NovelSisters

watching, reading, and writing stories

Why you should go to the Library this Summer

It’s officially summer now and I have a bit more free time on my hands so I’ve been going to the library more regularly. I don’t know why, but for a good portion of my life I didn’t take advantage of our public library system here in Texas. But now that I’ve started, I can’t imagine not having it. So if you’re hitting those summer dog days and needing something to do, check out your local library.

Here are my three reasons why you should check it out.

1. Books! Whether it’s rereading one of your favorites or getting into a new series or even getting audio books for those long road trips, you can’t beat the library’s policy of three weeks rental for free. This summer I started reading the Guardians of Ga’hoole Series. I saw the movie years ago and always thought the series sounded interesting, but I finally got around to it with the help of my local library. And I’m currently starting John Flanagan’s Brotherband Series. I loved his Ranger’s Apprentice series and this one is starting off just as exciting.

2. Movies! Did you know you can rent movies at the library? They even have some Blu-ray movies! No download time, no fees, no quick return to the Redbox. You pick your movie for free and can keep it for 3 weeks! There’s no other place that can compete with that. I’ve been finding quite a few movies I’ve always meant to watch and never have. And since Blockbuster is out of business and Netflix has limited options, this seems like the best way to finally watch those old films. They even have newer releases. Although it might be a bit of a wait, so if you really want to see something, you might want to still use Redbox or another movie watching option. And you should always check the DVD’s before you check out, some have smudges and scratches and I’ve had trouble with a few. But for the most part, this is an excellent way to get some summer entertainment.

3. Programs! Now I don’t really get involved with these, I’d rather just get my books and movies and be gone. But libraries always have cool things going on, like Summer Reading Challenges where you can earn a free book, or events for kids and parents. So if you need some free entertainment, check it out.

And lastly, since I’m talking about libraries, I want to give a quick announcement. As many of you know, I have published 2 youth adventure books in my Finding Home Series: The Orphan’s Journey and The Lost Brother. This week La Vernia Public Library will be getting a copy of each of these books for people to check out. I hope whoever lives near La Vernia enjoys the addition to the library and gets a chance to check out the books.

Well that’s it for now, enjoy the summer and take advantage of your local library.

Leave a comment »

Author Visits and a Shout Out to School Librarians

Yesterday I had the great pleasure of visiting Baranoff Elementary in Austin, TX. I feel like I’m becoming an old pro at these author visits and instead of being nervous, I was excited. As I drove in the misty morning rain to this elementary school, I couldn’t wait to get started. Just as Dezavala, I was scheduled to speak to the 3rd, 4th and 5th graders. I had several boxes of books, my slideshow all ready to go, and even some fun music to play in the background while the kids found their seats.

With all of these school visits, I’ve discovered that having help from the librarian is a huge factor in how the visit goes. They know all of the kids and teachers, how the computers work, and what setup would work best. So I just want to give a shout out to all the school librarians out there. You do a great job at opening up the world of reading to students and I’m personally grateful for all the work you do.

Ms. Merriman is the librarian that I got to work with for this school. She did a great job of advertising the visit and getting the students excited. By the time I got there, they were all ready to pay attention and learn. I was particularly struck that my being a native Austinite had such an impact. I guess I’d never noticed that the other schools I’ve gone to are technically not in Austin. So this was my first Austin ISD school visit and they really made me feel welcome.

Ms. Merriman and her library clerk

Ms. Merriman and her library clerk

Several students had preordered the books and I had spent a good hour or so signing books the day before my visit. But Baranoff wasn’t done. Several more students decided they wanted a book the day I came and I ended up signing several more books while I was there. Ms. Merriman did a great job of giving me space to breathe and sign books in between each group. She also had the great idea that I would read a section of the book after my presentation and before the question time. That way the kids were still focused and ready to listen. It worked great and I was especially happy when I stopped reading and several kids made the “aww” sound because they wanted more. I hope most of them get to read the books over the holiday break.

And speaking of the kids, boy were these kids fun to talk to. So many of them were interested in writing and had great questions or wanted to tell me about their own books or stories. It was so fun to see their enthusiasm. I even had one girl say that her favorite book is Finding Home. I got pictures with a few of them and personally signed about 80 books. It was a great experience and I hope that all of the future schools I visit will be like this one.

So in honor of the Baranoff kids and in case you’re interested in the book, I thought I’d give a little preview of the section I read to the students. And actually I’ll add a bit extra since it’s one of my favorite scenes. Enjoy!

Chapter 2

The Innkeeper

“Lazy hands make a man poor,

but diligent hands bring wealth.”

