Saturday, December 22, 2012

TIps: Fun Family Writing Exercises

Joyce Strand, Editor
Strand's Simply Tips

As I have said before:  writing can be fun and even therapeutic.  Not only can writing itself be fun, but learning to write provides an opportunity for family entertainment. 

I have offered some Fun Family exercises in previous articles. The concept is to provide ways in this fast-paced world to hone writing skills—no matter what the age—and have fun with the family doing so. You can view the previous exercises here and here1.

Following are some new Fun Family writing exercises. Enjoy!

·      Each member of the family is to write a page or two of dialogue of a conversation that you imagine two or more strangers are saying at a restaurant where you are enjoying a meal. The family should choose the people –discreetly, of course – even if it’s at McDonald’s. To make it more interesting, choose a genre, i.e., the dialogue is to tell a mystery, create a fantasy, deal with aliens, relate a romance, scare some zombies, or solve a life problem. Assign roles and then read the dialogues aloud.

·      Write a paragraph describing a store where you bought something. Be sure to mention how the store smelled, what kind of sounds you heard, along with a physical description of the building. Tell why you bought the item. Read aloud your description to see if your family can guess which store – or type of store—you’re describing.

·      Describe a new place you recently visited for the first time. Start with your first impressions of the place. Were you surprised at its appearance? Did it make you remember a forgotten experience? Were you afraid, intimidated, excited? Next describe the physical attributes of the location as an explanation of why you felt the way you did. Conclude with an explanation of how you felt when you departed the location. Were you still afraid, intimidated, excited? When you complete this description, read it to the family to see if they can guess the location.

·      Describe what happens at your house when you get an unexpected call that some friends are planning to drop by. As a family, do you quickly scurry to pick up? Or, is your house always neat, but you wanted to finish just one more chore? Does everyone help? What do you do? Be sure to share your description with the family to see if they concur with your account.

·      Write a paragraph describing a relative outside of your immediate family. Remember to recall more than just physical attributes: does he/she talk slowly or in staccato? Walk fast, talk with a mouth full of food, arch an eyebrow, laugh with a snort? Read your paragraph to the family to see if they can identify the person. Oh, and don’t be too negative!

·      Write a paragraph about how you wake up in the morning. Does Mom have to shake you? Do you need to push the alarm multiple times on Snooze? Do you wake up before everyone else? If so, what do you do? If you have siblings, do you help get them up? Do you like waking up? How do you feel when you wake up?

I hope you enjoy these latest suggestions for Fun Family writing exercises. You can easily accommodate your own situation by changing some of the requirements. Or, if you have other suggestions, please leave them as a comment so that we can all enjoy them.

Monday, December 17, 2012

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: "The 'Me' In Our Work" by Southern Poet and Novelist Damon Ferrell Marbut

Damon Ferrell Marbut, Author

Welcome Southern poet and novelist Damon Ferrell Marbut. His first published novel, AWAKE IN THE MAD WORLD, is an entrant for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. One reviewer describes it as “a coming of age novel that showcases so many of the issues of twenty and thirty-somethings in America today.” 

In the following article, Mr. Marbut explores the significance of "write what you know." He adds the value of comprehending “why” authors write. Why do we do what we do? And why is it relevant that we do so? 

Philosophical Sources: The “Me” In Our Work
by Damon Ferrell Marbut

Write what you know.

It’s true. In writing seminars and workshops, or if you weren’t “trained” in this manner, it’s still a common expression that carries with it, in my opinion, considerable importance. Even writers of paranormal, fantasy, etc. can still apply this write what you know standard to a significant portion of their book(s). This is what makes it initially work, I believe: lending a work its validity by giving it your honesty as a writer.

Rarely, though, is the notion of why you are writing what you’re writing the curiosity that follows. Without affording one’s self more than just a series of moments to think this through, the risk exists of condemning the work to stand without enough of the author him/herself. And without knowing exactly why one is writing what one is writing, a book may succeed on some levels but will—and I do not doubt this at all—ultimately fail the author, as it will not be his/her best. Not asking this crucial why will limit the impact of the gift given the reader, which is a person’s work, a creation that may or may not best explain who the person is, as well.

