Guest Post with Gloria Clover!

Please join me in welcoming Gloria Clover to Other Worlds this morning! I hope you enjoy her post today about her writing process!

 

Just One Way to Write a Novel

 

Throughout my years of writing, I have been asked many times, “So how exactly does a person write a novel?” Of course my answers vary depending on time restraints and my perceived interest of the person asking the question … and the truth. How I write a novel has changed in thirty years.

Washed Under the Waves_ebookOnce I would have began with “spark” that certain thing (character, dialogue quip, what-if question) that played in the author’s head and wouldn’t let go until a story had formed.

Now I have a futuristic series that I’m building around individual islands in an archipelago that was colonized by members of ancient civilizations and then kept separate from the rest of the world. So I have a new starting point: the map of the Archipelago of Solumnus. I pick an island. I pick a civilization. I pick something that that civilization was known for (book 1, Rome, entertainment/games) and then I apply it to something our current society can relate to (sports/movies/entertainment). That particular activity gets warped into the island deception (playing instead of working; escapism mentality to survive a hard world).

Because I write from a Christian world view in my very made-up speculative world, I king2_ebooknext consider what physical element or earthly disaster I’m going to tie to a characteristic or facet of God. In book 2 (Greece, stoicism, materialism) titled The Fire Starter, the earth element chosen was fire and the tie to God was His proclamation that He is a jealous God and a Consuming Fire. I also play with that imagery in the plot (a forest fire and laser guns), the back story (a fire storm that wiped out much of the island), dialogue (Amaryllis’ favorite expression, “Burn it.”), and, of course, the theme.

Once I know the ancient civilization, the island deception, the earth element and characteristic of God to focus on, I consider the people, the main character, the island back story and the main character’s back story and personality. The type of person who would live and rule (in whatever sense that turns out to be) on that particular island. Jym Fontayne, the Commander of the Dharani Army in book 3 has been reared in the belief of frozen_ebookDeterminism and the assurance that everyone has his/her place and purpose. He needs to get his world back to how it should be. (Ancient civilization: India; island deception: Caste System; imagery: ice/snow; book title: From the Frozen Depths).

And once I have the main island character considered (not locked down), I turn to the second main character (I write is romance with a side of fantasy and adventure), the one sent by the King to reclaim his lost lands, is always the opposite gender and will become the love interest as well as the spiritual advisor of the main character. And, of course, they need to be as opposite or contrary to the main character as deal_ebookpossible because the trick to writing romance is not having two people fall in love, but having two people wildly in love with each other stay apart for 90,000 words.

And, then, once setting and characters are settled in, I start to consider the story plot—what the characters will do for those 90,000 words. And even my plotting has changed with the size of the book I now write. With these bigger books, I try to plot five (instead of three) major plot points. These are action scenes, not reflective, and rarely is the main thrust romantic or spiritual, though those elements need to be woven into the story action just as seamlessly as the character goals and motivations. But never have I met a person who wanted lost_ebookme to go into that much detail of how a novel gets written.

So, if you haven’t walked away from me by this point, I’ll give a sheepish shrug and say, “Well, that’s how I write a novel, but everyone does it differently.”

 

 

 

 

About the Author

Gloria CloverGloria Clover writes the Children of the King series for By the Vine Press. The first five novels in the series are available. She’s also published a short devotion book called Who We Are in Christ A to Z which is 26 alphabetized devotions on, you guessed it, who we are in Christ. Her contemporary romances have been published by Barbour Books.

Website: www.gloriaclover.com

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorGloriaClover/

Short link to the box set of Children of the King, books 1-5: https://amzn.to/2G3yE8c

Interview with Laurie Lucking!

Good Morning!!! Please join me in welcoming ACFW Carol Award Nominated author Laurie Lucking today! I am a big fan of this lovely lady, and am so excited to have her here on Other Worlds!!!

 

Welcome Laurie! First, tell us a little bit about your book. What makes your novel unique for readers?

Thanks so much for inviting me to visit! My debut novel, Common, is a young adult fantasy in which a palace servant girl has a secret friendship with the prince and ends up on a quest to save the royal family. I think my main character, Leah, is unique in that she has no skills in combat or magic and no desire to seek adventure, yet she ends up in a different country playing a critical role in saving her kingdom. Common also has a blend of light fantasy, sweet romance, a fairy tale feel, and a Christian theme that I would’ve loved to find as a preteen / teen.

So, Laurie … you’ve been nominated for a Carol Award!!! That is so exciting! Tell us a little bit about what this experience has been like for you.

Eeeek! Thank you! It really is exciting!! I submitted Common to the Carol Awards back in January, and I’ll admit by this summer I had almost forgotten about them since we were blessed by the arrival of our third child in May. I received the call with the news I was a finalist in the grocery store of all places. I just stood there in the cereal aisle in shock, trying not to cry too much. J Then I cried all over again when I saw the video announcing the finalists – it’s thrilling and humbling to have my novel listed among some of the best in the industry. I can’t wait for the ACFW Conference in September!

What is your writing kryptonite?

Probably social media. Trying to keep up with posting and interacting on various social media outlets takes so much time away from writing, not to mention the endless distraction of scrolling through post after post. Plus, as much as I love being a part of the writing community, it can be dangerous to be surrounded by so many authors’ announcements about awards, new releases, writing progress, etc. Falling into the comparison trap makes it so hard to stay motivated on my own writing journey.

Have you ever gotten reader’s block?

Yes, just recently! After our daughter was born, I had lots of time to read, but for some reason every book I started fell a bit flat. Eventually, I picked out something in a different genre from what I usually read. I ended up loving it, and I’ve been having much better luck with books ever since!

What’s your favorite under-appreciated novel?

Ooh, this is a tough question! I read a lot of authors who publish independently or with small presses, so there are many fabulous books that I’d love to see reach a bigger audience! But if I have to choose one, I’ll go with Illusionary by Desiree Williams. Something about that book gripped me right from the start to the point I had trouble pulling myself away to do practical things like cook dinner. J It made me both laugh and cry, the world-building was such fun, and the sweet romance made my heart so happy.

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I do read my reviews, though I wish I was strong enough to avoid them! I used to lose a lot of sleep over bad reviews, so now I only check first thing in the morning so I can get my stewing out of the way during the day. J I’m trying to develop a mindset that a bad review just means the reader wasn’t in my target audience, but I’ll admit it still doesn’t feel good. The positive reviews are so precious, I go back and read them again and again when I need inspiration to keep writing.

