DOWN UNDER: Moment Two

This complimentary excerpt from DOWN UNDER: Kussins is only available for a limited time. Introduction posted July 1, 2017 at 7:01 a.m. EST. Moment One posts July 13, 2017 at 7:13 a.m. EST.

—•—

MOMENT TWO

PESTER

Located off Old Hospital Road, the farm wasn’t a historic home place to his father, Marq, or to Marq’s father, Pap. Qweepie history prior to these men didn’t exist.

Named after the Dawson family’s water well, Dawson Springs became historic to water boarders. They traveled near and far seeking tallo water’s minerals and healing powers. Water pours from refrigerators, why travel any distance beyond the kitchen, Driew thought.

From the safety of the front porch, Driew looked over his father’s farm, pondering how long this rural life might continue. Less than a year ago, the home place was a wasteland of vehicles, a home covered in despair in the midst of his family disparity, a reflection of a life of defeat—not on the homeowner, but upon the people who had left the worthless mess. Now, Outback was growing into a marvelous Eden home.

Just because a place’s beauty is hidden doesn’t mean beauty doesn’t exist. Dawson Springs is very special too; however, sharing the town with his larrikin bother Pester tainted summer’s shine. Pester’s pranks were an ugly part of this special place.

Driew’s summer started with a violent blue between him and his oldest sister, Killiope. After their confrontation, he had decided to run away from Dawson Springs.

Gulia convinced Driew of an undiscovered spring of magic—his story. His sibling confrontation and friend’s motivational speech canceled out one another. Driew opted for an adventurous Outback life.

Resting in the side porch monkey swing, Driew reflected on the evening’s incomplete chase. Tomorrow’s chase eminently awaits. Since the blue, his body had surprised him. Not only did the fight correct his vision, but also increased his physical endurance.

”Where you chasing lightning bugs, baby doll?” asked Marq Qweepie, Driew’s father.

Marq Qweepie had adapted the lazy talk of the neither northern nor southern state called Kentucky. Lightning bugs replaced fireflies. G’Day replaced hello. And supper replaced dinner. Marq had either adopted or regressed into new habits living in Dawson Springs, as had Driew.

Lazy talk didn’t seem lazy anymore. The words flowed like sweet tea over ice. Smooth and popping at just the right syllable. Yonder didn’t make sense before. Yonder was now a safe distance away.

A winded Pester rounded the porch then wedged his way into Driew’s relaxing monkey swing. Like a pack animal, Pester displayed his hierarchy. In the Qweepie pack, Pester ruled as top dog. Pester had assumed the leader role in Killiope’s absence. As Big Bother, Pester reigned a larrikin like his name implied.

Driew knew of only one other big bother worse than his own—Jameson Hayder, his bully kussin. Driew avoided that bounce. Pester shared Driew’s bedroom—no escaping family.

“Where have you been?” asked Nieve Qweepie, caring for her oldest son’s whereabouts as mothers do.

“I ran Old Hospital Road. Gotta keep in shape for the lacrosse tryouts next spring. There are no teams. If I want to be recognized, I gotta be on point,” said Pester, munching on his third supper.

”We found a team in Clarksville, Tennessee. But we need your help to cover costs,” said Marq.

”Why?” asked Pester.

”We can afford the transportation and time. You need to supply the dues and gear,” said Nieve, more into sports than Marq.

”Boys, we’ve discussed letting all three of you work this summer. Since Payne is working at Pennyrile State Park, Piper Brown has neighborly offered to hire the two of you for jobs in her garden. We are fine with you helping as long as you commit until Gulia returns,” said Nieve.

”Killiope never worked. Why should I?” Pester countered the idea of employment.

”Fine! Work here. Wash the van and mow the fast-growing lawn and fields for free,” said Marq, frustrated by Pester’s response.

”Cleaning a minivan is like cleaning a house without air conditioning,” said Pester.

”How about mowing grass in town? You’ll earn fifteen dollars an hour,” Marq suggested. ”You won’t make that bagging groceries!”

”Mowing is too hot and boring. Back and forth, clipping the same grass week after week!” said Pester.

”This summer is your last opportunity to earn money before graduation. Money doesn’t grow on trees, you know.” Marq kicked off his soiled farm boots, the same boots he used to mow the same fields week after week at Pester’s age.

”I shouldn’t have to work,” said Pester, sulking in the chair.

”If you want spending money, you’re working! Help Piper or you and I are applying at the DQ, DG, and every tobacco patch within three counties. You’re not gaming this summer away!” Nieve sipped her sweet tea.