As writers, we don’t ask ourselves this question to doubt why we’re sitting in front of the computer, to doubt our commitment as well as our sacrifices once we’ve hopefully come to term with how we define both. Commitment is sitting there, morning after morning, or night after night, and Sacrifice is something we all must come to terms with. What part of life gets less attention for the work? Finances, exercise, sleep, companionship? What are you willing to sacrifice so that this continues to embody the core of your drive as a complete person and not just a creative person? Or, perhaps you’re writing because it’s an exhilarating activity, or cathartic, or a challenge. Whatever the reason, if you are spending consistent time in front of the computer, there is a deeper meaning beneath it.

“Writers,” no matter how they define themselves, are similarly creating something to represent who they are as a person. Some audiences read to lightly escape the realities of their emotionally-exhausting lives, while others look to be devastated by a beautiful story because it feels incredible to celebrate the fleeting nature of life and beauty and love and human nature and death, all without it being too real. Audiences seek certain books because of how they linger, for how they charge the brain and nerves and surface of the skin. Books should involve full-body reactions and should never be discounted as “guilty pleasures” or “no-brainers.” Audiences select the books they read for a reason. And so as writers, a philosophical obligation exists in us before we commit, before we make the sacrifices, and that obligation manifests itself in the question why. Why am I doing this?

I stopped asking myself this years ago because my writer friends and I moved all around the country and began our own walks toward various creative or academic lights. I used that separation as my excuse to stop asking, and for a long time I didn’t reflect on the reason that conversation had disappeared from my life in general. But today, in thinking of it, it’s simply because I know I cannot stop. I can’t. I gave up law school for this. I lost job opportunities and more financial comfort for this. I made my family think I was ditching them for a notepad, for years, and I was. I became isolated and sometimes drank too much, and then I learned the value of travel and engaging the world around me and started valuing myself because I valued my thoughts and how I expressed them on the page. It’s a life-saving art form, for myself and others like me. I can’t stop because I don’t know any better anymore. I don’t like what my mind wants to do when I’m not writing. I’m never happier than when I’m on a project, which has thankfully been constant for almost ten years now.

And sometimes, I concede, it’s an absolutely terrifying idea to consider who we are as individuals. I remember the sleep-deprivation at work in graduate school after staying up all night reading and writing poems with friends on their couches or mine. But those were the talks we deemed so vital to the understanding of our work, we chose against logic for immediate passion. And when the talks grew so athletic by repetition, or one friend moved away, and then another, we realized there was still that pervasive, churning, all-encompassing why of what we were doing that never left us when we left ourselves. I loved every second of it. I love and need it, still.

My old friends from that moment in our shared lives, when we were developing as creative thinkers, are now my slightly older colleagues. We look back at that era as necessary to where we’ve now landed as individuals in the aftermath of all that romantic and fiery thinking. But we still retain a collective sense of curiosity concerning why we do what we do. The truth is that you, I, we, they are all bound by this obligation as writers to explain ourselves in one way or another, willfully or with a fight. We inject ourselves into our characters and have far more voices speaking on our behalf than we sometimes recognize. Every person, fictitious or real, is seeking to resolve something in their existences. And so, whether we see it or not, our characters tell our story as their creator. I think about that often. I don’t think of my legacy or being respectful to the audience’s desire for my story’s outcome, or how many books I’ll sell or what awards I’ll win.

I consider what truth I’m learning about myself as I write.

Book Blurb

“I hadn’t thought of it, in real truth. I hadn’t thought about love because when I was at work, I didn’t think, I am at work. I hadn’t thought, when I was at the grocery store, I am at the store. We just are where we are. We’re in what we’re in.”

Pete Rattigan is a frustrated young newspaper journalist caught up in uncertainty of the post-graduate “real world”. One night, one seemingly minor encounter sparks a philosophical journey which leads him to discover that in the most beautiful or even cruel moments of life, the power of friendship explains the power of the universe. And that perhaps there is no such thing as chance. With force, humor and sensitivity Damon Ferrell Marbut presents his debut, AWAKE IN THE MAD WORLD, which frees its audience to believe again in the wildness of the young American heart, how it beats just to prove that it will always survive and succeed on its own terms.


