Wednesday, February 19, 2020

In the Spotlight: Louise MacBeath Barbour ~ Author of "Dare Double Dare"

Over the coming weeks, the IWSG Anthology blog will be featuring posts
from each of the authors in Voyager: The Third Ghost.
Our author today is Louise MacBeath Barbour.


Louise MacBeath Barbour on her short story "Dare Double Dare" . . .

Sometimes you have to take a chance. When the IWSG announced the 2019 Anthology Contest genre and theme in May, I was disappointed and not in the mood for taking a chance.  

"Middle Grade Historical-Adventure/Fantasy? Voyagers?" I groaned. Never had I considered writing for readers that young, and my few attempts to write adventure or fantasy were pitiful. Maybe next year, I thought.

May, June, and July rolled by, and the anthology contest niggled at the back of my mind. Surely I can come up with something, I'd think. But nothing surfaced.

Then in early August I happened to be walking down the road in Smith's Cove, Nova Scotia and passed my great-grandmother's house. Suddenly it struck me: her forbidden room! Although her house was locked up and deserted, I could see that door in the upstairs hallway, that door that no one was allowed to open, let alone walk through, as clearly as if I were standing in front of it. What if two kids did what I never dared to, sneak through that door into the forbidden room? What would they find?


My Great-Grandmother's House
hooked by my great-grandmother Sara Cossaboom
Smith's Cove Old Temperance Hall Museum
Summer 2015
© M. Louise (MacBeath) Barbour/Fundy Blue
All Rights Reserved



But I was "back home" visiting with my extended family, and I pushed aside the thought of the story until I returned to Colorado.

I continued to procrastinate as the days raced by and the September 4th deadline approached.
I still hadn't stepped through the door with my young protagonists Sara and Kelsey.

In late August a clap of thunder out of nowhere boomed right over our home. I was so shocked that I shot straight up out of the high chair I was sitting on at our kitchen counter and fell over backwards, landing on my tailbone in a perfect V formation. I disappeared so fast that my husband Terry, who was standing in the kitchen, thought I had been struck by lightning.


A Bolt from the Black!
Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay



I was struck all right, not by lightning, but by a message from the Universe to get off my derrière and write that story. I wrote it sitting on a painful tailbone while Terry cheered me on and placed an occasional plate of food by my computer. Wise man, he knew better than to ask me what was for dinner or to suggest that I take a shower or get some sleep. And he definitely knew better than to ask me if I was having fun, if I was doing what I wanted to do.

I didn't have a plan. I had no idea what the story would be. I just stepped through the door with Sara and Kelsey into the forbidden room, and the story revealed itself to me as we went.

I almost ran out of time. Just a few hours before the deadline I finished my draft. I barely had time to spell check. Forget a spit shine polish and readers. I hit Send.  

"Take that, Universe!" I said.

Imagine my surprise when I learned my story was accepted for the anthology!  Sometimes you have to take a chance.


The Beautiful Annapolis Basin and Its Shores
where the story takes place
Nova Scotia, Canada
Photo by my nephew Gavin Mundry
© All Rights Reserved


Blurb 
Who can resist a dare to enter a forbidden room? Sara and her brother Kelsey find themselves in dire circumstances a long way from home after a rash "Dare" and "Double Dare."




Excerpt

"Dare Double Dare" by Louise MacBeath Barbour

“I dare you!”
Sara barely considered her brother Kelsey’s challenge. “I double dare you!” she shot back.
Their father’s car had just turned out of the driveway onto the paved road.
“This is our chance. Unless you’re scared.”
“Not!” Sara stared down her brother from across the round maple table. But he crossed his eyes, and she broke eye contact, laughing. “Not fair. You always win like that.”
“If you focused you might win. Shall we do this—finally?”
Sara looked out her great-grandmother’s front windows at the pouring rain and dark clouds. The only colorful things visible in the soft light were the antique blue, green, and brown bottles standing on sills below the windows. Outside, wind lashed the trees, and rain drummed on the windows, running down the glass.
Their parents and great-grandmother had just left for Halifax and wouldn’t be back until the evening. Now that she was eleven and Kelsey twelve, their parents felt comfortable leaving them alone for the day—with stern warnings to behave, of course. Besides, they had plenty of relatives living nearby in the Cove.
“We haven’t anything better to do,” she said.
“Then let’s go!”
He pounded up the steep stairs to the landing and wide hallway. Sara ran up after him before she lost her nerve. Kelsey pushed aside a table and lamp, and they both dragged out a trunk blocking a door.
“Better take that flashlight,” Sara said.
Kelsey grabbed it from beside the lamp and stuck it behind his waistband.
Sara had no idea what to expect behind the forbidden door. If you didn’t know it was there, you might miss it...





