Jump on board the #RRBCTreatReads Blog Hop! #RRBC #RWISA

Hello, ladies and gentleman!  I’m back with a lot of fun for you to dive into and some amazing reads hot on my “tail,” as they say down in Texas.

For 13 days, the amazing RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB is hosting a blog hop for the grand prize winner, the runner-ups and the finalists in the 2017 KCT INT’L LITERARY AWARDS CONTESTS!  Now, all of these members are RWISA Members and that means that you can bet your bottom dollar, the reads are good!  (If you don’t know about RWISA, hurry and check them out!)

I’m sharing the Line-up here because I can just feel you itching for some good reads and you can definitely find one here, every day thru the 30th.

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“TREAT” READS BLOG HOP LINE-UP

Tuesday, 9/18/18: “THE IMPROBABLE JOURNEYS OF BILLY BATTLES” by Ronald Yates

Wednesday, 9/19/18:  “IN THE SHADOW OF LIES” by Mary Adler

Thursday, 9/20/18:  “LETTING GO INTO PERFECT LOVE” by Gwen Plano

Friday, 9/21/18:  “SON OF MY FATHER” by Peggy Hattendorf

Saturday, 9/22/18:  “EXCLUSIVE PEDIGREE” by Robert Fear

Sunday, 9/23/18:  “ONE DYKE COZY” by Rhani D’Chae

Monday, 9/24/18:  “OUTSHINE” by Karen Ingalls

Tuesday, 9/25/18:  “TURPITUDE” by Bernard Foong

Wednesday, 9/26/18:  “DOG BONE SOUP”  by Bette A. Stevens

Thursday, 9/27/18:  “HIEROGLYPH” by Wendy Scott

Friday, 9/28/18:  “THE WAY TO HER HEART” by Amy Reece

Saturday, 9/29/18:  “ELEMENTS” by Nia Markos

Sunday, 9/30/18:  “DESTINY’S PLAN” by Victoria Saccenti

Sunday, 9/30/18:  “THE RECTOR:  A CHRISTIAN MURDER MYSTERY” by Michael Hicks Thompson

I’d love for you to assist me in helping to promote these awesome reads, and here is how you can lend your support:

1)  Pick up a copy of one of these amazing books, if you haven’t already;

2)  Follow along each day by heading to Twitter, performing a search there for #RRBCTreatReads, clicking the “Latest” tab and then re-tweeting all the tweets you see which include the hashtag #RRBCTreatReads;

3)  Leave a comment below to show your support and it will also garner you an entry into a raffle for a gift card after the hop has ended.  This is a win win situation, if I ever did see one!

That’s all there is to it!  Nothing hard about it.

Thanks so much in advance for your support and the next time, I promise you an amazing, thought-provoking blog post!  I know how much you love those!

Take care…

(If you’d like to become a member of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB where author support is overwhelmingly amazing, simply JOIN US!)

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Do You Know Your Rights? #RRBC

It baffles me that so many people don’t know their constitutional rights, so today, I want to share with you those rights, as outlined by the Constitution of the United States of America via the Bill of Rights, whether our government or law enforcement honors them or not…

Here are the first 10 Amendments:

Amendment 1 – Freedom of religion, speech and the press

Amendment 2 – The right to bear arms

Amendment 3 – The housing of soldiers

Amendment 4 – Protection from unreasonable searches and seizures

Amendment 5 – Protection of rights to life, liberty and property

Amendment 6 – Rights of accused persons in criminal cases

Amendment 7 – Rights in civil cases

Amendment 8 – Excessive bail, fines and punishments forbidden

Amendment 9 – Other rights kept by the people

Amendment 10 – Undelegated powers kept by the states and the people

To read them all in their entirety and for a complete list of ALL of the amendments, click HERE.

For further learning in the area of our government, check out these links:

*United States Constitution

*The Declaration of Independence

What do you think of our “rights” as they have been laid out for us?  Do you think our government honors and upholds these rights?  Do you think that everyone is equally protected under these rights?

I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Thanks for dropping by!

Introducing…New Release by @NonnieJules #RRBC #RWISA

“…AND THE MUSIC PLAYED” 

poetry2a

Blurb:

This book is the sequel and also the final chapter in the love story between Giani and Christine. The first book, “IF ONLY THERE WAS MUSIC…The Poetry of Forbidden Love” (a co-authored poetic project), was a love story told thru the eyes of two lovers…but written for the hearts of many.

