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Bringing Books to Life (Part 3)

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This week Queen Elizabeth II became Britain’s longest serving Monarch. We may not be royalty but this seems the perfect time to tell you about the time we took an imaginary trip across the pond.

It might sound completely mental to imagine we are traveling to the UK, but until we make “The Guardian Bestseller List” or our books are made into movies (we can dream) we’ll just have to pretend we’re visiting the places in our stories.

http://www.theguardian.com/books/booksblog/2014/dec/15/readers-10-best-books-of-2014

Start the day out with a Classic British Breakfast

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fried eggs, bacon, sausages, baked beans, toast & tomato

Play a Very British Game of Dr. Who Yahtzee

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You Can Find it on Amazon here…

Or watch “Doctor Who” while noshing on Jammie Dodgers

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Visit a Local British Restaurant

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Fish and Chips for Lunch

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Spend the afternoon reading the words of a British Author.

J.R.R. Tolkien, Lewis Carroll, Jane Austen, Charlotte Bront, Emily Bront, Charles Dickens, C.S. Lewis, Ian Fleming, Roald Dahl, and Agatha Christie…just to name a few.

Decorate the dinner table for a “Doctor Who” Dinner

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Yummy fish sticks and custard

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Cassandra Pizza and Bow Tie Pasta

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Adipose Cupcakes

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So, if you ever do get to Jolly Ole England, remember…pants mean underwear, sweaters are called jumpers, and trainers are tennis shoes.

Cheers, Mates!

If you’re not too knackered from the “trip” curl up on your settee with a cuppa and read this scene from HOLLOWED HUMUSARA, introducing our favorite “Britishy” butler, Chesterfield.

Excerpt:

At that moment the castle’s ornate wooden doors swung open and a slender man descended the stairs. He wore an old fashioned black tuxedo with long coat tails, a crisp white shirt, and a bow tie. His salt and pepper hair was meticulously combed back. Skylee thought he looked like he had just stepped from the pages of a Jane Austen novel.

Chrism, who was still slightly out of breath from dancing, stepped up to Skylee and let out a soft snort. “Where’d Phileas find him, Buckingham palace?”

Skylee gave her sister a poke in the ribs without taking her eyes off the approaching man. “More like the Antarctic,” she murmured back, resisting an urge to laugh.

“What the heck?” said Chrism, wrinkling up her forehead.

“Antarctic…penguins?” Skylee softly replied. “Get it?”

“Oh, I got it” she said, rolling her eyes. “Honestly, does everything have to be about wildlife with you?”

Skylee shrugged and grinned.

“Welcome to Mogg Castle,” said the man when he reached the bottom of the stairs. “My name is Chesterfield, the caretaker here. ‘Tis a pleasure to make your acquaintance.” He spoke in a prim and proper British accent.

Skylee noticed something odd about him. His facial features seemed almost immobilized. But before she could study him more closely, a squeaky little meowing sound caught her attention. A rather large cat with fluffy orange and white fur had followed him down the steps. As the caretaker introduced himself to the adults, the cat scurried up and rubbed against Skylee’s legs.

Kneeling down, she stroked it gently. “Ooo, such a big kitty, she cooed. “Yes…let’s see…are you a Maine Coon? I think so…yes I do… Aren’t you a good…uh, girl? No…no, you’re a boy…aren’t you?”

“Aaaaw,” said Chrism, joining her to pet the cat. “Look at him, he’s so gorgeous! And he reminds me of someone.”

And just like that, Skylee was struck with an unnerving thought. Ever since her sister had turned into a bear and then a snake—not to mention seeing Levi, the Silvereye, flying around her hotel room—she couldn’t see animals in the same way. Now, she found herself wondering if they were a Corporus.

Well, if I could shift I’d be a cat, she thought, looking closer at the kitty. His large eyes shone like golden glass and his fur felt too soft to be real.

“Hello young miss,” said Chesterfield, bowing slightly to Chrism, and then pivoting to bow to Skylee. “Miss Porter, I see you’ve met our resident cat.”

Skylee stood. “Oh, hi—yes sir—we have. What’s his name?”

“We call him Mr. Chi.”

“Oh, what does it mean?” asked Skylee.

“The name has many meanings,” he said. “In China it is the energy of life or literally air, and the traditional unit of length, sometimes referred to as a Chinese foot. It can also mean dragon. In Greek it is the twenty-second letter in the alphabet. And in some urban settings it means an extremely attractive person, a hottie.”

“Er, well, thanks,” muttered Skylee, glancing over at Chrism, who stood gawking at Chesterfield as though he had just spouted a second head. “That was a very, um, very thorough definition.”

“You are welcome, miss.”

“Huh—can’t believe it,” Chrism muttered under her breath. “He might actually give her a run for her money.”

“Who?” asked Skylee with furrowed brows. “What are you talking about?”

Her sister smirked. “I’m just saying that Chesterfield here reminds me of another Wiki-fact wizard I know.”

“You are mistaken, miss,” said Chesterfield in a corrective yet tactful tone. “It is true that my data is accessed via Internet and includes an extensive number of dictionaries, glossaries, encyclopedias and web browsers, but I rarely scan Wikipedia.”

“Ooo…kay?” said Chrism, looking puzzled.

