Meet Tawny

January 18, 2018

Meet Tawny

On Devonia, a world far from here, but more deserving of the name Earth’s Twin than Venus, a dengee (a strong, wolf-dog-like creature) female birthed a litter of pups.  One of those tiny, sightless, nearly deaf, fluffy balls was a tan-brown female with black rings on her tail and black markings.  Her first two days of life were normal for any dengee pup.  She shoved her way to her mother’s warm belly and warmed herself inside and out with her mother’s milk and thick soft fur.

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But then something unexpected happened.  She was too young to understand, but the lead pack male was forced out by a trio of incoming younger, stronger males.  In the dengee world, those males would then destroy all of the previous male’s young.  Although some of the mother dengees had been wounded while trying to fight them away alongside the pack male, others resigned themselves to their fate.  The new trio of males, one lead pack male and the other two his cohorts, hunted down and destroyed all the six dens with the old male’s pups.

What the pup knew was that mean teeth snapped at her and a rough angry paw tossed her out of the warm den and into the cold early morning where it was just as dark to those with open eyes as it was to her blind self.  Miraculously, the tiny female pup, now heavily injured, managed to elude her pursuer and slide into the edge of a frigid creek.  She called for her mother.  She cried will all her might.

Her new mother heard her cries.

Alena Summers, a human child fishing on the bank of the Ice Cube Creek that early afternoon, heard the pitiful calls of this lonely baby and followed the sound.  Joseph Taylor, another human child, swam into the cold water to rescue the blob of tangled fur from her prison in the bushes on the edge of the water, and there Tawny became a ward of the humans.

This little three-day-old dengee pup whose eyes had never seen her own kind was rescued from drowning by two children and warmed in her new mother’s soft apron.  Tawny’s life had already been so full of turmoil!  Even on the bank after being rescued, the other children considered tossing her back because dengees were deadly foes to the humans – attacking their livestock and more than once, even the humans themselves.  Thankfully, Alena wouldn’t have that; she took full charge of this tiny creature.

With slow, tender, loving care, Tawny’s wounds will heal.  Four days later, at only a week old, and without yet opening her tiny eyes, little Tawny will face another challenge as the council of elders on Devonia has to decide if Alena can keep this dangerous animal.  Of course, Alena and her friends will swear that this pup is nothing dangerous – but that remains to be seen.

For now, Tawny, the newest member of the Devonian settlement of Covenant, is resting with warm Brown-Sheep milk digesting in her belly laying on a soft rag-blanket-bed on straw in the Summers’ barn listening to the sounds of Alena’s pretty lullabies, Brown-Sheep ewes, and baby lambs and dreaming of new warm sun on her body and the soft, warm love of her human mother.

If you want to read about how Alena, Joseph, and their friends find and rescue Tawny, you can read A Foundling Furball!

Thanks for reading!

Type at you later…

~Nancy Tart

 

Finding Perspective

December 20, 2017

Finding Perspective

One of the most important things for me to find when I’m writing is the perspective of my target audience.

Simply: for whom am I writing?

For Web of Deception, I was writing to the adventurous young adult (myself and my brother), for the Brantley Station Saga, my target is young adults, and my target readers for The Devonians are those in first through fifth grade.  The Funny Sisters stories are written to be read-aloud so they are more complex.  My goal for them is to entertain both the mom or older child reader and the younger preschool or elementary listener.

Story From the Inn was written when one of my girls mentioned, “I wonder what it was like to work at the inn where Jesus was born.”  (We had just watched a show about the culture of Jewish life in Jesus’ time and read through a book about growing up where Jesus lived.)

I imagined the small inn at Bethlehem run by a family (most were in that time) and one daughter (one my girls could relate to) always trying to help yet always getting underfoot.  This became the eyes and ears of my target audience (my little girls).  Children would relate to Rachel and see, hear, and feel that inn, culture, and special event through her eyes.  I dove into some more specific research and developed Rachel’s story of Jesus’ birth as remembered by a beloved grandmother while entertaining several grandchildren awaiting a new baby’s birth.

Rachel epitomized most children: full of life and expectancy, eager to help, longing to please, and constantly asking questions.

In the moment, Rachel doesn’t understand the magnificence of the event, she only feels elated that she gets to help with a birth (something “big”) and hold a newborn baby (for the first time).  As the storyteller, she reflects on this as an adult, to complete the circle.