How have other authors in your life inspired you?

Growing up, authors like L.M. Montgomery, Louisa May Alcott, Gail Carson Levine, and Robin McKinley made me fall in love with books and the way they could transport me to different times and places. I still feel their influence as I strive to write stories that I hope have a similar effect on my readers. My writing group and critique partners came into my life at just the right times to help me take my writing from a hobby to a more professional level, and they continue to provide invaluable friendship and support. And through conferences and online interactions I’ve met so many other wonderful authors who inspire me with their hard work, beautiful words, and willingness to offer prayers, advice, and encouragement.

 What are you currently working on?

I didn’t have a lot of creative energy during my pregnancy, so I’m just starting to get back into a writing routine. I’m having fun with a few shorter projects at the moment, but once my older kids go to school in the fall I plan to dive back into Book Two in my Tales of the Mystics series, titled Traitor. It follows one of the less likable characters after the events of Common, which is making it equally interesting and challenging to write!

What advice would you give to aspiring authors hoping to be published one day?

There’s so much to say, I’d love to sit down with that aspiring author and have a nice long chat! But one of my primary pieces of advice would be to prepare for a long haul. It’s so easy as a beginning writer to get swept up in your first manuscript and think this is your one, big chance to become a published author. But most authors write one, two, or even a dozen stories before they reach publication. It isn’t an easy path, but if you settle in for a lengthy journey and set your expectations accordingly, that can really help you stick with it after rejections and disappointments. If you keep trying, you’ll get there eventually and learn so much in the process!

 Finally, tell us about the world/setting you’ve created for your novel!

Common’s fairy tale setting has a vaguely medieval feel to it, but with different geography and countries with their own unique histories. Magic has been banned from Imperia, the protagonist’s home country, but hints of it creep through as the book progresses. My story world also involves an unusual set of nuns who are more than what they seem, but I can’t say more without revealing spoilers!

Thank you for joining us today, Laurie!!!

About the Author:

Laurie Lucking HeadshotAn avid reader practically since birth, Laurie Lucking discovered her passion for writing after leaving her career as an attorney to become a stay-at-home mom. When she gets a break from playing board games and finding lost toys, she writes young adult fantasy with a strong thread of fairy tale romance. Her debut novel, Common, won the Christian Editor Connection’s Excellence in Editing Award, placed third in the Christian Women Reader’s Club Literary Lighthouse Awards, and is a finalist in the ACFW Carol Awards. She has short stories published in Mythical Doorways, Encircled, and the upcoming Christmas Fiction off the Beaten Path. Laurie is the Secretary of her local ACFW chapter and a co-founder of Lands Uncharted, a blog for fans of clean young adult speculative fiction. A Midwestern girl through and through, she currently lives in Minnesota with her husband and three children. Find out more by visiting www.laurielucking.com.

Find Her On:

Website: www.laurielucking.com

Blog: www.landsuncharted.com

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Laurie-Lucking/e/B0796DGHX8/

Readers’ Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/1191276077665496/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AuthorLaurieLucking/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/LaurieLucking

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/laurielucking/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/22270968-laurie-lucking

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/luckinglaurie/

About her Debut Novel:

Common-coverOnly one person knows of the plot against the royal family and cares enough to try to stop it—the servant girl they banished.

Leah spends her days scrubbing floors, polishing silver, and meekly curtsying to nobility. Nothing distinguishes her from the other commoners serving at the palace, except her red hair.

And her secret friendship with Rafe, the Crown Prince of Imperia.

But Leah’s safe, ordinary world begins to splinter. Rafe’s parents announce his betrothal to a foreign princess, and she unearths a plot to overthrow the royal family. When she reports it without proof, her life shatters completely when the queen banishes her for treason.

Harbored by an unusual group of nuns, Leah must secure Rafe’s safety before it’s too late. But her quest reveals a villain far more sinister than an ambitious nobleman with his eye on the throne.

Can a common maidservant summon the courage to fight for her dearest friend?

Purchase Common here:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07958ZV6X

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/common-laurie-lucking/1127863203

iBooks: https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/common/id1338176577

Kobo: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/common-1

Want a peek at a scene from Common? Check out this fun bit of banter between Leah and Prince Raphael after he “rescues” her from the teasing of some fellow servants!

Rafe puffed out his chest. “I’m the prince, aren’t I? How could I do any less than escort the maiden I rescued to safety?”

“I’m not sure that quite constituted a rescue.” I stole a glance at him. “Is it customary for you to attend to damsels in distress in such a manner, then?” I bristled at the idea of Rafe walking through the halls arm in arm with other young women, but I shook it off.

“Well, no. But I still don’t see how this could be objectionable.”

“I’m concerned what people might say…”

“Oh, Leah, will you cease your endless worrying? I’m trying to be your knight in shining armor, and you’re ruining it.”

A smile tugged at my lips as I conceded defeat.

Interview with Melissa Little!

Happy Monday Morning!! Please join me in welcoming Melissa Little to Other Worlds today. I’m excited to have her as a guest this morning and hope you’ll love learning about her novel, The Book of Secrets, as much as I did!

 

Welcome Melissa! First, tell us a little bit about your book. What makes your novel unique for readers?

Hi! Thank you for having me! My book is about a boy who finds a mysterious book in a store and it ends up turning his family’s life upside down. I hope readers enjoy it and find it fun and humorous. I don’t often say things like this, but you’ve probably never read about shrugcats and wolfdragons before.

I love your cover for The Book of Secrets! Is it what you always imagined and how much work did you put into the design?

Thank you! I put zero work into it. That was all my publisher, Black Rose Writing—namely Dave who is the head of the design team. Early on, when I signed the contract, they asked if I had any ideas for the cover, and I gave them a vague concept of a book with “stuff” coming out of it. They took that and ran.

 Has publishing your first book changed your process of writing?

I signed the contract in January and since then I’ve edited old works without writing anything new. I’m in a little bit of a drought period as far as new stories. The publishing process taught me that I use way too many adverbs and crutch words, so now I look out for those.

What was an early experience where you learned that the written word had power?

