G’DAY: Family Roots

This complimentary excerpt from G’DAY: Aints. Read the The Magic Man and Moment One also.

—•—

FAMILY ROOTS

“Until you learn to speak their language, you can’t understand family!”

—M. W. Adams

Driew Qweepie’s siblings spoke individual languages, forcing him to struggle when communicating with his siblings, affectionately called bothers and sinisters. Languages like German, Spanish, or Greek he could have studied and learned. But his bothers and sinisters’ unique love languages proved a more challenging endeavor. Upon arrival at the family farm, Driew began discovering each individual’s language through mind-blowing family trials.

Since infancy, Driew’s serving heart grew to appreciate family values and traditions. Maturing meant comprehending new dynamics like hierarchy among bothers and sinisters. Evicting each of his siblings from his mind seemed a bloody good solution to the problems they instigated. But erasing unforgettable family moments from his heart proved to be the ultimate obstacle.

Hoping to release heartbreaking moments from his life, he wrote them upon the branches of the Outback tree, lovingly named Rebecca, by him and his Australian mate, Gulia. Driew hoped the words of his story would remain hidden under the tree’s protective bark. But spoken and written words are difficult to hide once they have been released. With Gulia’s persistence, the stories of Driew’s past slowly unraveled, changing his family relationships.

Now, “love” and “family” are two of his prize words with various definitions to each person he meets. Exploring their meanings leads Driew through a myriad of chaotic journeys and life events continuously crossing a singular songline—his story.

Crossing him most often are his similar but challenging twin siblings, Gayle and Payne. Twins are supposedly lucky and skip a generation, but Driew’s fortune failed to bless him. Sometimes one twin dies during child birth—no luck there. Other times, at birth they are identical—still no luck. Unfortunately for Driew, the Qweepie twins were fraternal and complete opposite in personality. Like most twins, they were bonded and formidable adversaries to Driew like no other siblings in the family.

We have all known a cold, annoying, peculiar, or unyielding sibling. Heck this could be you. But when the sibling becomes a sinister like Gayle, they manifest into a sinister for all time. She became the self-reliant sibling, gently reminding those around her that every person has a story, and Gayle buried her identity below a protective, great white exterior.

Driew’s journey into manhood involves uncovering the best within the family he had been given—every member: bothers, sinisters, kussins, aints, and uncools. He has secretly vowed to leave the Outback family farm better than when he arrived. Unaware of the outcome of his actions, he eagerly aims to heal his family relationships with only his sing-song voice and his loyal mates: Cain, Able, and Gulia.

—•—

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Text and illustrations copyright © 2018 by Mark Wayne Adams. All rights reserved. Family Tree Novel is a SYP Kids imprint.

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G’DAY: The Magic Man

This complimentary excerpt from G’DAY: Aints. Read the Family Roots and Moment One also.

—•—

THE MAGIC MAN

Dreamtime created me with no story, no name, and no family. I can hear, and see, but have no language to record my story. I must learn to sing out or forever remain lost in the Never Never.

In Australia’s Aboriginal culture, songs keep sacred lands and family trees around me alive. My beginning starts with a songline, one of numerous creator-beings’ paths created across the land and sky during Dreaming.

The path of creator-beings is evident from their footprints upon the land, like lush billa bongs, rock formations, and other natural marvels. One songline can cross numerous lands through forests of family trees belonging to diverse cultures. Proper sing-song sequences have navigated Aboriginal people vast distances through the Never Never land’s extensive songline systems—why not me?

Language is not a barrier here in the Never Never because sing-song describes the land, and to listen to its rhythm is walking upon a sacred songline. Singing the wrong direction along a songline is a sacrilege that creates epic, dire, and tragic moments.

My journey is a heart-pounding right-of-passage walkabout. Not every word will be written to find my name, family, and story. I share this songline with two other boys: one of us is lost, one stolen, and one longs to return from the Never Never.

Timing is the most important factor in all our stories. Timeless footprints on the Never Never land uproot passion. What does passion mean in this story? The Latin word for passion is pati, meaning suffer for what you love. And so I shall.

There are two sides to every family tree story—one hidden inside and one that escapes like leaves on the wind. Readers are neither at the beginning nor the end of my story, only navigating the long middle part of life, questioning the past and pondering the future. Following my songline may uproot a reader’s passions, causing them to suffer for what I love.

—Magic Man

—•—

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Text and illustrations copyright © 2018 by Mark Wayne Adams. All rights reserved. Family Tree Novel is a SYP Kids imprint.

DOWN UNDER: Moment Two

This complimentary excerpt from DOWN UNDER: Kussins. Read the Introduction and Moment One also.

—•—

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.

DOWN UNDER: Moment One

This complimentary excerpt from DOWN UNDER: Kussins.

—•—

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.

DOWN UNDER: Introduction

This complimentary excerpt from DOWN UNDER: Kussins. Read Moment One and Moment Two also.

—•—

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.

OUTBACK: Moment Two

This complimentary excerpt from OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters. Read the Introduction and Moment One also.

—•—

MOMENT TWO

PERSPECTIVE

“Welcome to the Outback!” The open-armed stranger soaked in the panoramic hillside view. “That is shonky business about your brothers and sisters.”

Driew was awed at the sunset’s radiance. “Call them bothers and sinisters. They’ve used those names my entire life.” Driew’s voice cracked.

“Why?”

Driew tried to speak, but his voice had succumbed to dehydration.

