Shameless Plug: Seasonal Book Promo

It’s that time of year for special gift-giving around my neck of the woods (so to speak) and as it is in many other places. And what better gift than a book or two?

Here are two books for your perusal. I hope you’ll consider them for this holiday season or for any gift-giving occasion.

“Storytellin: True And Fictional Short Stories Of Arkansas”. A collection of mixed-genre stories set in Arkansas from the early 1900s to the 1950s. Each of the fictional stories is preceded by a Cotner family story or event that inspired the fictional tales. Set against the rugged backdrop of the Ouachita Mountains these stories bring ageless tales of hope, fear, laughter, retribution, and kindness.

“Mystery Of The Death Hearth”. A Celtic tale of murder, power, and intrigue. In a far-flung outpost of the Roman Empire, the Great Cross—made of Celtic gold and amber now claimed by the Roman church—goes missing along with a fortune in coins and precious gems. Murder soon follows, igniting tensions when church leaders maneuvering for political gain are implicated in the violent plot. When news reaches the Grand Prefect in Rome, Enforcers are sent to identify the thieves and recover the missing treasure. The trail leads to the Brendan Valley where it falls to deputy magistrate Weylyn de Gort to work with those whose ways are alien to his Elder Faith beliefs. Along the way, he must find an elusive young Celt girl and her missing grandfather, unravel the mystery of an Elder’s vision, and avoid death at the hands of an assassin as he faces the greatest challenge of his life.

Mystery Of The Death Hearth Prologue

June 21st in the Roman calendar

Summer Solstice

“This sacred site has been here longer than we can remember,” Elder Blaine the Slender told the small group of children clustered around him. They were surrounded by festival vendors in tents bearing colorful flags, all part of the crowd gathered there to celebrate the Solstice holiday. “Heed these stories well, so you may pass them to those who will come after you.”

He saw them nod, some smiling, many somber, all attentive.

“Learn your crafts well, listen to your elders, honor the gods, and respect the land. Enjoy the life you have been granted and help others do the same. No other goals should be attempted lest you fall into the evil snare of greed and dishonesty.”

A small voice whispered, “He means the Romans, right?”

“Not just Romans, young one. Celts, too, face dark temptations. The two worst enemies we all face are liars and thieves,” the Elder continued. “Take nothing that isn’t yours. Honor the code of doing what you will so long as you harm no one or their possessions. Have compassion for those less fortunate, help those in need. Follow the path of our Celtic Elder Faith, stay true to its teachings. You will be wise to–”

Blaine’s words were interrupted by heavy beating of drums and cheers from celebrants within the inner circle of the standing stones. Before Blaine could continue, a child spoke up.

“What about murderers, Elder? Aren’t they an enemy, too?”

Elder Blaine nodded. “Truly spoken young one. Murderers are the worst kind of thief. They steal your life.”

 

 

 

 

Goodbye February!

RayBradburyOnWriting

February 29th has arrived, the month almost over, and my birthday is six days behind me. I’ve finally come up for air after spending the entire month working on wips (works in progress) adding new chapters to the second book in my Celtic murder mystery series, fresh stories in new worlds for my second book of short stories, additional poems for publication, all the while juggling life’s daily (and necessary) interruptions.

Where has the time gone?

Who cares, I’m writing!

Jack Friday Sales Event!

Happy Holidays colorized Pen and Ink copyright noticed

Forget Black Friday sales events. On this blog it’s Jack Friday.

Actually, it’s a sales event that goes beyond just this Friday featuring the Kindle editions of both my short story collection and my Celtic murder mystery novel. They’re  on sale now through December 5th for just $0.99 each. From December 6th through December 23rd they will be half their usual listed price.

Grab a copy for yourself or purchase for family and friends.

 

Folklore In Fiction

Here’s a re-blog of fellow Arkansas writer, Susan A. Holmes, on ‘Folklore In Fiction’ with an excerpt from her book Deadly Ties. She will be speaking at the Fayetteville, Arkansas Public Library, October 11th from 2 – 4 p.m. Event will include her presentation, questions and answers, meet and greet, and books sales and signings.  Don’t miss this opportunity to visit with the author. More information on the presentation can be found here.

And now, the re-blog:

Folklore in Fiction

yoachum-dollar-sprinkle-coins

The Yokum Dollar

I’m an “up close and personal” kind of researcher. So when I’m working on my regional series, that means I’m often out in the hills, meeting people and listening to the stories that have been handed down, one generation to the next, keeping the old legends alive. The story of the Yokum Dollar is one of those legends that I heard on multiple occasions, with each storyteller claiming some connection with the families involved. I stayed true to the heart of the tale when writing the legend into my own book, while fictionalizing elements as needed to suit the plot. Here’s the excerpt from Deadly Ties:

*

….Maggie wandered among the exhibits, watching craftsmen make brooms and baskets, tapping her foot to the dulcimer music, and listening to the storytellers who had drawn a sizable crowd in the shade of tall oaks. She stopped to listen to a woman dressed in a style Maggie imagined was common among frontier women long ago. Sturdy boots peeked out from beneath the hem of her skirt, and the simple cotton blouse she wore looked homespun. Her steel gray hair was tucked beneath a bonnet.

“This here story has been handed down through my family ever since 1826,” the woman told the audience. “That’s about the time the first Yokum—that’d be Jamie Lee Yokum—settled along the big river herabouts. My family farmed the land down-river from the Yokum place, which is how I come to know this tale.”