It’s hard to pinpoint just one. I always loved to read growing up. I remember some of the elementary instances where I realized what a book can do to you. Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry made me so angry at the South (where I have lived all of my life). I had never before seen racial injustice in such a powerful way from the eyes of someone my age. I remember when I discovered how much imagery can be packed into simple words. There’s the climax of The Tale of Despereaux when Roscuro basically gives up and realizes he will never belong in the light, and it crashes through his soul. That is such beautiful and heart-wrenching imagery, crashed through his soul.

What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

Actually sitting down and writing. There’s this famous quote—I can’t remember the source—that says I hate writing; I love having written. That is my life.

What’s your favorite novel?

I have so many. They always change as I get older. I like The Help, Room, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Cry the Beloved Country, Les Miserables. My newest favorite is called Rabbit Cake which is a total delight. I also adore The Remarkable Journey of Coyote Sunrise.

What was your hardest scene to write?

The hardest scene I ever wrote is actually in the third book of the series, which isn’t even close to being published. To avoid spoiling it for everyone on earth except the five people who have read it, I call it the river scene. It was a vital scene, or at least I viewed it as so, because it included the words one character desperately needed to hear and another character just as desperately needed to say. I wrote four different versions ahead of time. But when I actually got to that place in the story, I scrapped everything and wrote it organically. It drained me for the rest of the day. It was, I thought, beautiful. Then I proceeded to read it over and over and now I absolutely hate it.

 How long on average does it take you to write a book?

If I’m actually serious about it, a novel-length will take between three and six months. The Book of Secrets took three or four. This is only the first draft, mind you.

Finally, tell us about the world/setting you’ve created for your novel!

Ha—you would ask me about the one element almost impossible to describe. It is no particular time period whatsoever and the more you try to make sense of it, the less sense it will make. The reactions from different age demographics of readers have been really interesting. Almost invariably, adults say they were confused, teenagers remark on how they enjoyed the craziness, and kids don’t bat an eyelash. It’s been an accidental social experiment.

Thank you for joining us today Melissa!!!

 

The Book of SecretsAfter Gabriel Draven smuggles home the Stone of the Seven Realms, his fear of facing consequences launches him and his oddball family on a rollicking run for their lives across the world they only thought they knew. As his journey takes him out of his realm and into another, Gabriel discovers that the deepest mystery lies at the heart of his own family, and he must do whatever it takes to find his way back home.
Strong and unapologetic, full of vivid, well-timed simile and lilting rhythm, bright with humor, at times bursting into a depth of pure simplistic beauty, The Book Of Secrets looks beyond the typical medieval swords-and-sorcery and, instead, introduces mystical creatures, absurd new worlds, and, at its heart, a hymn of praise to the complicated bond of siblinghood.

About the Author:

Melissa LittleM.L. Little writes reviews for Kid Lit Exchange while obtaining a theology degree. She likes the Appalachian Mountains, creepy things, and rain, and dislikes talking about herself. She is extremely southern.

Find Her On:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mllittleauthor/

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/19061148.M_L_Little

Purchase Her Book:

From the publisher: https://www.blackrosewriting.com/new-releases/thebookofsecrets-r4wtf

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Book-Secrets-M-L-Little/dp/1684333237/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=m.l.+little&qid=1564870703&rnid=1000&s=books&sr=1-1

Barnes & Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-book-of-secrets-m-l-little/1131521141?ean=9781684333233

Check out this excerpt from The Book of Secrets:

He made it to the restricted section, found the twine where he’d dropped it on the floor yesterday, bound up the book with the tightest knots, swung around to hide the book on the shelf and get out of there—and found another face in his, the teeth bared. 

It was bright pink, whatever it was, with purple stripes. It looked like a shaved, painted cat with a ridge of shimmery scales between its diamond-shaped eyes and up its head and across its back. It snarled ferociously at Gabriel and lunged at its own bushy tail—the only part of it with hair— catching it in its tiny, sharp teeth before it tipped off the bookshelf and onto the floor.

Gabriel burst out laughing. He mostly laughed because it was not the attacker or the savage creature he imagined. He sagged against the bookshelf, staring at this pathetic animal, a creature that existed not in Glennderdells or Annandells or any country he knew of, and then abruptly he stopped laughing.

He looked at the striped creature. Then he looked at the book in his hand. Something in his stomach dropped.

Interview with Jacques Pye!

Good Morning Everyone! Please join me in welcoming Jacques Pye to Other Worlds! I’m very happy to be interviewing Jacques today and hope you will enjoy learning more about his books!

Welcome Jacques! First, tell us a little bit about your books. What makes your novel unique for readers?

The Alliance Chronicles are three science fiction stories, Tellerand Encounter, Deception, and Redemption, written with an earnest Christian worldview. I wanted to write a story about a future in which there are still people who know God and who take a relationship with Him seriously. I have always been perplexed that most science fiction I have encountered has left God back in the 19th century. Also, The Alliance Chronicles present a non-dystopian future.

Your books sound absolutely fascinating! What inspired you to choose this particular genre?

Pye_Redemption_EbookOne Easter, our pastor asked us to imagine what it would have been like to witness Jesus’ crucifixion and resurrection. I thought about that idea and realized that time travel would be necessary for that to happen. I grew up a science nerd (built a 3 ft tall model of the Apollo rocket and could explain a trip to the moon and back using the model to illustrate before I was 12). That led to conjecturing a mechanism to accomplish the time travel. Tellerand Encounter focuses on a person in the future who travels back in time to witness the crucifixion and resurrection. The rest of the story blossomed from that germinal idea. The two books that followed have carried the story and characters to different worlds, while continuing the faith encounters and lessons of the first book.

Tell us a bit about how you choose the names of your characters!

Sterling Newman, one of the two main characters, has the most intentionally meaningful name. “Newman” is what he becomes after his encounter with Christ. As a new man, he can be “Sterling,” of highest quality. The other main character, a woman from the planet Creon named Armena Sandal, I named simply because I liked the sound of it. I tried to pick names for the villains that sounded dastardly: Draktal So and Pragsmon are the primary nemeses in Tellerand Encounter. Many of the characters have names that are familiar to English-speaking people, though several have names that are sounds combined for their effect. I also drew upon Swahili, Hindi, Chinese, and Finnish for place names. The villain of Redemption is a Nephilim named Ankhamen, which is “ankh”—life—and “hamen”—the invisible or ever-changing one in Egyptian. Read the story and you will see how his name fits him well.

