Monday, September 29, 2014

Sea Life - Salmon and Ceto

HALLOWEEN IS FOR WITCHES
Free ebooks and audio books for Halloween!
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The entire Witches of Galdorheim series has a few characters featured in all the books. I thought introducing the stars of the series a good setup for the Witch Extravaganza month of October. Oh, yeah, it's going to be BIG! All four books in the series will be variously given away in ebook and audio book formats. One of the books, the last in the series, is not yet available in audiobook, so it'll be the headliner for ebook giveaways.

Two more major forces in the Witches of Galdorheim series aren't witches or warlocks, but they are magical in their own ways. 

Salmon the OrcaHeroes don’t need to be human or even a sexy male alien. When a witch’s power is speaking to animals, a hero can turn up anywhere, even in the middle of an icebound arctic sea.

In the Witches of Galdorheim series, Katrina the teen witch, has the ability to speak with animals. She doesn’t even know she has this ability until she leaves her home, Galdorheim Island. Since the island is somewhere in the middle of the Barents Sea above the Arctic circle, leaving home isn’t a walk in the park. Crossing iced over water in bitter cold weather is hard enough, but when the ice starts to break up and some dangerous creatures appear, it becomes a life-threatening situation. Kat and her brother, Rune, confront an angry and sleepy polar bear. He wasn’t in the mood to chat.

Fortunately for the kids, a HERO appears. Just because he happens to be an orca (killer whale) makes him no less heroic.

Ceto the Sea Monster: In the second book of the Witches of Galdorheim series, Midnight Oil, our erstwhile heroine, Kat, gets a little help from an unusual source. Did you ever wonder why there are so few sightings of the Loch Ness monster? Well, Nessie vacations on Ultima Thule, which may be the remnants of Atlantis.

She's not fond of the name Nessie or Loch Ness Monster and prefers to go by Ceto. From http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Ceto :

In Greek mythology, Ceto or Keto (Greek: English translation: "sea monster") was a hideous aquatic monster, a daughter of Gaia and Pontus. The asteroid (65489) Ceto was named after her, and its satellite (65489) Ceto I Phorcys after her husband. She was the personification of the dangers of the sea, unknown terrors and bizarre creatures. Eventually, the word "ceto" became simple shorthand for any sea monster. The term cetacean represents a case in point. Her husband was Phorcys and they had many children, collectively known as the Phorcydes or Phorcydides. In Greek art, Ceto was drawn as a serpentine fish. Ceto also gave name to the constellation Cetus.


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Tales of a Texas Boy
Missing, Assumed Dead
Bad Spelling
Midnight Oil

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Witches Deluxe

HALLOWEEN IS FOR WITCHES
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The entire Witches of Galdorheim series has a few characters featured in all the books. I thought introducing the stars of the series a good setup for the Witch Extravaganza month of October. Oh, yeah, it's going to be BIG! All four books in the series will be variously given away in ebook and audio book formats. One of the books, the last in the series, is not yet available in audiobook, so it'll be the headliner for ebook giveaways.

To set things up for the big month, here's a bit on two more Witches of Galdorheim characters who play a major role in all four books. Check the previous posts for information on the top three characters in the series.

Ardyth; Kat's and Rune's mother is one of the three most powerful witches on Galdorheim Island. You wouldn't believe it from her somewhat scatter-brained demeanor. Kat's pretty sure she behaves like a flibbertigibbet just to irritate her older sister, Thordis. When writing the books, I always pictured Ardyth as looking like Candice Bergen.

Prior to the events in the series, we learn that Kat's father Boris, a Siberian fisherman who was stranded on Galdorheim, is frozen between life and death from a ice cave collapse. What was he doing in the ice cave? Ardyth is mum on the subject.

After Boris' semi-demise, Ardyth visits Transylvania to meet an eligible warlock. Unfortunately, Drakos had been attacked by a vampire and was turned himself. Ardyth escapes with her life, but pregnant with Rune.

