Who Was That Masked Man?

Posted by Toni V.S. | 3:08 AM | 4 comments »

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Is there anyone who doesn’t recognize these lines:

A fiery horse with the speed of light, a cloud of dust and a hearty Hi-Yo Silver! The Lone Ranger! ... With his faithful Indian companion Tonto, the daring and resourceful masked rider of the plains led the fight for law and order in the early western United States! Nowhere in the pages of history can one find a greater champion of justice! Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear! From out of the past come the thundering hoofbeats of the great horse Silver! The Lone Ranger rides again!*

Many of us are familiar with the TV series, and a few of us may even remember the radio show. More of us have probably seen the movies, especially the most recent Johnny Depp debacle.  I admit to all three but after alternately enjoying the serious parts and viewing the slapstick ones disapprovingly, I decided to learn exactly about the real Lone Ranger, the model on which all other episodes, movies, etc., were based.

So I went to the source.  How many of us have read The Lone Ranger Rides?  I can truthfully say I have.  I downloaded it online from Project Gutenberg (www.gutenberg.org) where a good many classics have been restored and are available.  Here’s what I found…

The first novel was written in 1936 by Gaylord Dubois, wth Fran Striker developing, writing. and editing the rest.  The novel I downloaded bears Fran Striker’s name. The radio series anticipated the novel by three years.

Mythbuster #1: the title character is never named. He’s simply called the Ranger.  In the series, he’s given the name “John Reid.”  His brother Dan Reid is supposedly also a Ranger (this justifies the introduction of nephew Dan Reid in the radio series who later transfers to another series to become the father of The Green Hornet.) Dan Reid is one of the six men killed by the Cavendish gang.  This also isn’t in the novel.  At the end of the story, the Ranger returns to the six graves (one of them his own) to tell his dead comrades he’s fulfilled his oath of revenge. He names them:

The Lone Ranger stood before the first of these and removed his hat and then his mask. The soft, warm light of the sunset brought a glow into the Texan's upraised face and wiped away the lines of pain and fatigue.
His lips moved slowly, though the Texan's voice was silent. Then he dropped his eyes and whispered, "Bert." He moved to the next grave and paused there, whispering, "For you too, Jim." At the third small cross the Texan whispered, "Dave," and at the next he called to, "Grant," then "Don."

At the last grave, his own, he buries his badge, as depicted in the latest movie.



Mythbuster #2: “Hi-yo, Silver” didn’t start out that way. Originally, it was “Hi there you, Silver horse. Away.” This is then shortened to “Hi you. Silver, away!”  and later, to approximate a Texas accent no doubt, it’s further shortened:

The shout was one that later rang throughout the West--the clarion call—the tocsin of a mystery rider who wore a mask. "Hi-Yo Silver, Away-y-y-y."
  
Mythbuster #3: The leader of the Cavendish gang isn’t Butch. There isn’t a “Butch” in sight. The man believed to be the leader until near the end of the story is Bryant Cavendish.

Mythbuster #4: the silver bullets.  The Lone Ranger’s family owned a silver mine which he never put into operation because he didn’t want to profit from other men’s labor.  Tonto takes silver from the mine and makes silver bullets for his friend.

"Those bullet," Tonto said, "are silver." It was true. The bullets in the cartridges were hard, solid silver. The Texan looked puzzled. "That makes pretty high-priced shooting," he said.

The silver bullets will also serve to determine to whom the Ranger will show mercy as when he offers one to Penny:

"Take this," he said offering the bullet, "and if there is any man in the world whose life means a great deal to you, tell him to carry it at all times."

Now, on to the story.

Bryant Cavendish owns a ranch in west Texas in a Basin called Bryant’s Gap. He’s the patriarch of the ranch, bitter, inhospitable, but giving a home to his orphaned niece and four nephews.  Later when his nephew Mort kills his wife, he seeks someone to help Penny raise the half-orphaned children. Bryant is getting old and losing his eyesight and he’s unable to see that his nephews are slowly replacing his faithful ranch hands with men wanted by the Law, men needing a place to hide while they plot their crimes.

The descriptions of the nephews depict each man’s character:

Vince Cavendish was the runt of the family. About one hundred pounds of concentrated ill will; a small package of frustrated manhood…a nature that'd poison a rattler fool enough to bite him.

Jeb was looked upon by everyone as not worth the powder to blow him to hell.

Mort was the sort of man who would have liked to bear the weight of the world on shoulders unsuited to support the burden of a household.