What was your hardest scene to write?

In Tellerand Encounter, all of the scenes involving Jesus, especially when He speaks, were difficult because I wanted to present a Jesus true to the Gospel accounts (as true as could be when introducing a person from the future into the story). The crucifixion was also difficult because I wanted to present it through Sterling’s eyes, someone who knows nothing about God or Christianity.

I understand you’ve created a galaxy in which Jesus Christ has visited each world, as He did ours. Tell us a little bit about what it was like to write this aspect into your story!

All of the people on all of the worlds in the galaxy have fallen into sin, as Adam and Eve did on Earth. In conceptualizing the story, I had to stay true to the Bible’s statement that Christ died once for all people. For that to happen, Christ comes to each world at exactly the same time in history and dies at exactly the same time on each planet. Christ, present on all planets simultaneously, is still only one Christ, but lives a life particular to each planet. Thus, in Tellerand Encounter, Christ dies one time (at the same time on each planet) for all people. I am firmly convinced that if there are people on other planets this is how God could send Christ to die only once for all people on all planets.

Do you try more to be original or to give readers what they want?

Writing a science fiction story with a Christian worldview is the original aspect of Pye_Deception_Ebookmy stories. In Deception and Redemption, I have a synthetic, an “android,” Maxine Gobel, who realizes she is developing human characteristics and who explores the idea of faith in God as a synthetic, which I believe is an original idea. I also do strive to give readers what they want—interesting and well-written plots, exciting space battle scenes, really evil villains, some romance, intriguing science in the fiction, good endings, and an examination of how people deal with real-life issues such as deception, the unexpected death of a loved one, and overwhelming calamity.

Do you like your books to stand on their own, or do you prefer connecting them?

Tellerand Encounter was written in 1991-1992 as a stand-alone. I wrote Deception and Redemption in the past couple of years to follow immediately after Tellerand Encounter in the timeline. Although the three books form one story, each can be appreciated individually.

What advice would you give to aspiring authors and was there a particular author who inspired you on your writing journey?

First, discern what the Lord would have you to write and write it! Second, enjoy the journey of the unfolding story coming from your heart and mind. No one is going to love the characters and the story more than you, so revel in the time spent with your characters. Third, being financially profitable is difficult, so write first for the joy of writing, second for the money. My cousin, R. J. Patterson, who has several successful series as an indie author, rekindled my interest in writing and so made possible Deception and Redemption. C.S. Lewis showed me that combining faith and science fiction into great stories is possible.

Finally, tell us about the world/setting you’ve created for your novel!

The Alliance Chronicles are set in our galaxy, four hundred years in the future, but Tellerand Encounter travels back to the time of Christ on Earth. The primary worlds are Aries, home of the Galactic Alliance Council; Creon, one of the two dominant planets in the galaxy; and Borela, the other dominant planet in the galaxy. Earth is still around but not the center of galactic activity. Creon and Borela orbit the same star, exactly opposite from one another, such that they were each unaware of the other’s existence until light-speed ships had been developed. As they are opposite each other in space, their inhabitants are completely opposite each other in physical and temperamental characteristics, which has lead to several wars between the two planets and their allies. Kirill, a remote world ruled by the evil emperor, Pragsmon, is important in all three stories. Alesandra, introduced in Deception, is another remote world with an intriguing history in which deception has been a dominant, though undetected, force, and in which redemption comes in an unexpected manner.

Thank you for joining us today Jacques!

Pye_TellerandEncounter_EbookIn the year 2410, after the devastation of the Creon-Borela wars, many systems in our galaxy put aside their differences to form the Galactic Alliance. Now, thirty-four years later, the old tension between Creon and Borela is rising, a result of Borelan raids on the Creon system. There is fear in the Alliance that the flames of war may soon be rekindled.

Armena Sandal, Councilor from Creon, confronts Chockdal Du, Councilor from Borela, unleashing a firestorm in the Alliance Council. In another part of the galaxy, Sterling Newman, officer in the Alliance Intelligence Service, is in the firefight of his life. Outgunned, he finds an uncharted tellerand, a folding of the fabric of space upon itself. He takes it to escape his enemy, not knowing where it will send him. The tellerand opens in an unfamiliar place, where he meets Someone who could change his life. And in a dark corner of the galaxy, Galen leads resistance fighters against the evil Emperor Pragsmon, who rules Kirill with an iron hand and who is bent on conquering the galaxy. 

Three separate lives, each in a struggle for survival, but all guided by Someone unseen, yet ever-present.

About the Author:

JR Deception Photo 1Jacques R. Pye is an emergency physician by day and an author by night. He grew up watching the original Star Trek and Lost in Space TV shows and reading Jules Verne’s From the Earth to the Moon, and building models of the Apollo rockets. Later, he discovered C.S. Lewis’ Space Trilogy: Out of the Silent Planet, Perelandra, and That Hideous Strength. When Jacques decided to write a book, he naturally gravitated toward science fiction as the medium to tell his first story. He wrote The Alliance Chronicles from a faith perspective because he believes that good science fiction can and should include a reasonable examination of God and His interaction with people.

Jacques lives in Appling, GA with his wife, Leslie. When not working or writing, he spends his time taking photographs, growing roses, reading, and studying God’s Word. Follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/storiesbyjrpye/ and visit his website at https://www.storiesbyjrpye.com.

Purchase Links:

Tellerand Encounter: https://www.amazon.com/Alliance-Chronicles-Tellerand-Encounter/dp/1980992622

Deception: https://www.amazon.com/Alliance-Chronicles-Deception-Jacques-Pye/dp/1983264997

Redemption: https://www.amazon.com/Redemption-Alliance-Chronicles-Book-3-ebook/dp/B07VJ1D5WK

Kobo links are:

Tellerand Encounter: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/tellerand-encounter

Deception: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/deception-224

Redemption: https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/redemption-377

Redemption is now available through August 5, 2019 for pre-order at just $0.99.

 

Check out this excerpt from the first book of The Alliance Chronicles, Tellerand Encounter!