Across oceans and thru many barriers, two hearts try to connect – but with the distance between them, will their love survive? And, with the forces-that-be against them, coming in the form of murder plots and domestic abuse, the bigger question is…will they?

***

Available on Amazon now! $2.99

To my dearest reader:  If you should encounter any typo sduring your read of this book, I would so appreciate you letting me know at 4WillsPublishing@gmail.com.  Even with the keenest of vision, mistakes are always possible.  

UPDATE:  I took the original copy down to make a few formatting corrections on 4/8/18 @ 8:58 PM CT, so if you purchased a copy before this time, please wait 48 hours and re-download for a better read.  If I notice that the problem still exists, I will remove it and send it back for re-formatting.

Book Trailer:

 

Thanks for your support and enjoy this short story read!

***

NOTE:  I’m not sure why, but the Look Inside feature on Amazon shows distorted text.  I assure you that is not the case when you actually purchase the book.

Thanks!

All About The #RRBC Sponsors Blog Hop! – #RWISA – @FredsDiary1981

Welcome to the first ever ALL ABOUT THE SPONSORS BLOG HOP!  These kind members of the RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB (RRBC) donated their support during the 2017 conference, in the way of gift card and Kindle e-book donations for our Gift Basket Raffle. They supported us and now we are showing our support of them by pushing their book(s).  
 
We ask that you pick up a copy of the title listed and after reading it, leave a review.  There are several books on tour today, so please visit the HOP’S main page to follow along.  
 
Also, for every comment that you leave along this tour, including on the HOP’S main page, your name will be entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card to be awarded at the end of the tour!
***

“FRED’S DIARY 1981” 

Fred's Diary by Robert Fear

Blurb:

Have you ever wanted to read someone else’s diary?

Would you like to experience travelling in Asia without leaving home?

Then this book is for you. Fred’s Diary 1981 is a fascinating insight into a young man’s travels around Asia in the early 1980’s. This is a unique opportunity to delve into Fred’s daily diary, which details the 158 days he spent travelling around Asia. Follow Fred throughout his extensive travels to Hong Kong, Thailand, India and Nepal.

Appreciate the many friendships formed along the way with fellow-travellers.

Relive the highs and lows that he experienced during this fascinating journey.

Recognise the huge differences in technology, particularly communications.

Become immersed in the different cultures, peoples and surroundings of Asia in the early 1980’s.

Understand more about the drug culture of the 1980’s, especially in Thailand and Nepal.

Learn from Fred’s youthful mistakes, especially if your dream of travelling to Asia becomes a reality.

AUTHOR, ROBERT FEAR

***
This blog hop sponsored by:  4WillsPublishing

 

**Leave a comment below and your name will be entered into a drawing for an Amazon gift card!

Let’s Play Follow The Leader – @rijanjks #RRBC #RWISA

Thank you all for dropping by today.  I hope it was the title of this post that enticed you to do so.

Many of you may be aware that early last year I took my debut novel, “DAYDREAM’S DAUGHTER, NIGHTMARE’S FRIEND” down from Amazon.  (I’ve recently discovered that in my haste to do so, I only removed the e-book format and it is still there in paperback format, but hopefully, no one’s buying it).  I did this, because although it received many positive reviews, I just happened to open a paperback copy one day to find some very glaring “hiccups.”  I was so blown away (that they were glaring…at least to me) that I rushed to Amazon and yanked it down with such force, I think I hurt my arm. (I’m sorry, poor arm).

Anyway, with running the hugely busy and successful communities known as RRBC & RWISA, I have yet to re-edit and put the book back up for sell and I won’t, until it is at its absolute very best!  I’d like to apologize to those of you who still promote that book, even when you notice that I haven’t retweeted your tweet.  That’s only because I am strongly opposed to doing so when I know it’s not at its best in the current form.  But again, thank you so much  for supporting me. (Honestly, if you would stop pushing it at the moment, I’d greatly appreciate that).

On my mission to encourage others to take their writing reputations seriously by only allowing the best of their work to be sold to readers, I think Author, Jan Sikes might have just heard me screaming all over the place.  Not long ago, Jan realized that there were “hiccups” in one of her books, so what did she do?  You guessed it!  She took it down, sent it thru a re-edit and now it’s back up and ready to lay cradled in the crook of your arm, each night as you read yourself to sleep.

