Monthly Archives: August 2015

Desert Son

Check out Desert Son by Glenn Maynard


Desert Son

CHAPTER ONE

Warm weather streaked through Boston for a cameo on this late

March afternoon. Mid-70’s usually did not emerge from

hibernation until April, but none of that mattered much for Carter

Spence. No temperature could affect him now. Temperature

usually made all the difference in the world to Carter, but now

springtime’s rebirth seamlessly transpired.

Carter’s mood elevated, but temperature played no role. For a

split-second, he thought perhaps his mood had a calming effect on

his body, but only because his 175 pounds felt fluffy, like he’d been

influenced by helium. Just to contradict this sensation, he

remained still. He felt silly even testing. This feeling had only

captivated him while running around the bases at the baseball

fields near his home, or even when he was a tad tipsy at the bar,

but this still overpowered those other times.

Carter questioned reality. As a recent college graduate, he’d

dabbled in binge drinking, even though not nearly as frequent as

his “crowd” did. In fact, every so often, Carter would be the one

strong enough to volunteer himself as designated driver. Carter

was able to glance beyond the average college student in an

attempt to supersede peer pressure, and assume responsibility for

his actions. He always was the responsible type.

As Carter found himself suspended in a position enabling him

to oversee earth, he knew this transcended a typical mood swing.

He unquestioningly went along with whatever life threw at him,

even in this extreme case, surprising even himself.

Surveying the earth below, feeling not an ounce of care in the

world, Carter continued wafting like a loose sheet of paper in the

wind, drifting inch by inch, contentedly, as he began keying in on

an object. He seemed more preoccupied with this new attraction

than with his sudden participation with the solar system. It would

have been cataclysmic had both his feet mixed with the earth’s

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Glenn Maynard

dirt, but that wasn’t the case.

As much a presence that this altered state should have been,

Carter began battling a continual attraction to the object. This

diversion was enough to cloud the reality and incomprehensibility

of the situation. He finally stopped moving, involuntarily; no

further elevation. He awaited the presence of normalcy, but this

delay only lengthened his journey.

He sensed that he had no encasing. He felt that he was just a

feeling, or that his existence was just a thought. He couldn’t see his

body, but never really cared to check, either. He just had a gut

feeling that his thoughts were in a mind of their own. He felt like a

breadless sandwich. However, he did not care one way or another.

Carter astonished himself when his focus zoomed in like

human binoculars. This felt so empowering, so controlling, so

consuming, and he felt that the sky was the limit. For a 26-year-old

guy who had felt so powerless in the city of Boston, this certainly

boosted his confidence, but he only wished he could have this

focus and earth simultaneously.

He began reflecting on the bullying that he’d received as a

child on his school playgrounds. He wished he could find those

punks now, even though he since had learned to defend himself

fairly well. Nobody much messed with Carter once he hit the 10th

grade and began pumping weights vigorously. Nobody was going

to offend him, and in the city it was sink or swim. He had taken it

upon himself to get in a position where he could defend himself.

He looked at it as survival of the fittest.

He did not get revenge by beating the hell out of those bullies

who had previously roughed him up. No, that was not Carter’s

style. Rather, his presence became his revenge. And with this new

image came a certain macho sex appeal that ushered in his debut

in dating. He discovered that the two scenarios were intertwined,

and that did not pose a problem for Carter Spence.

Carter did love women, but he could not be in love with them.

He believed that he had just never found the right girl, but deep

down wondered if he even had the ability to love. This disturbed

him greatly, making him, for the most part, uncomfortable around

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Desert Son

women. He had convinced himself that he was just very picky

when it came to women.

During his peak conditioning, the one-time bullies would look

up at Carter in the high school hallways, acknowledge his presence

with a nod, and then humbly mumble, “What’s up, Carter?”

Although Carter considered this sufficient sweet revenge, the

thought of toying with these bullies from above did tickle his

imagination.

Carter eventually determined that the object on the ground

resembled a body, but it wasn’t moving. Then his focus zoomed in

some more, and quickly the body took on an eerie familiarity to

him. The scene below grew chaotic. Cars jerked to the highway

side. Doors swung open, remaining that way while people flocked

to this object, which was a body lying face down in an

embankment. Carter watched this scene unfold before him as if he

was watching a movie on television.

The first man to arrive shouted in panic to an unresponsive

body. He carefully turned the body on its back, eased down by the

second and third man to arrive. Carter continued to zoom in on

the victim because he felt as if he knew this man. He recognized

the strong face attached to the muscular frame. He recognized the

worn denim jeans with the oddly-shaped tear just above the knee,

and even the tan polo shirt, which by now had absorbed blood. The

shoes that had detached from the man’s feet were familiar, as were

the blue Gold Toe socks on his feet. His eyes moved back up the

body to the face, and saw that it was his body.