Bio
Born in Nova Scotia and raised throughout eastern Canada, Louise is a writer and blogger who lives with her supportive husband in Colorado. She writes fiction and nonfiction. Her love of reading, photography, geology, and travel rounds out her enthusiastic embrace of life.



Coming on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 . . .

Next up is Charles Kowalski who shares his backstory for "Simon Grey and the Yamamba." In this adventurous tale set in feudal Japan, Simon and his mysterious friend Oyuki try to escape a monster on a mountain.


* * * * * * * * * *


The release date for VOYAGERS: The Third Ghost 
is May 5, 2020,
but purchase links are available,
and you can preorder a copy now.

Print 9781939844729 $13.95
EBook 9781939844736 $4.99
Juvenile Fiction - Historical / Action & Adventure / Fantasy & Magic
Dancing Lemur Press/Freedom Fox Press


Amazon - Print https://www.amazon.com/dp/193984472XKindle https://www.amazon.com/Voyagers-Third-Ghost-Yvonne-Ventresca-ebook/dp/B083C4WPR5/

Barnes & Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/voyagers-yvonne-ventresca/1135912991?ean=2940163430857

ITunes - https://books.apple.com/ca/book/voyagers-the-third-ghost/id1493413956

Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/voyagers-the-third-ghost

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

In the Spotlight: Sherry Ellis ~ Author of "Ghosts of Pompeii"

Over the coming weeks, the IWSG Anthology blog will be featuring posts
from each of the authors in Voyager: The Third Ghost.
Our author today is Sherry Ellis.



Sherry Ellis on her short story "Ghosts of Pompeii" . . .

It’s always interesting to learn the story behind the story. Here’s the scoop about "Ghosts of Pompeii" which is part of the middle-grade anthology, Voyagers, the Third Ghost. I have always loved travelling and learning about the history, language, and culture of the places I visit. This prompted me to write a series of stories involving two siblings, Bubba and Squirt, who travel through a magical vortex and end up in places all over the world. It is my hope that these stories will teach kids about different countries in a fun way and help enforce what they learn in school. I’ve been writing these stories for ten years. They are finally making it out into the world. "Ghosts of Pompeii" is one of them. What’s in the anthology is not the original work. The original is much longer with sixteen chapters and alternating points of view between Bubba and Squirt. It also takes place entirely in the present. One of the requirements for the anthology contest was to have the story occur in the past. I had to get creative. After doing some research, I discovered that Mount Vesuvius erupted after 79 AD in the not-so-distant past. Using that knowledge, I was able to tweak the story and have Bubba and Squirt go back to that time. I also decided to tell it entirely from Bubba’s point of view. His perspective can be quite entertaining! Reducing the word count to meet the requirements of the contest meant cutting a lot out of the story. Somehow it still worked. In case you’re wondering, yes, I did visit Pompeii many years ago. The places mentioned in the story are places I’ve seen. And no, Mount Vesuvius did not erupt while I was there. Nor did any ghosts appear and warn me that the volcano was about to blow. Those are creations of my own wild imagination.


Blurb

Can everyone be warned before Mount Vesuvius erupts? Mount Vesuvius is about to blow and it's up to Bubba and Squirt to warn everyone, so they don't end up like the Ghosts of Pompeii. 