Jan notified me recently that the book was “ready” and it is also on sale now for only $.99, and because I am so proud of her for taking her book down to ensure that it was at its best before she sold another copy, I want to assist in the book’s promotion, especially while it’s at this great price point!

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you, the NEWLY POLISHED & RE-EDITED

“FLOWERS AND STONE”

Flowers and Stone by Jan Sikes

Jan is a superb story-teller so I am asking you to please, please, please join me in helping her to push her re-released, newly edited book, “FLOWERS AND STONE!”

Jan is also a member of the very elite and exclusive RWISA: RAVE WRITERS – INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS and so I invite you to visit her profile page there.  You’ll quickly learn why you should check out her books.

My final request, if you want to go a step further in helping to promote Jan’s re-release: how about re-blogging this page onto your own site and definitely share it on your social media forums.  I know it would move her to tears to see all the support!

Friends, anytime you’d like me to help you promote you or your good reads here on my site, just drop me a line at NonnieJules@gmail.com.  Being able to be of service to others (to you), is my greatest mission in this beautiful life of mine.

Until next time…

 

That’s What Love Will Do… #Poetry #RRBC #RWISA

Happy Valentine’s Day, Lovers all over the world!

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I was speaking with a friend of mine on Monday, who was sharing with me the plight of his situation with his sweet love.  He told me that they were constantly at odds with each other, and no matter how he tried, there was always something he’d do or say to upset her.  “All I want to do is love her” he said, voice trembling from the upset.

“I can’t eat, sleep or even think when we’re in this place…but that’s what love will do to you,” he trailed off.

I ended our conversation so that I could get back to my constant state of busy, but the words that’s what love will do…lingered in my head.  It took me 18 minutes to pen this poem in tribute to my friend.

***

“THAT’S WHAT LOVE WILL DO”

Can’t eat, can’t sleep
Can’t think, can’t breathe
Can’t run, can’t walk
Can’t feel, can’t dream
That’s what love will do.

No life, no fun
No laughter, no tears
No rain, no sun
Nothing but fear
That’s what love will do.

Pinch my skin, nothing I feel
Broken but standing, hope prayers will heal
Blind but reaching, the air is cold
Remembering her hands, memories unfold
That’s what love will do.

Trust…broken
This…the pay
My prayer is that
She’ll return someday

Crying, dying, because of you
You told me, warned me
That’s what love would do.

~ Nonnie Jules

What about you…has love ever pulled you out onto the floor when you weren’t in the mood to dance?  Has it ever taken you for a ride in a hot air balloon, and then suddenly pushed you out without a parachute?  Has it kept you awake at night, crying into your pillow, wondering if your heart was physically breaking?  There has to be something.  So, tell us…what has love done to you?

A Horrible Ending or a Beautiful Beginning…how do you see it? #RRBC #RWISA

Goodbye 2017

(I wrote this post in January but forgot to publish it.  Now, in May, you get to enjoy it).

Yesterday I spent a full two hours sitting in my husband’s recliner, watching television.  Now, although this may seem mundane to you, let me explain why it was amazing for me.

I never have time in my days to just sit and watch television anymore.  Although I’ve never been a huge ‘tuber,’ there are some shows that I just couldn’t live without…in my old life.

Lifetime Television was once my closest friend.  That’s not to say that I don’t have very dear friends, because I do, but, I would spend countless hours on the treadmill, watching back to back Lifetime movies.  There’s a rule in my home that I can’t watch television unless I’m exercising, and back then, I think I was exercising more, just to watch my shows.

Since the beginning of RAVE REVIEWS BOOK CLUB, I no longer have the opportunity to enjoy many of the luxuries I once did.  A complaint?  No, just a truth.  So, now I’m sure you can understand why my exuberance over the two hours I got to steal away yesterday, reclining and watching T.V., meant so much to me.

Yesterday, I didn’t watch Lifetime, though. And, although I couldn’t turn away, my time in front of the tube wasn’t enjoyable at all.  I spent two hours, subjecting myself to the most horrific stories ever told, on a show called “I SURVIVED…” This is a series about people who have suffered thru, and survived unimaginable events in their lives, that have left them permanently scarred on the outside, as well as emotionally destroyed on the inside…despite their claims of being “OK.”