Check out Story From the Inn to read Rachel’s story!

Thanks for reading!

Type at you later…

~Nancy Tart

 

New Story Release!

October 30, 2017

New Story Release!

Welcome to the ninth book in the “Five Alive: Stories of the Funny Sisters” series.  The title is “Happy Hurricane Helpers.”

Following Hurricane Irma’s attack on their town in Florida, the sisters join with their neighbors and help clean up.

Hurricane Irma was a powerful storm that did reach category 5 on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale (over 155 mph).  Hurricanes usually decrease in power as they travel over land.  Hurricane Irma had traveled almost straight up Florida’s peninsula from the Keys.  When this storm hit Saint Augustine, it was a category 1 storm (75 to 95 mph).

In coastal areas like Saint Augustine, most hurricane damage is caused by flooding.  The strong winds can fell huge trees, rip debris off houses, throw limbs through windows, and cause heavy damage as well.  Trees falling on power lines caused the sisters to be out of power.  For more information about hurricanes in general, see “Hurricanes,” one of my Home-Edge Readers!

For now, how about a preview of two scenes from “Happy Hurricane Helpers!

Kim awoke this morning before the sun even started to turn the edge of the sky pink.  Last night, the power had gone off and the sisters had camped out in their sleeping bags under the huge, sturdy wooden table in the safe room where there were no windows.  Last night they had heard the deep rumbling that sounded like standing next to train tracks when the train raced by.  Last night Hurricane Irma had hit Saint Augustine. 

   As soon as the tree on the dirt road was clear, Tina, Becky, Kim, Ellen, and Jill followed Mom and Daddy and started helping with limb cleanup.  Some of the Tree family kids were out cleaning limbs too.  Two other children from a house down the paved road joined in the fun.  The Tree men had left a trail of sawed-off branches scattered where the big trees had fallen.  They had stacked big round stacks of trunk wood by the road because those were too heavy for little kids.  But the branches were perfect for kids! 

   Six-year-old Kim flexed her muscles. 

   “I can drag this BIG one to the road!” She challenged, dragging a limb to the edge of the road. 

   “I got a bigger one!” said Tina. 

   Becky and Ellen laughed.  “We are doing teamwork!”  Ellen announced.  She was four and her blankie was draped over her shoulders like a boa.

   “Me too!” Jill called.  Jill was only two but she loved to help.  She had a two-year-old-sized branch and was making funny faces as she fought it to the edge of the road.

   “Let me help you, Jill,” offered Tina. 

   “No!” Jill yanked the branch and it flew out of her hands and right to the edge!  Jill stood up straight, brushed her hands on her jeans, and said, “I can do it myself!” 

   … (continued reading Happy Hurricane Helpers here!)

 

Thanks for reading!

Type at you later…

~Nancy Tart

 

Meet Chloe

August 29, 2017

Meet Chloe

Sometimes when authors create a character, the character is based on a mash-up of features and attributes they admire in many people or desire in themselves.  Chloe in Web of Deception is such a character.

Chloe has beautiful dark skin with dark hair sensibly braided and clothes she’s managed to make out of skins.  Her leather clothes are because she denies using the linen tunics common to the slaves in the household where she’s been captive for many years.  Chloe is determined (some say stubborn).  Keeping her traditional dress reminds her that she will not remain a captive.  She keeps memories of her homeland even though she was very young when she was captured.  Chloe is bold but quiet.  She is calculating and analytical.  She prides herself on not being emotional; her captive life has taught her emotions are only a weapon others can use against her.

Chloe’s deer-like appearance hails from her birth land.  She blends into the forests and jungles like a ghost.  Her boldness and shrewd logic are qualities I wanted in myself.  Her passionate fire and unstoppable determination were qualities I observed in my sisters.  Her bane is a streak of passion that can ice to frigid darkness – this is the evil twist of her positive qualities.

Creating Chloe was a challenge and manipulating her character believably was complicated.  This is what makes her character fit perfectly into the dynamic of Web of Deception’s storyline.

Chloe has lived waiting for a specific person to enter her village.  She has one close friend, Vi’liam, a military trainee with no family, who listens to her and sees her as a little sister to be protected.

She feels the presence of this person when a captive is taken by the military commander and she determines to release and follow him.  This captive is Jordan.