Carter felt indifferent while observing his poor, lifeless body. I

look so pale, he thought, aside from the streaking blood on his

face. Carter couldn’t believe it was really him. He would have been

hard pressed to select that body out of a lineup if asked to identify

him. However, he barely was able to recognize his own facial

features below. Just how observant and aware of his own self was

he, Carter pondered. It seemed interesting to Carter, more than

anything else, to see himself from another vantage point, yet treat

the situation so matter-of-factly.

Between the lanky frame and the short, light brown hair, he

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Glenn Maynard

thought that it had to be him. But why, he wondered, confident

that there would be no dream to awake from, or no Allen Funt to

emerge out of nowhere to tell him about a camera. Besides, if this

was a dream, he wouldn’t be wondering if it was a dream. He didn’t

think he’d be wondering if it was a dream, but what he wouldn’t

give to test this theory of his.

Carter zoomed to within about a telephone pole’s length away,

even though he felt like a satellite in space. He noticed the traffic

really starting to jam. Cars could no longer pass by. One woman

screamed hysterically after discovering an upended automobile

streaming fuel onto the ground. She placed both hands on her

head and let out a series of chilling wails. Carter watched

emotionlessly.

Some good Samaritans flocked to the car to help, while others

ran from the danger. Most drivers rubbernecked their way past.

Carter shifted his attention to directly above the car, where a solid

oak shook off contact. A penetrating scar splintered the tree,

which was evidence of a speedy impact. Carter faced all four

wheels, witnessing the last tire as it finally slowed to a stop. This

all happened so suddenly that this new scene before him appeared

almost before the previous scene had ended. A dirty, scraped arm

flopped outside of the car, limply touching the ground, and a thin

tornado of smoke rose through Carter.

Carter could see that tire marks had blackened the highway,

and then dirt marks continued off the side of the road to where the

car rested. He did remember getting into his parents car, but he

could barely make a positive identification of that car. It had rolled

and wrapped itself around the tree at the roof. The smell of

gasoline enveloped the air and the potential danger was

incalculable. However, good people still stopped.

Gas dripped at a steady rate from the gas tank vicinity. Streams

of smoke billowed from under the hood. Carter hoped the smoke

and the drips didn’t merge, but when there’s smoke, there’s fire,

and within minutes the car flickered flames. Carter felt helpless to

try to save those inside. He wondered if it even mattered as he saw

that the car’s front bumper meshed with the dashboard and the

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Desert Son

roof the car rested on met up with the bottom of the windows,

which were smashed all around.

He knew those inside hadn’t a chance, and then Carter

positively identified the car as his parent’s car, so it was his

parents who were trapped inside. My God, Carter thought. This

isn’t happening. They could die. This thought flashed through him,

but he was emotionless.

Emergency vehicles nudged a path to the wreckage, and a few

heartless people took advantage of this path to better their

positioning. This was the city life, and nothing was going to spoil

the day of some people. Cars edged closer to neighboring cars on

the left, while cars in the far right lane eased off the road, some

entirely. Sirens blared, while red and blue lights flashed through

the light of day. Carter took notice of numerous police cars,

ambulances and fire trucks.

Carter knew his parents had expired, but what about his body?

Where was he now? Was he dead? Paramedics swarmed his

physical body below, and he wondered if he would ever be

reunited with it. He wanted badly to be able to help himself, but he

could only watch, unsure if it was his unwillingness or inability to

intervene. He felt like an actor watching his own movie, but he

certainly possessed more peacefulness above than what was being

transmitted at the chaotic scene below.

Firefighters in yellow coats squelched the flames with foam,

but the people who had jumped from their cars to throw mud at

the flames controlled the spreading. These people will be the ones

dubbed heroes, but will refuse the tag on the local newscast. Carter

could envision this before it even happened. He wasn’t being

disrespectful to those trying to help his parents, but he felt his

folks stood no chance by the looks of things. Maybe the car

wouldn’t burn to a crisp, but if they did survive the impact, any

fire would be enough to finish the job.

Carter believed his ejection from the car came prior to impact

because of his distance from the vehicle, and then it occurred to

him how he had gotten into the situation he found himself in. His

thoughts moved away from the chaos momentarily, zooming out

of that scene and into another.

