated to do evil. The rules are there to prevent that.

King Brandan: Well I disagree with your decisions as well as the rules. Ramajadin would be better off without the limitations.

King Joachim: Better off for whom? You maybe! I’m not so sure about the rest of us.

Chris: Look at the chaos use of magic has wrought. Your Father is dead because of it, your mother is missing, your family and countries devastated by war and illness. Is that really best?

King Brandan: Father’s death was unfortunate, but considering the position he took, defying Waldrom, it became necessary. Mother made her choice and if she disappeared because of it, this is no concern of mine. The countries: if they submit to my rule there will be no problems. I will rebuild them.

King Joachim: What of Asha?

King Brandan: Asha is of no consequence. I can do without Him and His preposterous cabal.

Chris: Brandan, when did you become so jaded?

King Brandan: A better question: why didn’t you make Joa more like me? I love my brother, but his outdated, rose-colored glasses ideals are in the way of my plans.

King Joachim: Brandan that’s enough harassing the dear author she was kind enough to create us and let us live, even with the grief we gave her in the second book, refusing to follow the outline she plotted. We owe her our gratitude not our disdain.

King Brandan: Why did we ask her to come if not to answer our questions? I have more to ask and she will answer to me.

King Joachim: Brandan I think that is enough for now. Can’t you see you have upset her with all your disagreeable statements?

Chris: Thank you, Sire, for you defense. Although King Brandan’s questions do not bother me, I do have some other characters that need attending too as well as edits on the end of your story. So if you don’t mind I will take my leave now.

King Joachim: Yes that’s fine. I am so glad you could stop by today. Thank you.

King Brandan: This is not finished yet, but I understand your time constraints, besides I have some Mantions to torture. You will hear from me again. Thank you and goodbye.

Chris: Thank you Sires. It has been an honor and a privilege to visit and work with you. I look forward to our continued endeavors.

The adventures of Kings Brandan and Joachim can be read in Palace of the Twelve Pillars released April 26, 2013 and continued in Palace of the Three Crosses to be released in September 2013 and Sanctuary of the Nine Dragons set to be released in February 2014.

Back Cover:

The Peace Summit was in shambles, the prince kidnapped.
When the rival king realizes he kidnapped the wrong prince, hostilities escalate. Loyalties to each other and country are tested for the twin princes of Crato, Joachim and Brandan.

Joachim, captive of King Waldrom, faces deception and betrayal as he struggles to find his way home. Brandan, at home with a father focused on rescuing Joachim, wrestles with his own demons as he searches for his place in the world and the favor of his father.

Torn from the safety and peace of their childhood, they are thrust into a world where bonds of family, brotherhood and roles as heirs to Crato are tested. Through war, spiritual journeys, death and marriage, will they choose the path of good or evil? Who can be trusted, as the world they know slips into a whirlpool of chaos?

Muse It Up Publishing Store ; Amazon ; Barnes and Nobles
Kobo Books Store

About Christina Weigand

Christina Weigand’s a writer, wife, and mother of three grown children and a middle school daughter. She is also Nana to three granddaughters. She lives with her husband and youngest daughter in Washington State after a lifetime in Pennsylvania. Currently, she’s working on fantasy novels and inspirational writing. Through her writing she strives to share the Word of God and help people young and old to realize the love and mercy He has for everyone.

When she’s not writing she’s active in her local Church as a lector, volunteering at her daughter’s school in the library as well as helping the children develop a love for reading and writing, Bible Study or with the church theater group. Jesus fills her home with love as she shares Him through her writing.  WEBSITE

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

JQ Rose interviewed by Pastor Christine Hobbs

Pastor Christine Hobbs Asks Why by J.Q. Rose


I looked forward to visiting with Pastor Christine Hobbs, my main character in the mystery, Coda to Murder. We hadn’t talked since the e-book was published last spring, and I wanted to catch up with her and answer questions she might have about the story.