Be sure to check out the rest of Chloe’s story in Web of Deception on the nook!

Thanks for reading!

Type at you later…

~Nancy Tart

A Storm and Chicken Story

August 26, 2017

A Storm and Chicken Story

One day we were playing outside and a storm came up.  Not a cute little Pooh bear thundercloud with a few raindrops, but a giant, hurricane-wind, flash-lightning-fireworks-in-the-sky, shake-the-whole-house-thunder, all-people-hide-inside kind of thunderstorm.  (Okay, it was a simple, everyday, Florida thunderstorm.)  The winds were swirling chicken feathers and fluffing them out like towel-dried cats.  Smaller chickens were hop-flying to stabilize themselves as they fought for the safety of the henhouse.

After drying off from the first wave of rain, the girls peeked outside and giggled at the chickens until the raindrops were so large we couldn’t see the henhouse anymore.  The late summer winds blew the tree limbs around like strong autumn breezes scatter just-raked leaf piles.

“Mom, can you tell us a story with a storm?” Asked Rebeccah.

“A Long Tail story!” yipped Kimberly.  She was five, and she loved Long Tail.

So we snuggled on the couch with lightning flashes illuminating the room through the big windows and started what would become “Long Tail and the Big Storm.”

The chickens of the yard were ruled by Long Tail, the great yellow chief, and guarded by Long Tail and Alfredo, the white rooster imported some time ago.  Under this rooster team, the hens and pullets scratched and gossiped and laid eggs all day with no worries.

On one autumn day the bright sky darkened with angry clouds.  The sun hid.  The birds in the woods started crying warnings and flying away.  Two small humans who were playing in the henhouse with the baby biddies, heard a booming crack of thunder and jumped!  They put the baby biddies back in the safe brooder and left the henhouse.

“Look at those little humans!” cawed Alfredo, laughing, “running like rabbits!”

A giant bolt of lightning lit up the sky just behind the woods and a cannon-loud BOOM of thunder shattered the air.  Alfredo scrambled into the henhouse and hid under the brooder.

All the hens laughed at the silly rooster.

Even Red Feathers and Golden Eye, two of the youngest pullets, laughed at him.

Long Tail strutted by, “when the water falls from the sky, we come in.” Long Tail was not afraid.

A big wind shrieked through the henhouse.  It blew the people door open!

Can Long Tail save his flock?  Be sure to check out Long Tail and the Big Storm to see just how this courageous rooster accomplishes this brave feat!

Thanks for reading!

Type at you next time…

~Nancy Tart

Meet Corgi Dawflawn

August 21, 2017

Meet Corgi Dawflawn

Corgi was one of those characters who originally had a bit part in the story, yet was loved by my proof-readers.  Because of their suggestions (repeated begging and sadness when I laughed at bringing Corgi into a larger role), this character morphed into a secondary player.

Corgi Dawflawn was born to Warrior-Spirit parents during the early stages of the Border War.  He was recruited into the military school of Ja’hline.  He becomes a member of the Klnu’mori and ascends in rank quickly.  Corgi enters the story in the upper ranks of training at Ja’hline.  Upon graduation, he chooses the Cobra discipline which specializes in bare-hand techniques.

Corgi gets assigned to the Border Wall, finds a skill with a machete to become a machete-master, and his commander discovers he can read and write in several languages.  He becomes a scribe.

He reads a message instead of tossing it.  By this tiny split-second act, his life is forever changed.  (You can read his full story in “Web of Deception.”)

Just like Corgi, sometimes decisions that appear minuscule actually end up leading to the biggest adventures of life.

Thanks for reading!

Type at you later…

~Nancy Tart

Slices of Stories

August 16, 2017

Slices of Stories

Have you ever wondered about the stories of people you barely touch?  I do. Each time I see a person or group of people my brain asks that question and sometimes I theorize about the answer.

A biker in full regalia changing a tire on the sidewalk, a child standing in a full school bus with both arms protruding from the open window, a pair of women talking with their hands in the car next to you at the traffic light, a tall, thin girl crossing a 6 lane roadway with a drink in her hand; what are their stories?

These were all people I passed just on a twelve-minute ride this morning.  All bits of five full vibrant life stories and I eavesdropped on a few seconds of each.