After a steady diet of threshold thoughts and staggered steps in and out of the surf, I realized my pants were wetting at the tailored lines, and I decided to make way to my car and drive through Orange Beach just east and visit Perdido Pass briefly so I could let the pants dry and drop off something I’d carried with me a very long time. And due to the most recent move from Midtown to Knox’s, I still had it in the car, the large rock I’d acquired during a skim-boarding-excursion-turned-drinking-bout in high school, a near-decade prior, where I’d fully had that first good fleeting love in a moment with a girl named Tate Bonifay, a memory that was so sweet for such an extended time I couldn’t enforce even the rules of my own heart, to let the past be past, but it was time to forget the patience and allure of that young flash in time, to put the sign of such memory to bed back across the jetties where it had lain for a long time before a heavy youthful heart like mine had come along and told my hands to take it and keep it and maybe later sublimate my resolve.
I drove over the Key bridge against the tumid sun and crept into the narrow parking strip alongside the sand’s reach down toward the rocks’ stretch into the Gulf. The dunes, I could see from the bridge, had blown down from worsening storm systems and beach erosion, and had turned into something only recognizable to locals who had been around enough to see its demise for what it was. I jumped them when they were once twenty feet tall, as Bonifay sprawled up top with Billy and Patrick. She had sat like a football player, confident in her wear, sipping a beer like a mother emancipated from child watch, staring into the sun, curly long hair, a boarder’s attitude. Where had I, that kid, gone, too? The dunes were leveled like tables after a decade and were still beautiful, but lacked the luster of young people sweating in nascent love onto the sand that soon might forget them. I took off again alone on the beach and made it through the seemingly horizontal wind tunnels which tugged my lone body toward the result of what was cresting and crashing down at the shore. If I remembered correctly, the rock had been about ten yards down the rock row in the water, and so without self-doubt and a cigarette stub in my pocket, I negotiated the moist rock pilings down to a fair estimate, and sat on a heavier, dryer monolithic entity in the shade of a generous cloud between me and the sun. I was freezing at that point, but not confused, not in any mood to deliver a eulogy for that which was defecting from my custody, a memory of a beautiful girl I had carried around too long.

Author Bio
Damon Ferrell Marbut is a Southern poet and novelist. Originally from Mobile, Alabama, he now lives and writes in New Orleans, Louisiana, where he is working on a new novel. AWAKE IN THE MAD WORLD, his first published novel, is an entrant for the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. He is a featured reader at the 10th Annual Saints and Sinners Literary Festival in New Orleans, May 2013.

Purchase links:

Twitter: @dfmnola

Friday, December 14, 2012

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: Author C.J. Sullivan

C.J. Sullivan, Author
Author and native Texan C.J. Sullivan recently launched WINGS OF THE DIVIDED, Book 1 THE DIVIDED TRILOGY – a story about a fallen angel who comes to earth to create chaos. However, everything changes when he hears a violin playing. 

Sullivan considers compelling characters a critical part of a great story. She believes that expanding on traits about a character as a story develops encourages readers to keep reading by creating mystery and anticipation. In the following article she offers insight into how to make us empathize with characters.