Driew had hoped to enjoy the cool evening and sweet tea conversations peacefully—not tonight.

Pester brushed past Driew, flicking his ear. If ever a time for a kid to snap, Driew chose the wrong one. In a reflex action, Driew swung at his pain, hitting Pester.

Pester snatched Driew in a headlock, spilling Nieve’s drink and breaking the Mason jar.

”Stop this bickering! You’re working for Piper! No sass talk. If you two want to touch, sit face-to-face and hold hands!” There are two sides to a story, Nieve always said when resolving conflicts. She ignored the motto today.

“I don’t want to hold his stinking hand,” said Pester.

“Do as I say or you’ll be cleaning this mess and the house too!” said Nieve.

Pester locked hands with Driew, face-to-face in the wooden porch swing.

“Stay there, while I get something to clean this mess,” said Nieve, slamming the screen door. The 1930s farmhouse wood floors whined from the force of her punishing march to the kitchen.

”You jerks, your mom is worried about finding a job herself. Don’t add to her stress by being lazy and spoiled. No one in this house wants to work this summer. To leave, that’s our only other choice.”  Marq collected the broken Mason jar then joined Nieve inside.

Driew contemplated where issues began in his life. Rid of a big sinister, left with an even bigger bother picking up where Killiope left off.

Pester manipulated the punishment into Driew’s torment. ”You’ve never cared for anything but yourself, lil’ bother. You’ll clearly never hafta be responsible,” said Pester, clenching Driew’s fingers. With his strong sweaty grip, Pester forcefully squeezed.

Driew collapsed onto the porch, whimpering in pain.

Pester didn’t let go.

Get back, Driew thought, replacing his whimper with his newfound strength. Driew clinched forcefully as Pester’s hold eased. Getting even, Driew thought.

Pester attempted to break the hand holding bond. He hocked a spit wad, dangling his saliva over Driew’s face. Footsteps creaked over the wood floors inside and toward the porch. Pester jerked Driew off the floor and into the swing beside him.

”Aw, you the lovingest bunch of boys,” Ida Mae said. “Your momma gots a job call. She said you boys bess clean this mess and get off to bed fer work.” She left towels and a bucket of soapy water beside the swing.

”I’m done! Night, lil’ bother.” Pester jumped the porch banister, leaving Driew to clean up.

Driew had become Pester’s keeper, cleaning responsibly, with no verbal appreciation. Pester’s lack of words hit harder than his punches. Driew cared for his family and took on added responsibilities to show his love.

Killiope and I grew closer before she left for bootcamp. Could Pester and I do the same? Driew thought, empowered by his show of strength.

I don’t want to live another torturous year as Pester’s little bother. Can’t Pester resolve his issues to become a loving brother?

—•—

Text and illustrations copyright © 2016 by Mark Wayne Adams. All rights reserved. Family Tree Novel is a SYP Kids imprint.

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DOWN UNDER: Moment One

This complimentary excerpt from DOWN UNDER: Kussins is only available for a limited time. Introduction posted July 1, 2017 at 7:01 a.m. EST. Moment Two posts July 26, 2017 at 7:26 a.m. EST.

—•—

MOMENT ONE

BOUNCES

Ding!

The “Ding” sound beckoned Driew’s chasers.

Driew’s big sister, Killiope, had left for bootcamp a week ago, after her high school graduation. He anticipated a summer break between his sixth and seventh grades, free of sibling torture—not the case. Her handed-down cell phone blasted cryptic messages to him.

Ding!

”U LOST SOMETHING! MEET U OUTBACK W/ IT”

Driew responded to the text message reluctantly.

”KEEP IT!”

Driew thrust the phone over the bluff into the Tradewater River below. You bounces can reach me in person, he thought. Driew refused to accept the bully’s texts. Enduring torments from his remaining bothers and sinisters was enough.

His parents had felt giving Driew a cell phone was pointless, knowing he wouldn’t have service or any intentions to use it while on his Outback adventures. He settled their concerns with that one toss.

Bounces possess unlimited bullying power using uncaring devices. Hurling stoney words online and in person hurts.

Driew felt their painful attack—instantaneously. A white object struck his back. The pain stung between his shoulder blades like his big bother Pester’s lacrosse ball. He ran from the three hooded figures, no longer the four he had been running from his entire life.

Cryptic text messages led him to discover his discarded items in the early summer Outback. Meeting the bounces seemed like an ace idea.

Cawing crows alerted the chasers to Driew’s location. Disguised calls chased behind him, as he tore through new saw briars and blossoming honeysuckle vines.

”There is no family crueler than ours!” called a winded chaser.