Wallie was a wastrel, spending his money on fancy clothes,  his days gambling and his nights tom-catting.**


Before the story opens, six Rangers, called to the ranch by the cook, Gimlet, are ambushed in Bryant’s Gap. They are buried by a lone Indian who discovers one still barely alive.  The Indian is Tonto and this survivor is the unnamed man becoming the Lone Ranger. They’ve been friends since childhood, the Ranger meeting Tonto shortly after everyone in his village was killed in an Indian war.  When the white boy becomes a Ranger, he and Tonto drift apart. They met again as adults when Tonto comes upon this single survivor of the ambush. Tonto’s tribe is never mentioned.

(At this point, Tonto’s paint horse isn’t named but the Ranger is already riding Silver.  Silver’s history is also given, of Wild Horse Valley and his parents Sylvan and Moussa and how the white horse came to be tamed by the man who rode him. Silver is hyper-intelligent and the Ranger speaks to him as if he were a person.)

The Ranger is wounded in the left shoulder and the right foot (a rather ignominious wound for a hero). For a little while, he’s ambivalent about what he must do. He swears to avenge his fellow rangers but he also remembers his mother teaching him the Ten Commandments, especially “Thou shalt not kill.” For a good portion of the book he spends his time in a cave convalescing while Tonto tries to find someone to bring them food. He finds her in Penelope Cavendish, niece of Bryant. Penny, of course, is the heroine of the piece…feisty, outspoken, virginal and brave enough to become friends with a lone Indian she comes across on one of her rides.  She’s loved from afar by Yuma, a young, bumbling blond cowhand hired by her cousins. Yuma’s not necessarily one of the gang committing the crimes but he’s so in love with Penny, he’s willing to confess to being their leader to keep her from harm.

Tonto returns the Ranger’s guns to him, loaded with silver bullets from his silver mine and Tonto also give him his mask, explaining if he wears it, outlaws will more easily accept him and he can get closer to them. He also returns the Ranger’s badge to him.

The Texas Ranger's badge. The white man took it, looked at it, then closed his fist about it tightly. "The Texas Rangers," he said softly, "are dead. All six of them have gone. In
their place there's just one man. The lone Ranger."**

Thus he becomes the lone Ranger not because he works alone but because he’s the last surviving Ranger.

The outlaws force Bryant’s heirs to sign away the ranch so they can take it over as their hideout. Several are killed in rather vicious fashion and there are threats of torture. The identity of the true villain of the story is kept well hidden until almost the end.  True to the code set up for him, the Lone Ranger gives everyone a chance to confess but that doesn’t happen. Though the Ranger does a lot of talking, there’s nevertheless a shoot-out but he does keep the promise to his mother while also keeping the oath sworn to his dead comrades.

The villains is foiled, the outlaws arrested, Yuma and Penny go into a chaste clinch and Old Bryant asks the Ranger to stay and run his ranch.  That isn’t going to happen, of course.

He swung his leg across the saddle, and his voice rang out with a crystal clearness that carried through Bryant's Gap, echoing and re-echoing from wall to wall. "Hi-Yo Silver, Away-y-y!"
Silver leaped ahead, his master in the saddle. Tonto rode behind and grinned in happiness, following the tall masked man whom he called "friend."**
The Lone Ranger Rides contains 30 chapters.  Some of the dialogue is stilted when compared to today’s “realistic” way of writing though there are a surprising number of “damns” present as well as a couple of “hells”.  Since it’s set in Texas, there’s plenty of phoenetic spellings to approximate Texas accents. Westernisms, such as galoot, chow, loco,  savvy abound. I cringed at Tonto’s broken English, but recovered because I made myself read it in the light of the time it was written and not today’s equal opportunity atmosphere.

All in all, The Lone Ranger Rides stands the test of time.  That’s why it’s a classic, its appeal so overwhelming. Since that first radio episode on January 31, 1933 at Detroit’s station WXYZ in fact, it went on to become a series of novels, with other writers taking over in later years. There were 2,956 episodes before the show went off the air, with a comic strip, comics (with a separate comic series for Silver), serials, an animated series, a TV series, made for TV movies, video games, and movies, the latest of which premiered last month. 

If the latest movie had been portrayed with a little more realism and a little less slapstick, it might’ve been a hit.  A good Western revenge story is better than a comedic homage any day. Johnny Depp might’ve been remembered for his Tonto rather than becoming merely portraying Captain Jack Sparrow with warpaint.  Here’s hoping the next attempt to portray The Lone Ranger remembers that.