Excerpt

"Ghosts of Pompeii" by Sherry Ellis

I wanted pizza, and I knew just where to find it. Italy! Mama said the people there make the best pizza ever. Except, when I told my big sister, Squirt, that I wanted to go, she looked at me as if I had tomato sauce for brains.
“Bubba, what are you thinking? We can go to Papa Gino’s and get some.” “But it tastes better in Italy,” I said. “How do you know? You’ve never been there.” “Mama says it tastes better. That’s how I know. So there.” I made a face and stomped off to the woods behind our house. That’s where the big hole was hidden, under the sycamore tree. I’d dug it with the magic shovel Grandpa Joe found at a garage sale. I knew it could take me to Italy because it had already taken me to China and Belize. It goes wherever I want it to go. I stopped under the tree and stared at the pile of branches on top of the hole. Squirt came up behind me. “You’re seriously thinking about going through the portal for pizza?” “I’m hungry!” “What if something goes wrong?” “What could possibly go wrong?"








Bio

Sherry Ellis is an award-winning
author and professional musician
who plays and teaches the violin,
viola, and piano.


When she is not writing or
engaged in musical activities,
she can be found doing
household chores, hiking,
or exploring the world.








Ellis' books include Don't Feed the Elephant; Ten Zany Birds; That Mama is a Grouch; That Baby Woke Me Up, AGAIN; Bubba and Squirt's Big Dig to China; and Bubba and Squirt's Mayan Adventure. She lives in Atlanta, Georgia. For more information about her work, she invites you to visit her websites at www.sherryellis.org and www.bubbaandsquirt.org.

Coming on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 . . .

Next up is Louise MacBeath Barbour who shares her backstory for "Dare Double Dare," a tale in which Sara and her brother Kelsey find themselves in dire circumstances a long way from home after a rash "Dare" and "Double Dare."


* * * * * * * * * *


The release date for VOYAGERS: The Third Ghost 
is May 5, 2020,
but purchase links are available,
and you can preorder a copy now.

Print 9781939844729 $13.95
EBook 9781939844736 $4.99
Juvenile Fiction - Historical / Action & Adventure / Fantasy & Magic
Dancing Lemur Press/Freedom Fox Press


Amazon - Print https://www.amazon.com/dp/193984472XKindle https://www.amazon.com/Voyagers-Third-Ghost-Yvonne-Ventresca-ebook/dp/B083C4WPR5/

Barnes & Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/voyagers-yvonne-ventresca/1135912991?ean=2940163430857

ITunes - https://books.apple.com/ca/book/voyagers-the-third-ghost/id1493413956

Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/voyagers-the-third-ghost



Wednesday, February 5, 2020

In the Spotlight: Roland Clarke ~ Author of "Feathered Fire"

Over the coming weeks, the IWSG Anthology blog will be featuring posts
from each of the authors in Voyager: The Third Ghost.
Our author today is Roland Clarke.


Roland Clarke on his short story "Feathered Fire" . . .


Flying Fur

Pass. My first reaction to entering a middle grade anthology competition. I’m not stepping outside my comfort blanket-zone.

Scared - caught like a rabbit in the headlights.

Except I was stuck down a rabbit burrow, and the Ninja Captain was encouraging me, saying, “You can do it! Write and finish the story...”

I do love a tempting rabbit hole, but my reading and research had led me into the wrong warren: fearless Soviet airwomen in World War II, notably ‘Night Witches’. Not relevant or suitable for a MG story, even if the ‘historical fiction’ box was ticked.
Anyway, what was meant by Middle Grade Historical – Adventure/Fantasy?

Did my alternative history about Kanata fit? A tale about a young Leif Eriksson and a shamaness girl hove into sight. A goddess inspired voyage to a new world. Possible. Plus, I’d researched and developed my Viking Age for my 2017 Blogging from A to Z theme “The History of Kanata”.

Did I say I love researching down rabbit holes?

I'm late, I'm late for a very important date – well, a deadline. No time to write and start again.

Not too late to read a superb MG historical fantasy- Katherine Rundell’s The Wolf Wilder – my book of 2019.

That was the magical trigger for Feathered Fire, a tale uniting the Firebird and my flyer fixation. Combining historical fact and Slavic folklore proved to be a winning formula.