Skylee let out a small laugh and glanced nervously at the caretaker’s expressionless face. Is he for real? she wondered. She was searching her brain for the right thing to say when her mother stepped closer.

“Oh, Pumpkin,” she said, picking up the cat, which had still been weaving in and out of Skylee’s calves. “He seems to really like you.” She handed the furry feline to her.

Skylee cradled him in her arms. “He’s so perfect.”

“Correct, young miss, he is an android pet, a DroidCo Nine model. Mr. Mogg has equipped the manor with the finest technology, take myself for example I am a DroidCo Generation Twenty.”

“You’re an ANDROID!” Chrism blurted out, and then clamped her hand over her mouth.

Everyone stopped talking and looked at Chesterfield.

Which Primortus Being Are You?

 

Picture for Quiz 1

By J.L. Bond and Val Richards

 Take the Quiz

What word best describes you?

A. Protector

B. Chameleon

C. Communicator

D. Visionary

 

When going on a quest, you always take along…

A. Your Favorite Necklace

B. A Pocketful of Banquet Bars

C. Your Fluffy Pillow

D. A Box of Tissues

 

Which song is the soundtrack of your life?

A. Heroes by Alesso

B. Animals by Maroon 5

C. Ghost by Ella Henderson

D. Blank Space by Taylor Swift

 

Your favorite Fantasy World is…

A. Middle Earth

B. Narnia

C. Underworld

D. Wonderland

 

If someone attacked you, how would you defend yourself?

A. Freeze them in a block of ice

B. Bite off their fingers

C. Magically disappear

D. RUN!

 

If you were only allowed one type of food for the rest of your life, what would you eat?

A. Vegetables

B. Tofu…NOT! Pass the steak and make it RARE!

C. Dairy…hey, milk keeps babies alive.

D. High-Tech Food Alternatives…you’re always looking to the future.

 

Who is your Favorite super hero?

A. The Green Lantern

B. Wolverine

C. Ghost Rider

D. Cyclops

 

If your boyfriend/girlfriend disappeared, what would you do?

A. Move heaven and earth to find them.

B. Whatever. There are other fish in the sea.

C. Put my mind to it and poof I’m with him/her

D. When did I get a girlfriend/boyfriend?

 

A major catastrophe just happened and help is needed. Ready to sign up?

A. Of course, need you even ask?

B. Why not? It might be fun.

C. I guess, but don’t count on me sticking around too long.

D. Major Catastrophe? Run!

 

You’re guilty of which of these bad habits?

A. Blaming yourself for everything that goes wrong

B. Eating junk food

C. Oversleeping

D. Running away

 

Which book would you choose for a little light reading?

A. The Giver by Lois Lowry

B. Animal Farm by George Orwell

C. Gone by Michael Grant

D. The Perks Of Being A Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky

 

 

Mostly A’s are Primortus – Always in tune with nature, you are thoughtful to a fault. You’re a powerful being with healing ability and you’re constantly thinking of others. With you power over air, earth, fire, or water, nothing can keep you from protecting life. As a born leader, you know what’s right and what’s wrong. And you’re always ready to lead the fight. Warning, you’d best keep your feelings in check or all Hades will break loose.

 

Mostly B’s are Shifters (Corporus) – You’re in touch with your inner beast. Out of all of the beings, you are the most versatile. With your heightened senses, you’re the one everyone wants on their team when facing down the enemy. You are always ready to defend but have a playful side as well. Whether you’re soaring through the air or galloping across the countryside you feel at home. But watch out, with all your wonderfulness, you’re prone to act without thinking. So don’t forgot to rein it in now and then.

 

Mostly C’s are Reapers (Spiritus) – You are an extremely spiritual being, a dreamer with secrets. But living a secretive life can take its toll on you. Carrying all of those messages around in your head is a heavy burden. Sometimes you find yourself feeling manipulated and used. Just don’t let it bring you down. You can still pop in and out whenever you feel like it. You have some pretty powerful connections. Oh, but remember, stay in the clutches of your otherworldly friends too long and you may never come back.

 

Mostly D’s are Seers (Animus) – You’re a rare individual, who always seems to know what is on the horizon. Frequently misunderstood, your intelligence is sometimes perceived as “crazy”. You are emotional and sensitive. Unfortunately, you’re often the carrier of bad news, so you try hiding from your troubles. You struggle with confidence and always compare yourself to others. Through you’re not great in a battle, you are stronger and more courageous than others realize.

Leave us a comment and let us know what you are!

Jumping from The “New” Sky Tower

Sky Tower!

Sky Tower! (Photo credit: kennymatic)

First, let’s set the scene…The city of Auckland, sometime in the future. It’s 15 years after The Day of Disaster, a catastrophic event, wherein a vast crack in the earth’s crust nearly circled the globe.   Our main character, Skylee Porter is on her way to the recently restored New Sky Tower to go bungee jumping

Imagine finding out the necklace you’ve been given (as an inheritance  in your father’s will) holds a magical power…and there’s a mysterious man, who will stop at nothing to take it from you. Now imagine he comes for it at the top of The New Sky Tower! How will you escape?  

The following is an excerpt from Book One of The Primortus Chronicles.