Buy The Book

http://www.glennmaynard.weebly.com/

http://www.amazon.com/Desert-Son-Glenn-Maynard/dp/1612963129

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/20505634-desert-son

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/desert-son-glenn-maynard/1118627014?ean=9781612963129

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Matthias: The Ghost of Salvation Point

Take a look at this extract from middle-grade supernatural novel Matthias from Jodi Auborn.
Sleeter and Quint! They were still after me, and now I was trapped! I couldn’t run into the woods without them seeing me. I waded into the thorny rose bushes beside the road, looking for a place to hide. But there was nothing but the tangled bushes, which snagged my clothes and tore at my arms. It was like trying to walk through a net. I pulled myself away from one big thorn that ripped a hole in my shirt.
“DAAAAD!” I cried, one last time. “MATTHIAAAAS!”
I finally ignored my bleeding arms and the thorn bushes, and ducked down into the muddy ditch.
“We got you now, kid!” Quint and Sleeter whooped. They were still laughing at me as the car raced back up the road, louder and closer every second.
Then someone’s laughter turned to a shriek. He sounded terrified. “What…what the…MEL, LOOK!”
I couldn’t help it. I peeked up over the edge of the road.
“Matthias…” I whispered.
Matthias was standing on the other side of the road, and for the first time…I could seethrough him! He didn’t look at me. He just stepped in front of the speeding car and pounded his hands down on the hood, glaring in at Quint. Quint stared back and screamed as the car passed through Matthias, who disappeared in a swirl of white mist.
Quint slammed on the brakes and the car stopped right by my hiding place. He closed his eyes and rested his forehead on the steering wheel, making strange little moaning sounds. His whole body started shaking.
“Quint!” Sleeter bellowed. “What’re you doing, trying to kill us? Learn to drive, you moron!”
“Didn’t you see him?” Quint wailed. “The guy in the blue coat? I drove right through him!” Quint hid his face in his hands and began to cry. “That was no man! That was a…a ghost! A hideous ghost!”
“You idiot!” Sleeter snapped, smacking Quint in the back of the head. “You’re useless. Now, stay here. I’m getting out to find that kid.”
“Dylan, stay down!” Matthias said as he appeared beside me and sprawled out in the mud, looking like his normal self again. He put his hand on my head and pushed me down on my stomach. My chin scraped against some gravel in the ditch.
“You’re hurting me!”
“Sleeter will hurt you a lot worse if he catches you!” Matthias whispered. He did ease up on my head, though, and nodded at a round pipe that ran under the road. “Don’t ask questions. Crawl into that culvert and be quiet! It’s your only chance.”
I did as he told me. The bottom of the pipe was covered with oily water and weird orange mud. I could hear Matthias pushing weeds and brush in front of the opening that I had just crawled through. I knew that he was standing guard at my end of the culvert, so I felt a little safer.
It took forever for them to leave. I couldn’t move. I heard Sleeter crashing through the brush, calling me. Quint continued crying in the car. Then Sleeter yelled at him some more, and told him to move over so he could drive.
I heard the car pull away, but didn’t dare to make a sound.
“Dylan?” Matthias called. “You okay?”
“Are they gone?” I whispered.
“You’re safe, for now. But we need to get you home.”
I tried to wiggle back out of the pipe, but couldn’t move. “Matthias? I think I’m…I’mstuck!”
“Don’t worry, m’boy, I’ll have you out of there in no time.”
He grabbed my ankles and yanked me out of the culvert as if I were a dead fish. My back scraped up against the rough cement. “Ow!” I howled. “Take it easy!”
I got to my feet, rubbing my back and blinking in the bright sun. Matthias shook his head. “You’re going to have some explaining to do, sonny. You’re a mess. Wait until your mother sees you.” He reached out and brushed some twigs and leaves off my shoulders. “Now, follow me. I know a shortcut through the woods. We can’t stay on this road, in case they come back looking for you.”
I looked down at my torn, muddy clothes, bloodstained hands, and scratched-up arms, and the dried brown splotches on my shirt from my bloody nose. My soaked sneakers squished with every step I took. Then I stared at Matthias as I followed him across the road and into the woods. His clothes were spotless. He didn’t even have any mud on his shiny black shoes.
He looked over his shoulder at me. “You’re going to have to tell your parents that you were kidnapped. You know that, don’t you?”
“No, way! They would never let me walk to town by myself again. Mom’s already really mad at me.”
“Why is she mad? You didn’t do anything wrong.”
“She thinks I lied to her about taking her dish towel, and playing the piano that night. Then she found all of her paintings thrown on the workbench in her studio, and thought that I did it! And then she said that I was the one playing with her eggbeater and it left pancake batter on the couch, and she made me clean it up.” I glared at him. “You always get me in trouble. Why do you have to play with all of our stuff?”
He shrugged. “I’m a ghost, Dylan. We’re naturally curious about the lives and possessions of those who follow us.”
“Well, you better put Dad’s book back. He’s been looking for it.”
We didn’t say much more as we trudged through the woods. I watched as a chipmunk scampered over the leaves and squatted on its hind legs to nibble at something it held in its paws. It was cute. “Matthias, look,” I said, pointing it out.
He hardly glanced at it. “It’s just a chipmunk. Now, stop dawdling. Sleeter could be looking for you.”