“Hi Chris.” I hugged the slim young woman when we greeted each other in the church courtyard. The top of my head only came to the shoulder of this woman full of grace.

“It’s so good to see you, Janet. Here have a seat. I brought some cold root beers if you’d like one.” She motioned to the floral cushioned wicker chair and pulled out two cans of root beer from a small cooler and handed one to me. I eased into the chair, took off my sandals, and wiggled my toes into the thick carpet of cool grass. The shade of the maple tree was the perfect place to relax and enjoy being together again.

“I’m so curious as to why you decided to write a book about me.” She pointed her finger to her chest and grinned. “The congregation has really wondered too.” Her chuckle made me laugh partly at her self-deprecating joke and because I was a bit nervous. I was anxious about how she felt I portrayed her in the tale of murder and romance.

“I wanted to tell the story of a female pastor and especially one who is loved by her congregation for your teaching, preaching and nurturing.”

“I’m afraid that nurturing business gets me into a lot of trouble. Remember when I took home Mrs. Whitcomb’s cat just until I could find a home for her? Well, she’s a permanent fixture in the parsonage now. And how could I say no to taking care of Abraham the pig and Katy the kangaroo for that couple who were so desperately in need?” She shook her head. “I had to do a lot of research on the care and feeding of pigs and kangaroos.” She grimaced.

“See what I mean?” I laughed out loud at the look on her face.

“I also wanted to focus on your job as a woman in the leadership role in the church. There’s a lot of controversy over having a woman as a pastor and taking on the responsibility of the spiritual guidance of the parishioners. I think you’re a role model and courageous for choosing this career.”

“Hey, when God called, I tried to ignore the first nudge, but I had to answer the continual shouts! However, Janet, you make me sound like I’m perfect and that is definitely not the case. Well, now that I think about it, I guess you didn’t exactly write me as a perfect person. I have this problem of forgiveness even if I do preach God’s forgiveness and how others should forgive those who have hurt them.” She sat on the edge of the chair and gazed directly into my eyes. “Tell me why you had to reveal that.”

I leaned forward and held her hands. “Because forgiveness is hard for everyone, even preachers, Chris.”

We continued gabbing into the late summer afternoon as if we were long lost college roommates. We lightly brushed over the topic of the murder of the church music director, William White, and Christina’s hunt for his killer.  Horrifying as his death was, Christina felt that with God’s help, she and her church family had come together to help each other overcome their loss.

William would never be forgotten, but the wound to the church was deep and forgiveness for the person who murdered him was still difficult for many to embrace.

We parted as friends forever and promised to keep in touch.


# # # #


Pastor Christine’s story is told in the cozy mystery, sweet romance, Coda to Murder.  To read a sample or purchase the book, go to MuseItUp Publishing-



TAGLINE: Pastor Christine Hobbs never imagined she would be caring for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer.


BLURB:  Pastor Christine Hobbs has been in the pulpit business for over five years. She never imagined herself caring for a flock that includes a pig, a kangaroo, and a murderer. 


Detective Cole Stephens doesn't want the pretty pastor to get away with murdering the church music director. His investigative methods infuriate Christine as much as his deep brown eyes attract her.


Can they find the real killer and build a loving relationship based on trust?


BIO- After writing feature articles in magazines, newspapers, and online magazines for over fifteen years, J.Q. Rose entered the world of fiction writing with her first published novella, Sunshine Boulevard, released by MuseItUp Publishing in 2011. Her latest mystery, Coda to Murder, was released in February. Blogging, photography, Pegs and Jokers board games, and travel are the things that keep her out of trouble. Spending winters in Florida with her husband allows Janet the opportunity to enjoy the life of a snowbird. Summer finds her camping and hunting toads, frogs, and salamanders with her four grandsons and granddaughter.