Throughout Kat's adventures, Ardyth steadfastly supports her daughter, even if it must be from afar.

Thordis: Ardyth's elder sister and Kat's aunt, Thordis is the top witch on Galdorheim. Most of her duties are administrative, but she rules over all of the witches and warlocks on the island. Still, her gruff exterior and nose-in-the-air attitude hides her love for her niece and nephew. Her take-charge attitude and powers allow her to assist Kat in her adventures.

Kat's mishaps force Thordis to tolerate Mordita since they must work together to keep the kids from sure death at every turn. In my mind's eye, I always see Endora from the Bewitched TV series (are you old enough to remember watching it?)



WRITE A COMMENT - WIN A FREE AUDIO BOOK OR EBOOK OF YOUR CHOICE OF MY BOOKS
Tales of a Texas Boy
Missing, Assumed Dead
Bad Spelling
Midnight Oil

The Witches of Galdorheim Series




Thursday, September 25, 2014

Witches, Warlocks, and Wizards - Oh My!

HALLOWEEN IS FOR WITCHES

The entire Witches of Galdorheim series has a few characters featured in all the books. I thought introducing the stars of the series a good setup for the Witch Extravaganza month of October. Oh, yeah, it's going to be BIG! All four books in the series will be variously given away in ebook and audio book formats. One of the books, the last in the series, is not yet available in audiobook, so it'll be the headliner for ebook giveaways.

So, onto the cast of the top three characters:

Katrina: The star of the show, Kat is miserable failure at spellcasting, thus the first book's title, "Bad Spelling." The first book has a prologue which explains why a frozen arctic island is a haven for witches. It has to do with the Inquisition in the 15th C. in Europe. Witches (and a lot of people who weren't witches at all) were variously drowned, hung, burned at the stake, stoned, and otherwise treated horribly. Shows what happens with closed minds wrapped up in religious dogma can do. Argue with me later about that if you wish.

The first chapter opens on a scene in the Witches school on Galdorheim Island. The witch children are learning the art of transformation. Kat's familiar, a bunny named Teddy, is the long-suffering subject of Kat's failed attempts at spellcasting. When this latest experiment fails yet again, Kat decides there is no place for her on the island with the witches. She decides to run away to find her Siberian father's family. Dad is dead, or at least somewhere between life and death, having been flash-frozen in an ice cave.

Kat plans to leave the island, but an island situated in an ice-bound sea isn't all that easy to leave. She must rely on her talented brother, Rune, and a crotchety sorceress, Mordita, for assistance.

Rune: Kat's younger brother is the offspring of a witch and a vampire. Don't give me any grief about vampire's not being able to breed yada yada. This is my fantasy book, and I'll write it any way I want to.

Anyway, Rune has a double-dose of magical ability since he has inherited his witch mother's spellcasting talent, but also can call on his vampire side for some benefits. His biggest problem is keeping his vampire side in check. The slightest hint of blood sets him off. He struggles with his blood craving and hopes to overcome it someday. In the meantime, everybody makes sure Rune doesn't see so much as a pricked thumb.

Kat asks Rune for some packaged spells to help her in her scheme to run away from home. Always loving an adventure, Rune decides he has to come along with his sister. Not only does he love her, but he also finds her clumsy spelling a source of infinite amusement.

Mordita: A recent inhabitant of the island, Mordita prefers to be called a sorceress rather than a witch. She avoids contact with the other witches and makes her home about as unwelcoming as possible. The path to her front door is covered with brambles and poisonous plants. She never attends the Witches Council, and just wants to be left alone.