Proverbs 10:4

      Ben finally collapsed in a field; too exhausted to take another step. He let the tears run freely now that no one was around to watch him fall apart. Gradually his heart slowed down and his breathing became normal. Finally Ben rolled onto his back, and stared aimlessly at the clouds.

Why God? What did I do wrong? Ben waited for an answer as the clouds floated gently in the spring breeze. After several minutes, Ben sighed and sat up. Now what? He wiped another tear from his cheek as the face of his father came to mind. He always believed in me… taught me so much, and gave me all that I needed… I didn’t deserve him.

Ben pulled his father’s sword out of the common scabbard it was stored in and studied it. Unlike the scabbard, the sword itself was very beautiful. It was double edged with an ornamented silver hilt engraved with the image of a golden eagle. I wonder where he got this. It doesn’t look like a sword that he could afford.

Ben noticed the sun was already past its zenith. I guess I should try to find a place to stay…. He reluctantly slid the sword back into its scabbard and stood up. He gazed back to where he had come from and shook his head. I never want to see that innkeeper again. He turned and started walking in the opposite direction.

* * * * *

      As the sun began to sink behind the horizon, Ben climbed a small hill and stopped to survey the landscape. A strange gray fog in the distance caught his attention. He was mystified as he studied the odd blending of gray into the colorful sunset. After a minute or so it dawned on him what the gray haze was. That must be smoke from a village.  Ben glanced at the sun as it dropped behind the horizon. I better hurry so I won’t get locked out of town tonight.

* * * * *

      It was nearly midnight before Ben reached a worn sign just outside the small village. The sign’s faded letters revealed that Ben had just arrived at Rosenwood. The gates were closed. However, the man guarding the gate allowed Ben in without too much of a fuss. While walking through the deserted streets, Ben felt the weight of an overpowering emptiness. All was quiet and dark, only a few scattered noises in the distance gave proof that anyone lived here. An old creaking sign indicated an inn nearby. Ben walked stealthily to the inn, feeling as if disturbing the quiet would be disastrous.

A lone light shone inside where a hefty innkeeper with graying hair was counting his money from the day’s business.

Ben walked in and studied the man’s plump nose and crinkled face, trying to decide if he was the kind of man that would let him stay the night without paying.

The man stopped counting all of a sudden and turned to face Ben with a frown of annoyance. “What do ya want?” he asked gruffly.

“I was wondering if I could sleep here tonight.” Ben replied.

The innkeeper’s small brown eyes darted up and down, studying Ben’s features. “Got any money?”

“Well no, but I can work for my stay. I can wash dishes, clean tables, serve food, or even muck out the stables.”

“Ha, muck out the stables. Tell ya what, if you clean the stables, you can sleep there.”

“Alright,” Ben answered with a faint smile on his face. “I’ll do it.”

The man grunted as Ben left, then turned back to resume counting his gold.

Ben found the musty old stable and started cleaning the stalls. He tried to focus on his work and keep the thoughts of the loving family he had lost to a minimum. However, as the night wore on, Ben couldn’t keep the thoughts from creeping into his mind. Once he had finished cleaning, he gave each of the few horses a fresh bucket of water and a thorough brushing. With all the unhindered thoughts of his family floating about in his head, Ben doubted that he would be able to sleep at all. However, around three in the morning, he finally drifted off in a pile of fresh hay.

* * * * *

      The next morning dawned bright, and the little town of Rosenwood started bustling with women doing laundry, men beating out metal, venders hollering out to shoppers, and children running around the market.

The old innkeeper closed his tired eyes and stretched his sore back. He had spent the whole morning making food for his customers and finally had a free moment to sit down.

A customer came up to pay his due. “What money do I owe you?” he asked pleasantly.

“Ten pieces of gold,” the innkeeper replied.

“Really, that seems rather generous of you.”

“What do ya mean?” the innkeeper’s eyes squinted as he tilted his head to the side. “Ten pieces isn’t cheap, at least not for the prices ‘round here.”

“Well my horses were taken care of so well, I assumed it would cost more.”

The innkeeper stared at him dumbfounded.

“You know, the clean stalls, fresh water, and they were groomed magnificently. I’d say they were the king’s horses, if I didn’t know them.”

The innkeeper wasn’t sure what to say so he remained silent.

“Well here’s five extra pieces, I think you deserve them,” the man said with a smile. Then he turned and went on his way.

The innkeeper scratched his head. “What in the world is he talking about? That stable is filthy and I wouldn’t touch a horse for all the money in the world.” He dropped the coins in his pocket and went over to the stable to make sure the man wasn’t hallucinating.

As the innkeeper walked to the stable he saw the man leading his horses out into the street. They really were magnificent; each had a smooth clean coat that shone in the morning light. Even with his fear of horses the innkeeper admired their beauty. “But how did they…? I didn’t….”