Ranger Facts:

The theme music was taken from the March of the Swiss Soldiers finale of the William Tell Overture by Gioachino Rossini.

16 actors have portrayed the Ranger, with the most well-known being Clayton Moore. 8 actors have played Tonto. With the exception of Johnny Depp as the most recognizable, Jay Silverheels is considered he quintessential Tonto.

The Lone Ranger’s Code:

I believe...

  • That to have a friend, a man must be one.
  • That all men are created equal and that everyone has within himself the power to make this a better world.
  • That God put the firewood there, but that every man must gather and light it himself.
  • In being prepared physically, mentally, and morally to fight when necessary for what is right.
  • That a man should make the most of what equipment he has.
  • That 'this government of the people, by the people, and for the people' shall live always.
  • That men should live by the rule of what is best for the greatest number.
  • That sooner or later...somewhere...somehow...we must settle with the world and make payment for what we have taken.
  • That all things change but truth, and that truth alone, lives on forever.
  • In my Creator, my country, my fellow man.*


Guidelines for development of the Ranger character:

  • The Lone Ranger is never seen without his mask or a disguise.
  • With emphasis on logic, The Lone Ranger is never captured or held for any length of time by lawmen
  • The Lone Ranger always uses perfect grammar and precise
  • The Lone Ranger never shoots to kill
  • The Lone Ranger never wins against hopeless odds
  • The Lone Ranger  adversaries are usually groups whose power is such that large areas are at stake.
  • Adversaries are never other than American to avoid criticism from minority groups
  • Names of unsympathetic characters are carefully chosen to avoid even further vicarious association
  • The Lone Ranger never drinks or smokes and saloon scenes are usually interpreted as cafes
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  • Criminals are never shown as successful or glamorous.
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The silver bullets used are to remind the Ranger that that life is precious and, like his silver bullets, not to be wasted or thrown away.*
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*quotes courtesy of Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lone_Ranger
**excerpts taken from Project Gutenberg download, www.gutenberg.org

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Once upon a time, my pseudonym Icy Snow Blackstone had this idea for a story about a babysitter who discovers her employer is an alien.  It wasn’t to be one of those horror stories, however, but sometimes funny, often dramatic, always a love story. 

It started off like this:

NANNY WANTED.  MUST HAVE ABILITY TO FACE ADVENTURE, EXCITEMENT, DANGER.

In The Rose and the Dragon, when Miranda Wilson answers just such an advertisement, she doesn’t realize what she’s walking into.  It could’ve been the plot of a Gothic novel, with a handsome widower, three orphaned children, and herself as the innocent governess. 



There are odd undercurrents in the Andrus household, however, and Miranda notices those even before she meets her boss’ younger brother, a knock-out hunk by the name of Kitten. Before she can say, “That’s a pretty weird name for a grown man,” Miranda Wilson, Nanny, finds herself Miranda Wilson, Alien Abductee, as she’s whisked to the planet Gataeus where Dominic Andrus is the head of the planet’s largest crime family and Kit is his chief hitman.

Now, she’s in the middle of an interplanetary war started by Xander Taluti—a deadly nutcase who’s off his meds and more than one pound short of a load—with her three charges as the prize.  Xanderf’s sworn to kill Kit and every other Andrus in sight.

What’s an Earthwoman to do?

What Miranda does is help end the war while risking her own life and becoming even more deeply in love with Kit. When he asks her to stay with him and not return to Earth, she agrees. His apology for not being able to marry her, because of this bothersome law his galaxy has about staying isolated from the solar system…that doesn’t matter. He wants her, she wants him, big Happily Ever After

…but not for long.

I could’ve left it there, but as usual—you know me—I kept wondering what would happen when some of the things Dominic and his brother had hinted about were put into motion. There were just too many things left unsaid.

I had to explain everything. Didn’t I?

Okay, back to the drawing board—or rather the keyboard—for Book 2, wherein All is Revealed.

In Dragon in Chains, Miranda has settled into the Andrus household, Kit committing himself as much as he can by announcing in front of his family he now considers Miranda his wife in everything but name. He even gives her the right to discipline his brood of eight children, a big step for a man who loves his kids as much as Kit does.

Nephew Niki is about to marry Ardala for whom he’s lusted in private despair for several years.  With the death of his lunatic twin Xander, Zane Taluti has taken leadership of the Taluti Syndicate and he and Dominic are currently trying to ease their families into a law-abiding and less criminal way of life as painlessly as possible.
 


It would appear All is well

Not.