Kat, although Mordita terrifies her, sees her as a provider of useful magic to help her escape. Mordita is happy to go along with Kat's plan, because the opportunity to annoy Kat's Aunt Thordis is too good to pass up. The reader knows Mordita isn't as bad as she pretends to be, but might wonder just why the crotchety old lady decided to settle on Galdorheim amidst a village full of witches, but not be interested in being very social. Gotta wonder if Mordita is hiding a secret. I won't tell you. You'll just have to read the books to find out.
* * *

SCOTCH BROOM: Book 3 of The Witches of Galdorheim
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

Ebooks:
Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JKR8XRG
Nook: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Scotch-Broom/Marva-Dasef/e/2940149546961/?itm=7&USRI=marva+dasef

Print: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1481852418/



WRITE A COMMENT - WIN A FREE AUDIO BOOK OR EBOOK OF YOUR CHOICE OF MY BOOKS
Tales of a Texas Boy
Missing, Assumed Dead
Bad Spelling
Midnight Oil


Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Sweeping Things Up

I believe "Scotch Broom," Book 3 of the Witches of Galdorheim series is coming soon in audio to complete the trilogy in all formats. I thought to introduce some of the characters from Scotch Broom since it's in that "COMING SOON" category. I already have a bunch of the character posts prepared from long ago. No reason not to re-run them for all the new people I've met.

In the meantime, I'll be finding various ways to give away free audio books. If an audio book just isn't your thing, I'll give you the ebook version in place of it. Here are the books I have in audio format:


Here's the book which will be added to the audio library soon. Feel free to buy it in ebook or print. All of the above are also available in ebook and print formats.

SCOTCH BROOM: Book 3 of The Witches of Galdorheim
A magical trip to Stonehenge lands a witch in the Otherworld where an ancient goddess is up to no good.

Ebooks:
Kindle: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00JKR8XRG
Barnes and Noble Nook: http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Scotch-Broom/Marva-Dasef/e/2940149546961/?itm=7&USRI=marva+dasef

Print: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1481852418/



WRITE A COMMENT - WIN A FREE AUDIO BOOK OR EBOOK OF YOUR CHOICE OF MY BOOKS SHOWN ABOVE
Tales of a Texas Boy
Missing, Assumed Dead
Bad Spelling
Midnight Oil
Spellslinger (listen to this entire book on SoundCloud for free)


Monday, September 22, 2014

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Free on Amazon Today

FREE ON KINDLE SEPTEMBER 21st.


Lemons And Other Kid Tales

Three childrens stories with photo illustrations.
  
LEMONS: Karen is horse crazy. One day, it seems like everything is going wrong. From ripped jeans to dead snakes, she's determined to make lemonade out of the lemons life tosses her way.
  
ONE FINE DOG: Pete, the sheep dog, knows his business is to protect his flock. He'll do something downright impossible to make sure the sheep are safe. 

A PRACTICAL CAT: Boots is living the good life, but really really wants to go chase a squirrel. But the Bigs won't let her out of the house!

Excerpt from One Fine Dog:

Then I saw what was gettin’ Pete so riled up. I pointed up and Pa’s and Mr. Braddock’s eyes followed where I was pointin’. A big golden eagle was soarin’ above the herd. He was circling round so it was clear he was lookin’ to take a lamb. The sheep got wind of him and started to get excited.

A flock of sheep on the move is like a school of fish. The front ewe turns one way and the whole bunch of them turn with her just like they were readin’ her mind. It’s quite a sight to behold. First they swarmed one way, then Pete came up to the flank and turned them the other. They were weavin’ back and forth across the field with Pete doin’ his durndest to head them toward the pens. We were helpin’ as much as we could with our boots stuck in the mud as they were.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

Free at Amazon 9/20-21

FREE ON KINDLE SEPTEMBER 20th and 21st.

Lemons And Other Kid Tales

Three childrens stories with photo illustrations.
  
LEMONS: Karen is horse crazy. One day, it seems like everything is going wrong. From ripped jeans to dead snakes, she's determined to make lemonade out of the lemons life tosses her way.
  
ONE FINE DOG: Pete, the sheep dog, knows his business is to protect his flock. He'll do something downright impossible to make sure the sheep are safe. 

