As I said yesterday, there are strong female characters in Mark Taggart and the Circle of Stones. Eunice, introduced in this short excerpt, is a pivotal character.
Where were they? The homestead and oleander hedges, the blacksmith hut and fences, even Bobby’s cottage no longer stood solidly in their rightful positions. Instead there was just a vast stretch of empty savanna. But that wasn’t all. About twenty meters outside the circle stood a girl.
She was slender as a river reed and pale as alabaster. Long black hair, which somehow seemed even blacker than the darkest hair Mark had ever seen, fell over her shoulders and back. She wore a long gown of some kind of thin brown material that flowed around her even in the still air. Above her wheeled two enormous eagles. Far too big to be wedge-tails or even condors, they circled her in tight patterns. She gestured towards them and they took their leave, spiraling upwards on hot air currents until they vanished in the blue sky.
John and I created this image that we thought captured her mystical character.
Mark Taggart and the Circle of Stones is available here:
2015 so far is very good! We’re just three days in, but each day is a mini lifetime.
How are you faring in 2015 so far? Well, I hope.
I am busy working with John Holland to finish the middle-grade fantasy we are co-authoring. Here’s my Aussie friend and co-author:
Here I am right now (you can see the WordPress editor on my monitor). That is my new plant, a lucky bamboo supposed to bring prosperity, fortune and happiness.
Our middle-grade book is coming along well.
When I edited the last of John’s four novellas, Left of the Rising Sun, I realized he has a great voice for kids. One of the things I like the most is how much humor comes out in all of John’s books.
He allowed his mind to drift off into daydreams, a distraction from the danger.
When I’m grown right up into a big tall man, I’ll come back here and bring a girl. That girl will probably be Sally. I’ll show her how tough I am. She’ll be amazed by the way I catch food, and I’ll be really handsome, too!
Buck wasn’t sure he was going to be that tall or big, though. His mother was short and a little plump. Dad was average height and slim.
But maybe I’ll take after my great grandad! He was a big tall man and he was a great man, too. He used to captain a pearl lugger at Broome. Probably was a pirate as well. He certainly looked a bit like a pirate in the old photos his grandmother had shown him. A big man in a captain’s cap smoking a pipe. He looked fierce and very tough in the photos. I think I will look a bit like him when I’m big.
Or I might become a boxer or buckjump rider. Dad buys The Ring Magazine and Hoofs and Horns. The life of those people in the magazines would be great. Both are dangerous sports, but I’ll be big and tough enough not to feel danger. I’ll just laugh quietly, and everyone will cheer at how good I am. Sally will be in the crowd. She’ll be so proud of me! She’ll want me to marry her, and later on, I will. But first I’ll tell her to go away, because she used to like Reggie more than me.
She’ll cry and go on a bit about how sorry she is, and she’ll say that Reggie isn’t as big and handsome as I am. So I’ll relent and say, okay we can get married.
I didn’t have a lot of experience with kids, but when my husband and I met John Holland and his family, we were introduced to some of his grandchildren. Spending time with them made me want to write for them, and edit for them, when the material is appropriate, like Left of the Rising Sun. John’s grandchildren were thrilled to receive their granddad’s signed book as a Christmas present.
All of this led to our decision to write a middle-grade book together, using the world-building manual my husband helped us create for the book we wrote together last year. (My husband is an avid science fiction reader, and…well…just really smart. He’s a big part of our team.)
I’m really gratified and thrilled by the Amazon reviews for Left of the Rising Sun. One of the reviewers called it a “deceptively simple book.” That’s how I felt about the book, because the writing is straight-forward in style. That style allowed me to enjoy seeing Buck’s character and his growth as he was set against trials and when he found himself responsible for another person.
As a writer and as an editor, I have to tell you, that’s the real joy, when a reader says she or he saw and felt what you thought and felt about the story.
If you want to check out John’s books, please see the right frame. Click on any of the book covers that look interesting, and you will be delivered to the book’s Amazon page.
I’ll close with a mountain shot I took over the holiday.
I hope you enjoy the third day of the shiny new year.
The second installment in John Holland‘s Heartland series, a novella length mystery, is now available.
A lovely English governess goes missing from the homestead on a local cattle station in the Australian outback. The local people think the mysterious Min Min light has something to do with her disappearance. Senior Police Constable Mick Creedy doesn’t buy into paranormal explanations and is exploring foul play. However, when the young woman’s mother, Eveling, arrives from England wanting a full investigation, including the possibility of a paranormal event, Mick needs to balance his methods with a grieving parent’s needs. Eveling’s inclinations further complicate matters as they might lead her into a danger Mick does not yet understand. Pressure mounts as unexpected feelings for the victim’s mother raise the stakes in this case that seems to have no leads.
I suggested to John, “Hey, you should write a mystery.” We were on Google Hangout, so I could see his sly smile. A few days later he sent me The Light at the Bottom of the Garden. Once again I was drawn into his straightforward style and was delighted by finding John’s humor in the story. I still laugh every time I read the scene between Mick and Bessie.
We hope you enjoy the story! If you do get a chance to read this installment in the series, a review at your favorite online book review forum will help other readers discover John’s unique voice.
You can read the first 20% of this fun book at these outlets.
My friend John Holland let me edit his Heartland novella series. I love his work! We released the first installment, Somewhere Far from Iris a couple days ago.
A man struggling with depression travels back to his Australian outback hometown to reconstruct himself and walks into an explosive situation that is somehow entangled with the secret of his origin.
Here is the longer blurb. I also included my editor’s note for some background on how this project started.
Clinically depressed Shane Morris is trying to learn how to cope with his condition and find balance within the turmoil of his mind. He embarks on a mission to reconstruct himself by going back to his roots in the Australian outback town of his childhood. In Iris, this man who thinks he is nothing discovers at its extreme, life has two poles, the tender and the brutal. In the fires of the worst and best expressions of man, Shane learns he’s far from nothing and just where he fits into humanity’s broad spectrum.
When I first opened this file, I was sitting in our friends’ house in Sydney. We had left Townsville just days before. My husband and I spent three weeks with John and his family so John and I could collaborate on a novel. John sent me an email saying this story idea had poured out of him after we flew out. But, he said, he didn’t know where it was going and wasn’t planning to finish! No fair. I was riveted. So I demanded he finish. And when I received the finished draft, I was thoroughly satisfied with the story.
I never know what John’s going to come up with next for his stories. I found Somewhere Far from Iris to be twisty and intense.
I am pleased and honored to be John’s editor and thrilled to help bring this book to you.
Your reviews will really help other people find John’s work, so please post your review at your favorite online book review forum. Your support is very much appreciated.