It was a relief when they reached the corner of Federal and Victoria streets and entered the base of the Sky Tower.  Skylee was pleased to learn that her book, still secretly hidden inside the backpack, could be safely secured inside a locker while she bungee jumped.

Once Ann had bought the tickets and signed the forms, they lined up for the elevator ride to the top.  As they waited Skylee felt the necklace, which was tucked under her shirt, warming against her skin.  She decided to ignore it hoping it would return to normal.

Moments later their tour guide arrived. He explained that he would also serve as the bungee instructor for the brave few who planned to jump.  He was a tall, attractive guy, even dressed in the dorky bright orange uniform and white gloves.  His dark blonde hair had that shaggy but styled thing going on, and he wore trendy sunglasses.  His oration about the Sky Tower turned out to be surprisingly unrehearsed.  Skylee wondered if this was perhaps his first day on the job.

“The New Sky Tower is three hundred and forty meters tall,” the guide began.  “Uh, making it um…one of the tallest towers in the world.  I think it’s…yeah, it’s as tall as the New Eiffel Tower.”  He took a deep breath and the next part of his speech flew out at high speed.  “The tower was designed to withstand winds in excess of one hundred and twenty miles per hour.  It even survived a nine point three earthquake on the Day of Disaster.  The New Sky Tower recently reopened to the public after years of reconstruction and repair.”

Will leaned over and whispered in Skylee’s ear, “I didn’t know you were so famous.  You have a tower named after you, Sky.”

Skylee rolled her eyes at him.  It was hard to decide which was worst Airon calling her Skippy or Will’s Sky joke.  She placed her fingers in an L on her forehead, turned toward Will and dramatically mouthed the word loser.  Catching a glimpse of the guide staring, she quickly dropped her hand.  He smiled oddly at her and she looked away, suddenly aware that he might have thought she was making fun of him.

As Skylee stepped onto the elevator she noticed her necklace warming.  The sensation made her stomach churn as the elevator took off.   She tried to ignore it and listen to the guide’s speech.

“There are something like…twelve hundred steps…uh wait, yes, twelve hundred and eighty-five steps from the base of Sky Tower to Sky Deck,” he continued, looking down at his white glove, which was covered with writing.  “On a clear day you can see approximately fifty one miles from the Sky Tower.”

Skylee felt the elevator lurch to a stop and someone took her by the hand.  The guide was escorting her out of the elevator. This left a rather confused looking tour group to exit on their own, including Will who looked more annoyed than confused.  Chrism, on the other hand, seemed to find it amusing.

Skylee could feel the guide’s eyes upon her, even though his dark glasses concealed them.  Her face flushed under his gaze, and the necklace hidden underneath her shirt grew hotter by the second. She wasn’t sure how much longer she could bear its heat.  Anguished, she let out a small sigh.

Will’s mouth fell open and he formed a fist.  For a second, Skylee thought he was going to punch the guide.  But instead he stood frozen in place, staring loathingly at him with both fists still tightly clinched.  All along, Chrism persisted in chattering to Will about their first time to bungee jump together.

Ann, who had exited the elevator behind them, was watching him closely.  The anger on Will’s face seemed to spur her into action.

“Pardon me?” she said stepping between Will and the guide.  “Where’s the best place to view the bungee jumping?”

The guide snapped into a professional sounding tone, “Okay…friends and family are welcome to watch from the viewing platform.”

Skylee glanced over at Will who was slowly shaking his head.  Then a couple of young women, dressed in orange uniforms, began leading the spectators to the platform.  Ann stood motionless and watched as they prepared for the bungee jump.  Her eyebrows were strangely twisted and her lips pointed downward as she looked on

“Are you okay?” Skylee asked her.  “I’m sure it’s perfectly safe, after all you’ve bungee jumped yourself, plenty of times.”

“Yeah, mum, no worries. I‘ll make sure it’s safe,” Will added, without taking his eyes off the guide.

“I’m just being a mom, you know…mom’s always worry,” Ann replied then she slowly turned and walked to the viewing platform.

“Those of you who will be jumping tandem please stand to the right and the solo jumpers to the left,” said the guide as he motioned to each side.

Chrism and Will were among the first to be suited up for the jump.  Will, who had bungee jumped dozens of times, looked as cool as a cucumber.

“Oh, Will I’m so scared,” Chrism said in a childish sounding voice.

Skylee turned her head and made a face.  Just then, the guide began the countdown for their jump, her stepsister pleaded with Will to hold her until they leapt.  Will complied, but his eyes were now focused on Skylee.  Even as they plunged from the platform concern was written across his face.

One by one, the jumpers dived from the Sky Tower, some with squeals of delight, some with screams of terror, until Skylee alone remained.  The necklace was so hot it was nearly unbearable. She considered removing it but feared she might lose it in the jump.

A shadow fell across the Sky Deck as the sun hid behind a cloud.  The air grew still.  It seemed that the entire world had gone oddly silent.  Skylee looked across the decking in search of Ann who raised her hand in a funny half-wave. For a moment, Skylee had a weird feeling that Ann was warning her not to jump.

“Step over here, Skylee,” the guide said as his hand seized the back of her waist.  “I’ll help you get ready.”