Story after story, I cringed and I cried:

-A 19 year old freshman college student who decided to leave a party and walk back to her dorm alone, kidnapped as she waited outside a store for a friend to meet her.  This beautiful darling was pulled into a car at gunpoint, taken to a home, repeatedly raped, then chained by her wrists and strung up in the ceiling…and, if that wasn’t enough…she was tortured more than what I’ve mentioned;

-A 12 year old who was kidnapped from his home during the middle of the night by a 17 year old.  Taken not far away from home – one by one, every bone in his body was broken.  Both ankles twisted and turned to the back, knees broken, ribs broken…all because his abductor said he was fascinated by the sound of breaking bones;

-A depressed man who would beg his wife daily to just “put him out of his misery by shooting him in the head”; on a fishing trip with his friend, his brother and sister-n-law. When they hit a rough patch of water and the boat tipped over, he was forced to make a decision:  did he really want to die, or did he want to rage against the freezing waters and fight to stay alive?  He survived…his brother and sister-n-law didn’t;

-A 25 yr old woman offers a co-worker a ride home from work.  When she realizes that he has other intentions, none of them good, she pulls over and asks him to get out of her car.  He attacks her right in the middle of a nice suburban neighborhood, on a public street.  He rapes her there, then throws her back into the car, drives her to the woods, forces her to take off her clothes and assaults her repeatedly. As if that isn’t enough,  he forces her to perform oral sex on him, and then, grabbing a huge tree branch – he rapes her with that, too.  This monster then proceeds to beat her repeatedly in the head with branches and his fists – finishing up by repeatedly kicking her in the ribs with his steel-toe boots.  He leaves her there to die;

-Lastly, a man picks up two hitch-hikers with a dog.  His gut is telling him that it’s a bad idea, but he says later…he felt sorry for the dog.  His passengers violently attack him while he’s driving by beating him in the head with a hammer, pushing him out of the moving vehicle, then leaving him in the freezing snow to die as they drive away with his van. He sees them backing up and thinks that maybe they’ve had a change of heart and are returning for him.  The dog had accidentally jumped out of the van and they were coming back for it…not him. I found out just recently, that this man is currently the professor of one of my nieces.  Yes, he survived;

There is more, but I’m sure by now you get the picture and you want to turn away from my words.

When it comes to my adult daughters, the world knows that I am overly-protective…just as if they were still toddlers.  I’m no meek and mild damsel and by nature and my DNA, I am a fighter, but when thoughts of this level of cruelty pop into my head, potentially  involving my daughters, I get weak because their pain is my kryptonite.

The last year has held so many horrible memories…not just for me, but I’m sure you’ve had your share, as well.  Seeing these horrific acts being played out in front of my very eyes (albeit depictions on a TV screen) brought me to an even greater awareness of the ugly that lives in so many people.

The term “road rage” has given way to many behaving poorly on our roads and behind the wheels of cars.  The news is filled with stories of young people’s lives senselessly taken, simply because they made a wrong turn or maybe even crossed over in front of another car, because of a blind spot…they just didn’t see the other car.  Unfortunately, many have died because of these innocent mistakes.

Those of you who follow or know me, are very aware that I am a strong advocate for “right.” Whether I’m preaching against social injustice or taking a stance against the abuse of children or the disrespect of adults by children…I stand firmly planted in wanting and working towards change and growth for the betterment of all.

2017 along with other years past, have brought into clear focus for me that the devil is alive and well.  I don’t mean those little red devils that sit on your shoulder encouraging you to eat that entire chocolate cake, I’m referring to the ones that walk around in human form.  You may not believe that they’re devils, but I sure do.  Anyone who can harm or hurt another, cannot have a heart, or be human for that matter.  You have to be some kind of monster to engage in any of the acts that I witnessed on that show mentioned above.

This year, I’m praying that we will all grow and become (even just a little bit) better.  The way we treat others, the way we speak to others, or, if we’re dealing with others in dishonest ways…let’s work on that, too.  Of course the truth hurts, but lies and lures are deadly.

If you’re looking forward to 2018 being a lot better than 2017, we’re going to all have to work together…we’ll each have to do our part;  you work in your neck of the woods, and I’ll work in mine.  When all’s said and done, we’ll meet somewhere in the middle and compare notes.  I want what’s written on my pages to read very similarly to yours…and when combined, I want our shared story to reflect pure love, tales of gentle hearts and the birth of unfailing unity.