Creating Compelling Characters
By C. J. Sullivan
Creating compelling characters is an essential part to writing a great story. It's also one of my favorite parts about the writing process. As a writer, you want people to fall in love with your protagonists, as well as seriously dislike and/or fear your antagonists. Many people who have read my book WINGS OF THE DIVIDED have commented on how much they adored my characters. There are a number of things I did to help the good guys, bad guys, and everyone in between really come to life.
 So how do you get a good idea for a good character? You can base them on characters from your favorite movies and books but put your own personal spin on them. You can also base them on people you know, including yourself. It's fun to create a mixture sometimes. For instance, aspects of that mean boss at work, plus characteristics of that jerk back in high school, plus hints of your annoying cousin all could wrap up to make one cool villain!
 Some authors advise writers to avoid filling out a character chart. They say it's juvenile, but I disagree. I have found that character charts can be a great help, especially with main characters. Character charts are basically a series of questions that help you flesh out your good guys and bad guys. Some example questions from a chart: What is his/her hair length and color? What is his/her body type? What is his/her birth order? Who is his/her best friend? What is his/her type of humor? What are his/her hobbies? What are his/her phobias? Discovering all the little details about this person will create the depth you need.
 As you're writing your story, really try to get into your character's head. Imagine yourself in his/her body, feeling the heartbeat, listening to the sound of his/her voice, feeling the underlying motivation for why the character is driven to do the things he does. Always ask yourself why your character is acting a certain way. Is your female villain threatening to kill the male protagonist because she is secretly in love with him, but he won't return her affections? Or is she after him because she's jealous of his great achievements and can't stand knowing someone is better than she is? Characters who do things for no reason aren't convincing, but those who have a believable reason are relatable and three-dimensional.
 Another thing I do is reveal my characters slowly throughout the story. Think of your closest friends. Did you know everything about them the day you met them? Or did they slowly reveal their secrets to you over time?
By gradually showing more about a character as the story goes on, you create mystery and anticipation and give readers encouragement to keep reading. As your readers continue deeper into the tale, they feel rewarded, almost as if they are getting to know a real person.
Author Bio
 C.J. Sullivan is the author of WINGS OF THE DIVIDED, Book 1 in THE DIVIDED trilogy. She holds a BA in English and a minor in Communication, and she taught high school English and Debate before getting married and moving to the Dallas Metroplex.
Sullivan is a native Texan who appreciates both the quiet simplicity of the state's countryside and the exciting color of its major cities. When she's not lost in the world of her angels, she reads every genre of literature, watches and re-watches cult classic movies, and obsessively de-clutters and redecorates her house. She lives with her husband, Drew, and her dachshund, Kaiser.
Book Blurb 
Fallen angel Laphelle has been sent on a mission to modern-day Earth, along with two of his comrades, to start fresh chaos behind the scenes. But everything changes when he hears the sound of the violin one fateful night. The heavenly music stirs thoughts of his life before the Fall, a time he does not consciously remember. Confused and intrigued, he begins to spiral out of control when he discovers he can actually play the violin with stunning talent. This unknown skill, along with the surprising relationship he develops with the violin’s owner, pushes him to question his role in the war of good and evil.

An emotional, character-driven adventure, at times humorous and fun, and at others dark and horrific, WINGS OF THE DIVIDED is the first book in an epic trilogy that explores the sacred bond of friendship, the universal power of music, and the question of redemption.


In this scene, the angels of light Gidyon and Noam have just arrived on Earth, but they are being pursued by the relentless angel of darkness, Laphelle.

Gidyon felt his stomach lurch as he looked back. The sleek black sword in Laphelle's pale, long-nailed grip had a wavy blade that weaved like a wicked black flame frozen in time, shining like polished glass. A black snake with oval rubies for eyes protruded from the weapon's guard and twisted around Laphelle's hand and up his arm, the fangs latching into his bicep as he gripped the dark handle.    
The dark angel flapped his black-feathered wings, those once-sacred appendages that now defined his Fallen identity, and he soared after his prey.
"Noam!" Laphelle shouted as two more figures emerged from the gate behind him. "Don't let that coward tell you what you can and can't do!"
The dark angel grinned wickedly, the sharp tips of his canines glinting in the moonlight. His ash blond shoulder length hair whipped back with the speed of the wind; the black crystal on a leather strap around his neck flew back as if it were holding on for dear life. The blond rogue's silken, tailored black suit blended into the velvety night, the fitted jacket fastened by silver latches below a V of bare ashen chest.
"Come back and fight me!" he said. "To arms, you wretched deserter!"
Don't look at him. Don't look at him.
    Gidyon spotted the little cathedral first. He turned to Noam, who had to be fighting with all his might to ignore Laphelle's challenge.
"There!" Gidyon said.
Noam turned to the church and nodded, and like gulls dipping into the ocean, the angels of light took sharp dives for the sanctuary's wooden doors.
Gidyon glanced back, couldn't help himself. The smile vanished from Laphelle's face, his icy blue eyes widening with rage.
"Putrid PAWNS of the ALMIGHTY!" he shouted, raising the sword. "Don't you DARE!"
But the angels of light ignored his threats. They entered the safe sanctuary and quickly shut out the night.
Inside the church, Gidyon stood with his ear pressed to the closed door. Once he was certain Laphelle was not going to be a fool and try to enter the holy building, he began to turn around, releasing his anxiety with one big deflating breath. He raised his brows when he saw a man—Max Edenton, so he read from the man's mind—facing them on the aisle, his human eyes widening like full moons. Noam turned his head to the side in a curious gesture.  Then Max fainted.                         