As he stepped into the old stable, he gasped.

Everything was put away, the stalls were all clean and the smell of fresh hay filled the room. He stared almost unbelieving when a thought struck him. “There was a boy last night… and I told him that he could sleep here if he cleaned up the place.” The innkeeper smiled to himself, “So that explains the fancy horses and clean stable.” The old man soon spotted the boy soundly sleeping in a fresh pile of hay. He walked over to the boy and gave him a gentle shove with his foot. “Wake up young sir. Are ya hungry?”

Ben rolled over and opened his calm blue eyes. “Huh? Hungry? Oh, yes I’m hungry.” He sat up and rubbed his eyes.

“Good, I need some way to repay ya for cleaning this old stable and those horses. Did you know I got five extra pieces of gold for your work? And a mighty satisfied customer if I do say so myself.”

“Oh, I didn’t know that, sir.”

“Yes, well, no need to call me sir… and what pray tell is your name?”

Ben stood up. “I’m Ben, what’s yours?”

“People call me John.”

“Well nice to meet you John,” Ben said as he shook his hand.

“Nice to meet you too. By the way, I’m sorry for making you sleep in the stable. I thought you were some naughty kid that needed to be taught a lesson about running away from home.”

Ben frowned and looked down at the floor. “No, I didn’t exactly run away, I kind of lost my family.”

“Well I’m sorry… is there anything I can do?”

“Not really.”

John studied Ben’s downcast face for a minute. “Alright, then we’ll just get you some breakfast.”

 

 

Leave a comment »

Word Wrangler 2016

Sorry I didn’t post last week, I just got too busy with life to even think about a blog post. So now that I have some time, I thought I’d write about how my 2nd Word Wrangler Festival went. This year I went to a different school: Immanuel Lutheran School. The school has kids from Kinder through High School I believe. So instead of speaking to the whole school, I was with smaller groups of kids. I had a series of 3 talks. The first was with some delightful 4th graders who had great questions and a lot of energy. We ended up eating lunch with them in the cafeteria after the presentation, and I got to answer more fun questions, such as what’s your favorite color. I discovered that I not only shared the last name of their teacher, but also her favorite color. It’s yellow by the way. So that was fun!

Then after lunch, I met with 2 more groups. The first was 5th and 6th graders. These kids would probably enjoy my book the most and a lot of them were engaged, had questions, and were excited about reading and writing. And finally I got to talk with the 7th and 8th graders. You can really tell a difference with the ages as kids get closer to high school. They tend to be quieter and not as enthusiastic, which is fine. I tried to adjust my talk to engage each group, and I think they all had fun and learned something.

I also had the great pleasure of sharing the time with the kids with another author, or as he liked to refer to himself, a poet. Wayne Edwards has been writing comedic poetry for several years and he reads it to kids often. It was cool to see how someone else engages with kids and gets them to laugh. I enjoyed hearing the humorous poems as much as the kids and I think it was cool for the children to learn about the different types of writing. Because Mr. Edwards read a lot of his poetry to the kids, and the principal asked if I would read some of my work, I ended up adding to my presentation and reading the first page of my first book. It ends on a bit of a cliffhanger, so a lot of the kids were interested after I read it.

Here’s what I read:

The tension in the room was thick. Ben looked steadily at his father. “I have to ask you a question” he said determinedly.
“Alright” his father replied.
“Who am I?” Ben asked with emphasis.
“What? You know who you are. You’re Ben, my son,” Thomas said with a small chuckle.
“No I’m not,” Ben insisted. “I don’t look like anyone else in this family. If I’m your son, then why am I the only kid with blond hair?”
“Is that what this is about? Ben just because you look different doesn’t mean you’re not my son. Things like this happen sometimes; it’s one of life’s mysteries.”
Ben wasn’t convinced. “Well how come me and Joshua are the same age but have different birthdays? That isn’t a mystery of life, it’s impossible!” Ben crossed his arms and waited for an explanation.

I’m so glad there were people giving me suggestions and advice as I’ve visited more schools and book fairs. So, my day at the school was fun, but a little different than I expected. Last year I had tried to get the kids to preorder the book, so I could give it to them at the school. This made for some cool conversations as some of the kids had started reading the book when they came to visit the Public Library the next day and could tell me what they liked so far. But this year a missing email meant that the kids didn’t know they could preorder the book. So instead I printed the flyer at the school when I got there and my mom handed it out to the kids after my talk. I wasn’t sure if any of the kids would actually buy the book, but I thought it was better than nothing and I told them they could still get the discounted price if they brought the sheet to the library the next day.

