Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

About the Book

Title: The Peacock Door

Author: Wanda Kay Knight

Genre: Middle Grade Fantasy

In a magical tale of adventure, eight cousins sneak through forbidden treehouse doors, only to find themselves separated from each other and lost in strange worlds. In their quests to return home, they must unravel mysteries, escape snares and villains, find one another, and search for the elusive Oracle. The Peacock Door is a rich story of camaraderie, loyalty, love, and determination with a bit whimsy sprinkled throughout.

 

Author Bio

Wanda Kay Knight lives in the Pacific Northwest, teaches literature, strives really hard to keep up with her adventurous/competitive family, makes things out of yarn (mainly unique hats), enjoys collecting pretty rocks, and writes a lot.

Word from the Author:

I have to admit that I am not an organized person—not at all.  I keep my house clean and I like things tidy, but my car is a mess and I tend to get caught up in my everything else instead of doing what I need to do. Then, I become a furious rush of activity and make everything appear like it was clean and sparkling all along.

Now, the truth is that I feel really good when all my tasks and goals are finished.  I love it when my house is clean. I love it when I have finished enough exercise to keep myself from feeling guilty. I absolutely love it when I have finally organized that new knitting project and the yarn and the needles are sitting beside the couch begging me to continue the project every time I sit down. And once I get started, I have a hard time stopping.

Well, it’s the same with writing.  Once I get myself to sit down and write, I have a hard time putting it down.  I love it. I come away from a writing session or even a writing marathon with a sense of relief and excitement that I have accomplished a goal. And furthermore, if I could just stay awake all night and keep writing, I would do it (until the next morning when I have to start the process of getting started all over again).

For any others out there like me, I have one suggestion that seems to work. The one thing that kept me consistently writing was meeting with a group of would-be authors once a week with the specific goal that we have to read something—just a page or so—but something each week. After we read, we accept some criticism, listen to the others, and come back in one week prepared to it all over again.

Sometimes in those weeks between meetings, I would only get a couple of pages finished. Other times, the story would take over and I would write furiously and get pages and pages done. But, that once a week meeting really did force me to do something each week, and that was enough to build on until I finished. I found that I needed to be held accountable once a week—every other week did not work.

And, if you hate meetings (as I do), and avoid them at all costs; you should know that for some reason, this particular type of meeting with a few other people constructed around a defined goal was quite pleasant with just the right amount of motivation.

And so, as I begin the process of writing book two, I know that it is once again time to find a couple more would-be authors and once again meet once a week.  For me, it is bonding, creative, and motivating experience, and without it, book two just might not get written for a long, long time.

Links

Website: www.thepeacockdoor.com

Youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9VAx9k2_2eU

Youtube video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yVRFqy5_hko&t=30s

Email address:    wandakayknight@thepeacockdoor.com

My personal email:  wkayknight@gmail.com

 

 

 

The giveaway is for an eBook copy of the book:

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Book Excerpts

Grizzles and Lola:

He hobbled and wobbled when he walked as though sharp tacks protruded from the floor; his shoulders were hunched, and his head bent forward; he was ancient, no doubt about it—he was an ancient, old man. Giant folds and wrinkles covered his face; his white hair fell in large loopy whorls about his head, and they might have redeemed the face if it were not for the huge bulbous nose and the tiny squinty eyes. But the part they noticed the most was the fingers; gnarled, wrinkled fingers with long, yellowed talons for fingernails.

He twisted around and snarled at them; his raspy voice interrupted by his own heavy, noisy breathing, “Can’t you see that I am busy? I don’t like people, and I especially don’t like children. I ate the last child that came here.” He picked his tooth with a dirty fingernail. “What do you want?”

Icy Stone Steps:

A full moon had risen in the cobalt sky casting a bluish glow over the icy, snow-swept mountainside, illuminating the entire hamlet. Icicles dangled from the steep, high pitched roofs of cottages nestling here and there, jumbled together at odd angles wherever the mountainside allowed. Jagged, ice covered stone steps, cut into the mountainside, curved up and around the icicle laden cottages until finally reaching a summit—a high, flat plateau. And it was on that plateau—high overhead and overshadowing the village—that a Citadel, a snow-covered stone fortress—overwhelming with its massive and imposing presence—rose up out of the mountain as though etched and carved from the rock itself.