Chapter 1: Alliance Date 34.230

Aries

Galactic Alliance Council Chamber

“Order, order!” shouted Councilor-General Krindon over the cacophony and stamping of the assembly. “Order, order in this hall!” he shouted again as he stood, pounding his large gavel against the old wooden dais. The roar and tromping increased, accompanied by papers flung skyward. “We must maintain order! Quiet yourselves, or I shall invoke Restraining Order 2 at once!” As word of this spread through the councilors, the din began slowly to subside and a silence interrupted by papers falling to desks then tumbling to the carpeted floor settled upon the hall. The councilors resumed their seats, displaying a modicum of civility; one did not trifle with Restraining Order 2 nor with Councilor-General Krindon.

Armena Sandal had stood firm behind the speaker’s podium during the outburst she had generated. Her slender, olive-colored fingers gripped the rostrum’s top firmly as she viewed the pandemonium. The feel of her thick, cascading black hair against her face and neck invigorated her as she surveyed the circular Council chamber, now transformed into a boiling cauldron by her last remark about the Council’s fortitude.

Armena had weathered heated debates before and knew that she must remain resolute: to waiver was to invite challenge. She allowed the growing silence to envelop the councilors.

From his position above Armena, Councilor-General Krindon growled, “If I hear one word out of order, I shall invoke Restraining Order 2 on the guilty party. Do not test me in this. And now, Councilor Sandal,” he noted, slowly resuming his chair, “you have caused quite a stir by your accusation.”

Turning to look up at the Councilor-General, Armena replied, “It is fact, sir, not accusation. And I have proof!”

“Councilor Sandal, these are serious charges you have levied against the Borela and their Councilor,” Councilor-General Krindon said. Resuming his seat, he commanded, “Show us your proof.”

“Thank you, sir.” Returning her attention to the assembly, she said, “Councilors, I have not come today to intentionally spread strife or discord. You know that is not the way of Creons nor of myself; however, you are aware that Grea, a sister planet in our system, has been plagued during the past several months by raids from a hostile interplanetary force. We have suspected the Borela for several weeks but have not had proof until recently. I have a recording of the most recent attack provided by Intelligence Service surveillance vessels that have been monitoring activity in the vicinity of Grea at our request. After you have seen the evidence, you will understand my charge concerning Councilor Chockdal Du. Please direct your attention to your monitors.”

The recessed ceiling lights dimmed and a hidden technician began the playback. Didactic information appeared first: “This is a recording made by the Alliance Intelligence Service on 34.220.” A small planet appeared. Soon many vessels streaked from space into the planet’s outer atmosphere. The camera followed them down. A scene of mass destruction appeared. Anything that moved was targeted, along with all the buildings: houses, schools, stores.

Armena spoke as the recording continued, “As you can see, these are Borela attack vessels, though they lack insignia. The firing and approach patterns are typical of Borela military strategy. If you will disable your translators, you can hear the intership communication, clearly in the Borela tongue. This was an unarmed farming settlement, not a military target. All three hundred people were brutally killed.”

Her voice broke, “These were my people. You have seen my evidence; I can bear to see no more of this carnage.” She turned away from her monitor.

The vessels finished their destruction on the tiny monitor microcosms. The technician terminated the link, and the screens became blank, leaving no trace of the slaughter they had so vividly depicted.

Regaining her composure, Armena again faced the councilors, seated in evenly spaced arcing rows amid a litter of crumpled papers. The arrangement of successively inclining rows afforded her a clear view of each councilor as she scanned the seats. Some councilors stared at the blank screens; some stared at particular spots in the chamber, perhaps noticing the dark staining of the wainscot, perhaps noticing nothing at all.

The platform on which Armena stood was anchored at the lowest level of the floor but rose majestically toward the ceiling. She was positioned higher than the councilors on the chamber’s back row, but lower than Councilor-General Krindon, who sat above and behind her. She felt his eyes piercing her back.

Leaning forward slightly, Armena continued passionately, “Now you understand the basis for the charges against the Borela and Councilor Chockdal. The evidence is plain.”

Looking directly at the Borela Councilor, Chockdal Du, she continued, “How can the Councilor have the audacity to deny it? It is well documented that the Unified Borela System has used its forces covertly before, and it would appear that they have chosen to repeat this behavior on Grea. Thirty-five years ago, we ceded Cloea to Borela and relocated millions of people to end our war with them and help usher in the Alliance. They now want Grea and have embarked on a plan of terror to gain the objective. I ask this Council to issue an Order of Censure against the Unified Borela System, placing an embargo against them and initiating an inquiry of Councilor Chockdal on the charge of lying to the Council. We seek cessation of hostility, reparation for damages, and return of Cloea to our jurisdiction.”

Silence like the inside of a tomb engulfed the hall. A seemingly interminable creak emanated from the Councilor-General’s chair as he shifted his weight, considering Armena’s argument. Then stillness reigned again.

The silence was broken by the thick voice of Councilor Chockdal, his tall, large frame rising from his seat, his long robe flowing regally. “Permission to reply, Councilor-General.”

Councilor Chockdal had been a member of the Council since the inception of the Alliance thirty-four years ago, and he adhered to the old formality. All eyes, including Armena’s, focused on him.

“Granted,” came the reply from the dais.

“The Borela are honorable, and I do not lie,” began Councilor Chockdal. He stiffened, leaned back his head, and drew in a long, slow, deep breath. Looking over the assembly, he slowly exhaled, his nostrils flaring slightly, and continued, “My government knows nothing of these raids; we have no designs on Grea, and though a fierce people, we do not kill unarmed farmers. I do not know why the Creons have fabricated this ruse, and I do not know how they have cajoled the Intelligence Service into manufacturing this recording, but I have had enough of this sham.”

His intensity increased as he glared at Armena, perspiration popping onto his dark, deeply ridged brow. “I have no recording to repudiate what we have just seen, but I can assure this Council that the Borela are innocent of this blood.”

He returned his gaze to the assembly.

“One could conjecture that the Creons have staged the entire affair, sacrificing their own people in an attempt to steal Cloea from us.”

He paused to wipe his brow and resumed more fervently, his right arm and upturned palm grandly sweeping over the assembly, “If this Council grants the Creon request for censure, I promise you the consequences will be grave. We will not stand idly by while we are unjustly punished. We will go to war with the Alliance itself if need be.”

“And as for you, Councilor Sandal, you treacherous witch,” Chockdal raged, pointing at Armena, “no matter the decision of this Council, you will rue the day you called me a liar!” His eyes wild with fury, he stood for a long minute, still pointing at Armena. He then abruptly withdrew his hand and turned to the assembly. “I am leaving this chamber. You can vote as you like!”