“This land belonged to the Chickasaw tribe, and they were good neighbors, always sharing what they had. They were good traders, too, and pretty near famous for their beautiful silver jewelry. They always had plenty of silver but nobody knew—’cept the Indians, of course—where it all came from. Some said it was from a silver mine, and some claimed it was Spanish silver, but nobody knew for sure.

“When the government decided they wanted the Indians’ land, the Yokums traded some of their wagons and supplies in exchange for information about the source of that silver. As the story goes, the Indians shared their secret with Jamie Lee. They told him where he might find some of that silver, and he told his brothers. Times being what they was, and money being about as hard to come by as an honest politician, the Yokums decided to use that silver and make their own coin. They minted their own dollars with that there silver. For years, people all over the Ozarks used the Yokum dollars as legal tender.”

The storyteller looked across the crowd. “Well, you can probably guess what happened next. The federal government didn’t take too kindly to somebody else making money. They didn’t like the competition, my granddaddy said.” There were chuckles and murmurs of agreement from some in the crowd.

“The federal agents confiscated all the Yokum dollars they could get their hands on. What they really wanted was the source of that silver, but Jamie Lee wouldn’t tell ‘em where to find it. After a while, the agents gave up and went back to Washington.”

The storyteller paused for a sip of lemonade. “It wasn’t long after that when Jamie Lee Yokum passed away. His two brothers died soon after, crossing the Rockies on their way out to California. Those men were the only ones who knew the Indians’ secret and they took that secret to their graves, but they did leave some clues in letters they’d written to their cousins. Over the years, a lot of people have searched high and low for that silver, but nobody’s ever found it. But who knows? Maybe you’ll be the one to learn the truth about the Indian Silver Legend.”

Deadly Ties © 2013

 *

To this day, people continue to search for the famed silver, with many a treasure hunter convinced a mine or cave does indeed exist somewhere in the hills. Some believe the answer lies near or under Beaver Lake in Arkansas while others argue the location is Table Rock Lake in Missouri. And so the legend lives on…

Book Review: Pit of Vipers

PitofVipersCover

Pit of Vipers is the second book in Millie Thom’s wonderfully detailed and enthralling Sons of Kings trilogy set in the 9th Century. Here the epic, heroic adventure continues as we follow historical Alfred, fictional Eadwulf, and hordes of invading Danish Vikings.

Young Alfred, brother of kings, learns to hone his leadership skills and navigate the complexities of the royal court he is destined to rule. Eadwulf is back in Mercia four years now after being held slave of the Danes and is dead set on seeking revenge against his scheming, traitorous, cold-blooded uncle, Burgred.

This story has everything historical fiction fans could hope for: strong, believable characters, meticulously rendered historical settings, love and heartache, scheming intrigue, vicious deceptions, revenge, and epic conflict.

The author’s research into and knowledge of the time period provides an in-depth, fascinating look into the trials, tribulations, and challenges of those who lived in this historic period. We are drawn into their lives, suffering with them through their heartaches, rejoicing with them during moments of joy, and we are provided a front-row seat to witness the battles—both victories and defeats, private and epic—against the Anglo-Saxon’s nemesis, the great heathen armies of the Danes of the 9th Century.

No spoilers here but Pit of Vipers ends on an unexpected cliff-hanger that provides what I hope is a tantalizing transition to the third book of Millie Thom’s Sons of Kings trilogy.

I look forward to reading the final installment of this classic adventure.

Vikings! Run! (To Get Them Free This Week, That Is)

Author Millie Thom is offering her first book in the Sons of Kings trilogy Shadow of the Raven for free this week. I have read this book and really enjoyed it.

Here’s a book review I did of Shadow of the Raven.

Next week, she’ll offer her second in the Sons of Kings series, Pit of Vipers (which I am currently enjoying). Her books are a great read especially for those of us who enjoy historical fiction.

From Millie Thom’s website on the giveaways:

For anyone interested in getting free books on Amazon, today {June 11th, 2015} is the first of my five free days for ‘Shadow of the Raven‘, Book One of my Viking trilogy.

Shadow of the Raven (Medium)

Next week June 18 – 22 (Thursday – Monday) the second book of my trilogy, Pit of Vipers, will also be free. 

Pit of Vipers Final (Medium)

 

 

Book Review: Shadow of the Raven

Shadow of the Raven Millie Thom

Shadow of the Raven, the first book in the Sons of Kings trilogy by author Millie Thom, is a well-researched, beautifully written historical novel set in the 9th Century.

It is rare I find a book so wonderfully constructed that it is capable of transporting me back to another place and time. In the Shadow of the Raven, author Millie Thom has done just that.

This heroic adventure revolves around historical Alfred, fictional Eadwulf, and marauding Danish Vikings.

Rich in detail, full of intrigue, action, deception, romance and revenge, the reader is quickly and effortlessly pulled into the story to experience the trials, tribulations, and development of men who would be leaders and of those who would serve them.

From the daily toil of lowly servant thralls and their beds of straw, to the fearsome Danes in their mighty Dragonships, to the well-appointed and conniving courts of kings, the reader is immersed in a gripping, vibrant narrative. The many and varied characters are believable, the dialogue finely crafted, and the settings of Britain, Western Europe, Scandinavia, and Rome are filled with superb, lush details so vivid it seems possible to smell the cook fires, feel the icy winds of the North Sea, and hear the cries of battle and lamentations of grieving women and children as the divergent groups vie for wealth and power on both a personal and epic scale.

If you enjoy historical fiction and/or delight in reading a well-crafted, highly descriptive and engrossing story line, you will enjoy this book. I certainly did.

Learn more about the author by visiting her website at milliethom.wordpress.com