Tell me, what do you think of my new vision?  Is it at all possible?

Until next time…

 

 

 

 

 

It’s October and we all need some #HalloweenWritingPrompts in our life! @WendyJayneScott #RRBC #RWISA

Hello, Friends!

It’s October, the month of ghouls and goblins and all things spooky, but guess what…it’s also the best time to learn about writing about ghouls, goblins and all things spooky.

INTRODUCING:

“HALLOWEEN WRITING PROMPTS”

Halloween Writing Prompts by W J Scott

Blurb:

13 Spooky Writing Prompts to ignite your imagination.
Bats and cats, owls and howls, trick-or-treat, hosts and ghosts.
Kids, have fun this Halloween by creating spooky stories to scare your family and friends.

My recommendation:

I haven’t read this book yet, only peeked thru it, but, I have purchased my copy.  It’s a short read (45 pages long) and as a new release, already has seven 5 star reviews.  Now, typically, I wouldn’t even mention reviews as we know that not everyone even knows what reviewing is all about, but, since it’s this author, a very talented writer and also member of the exclusive RAVE WRITERS – INTERNATIONAL SOCIETY OF AUTHORS (RWISA), whom I am familiar with, I would say that those seven reviews are probably accurate.

I’m encouraging you today to run out and get your copy to share with your kids, your nieces and nephews, your students, if you’re a mind-molder (teacher) or even to enjoy on your own, a profound appreciation of good writing.

W. J. Scott knows how to spin tales, and now, she’s putting her own spin on teaching others how to do the same.

HAPPY HALLOWEENING, ALL!

 

 

Welcome to Day #7 of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase – @rijanjks #RRBC #RWISA

RWISA TOUR (1)

Welcome, readers!  Today is the 7th day (8/7/17) of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour!  For 31 days, a new RWISA member will be profiled on 55-60 blogs across the globe, to introduce you to some good reading and some talented writers.  We hope that you will visit each member’s Author Page and their Author Story and share your comments and LIKE their pages.  You may find their books within the RWISA catalog.  And, without further ado…

Author, Jan Sikes

“RESPECT”

Henry Jacobsen ran gnarled fingers through 84 years of living and swatted at a fly that buzzed around his head. The sun warmed his old bones and he turned to face his longtime friend. “You know, Aaron, what the world needs now, is for people to show a little more respect to each other. Back in my day, if I acted or talked disrespectful, I got my hide tanned.”

The wooden boards underneath Aaron’s rocker creaked in syncopated rhythm with his movement. “Yep, Henry. Times are different nowadays.”

Henry timed his chair rhythm with Aaron’s. “Before I came to stay here, I had a house over on Boulder Street. There was a family a few doors down that was always borrowing things from me, but somehow they never remembered to return any of them.”

Aaron nodded. “I’ve had it happen to me many times.”

“I pulled into the driveway one day just in time to see the oldest kid unscrewing my water hose. By the time I parked the car and got out, he had it slung over his shoulder.” Henry’s frown deepened. “It’s frustrating when you can’t move like you used to.”

He gazed across the green manicured lawn of the Post Oaks Retirement Center as if viewing some long-ago forgotten scene.

“Well?” Aaron prodded. “What did you do?”

“I hollered at him and asked what in the world he thought he was doing. And you know what he had the nerve to say to me?” Henry screwed up his face.

“Nope.”

“He said that he was taking my water hose so he could wash his motorcycle.”

“Don’t that beat all? Aaron clicked his tongue. “Didn’t even bother to ask you.”

“I saw red. I lit into him like nobody’s business,” he growled. “The nerve. Take a man’s things like they meant nothing.”

Aaron shifted to take the weight off his bad hip. “There was a day when I would’ve jumped a guy for pulling a stunt like that. But those times are over for me. At this point, I’m doin’ good just to make it from the bed to the bathroom without embarrassing myself.”

“Yeah, me too. But, I tell you, I didn’t take it lying down. I told him what a rotten, no good, worthless human being he was and that he’d better put the water hose down or I’d call the cops and turn him in for stealing.”

“What did he do then?”

“He laughed in my face…told me I was too old to use the damn water hose anyway and he needed it.”

“Why, the nerve!”

“I marched myself inside and called the cops. When they came, I gave them a list of everything they had so-called borrowed and said I wanted it all back.”