K-5th was scheduled to come to the Library, so the next day I looked forward to seeing some of the kids again. The first several hours of the book fair were a little discouraging. Most of the kids visiting walked through but didn’t buy anything, and some sounded interested but didn’t have money or wanted a different book that someone else had written. I took an early lunch and while I was eating, my friend Mrs. Morris came and asked me to sign 2 books for a kid and told me another kid had also bought both books. I was so excited!

And when I got back to my table, one girl who had bought the first book last year came to my table and got the sequel! I’m so glad at least one kid wanted to read the next one. Then as kids from Immanuel started coming through I was overwhelmed with how many wanted to buy the books. It was so encouraging and I decided it might have been a better idea to have the flyer than the preorder, because then kids had met me, were excited, and immediately had a chance to buy the book. I got to see several 4th, 5th and even a few 6th graders who had to come with parents. Then at the very end of the day while I was packing up, one last lady stopped by to get the books for her granddaughter who was in 8th grade. I sold even more books than last year, probably because several kids wanted both books. It was such a great experience and I’m so thankful to the people who organize this book festival every year and for Mr. Shaefer for having me come to his school.

Here’s what he had to say about the experience:

“Lydia Hill can help inspire young authors to follow their dreams. She shares her story of assembling thoughts for adventures in an understanding, easy to follow presentation. Her pleasant demeanor and Christian conscience makes her a delight to invite for any age student to be filled with incentive to write.” – Dan Schaefer, principal, Immanuel Lutheran School, Giddings, TX

And here’s the awesome Thank you Card I got from the students:

I’m hoping to go to even more book fairs and visit more schools in the future.

Leave a comment »

I Love Youth Fiction

So for the past two months I’ve been trying to read a book, it’s a mix of historical fiction and romance. And I just can’t get into it. I’m still not even halfway through the book and it’s just not engaging. But in that same time I have read 3 youth fiction books! It only takes me a couple of hours or maybe one day if it’s longer to speed through a youth fiction book. They’re just so fun to read, so interesting and just enjoyable. It’s no wonder I’m writing in that same genre. So I thought I’d give you some short reviews from my most recent explorations into the youth genre and then give an update on my upcoming book.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/eckhartpubliclibrary/6887718935

 

First off I read Cinder. The final book of the Lunar Chronicles was just released and my sister bought it the day it came out. When she refused to do anything but read she suggested I read the first book in the series: Cinder. I don’t usually read the futuristic sci-fi kind of books, but I knew it was based on the classic Cinderella story so I gave it a chance. And it was great, plenty of action and good descriptions, funny characters and unexpected changes to the classic story. I was surprised when characters actually died and my happily ever after ending wasn’t fulfilled. I have a feeling I have to wait to read Winter to get the ending I crave. But the book opened up a new and interesting world with plausible realities and a great assortment of characters. I would highly recommend this book, and by the way I’m already reading the second book in the series: Scarlet.

The Tournament at Gorlan

Image Source: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/blog/kids/return-to-the-world-of-the-rangers-apprentice-with-the-tournament-at-gorlan/

The next book I dove into was The Tournament at Gorlan, the first of the prequel series for Ranger’s Apprentice. I had been looking forward to this book after reading all of the other books in the Ranger’s series. And I did enjoy reading it and getting to see some of my favorite characters as their younger selves. However, it didn’t connect to me as much as Cinder did. I felt like a lot of the jokes I’d already heard before. For example Halt got thrown off his Ranger Horse just like every other Ranger when they were apprentices. I did enjoy the plot of trying to rescue the king and prince from Morgarath and I also loved the scenes when Halt and Pauline first meet. But it wasn’t my favorite book in the series and I may never read it again.

Cover of the first edition of How to Train Your Dragon

Image Source:

Then yesterday I read the first book of How To Train Your Dragon. I’ve loved the movies for years and have always meant to read the books, but I never did. Well now I can say I have read at least the first book in the series. It’s definitely meant for a younger audience, but it was an enjoyable read. I found it interesting how different the movie was from the book. There are several characters that never even show up in the movies, and a very different take on dragons. I did find it humorous that the vikings book on how to train your dragon has only one suggestion: Yell at it. I also enjoyed seeing the outcast young Hiccup and Toothless become the heroes of the story. I’m not sure if I’ll ever read the other books, but it was a fun and very quick book to read.

And lastly I’ll give a quick update on my upcoming sequel Finding Home: The Lost Brother. This month instead of writing a new book for NaNoWriMo, I’ve been editing each day. I’m hoping to print a test copy at the end of this month and get some more feedback from readers. But the book will soon be finished and I’m excited to get to share it with all of you.