Connect with J.Q. Rose online at

J.Q. Rose blog

J. Q.  Rose Amazon Author Page





Monday, August 26, 2013

Natasha and Stewart take a leap in time

Natasha's Dream

Natasha - Ah, Heather, you are prompt.  How delightful.

HG - I knew you’d be early. Reading, I see.  Are you enjoying your book? 

Natasha - It’s a book of poetry. I’m able to hear Stewart’s voice as he reads to me.  I’m glad you gave me time to think about questions.  I’ve given this a great deal of thought.

HG - Uh oh. 

Natasha - No. I won’t be cruel. To start, who is your favourite character in Natasha’s Dream?

HG - Stewart isn’t close by, is he?  I don’t want to upset him. I like Stewart, but I must admit you were my favourite in Natasha’s Dream. You were developed so the readers would cheer you on, feel sorry for you and I want to reach into the book, grab you by the shoulders and lecture you. 

Natasha. - Goodness.  I’m thankful they can't. I'm not comfortable having strangers touch me. I’ve read the story came to you through a dream. Much like Keeghan is dreaming. Did you have another dream to inspire you for the remainder of the saga?
HG - No.  That was completely my imagination. My husband read the book and told me to keep writing.  The story needed developed further. It’s all his fault.

Natasha - I didn’t expect to chuckle while interviewing you. You are as witty as Stewart. 

Stewart - I heard my name.  

Natasha - Love.  Allow me to introduce you to the woman that gave you life. Hum. Perhaps that’s the wrong term.  This is not your momma, but Heather.  We are discussing our lives.  My life.  My character is rather bright, Heather. Surprisingly so.

HG - You spent a lot of time in solitude as a child. Reading, and discussing novels, you would be intelligent. The plot required siblings, education and values.  
Stewart was written as a sweetheart. Gorgeous, smart, a real catch. The kind of guy any girl would give her right arm to date.  

Stewart - You’re making me blush. 

HG - It's not the first time, is it, Stewart?  Natasha, you had to be special to capture his attention.

Natasha - I must mention Goldie.  That lovely dog.  Was Goldie part of your original dream?

HG - No, but it made sense to include her. Animals give the opportunity to add humour to a scene.  To lighten the mood. Growing up with a dog, I was inspired. Smart and with that sixth sense, she was an easy character to write.  If only Goldie could talk. it’s a good thing dogs can’t talk.  Goldie would have ruined the story. Perhaps that will be another novel. 

Natasha - We had a delightful visit with William and Keeghan yesterday. The computer challenged me. This small, um, thing, but I was enchanted when William showed me the picture of you and information about you. In particular we looked at books you have read.  Keeghan has read a number of books you have read and we concluded most have a moral. I am curious.  It there a moral to the Natasha Saga?

HG - Yes, every story needs a moral and for the Natasha Saga it’s greed.  Drives me crazy.  People are personally greedy, people running institutions are greedy.  How the world would be a better place if greed didn’t exist.

Natasha - Greed and power. Indeed. 
The book is called Natasha’s Dream. How did you come up with the name. Stewart and I have discussed this, but we’d like to hear the thought process behind it.

HG - My husband came up with it.  We discussed a lot of names.  One being Crown of Denial, but when the story turned into a saga, I wanted a name that could carry throughout the saga.  Crown had it’s limitations.  Natasha’s Dream had a double meaning. Natasha Dreams of a different life.  Keeghan is having a dream.  The name connects the two stories.

Natasha - Given the fact I wrote a diary, the name of the next book makes sense. Natasha’s Diary - Any tidbits about the second book?

HG - Well, my editor Teale loved it. I quote “Heather, it was so good. The first book was good, but I'd say this one is even better.  It's just a real pleasure to read.”
Like the first book it may make you chuckle and could bring a tear to your eye. 

Natasha - That is pleasing to hear.  What about Natasha’s Hope?  Once again I’m certain I know the answer.

HG - Natasha’s hope.  Natasha’s Hope.  Either works. A verb or a noun.