The Happily Ever After ends rather abruptly and dramatically, as, on Niki’s wedding night, Dom’s old nemesis Federation Police Lieutenant Cyran Synubis invades the Andrus housebold, arresting Kit, Dom, and Niki. Miranda is taken into protective custody. Dom’s and Kit’s children are separated and placed in foster homes.

The Andrus Dragon is in chains, locked behind bars, and his Rose finds herself chief witness for the prosecution in a judicial system where asking for a lawyer is an admission of guilt and the thin line between truth and lies could very well condemn the man she loves.

Only a miracle will save Kit, but who’s to say the Dragon doesn’t still have a secret or three up the sleeve of his prison uniform? Come to think of it, Kit does look a little smug as he sits in the prisoner’s dock…



An online friend who is a reader encouraged me to buy trading cards for my books.  She is an avid collector of author trading cards.  The card usually features the cover on one side, and a picture and details about the character on the other side.  I have checked into it, and you have to design your own card to send to the printing company.  I have the full Adobe Suite program on my computer but...you guessed right...I don't know how to use it!  So, as always in these dire situations, I call upon my son to help.  Help, Simon, Help!!

Once I get my cards designed, I have chosen photographs for each, and I have written their characteristics.  These characters are from Sinners' Opera, a vampire paranormal romance.  I thought I would NEVER find a photograph of someone to represent Morgan, the hero.  I did a search on "handsome men with long black hair" searching for a picture of Lucien, the anti-hero.  And a picture of a gorgeous blond man popped up in the search.  Here are the photos of Lucien, Morgan and Isabeau, the heroine (though I imagined her as looking like Michelle Pfeiffer in Lady Hawke).

Morgan: 

 
 
Isabeau:
 
 

Lucien:


Sinners' Opera is available in print and ebook formats on Amazon or from the publisher, Double Dragon Publishing.
 


Have you tried to dance on your ceiling? I wanted to Sunday when I learned PROTECTIVE INSTINCTS had gone live on Amazon on Saturday.  With my excitement came panic. Would anyone want to read this book I slaved over off and on since 1991. 

What would you do if someone delivered flowers and a fancy meal on the anniversary of the date you met your husband, your best friend, the man who had died 3 years earlier?  Brit, my heroine, thinks someone knew about it and upgraded the simple takeout meal and simple flowers she ordered for herself. Then, after she has gone to sleep wearing her husbands terrycloth bathrobe, her phone wakes her from a deep sleep.

 Excerpt:

Half asleep, Brit reached for the ringing phone. She was disoriented from a dream that had left her breathless. She’d seen Tommy’s body fly over the hood of the truck that hit him. She’d heard herself scream. Then she’d seen a masked man staring at her, his look menacing. When he’d started toward her she’d turned and run ‘til she couldn’t catch her breath.

The pleasant fragrance of the garden sized arrangement in her dining room now permeated her bedroom, cloying, oppressive. She glanced bleary-eyed at the luminous clock. Two o’clock? Who’d call at this hour but family with an emergency? She snatched up the handset.

She cleared her throat and gathered her wits about her. "Hello."

“Havin’ a real nice nite, Sugar?” The voice, raspy, deep, and very southern made her skin crawl.

“Who are you calling?” She tried to sound reasonable. “Wrong number? Please check your numbers before you call again. You keep getting me instead of whoever ...”

“Did you enjoy the little romantic surprises, Darlin’?” His voice was a cross between a caress and an insult.

“Surprises?” she asked. “What surprises?” At that moment she realized. Her chest constricted. She bolted upright in bed so quickly her head swam.

“Aren’t the flowers gorgeous? Beautiful flowers for a beautiful lady. Intoxicatin’ fragrances, huh?”

“Who are you? Am I supposed to I know you?”

“Not as well as I know you, lovely lady.”

“Why - How did you change my order? Who are you!”

“You deserve beautiful things,” he purred.

“But you shouldn’t send me gifts. I mean it.” She didn’t recognize his voice or the lazy southern drawl. “The flowers were extravagant. The food was way past too much.” She hit her pillow.

He seemed to ignore her. “You need a new robe, silky, sheer, and black, Sugar. That’s some sexy body under all that terry cloth, smooth, sweet, warm from sleep. Are your beautiful, white breasts aching to be touched?”

Brit gasped, yanked bed covers to her chin. Someone had been in her house, had invaded her space. Her expensive dinner, the one he’d had sent, threatened to come back up. “Look, whoever you are ...”