The Qweepies’ tired barn silhouetted against the half moon on the ridge. Home at last! The promise of safety, Driew thought, catapulting over the board fence, separating field from forest.

Inside the barn’s shelter, Driew hid inside the last remaining vehicle from the farm cleanup. As he hunkered in the front seat, silhouettes marched along the barn door opening. Why torture me?

He felt for the cell phone’s light, realizing the phone now lit the way toward the Mississippi River. Within a week, he had developed a reliance on its addictive apps and features.

Thirst tightened around his throat, strangling for moisture. He longed for his canteen filled with his Australian friend Gulia’s well water. Having no water or knife left him stranded, armed with only his boomerang. Casting was more dangerous in the dark; the boomerang might hurt him upon its return. The one thing I control, I don’t understand, Driew thought.

From the doorway, three figures surveyed the lifeless barn for Driew’s whereabouts. The tallest culprit stepped into the barn, disappearing in its evening shadows.

An eerie hiss tore through the barn’s dark rafters. The sound grated across Driew’s skin causing his body to paralyze with fear.

”Bobcat! Let’s get outta here!”

Mumbles of fear and laughter raced from the barn, followed by their three shrinking shadows.

Bobcats comforted Driew more than bothers and sinister’s attacks. He guardedly made his way through the barn’s shadows into the field toward the farmhouse’s back porch light.

His parents’ profiles sipped drinks under the porch light. They were acclimated to open-air living and southern cuisine. Driew was acclimated to nightly runs toward their safety.

—•—

Text and illustrations copyright © 2016 by Mark Wayne Adams. All rights reserved. Family Tree Novel is a SYP Kids imprint.

14 Florida/Georgia Conferences and Book Festivals

Florida/Georgia Conferences & Book Festivals

 

Amelia Island Book Festival

Hosted by: Amelia Island Book Festival

Website: Amelia Island Book Festival

Description:

The Festival is a community endeavor. More than 200 volunteers come together to bring this gift to people of all ages. Attendees come from far and wide not only to enjoy the festival, but also to explore this  beautiful island, located just north of Jacksonville, Florida, and a bridge span away from the mainland. Along with first-class restaurants, resorts and inns, visitors will find 13 miles of unspoiled, golden beaches, scenic marshes and rivers, historic sites, nature trails, fishing, golf and kayaking, art and of course—books galore!

 

National Book Club Conference

Hosted by: National Book Club Conference Foundation

Website: National Book Club Conference

Description:

Over the course of 15 years, some of the most famous and talented authors have been a part of what the NBCC calls “literary bliss”. Important to the NBCC, however, is to introduce new or lesser-known authors that have created stories that are entertaining, informative and important.

 

AJC Decatur Book Festival

Hosted by: AJC Decatur Book Festival

Website: AJC Decatur Book Festival

Description:

The AJC Decatur Book Festival is the largest independent book festival in the country and one of the five largest overall. Since its launch, more than 1,000 world-class authors and hundreds of thousands of festival-goers have crowded the historic downtown Decatur square.

 

Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading

Hosted by: Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading

Website: Tampa Bay Times Festival of Reading

Description:

Book. Music. Authors. Food.

 

Miami Book Fair International

Hosted by: Miami Dade College

Website: Miami Book Fair International

Description:

The first Miami Book Fair International, founded by Miami Dade College and community partners, took place in 1984. Since then, it has been recognized as the nation’s finest literary festival. In 2001, the Fair became part of The Center for Writing and Literature @ Miami Dade College, a cultural and academic initiative that promotes the advancement and appreciation of literature throughout the year.

 

FAPA Annual Conference

Hosted by: Florida Authors & Publishers Association

Website: FAPA Annual Conference

Description:

This networking and educational event will offer two days of sessions with a focus on The Business of Publishing.  Industry leaders share their expertise and a variety of tools needed to flourish in this evolving publishing environment.  Join your industry colleagues and discover innovative marketing ideas and sales strategies.

 

F.R.E.S.H. Book Festival

Hosted by: Donna M. Gray-Banks

Website: F.R.E.S.H. Book Festival

Description:

Fiction, Romance, Erotica, Spirituality, Health and more!

 

Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival

Hosted by: Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival, Inc.