Natasha - I love double meanings. And the saga will end with Natasha’s Legacy.

HG - Yes.  I promise, questions are answered.

An excerpt from Natasha's Dream

“Natasha, allow me to introduce you to my sister, Victoria.”

At ten years of age, with long blonde hair and her brother’s blue eyes, 
Vicki would one day be a beautiful young woman.

“I’m honoured to make your acquaintance,” Natasha responded.

The young girl smiled, and then turned her attention to the river.
“Momma promised I could swim if you’re able to watch me.”
Without waiting for his response, Vicki tied her hair with a ribbon
and ran into the river, the dog right behind her. Stewart stood and 
extended his hand to assist Natasha to her feet.
“As I recall, I’m ahead when racing to the water,” he reminded her
with a wink.
Determined to win a race, Natasha pulled her dress off as Stewart 
removed his shirt. Pleased he was not quite ready, she ran down 
the slope ahead of him. She tripped in her haste, and was tumbling 
to the ground when something touched her foot. She extended her 
hand to cushion the landing and protect her upper body. Hands 
appeared by her side. Stewart’s hands. He was falling as well. 
His chest touched her back, but she didn’t notice his weight on her 
body. She couldn’t see anything but the slope of the earth. She 
had to get off her stomach. Natasha manoeuvred herself onto her 
back. Stewart’s face hovered directly above her. Her eyes locked 
on his sparkling blue eyes. She was shocked by the predicament 
she found herself in. His hands were close to her waist without 
touching her. Just when she thought things couldn’t get worse, 
Goldie’s snoopy little nose appeared, sniffing between her face 
and Stewart’s. 
It would be difficult for Stewart to move without touching her. The 
dog looked at her and then licked Stewart’s cheek. Natasha 
“Stop. Go lay down,” he begged the dog.
With one final motion, Goldie extended her tongue across 

Stewart’s cheek and onto his lips. Stewart closed his eyes and 
scrunched his nose. Natasha’s giggle intensified. The dog backed 
away, settling on the grass beside them. The dog placed her chin 
comfortably on her paws and sighed in contentment.
“How disgusting,” Stewart groaned, unable to wipe his face. “I have 
been kissed by a dog.”
“I’ve also been kissed by your dog,” Natasha reminded him as she 
looked into his eyes.
“You must put me out of my misery and assure me you’re not hurt,” 

he pleaded.
“I’m terribly embarrassed, but not hurt.”
“You say you’re embarrassed, yet I believe you tripped me to avoid 

second loss. You intentionally put your foot out.”
About to defend herself, she saw the slight smirk on Stewart’s face. 
He was teasing.
“There’d be no need for such an attempt, sir. I would have won that 

race. You would have been left in a cloud of dust.”
Stewart’s face lit up. “What an impressive, optimistic opinion. The 
truth shall be revealed shortly, I’m certain. I have no doubt I will 
defeat you the next time,” he responded with certainty.
Stewart’s eyes sparkled.

The next book in the saga, Natasha's Diary will launch in December 2013
The third in the saga, Natasha's Hope will launch in March 2014
The conclusion to the saga, Natasha's Legacy will launch June 2014

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I'd love to hear from you!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

THE FREEDOM THIEF: Interview by Ben McKenna

Good morning! Today I am being interviewed by my main character, Ben McKenna. Since his story won't be out until November, I'll tell you a little about the book. Ben is a thirteen year-old boy living on his grandmother's plantation with his parents and two older brothers. The time is pre-Civil War and the setting is in Kentucky. Ben's best friend is Josiah, a ten year-old crippled slave. Ben hates slavery, and when he learns his father is set to sell Josiah, Ben knows the only way to save him is for him to escape. With a little help from his grandmother, a secret Abolitionist, and some subterfuge of his own, Ben arranges the escape of Josiah and his parents, Bess and Jesse. The rest of the novel focuses on their journey into an unknown world of danger and deceit.