“Okay, thanks,” she said, watching him hook the bungee cord to her harness.  “Wait…how do you know my name?”

Moving with lightning speed, he shoved her away and she stumbled backward until she was at the edge of the platform.  She clung to the cord for balance.  A glint of light caught her eye.

A knife.  He pointed it at her and raised his other hand in a slow, deliberate motion, removing his dark glasses.  No, how can this be? Skylee asked herself as she stared into his soulless black eyes.  It’s him.  The devil from the wedding had found her.  Her visions were coming to life.

He slowly edged nearer, holding the knife between them.  There was nowhere for Skylee to go but down and she wasn’t sure her bungee cord was completely secured.

“Please…don’t…who are you?” she asked, her mind racing.  “Why are you doing this?”

“Give me the necklace,” he coldly demanded.

“I don’t have it,” she said, trying to sound convincing.

“It would be wise for you to hand it over.”

Skylee felt choked by fear.  “Why are you—”

“Give it to me, NOW!” he shouted.

“I can’t it’s—it’s in my room,” she lied.

“No it isn’t!” he barked.  “You’re wearing it!”

He rushed toward her, holding the cord in one hand and the knife in the other.  Her feet were barely touching the edge of the platform.  She struggled to peer around him hoping Will’s mom had seen she was in danger.  Then a sickening realization hit her, Ann could only see him from behind.  She couldn’t see that he was holding a knife.  Gathering all her courage, she twisted and turned trying to release his grip on her.

“Be still,” he snarled through gritted teeth.

A scream rose from deep inside her, but it was quickly halted as he held the blade against her throat.

“If you don’t give it…to…me…I WILL TAKE IT!” he loudly growled.

Running the knife at an angle along her collar, he reached the chain of her necklace.  Skylee felt the blade’s cold metal and gasped as it pricked her skin.

“Okay, okay you can have it.  Just don’t…” she pleaded with him, but agonizing pain halted her words.

A burning sensation tormented her as the necklace slid across her chest.  It eased slightly when he suspended it over her shirt, holding it by the chain with the tip of his blade.  The corners of his mouth curved into a sinister grin and his black eyes sparkled as they fixed upon the amulet.

“At last, you’re mine,” he said, reaching for it.

The magnitude of his words triggered an overwhelming surge of willpower within Skylee. You’re not taking my father’s necklace, she thought.  Using every ounce of strength she could muster, she pushed his arm away, throwing him off balance.  She looked up and saw the necklace swinging back and forth on the blade.  Then a silver flash crossed her vision as the knife came down and sliced her arm.  She expected sharp pain, yet she felt nothing but cold numbness.  There was only one way to escape him.  Moving swiftly, she grabbed the necklace by its chain and stepped backward off the tower.

“NO!” he screamed, swinging the knife wildly.

For a brief second she felt as if she were hanging in midair.  Then she watched in horror as he nicked her harness, severing partway through the fabric.  His other hand was still gripping her bungee cord, which was now slipping through his fingers.  It slashed a gash through his glove and deeper into his flesh, leaving a bright red streak.  The last things she saw as she tumbled downward were his black eyes.

Skylee felt herself falling—falling—backward.  Everything will be fine, the harness will hold, she told herself.  When she reached the end of the cord it pulled taunt and sprung back.  A feeling of relief swept over her.  She had escaped the stranger and the necklace was still in her hand.  Soon she would be safely on the ground.  On her second trip downward she heard it.

            SNAP

The sliced harness had broken free.  Skylee helplessly tumbled through the air watching the tower fly by.  There was nothing she could do.  The ground came rushing up at her.

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Five Things You Might Not Know About New Zealand

 

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1.  The Maori name for N.Z. is ‘Aotearoa’

It means “the land of the long white cloud”

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IMG_3651c (Photo credit: mollydot)

2. In 1893, New Zealand became the first Country to give women the right to vote

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new zealand traffic jam 1 (Photo credit: kidicarus222)

3. New Zealanders are outnumbered by sheep

In fact, there are around 5 sheep per person 

22 Jun - My bookshop Beattie & Forbes

22 Jun – My bookshop Beattie & Forbes (Photo credit: catspyjamasnz)

4. There are more book stores per person than any other country about one for every 7500 people.

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Gandalf (Photo credit: San Diego Shooter)

5. New Zealand is more than Middle Earth

“That was the big effect Lord of the Rings had on me. It was discovering New Zealand.  And even more precious were the people not all like the Australians.”- Ian Mckellen

The following is an excerpt from Eleventh Elementum, Book One of the Primortus Chronicles. 

Skylee set down her suitcase, dropped her backpack onto the bed and threw herself back against the soft pillows.  She was happy to finally be in New Zealand.  The flight had been exhausting, not the plane-ride itself, but the seventeen-plus hours of listening to Chrism complaining, whereas Skylee only had one complaint.  The fact that she had to share her Luck-E-Chocs with everyone and now she was down to two pieces.  However, her sister had enough grievances to create a list, which included the seating, the food, the ‘stupid’ movie choices and the poor service.

At one point during their flight Skylee had pretended to be asleep, which only gave Chrism several hours to flirt with Will.  She had read to him endlessly from her V-phone about New Zealand’s Lord of the Rings and Hobbit movie locations.  Will sat attentively smiling and nodding at her the whole time.  During the unfortunate episode, Skylee found herself becoming increasingly annoyed with her new stepsister.

