Monday, July 28, 2014

Handed a Mystery

It's a bonus Monday post!  Here's a quick excerpt from the next short story I'm working on.  It is about a man, Maroshek, who is fighting to regain the capitol city and find his queen - who is supposedly literally a phoenix reborn.  But she's in enemy hands which is why he's attacked the capitol.  But he's been caught by surprise.  The royal army, supposedly holding the city, is virtually gone.  Maroshek is trying to figure out what's going on and, more importantly, whether there's a trap hiding for his battered army somewhere that he hasn't been able to figure out.


“Yorin.  Find me someone from the city.  A citizen.  Don’t scare him but bring him to me.  I want to see what the citizens know about the army.”

“I’ll see who I can find that may have useful information.”

Maroshek turned back to the battalion commanders as Yorin left the building.  Each reported in on losses and last minute changes in battle plans.  Maroshek, satisfied with what he heard, sent them on to their respective battalions.  He then checked in on the one company left to guard the gate and tend to the battlefield just outside the city.  When he returned Yorin was waiting with a man who looked older than the city itself.  And, considering the capitol had been in existence for over seven hundred years, that was saying something.

“Good sir,” Maroshek crouched down in front of the old man seated on a stool, “Do you know where so many of the soldiers from the royal army have gone?  Are they hiding somewhere?”

“No.”

Maroshek furrowed his brow.  He was about to say something when the man continued.

“They’re sick.  Many of them are dead.  It’s her.”

Maroshek blinked several times, “What do you mean?”

“Summer fever.  Most of the royal army contracted it.  Those who aren’t dead are still recovering.  Only a few have managed to remain on the walls.”

“What about the rest of what you said?”

The old man grinned at Maroshek, “I know who you are Lion.  You seek her.  She did this.  She gave them the fever.”

“You speak of Jaylen,” Maroshek fell back on his heels.

“I do.  The Phoenix Queen comes.  The summer fever protected those who believed in her and destroyed many who did not.”

“And the ones on the walls?  How have they survived?”

“The Overlord protected a few.  As many as he could.”

“Do you know if he is still in the city?”

The old man shook his head and studied his feet.  Maroshek took a deep breath and stood.  He clasped the man on the shoulder before turning to Yorin.

“What do you think?”

Yorin scrubbed his face for several seconds, “I’m not sure what to think.  From what I’ve seen it makes sense.  But really?  It’s hard to believe.”

“Well then, please make sure this man gets back to his house safely and we’ll go check it out.  There is most certainly more going on here than we know.”

Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein was a rather interesting novel.  First, it’s told from the dog’s point of view.  This provides an interesting way of telling the story.  The main character is Enzo the dog.  His owner, Denny, is a race car driver/instructor/sales person at a high end car dealer.  Enzo witnesses Denny’s life from the time he gets married to having their first child and the problems that then ensue.

This was a well told story.  You certainly have to set aside the idea that a dog can narrate a story and that he can be as self-aware as he is being a dog.  Get beyond that and look at the story itself.  It is a touching story about the drama of life.  The characters are fairly well developed.  A few of the more minor characters felt a little flat but it wasn’t enough to detract from the story.

I think the only thing I didn’t like as much was the ending.  It just felt a little too predictable.  But, seeing as it is the ending, I can’t say much more or I’ll ruin it.  So, go read it.  It is worth the read.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Random Sunday – Naps, Toads, and Time

I know I have officially adopted parental ways.  No, seriously.  It’s not like I haven’t been a parent for almost two years now.  But, this is one of those hallmarks that any parent with a toddler is very familiar with.  It’s called How Much Can I Get Done When My Child Is Sleeping.  I have to say I was pretty impressed with myself.  I got most of the living room picked up and a nine block wall hanging quilt top, complete with sashing and a border, assembled before my son woke up.  I even got far enough to begin the quilting part of it.  Which is a really good thing as I am aiming to have it done for Saturday…

I don’t know what it is, but the last couple times I’ve been over to my Mom and Dad’s, there are a bagillion tiny little toads in their backyard.  I’m talking the things are so little they’d sit comfortably on a dime.  My son gets all excited over seeing them.  The only drawback is that either you don’t walk in the backyard or you pray the grass protects the toads because you can’t see the things until you’re basically walking on them.

As I’m getting ready for my son’s second birthday, which is in less than a month, I am realizing time is just flying by.  Not only is my baby now almost 2, but I’m officially hitting the half-way point of my master’s as well.  I am hoping that once summer is over, and summers are always busy for us, I can take a little time to slow down some.  I don’t feel like I’m missing anything right now but I want to be able to take a little more time to enjoy it than I can at this point.