Time to go, see you later!

BEN: Oh, hi, Missus Sadil. Come on in and set a spell.

MIKKI: Thanks, Ben, I’ll do just that. By the way, you can call me Mikki.

BEN:  Oh, uh, I don’t think I should. Ma says it’s not respectful to be familiar with people you don’t know very well.

MIKKI: Ben, I think we know each other very well, so I’m sure your ma wouldn’t mind. I understand you want to ask me some questions?

BEN:  Yeah, I do. But first, I reckon I’ve got some things to say about this story you threw me into. You sure did come up with some troublesome imaginaries for me, like that awful tunnel.

I swear I thought we’d never get out of that place alive. And that swamp? When you made me dive down into all that dirty water? What in tarnation were you thinking on?

MIKKI: (laughs). Oh, sorry. I’m not laughing at you, but the look on your face right now is priceless! Ben, you should know I would never have let the storyline get out of hand. You were always safe.

BEN: (frowns). Maybe you’re right. But I didn’t know that at the time, and neither did Josiah, or Bess and Jesse. Say, what made you make a kid like me take such a risk, any how? You didn’t even give me a plan for helping Josiah and his parents escape, you just let me do it on my own. Seems like that weren’t too smart, Missus Mikki.

MIKKI: Whoa, wait just a minute, young man. I DID intend for you to make a plan for that escape, but you got on your high horse and said you had to leave that very night. There wasn’t a thing I could do to change your mind. So, you’re right, you left without a plan. You even almost forgot to take that old compass. Then you would have been in big trouble, Mister McKenna!

BEN: (crossly) Well, I don’t see as how you had to make that Mister Pembrook come so early. Couldn’t you’ve kept him away on one of them business trips he was so fond of telling about?

MIKKI: Oh, I suppose I could have. But then the tension wouldn’t have been so high, now would it? And conflict is the name of the game, right? Besides, I had to test you, to see if you really were the kid I thought you were.

BEN: (sighing) That’s just what I mean. I’m a kid. So what’s a kid like me doing something like that…getting three slaves to escape? How come I couldn’a had some help?

MIKKI: A kid like you? Ben, you’re just the kind of kid I could do something like this with. You’re smart, you’re resilient, but most of all, you have the strength of your convictions concerning slavery. I knew you could manage that escape all by yourself. You didn’t need anyone to help you.

BEN: That’s something else I reckon I don’t understand much. How come I don’t believe in slavery when my pa and ma do, and the boys, too? I mean, Pa is downright strict in trying to make me into another slave owner when I get older, and Ma keeps saying as how we’d never be able to run the plantation without slaves. Even Andrew and James believe slavery is right.

MIKKI:  Well, Ben, it’s like this. When your pa moved the family from Kentucky to New York, you grew up in the schools where you were taught that slavery is a sin. It’s kind of like you were imprinted at a young age to believe slavery is wrong. Then when y’all moved back to your grandmother’s plantation, you brought all those teachings with you, and you never lost them, no matter what your family said. Of course, having a close relationship with Grammy, the secret Abolitionist of the family, helped make your own convictions even stronger.

BEN: I’ve been pondering on something for some time. How did I come about? Am I just something you imagined up out of nowhere?

MIKKI: (smiles) Well, no, not exactly. I kind of “borrowed” you from…well, from someone who was in my life a long time ago. He was my older brother, and he had very strong opinions of his own. I remember him sometimes being in trouble with our parents because his convictions didn’t always agree with theirs. He was a remarkable young man, and you resemble him in many ways.

BEN: Huh. Do you think he would of done what I did?

MIKKI: (laughing) Oh, yes, Ben, he would have done exactly what you did. And with just as much a lack of planning as you had, too.