She didn’t know why.  It couldn’t be jealousy, not over Will.  What was there to be jealous about?  At least that’s what she told herself.

Now Skylee was alone for the first time in days, and it felt nice.  Her mind immediately turned to the book, which she had carefully concealed inside her backpack.  Luckily Chrism hadn’t noticed when she cut the lining to create a secret hiding place.  A couple of times she had even snuck a look at the book, but she couldn’t find the privacy to really examine it as she wished.  She knew it was pointless to fish it out now since Chrism would arrive at any moment.  Exhaling loudly she relaxed into the fluffy pillows, picking up a brochure from the bedside table.  She read.

Visit Ancient Maori Village

Long ago, the land was covered by rainforests…

the calls of the laughing owl and the giant Mao filled the air…

the Maori people knew no fear   Step back in time…

You’ll fall in love with New Zealand. 

            She studied the glossy pamphlet and three words seemed to jump out at her.  Fall in love. Surely they don’t think you can fall in love with a place.  Or do they? she pondered.  She didn’t think so.  She wasn’t sure she even believed in falling in love.

 

 

World’s Largest Creepy Crawler

 

WETA BUG

 

Cook Strait Giant Weta

Why are we talking about Weta bugs?  Because in Book One of The Primortus Chronicles we encounter one of these amazing insects.  So let’s find out a “little” more about a “big” bug.    

The following is from AsianScientist:Source Animal Planet (Dec. 7, 2011) – An American researcher at the Smithsonian Institution says he has found the world’s biggest bug on New Zealand’s Little Barrier Island.

The insect has a wing span of around 18 centimeters (7 inches) and weighs three times as much as a mouse. It was thought to be extinct after European settlers brought rats to New Zealand.

The giant weta bug was found by 53-year-old entomologist and photojournalist Mark Moffett, who has been called the Indiana Jones of Entomology by the National Geographic Society.

“Three of us walked the trails of this small island for two nights scanning the vegetation for a giant weta. We spent many hours with no luck finding any at all, before we saw her up in a tree,” he said.

However, Moffett did what a responsible explorer would do – he returned the bug right where he found it.

Did you know that Weta Digital (visual effects studio for The Lord of the Rings Trilogy and The Hobbit films) is named after these creatures? 

2008-11-09, Wellington The Weta Shop sells boo...

2008-11-09, Wellington The Weta Shop sells books and collectable items just next to the Weta Digital studio. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Warning this part is totally disgusting!!!

Don’t worry there are about 70 species of bug that go by the name weta.  And I’m told Bear didn’t eat one of the endangered types. Well, let’s hope so!!

The following is an excerpt from Eleventh Elemetum: 

            Chrism let out a loud gasp, pointed at Will and yelled, “BUG!”

            Everyone froze.  There, sitting on his shoulder, was the largest bug Skylee had seen in her entire life. The brown creature resembled a giant cricket with long hairy looking legs.  It was so big in fact, that if Skylee could have mustered up the courage to pick it up it would have barely fit on her palm.  Usually Skylee wasn’t afraid of insects but she found herself taking a small step back as chill bumps rushed over her arms.

            Will slowly craned his neck around and was eye to eye with the enormous insect.  He closed his eyes for a split second and when he reopened them, they were as wide as saucers.  He looked straight ahead and didn’t dare move an inch.

            “KILL IT!  KILL IT!” screeched Chrism.

            “NO, don’t!  Don’t hurt it,” ordered Nika, holding her hands up.

            “Maybe it will jump off,” Skylee quickly said as she considered how she might use the power of the Elementum to control the huge creature.  

            “What should I do?” whispered Will trying not to disturb it.

            “Hold still mate,” said Airon with a bewildered look on his face. “Crikey, what is the bloody thing?”

            “It’s a weta bug.  I haven’t seen one in years,” said Hera in a hushed voice.  “They—they almost went extinct after The Day.  So, we should try not to harm it.”

            “Weta-bug?  Well, do they bite?” asked Airon curiously.

            “I don’t think so, unless they’re feeling threatened,” said Heather.  “Stay still.  Let’s think, what can we do to keep from harming it?”

            “WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE?  SOMEBODY, JUST SMACK THAT UGLY THING!” screamed Chrism frantically shaking her hands in front of her.

            “Hey, I’ve read about these,” said Skylee, leaning in for a better look. “There are lots of different species.  They’re flightless so, I don’t think it will jump off.  It must have crawled on your shoulder when we were under the trees.  Oh, do you think it is a tree weta?”

“Possible, yes,” answered Heather.

“They’re nocturnal, normally.  Will, you must have woke him up,” Skylee said smiling at the bug. 

“Hopefully, he’s a good sport about it,” he replied as he glanced at her.

“He seems okay, he hasn’t raised his back legs in defense, so you should be okay.”

She placed her hand over her necklace, hoping she could use her power without having to pull it out for everyone to see.  She might be able to control the weta.  Skylee searched her mind for the right thoughts to concentrate on.