They stood exhaling puffs of frosty mist; entranced by the ethereal beauty of their snow laden destination and shocked by the terrible price they must pay to get there. Finally realizing the price for warmth and comfort for the night so they would have an audience with the Oracle tomorrow was a midnight climb up jagged icy stone steps tonight. It was foreboding and frigid; it was ethereal and sublime.

“We can do this,” Eleanor whispered. She slipped over and laid one arm on Ivan’s shoulder and the other on Tilly’s. Addison silently reached down grabbing Brody’s hand—and he let her do it. Claire moved over to stand beside Levi who had taken Esmé back into his own arms. He smiled a grim smile, and then he turned, planting his foot on the first jagged, icy stone step as each of the cousins formed a silent line behind him, breathing in the cold, frosty air, and preparing to follow.

The Citadel:

Nothing, nothing at all, not the ancient tales of lore, nor the fables of old could have prepared the cousins for the imposing power or the exquisite beauty of the Citadel. It rose up out of the snow like an elaborate ice sculpture, with belfries and pinnacled towers climbing into the clouds and reaching higher than the peaks themselves.

There were arches and turrets and cupolas, and parapets and round keeps with lanterns flickering in spade shaped windows, and all of it as pristine and intricate as though carved from ice and decorated with snow.

The castle was hewn from the mountain itself, forged from the stone so that the posterior of the castle was fused into the rock face of the mountain. A high, thick stone wall with ramparts and battlements like the strongholds of old, curved around the castle, surrounding it like a giant horseshoe with the massive gatehouse setting the center and the two prongs fusing back into the mountain.

The Doors:

The others smiled, nodding innocently. Gramma laughed and turned to go out the peacock door; but, as soon as she grabbed the handle, she pivoted back facing them.

A bizarre expression clouded her face. “Whatever you do,” she said, “Whatever you do—listen to me!” She pointed her finger at each of them, and after staring directly into each set of eyes, she continued. “There are journeys and treasures beyond those doors,” she said, “There are long forgotten wisps of alchemy and lost keys and crystals and mirrors of illusions; but, you must not go out any of those doors. Her voice lowered as she leaned forward. “I gotta tell you—those keys are especially hard to find. You think it’s easy; but, nooo, it is not! Everything is fine as long as you don’t go out any doors except the peacock door, right here. This is the door to use—only this one.” She patted the door.

Her voice lowered even more—almost to a whisper. “You see, kiddies, even if you’re ready to search for the keys, it’s real hard to—um—well—to—to feel them—to experience them.” She rubbed the fingers of each hand together, rotating the thumb around the fingertips. “Yeeessss, to feel them; it’s just not the time to feel them. That’s the hard part. Do you understand?”

 

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Yellow Hair documents the injustices done to the Sioux Nation from their first treaty with the United States in 1805 through Wounded Knee in 1890. Every death, murder, battle, and outrage depicted actually took place—from the first to the last. The historical figures who play a role in my story were real people and I used their real names. I conjured up my protagonist only to weave together the various events conveyed in my fact-based tale of fiction. Yellow Hair is an epic tale of adventure, family, love, and hate that spans most of the 19th century. It is American history.

The inspiration for the book came to me when I was reading a short article that referenced the Great Sioux Uprising of 1862. It also mentioned that the outcome involved the largest mass execution in the history of the United States. That piqued my interest.

When I started my research into the incident, one thing led to another and before I knew it, I was documenting the entire history of the Sioux, who are also known as the Dakota, vis-à-vis the relationship between them and the United States.

Because the book exists only because I read the phrase, “the largest mass execution in the history of the United States,” I’ll tell you a little about that. What follows is an extremely abbreviated version of events.

1yellowhair-800-cover-reveal-and-promotionalThe Dakota signed their first treaty with the United States in 1805 when they sold a small portion of their land to the Americans for the purpose of building forts. It was right after the Louisiana Purchase and President Jefferson wanted a presence in the West. At the time, “the West” was anything on the western side of the Mississippi River.

In the treaty of 1805, the Dakota sold 100,000 acres to the Americans. The agreed-upon price was $2.00 per acre. But when the treaty came up before the Senate for ratification, the amount was changed to two cents per acre. That was to be a precursor for all future treaties with the Americans. There were subsequent treaties in 1815, 1825, 1832, 1837, and 1851, and basically the same thing happened with all those treaties.