BEN: (scowls a bit) Yeah, well, you know, I must have hurt Ma and Pa some bad, going around all their teachings and just taking off with Josiah and his parents like that. And Grammy! I might not ever get to see Grammy again, and I reckon I love her somewhat fierce.

MIKKI: (with a sigh) Yes, I know, Ben. I’m sorry about that. But someone had to get Josiah and his parents away from the plantation, and who else was going to do it but you?

BEN: It was an awful long journey, and lots of scary places we got to. Riding in the bottom of that farm wagon, hiding in the woods, and then all that time you made us spend in the Andrews farm! And escaping in the daylight, when all those people saw us! I just knew we weren’t going to make it.

MIKKI: But you did, didn’t you? You never let up, Ben, you never gave up or let Josiah or Bess or Jesse give up. That’s the important part of the story. You started out as a thirteen year-old boy, and you ended up a fourteen year-old young man. The qualities that made you come through that long journey from boy to manhood will be with you forever.

BEN: (nodding slowly) I guess so. I’ve changed a lot, I know that now. The people along the way, like Charity and the Jeffersons and Robby…I reckon they all helped to get me growed up, a little bit here and a little bit there. But every time I thought we were getting ahead, we got thrown back. That weren’t too nice, Missus Mikki.

MIKKI: ( looking puzzled) Why, whatever do you mean, Benjamim? Now, surely you didn’t think everything was going to be smooth as molasses after you left the Jeffersons, did you?

BEN: I reckon not, but riding in that death coach and being found again by Phineas and his gang was scary, and then those soldiers at the Union Fort …when I thought they were gonna capture is, now that was downright worrisome.

 MIKKI: Hmm…’downright worrisome’ huh? The thing is, you worked your way out of both of those situations, just like all the others you and the slaves encounter on your journey. You didn’t need any help, you just did what you had to do.

BEN: ( is silent, looking thoughtful)

MIKKI: You see, I gave you certain qualities, Ben, but it was up to you to develop them in a way that would enable you to go from half-way scared little boy to responsible young man, and you did just that. I admire you, Ben, because no matter how scared you were, how much you missed your family, or even how frustrated you became as each situation seemed more and more overpowering, you never gave up. You never faltered in your belief that you could, and would, get your slave friends to freedom. That’s why you came alive in this story. It’s your story, Ben, I just happened to be the one to tell it.

BEN: Huh. Well, I thank you for that. (Smiles shyly) I, uh, I reckon I have one more question.

I would really like to see Charity again. Are you maybe thinking on that?

MIKKI: (smiles slyly) You know, that’s a pretty good idea. It’s just that, well, Charity is a long way from where you ended up. I would have to write a whole new story, now, wouldn’t I? And that takes a long time. Besides, how do I know what you are going to do between now and, uh, sometime in the future? On the other hand, I guess it’s possible your journey isn’t over yet. So, let’s just say…we’ll see, Ben, we’ll see.

BEN: (grins)  Yes, ma’am,  Missus Mikki, we’ll see. Thanks for stopping by. I reckon I’ll be seeing you again some time…like maybe next year?

MIKKI: (stops as she is walking out the door, turns around) Now, Ben…you do know about Gabriela, don’t you? The sixteen year-old girl who is hearing children’s voices telling to find their killer? You don’t really want me to leave her hanging out there at Dead Man’s Crossing all by herself, do you? Just so you can see Charity again?

BEN: ( looking chastised…but only for a moment) No, ma’am, I wouldn’t cotton to that. I know Gabriela will find the killer, all right. But see, I got some inside information, and I know you’ve been making some plans about the Civil War, and me, and Union spies, and Charity, all rolled up in one! I reckon we’ll be seeing each other again, like…maybe next year. You take care, now, Missus Mikki.

MIKKI: (shaking her head as she finally leaves) We’ll see, Ben, we’ll see.







Monday, August 19, 2013

Characters from Flash to the Past have a few questions for me!