Here are some links for the book:
Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Matthias-Salvation-Jodi-L-Auborn/dp/1499321236/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1428164991&sr=8-1&keywords=matthias+the+ghost+of+salvation+point
Amazon UK:http://www.amazon.co.uk/Matthias-The-Ghost-Salvation-Point/dp/1499321236
My website: http://jodilauborn.webs.com/
And the book’s Shelfari page: http://www.shelfari.com/books/38703908/Matthias-The-Ghost-of-Salvation-Point


The Brigid Series

   Here’s a little info about author Sheila R Lamb and her novels

Tour Banner.

Book 2 CoverAbout Fiery Arrow: Brigid, a gifted druid priestess, seeks to preserve Ireland’s ancient religion when Christianity broaches its shores. When she confronts Patrick, the charismatic leader of the newly-arrived Christians, she realizes they have a shared history, tied together by a bond formed lifetimes before. As Brigid persists in reminding him of their past and of his promise to help her revive the Ancient Ones, Patrick denies the deal he made as a Book 3 coverlonely slave boy to a goddess he believed to be only in his imagination.

About Church of the Oak: When Brigid starts a rigorous druid training school called Cill Dara, she’s threatened with a lifetime of slavery. In order to survive, she must span two cultures and two faiths when the Christians and druids decide to teach their students together, an undertaking that places her in the priest Patrick’s path once again. Fifth-century Ireland is the backdrop for their turbulent lives, a place where history and myth live side by side.

Author Sheila Lamb discusses her life as a writer:

Virginia is my home, though I did start the Brigid Series a decade ago during a time when I had quit teaching and moved across the country…so the novels were written in Virginia, West Virginia, and Arizona.

I used to teach history, but now I teach English. Most schools separate History and English courses, which I find a little odd. I really support reading literature within the context of the time period in which was written (and studying art and music, for that matter). Separating “Brit Lit” for high school seniors (standard 12th grade English in Virginia) is weird and out of place when they take World History in 8th, 9th, or 10th grades. If I teach Swift’s Modest Proposal or Wollstonecraft’s Vindication of the Rights of Women, I have to do a history review lesson first, so we all understand why these pieces were being written at that time. It’s hard to understand Swift’s satire without understanding what in society he was satirizing. A student has to understand why Wollstonecraft’s time period was very different from our own and why she argued against Rousseau in that particular piece. Why not blend the History and English into a Humanities course?

A fiction writer who chooses a particular place or time period for a story must have a reasonAuthor Photo. Even a contemporary writer has to reflect the culture and place in which a story is written. Sci-fi writers have to keep true to the worlds that they create. I’m not saying you have to be an expert or have history degrees, but you do need to do some basic research.

For the Brigid Series, I had to have a working knowledge of what pre-Christian society might have been like in Ireland. Brigid’s struggle against Patrick’s Christian mission depends on it. Her druid belief in reincarnation is also crucial for her connection to him. The idea that they were tied together in previous lives was part of the belief system.

Likewise, For Patrick’s side of the story, it was important to have a general knowledge of the Roman Empire (and that the empire did not spread into Ireland, thus keeping it isolated). Christianity would have been standard practice by this time. When Patrick was kidnapped and made a slave at 16, he is faced with a huge culture shock, along with his physical hardships.

For historical fiction, understanding the culture and society is key. Later, Patrick was able to succeed in spreading the word of God because of tribal issues in ancient Ireland. Tribes, generally speaking, were not united at this time. Cattle raids against each other was common. Taking prisoners of war into some form of slavery or servitude was common. These two issues allowed Patrick to fill a gap.

The Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia are similar to some areas of Ireland in a lot of ways – the greenery, the mist, the humidity.

Both sides of my family have Irish ancestry, and I’ve worked with family members on genealogy research. My father’s Irish ancestors came through New York during the Famine era. My mother’s side, a Scots-Irish-British mix, immigrated much earlier and settled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Researching family history and genealogy led to my interest in Irish history overall. I began, years ago, researching the Irish Famine. That led to the political issue and England’s takeover of Irish lands, not allowing Catholics to practice their beliefs or the Gaelic language to be spoken, which led to….you see where this is going? It made me wonder about Irish becoming Catholic in the first place, which led to St. Patrick, which led to Brigid…It’s a really big rabbit hole.