Leave a comment »

Famous in a Small Town

Word Wrangler 2015 (2)

Like I promised, I wanted to write about my experience at the Giddings Word Wrangler Festival. It was my first time going and actually my first book fair too. It was quite the adventure and I thought I’d share some of the highlights from the trip.

On Thursday I headed out early to get to the Intermediate School with plenty of time to spare. I’ve had a few experiences with speaking to elementary age students, so I was excited to talk to the 4th and 5th graders about my book and the story of how I became an author. I had a slideshow all set up and a few little giveaways for the kids. Several ladies helped me with setting up the powerpoint and getting the preordered books all ready for pick up. We even got to put gold stickers on the front covers that said signed by the author. Then the first group of kids filed in, and the excited chatter began. One kid asked if I was going to show them How to Train Your Dragon, since I had the music playing. I said no, but it made me smile and I did tell him it was one of my favorite movies.

IMG_3136

The rest of the talk was a blur, with kids making comments, answering my questions, and asking their own questions. The funniest question I got was “What would you do if you saw a bug?” I said “I’d probably just leave it alone.” But the whole experience made me feel like a famous person. All these kids wanted to shake my hand, give me a hug or ask me a question. Luckily my mom was there keeping track of all the books and cash for me. Every once in awhile she’d hand me another book and tell me the name I was signing it to. Then it was back to more questions.

I remember this one girl who didn’t get a prize asked to see the extra giant pen I had with me. I let her hold it and told her it was broken. She asked to keep it anyway and I decided, why not, it’s broken. So she rushed back to class all excited. Then a couple minutes later she came back with the most distraught look on her face and said sadly, “I fixed the pen.” I assumed her teacher told her to return it. So I smiled and said, “You fixed it, you keep it.” And she left happy once more.

The couple hours at the school concluded and I packed up and eventually made it my next book fair destination: The Public Library. We had a Gala scheduled for Thursday evening, so I got there a bit early and began setting up my table, with a nice cover, some business cards, a few books, and the painting I had made for the cover art. It wasn’t the most extravagant book table but it was something. Then I joined all the other authors and sponsors of the book fair for a delicious dinner. I even got a little gift bag with all kinds of goodies! It was great to be treated so well.

IMG_3141

The next morning, the real Book Fair began, I barely had time to look around at the other tables before it was time to start. But I managed to pick out a few books I wanted to buy. The whole morning was taken up with busload after busload of students pulling up and hurrying through the library. Most of them had a sheet of paper to try to get autographs on. It felt like I was a celebrity the way these kids scrambled for autographs. I tried to make them a bit special by writing “Happy Reading,” before signing my name. But unfortunately my brain autocorrected to “Happy Birthday” a few times. A few kids got confused and asked why, but one little boy said, “How did you know it was my birthday?” So I guess it wasn’t a bad thing.

IMG_3146

Several of the kids, whose school I had visited the day before told me they had started reading the book. One girl said she was on chapter 8 already, which was very surprising. And I also had some kids who hadn’t gotten their book, come over and buy one. It was a wonderful experience and I’d love to be able to do it again.

And lastly, the Book Fair gave me the opportunity to meet a lot of other local Texas Authors. In fact I shared a table with one close to my age. Jamie S. Foley has already published 2 books, the first of which I’m reading now. And we got to give each other so much encouragement and tips from our own experiences. It was priceless! Plus I have a new friend now.

IMG_3144

And before I finish, I wanted to make sure that if anyone is reading this post, who picked up my business card and was hoping to read some of my book for free, you know how to do it. Just search in the categories for “sneak peek” and you’ll find all the sections I’ve posted form my two books. Happy Reading!

2 Comments »

My First Book Festival!

 

IMG_3139

This week I am heading out to Giddings, TX for my first ever book festival! I’m so excited to be speaking at their Intermediate School and then joining in the festivities at the Public Library. Although I have spoken at a few schools in the past about being an author and my published novel Finding Home: The Orphan’s Journey, I’ve never been to a book fair before. It’s exciting and a bit nerve wracking to try to remember all the things I want to bring with me… books, business cards, receipt slips, tablecloth, decorations, and more.

But in honor of this new step as an Author, I thought it was high time that my blog got a few updates. So last night my brother, who is great with website design, helped me clean up my page. If you’ve been following me for long, you might have noticed that the set up is a bit different and several of the unnecessary tabs are now gone. I’ve also added a link to my book on the side of my page, so all you need to do is press the picture of the book, and it’ll take you straight to Amazon to purchase it. I had toyed with the idea of changing the theme of my blog as well, but I just love this blue background so much. I can’t change it, at least not yet.

I’m not sure how everything will come together at the book fair, but I’m hoping to have a lot of fun, meet other authors from Texas, and maybe come home with a few new books of my own to read.