Hi everybody! Today I am the one sitting in the hot seat in Langdon Middle School in Miss Wickware's history classroom. I am here with seventh graders, Kristy Sawyer and Larry Peebles, two characters from Flash to the Past, and they have a question or two for me!

Well, let's get this show on the road, shall we? Who would like to go first?

Kristy - I'll go first! I know why you wanted someone like me in your story. I mean, who better than someone who looks as good as I do and has a winning personality, but I am not much into roughing it. Why me? We almost died of thirst when you sent us back to 1776.  You might have thought about a...uhm...sturdier type girl.

You mean more like Molly Pitcher?

Kristy - Exactly! A buff farm girl! But don't get me wrong. It was so awesome meeting George Washington. I mean he looked so president like up on his huge white horse.  I'm glad I didn't miss that!

Well, what did you think of The Battle of Manmouth?

Kristy - That's another issue! We could have been killed. We were right in the middle of it and it was super hot. I need AC and it wasn't even invented yet!

Well, no, it wasn't Kristy and thank you for your input.

Kristy - No prob! Can I go to lunch now? All my friends want to hear about my interview?

Of course. Larry, what did you think and do you have any questions for me?

Larry - I wasn't sure why you would team up a nerdy brainiac like me with the most popular girl in school and send them back to the eighteenth century in search of Molly Pitcher.

Well, did you learn anything about Molly Pitcher?

Larry - Did I ever! She was one brave lady.

What about England and the Revolutionary War?

Larry - Yes, ma'am. Came face to face with events I had never heard of!

And last but not least – I needed you to keep Kristy out of trouble. I am assuming you thought that part was okay.

Larry - That part was easily the hardest and by far the best!

 That's what I thought. Go get some lunch!

Flash to the Past is book 3 of the Wickware Sagas.  Please check out Billy Cooper's Awesome Nightmare, Book 1 and Ride of a Lifetime, Book 2.  These are fun short stories with adventure, time travel and a bit of education about legends and heros in history!

Book 1 of the Wickware Sagas

Book 2 of The Wickware Sagas

Friday, August 16, 2013

Bekar from The Bowdancer Saga Interviews Author Janie Franz

Janie Franz: I’m a little nervous today because one of my characters is going to be interviewing me. She isn’t here just yet. This will give me time to tell you a little about the books she’s in. She isn’t one of my main characters but really walked right out of the pages and into my heart…..Shhhh. I really didn’t say that. She has quite a reputation of being a regular tomcat.

Bekar appears in the Bowdancer Saga, a new MuseItUp series that was first introduced in 2009 by another publisher. She popped up in the third book, Warrior Women, which MIU will release next year, along with the first two books: The Bowdancer and The Wayfarer’s Road.  Earlier this year, MIU released the first two books of The Lost Song trilogy, Verses and Refrain (books 4 and 5 of the series), and expects the last book, Coda, to be out later this year.

The Bowdancer Saga follows the awakening of a young healer, Jan-nell, who discovers a wider world outside of her village. Bekar is one of several unusual characters she meets on her journey.

Bekar: Did I hear my name bantered about? (Turns a wooden kitchen chair around and drapes her long legs around it as she sprawls over the back while she bites into an apple.)

Janie Franz: My goodness, you’re here!

Bekar:  Of course, I am here. You pulled me from that last tale into your realm. Is this magic?

Janie Franz:  Of a sort, I suppose. Do you know who I am?

Bekar: (Nods as she crunches into the apple once more)

Janie Franz: Well? Do you have questions?

Bekar: (finishes chewing and produces a slow grin) Tell me why you thought me up?

Janie Franz: I really didn’t have you in mind when I wrote Warrior Women. I had to create six, strong master hunters. I had to make each of them different. I think you were probably an afterthought.

Bekar: (starts to take another bite) An afterthought? You did not have someone like me in mind? Where did I come from then---other than from my foremothers?