Consider now: I’m at a park bench.  It’s early morning, school busses transporting children are still flying by the three roads that surround the park.  A mother and her toddler enter the park, they are the only ones besides me.  He laughs and runs free.  Mother checks out the surroundings from behind dark sunglasses – the same thing I do when I enter new surroundings.  Mother pushes him on the toddler swing as he smiles and points out squirrels and birds in the overhanging trees.

My mind asks me; what is their story?  I can describe them in detail.  I observe tiny things like how many keys dangle from her keyclip over her back right pocket, he is wearing the easy-slip-on canvas shoes I love (even in navy blue, my favorite color), her blonde hair is darkening at the base (maybe she dyed it blonde about six months ago or it’s summer-kissed) and twisted up in a becoming bun atop her head (It could be called a “messy bun” but it looks good on her), he has a cowlick (maybe he took a nap in the carseat).

It sounds weird, doesn’t it?  This is the overworking mind of a writer.  I only glanced at them twice, once when they entered and once when he squealed at a bird or squirrel, yet I imagine an entire storyline connected to them just from those glances.  Odd.  I’m probably wrong on all counts.  My mind has been doing this as far back as I can remember.  I see people and write sketches about them.  Many of these character sketches based on a 2-second glance have become bit parts in various stories.  I trained myself not to believe my assumptions and imaginative storylines about the people I meet. (That doesn’t mean my brain doesn’t still analyze and make storylines!) I allow people to fill in their own story as I get to know them.  I had to teach myself not to judge others by what my perceptions of them are.  As I learned more about people, took more psychology classes, watched lives unfold, and lived my own life, my assumptions came truer to reality; but I still don’t judge others by them.

It does help me get inspiration for story characters, though.  So, that’s just a glimpse into the mind of a writer.

I wonder what goes through the minds of the mother and toddler as they catch a glimpse of this woman sitting cross-legged on a huge picnic table by herself with keys, business cards, a banana peel, and a phone lying in front of her and tapping away like a diesel locomotive on a not-so-silent laptop keyboard.  What do they perceive of their observation of a slice of my life’s story?

Thanks for reading!

Type at you next time…

~Nancy Tart

 

Research for Caleb

June 8, 2017

Caleb

I love to write historical fiction.  Historical fiction is fiction (a made-up story) set in a historical setting.  It can be following an actual historical figure, about a historical figure, place, or event, or a made-up story in a real time in history.

Writing historical fiction requires research.  The deeper and more accurate your research, the more in-depth and believable your story will be.

For example, “The Living God” is a historical fiction story.

Historical setting: Babylon, 6th/7th century BC

Historical figures: Daniel, counselors, princes, King Darius (Persian)

Culture(s): Recently occupied Babylon, rule was Mede/Persian, servants/slaves of various conquered tribes/nations/villages including Judean (Israelite)

For this story, I researched the culture of Babylon pre-occupation, the culture of the Mede/Persian empire, and the Judean culture for the time period of the story.  The Babylonians had a rather effective “conquer and subjugation” method of stealing conquered people’s high-ranking children and using them in court service to prevent uprisings.  They generally treated these individuals as princes and only took the best of the best.  Daniel was one such captive.

I also researched what was available on King Darius (and Mede/Persian rulers of this time in general), and Daniel; as these were my primary historical characters.

This research gave me insight into Daniel’s mental state.  Reading historical information about him revealed that he was grateful for his position, served his masters (at least three different kings) faithfully even if he disagreed with them, fulfilled his duties honestly, yet considered himself a prisoner and yearned for release and the ability to return to his homeland.

I created a main character to follow (Caleb) as a palace slave (captured youngster from another dominated tribe) using the cultural information I could gather.  Caleb is feisty, independent, used to being above the law (a noble in his former land), yet knowledgeable of the laws of his captive land and attempting to follow them.  As my research showed that often pairs of children were stolen, I also created Miriam, Caleb’s younger sister who is more accepting of her lower status as women were culturally lower than men even in nobility.

Since “The Living God” is a retold Bible story, the central storyline (regarding Daniel) is taken from the Biblical account.

So, that’s just a little bit about the research behind one short, historical fiction story!  I love researching things, so historical fiction is a favorite genre of mine.  Try that out with your next story – research and write!

Thanks for reading!

Type at you next time,

~Nancy Tart