I’ll try to write a post about how the book fair goes next week.

Leave a comment »

Sneak Peek #4

Finding Home

I haven’t posted a sneak peek for my upcoming book Finding Home: The Lost Brother in some time, so I thought it was time to throw another out there. This section gives a peek into the past but from a new perspective. If you haven’t read the first book, Finding Home: The Orphan’s Journey then this will just be a look into what Josiah has gone through. I hope you enjoy it either way. And if this gets you interested in the first book, you can find it on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Home-Orphans-Lydia-Hill/dp/1490556427/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1436212902&sr=8-1&keywords=finding+home+the+orphan%27s+journey&pebp=1436212902963&perid=1KRF1D6XS0B1DA0XBG9E

Enjoy!

* * * * *

The wagon creaked as it bounced over the rocky terrain. Tall rocky cliffs rose beside the road’s edge. Josiah sat next to his brother, Joshua in the wagon glancing up at the cliffs. Suddenly out of the corner of his eye, a dark object moved but when Josiah focused on the spot, nothing was there. Josiah shivered.

Joshua turned to look at him, “What’s wrong Josiah?”

“Nothing… my eyes are playing tricks on me.”

Joshua glanced up at the cliff tops and frowned. “Josiah, I want you to go to the back of the cart.”

“Why?”

“Just do it, hide in the silk linens and don’t come out till I say so.”

Josiah felt another shiver run down his back, but he obeyed. After maneuvering around his other brothers to the back of the wagon, he curled up in a corner and pulled one of the silk linens over his head.

It was stuffy under the linens and Josiah began to sweat. The clip clop of the horses’ hooves continued steadily echoing off the cliff walls. Josiah was beginning to wonder if Joshua was playing a prank on him, when he heard his father say, “Hurry up boys, I want to get through here as quick as possible.” The wagon bounced as the speed increased. Josiah’s heart began to beat faster, as his father yelled “Run” and the wagon jolted with the increased speed. Then suddenly it stopped.

Muffled voices suddenly turned to yells and screams. Josiah’s heart beat wildly but he stayed frozen. “Joshua said to stay hidden,” Josiah reminded himself. He closed his eyes tightly, blocking out the noises and praying that the nightmare would end.

After what seemed an eternity, a thick silence was all that remained. Josiah waited and waited but no one came to tell him everything was alright. He was just thinking of peeking out of his hiding place when he heard steps and unfamiliar voices approaching. He held his breath and waited.

Suddenly the satin sheet was pulled back to reveal a rough looking man. He stared down at the frightened Josiah. “What we got here?” the man said with a sneer.

Josiah was too terrified to say a word, he just sat there paralyzed.

Other men soon gathered around the wagon with questions and comments of their own.

“What is it?” one asked as he craned his neck.

“It’s just a kid,” one of the taller men said.

“Should we kill him?” the man who had made the discovery asked gruffly.

“We can’t kill him, look at him,” the tall man replied.

“Well what do we do with him then?” the short man asked.

“Just leave him here,” the gruff man replied.

“But he could die out here on his own,” the tall man said defensively. “Besides, he knows what we look like now, what if he told someone about us, then we’d be done for.”

“You don’t know that,” the gruff man said.

“We could take him with us,” the tall man suggested.

“Yeah, I’ve always wanted a servant,” the short man agreed.

“Well I ain’t taking care of him,” the gruff man replied with a huff. He picked up the bundle of silks, “Fight over him if you want, I just want the loot.”

A couple men started arguing with him about the silks, but the thunder of hooves in the distance cut short their argument.

“Someone’s coming,” the tall man said anxiously. “Let’s get out of here!”

Josiah’s brain finally switched out of frozen mode as he realized his chance to save himself. He leapt off the wagon and darted down the road towards the sound of approaching riders.

“Grab him!” the rough man yelled.

Josiah didn’t get far, as soon as he saw the carnage of the fight his legs turned to jelly. “Papa,” he started crying.

The tall man grabbed Josiah’s arm tightly, and lifted him to his feet. “Come on kid, you’re coming with me.”

* * * * *

Leave a comment »

Sneak Peek #3

I haven’t posted any sneak peeks for my new novel “Finding Home: The Lost Brother” in quite awhile, so I thought I’d share one of my favorite moments from the new book. If you haven’t already read them, there are two other sneak peeks: https://lydiamhill.wordpress.com/2015/02/10/another-sneak-peek/  and  https://lydiamhill.wordpress.com/2015/01/12/a-sneak-peek/
You should probably read them first, so this scene will make more sense. And if you haven’t read the first book in the series yet “Finding Home: The Orphan’s Journey,” check it out on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Home-Orphans-Lydia-Hill/dp/1490556427/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1430152065&sr=8-1&keywords=finding+home+the+orphan%27s+journey

And now without further ado, a sneak peek:

Finding Home
Caleb sighed audibly. “I hope this doesn’t take too long.”