Website: Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival

Description:

The Tampa Bay Black Heritage Festival is an annual, cultural arts & music festival that takes place over the course of 10 days in Tampa Bay, Florida. They host an Author Village. Check out AALBC.com’s coverage of the Author Village in 2017

 

Southwest Florida Reading Festival

Hosted by: Southwest Florida Reading Festival

Website: Southwest Florida Reading Festival

Description:

There really is something for all ages to experience at the Southwest Florida Reading Festival. Everyone enjoys the multiple stages with the celebrity authors who share ‘inside scoop’ about their latest books or what makes a story idea click for them. You will be able to buy books and have the authors personalize and sign them too! You’ll find our numerous book and educational vendors offering the latest in services and new ideas. Kids will be mesmerized by the storytellers.

 

Dahlonega Literary Festival

Hosted by: Lumpkin County Literacy Coalition

Website: Dahlonega Literary Festival

Description:

The Dahlonega Literary Festival is an annual celebration of books that takes place in March. Situated in Historic Downtown Dahlonega, the festival continues to grow and become more delightful as the years go on. Ours is an intimate festival about books and authors with a mission to promote interaction between readers and writers in a relaxed, informal environment. Visitors have an opportunity to meet and interact with the authors. In addition to attending speaking events and book signings, attendees can have lunch with their favorite authors at a local restaurant.

 

The Punta Gorda Literary Fair

Hosted by: Copperfish Books and Florida Gulf Coast University

Website: The Punta Gorda Literary Fair

Description:

Literary events take place Monday through Friday, culminating in the big one—Saturday’s street fair featuring artists, musicians, food, and lots of authors and books from 10 a. to 3 p.m. Authors will line the Herald Court Breezeway and adjacent streets. From a children’s garden of fun and games to musicians and art, lively workshops, and readings, the book fair offers fun and information for all ages.

 

Venice Book Fair and Writers Festival

Hosted by: Pam Johnson

Website: Venice Book Fair and Writers Festival

Description:

The Venice Book Fair and Writers Festival is a small, unique program hosting writers teaching writers on Friday night, and authors selling and signing their books to the public on Saturday. All proceeds from the Venice Book Fair and Writers Festival go to Venice Heritage Inc., the 501(c) 3 fundraising arm of two historic sites in Venice, the Lord-Higel House, currently under restoration, and the Venice Museum and Archives expansion project.

 

AWP Conference

Hosted by: AWP Conference

Website: AWP Conference

Description:

The AWP Conference & Bookfair is an essential annual destination for writers, teachers, students, editors, and publishers. Each year more than 12,000 attendees join our community for four days of insightful dialogue, networking, and unrivaled access to the organizations and opinion-makers that matter most in contemporary literature. The 2016 conference featured over 2,000 presenters and 550 readings, panels, and craft lectures. The book fair hosted over 800 presses, journals, and literary organizations from around the world. AWP is now the largest literary conference in North America.

 

Oxford Exchange Book Fair

Hosted by: OE Book Fair

Website: OE Book Fair

Description:

“It is our mission at Oxford Exchange to continually foster human engagement, spark meaningful dialogue and establish Tampa’s place as a cultural destination. We launched the OE Book Fair in 2015 to provide an open platform for local authors to connect with their community face to face. A broad array of genres and interests are represented, complimented by discussions and workshops throughout the day of the fair. We hope you’ll join us the discovery of local literary talent!”

DOWN UNDER: Introduction

This complimentary excerpt from DOWN UNDER: Kussins is only available for a limited time. Moment One posted July 13, 2017 at 7:13 a.m. EST. Moment Two posts July 26, 2017 at 7:26 a.m. EST.

—•—

INTRODUCTION

“You can’t change songlines—but you can change pecking order.”

M. W. Adams

Everyone holds a story within them. The telling is done in various ways. No one remembers every loving and fearful line, only the moments.

Timing plays the most important factor in childhood. Songlines and birth order direct the outcome of a child’s dreamtime. A songline is one of many paths across land and sky, marking an Aboriginal creator-being’s route during dreaming.

A child cannot change dreaming or songlines, but can change chain of command—thus affecting his or her family tree. The footprints a child follows along a songline may uproot family trees in sacred lands.

Footprints are landmarks used to navigate songlines. A child singing the proper sequence of steps fearlessly walks about the Never Never. Crossing through diverse family lands, language is not a barrier when singing the proper way. Singing the wrong way is a curse.

Children must continually sing-song, keeping lands and family trees “alive.” Their sing-song stories are a rise and fall of words—dreaming. To understand children is to follow the rhythm of the creator-being’s songline they follow.

Driew Qweepie’s songline leads him Down Under, unearthing buried moments he recovers and treasures.

In my story of ordinary people, extraordinary things exist, Driew thought.

—•—

Text and illustrations copyright © 2016 by Mark Wayne Adams. All rights reserved. Family Tree Novel is a SYP Kids imprint.