            Almost at the same time, Zane bounded up to Will.  He smiled broadly and bent forward looking closely at the bug.  Then to everyone’s amazement, he calmly picked the gigantic insect up and looked admiringly at it.

            “Well, take a gawk at that!” he exclaimed.  “I thought I’d never see a weta bug again.  Little fella, you better find somewhere else to sit.  I’m afraid you’re not welcome here.” He walked over to a tree and carefully placed the bug on a branch.

            “Little,” gasped Chrism.  “You call that terrible monstrosity little?”

            Zane started to speak but Will reached out and placed his hand on his shoulder.  “Thanks, mate. I wasn’t scarred of it or anything but I just, well I didn‘t…”  

            “Of course,” he said as he patted Will on the back then turned his attention to Chrism.  “Let me clue you in on a secret, little lady.  What you call a terrible monstrosity is a survivor and we should all consider ourselves lucky to have seen it.”

            “That’s right,” said Hera nodding her head.  “It’s a sign…a cause for hope.”

            Chrism’s eyes got big.  “I don’t get it!  You’re saying that awful looking thing is some sort of special sign?”

            “Don’t you see?” said Skylee.  “The weta bug means the natural world is continuing to recover—the planet is healing.”

            Her stepsister rolled her eyes and said, “Okay, okay you don’t have to go all environmentalist wacko on me. I get it, that gross, horrid bug is mankind’s link to utopia, yeah, whatever.

            “No, it’s not like that,” said Skylee, frowning.  “You don’t understand.”

            “Yeah, I do, ” Chrism shot back.  “But what I’m trying to comprehend is why Weta Studios is named after something that hideous.  Go figure.” 

            Before Skylee could respond, Hera and Nika chimed in and tried to get through to her, explaining the significance of protecting the fragile environment.  Skylee’s heart sank for she could see from Chrism’s bored expression that their words fell on deaf ears. 

 

 

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The Secrets of The Humusara

The Humusara

The Humusara

Watch the crazy authors as they explain.  

The following is an excerpt from Eleventh Elementum where Skylee shares the secret of her Humusara with Will.

Skylee took the book from her backpack, placed it on the foot of the bed and they both knelt in front of it.  She quickly removed her necklace and placed it in the book’s cover.  Will’s mouth dropped open as it began to transform.

“What’s bloody happening?”

“It’s aging¸ see, here’s the strange lettering,” she said touching the page.  “But watch—wait—there—do you see it?

“No…eh…I don’t see anything, just unreadable script.”

“But you have to see it, look, don’t you see it?”  Skylee took Will’s hand and placed it on the page.

They both gasped as a brilliant light appeared.  It looked exactly like the light she’d seen the first time she placed the Elementum inside the cover.  There was no time for Skylee to explain.  Will’s body jerked, and his hand appeared to be stuck to the book.  Just as before, a blaze of silvery white light erupted and formed a dazzling column of brightness that illuminated the room.

“Don’t be afraid,” whispered Skylee, seeing his eyes widen with astonishment.

Skylee shivered as the room grew colder and colder.  She watched with tears in her eyes as Will gasped for air while the light moved up his arm to his chest.  The same orb of twinkling light she’d seen days ago on her chest was now on his heart shining through the fabric of his shirt.  Within seconds, the third column of light formed and returned to the book.

As the room warmed, Will stared down at the book.  His hand softly rested on the page as he watched the flickering light fade.  He didn’t speak, didn’t move.  Words were appearing, shimmering across the page in front of him.

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What is an Elementum?

Eleventh-Elementum~~element82

Watch the crazy authors as they try to explain.

Read an excerpt from

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Book One

The Primortus Chronicles

Skylee crept into the room, carefully avoiding the open suitcases, shoeboxes and clothing scattered on the floor.  Dressing for the wedding had created quite a mess.  She had wanted to clean it up, but her almost stepsister insisted that her father had hired people to do such things.

As she approached the package, her pulse raced.  Skylee normally opened a present slowly and carefully like a doctor performing surgery, but her excitement made her eagerly tear through the wrapping.

Inside, cushioned on a bed of crumpled paper, was a brown leather book bound with four gold rings.  A diamond shape was carved into the front cover.  She held the book close to her heart realizing that it could be her father’s journal, a look into his soul.  Turning it over, she examined it more closely and tried to imagine him holding it in his hands.  Despite her feeling of excitement, a deep sadness washed over her.

Skylee reached up and pushed back the heavy curtains, flooding the room with sunlight.  As she opened the book, a musty odor filled the room even though the cover looked new.  She thumbed through the crisp white pages to find page after page of strange hand written lettering, which appeared to be an ancient language.  Skylee squinted at the lettering and tried to make out the words.

Holding the book closer to her face, she decided it was a language she had never seen before.  Her heart sank in disappointment.  It wasn’t her father’s journal.  Why…she wondered…why did my dad want me to have a book that I can’t read?  She softly placed it on the table and sighed.  Then her gaze returned to the package.  Maybe there was something else…something that would explain it to her.

She ran her fingers through the crumpled paper and found a smaller box.  Her eyes widened as she opened it and peered inside.  The box held a beautiful necklace, which appeared to be very old.  Upon closer inspection, she realized its dark gray metal shone like new, reflecting tiny flecks of blue.  She had never seen a lovelier amulet.  Her eyes moved back and forth from the necklace to the carving on the book.  They were exactly the same size and shape.

