Sunday, December 15, 2013

Tales from Frewyn

What's so special about it?  Whenever good writers take the time to create work at a level of quality they're confident enough to share with the world, it's special.  With a blog tour, that presentation takes on exponential momentum like the theoretical snowball enlarging as it rolls.  So, now that you have the image of a tumbling mass of writers, rolling over other writers, let's find out what's going on in there.

That tumbling mass will be composed of a unique combination of creators, ensuring that following the path it takes will lead you to treasures you may never have experienced before.  How could that not sound worth the trip?
Featuring appearances from thirty of the Haanta series’ most beloved characters, Tales from Frewyn Volume Two pays tribute to the animals that inhabit the world of the Two Continents. From Mr Cluck, the rooster that refuses to crow, to Tuatha, the stubborn Westren longhorn, the series boasts a multitude of strange and wonderful creatures, including traveling mice, mischievous mares, vicious rats, and eloquent gulls. Join everyone in Khantara Ghaasta, the Diras Castle keep, and the far reaches of Westren and Haantaledhran in honouring their feathered companions and furred friends with this collection of their most daring and delightful episodes.

Try this sample to see what that means:
  It was one day, while Sheamas was bringing his usual consignment of cured pork and cold meats to the keep, that he discovered a mouse in the larder. He took his casks and parcels to the counter and had almost set them down when his eye caught the round ears and twitching nose of their little visitor. The appearance of a mouse would not have disturbed him, but to see it in Martje’s kitchen, knowing how meticulous she was in keeping her working space clean, was somewhat unsettling. Martje, the most officious kitchen master in the kingdom, would be sent into a ferocious rage if she should discover a mouse. Skillets would be got, tempers would flare, and if Sheamas had not placed his parcel down and taken the mouse into his hand, he feared that the creature might be crushed and killed.

  “You just come with me, small one,” Sheamas smiled to the mouse. “I’ll take you outside so Martje won’t find you,” but as Sheamas was about to leave the larder, the mouse sat up, made a slight squeak, sniffed a few times in the air, and turned around to reveal a small sweater vest lining his torso and a tiny rolled-up parchment attached to his back. “Are you someone’s pet?” asked Sheamas.

  The mouse canted its head and looked sagacious.

  “All right, let’s see what you got here,” but before he could unfurl the parchment and read its contents, he heard someone bounding down the winding stair. He knew from the sound of the light step that it could not be Martje, and when he saw the commander appear in the entranceway of the kitchen, he called her to come to him with a fervent wave of his hand.

  “What is it, Sheamas?” said the commander, walking into the larder. “You need not fear my mate attacking you while you’re making your delivery. He shall eat everything only after you have put your consignment away.” She smiled, but Sheamas’ serious expression and the mouse in his hand soon gave her very different feelings. “Oh, that is rather unfortunate,” she said, regarding the sniffing mouse. “In Tyfferim, where mice rage across the fields, having at least one of them somewhere in the house is a matter of course. Having one in the kitchen of His Majesty’s keep, however, is something else.”

  “You don’t know Martje and mice, kin,” Sheamas grimaced. “She’ll grab her pans and chase after this poor thing till it’s dead. I was gonna take him home with me and give him some of the leftover smoked cheese me and Mar had last night, but I saw this.” Sheamas held the small letter up for the commander’s perusal, and pointing to the small sweater vest, he added, “And I saw that too.”

  The commander smirked to herself: only one person in the world should take the trouble of dressing a mouse, and in opening the letter and reading its contents, all her suspicions were thus confirmed.

  Bhudhiika Anonnaa,

  I hope our little friend made it to Frewyn all right. Frewyn is colder than it is here on the islands so I made him a little sweater to keep him warm. Janir was kind to take him as far as Marridon, but then I think Mr Sniffles the Second made the rest of the journey on his own. We have new Ghiosa on the islands: mice Ghiosa from Lucentia! Leraa made sure they were cared for immediately when they came. Mr Sniffles the Second came after our Sniffles family joined us. He was interested to see Frewyn, so Leraa suggested that he live at the temple in Diras for a while until the winter comes.

  Please take good care of him!

  Ghesturaas Dan Anaalon,
  Kai Linaa, Sanhedhran, Haantaledhran

  “Sanhedhran has an invasion of rather small converts,” the commander said, rolling up the letter. “I don’t know whether that is endearing or excessively unsavoury.”

  “If they’re as clean as this small one is here, kin,” said Sheamas, “I think it’s just fine.”

  Sheamas made his chuckling remarks in time for Martje to hear them from the yeoman’s quarter entrance to the kitchen. She was pleased to see that her brother had come so early in the day and hoped that he might be persuaded to take breakfast with them, but upon entering the oven room and descrying the small creature sitting in his hand, Martje’s temper was instantly roused. She gasped and leapt to the scullery to fetch the heaviest skillet. “You little bastard,” she seethed, creeping toward the larder, “I’ll have no mice in this kitchen.” She raised the skillet over her head and prepared to swing, regardless of her brother’s hand being in the way, when she suddenly stopped, the skillet suspended over her head. “Why is that mouse wearin’ a sweater?”

  “Because Kai Linaa dressed him in it,” the commander laughed.

  “Sure, you’re foolin’ me somethin’ terrible,” the cook exclaimed. “You dressed him so’s I wouldn’t kill him.”

  The commander shook her head. “I assure you, this is all Kai Linaa’s doing.”

  The letter was given over, and upon reading the contents, Martje was at a loss for words. A mouse that had wandered into her kitchen being allowed to live: its twitching whiskers offended her, its smiling countenance made her skin itch, and the more she regarded the adorable creature, the tighter her hands enveloped around her skillet. “You can’t keep it here, kin,” she demanded. “It’s gotta find it somewhere else to go before I go mad and all.”

  “You mean you don’t want to invite him for breakfast?”

  “If he ain’t careful, I’ll make him the cat’s breakfast.”

  “Very well,” the commander smiled. “I think we had better bring him to your shoppe, Sheamas, before Martje decides to fustigate him to death.” 

  The small mouse was conveyed safely to Sheamas’ shoppe, where his arrival was met with a celebratory dinner of smoked cheese and cured pork, and once his belly was round and his eyes were closing, he was taken to the temple where he might find refuge under the auspices of the Themari. A small room and bed was given him, visits from Soledhan and Little Jaicobh were due, and Mr Sniffles the Second, as named by Kai Linaa, was in a way to be happy and comfortable during the long Frewyn winter.

For those of you who've forgotten, having gotten caught up in that excerpt, this is only the first stop on a blog tour that's going on for a whole week (Dec. 15-22) to celebrate the release of Michelle's latest work.  Obviously, I think it's worth your time and a few mouse clicks to see where this rabbit hole leads you.

Michelle Franklin is a small woman of moderate consequence who writes many, many books about giants, romance, and chocolate.  If you're a fan of literary fantasy of a humorous bent, explore her work and connect with her on Twitter and/or Facebook.  Tales of Frewyn Volume Two is available through Amazon, Smashwords, iTunes, and Barnes and Noble.

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