Adrian shrugged and turned towards the house.

Caleb reluctantly followed Adrian inside the worn structure. “You know we can’t wait on that kid too long, only a few minutes.”

Adrian sighed, “I know.” He began to study the home’s interior quietly. He touched an old wooden-framed bed and the stones of the soot-filled fireplace.

Caleb looked at the poorly furnished home and wondered what was so special about it. He looked at Adrian for some kind of clue. After seeing Adrian smile at odd objects, like spoons and a wooden sword, Caleb spoke up. “This is where you grew up, isn’t it?”

Adrian nodded as he held a worn bowl in his hand. He glanced around the small room. “It hasn’t changed much.” He set down the bowl.

Caleb nodded but didn’t say anything for several minutes. Finally he broke the silence, “I’m sorry Adrian.”

Adrian turned to look at Caleb. “What for?” he asked, confused.

“I didn’t realize this was your home…. I shouldn’t have pushed you to leave. I know it can be hard… to say goodbye.”

“That’s alright Caleb, you didn’t know.”

Caleb studied Adrian’s face. “So are you alright?”

Adrian nodded. “Yes, I just…” he trailed off.

Caleb waited.

“I just don’t want to forget them…. With all the running around, getting ready for the coronation, and clearing the land of any remaining Unguls, I’ve felt like I’m losing them again… it’s like I don’t have a family.”

Caleb waited for a minute, then hesitantly said, “But you do have a family; King Richard.”

Adrian smiled. “Yes, I know. And I’m thankful for that… but it’s different. I don’t know. Does this make sense at all?”

Caleb shrugged his shoulders. “Makes sense to me. When you were growing up you had a father, a mother, several brothers… wait did you have a sister?”

Adrian laughed, “No, I did not. Serina says that’s why I have horrible table manners.”

Caleb nodded, then continued, “So you had this big family, and now you just have Richard. And I’m not saying there’s anything wrong with Richard, but he is just one man. I think it’s understandable for you to feel like you’ve lost your family.”

Adrian nodded. “Thank you Doctor Caleb. Now what do I do about it?”

Caleb shrugged. “Not a clue. But I’m sure you’ll figure something out.”

Adrian shook his head and laughed. “Thanks Caleb.”

Caleb stepped back outside, “You know everyone’s waiting on us.”

Adrian sighed as he followed his friend, “Yeah I know. I just don’t want to break a promise.”

Caleb nodded. “I understand… but it is my job to get you to the coronation and… well we are running out of time.” He climbed onto his mount and looked expectantly at Adrian.

Adrian nodded, “You’re probably right. He walked over to Midnight and prepared to hop on.

“Wait!” Alex’s voice called from down the hill.

Adrian stopped and smiled up at Caleb, “Right on time.”

Caleb rolled his eyes, “I guess we can wait a few more minutes.”

Alex soon crested the top of the hill with another boy right beside him.

Josiah suddenly stopped in his tracks.

Adrian too froze in place.

Alex glanced from one to the other with a huge smile plastered on his face. “Surprise!” he yelled.

Caleb looked on confused. “Adrian?” he said quietly.

Adrian paid no attention to Caleb’s words, “Josiah?” he said so quietly, it might have been only to himself.

Josiah blinked and rubbed his eyes, making sure what he was seeing wasn’t one of his imaginations. But when he looked again, Ben was still standing there, staring back at him. Suddenly the world melted away, and Josiah was running.

Adrian could hardly believe what he was seeing, but once Josiah began running towards him, his hesitation disappeared and he ran too.

The two collided in a massive hug, with Adrian lifting Josiah off the ground. They both held onto each other tightly, too overcome with emotion to say a word.

Caleb cleared his throat and turned to Alex, “Who is that?”

Alex giggled, “Isn’t it obvious? They’re brothers.”

Caleb looked back at the two with wonder, “But that’s impossible.”

2 Comments »

Another Sneak Peek

I’ve been getting on a writing kick lately for my next novel, Finding Home: The Lost Brother. I posted part of it several weeks ago. And I thought it would be fun to post another section. The last post was from a new character’s perspective, but I figured anyone who read the first book would enjoy this bit from Adrian’s perspective. So here you go, enjoy!

Finding Home
Adrian surveyed his hometown. Nothing had seemed to change since he had been here last spring with his family. He took a deep breath of the familiar smells.

“You ready to go?” asked an irritated voice.

Adrian smiled. “Really Caleb, we’re not in that big of a rush. We can at least look around for a few minutes.”