Finally, I suppressed my fears, switched off my urge to edit, edit, edit, and edit forever. I managed to integrate the comments from my wonderful beta readers - especially an awesome MG kid-reader from the UK with some awesome suggestions.

And the flying fur?

On the Eastern front, the fearless all-female 588th Night Bomber Regiment – nicknamed the Night Witches – wore moleskin fur masks to protect their faces in the open cockpits of their biplanes. But that’s another mole runway.


Yevdokia Bershanskaya 
Commander of the 46th Taman Guards Night Bomber Aviation Regiment 
Instructing her crew in 1942 
 Photo Credit:  Olga Shirnina / KMediadrumworld

Blurb 
Can 12-year-old Vasy do more than tend goats while watching the evil invaders of her Soviet motherland?
Her older sister, Kalyna, might harass the fascist enemies as a Night Witch, but how can she help?
Injustice tore their lives apart even before WWII. Not all their communist comrades recognise their worth. Is it worth dreaming of a better future?
But their dead mother taught them the Firebird kindles hope. Will they outwit evil if they are united?




Excerpt

"Feathered Fire" by Roland Clarke

Vasy followed Galina to the central firepit where the partisans ate and talked. Smoke, soup, and chatter curled around her. Her mind searched for a tale she hadn’t told them.
In her skirt pocket, her fingers brushed the feather. Only one fable felt right. The origin of Zharptica—the Firebird.
Haggard faces gathered around her. Word had spread that she would weave her magic again.
Serious men, cunning women, and admiring youngsters stared at her, eagerly.
She was not kulak scum tonight.
“You remember The Firebird and Princess Vasilisa—”
“—you told that last week.” A sandy-haired boy her own age groaned. “You have to know another. Why don’t you?”
“I haven’t told you who Zharptica is.”
“It’s a bird of ill omen,” said one of Commissar Krupin’s gang.
“Only if you’re the Tsar and driven by greed and ambition. Only evil is punished. We aren’t like that, are we?”
A chorus of voices replied, “Never.”
Vasy nodded and raised her hands, palms down to settle them.
“You all know Zharptica comes from a distant land as a blessing for those in need. But what was the Firebird’s origin?”
“A magician,” said a young soldier clutching his ancient rifle.
She smiled. “Someone knows then, but I suspect not everyone. According to folklore, the Firebird is very rare, with plumage blazing red, orange, and yellow like the flames of a flickering fire. When removed, the feathers continue to glow. That is why some people try catching Zharptica.”
She paused and studied her spellbound audience.
“Once upon a time, thousands of years ago, a meek and gentle orphan girl named Maryushka lived in a small village…”


The Second Sun
by llifi-kei  



Bio

After diverse careers, Roland Clarke was an equestrian journalist and green activist when chronic illness hastened retirement. But he hasn’t stopped exploring rabbit holes and writing - mainly mysteries and alternative history. Roland and his wife – both avid gamers - now live in Idaho (USA) with their four fur-babies, although their hearts are in North Wales (UK).


Coming on Wednesday, February 12, 2020 . . .

Next up is Sherry Ellis who shares her backstory for "Ghosts of Pompeii." Can Bubba and Squirt warn everyone before Mount Vesuvius blows, so they don't end up like the Ghosts of Pompeii?



* * * * * * * * * *


The release date for VOYAGERS: The Third Ghost 
is May 5, 2020,
but purchase links are available,
and you can preorder a copy now.

Print 9781939844729 $13.95
EBook 9781939844736 $4.99
Juvenile Fiction - Historical / Action & Adventure / Fantasy & Magic
Dancing Lemur Press/Freedom Fox Press


Amazon - Print https://www.amazon.com/dp/193984472XKindle https://www.amazon.com/Voyagers-Third-Ghost-Yvonne-Ventresca-ebook/dp/B083C4WPR5/

Barnes & Noble - https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/voyagers-yvonne-ventresca/1135912991?ean=2940163430857

ITunes - https://books.apple.com/ca/book/voyagers-the-third-ghost/id1493413956

Kobo - https://www.kobo.com/us/en/ebook/voyagers-the-third-ghost