He turned and marched up the right aisle to the rear door. A third of the councilors followed Chockdal in his exit. The door bumped open again and again as the disgruntled councilors pushed it aside; it closed silently after the last one had passed. Armena stood behind the podium unmoving, her clear, olive complexion now paled, her thick black hair now motionless upon her shoulders. She had never seen Chockdal so incensed. The remaining councilors looked about in disbelief: no debate or dispute had ever caused such a walk out.

Councilor-General Krindon surveyed the room and then rapped the dais with the gavel. “This Council will be unable to vote on the question before it, as there is no longer a quorum present. We are adjourned for a fourteen-day period and will reconvene on Alliance Date 34.245. The clerk will transmit standard notification to all councilors and governments.”

The final rap of the gavel echoed through the hall.

The councilors slowly began to leave, talking among themselves. Armena stood quietly, considering the threat of Chockdal Du. The Councilor-General paused to look at Armena and retreated to his office. Soon Armena was alone in the chamber, now so deathly still.

In a Borela warship communication room, First Commander Draktal So smiled.

Guest Post with Jenny Fulton!

Good Monday Morning everyone!! Please join me in welcoming Jenny Fulton as a guest this morning on Other Worlds, talking about her journey as a fantasy writer. 🙂

 

Invisible Battles—How It All Began

“Can I do this, God?” I asked. “Can I really do this?”

“Yes,” He replied.

“If I take this on, will you help me?”

“I will.”

“Do you think I can write this, John?” I asked my husband, still a bit daunted by the prospect.

“I do.”

And so, with a lot of collaboration, help, and encouragement, I wrote the first book, Invisible Battles: the Quest for Hope. And then, with the same ingredients, I wrote the sequel, To Be a Queen.

How It Began

I wasn’t expecting to write a fantasy novel.

Oh, I enjoyed reading this genre. But in the summer of 2014, I wasn’t looking for a book-writing deal. I was simply trying to find out if my writing was good enough to earn a few dollars as a part-time gig.

To that end, I applied to a few jobs, including one to write weekly online youth and children’s stories. I sent a basic email expressing my interest and waited to hear back. To my surprise, I received a response almost immediately. After a few back and forth messages, we made plans to talk via Skype.

“Ok, so I don’t actually want you to write the weekly stories,” Eric said. “You see, I’ve had this idea for a book that I’ve wanted to write for a really long time, and I feel like God is telling me you’re the one to write it.”

Wow.

Kind of hard to say no to something like that, so, after discussing it with God and John, I said, yes.

It turned out that Eric had already developed the fantasy world, the general fantasy creatures, and the overall concept. Novus was a land in which invisible forces fought for and against the High King’s beloved physical creations. The story, once it was written, would allude to Biblical principles without using Christianese terms.  That’s where I came in. Using the pieces Eric already had in place, I developed the characters and plot that would enable his vision to come to life.

After months of writing and consistently checking in to ensure the story was aligning with his vision, it was finished. Several months later, after receiving input from beta readers and making significant revisions, it was ready to be published. By this time, the book had become as much a part of my heart as it was his. The characters and their struggles were as dear to me as the people in my life.

In addition, my faith had grown. Translating spiritual truths into fantasy language is an incredibly eye-opening experience.

Three years after publishing the first book, we are getting ready to publish a second. My characters have grown up and it has been so much fun to see how they have changed and developed over the years.

I’m so thankful for this unexpected opportunity and look forward to continuing the journey the High King, I mean God, has set me upon.

 

The Books:

Book Cover Quest for HopeIn the newly created land of Novus, a powerful and immortal being known as the Dark One has all but succeeded in erasing the name of the High King from the hearts and minds of the people.  The battle, however, is far from over.  Unbeknownst to the Dark One and his minions of Chashaks, the High King has been at work among a loyal group of followers.  Now he is ready to make his move. 

Invisible crystalline beings known as Erela are being sent out across the land to seek out those who are willing to play a part in this unfolding story.  Among them is a young apprentice named Levi.  Having never traveled beyond the borders of his own home, Levi is sent forth on an important and dangerous mission.  In another part of the kingdom, Aliatta, a proud young royal, is about to have her safe and comfortable world turned upside down.  Seemingly opposite in almost every regard, these two young people soon find their lives intertwined in a cosmic quest for hope and truth.

 

  • Invisible Battles Book Two: To Be a Queen (set for release in the fall of 2019).Book Cover To Be a Queen

For the last five years, the heir of Novus has been hidden away in a secret valley learning about the High King. Now it is time to claim her place as the Queen of Novus and take back the land from the grip of the Dark One. The task is not an easy one. In order to succeed the young princess, Aliatta, must learn how to operate in and trust the power of the High King to overcome both physical and spiritual evils. Battles will be fought, a land will be set free, and a young princess will learn what it truly means to be a queen.  

 

 

 

Author Bio:

Jenny FultonJenny Fulton is a writer, educator, and mother with a passion for communicating truth through stories. She graduated from Grace University with a bachelor’s in Bible and Elementary Education and an endorsement in ESL. Immediately after graduation, Jenny moved to China and taught ESL at an International school for three years. She then moved back to the U.S. and taught for one year on the Navajo Reservation. The following year, Jenny moved to the city where she met and married her husband, John. She now has three beautiful daughters and writes as much as time and opportunity allow. Throughout all of these life changes, writing has been a passion: a way to express and communicate her experiences and perceptions, a way process and understand life, a way to allow her imagination to soar.

Connect with Jenny:

Website: https://heart-soul-mind.org/

Facebook: www.facebook.com/JennyFultonWriter/

Invisible Battles Facebook: www.facebook.com/invisiblebattlesnovels/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/jennyannfulton/

Guest Post with Latayne C. Scott!

Good Morning! Please join me in welcoming Latayne C. Scott on Other Worlds, talking today about her book The Mona Lisa Mirror Mystery, her love of reading, and her journey as a writer.

 

Writing What You Want to Read

Some of my fondest memories of childhood are centered around books – riding my bike back from the library with its basket full of books, my excitement as I had to decide which to read first, the languid afternoons where I lay under our weeping willow tree and journeyed to other worlds.