A PRACTICAL CAT: Boots is living the good life, but really really wants to go chase a squirrel. But the Bigs won't let her out of the house!

Excerpt:


She sped out the door and was soon heading across an open field.  At least they lived close to the country, if not exactly in it.  Hop over a couple of fences, cross the railroad tracks, then a short walk down the gravel lane. She wished her mom could understand she didn't want ballet lessons and school dances. Lately, it seemed like her mom was giving up on making her a girly girl.  She hadn't objected when Karen talked Mr. Fredricks into hiring her.
Karen slid off the wood fence rail and heard the rip of her jeans. Twisting around to get a look at her rear end, she circled like a dog about to lie down. Luckily, it was just the pocket so she pulled it until the entire flap came off. 
"Darn, darn, darn," Karen swore. Another pair of jeans ripped. Mom would kill her.  
"Oh, well.  You get lemons, you make lemonade," Karen muttered.  She wasn't sure how she'd do that, but decided not to worry about it.  Karen jounced down the slope below the fence.  She had places to go, so no more time to waste worrying about Mom and her pursed lips and her tsk-tsk clicking tongue. 

Friday, September 19, 2014

Aye or Nay, the Scots Have Spoken

Congratulations to whichever side prevails. I hope the decision, whatever it may be, is good for the fine folk of Scotland. UPDATE: The vote was against separation. The people have spoken and so mote it be.



The third book in my Witches of Galdorheim series is titled "Scotch Broom" and is set in the Otherworld hidden in the Highlands. Writing that book led me to a lot of information on Celtic (particularly Scottish) legends and myths.



Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Coming Up - Free Days (AGAIN!) on 20th-21st

The new, improved childrens' book "Lemons and Other Kid Tales" will be offered free for two days on Amazon.

For one thing, this new version is free to make up for the disastrous release of the book as produced by the Kindle for Kids product. My assessment is that the application is simply not ready for use for childrens books.

Kids' books are supposed to have big type for readability, right?

Unfortunately, no matter how large I made the font, by the time it reached Kindle book stage, it was reduced to unreadable for even those with sharp eyes.

If I can't read it with my reading glasses, then the type is too small. I pulled that version and re-did the book using normal Kindle processes.

Anyway, bad test out of the way, I'll be offering the short book free this coming Saturday and Sunday.

Here are the three "stars" of the book. These aren't the only pictures in the book. It has several nice photo illustrations. Adorable, aren't they?






Sunday, September 14, 2014

Testing Kindle for Kids - Updated


UPDATE: The Lemons ebook is now available for 99 cents on Amazon. I can send anybody who wants it the preview MOBI file. Amazon KDP said they'd review the files for content differences to determine whether to replace the previously downloaded copies. They also thanked me for my input on Kindle for Kids. My "input" was more like a rant.

Rethinking going on.
This was going to be the second free day for the childrens picture book which I used the Kindle for Kids application.

After I had a chance to download the product and mess with it, I decided to short stop the giveaway because the book was caca.

Not my stories or the cute photos I used to build it, but the PRESENTATION as forced by using the Kindle for Kids application.

I unpublished the book (it was named "Lemons and Other Kid Tales." I was listing the problems related directly to using the application. If you want to read about this app and another for creating comic books, trot over to this page in the Amazon Help files: https://kdp.amazon.com/help?topicId=A2VWASVLHMBQ10

Here's my list of why I think this product stinks.
  • Requirement of PDF upload negates the ability to change fonts when viewing on your Kindle/Droid. I suppose there's some way to make the font larger on the input file, but changing margins didn't help.
  • Page counts on the product page are incorrect. I forced some page breaks and the page count went from 1 page to 8 pages. The PDF file was 16 pages.
  • HUGE download file. Forces a Kindle minimum price of $1.99.
  • Cannot look inside on the book product page.
That's as far as I needed to go to decide to rip it out by the roots and plant a more pleasant and amenable book in its place. Same text, same pictures, but produced from a simple .DOC file. The pictures were a bit weird until I figured out to attach them to a character below the picture and that character was centered on the page. The new product looks much better. It can be viewed in portrait and landscape modes, you can adjust the fonts to suit your fancy, the text just follows along with whatever you want to do.