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

WHAT THE EXPERTS SAY: British Author Julia Hughes

Julia Hughes, Author

British author Julia Hughes joins us to discuss her just-released fantasy THE GRIFFIN CRYER -- a story about a griffin and his rider accidentally called to our world by a teenage girl. Julia has also written a series of stories about the Celtic Cousins -- two Welsh cousins living in London who frequently encounter Detective Crombie of the Metropolitan Police in their adventures.

Originally from London, Julia has a muse called Tinker, a healthy respect for all animals--even the creepy crawly ones, likes Peter Pan (the boy who refuses to grow up!), and selects her favorite novel of today - Diana Norman's "The Morning Gift.” 

Q: Why do you write fantasy?

Julia Hughes: This is my first foray into writing fantasy; although in my opinion all fiction involves some form of fantasy! I've always been captivated by the idea of parallel universes, and the idea that maybe in one of those parallel universes, the twin of our world exists. In THE GRIFFIN CRYER on "Ella-Earth" evolution has taken a different path, and mythological creatures exist.

Q: How do you make your fantasy world believable? Characters? Back-story? How important is suspense?

Julia Hughes: Nearly all of the action in THE GRIFFIN CRYER takes place in our world: the griffin and his rider are accidentally summoned into this universe by an ordinary teenage girl. Frankie's reaction to the sudden appearance of a griffin is probably the same as mine would be: she screams and runs away. The Rider is from another dimension – so he is an alien – but he is very human. Having worked hard to become a griffin rider, he has a little too much pride in himself. He is scared – he needs to find his griffin and get back home – but he's not going to show his fear – especially not to a schoolgirl.

For me, that's the key to making any work of fiction believable – to populate any world, fantasy or modern day New York, with flesh and blood characters. There's a little back story dropped in here and there; for example, the Rider isn't of noble birth, and therefore shouldn't be riding griffins – we learn that Frankie's brother has been in a coma for almost three years, and also that visitors between our two worlds were once common. But I try to keep any back story to a minimum, and place the story in the here and now.

Suspense in any story is everything; without the reader wanting to find out what happens next, even if it's to find out if Cinderella does get her prince, pages probably wouldn't get turned!

Q: What makes compelling characters? What do you do to make us care about your characters?

Julia Hughes: As a reader, I need to empathize with a character, before caring. The people you'll meet in my stories are down to earth, ordinary everyday folk, dealing with extra-ordinary life changing events. For example: Detective Crombie's on a diet, and thinks his biggest problem is deciding what to have for lunch. Moments later, he's on the trail of a missing elephant, and then comes face to face with an alligator. Who stole the elephant? How did an alligator end up in the bathroom of a London apartment? And why are the mandarins of Whitehall protecting one of London's biggest villains?

Q: Do your characters push you around and make you write what they want? Or are you in control?

Julia Hughes: I get to know my characters before I begin writing; I also know the challenges they're going to face, and I know how they're going to react to those challenges. Hopefully characters will grow during the story – they'll man up, and do what has to be done – but I never allow them to step completely out of character. Now and then one of them will surprise me; I never imagined Wren would fall so hopelessly in love with Carrie in "A Ripple in Time."

Q: What makes a hero/heroine? On the flip side, what makes a villain?