Some of the worlds were real, but no longer in existence:  the glories of ancient Egypt, the smoke-filled teepees of Plains Indians, the implacable and mysterious statue-builders on Easter Island. But some of the worlds that invited me to live in them never existed. I loved mysteries.  I read every book in the Wizard of Oz series, and returned again and again—seven times, in fact, to Alice in Wonderland. 

I grew up.  But my love of fantasy never went away. I could never forget the magic of being able to travel to a parallel universe. Could a person live in the present world, and yet be able to transport to another one, as through Alice’s looking glass? All the time I was publishing non-fiction books about leaving Mormonism, and Bible studies on hospitality and stewardship, on archaeology and marriage customs and other themes, I couldn’t stop thinking about the way that fiction allows us to live somewhere else. Even somewhere that has never existed.

The Mona Lisa Mirror Mystery is not my first published fiction. But it was the first one in which I allowed the little girl in me to lavish imagination on an old, old love—the idea of traveling back into time. My protagonist is a young girl who lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico. She loves art, and one day while looking at a picture of the Mona Lisa, she is “whooshed” back into the time of Leonardo DaVinci.

Along the way, my heroine Addy, comes back to “reality” and deals with some very contemporary problems – how to share her faith with non-believer friends, what to do with the suspicion that someone is being abused, how to handle other family dynamics.

In a way, Addy’s problems “mirrored” some things I dealt with in my own childhood, when I went from an unhappy and violent home life to a refuge of other worlds, under my willow tree.

I wondered then, if things would ever get better.

For Addy, the grace of God unfolds in front of her, even as the mystery of the identity of the inscrutable smile of a woman in an old painting. I discovered in writing the book, that my own childhood, with all its mysteries and changes, had been likewise redeemed.

If you love fantasy, I want to pose two questions. How much of your love reflects a desire to escape the bittersweet nature of this present world?  Which fantasy books have helped you do that?

About the Author:

headshot mountainsLatayne C. Scott is the award-winning author of over two dozen published books. Her novel A Conspiracy of Breath, won two international awards. Her website is  Latayne.com.

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/latayne

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Latayne

 

 

The Mona Lisa Mirror Mystery

Night at the Museum meets A Wrinkle in Time

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Addy’s three friends don’t know what to think when Addy tells them she “whooshed” right back into time and met a quirky Leonardo daVinci. Is it a dream? And what do the girls do when they have just as much drama in the present?

Interview with Verity Buchanan

Good Morning everyone! Thank you for joining us today for Verity Buchanan’s interview! I’m very excited to host this young lady on my blog today, and hope you will enjoy hearing about her debut novel, The Journey, coming soon from Ambassador International!

 

Welcome Verity! First, tell us a little bit about your new release. What makes your novel unique for readers?

The Journey is a young adult fantasy, coming out in a few months with Ambassador International. It’s the story of three siblings’ search for safety, and deals with themes of courage, responsibility, and growing up. Inner journeys parallel outer journeys as the Thorne family makes its way across nearly two thousand miles of dangerous terrain and hostile territories.

The Journey’s uniqueness comes in its joint focus on siblinghood and ordinary people who are just trying to live their lives. They may not get a lot of fanfare, but their story deserves to be told. 

Do you try to be more original or to give readers what they want?

When I wrote The Journey, I was writing for myself. The only audience I had was my sister and co-creator of Legea (Legea being the world), who faithfully read every word I wrote. I’ve always had a big passion for being original and not pandering to the demands of the market — write what you want, what will give you joy, and there will always be someone who loves it the way you do. However, shortly after finishing The Journey, I discovered an online writer’s community and began sharing my stories there, and I believe that my style transitioned slightly in the period following. While it was partly fine-tuning my abilities as a writer, it was also having a growing audience of readers and acquiring a keener eye for what “clicked” and what didn’t.

But all in all, I’ve never been one for writing “for the market”. My subject matter isn’t your usual YA fantasy, and I don’t foresee it becoming so unless the trends themselves change.

 How many unpublished and half-written books do you have?

The rest of the Ceristen Series, of which The Journey is #1, is completed and under editing right now. While I love The Journey, it’s these three remaining books that are the real work of my heart. The Village introduces my all-time favorite character; The Claw is the best book I’ve ever written; and The War carries the most beautiful message I can ever hope to write.

I have several other shorter stories finished, but don’t have plans to publish any of them in the foreseeable future. I’m actively working on two more books, a middle-grade fantasy and a four-volume epic, and have started two more but have to shelve them for the time being. Someone find the overachiever badge…

 What is your favorite childhood book? Why?

This is almost as hard as a favorite book! I’m going to narrow it down to two: Johnny Tremain (by Esther Forbes) and Mara, Daughter of the Nile (Eloise Jarvis McGraw).

Johnny Tremain is simply a classic. The character growth is subtle and phenomenal, the historical setting is masterfully executed, and the people are unforgettable. I loved it as a kid of seven or eight, and I’ve loved it more with every subsequent reading. It’s a book that doesn’t get old.

When I was twelve, I was wholly obsessed with Ancient Egypt, and Mara, Daughter of the Nile, along with several other excellent reads, was the reason why. If there’s one romance I ever recommend to anyone, this is it. But it’s not just romance. It’s romance, political drama, and on-the-edge-of-your-seat intrigue. And the character development is glorious. You will not be able to put it down.

If anyone who knows me wonders why I didn’t list Lord of the Rings… well, that one’s a given.

 What is the most difficult part of your writing process?

Fighting through my perfectionistic streak. I’ll get stuck on one sentence for an entire hour when it doesn’t come out to my satisfaction, or spend another hour combing the thesaurus for the precise word that’s niggling on the fringes of my brain. I can’t focus if I leave the problem unfixed, and I can’t get anything done while I sit stymied on that one sentence. It’s a lose-lose situation.

Because of this, I’m typically a slow writer, except on rare days of super creative flow. I’ve learned not to wait on inspiration when it comes.

 Have you ever based any of your characters on the people in your life?

When I was younger, I usually based dads off my own father, who seemed like the epitome of everything a dad should be — teasing, affectionate, lots of rough tickles. In The Journey, a minor character was inspired by the way a friend of mine laughs. It’s such a unique, contagious sound, I had to capture it in writing. Finally, one of the sibling groups in my books was originally a self insert of myself and my siblings, although they’ve grown away from that now.

 What is the first book that made you cry?