For those of you who downloaded the yucky version of Lemons, my apologies. I'll see if I can get Amazon to unbuy it (since it was free), so you can get the better version if you're inclined. I will have the new one up for some free days in a few days.

Thanks.

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Don't Spend Money, Get it Free - Cancelled

FREE DAYS CANCELLED TEMPORARILY. THE NEW, IMPROVED VERSION COMING SOON. 


Pete the Sheepdog in LEMONS - One Fine Dog.

September 13th and 14th, the first two days of free Kindle ebook download of "Lemons and Other Kid Tales" will commence.

I really don't want people to spend money on a 16-page kids' book. I'm giving it away for a couple of days, so I can fully test the process of using the Kindle for Kids ebook application.

The version you can download (and look at in 30 seconds) will only work on Kindle Fires. Maybe Kindle for PC as well, but I just don't know until people download it and let me know what their experience is.

Help me test Kindle for Kids by downloading LEMONS for free on September 13th and 14th. You'll be seeing tweet overload on this. I beg forgiveness in advance. But PLEASE let me know if it works for you or not.

Thanks.

Friday, September 12, 2014

Oh, hi! I didn't see you standing there

One of the color photos in Lemons.
I haven't been posting over the last few days because I was busy with putting out a little illustrated book for kids (Lemons and Other Kid Tales). Today, I added popups to the book and anxiously awaiting being able to test them on my Kindle Fire. The book isn't much to look at on a black and white Kindle.

I will be running some free days soon. Whoever bought that copy of Lemons for $2.99. Bless you. Contact me, and I'll give you some more books to make up for it. I don't think you can return it at this point.

Biggest annoyances of Kindle for Kids:

  • Having to upload a PDF to the application. This means the pages are static when viewed on a Kindle Reader (of any type). You can't change font size, view in landscape mode (I chose to create the book in portrait mode). 
  • The product page doesn't have a See Inside feature and thinks the book is only 1 page long. It isn't. It's 16 pages, which still isn't much, but WAY more than 1.

I'll let you all know about the free book days. I'm thinking the first couple of days of October, then some more later.

That's it for now.

Sunday, September 07, 2014

Kid EBooks in Color


I DID IT FOR FUN TO CARRY THE PROCESS FROM START TO FINISH! HERE'S THE LINK ON AMAZON.


Amazon just came out with an application to convert books with illustrations for kidlets. Hey, I have some stories for children, so I'm giving the application a run through. You format your text, add some illustrations, make a PDF, then upload to the app. It creates a MOBI file, which you can then use as a source file for a Kindle books.

The problem I see is that the books produced this way become static. When uploading word processing files, the text flows depending on the settings the user likes for their ereader. I'm just talking about Kindle here. As far as I know, EPUBs you might get for Nook or Kobo don't have any particular facility for producing color interior, illustrated ebooks. I may be wrong about that. Let me know if you have other information.

Back to the process. I took three of my short stories appropriate for the 8-12 age range and formatted them. I inserted photographic illustrations (I'm not an artist) and made it look all pretty.

Then I sent the completed PDF to the Kindle for Kids application. Pick Portrait or Landscape. Hm. Well, I kind of let everything flow go in portrait. I tried that. Here's the weirdness. Since I uploaded a PDF, then the text and illustrations stay exactly where you put them. Maybe I could change the font size, but the pages don't flow as they do with a .doc upload. What you see is what you get.

That's fine when making a print book (and exactly how I do it), but what if somebody wants to turn their Kindle reader on its side? They can, but the pages just get smaller; they don't expand or contract as needed.