Plucking the necklace from the box, she held it up by its long silvery chain.  The medieval looking amulet swayed and sparkled in the light as if it were covered in diamonds.  Its circular center was divided into four quadrants, each one with a distinct etching.  She brushed her fingers across the symbols wondering what they meant, and then she turned the amulet over.  On the back were more etchings.  One looked like an inscription and the other was an odd symbol.  They appeared to be in the same language as the lettering in the book.

Skylee didn’t know what to make of it, yet she had a strong urge to put on the necklace.  Draping it over her head, she crossed the room and stood at the full-length mirror.  Her blue eyes narrowed as she frowned at her reflection.  She had tried to tame her wavy blonde hair into some kind of twist, securing it at the crown of her head in an attempt to look more mature.  Now she wondered if it only accentuated her most embarrassing feature her protruding ears.  She brushed an unruly curl away from her face and examined her pale complexion.  Maybe the extra makeup was too much.  She usually only wore a little mascara and tinted lip-gloss.  She shrugged and made a face at herself in the mirror.  Then her eyes settled on the sparkling necklace, which was resting on the soft green fabric of her dress.

“So, this is my inheritance,” she said, holding it up.

She curiously gazed at it and, to her surprise, white crystals were forming on its surface. Suddenly a sharp pain seared her fingers and she quickly let go, leaving it dangling from the chain around her neck.  The amulet was as cold as ice.  Confusion overwhelmed her.  Her heart pounded loudly under the freezing metal.  She took a deep breath and tried to calm down.  But as if being driven by some force that she could not understand, Skylee walked to the book.  She removed the amulet and, with icy cold fingers, placed it into the diamond shaped carving.

A brilliant glow grew from the heart of it, intensifying in brightness until its radiance held her gaze.  Then without warning a jolt of energy surged through her fingers.  She shrieked and tried to pull away from the book, but her hand wouldn’t budge.  It was like a

heavy weight was holding it there.  She yanked and tugged to free herself, but it was no use.

As she stood rooted in place, the air grew colder.  Tiny clouds of white fog floated before her with each quivering breath. In astonishment, she watched as the brilliant light traveled up her arm, making its way to her chest.  A tingling sensation spread across her body as if something inside her was struggling to get out.

Gasping for air, she looked down to see a whirling orb of light positioned directly above her heart.  Like a bolt of lightning, energy poured through her veins and flooded her entire body.  Then the orb burst forth with a column of light, which returned to the necklace still in her frozen grasp atop the book.

Skylee felt as if she were spinning around very fast.  It seemed to go on forever.  Then, at last, she felt herself coming to a halt.  There was a prickling sensation as if dozens of sharp needles were piercing her hand.  She carefully released her hold on the necklace and lifted her tingling fingers away from the book.  Then, like fireflies flickering in and out, the light faded away.

Unable to look away, she held her breath as she opened the book.  Shimmering words appeared on the once unreadable pages as if an unseen hand was translating a secret message.  Skylee blinked wildly and shook her head in disbelief as she tried to focus on the page.  More words, words she could read, materialized before her eyes.  In one swift motion, she gasped, slammed the book shut, and fell back against the couch.

With her eyes shut tight, she could hear her pulse pounding in her ears.  Slowly she lifted her eyelids and peeked at the book.  She wasn’t sure how it was possible but it seemed to be breathing.  Gripped by both fear and curiosity, she edged closer.  But the book had changed.  Only seconds before its leather had been new and its pages had looked crisp and white, now the edges were worn and the pages were yellowed with age.

“This can’t be happening,” she repeated till she stood in front of the book.  With trembling fingers, she opened it and again the shimmering words appeared.

“It has begun…he shall not wait

  to bring about a lifeless fate.”

She read the phrase over and over until her head was spinning.  Then she cautiously backed away from the book and stood near the door.    

There was a long moment of silence, which was broken by a faint high-pitched sound.  Someone was whistling a familiar tune, like a child’s nursery rhyme.  The slow dissonant melody sent a chill down her spine.

Suddenly a dark movement caught her eye, and the whistling fell silent.  A man was standing there, at the window, his eerie silhouette backlit by the bright sunlight.  Skylee’s pulse pounded in her throat.  She huddled in the dimly lit corner, hoping she was hidden from view.  Goosebumps covered her arms as a sinister creak filled the room, and the window swung open.  She blinked and tried to focus her eyes.

He was tall, with black hair, and was dressed in a dark blue uniform.  His face was so smooth it looked like a mask.  The sunlight tinted his high cheekbones slightly yellow, but it was his black eyes that really scared her.  They were like dark holes in his face.

The room was deathly quiet.  Skylee stood motionless trying not to breathe, as sweat dampened her clothing.  The man peered through the open window.  He seemed to be scanning the area in search of something, until his eyes stopped at the open book.

“It’s true…it still exists,” he said as he effortlessly climbed over the windowsill.

His swift movement into the room made her let out an involuntary gasp.  He froze, then spun around and peered into the corner.  The moment he saw her, a low menacing snarl rose from his throat.  Terror, greater than she had ever known, swept over her.  She felt paralyzed as she stared into his eyes…blue into utter blackness.