In 1837, the Americans wanted an additional five million acres of Dakota land. Knowing it would be a hard sell after the way they failed to live up to the letter or spirit of the previous treaties, the government brought twenty-six Dakota chiefs to Washington to show them the might and majesty that was The United States of America.

The government proposed paying one million dollars for the acreage in installments over a twenty-year period. Part of the payment was to be in the form of farm equipment, medicine, and livestock. Intimidated, the Indians signed the treaty and went home. The United States immediately laid claim to the lands—the first payment did not arrive for a year.

The significance of the 1837 treaty lies in the fact that it was the first time “traders” were allowed to lay claim to the Indians’ payments without any proof that money was owed . . . and without consulting the Indians. Monies were subtracted from the imbursements and paid directly to the traders.

350px-siouxreservationmapBy 1851, the Americans wanted to purchase all of the Dakota’s remaining lands—twenty-five million acres. The Sioux did not want to sell, but were forced to do so with threats that the army could be sent in to take the land from them at the point of a gun if they refused the American’s offer.

“If we sell our land, where will we live?” asked the Dakota chief.

“We will set aside land for the Dakota only. It is called a reservation and it will be along both banks of the Minnesota River, twenty miles wide, ten on each side and seventy miles long,” answered the Commissioner of Indian Affairs.

The Dakota were offered six cents an acre for land that was worth at least a dollar an acre. The payment would be stretched out over a twenty year period and was to be made in the form of gold coins. One year later, in 1852, the Americans took half the reservation, the seventy miles on the north side of the river. The Dakota were now reduced from a nation of fierce, independent people to a people dependent on hand-outs from the ones who stole not only their land, but also their dignity.

The Dakota were forced to buy their food from the traders who ran trading posts at the Indian Agency the U.S. Government had set up on the reservation. All year long the Dakota would charge what they needed. When the yearly payment for their land arrived, the traders would take what they said was owed them. Subsequently, there was very little gold left for the Dakota.

By 1862, the Dakota were starving. That year’s payment was months late in arriving because of the Civil War. The traders were afraid that because of the war there would be no payment that year and cut off the Dakota’s credit. The Indian Agent had the power to force the traders to release some of the food stocks, but refused when asked to do so by the Dakota.

After they had eaten their ponies and dogs, and their babies cried out in the night from hunger, the Dakota went to war against the United States of America.

They attacked the agency first and liberated the food stock from the warehouse, killing many white people who lived there. Then bands of braves set out to loot the farms in the surrounding countryside.

Many whites were killed in the ensuing weeks. However, not all of the Dakota went to war. Many stayed on the reservation and did not pick up arms against their white neighbors. Some saved the lives of white settlers. Still, over 700 hundred whites lost their lives before the rebellion was put down.

When the dust settled, all of the Dakota—including women and children, and those people who had saved settlers’ lives—were made prisoners of war.

Three hundred an38-hungd ninety-six men were singled out to stand trial before a military commission. They were each tried separately in trials that lasted only minutes. In the end, three hundred and three men were sentenced to death.

Even though he was occupied with the war, President Lincoln got involved. He reviewed all three hundred and three cases and pardoned all but thirty-eight of the prisoners.

On a gray and overcast December morning in 1862, the scaffold stood high. Thirty-eight nooses hung from its crossbeams. The mechanism for springing the thirty-eight trap doors had been tested and retested until it worked perfectly. At exactly noon, a signal was given, a lever pulled, and the largest mass execution to ever take place in the United States of America became part of our history.

Andrew Joyce left high schAndrew llool at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written four books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and forty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, YELLOW HAIR. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, tentatively entitled, MICK REILLY.

throw-out-the-tvMy name is Andrew Joyce and I write books for a living. One morning, about five years ago, I went crazy. I got out of bed, went downstairs, and threw my TV out the window. Then I sat down at the computer and wrote my first short story. I threw it up on a writing site on the Internet just for the hell of it. A few months later I was notified that it was to be included in an anthology of the best short stories of 2011. I even got paid for it! I’ve been writing ever since.

Debra has been kind enough to allow me a little space on her blog to promote my new book, RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure, so I thought I’d tell you how it came about.

It all started way back in 2012 . . .