Well, aside from my third-grade math book… (long division was painful!) it was probably Johnny Tremain, or possibly Walk the World’s Rim, which our family read that same year for school. I didn’t tear up easily over books as a child; compare that to now!

 What other authors are you friends with and how have they inspired you?

M. L. Little, whose first book releases this August, is one of my dearest friends. Her unapologetic, innovative writing style has motivated me to be bolder with my own, and her will to keep trying is truly inspiring.

Daphne Self, my editor and a fellow author with Ambassador International, inspires me to keep going through hard times.

I also know many authors who are young and not yet published, yet they are some of the most talented and dedicated people I know. Vanna, Elizabeth, Cheyenne, Bri, Sarah… all these young ladies have enriched my writing life in innumerable ways, and I’m blessed to call them friends.

 How old were you when you began writing and what prompted you to start?

1: I’m not sure anymore. I remember being six, but the visual memory is one that would have to be when I was seven.

2: Either way, my mother gave me a notebook — it was a wee little thing, one of those mini Composition notebooks about the size of your hand. Notebooks were for writing stories in, I figured. I never looked back.

 Finally, tell us about the world/setting you’ve created for your novel!

When I write, I want Legea to feel like a real world — one that we could visualize ourselves in, one that feels like what we know, while still maintaining its idiosyncrasies. I strive for realism, real people, and real-people problems. From the very beginning of my fantasy career, I hoped to create an environment that people could come away from and say, “It feels like it’s always been there.”

Because of the angle it takes on real-world struggles, magic systems have never been a part of Legea. There are fictitious creatures, some of whom have supernatural endowments, but spells and staffs are an aspect that can’t weave satisfactorily into the atmosphere I’ve created. (I have the highest respect for writers who can create a realistic, character-driven environment and a full-blown magic system! Legea simply has a subtly different emphasis.)

Of the typical fantasy settings, Legea is closest to the medieval Europe trope. There’s nothing vital about this choice; still, I enjoy exploring an older world, experimenting with older speech and lifestyles while staying real and comprehensible. Following from my love of historical fiction, I seek to give readers a similar immersive experience, letting them belong for a little while to a different world.

One of the things I loved about writing The Journey was getting to explore so many of the locations that I’ve developed over the past eight years. As we flit from one stop to the next, you get snapshots of the deep and varied cultures embedded within each one. And my favorite way to show that is through languages/names.

As a dedicated Tolkien reader, I picked up on the idea of creating languages straight off. The book Tolkien: Author of the Century by Tom Shippey introduced me to the concept of evoking a mood/culture with the sounds of different languages, and a few years of Latin in high school educated me on the logistics of creating grammar and phonetics. I had no idea what I was getting myself into when I started throwing arbitrary letter combinations around, but currently Legea has about twenty official languages, three of which are highly developed, and the remainder slowly accumulating a base of vocabulary and individual quirks.

I honestly had no idea where I would go with this question at first. I have so much, it’s hard to narrow it down! But I hope I’ve given you all a fair idea of the groundwork of my world. Realism, cultural immersion, and languages. Lots of languages.

 

The Journey

Fred Thorne must shoulder full protection of his sisters after a fire leaves them penniless, friendless, and homeless. He sets out to follow the last advice his great-aunt gave him: Take the girls to the refuge home in Menevace. But what if, in droughtstricken Menevace, there is no refuge home for them to stay… The Journey follows the three Thornes through rejection, captivity, and an increasing downward spiral of guilt as Fred fails time and time again to protect his family from the terrors of the world. Will they ever find a place of rest and safety again? Throw in a lot of missing siblings, a sister jealous for attention, and a strange, beautiful creature called a thindran – The Journey is an adventure you won’t want to miss!

Coming Soon from Ambassador International!

About the Author:

Verity BuchananVerity Buchanan is the daughter of an Orthodox Presbyterian pastor and the oldest of eight children. Born in South Carolina, she moved to rural northern Michigan at age eight and has lived there since. She has been a voracious reader since she was four years old; from there, it was a bare step to writing her own stories down. She has completed an entirety of four novels and two novellas set in Legea, of which “The Journey” is her first published work.

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/VBuchananWrites/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/verityb.writes/

Wattpad: https://www.wattpad.com/user/autumn_sunfire

 

Excerpt from The Journey:

Fred slept, a heavy and dreamless sleep, and woke in the hour before dawn. His thoughts of last night returned to trouble him as he sat, watching the sky lighten with pale gold and muted rose and violet; and the longer he sat, the more he was troubled and the greater his responsibility weighed upon him.

Finally, he acknowledged the truth: if he would know how unsafe the roads were, as well as what he could do about it, he must ask. The innkeeper surely was awake by this time. With a glance at his sisters’ silent forms, he left the room and headed down the hall.

The innkeeper was not in the tiny entry space; Fred peered into the adjoining common-room, but that, too, was empty. No; not quite empty. One lone man was sitting toward the back, the dawn light coming in harsh through the north window to settle on his lanky form. His feet were on the table, his chair tilted back, and he sat there quite still, save for his hands, which were fiddling casually with a knife. Again and again he flicked it into the air, either to catch it by the handle or allow it to land quivering in the wood of the table. Then suddenly his half-closed eyes snapped open in a keen, accusing stare at Fred.

His boots swung down, and his chair legs met the floor, and lazily the knife flicked out in an arrogant, imperious summons.

Fred drew back, not one thought in him to obey that summons. But as he turned to the doorway a mocking voice issued from behind him:

“Look at him run! Even a babe knows better than to turn his back on an enemy. I could pin you between the shoulder blades where you stand, little puppy.”

Fred whirled back, half-turned again, took a step, hesitated, and stood bewildered.

“Now he is muddled in his head, for all his instincts would have him go but he does not want a knife in his back, and perhaps he is afraid to trip if he departs facing his fearsome foe! What were you up to, pray, poking your nose in where it does not belong?”

“Is — is this not the common-room?” he stammered.

“It is, and hardly the place for the likes of you. Say on! What business had you here?”

“I only wished to find the innkeeper to ask his advice on a matter.”

Though they were some four yards apart, Fred thought the man’s eyes gleamed of a sudden. “Advice you want! Ask it of me, then. There are many who find my counsel good.” He smiled wolfishly. “It will be better than a fat innkeeper’s.”

Tell this man? What did he dare say that would satisfy him? But if he refused, would he even leave this room alive?