“Is the sweet place between your thighs wet, Darlin’? Bet you’re wanting it as much as I do.” A long pause was followed by, “Oh-h-h, Sugar, love the old claw foot tub. I can wash your ..”

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Reviews by Deborah Smith and Scarlet touched Mary's heart!   Check them out.


What would you do if someone delivered the wrong food or flower order to you and insisted  the order had been paid for and you should just enjoy them?


Still dancing on the ceiling in my dreams! 






Posted by Mary Ricksen | 12:00 AM | 4 comments »

A Bit Of Comic Relief
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               CAR KEYS
  
Several days ago as I left a meeting at a hotel;
I desperately gave myself a personal TSA pat down.
I was looking for my keys. They were not in my pockets.
A quick search in the meeting room revealed nothing.
Suddenly I realized I must have left them in the car.
Frantically, I headed for the parking lot.
My husband has scolded me many times for leaving the keys in the ignition.
My theory is the ignition is the best place not to lose them.
His theory is that the car will be stolen.
As I burst through the door, I came to a terrifying conclusion.
His theory was right.
The parking lot was empty.
I immediately called the police. I gave them my location,
confessed that I had left my keys in the car, and that it had been stolen.
Then I made the most difficult call of all, "Honey," I stammered;
( I always call him "honey" in times like these.)
"I left my keys in the car and it's been stolen."
There was a period of silence. I thought the call had been dropped,
but then I heard his voice.  "Are you kidding' me", he barked, "I dropped you off"!!!!!!!
Now it was my time to be silent. Embarrassed, I said, "Well, come and get me."
He retorted, "I will, as soon as I convince this cop I didn't steal your car."
Yep it's the golden years................
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Never Say That's The End

Posted by Toni V.S. | 11:56 PM | 6 comments »


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Often someone will write a story, finish it and consider it done. That’s that.  Feel the sense of accomplishment. On to something else. Ho-hum.

I did that, too.

Once again, I finished a novel.

Once again I decided that was that.

Whoops…wait a minute!

Once again, I was wrong.

I had written a novel, Three Moon Station.  It was a bit unusual in that it was a cross-genre—a Western set in the far future on another planet. A Sci-Fi/western, if you will.  The hero rides a horse and flies his drone only in emergencies.  He carries a pistol strapped to his thigh, but it’s a laser.  Justice is sometimes swift, without calling in the Federation marshal. In this story Sar Trant, a Tritomitian station owner, saves the heroine, Katy, from the villain—a rustler by the way—and rescues  her from the clutches of her dastardly uncle. The couple attain their Happily Ever After.  The book was published and I went on to other stories, other couples, and other adventures.
 


 Hold on there, podnuh!

Did I say the story was finished?  Not by a long shot.  A couple of readers wanted more, so I, lapping up the praise and flattery, got to thinking…what happened to Sar and Katy after Hatch did his “happy dance” in the farmyard while his father and stepmother went into a clinch and the words “The End” were typed at the bottom of the page?

I went back over what I’d written about Sar.  Let’s see…Sarkin Trant…orphan at a young age…raised by his father’s best friend…had a son at the age of 15…married Katy at age 35, and…the most important fact…descended from the illegitimate son of an Arcanian giarl.

That fact led to the story The Finer Gentleman, taken from a quote from Marcus Aurelius’ Meditations:

“He would be the finer gentleman that should leave the world without having tasted of lying or pretence of any sort, or of wantonness or conceit...”

wherein one Sarkin Trant learns he’s now the 28th giarl of Craigsmere and 13th in line to the Arcanian throne. He goes to Arcanis and sets the nobility on its collective ear.  He also meets the margrave, Darien-Marcus, his distant cousin.

The Finer Gentleman was also cross-genre, being part futuristic tale and part Regency romance.  Take away the space travel, lasers, and outer-worldly trappings, close your eyes and listen to the dialogue, and see if you don’t agree.

 


After its publication, Darien-Marcus kept popping into my mind, reminding me of the little hints given about him in The Finer Gentleman.  He demanded I tell everyone what was happening to him while Cousin Sar was growing up on Tritomis-2 and elaborating on those little hints…how he was orphaned at age 9 and raised by his father’s best friends. From there, his story takes a much different course from Sar’s…he was given a mistress at age 12, a wife at age 13, and at 19, developed a tremendous desire to rebel all on his own...in his own way, he, too, had set the nobility on its ear.

