Friday, November 8, 2013

Friday's Focus: Today My Life Takes Another Turn

I suppose I should be writing this all in red, as today is certainly a red-letter day in my life. Today my very first full-length novel, THE FREEDOM THIEF, was released as an ebook publication from MuseItUp Publishers.

And I should be so excited I would be shaking,  clapping my hands in glee, jumping for joy, and all of those "other things" excitement brings about.

I am happy! But, you know, it's more a kind of "sigh of relief" type happiness, instead of the "jumping for joy" kind. I suppose it's because I'm older than most first time authors...I don't think my bones would allow me to jump for joy even if I wanted to LOL

This day has been a long time years, to be exact.  So, yes, it is with a sigh of relief that I can now say, my historical adventure novel is finally on the market. And today, this journey I call my life takes just one more twist and turn, as I make the final arrangements for the launch party tomorrow, and then next week, begin to arrange for school visits. It's been a long journey, sometimes an exhausting one, with several tragedies in my family along the way that have made writing very difficult. Yet, through all of this, it has been my husband and my family that have seen me through, have been with me every step of the way, and have told me, "No matter what happens, don't stop, never stop writing."

And so, with pride and oh so much love in my heart for my awesome husband, I can say, THE FREEDOM THIEF is now a published book!

Thirteen year old Ben McKenna is leading his best friend, the crippled slave Josiah, and Josiah's parents Bess and Jesse, on a dangerous journey to find freedom across the Ohio River. Ben's father was going to sell Josiah, and Ben knew the only way to save him was to arrange an escape from the plantation. They have barely escaped with their lives from a collapsing underground tunnel, gone through a deep forest, and are now in a swamp. They are lost, and have no idea of what lies ahead.

They were deep into the swamp now, and it seemed as though the stinking
waters were all that existed in this part of the world. There were many times when a sudden burst of air bubbles, signaling the settling of a submerged tree limb, popped up and startled them. At one point, Josiah stopped abruptly. In front of him and Ben was a piece of rusted iron, twisted roughly into the shape of a cross. It was leaning precariously against a tree, but the human skull sitting on top was the most frightening aspect.
Bess and Jesse caught up to them, and Bess said, “Ben, you think that be
somebody what died in this here swamp?”
“Could have been. But that’s not happening to us, so come on, let’s keep
They kept on sloshing their way through, and with no sense of time, Ben
wondered if they were going to be in this swamp forever. Daylight left the sky, and the shadows grew longer and more ominous. An eerie glow emanated from the waters, which Ben sincerely hoped was created from nothing more than the last remnants of sunlight seeping through the trees. From time to time, the sound of dogs came to them over the water, but they couldn’t tell if they were getting closer or going farther away. They were too exhausted to speak, and after what seemed an eternity, the steamy waters trickled out onto solid ground. The swamp had ended in another deep forest, but the little group was too weary to even notice until Ben stopped. “Listen, do you hear that? It sounds like running water. We’re in a forest now, so this could be a fresh water stream.”
Jesse dropped his pole. “That be the river?”
“I don’t think so. I think it might just be a fast running stream. Come on, we all
need a drink of water.”
Jesse scowled. “I think we not ever gets to the river.”
Ben decided it would be best not to argue with the big man and headed in the
direction of the water sounds. He heard Jesse muttering behind him and Bess
whispering back.
“Hey, Ben, we be okay now? We outta the swamp so I can puts my pole
“Yeah, Josiah, I think so. See, this is pretty solid ground now. Look, I can jump
up and down and not fall in!” Ben demonstrated with a couple of jumps and had
Josiah laughing at his antics.
They reached the stream where the water was cold and sweet. Ben knelt with
the rest of his party, cupped his hands, and drank as much as he could. Bess opened Ben’s shirt again and pulled out the apples, a few biscuits, and what was left of the ham. Ben ate his share of the food before he tore the shirt into strips.
“What for you doing that, Ben?” Josiah’s eyes were bright with curiosity.
“I’m going to bury a couple of strips here, and then I’m going to walk around
in a circle and bury the rest of them. If the dogs get here, they’ll be confused and
won’t know which way we went.” He didn’t really think it would confuse the dogs
too much, but it was the best he could do.
They took another drink and followed the stream for a short distance. Now that
Josiah didn’t have his pole to lean on, his leg began to hurt. When he started
making little sounds of pain and trying to stifle them, Ben knew it was time to find
a place to rest. He led them into the underbrush in a particularly dense area and
soon the exhausted group fell asleep.
When Ben woke up, moonlight was shimmering through the trees. He heard
dogs barking, so the hunters were coming through the swamp. He shook Jesse
awake but put a finger to his lips and whispered, “We gotta be quiet, the hunters
are close by. Let’s get to the stream and follow it. Even if the dogs get this far,
they’ll lose our scent through water. Let’s go.”
When they reached the stream, Ben stepped into the cold water with the others
behind him. The sound of the dogs faded once again, and Ben drew in a deep
breath, catching a whiff of smoke. He looked around at Bess and Jesse, but they
were focused on helping Josiah navigate the swiftly-running water. He decided not to say anything about the smoke.
The moon rose, and now there was enough light in the forest for the trees to
cast their shadow. Bess caught up to him and said, “That moon be bright, Ben.
Maybe we should stop and hide so the hunters won’t see us?”
“I reckon we should keep on walking. If the hunters were close, the dogs would
be louder, and besides, it’s easier to get into the shadows now than it would be in
She fell back with Jesse again, but Ben knew she was concerned. When his
bare feet and legs numbed from the cold stream, Ben crossed to the other side and
led them into the thick underbrush of the forest. At times, Ben needed to cut heavy vines and twisting weeds out of the way. Jesse tried to step in the footprints that Ben left, so walking was a little easier for Bess and Josiah. Occasionally, Ben
heard Josiah cry out, and he knew Josiah’s leg was hurting. Nevertheless, Josiah
refused to be carried.
As the moon faded, taking what little light it shed between the trees, Ben
started looking for a place to hide during the day. The wind was coming up, and
with their clothes still damp from sweat and the humidity in the swamp, and feet
and legs cold from the stream, all of them were shivering.
Ben stopped. “Look over there,” he whispered, as he pointed to something in
the distance. “Doesn’t that look like it’s a clearing of some kind? Maybe we should check it out.”
Jesse said, “Maybe we’s stay here,
you go check it out.”
Ben sighed. Jesse still didn’t trust him completely. “Better sure than sorry, I
guess, Jesse. You stay here, and I’ll go see what it is.”
He waited until they had hidden before he moved forward until he reached the
edge of the clearing. There were no indications of people having been there, or a
path leading away. There was nothing but a small circle cleared out of the forest.
He turned to go, when a voice said, “Stop! Don’t move.” With the voice came the
sound of a rifle being cocked.

The link to buy the book is here:

Until next time,
That's a wrap.