Julia Hughes: In my opinion, the biggest hero in literature is lawyer Atticus Finch. In "To Kill A Mockingbird" he endured the wrath of friends and neighbours to do the right thing. Maybe that's the answer – a hero or heroine is someone prepared to do the right thing, against all odds. Conversely, villains are prepared to sell their own grandmothers if it means getting their own way. I always find charming well-mannered villains the scariest – I'm thinking in particular of Hannibal Lecter in "Silence of the Lambs."

Q: Who are your target readers? What are they looking for? One of your reviewers said “It is not often I would say that a book appeals to everybody but I would make an exception in his case.” Do you agree?

Julia Hughes: I hope to target readers who aren't afraid to use their imagination, who are looking for pure escapism, yet with the story grounded in reality. I'd like for my readers to think "Yes, that's pretty wild, but it could happen!"

When a reader enjoys my stories so much, that they actually take time to write a review to tell others, I'm thrilled to pieces. Yes, I do agree, with those very kind words! I'd like to think of my stories being enjoyed by the whole world. But in truth, not everyone's going to agree – and that's fine too. Luckily Amazon allow sampling before buying, and I'd urge everyone to make their own minds up, not just about my books, but other books; there's a lot of undiscovered talent out there – surprise yourself and try something different and new!

Q: If you weren’t a writer, what would you be?

Julia Hughes: If I couldn't write, I guess I'd be crazy. I'd be walking around muttering to myself and anyone else who cared to listen.

Q: Tell us something about yourself, e.g., do you like to read? Eat? Go to plays? What’s your favorite holiday, book, author, character, play, movie, celebrity? What do you do when you’re not writing? Do you have a muse? Do you like dogs or cats? What's your favorite charity?

Julia Hughes: My favorite charity is the RNLI – now those men and women are real heroes in my eyes – putting out to sea to risk their lives rescuing strangers. Funded entirely by charitable donations, the lifeboat crews and lifeguards of the Royal National Lifeboat Institution have saved at least 140,000 lives at sea since 1824.

The muse is called Tinker, and she always gives good advice.

I have a healthy respect for all animals, even the creepy crawly ones – and I'm very grateful that some wonderful horses, dogs and cats have deigned to share my journey.

I'm absolutely head over heels in love with Rafael Nadal, the tennis player from Majorca, which incidentally is one of my favorite holiday destinations.

My favorite play is "Peter Pan" – it's got everything – including of course, the boy who refuses to grow up.

Choosing a favorite book, or author is incredibly difficult. I'm going to plump for Diana Norman's "The Morning Gift.” The main character Matilda is a well born Frenchwoman, and contemptuous of anyone below her own perceived status – especially the English. Matilda is aghast when her husband, an Englishman, gives her an island for her "morning gift.” She regards this English custom of a husband rewarding his wife for a pleasurable wedding night as crude. Then the nastiest civil war in English history breaks out, and Matilda is forced to revise her whole outlook on life. However, ask me again tomorrow about my favorite book, and I might give a completely different answer!

More About Julia Hughes by Julia Hughes

I'm originally from London, a little place called Notting Hill, born when the world was the street where you lived. To give you an idea, only three people down our road actually owned a telephone and bath night was a weekly event. Until you've had a strip down wash at the kitchen sink, you don't know you're living!

Like Scout, I can't recall not being able to read, and the world of Narnia quickly became a favorite. In the closing pages of 'The Last Battle' C S Lewis tells his young audience "you cannot begin to imagine the adventures they had." (Or words to that effect). I took this as a personal challenge. While I could never hope to emulate Lewis's work, I've had fun trying.

That's really how I think of myself, a reader who enjoys writing the sort of books I'd want to read. Now with Amazon's help, I'm sharing those stories - something I never imagined in my wildest dreams and it's the best feeling in the world.

Synopsis (Talon Publishing)

Frankie Shaunessy's friends are out of this world!

It's an easy mistake to make - instead of whistling and calling for her dog, fifteen year old Frankie accidentally summons a griffin and his rider from another world. The Rider is tall, blond and extremely rude. On the other hand, Balkind is the sweetest, most lovable griffin Frankie's ever met, and Frankie is determined to help The Rider and his griffin find a way back to their own world. 