“Did you get it?”

“Yeah. In pieces. The weed eater was battered and wouldn’t start. My shovel was broken in half. The water hose was split in two pieces. All of it was in shambles. Just no respect. That’s what the world has come to.”

Silence spun a web between the two old-timers who’d seen more than a lifetime of battles.

“I remember when I was in the Army. Nobody ever pilfered in someone else’s belongings. I did two tours overseas, fighting for this country and now I have to wonder what for.” Henry’s voice trembled. “The way folks carry on is a shame. Just no regard for one another.”

Aaron halted the rocker and leaned forward. “You’re right, Henry. The mess things are in is downright disgraceful. Take for instance the presidential election. Now, I can’t say I agree with the candidate who won, but for people to go out and tear stuff up, turn on friends and family who voted for him, and get consumed with hatred is ridiculous. No one is willing to bend.”

“Never saw anything like it,” Henry agreed. “I remember when John F. Kennedy won the election in 1960. People spoke out against him because he was catholic. But, they weren’t filled with the kind of hatred they are today. It pains me to think about what kind of society our grandkids are growing up in. For old geezers like ourselves, it don’t really matter all that much. We’re on our way out.”

“Dinosaurs. Men like us with backbone and decency are disappearing just like those prehistoric creatures did. I’d sure like to see something that would give me hope for the future. Hope for our country.” Aaron’s rheumy eyes glistened.

Henry pushed up from the rocker and stretched. It troubled him more than he could say that his grandchildren were growing up in these unstable times. A tired old man needs salve for his weary soul.

Just as he was about to shuffle inside, he saw his grandson, Micah, bounding across the lawn.

Micah waved. “Hi, Grandpa.”

Henry waved back.

Breathless, Micah reached the two men. “Hey, Gramps, look at this beautiful spring day. How about I bust you out of here and we go fishing?”

Henry chuckled. “That’s the best idea I’ve heard in a long time.” He turned to Aaron and winked. “There’s our hope. This young man knows how to respect his elders.”

With that, he joined his grandson. It didn’t escape his notice that Micah slowed his steps to match his grandfather’s or that he held the door while they went inside.

Respect. That’s what Micah demonstrated.

And, it’s precisely the healing the world now needs.

***

Thank you for supporting this member along the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour today! We ask that if you have enjoyed this member’s writing, to please visit their Author Page on the RWISA site, where you can find more of their writing, along with their contact and social media links, if they’ve turned you into a fan. WE ask that you also check out their books in the RWISA or RRBC catalogs. Thanks, again for your support and we hope that you will follow each member along this amazing tour of talent! Don’t forget to click the link below to learn more about this author:

Jan Sike’s RWISA Author Page

Welcome to Day #6 of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase – @WendyJayneScott #RRBC #RWISA

RWISA TOUR (1)

Welcome, readers!  Today is the 6th day of the WATCH “RWISA” WRITE Showcase Tour!  For 31 days, a new RWISA member will be profiled on 55-60 blogs across the globe, to introduce you to some good reading and some talented writers.  We hope that you will visit each member’s Author Page and their Author Story and share your comments and LIKE their pages.  You may find their books within the RWISA catalog.  And, without further ado…

Author, Wendy Jayne Scott

“NAVIGATOR”

Luke’s body whirled through the portal in a kaleidoscope of starlight and rainbows. Burnt ozone stung his nostrils, and his stomach roiled as if live dragonflies flitted inside. He clutched his grandfather’s palm tighter, the only connection anchoring them together while they spun into the void, guided by the compass in his grandfather’s other hand.

“We’re here.” His grandfather’s words whistled with wheeziness.

He released Luke and turned away, pocketing the compass, but his old man’s movements weren’t quick enough to hide the tremors or his shortness of breath.

A mountain breeze, tinged with smoke ruffled the tussock grasses underfoot. In the valley below, Luke pinpointed a chimney on a cluster of shacks beside fenced paddocks. Had the old man’s sense of direction faded and cast them adrift?

“Follow me.” His grandfather rolled his shoulders back, lifted his head high, and led the descent.

Mindful of their journey’s mission doubt dragged at Luke’s feet. At only twelve, would he be found worthy? He didn’t want to think about his grandfather’s declining health if their bid was rejected.