This quote prompted the whole trilogy: “Her friendship with St. Patrick is attested by the following paragraph from the ‘Book of Armagh,’ a precious manuscript of the eighth century, the authenticity of which is beyond question: ‘inter sanctum Patricium Brigitanque Hibernesium columpnas amicitia caritatis inerat tanta, ut unum cor consiliumque haberent unum. Christus per illum illamque virtutes multas peregit.’” (Between St. Patrick and St. Brigid, the columns of the Irish, there was so great a friendship of charity that they had but one heart and one mind…”

Here’s one of the quotes that prompted the entire story for Church of the Oak: “St. Brigid came to him with her chosen virgins, bringing the shroud in which he would be enshrined. It is recorded that when St. Patrick and St. Brigid were united in their last prayer, a special vision was shown to him. He saw the whole of Ireland lit up with the brightest rays of Divine Faith.”

I was lucky enough to attend the Achill Island Archaeology Field school. One of the landmarks there was “the star,” a quartz rock set in the mountainside of Mt. Slievemore. I saw it every day for six weeks. I think some fellow archaeologists climbed up to it, but I never did. The mist may have taken over the couple of times I started the hike. It has always been a beautiful, unattainable place. For Brigid and Patrick, it would have been a place far from both of their worlds. A place where they could be without their followers and their titles and without their present forms, since it was a spiritual dream state.

I did use the Star as a setting in some of Brigid and Patrick’s dream sequences in Church of the Oak:

“They no longer call for you, do they?” Patrick asked when she met him on the mountain beside the quartzite slab, their secret place. She took his hand, which was flesh and not flesh, in the transitory place between waking and dreams.

“No, I’ve told them I share their wishes, but I will no longer do their bidding. I cannot live between both.”

Follow along with Sheila R. Lamb’s virtual book tour to learn more about Fiery Arrow and Church of the Oak, both of the Brigid Series!

Sheila Lamb received an MFA in Creative Writing from Queens University of Charlotte and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction from George Mason University. Her short stories have earned Pushcart and storySouth Million Writers Award nominations. She is a writer-in-residence at the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities and is a fellow at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts (VCCA). Sheila is the author of the Brigid of Ireland historical fantasy series, which tells the story of Brigid as goddess, druid, and saint.  Sheila has traveled throughout Ireland and participated in the Achill Archaeology Field School. She loves Irish history, family genealogy, and is easily distracted by primary source documents. She lives, teaches, and writes in the mountains of Virginia.


The Awakening of Abraham Brown

Here’s an extract from The Awakening of Abraham Brown by Graeme Smith.

Southern France, August 1944

As he lay there, the bayonet plunged deep into his left shoulder piercing his dark skin, cutting through the flesh and then striking the scapula.

The German smiled as he twisted his rifle around, intensifying the pain and discomfort so much so that Abraham Brown was at the threshold between consciousness and unconsciousness. Abraham looked up and released a deep sigh – his whole being relaxed – mind, body, and soul, and deep within his psyche, all the pain that he had suffered in life together with his father, grandfather and all his ancestry since being taken from Africa as slaves two centuries before; all this pain, struggle, strife, everything, it all just melted away.

In his mind’s eye he could see the truth, the truth that everyone looks for in life but rarely finds. His whole body was limp and he just lay there and looked up deep into the German’s eyes. The German was called Hans Gruman; his two sons and wife had been killed in an Allied bombing raid two years before. He was full of hate – hatred of the English, Americans and Allies. He had been a good man at heart but life and the war had eaten away at that goodness and turned him slowly into a monster.

Abraham Brown lay there in pain, watched by the other five Germans and his two fellow American comrades. Hans pulled the bayonet out of Abraham Brown who now felt no pain and prayed silently in his heart. Hans raised the rifle high above Abraham’s chest directly above the heart and uttered the words in German, “Die, black dog, die.” Just as he intended to thrust the rifle’s bayonet deep into Abraham’ s chest and heart, their eyes met again, but this time in just a microsecond of time Hans saw the monster he had become. All the hate and blood lust was reflected back by Abraham’s soul-searchingbrown eyes. Hans let out a scream and dropped the rifle. He staggered over to a raised clump of soil and grass, looked up into the heavens and slowly unholstered and drew out his side arm Luger. The other Germans had no idea of the horror Hans had seen when his eyes had met Abraham’s and now they thought he was play acting some sort of game before killing the three American servicemen. Hans stood there looking to the heavens, his once smart uniform dishevelled and war torn. His face, hair and hands were dirty.

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