Dealing with parallel universes, disgruntled warriors, and hungry griffins is the simple part of Frankie's life. At school, Frankie learns friends can become enemies, teachers aren't always right, and the boy of your dreams can be all too human. 

Purchase Links
Amazon US
Amazon UK


Last night, while calling her dog, Frankie accidentally summonsed a griffin and its rider from another dimension. Dog and griffin flee from each other. This is Frankie's second encounter with the Rider, he has retrieved her missing dog, and wants something in return ….
A man sat outlined against the brow of Six Acre Meadow, a large black dog by his side. Frankie stumbled towards them, clutching at the stitch in her side. By the time she reached the top of the hill and stood over him, all the furious insults she'd rehearsed on the nightmare jog here were useless. Instead she glared down at him, struggling to catch her breath. Bally's tail thumped, but he made no attempt to cease worrying at the mammoth bone he held down with one paw.
Finally Frankie managed: 'That's my dog.'
Calmly unscrewing the lid from a bottle of water, the stranger took a couple of swigs, then offered it to Frankie. After a moment's hesitation, she swiped the bottle from him, tipped her head back, and chugged down.
'Where's my griffin?' the man asked.
Frankie clutched the now empty bottle, longing to chuck it at his head and snatch up Bally and run. But somehow she doubted his temper had improved any since last night.
'Please – I don't know your name – but please – let me have my dog back. Please – it'll break my mum's heart.'
'Get me back my griffin and you can have your dog.'
'I'll call the police.'
He shrugged, looking completely unconcerned. 'Call for my griffin, and you can have your dog back.'
Frankie gave a sigh of surrender, and tossed the empty bottle neatly into his opened rucksack.
'If I call your …griffin – and it doesn't come, will that satisfy you?'
He nodded. 'If you call with all your heart, and Balkind doesn't answer, you may have your dog back.'
Call with all your heart. Frankie knew without asking what this meant. Inflating her lungs, and placing her hands either side of her mouth, she summoned up a cry from the heart.
The sound flooded the meadow. Frankie sucked in air and called again. 'Baalll-kind.' She could feel two pairs of eyes on her, watching intently, Bally's ears were pricked. Before calling for the third time, Frankie took a couple of steps away from her audience, and focussed on projecting her cry across the village, across the lakes, across the country if needs be.
Frankie glanced behind her. The blond head nodded approval.
'That'll do.'
Of course it would: Any griffin within a hundred miles would have heard that.


Website: Julia Hughes 
Twitter: @Tinksaid 

Other Works by Julia Hughes

The Celtic Cousins Series

Rhyllann and Wren are two Welsh cousins, living in London. Rhyllann's a typical teenager with a passion for girls and flying aeroplanes. His life would be perfect if it wasn't for Wren, aka, The Prince of Geeks. 

In A RAUCOUS TIME Wren insists he knows where the lost treasure of King John, buried for almost 1,000 years, can be found. Can the cousins find the treasure before the quasi-religious gang known as the "Brotherhood", or worse still, Detective Crombie of the Metropolitan Police, finds them?

 Purchase Links:

In A RIPPLE IN TIME Wren's dreams collide with those of a young woman sailing to America exactly one hundred years ago, and so averts RMS Titanic from sinking, and history is rewritten. To save his own life, and prevent the world from descending into chaos, Wren must travel back in time to ensure the Titanic meets her fate.

 Purchase Links

In AN EXPLOSIVE TIME, Detective Crombie is hunting a missing elephant. He isn't too surprised when the trail leads to the door of the Celtic Cousins, whom he's convinced are intent on making a career out of being the bane of his life. Then an alligator turns up, hotly pursued by one of London's biggest villains, and Crombie finds himself in need of a miracle to save his daughter's life. Will the Celtic Cousins finally repay Crombie's faith in them?

Purchase Links  

Other works


"What does any thirty something single woman wish for most?" THE BRIDLE PATH is a short sweet fairy tale romance for us grown ups, set in the county of Cornwall. Two years after being orphaned in a horrific car crash, twelve year old Sebby remains silent and zombie-like. His aunt and guardian Matilda hopes that a new home in the tranquillity of the Cornish countryside will help restore his health.

Purchase Links