Metallic scent tainted the air as they skirted past the dwellings; a one-room cottage, barn, and a smithy. Orange coals smoldered on the forge, hammers, and tongs lined up in military precision, but the pockmarked leather apron hung empty from a hook on the open door.

Without pause, his grandfather guided Luke out the back to the horse corrals. A bear of a man with arms like anvils leaned against the fence. Leather pants and knee-high boots sheathed his legs, but his chest was bare except for a star patterned tattoo, staining his chest muscles indigo and cobalt. At their approach his head swiveled, snaring the pair with a deep ocean gaze. Dryness etched Luke’s throat.

“Navigator, so many years have passed, I feared you would not return.”

Luke’s grandfather bowed his head. “Farrier, events have been unkind, but I keep my promises. My grandson had agreed to assume the responsibility in the place of his father who died when he was a babe.”

The men spoke as if Luke were a phantom, but he remained silent, remembering his grandfather’s instructions only to speak when asked a direct question by the otherworld farrier.

Grass scented warmth huffed through Luke’s hair. A midnight coated horse towered above his head. A white star marked the stallion’s forehead.

Luke clambered up the railings, but he still had to stretch to trail his fingertips along the horse’s snout. His breath caught when he gazed into the depths of the creature’s starlight eyes.

Firm fingers clasped Luke’s shoulder, and the farrier bowed towards the steed.  “Kasper approves of you. Come inside.”

The temperature in the smithy scorched the hairs inside Luke’s nose, and sweat trickled beneath his tunic, but the farrier worked the bellows until the coals combusted into flames. Next, he sprinkled a handful of sand into the hearth, and the fire danced into violet and malachite hues.

“You understand, old friend, without the enchantment your life span will be reduced to mortal years?”

My grandfather nodded.”These old bones grow weary, and the pathways are becoming muddled. My time is past. Luke is young, but he is pure of heart. ”

The farrier studied his friend for a moment before he reached out with his palm. “Navigator, of your own free will do you relinquish your powers to your grandson?”

The old man answered by dropping his compass into the farrier’s outstretched hand. “I do.”

The farrier’s otherworld stare scrutinized the boy, and although the being didn’t touch him, a prickling sensation rippled up Luke’s spine. After several heartbeats, the farrier inclined his head. “Your soul is free of darkness, but perhaps you are too young yet for any temptations to have challenged your values.”

“He’s a good lad. I vouch for him and will guide his path.” His grandfather squeezed Luke’s shoulder.

Calloused fingers gripped Luke’s chin. “Are you sure you want this? It’s not too late to back out and live a normal life. Be warned, once you accept you are bound for life. Each time you enter here seeking my help a non-negotiable toll must be paid.”

Before crossing over doubts had plagued Luke’s thoughts, but after tasting magic, he couldn’t settle for a dull life on the farm when his world had been opened to the lure of other realms.

Luke moistened his lips. “Navigator blood runs in my veins. I’m young, but I’m ready.”

The farrier released him. “Do I have your solemn vow you will only guide your passengers by the way of the light?”

Heart thundering, Luke focused on the compass. “I swear I’ll follow the true pathways.”

Light glinted off the chain as the farrier dangled the compass into the sparking coals. “Hold out your hand.”

Luke flinched, expecting his skin to sizzle when it touched the metal, but the compass was cool. He didn’t feel any different. Had the transfer worked?

The farrier clasped forearms with the older man. “You owe me one last favour, but I will redeem what’s due at another time.”

“As always it will be an honour to serve.” Luke’s grandfather stepped away.

“Navigator, peer into the fire.”

Several moments passed before Luke responded to his new title. Within the flames, he spied a young woman’s face, whose striking features seared into his memory.

“One day she will seek your skills, and when she does you must bring her to me.” The farrier crossed his arms.

Questions burned in Luke’s mind, but he’d been schooled on the protocols, so he suppressed his curiosity, and lowered his eyes. “As you command.”

The farrier ushered them into the yard and bid them farewell. “Keep your promises, follow the light and your direction will always be true.”

Outside Luke paused, blinking. A glittering path lit the way up to the portal.

Unshed tears gathered in his grandfather’s eyes. “The navigator’s sight is now hidden from me.”

Grasping the compass in one hand, Luke held out his other hand. “Come grandfather, I will guide you home.”

(Navigator is a prelude and companion scene to Fire Hooves – yet to be released by Wendy Scott).

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