I tried a few other variations on the uploads. I made my pages landscape. They stayed landscape no matter what. Just for grins, I tried a two-page view. Um. Those fonts sure get smaller than I can read. Well they adjust if I change my font size on my reader? Can I hold my reader for portrait if I've produced a landscape input file?

It was an interesting experiment, but until I can test the files in all the ways people might like to use them (portrait, landscape, larger fonts, smaller fonts, etc.), I'm not convinced this is a good way to make color interior books for Kindle ereaders. They're find if you don't give the readers the options they are used to having.

My assessment for now is it's not flexible enough for the many ways a Kindle (of any type) can be used. Maybe I just don't know what I'm doing. But, I did get a fun looking book if you want to read in portrait mode and don't mind not changing fonts.

As usual, I've included a graphic so this post will look more interesting. In this case, I used the quick and dirty cover I produced for my experiments.


Friday, September 05, 2014

Free Ebooks Now Available

Now, at Smashwords, use the code at checkout to get the book free.

Eagle Quest ZD57S https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/13407

Spellslinger TA93U https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/424221

Mixed Bag II SS89C https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/54863

I'm trying out using the DropBox application to let people upload books from my private stash (unpublished elsewhere).

Lemons is a very short story about a horse-crazy girl who's having a bad day.

This is a trial run using illustrations in an ebook. I used the Kindle Kids Book application to add a popup, but it will probably only work if I run the book through the KDP cruncher.

Lemons in MOBI format.

Lemons in PDF format.

Thursday, September 04, 2014

August Free Books Tally

So, I made three of my books in August. Many people took advantage of the deal. YAY!.

Witches of Galdorheim (3-Book Volume):  323 Units (3 free days, August 1-3)
The Tales of Abu Nuwas - Setara's Genie: 141 Units (3 free days, August 8-10)
Quest for the Simurgh - Faizah's Destiny: 331 Units (2 free days, August 24-25)

Total free books: 795

The next interesting thing will be to discover how many reviews might be attributed to these free books. If you availed yourself of one of these freebies, the books have clickable Amazon links in case you'd like to review. They're all also on Goodreads at these links:

Witches of Galdorheim

Tales of Abu Nuwas - Setara's Genie

Quest for the Simurgh - Faizah's Destiny







Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Review: Side Trip by Renee Duke

Side Trip by Renee Duke
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A thoroughly enjoyable tale of a trio of planet-hopping teenagers who end up saving a Prince's Kingdom and keeping one little brother out of jail. Fun and fast reading.

Meda and Kristy look forward to the edu-tour of multiple planets but the chaperone is bound and determined that no kid in her care is going actually have fun on it. The two girls form a plan to get off the tour and head out on their own, hopping between planets, getting jobs to make money for food and their next ticket. All is going well until they discover Meda's clever little brother has jumped ship as well. Unfortunately, he's hooked up with a couple of older boys who talk him into stealing an important item from an exhibit.

The chase is on! The girls and little brother are joined in their travels by a Jip, a girl who can move between different planes of existence. A very handy skill when the kids are on the run from various evil-doers trying to get that certain item back and won't hesitate to kill to do it. Meda, Kristy, Jip, and bratty brother are on the run and determined to help an alien prince become the Emperor he's destined to be.

It's a mad dash for the teens, avoiding the men who oppose the prince, a strange man who seems to be chasing them for no reason, and their parents who will most likely ground them for life for ditching the tour.

Very well written (as I've come to expect from Ms. Duke). My favorite of hers to date. I hope she turns this into a series.