Caleb sighed audibly. “But your coronation is in three days and we need to get back.…”

Adrian held up his hand. “I know, I know. Thank you for keeping me on schedule. But… I just need to see it…. It’s been so long.”

Caleb crossed his arms. “We have seen it. Look there it is.” He gestured to the marketplace. “You said we’d only be here a little while, it was just a ‘quick stop.’ Well I don’t see any Unguls, so our job here is done and we need to go.”

Adrian ignored Caleb’s protests and gave Midnight a gentle nudge. “There’s something I have to see first.”

Caleb threw up his arms. “Royalty!”

Adrian suppressed a giggle. “Come on. I promise we can go after this.”

Caleb nodded glumly. “Yes your majesty.” He nudged his own horse and followed Adrian into the crowded streets.

Adrian smiled broadly and waved to a few surprised people that he recognized. After making it through the crowded market, Adrian turned towards a steep hill overlooking the sea.

A worn house, that was really more of a shack, sat atop the hill. It was leaning slightly, as if the years of gusty ocean squalls had finally worn it down.

Adrian slipped off of Midnight’s back and approached the small structure. He stopped and stared silently for several minutes.

Caleb began tapping his foot impatiently.

Suddenly a loud thump from within the house broke the silence.

Curious, Adrian stepped closer and called out “Hello, anyone here?”

A young boy, with flat brown hair atop his head popped out of the door. He looked at Adrian inquisitively then his eyes lit up. “Ben!” he screamed. He pushed the door roughly and ran out to greet his old friend.

Adrian wrapped the boy in a hug and held him tightly. “Alex! My how you’ve grown! How are you?”

Alex grinned, “I’m fine. Where have you been? I thought you were dead!”

Adrian laughed. “Well that’s a long story. I’ve been pretty much everywhere….”

Suddenly Alex shrieked, “Oh you haven’t seen… I can’t believe this! I have to tell him!”

“Slow down Alex,” Adrian said calmly. “What are you talking about?”

Alex grinned with a twinkle in his eye, “It’s a surprise. Just stay here and I’ll bring it to you.”

Adrian laughed, “Alright Alex, I’ll play your game.”

“So you’ll stay here?”

“Yes.”

“Promise?” Alex asked, his face suddenly turning serious.

“I promise,” Adrian agreed.

“Just don’t take too long kid,” Caleb called as Alex sprinted down the hillside.

Leave a comment »

A Sneak Peek

So I’ve been working on a sequel to my first novel Finding Home: The Orphan’s Journey. And I’m still in the editing phase of the book. But for the few of you out there who have read my first book, I thought you’d appreciate a sample of the next one in the series. This book will be titled Finding Home: The Lost Brother and I hope you enjoy this little sample from Chapter 1. Who knows, I may post a few more sneak peeks before I publish this next book.

Finding Home

Josiah stepped into the weather-beaten barn. The small lantern in his hand illuminated a damp structure with several stalls where quiet animals stood staring back at him. It was more unnerving in the dark than it ever was when he had to feed the animals in the light of day. Josiah clung to the thick blanket in his other hand and took a deep breath. “Alright, nothing to be afraid of in here,” he tried to reassure himself.

The wooden panels creaked as a sharp gust of wind came in from the sea. Little streams of air whistled through the cracks in the siding.

Josiah gulped and took another step inside. He jumped as the wind slammed the door shut behind him. “Calm down,” he said quietly. “It’s just wind, it can’t hurt me. He settled down on the damp hay of an empty stall and snuggled in his thick blanket. Josiah wasn’t sure he’d be able to fall asleep in the dark barn, but he tried to get comfortable all the same. It’s nothing like sleeping on the hard ground, and I’ve done that plenty of times….

* * * * *

“Josiah? Come on, we’re moving on, you can’t sleep anymore.”

Josiah saw his father leaning over him. He yawned and wiped his eyes, “Where’d our roof go?” He asked confusedly.

His father laughed, “We don’t have a roof out here. We’re not at our house, remember?”

Josiah stared up at the trees, “Oh yeah. When will we get to go back?”

“Soon, very soon…. Come on now, up you go.”

Josiah sat up and looked around at his brothers also stirring out of their slumbers. He tried to focus on their faces, but they all looked fuzzy, and the harder he looked, the more blurred they became. Soon everything around him was nothing but a haze of colors.

* * * * *

Josiah opened his eyes, everything was dark. “Father?” he whispered.

Something stirred next to him.

Josiah turned and his eyes adjusted to find a chicken snuggled up next to him. “Ah!” he yelped as he jumped up.

The chicken clucked and flapped away.

Josiah sat back down with a sigh, “It was just a dream.”

Leave a comment »