My first book was a 164,000-word historical novel. And in the publishing world, anything over 80,000 words for a first-time author is heresy. Or so I was told time and time again when I approached an agent for representation. After two years of research and writing, and a year of trying to secure the services of an agent, I got angry. To be told that my efforts were meaningless was somewhat demoralizing to say the least. I mean, those rejections were coming from people who had never even read my book.

So you want an 80,000-word novel?” I said to no one in particular, unless you count my dog, because he was the only one around at the time. Consequently, I decided to show them City Slickers that I could write an 80,000-word novel!

redemptionI had just finished reading Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn for the third time, and I started thinking about what ever happened to those boys, Tom and Huck. They must have grown up, but then what? So I sat down at my computer and banged out REDEMPTION: The Further Adventures of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer in two months; then sent out query letters to agents.

Less than a month later, the chairman of one of the biggest agencies in New York City emailed me that he loved the story. We signed a contract and it was off to the races, or so I thought. But then the real fun began: the serious editing. Seven months later, I gave birth to Huck and Tom as adults in the Old West. And just for the record, the final word count is 79,914. The book went on to reach #1 status in its category on Amazon (twice) and won the Editor’s Choice Award for best Western of 2013. The rest, as they say, is history.

But not quite.

My agent then wanted me to write a sequel, but I had other plans. I was in the middle of editing down my first novel (that had been rejected by 1,876,324 agents . . . or so it seemed) from 164,000 words to the present 142,000. However, he was insistent about a sequel, so I started to think about it. Now, one thing you have to understand is that I tied up all the loose ends at the end of REDEMPTION, so there was no way I could write a sequel. And that is when Molly asked me to tell her story. Molly was a minor character that we met briefly in the first chapter of REDEMPTION, and then she is not heard from again.molly-lee

So I started to think about what ever happened to her. After a bit of time—and 100,000 words—we find out what did happen to Molly. It is an adventure tale where Huck Finn weaves through the periphery of a story driven by a feisty female lead. Molly Lee was my second book, which achieved #2 status on Amazon.

Now I was finished with Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer for good and could go back to my first novel and resume the editing process.

But not quite.

It was then that Huck and Molly ganged up on me and demanded that I resolve their lives once and for all. It seems that I had left them hanging, so to speak. Hence, RESOLUTION: Huck Finn’s Greatest Adventure. Here is the blurb from the back cover of the book:

12resolutionIt is 1896 in the Yukon Territory, Canada. The largest gold strike in the annals of human history has just been made; however, word of the discovery will not reach the outside world for another year.

By happenstance, a fifty-nine-year-old Huck Finn and his lady friend, Molly Lee, are on hand, but they are not interested in gold. They have come to that neck of the woods seeking adventure.

Someone should have warned them, “Be careful what you wish for.”

When disaster strikes, they volunteer to save the day by making an arduous six hundred mile journey by dog sled in the depths of a Yukon winter. They race against time, nature, and man. With the temperature hovering around seventy degrees below zero, they must fight every day if they are to live to see the next.

On the frozen trail, they are put upon by murderers, hungry wolves, and hostile Indians, but those adversaries have nothing over the weather. At seventy below, your spit freezes a foot from your face. Your cheeks burn—your skin turns purple and black as it dies from the cold. You are in constant danger of losing fingers and toes to frostbite.

It is into this world that Huck and Molly race.

They cannot stop. They cannot turn back. They can only go on. Lives hang in the balance—including theirs.

There you have it. Now, if you nice people will just go out and buy RESOLUTION, perhaps Huck and Molly will leave me alone long enough so that I can get some editing done on my first novel.

~~ Andrew Joyce left high school at seventeen to hitchhike throughout the US, Canada, and Mexico. He wouldn’t return from his journey until decades later when he decided to become a writer. Joyce has written four books, including a two-volume collection of one hundred and forty short stories comprised of his hitching adventures called BEDTIME STORIES FOR GROWN-UPS (as yet unpublished), and his latest novel, RESOLUTION. He now lives aboard a boat in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, with his dog, Danny, where he is busy working on his next book, YELLOW HAIR.

WEBSITE: http://andrewjoyce76.com/

FACEBOOK: https://www.facebook.com/Yellowhair1850

GOODREADS: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7242284.Andrew_Joyce

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