“Skylee?”

Her eyes widened.  She was unsure who had called her name.  A sharp knock at the door caused her to jump.  In an instant, the dark stranger turned and bolted through the window, which slammed shut behind him.

“Skylee, can you come and help your stepsister?” hollered Chloe from behind the door.

Exhaling in relief, Skylee staggered forward on trembling legs and collapsed onto the couch.

“Oh, yes, I…I’m coming,” she called out breathlessly.

She leaned forward and covered her face with her hands to calm herself, but the memory of the man’s black eyes were imprinted on her brain.  With adrenaline still pumping through her veins, she struggled to regain her composure.

After several minutes her eyes returned to the window.  It seemed to have opened and closed without him ever touching it.  She stood, hesitated, and then walked toward it, carefully running her hands around its edges in search of wires.  Nothing.  As she nervously looked around, she latched the window and checked to be sure that it was locked.  She drew closer to the glass and then quickly moved back in fear of his return.  Who was he?  Was he going to take the book?

“I’d better hide it,” she said under her breath.  “But, where?”

Skylee explored the room looking for a hiding place.  Inside a supply closet, she found a set of filing cabinets.  She slipped the book into a file drawer under a stack of papers, then returned to the empty box and replaced the lid.  The box shifted revealing an envelope underneath addressed to Skylee, from Mom.

She snatched up the envelope and turned to leave the room, but something stopped her in her tracks.  She spun around and, against her better judgment, returned to the book.  She reached out for the amulet, which was still tucked in the cover.

“Ouch,” she gasped, swiftly pulling back her hand and waving her fingers through the air.

It was hot.  She stared intently at it.  It defied all logic.  She couldn’t believe it had gone from freezing cold to burning hot in mere minutes.  How? And more importantly, why?

The Day of Disaster

English: A picture of the Upper and Lower Yose...

English: A picture of the Upper and Lower Yosemite Falls at the Yosemite National Park in the USA. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The following is a description of what happens BEFORE 

Chapter One

Eleventh Elementum

Yosemite National Park

Ahwahnee Hotel

The big event would take place in two minutes and fourteen seconds, but the pregnant woman sitting at the far end of the lobby wasn’t expecting it.  No, not the arrival of her baby, of course she would have known if she were in labor.  What she wasn’t anticipating was larger, much larger than her enormous stomach.  The world was about to fall apart.

It happened on a Monday, the fifth of February, early in the afternoon.  The first sign of trouble began at the peak of an immense granite cliff, not far from where Yosemite Falls cascades gracefully to earth.  How could something so ugly happen in such a beautiful place?

Thirty-seven seconds to go.  The expectant mother, who was now curled up in a cozy chair near the window, gazed out at the scenery.  She sipped her hot green tea, contemplating names for the baby.

Aqua, she thought, watching The Falls tumble down the sheer rock wall.  Or maybe Rain… She wanted her child to have a beautiful name, something inspired by nature.  Unlike her own name, which had nothing to do with the beauty of nature.  In fact, she was named after a legendary rock singer, who had died of a tragic drug overdose.  She twisted her mouth into a frown.  Of all the names in the world, she thought, shaking her head slowly.  And mom and dad had to pick Janis.

Sixteen seconds.  Janis squirmed in her chair.  She wished she were out hiking with her husband and stepson.  “No way,“ her husband had said when she showed up in the lobby with her hiking boots on.  He had patted her beach-ball-sized belly and added, “You’re sitting this one out.  Eight months is too far along for a trip to the falls.”  She knew he was right, but still, she hated to miss the fun.

Four seconds.  Three, two…she tipped her cup, drinking the last drop, which was the exact moment it happened.  Two powerful beings came into existence.  The first, who would eventually be known as Brinfrost, was born of betrayal and vengeance.  The second, like no other, would be feared and called an abomination of nature.  Like fire and water, darkness and light, their conflict was set in motion.  Some say their arrival caused something deep in the earth’s crust to shift, and others believe the world stopped spinning for a moment.  Either way Janis never dreamed of it as she carefully placed her cup back on its saucer.  It would be the last peaceful moment she would have for a very long time.

It hit her.  A wave of stabbing pain twisted through her abdomen.  Bending forward, she clutched her belly as the ground trembled beneath her feet.  She looked up just in time to see the huge stone cliff give way.  The deafening noise was unlike anything she had ever heard before.  A thunderous crack as if  a million guns had been fired.  She cupped her hands over her ears, as the sound seemed to pierce her very soul.

Suddenly the windows exploded and tiny glittering shards of glass rained down around her.  The force was unbelievable.  It seemed like the earth itself was breaking, even the air shook.

As the hotel fell apart around her, Janis felt herself falling.  Her chair danced up and down in jolting waves, then it lunged forward dumping her rounded body onto the floor.  She desperately tried to grab on to anything she could.  Her ears were ringing and her heart raced in terror.  Sliding downward, she looked out through the hole where the window had been and searched the mountain for her husband and stepson.  She caught sight of them, high on the crumbling cliff.  Then they disappeared, tumbling into the massive rockslide.

“No!“ she screamed, collapsing on the floor.  Sinking helplessly down, her world went black.

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