Saturday, May 18, 2013

White Star

Back of the book blurb:

When the long dead kings gave Sean their approval for to wear the crown, they also gave him a mission.

…the thing is, they didn’t tell him what it was.

Feeling like a giant hand was pushing him between his shoulder blades and pulling all his nerves and muscles into a hard fist in the process, Sean was driven.

Accomplish what?

All he knew was that he had his dear uncle’s mess to clean up, and he only had until the snow flew to accomplish it all.

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Woohoo!!! It's almost time!! Another book is nearly ready to hit the virtual shelves, can you believe it. Wow!!! I'm not too sure I do. Not too long ago, writing never entered my head, now I have four books already on Amazon, and soon a fifth. It still amazes me when I think of it. 

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(Here's the first day as a teaser)

Training Horses and Men

When Sean and Charles returned from the palace, Seth and his crew were already moving among the horses, slipping nooses over their heads and handing them off to one of the men waiting for them.

When all the horses had been handed off, Seth spread everyone out over the valley around the camp. The day was spent working with the horses. Fortunately, almost everyone had dealt with horses a good deal of their lives, so no one was utterly inexperienced. Thanks to the expertise of Seth and his men, the first day of lessons progressed with few hitches.

From now on someone would care for the horse in every tiny way as often as possible so the horse would quickly get used to the activity. The horses were touched everywhere, they were pushed and pulled. They were led around then lunged in first one direction, then another, then they were handled again. Their feet were picked up again and again. Seth and his men made their way through the throng and taught the men how to pull the horses to lie down on the ground where they were again handled and caressed, then they were let up only to do it all over again.

There were more men than horses in need of this training, and those men who didn’t have a horse to work pulled camp duty. Firewood was gathered and a stew was prepared. When it was ready, everyone filed past with their horse kept close, collected a bowl of stew and then moved off to eat where the horses could graze close by.

The afternoon was much the same as the morning, though the horses were all handed off to someone new. That night, the horses dozed next to their handlers.

Sean’s supply wagons started arriving near midmorning and as soon as they stopped, Sean set to making packsaddles. Elias and Ferris must have stripped every place in the city of every available piece of leather they could find. He worked all day and managed to turn out one saddle about every two hours. Having never made a saddle before, he took one apart so he could copy the parts. Charles helped him keep track so he didn’t make too many of one part and not enough of some other part. Seth pulled him away when supper was ready, and Larry saw to it that he went to bed after, rather than go back to working on the saddles.

Hélène told him once that working magic was a lot like doing it with your own hands; it takes energy. It’s easier with magic, but it still takes energy. He could never have turned out a saddle every two hours with his hands even if he was the best saddle maker in the world, but he had still worked leather and shaped wood for ten hours almost nonstop. He was lucky he was making them from existing material; his turnout would have been somewhat less if he’d had to make them from nothing. He was wiped by the end of the day.

Elias had been able to scrape together thirty-two packsaddles and another dozen riding saddles. Sean was not sure why he sent riding saddles, but they would use them one way or another.

Seth immediately set aside two of those saying they were broken, then he held up one that was less bulky then the rest. Looking directly at Charles, he said, “Looks a little small. We’ll just have to find a horse that’ll fit it.”

Charles looked like he was about ready to burst with the intensity of his excitement, though he didn’t moved a muscle. Seth just smiled and waved his hand in a ‘come on’ gesture and they went looking for a horse that Charles could ride. They came up with a dainty footed little bay mare with long white socks. She pranced a bit, but it looked to Sean like she was willing to learn and willing to please.

They worked the horses with and without saddles every day for long hours while Sean made more saddles. More supply wagons came into camp every day. By the fourth day, the saddles were loaded with sandbags and extra tents or blankets, and even some pots and pans so the horses would get used to flopping material and noise. Sean hoped they would never pack so sloppily, but Seth didn’t want their supplies packed and have the horse bolt because something worked loose and spooked him.

Seth kept Charles and the horse he named Dancer close by his side. Both Charles and Dancer were just learning how to ride, and he didn’t want anything to go wrong.

When Seth was finally satisfied that the young horses were trained well enough, they packed up their gear and headed west; further training could continue on the trail. At first, the men wanted to form up in a military block, but the need to tend the remounts precluded that by a long shot. It wasn’t long before they were strung out in what looked like a loose herd. Larry thought it looked rather funny and chuckled every time he looked around to check their progress.

Their first night on the trail, they were making camp and Larry was pulling the saddle off his horse. In his best western drawl he turned to Sean. “Weel Hoss, this shore ain’t Noy Yok.”

“Naw, Festus,” Sean replied in kind. “It shore ain’t.” He hooked his thumbs in his sword belt with an exaggerated swagger and then hawked up a loud spit. Then both of them burst out laughing when the move didn’t turn out quite the way Sean planned and he had to wipe off his chin.

Those closest to them looked at them as if they had suddenly gone stark raving mad.

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I hope your wait for book 2 was not too long, but above all, I hope you enjoy it. Book 3 will be out next year at this time, and then you can have the whole set. Now that's a milestone too.

1 comment:

William Kendall said...

I like the voice that comes across in your excerpt, Anna!