Janie Franz: As I was casting back in memory to strong women I knew and unique women I’d seen in films, I found a couple. I formed Prydor, one of your sister-kin, after Gigi Edgley, the actress who played Chiana in Farscape. I liked the way she moved (much like a dancer) and her child-like innocence.

Bekar: Prydor is rather like a child. But she is a strong woman. You know that. But what about me?

Janie Franz: Actually, you were based on Canadian multi-instrumentalist Lyndell Montgomery. I arranged a gig for her and Ember Swift, a talented singer-songwriter from Toronto. I got to hang with them one night in the town I lived in. I was appalled and enthralled by this tall, lanky musician who could play so many instruments but had half her head shaved and bore a full sleeve of ink.

Bekar: You mean she spilled ink on herself?

Janie Franz: (chuckles) No, she had a whole arm tattooed from shoulder to wrist in glorious colored images.

Bekar: Pictures on her arm? Like in Merona’s book of herbs or the Goya’s painted scrolls?

Janie Franz: Yes, but put permanently into her skin.

Bekar: Hmmm. One of my sword brothers told me about a people they had encountered who cut marks on their skin. Is that the same?

Janie Franz: That’s called scarification. It’s sort of like tattooing but not quite. The color remains but there are no scars.

Bekar: So this musician was me?

Janie Franz: No. She was the spirit of you. You became your own person the more I lived with you in my stories.

Bekar: (puts the half-eaten apple on the table) So I came alive then? I became me?

Janie Franz: Yes, you started out moving sort of like her. You had her sly smile. But soon you moved as a master hunter would…with a catlike grace. You laughed and joked easily and showed a wider range of emotion that the quiet musician I’d seen one night. You displayed integrity and honesty and a whole list of noble qualities. And you loved deeply….even when you didn’t know you did.

Bekar: (looking down but obviously flattered) Were you in love with me?

Janie Franz: (smiles) I loved the entire sisterhood…all of you master hunters. I cried for three days—I’m not joking—after Warrior Women was finished. Then my daughter said matter-of-factly, “Ma, you can always write another book.”

Bekar: And you did….the search for the lost song.

Janie Franz: Oh yes I did. And I brought you down from the mountain in a whole different role.

Bekar: The journey was not easy.

Janie Franz: No. Emotionally, that search was very difficult for you, especially. And for Jan-nell.

Bekar: (smiles) Ah, Jan-nell. What a creature you made in that one!

Janie Franz: I do like her. But I see her as a catalyst for others experiencing so much life. She seems to find herself in one predicament after another and mostly is so calm. I don’t think she has discovered her full potential yet.

Bekar: You mean there will be more adventures for her….and for me, too?

Janie Franz: Oh my, yes! I have three more books planned about Jan-nell and you and her children. Perhaps even more.

Bekar: (Stands and stretches to her full height) I was hoping you would not let me get old and creaky… and fat on Jan-nell’s herbed cooking. I do love those cucumbers she grows and her salads.

Janie Franz: Eat your fill of those, Bekar. They won’t make you fat.

Bekar: You sound like you know herbed cooking and gardening as well.

Janie Franz: I do. My son is the executive chef in a restaurant he owns a share in. And I’m struggling to grow vegetables in the high desert of New Mexico.

Bekar: Restaurant? Is that like food at an inn?

Janie Franz: Let’s just saw his fare would please the Goya.

Bekar: (raises an eyebrow) Then he must know herbs well and meat.

Janie Franz: He does. Bearin, Jan-nell’s son, is based a bit on my son and Mira-nell is based on my daughter.

Bekar: (reaches for the forgotten apple as a slow smile appears) Is Jan-nell drawn from you?

Janie Franz: (taken by surprise by that question) Perhaps I aspire to be her.

Bekar: (turns toward the door, stops, and says over her shoulder) Perhaps she will be you when she grows older and becomes a Wise Woman. (gives a small salute) And may you find your own Bekar one day.