I received a free advance copy of this book from the author.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

NEW! SIDE TRIP Time Travel from Renee Duke

SIDE TRIP

Available at the following:

Earth-born adolescents, Meda and Kirsty, are eager to explore the Zaidus system. They just don’t want to explore it as members of an organized tour group. The chaperone’s a harridan, and most of the places they’re forced to visit are really boring. Striking out on their own holds far more appeal, and despite limited funds and unexpected mishaps, they manage quite well – at first. But thanks to a bratty little brother, a dimension-travelling alien girl, and a handsome alien prince, their independent tour of the Zaidus planets is not without its complications.

Excerpt

Mrs. Bromley’s decision to sit in the barge’s windowless main section did not go over well with Simon. Like most small boys, he likes to watch planets shrinking beneath him whilst transferring up to a ship. He took a seat, but having what one of his teachers once called a low regard for authority, he didn’t stay in it long. The minute Mrs. Bromley turned her back he headed for the doors leading up to the observation deck.

It was not until she went to take her own seat that Mrs. Bromley noticed Simon’s was empty. “Where is your little brother?” she demanded, looking down at Arlyne.

The query threw my sister into an immediate panic. The Brent siblings all have dark brown eyes, dark brown hair, and an average build for our respective ages. Except for our hair (she wears hers long; I keep mine medium length), she is, physically, a smaller version of me. That’s where the similarities end. Arlyne is compliant, sweet natured, and inclined to look on the bright side of everything. I am…not. I might not clash with the powers that be as often as Simon, but I don’t always find it convenient to fall in with all their edicts either.

Arlyne, well, let’s just say adult approval means a lot to her. The only time she wavers in her ongoing campaign to please them is if it involves telling tales on Simon. Bitter experience has taught her he has too many ways of getting even. Unsure as to how she should respond, she just bit her lip and looked helplessly at me.

“Simon’s not here,” I said, deciding to bail her out.

“I am well aware of that. What I want to know is, where is he?”

I considered the matter. “Well, he really likes window seats. Since there aren’t any down here, he’s probably gone up to the observation deck.”

“I told everyone to stay with the group.” The astonishment in Mrs. Bromley’s voice indicated that opposition to her dictates was not within her realm of experience.

“Och, well, Simon never listens to a word anyone says,” said Kirsty, tossing her short, copper-coloured curls unconcernedly. “Dinna fash yourself. He’ll come back when we connect up with the ship.”

“He’ll come back now,” Mrs. Bromley declared.

She wheeled round, but before she could go in pursuit of her errant charge, the barge’s launch siren sounded and she had to strap down. Thwarted, she could do nothing until we had docked beside the ship and Simon joined us at the connector doors. Elbowing aside several passengers, she seized him by the collar.

How dare you go off by yourself after I expressly forbade it,” she scolded. “You’re a naughty, disobedient boy.”

Having been called that, and a lot worse, by a number of harassed educators, Simon did not exactly reel from this rebuke. Before she could improve on it, the connector doors opened and we were forced to move onto the starliner’s receiving deck. By the time boarding officials had scanned our travel documents and pointed us in the direction of our on-board accommodation, her annoyance had increased tenfold. She had also got it into her head that everyone connected to Simon was responsible for his act of insubordination.

She ranted all the way to the row of double-occupancy cabins allotted to our group. “Such behaviour is totally unacceptable. I know good conduct is not your strong pointreports supplied by every school you have ever attended revealed thatbut you will find me far less tolerant than the people at your former institutes of learning. You four have got off to an extremely bad start with me.”

Arlyne started snuffling. Seeing how upset she was about this so-called bad start, Kirsty and I hung our heads and tried to look remorseful.

Simon didn’t bother. Had we known how the rest of the edu-tour was going to go, we wouldn’t have either.

About Renee

Renee Duke grew up in Ontario/ B.C., Canada and Berkshire, England. In addition to this young adult novel, she is the author of the middle grade time travel novels, The Disappearing Rose and The Mud Rose, the first two books in the eventual five-book Time Rose series, and has just completed the third book, The Spirit Rose.


Visit Renee's Blog Time Traveling with Kids for interesting historical facts and findings of interest to both kids and adults.