I bowed to popular demand…and In this Kingdom by the Sea was the result. The title comes from Edgar A. Poe’s poem Annabel Lee:

“I was a child and she was a child,
In this kingdom by the sea…”

It’s the story of a child king, a husband and a ruler by the age of 13, a young man who, when he meets his cousin, will delight in sitting on a balcony and “lighting up” with said cousin while both get so snockered on royal wine they can barely stand in the receiving line given in Sar’s honor.

Darien-Marcus may be royal but rebellion is in his genes and his behavior proves it.

 


It was a fun story and I enjoyed writing it.  Though it seems to start off like a Young Adult novel, it very quickly grows, just as Darien-Marcus does, into a full-fledged adult one.

 I think readers will see that and enjoy it, too.

EXCERPT:

Galloping down the three flights of stairs, Darien found Orion, arms filled with mallowick gear, waiting at the bottom of those on the first story. Behind him, Daneel loitered, tagging along, as usual. He was too young to play but, as the captain’s brother, he’d been made official mascot for the team, and ran up and down before the spectators waving a banner on which the team’s symbol, a flying hawk, was painted.
“What took you so long?” Rion was already dressed in gaming wear, helmet, padded chest plate and knee boots, and fairly dancing with impatience. “The game’s about to start.”
“I had some official business to take care of.” Darien said it offhandedly as he took his helmet and put it on.
“Since when do you have official business?”
“Since I’m about to have my thirteenth birthday.” He fastened the head strap and adjusted the padded section so it rested directly against his chin.
“That’s right. I forgot.” Orion looked thoughtful. “That means you’ll become margrave pretty soon, and then you’ll really be our ruler.”
“I certainly will.” It was said with satisfaction. They were at the exit from the castle now, going through the door. The sentries there bowed and Darien acknowledged them with a wave as he pulled the chest plate from Orion’s hands and thrust his arms through the shoulder straps. Behind them, Daneel double-timed it, his fat little legs pumping to keep up.
“Darien, your becoming margrave isn’t going to make a difference is it? In our being friends, I mean.”
“Not a bit,” Darien declared. “There’s something else that might, though.”
“What?” Orion looked anxious.
“Uncle Tyron has decided I should marry.”
“It isn’t going to be today is it?” Orion’s anxiety changed to anger. “Damn it, that’ll ruin our game schedule.”
“He said it’d be later.”
“How much later?” Orion sounded suspicious.
“Years from now, I hope. Ariadne’s pretty young.”
“Ariadne lo Reza?” Daneel piped up. “She’s kind of pretty.”
“I agree,” Darien answered. “But silly. She laughed because my hair fell in my face when I bowed to her.”
“Girls are like that,” Orion agreed while Daneel snorted scornfully. “They laugh at the oddest things.”
“I hope she stops doing it. I’d hate to have a wife who sounds so addlepated.”
“Stop thinking about her.” Orion slapped his shoulder and handed him his mallowick bat. “We’ve a game to win.”
The prince, his best friend, and his brother hurried across the palace courtyard, aiming themselves for the playing field where the two teams consisting of giarls’ sons and Orion’s two younger brothers waited before a gathering of spectators to begin their game.           


In this Kingdom by the Sea was released by Class Act Books on July 15, 2013.

I have two wonderful sons.  The youngest, Simon, designed my website, and I am very proud of both.  My boys are older than I wish they were (because that makes me older than I wish I was!)  Ian, the eldest, lives near Manchester, England, is married to a darling English woman, has two lovely children--a boy and a girl, Jarl and Jehanne--and does period reenactments for the Longshank era.  I am partially responsible for this since I dragged my sons to English Civil War Reeinactments when I lived in Miami.  The reeinactments were held at the Fort in St. Augustine, and my friend Helen and I were the cavalry of two.

It's difficult having two grandchildren and a son so far away.  We do connect on Skype which eases the need to see them.  But I still can't hold them, and they are growing up so fast.

Ian and Simon carry British passports since their father is from the UK, London to be exact.  He and I have been divorced for many years, but remain friends.  In fact, I'm giving him a dinner party tomorrow night to celebrate his birthday.

Ian has a degree in Game Design.  Simon is returing to School (University of Houston) to complete his degree in Fine Arts.  He now has an associates in Graphic Arts.

For the writer part, the book of my heart, Sinners' Opera, was released in July by Double Dragon Publishing and in available in both print and ebook.  I am delighted that the book is getting great reviews.  Check out Goodreads or Amazon.

This is my short introduction to two of the best people in my life.  There are many others, including my writer friends!

Enjoy your weekend!

Linda

PS Tried to include a photo of the grandchildren, but Blogger refused to cooperate!