“You need water before you go hoarse—which might not be a bad thing.” Like an Olympian, the stranger heaved a wooden disk from a pile of fieldstones, revealing a well. He pulled at the well’s rope until a water-laden bucket appeared. The stranger filled the canteen with water.

“Drink. Best Outback water in the county, I guarantee.”

The metal container chilled Driew’s lips at the touch. Its contents not only quenched his dry palate, but also his hangin’ feelings.

“I agree! Best . . . drink . . . ever,” said Driew.

While drinking in the refreshing view and water, Driew contemplated how he would respond to the question about his family’s moniker for brothers and sisters. He handed the canteen to the stranger.

“Hey! Mate to planet earth! Are you avoiding my question?” prodded the stranger.

“Imagine you’re the only normal kid you know,” said Driew.

“I am! You confirmed that, mate,” said the stranger.

“You’re hilarious—NOT! I’m not only their ‘lil bother,’ but also the smallest and darkest member of my family.”

“You’re literally the black sheep of the family!” laughed the stranger. “You make bloody good stories. Go on.”

“Misspellings like bother, sinister, and our names are a historic Qweepie family birthright. Qweepie is pronounced like it sounds, and is always followed by chuckles,” said Driew.

“You have issues, mate. Not only creepy, but you can’t spell it either!” The stranger slugged Driew’s shoulder.

Be them ever so cruel, there’s no family crueler than ours, Driew contemplated before responding. “You wouldn’t understand the humiliation.”

“Oh, I understand! There are some real haters in this town. I’m Gulia. Spelled with a G instead of J. Kids call me Goo-lia, Gruelia, Moolia, and a list of bloody hurtful and ignorant combinations,” said Gulia. “What’s yer name, mate?”

“You’re a girl!”

“Too right, mate! Don’t I stand out like a shag on a rock?”

“What’s with your pirate talk, mate? Does everyone here talk like you or is it Talk Like a Pirate Day?” asked Driew.

“I adopted words when visiting Australian relatives,” said Gulia.

I need an Australian dictionary to understand her, Driew thought. “That makes sense. My name is Driew; also misspelled, with an ‘I’ after the ‘R.’ My bothers tease that an odd baby needed an odd name,” said Driew, with a crooked grin.

“We have one thing in common, weird names!” Gulia smiled.

“Two things actually. My dad and Ida Mae, our housekeeper, tell me to play out back. Outback, we have in common,” Driew returned her smile.

“Okay. Bizarre names and the Outback, two things we share.” Gulia passed the canteen to Driew. “What brings you to my Outback?”

“Dad inherited a farm years ago. Since it didn’t sell, we’re here until it’s sold, which I hope won’t take long,” said Driew.

“Which farm?”

“The one where you rescued me,” said Driew.

“That old dump! People live there?” said Gulia, gagging dramatically.

“I know. Mom says magic can be found in the ugliest places. A magic goldmine must be buried there,” said Driew. “Our Wekiva Springs house must have had no magic because it was beautiful.”

“Wekiva Springs. Never heard of it. Is it near Dawson Springs?” asked Gulia.

“No. It’s a subdivision near Wekiva Springs State Park, near Longwood, Florida,” Driew answered.

“Moving from one spring and state park to another. You must not like change,” said Gulia.

“I don’t understand?” said Driew, shrugging.

“Wekiva Springs to Dawson Springs. Wekiva Springs State Park to Pennyrile Resort State Park. You’re about eight miles from Pennyrile,” said Gulia, pointing away from town.

“Oh, I didn’t know!”

“I don’t see the magic in your farm either. But like I said, people dump treasures on Old Hospital Road all the time. Your farm appears to be the biggest dump of treasures around,” chuckled Gulia.

“Old Hospital Road? Where is New Hospital Road?” asked Driew.

“I’ll show you,” said Gulia, signaling Driew to follow her into a tree near the well. They rested in the comfortable cradle of a twisted branch.

“See Outwood Bridge? It’s not used much. A long time ago, Old Hospital Road led to Outwood Hospital beyond those trees. Built in the 1920s for soldiers coming back from World War I, it even had a golf course. They called the road Hospital Road. The new road is Highway 109. Locals call the hill from Dudley Riley Bridge to the top ‘Hospital Hill.’ Don’t ever step onto the road at the bottom! People drive way too fast through there,” warned Gulia.

“Why would they build a new road when a good one already existed?”

“Who knows why people stop using perfectly good routes? I do know the old, unused road and your rundown farm are eyesores in my Outback. Both are mostly hidden until fall when the leaves drop and I can see both of them from my bedroom window,” said Gulia.

“Sorry.” Driew wished many things in life stayed hidden. Not only his farm, but also his childhood memories of unacknowledged pleas. That’s not cool. That’s not right. Don’t! Stop, STOP, STOPPP! PPPlease. These resurfacing memories drowned out his good times. “Why doesn’t my sinister like me?” asked Driew.

“Boomerang! You must have hit your noggin on that scarecrow. What do you mean, mate?” said Gulia, giving a cross-eyed look.

“Boomerang? Definition please,” said Driew.

Boomerang—my word to avoid saying something mean. Like ‘right back at you’ or ‘come again.’”

From the Qweepie farm, Nieve clanked a cowbell to summon Driew home.

“I’ve got to go,” sighed Driew, disappointed to leave his judgment-free listener who, as an added perk, lived within sight of the farm.

“Driew, holdin’ a grudge means letting mates live rent-free inside your noggin.  Time for their eviction letters,” Gulia encouraged.

“Unfortunately, my sibling grudge owns the deed to my mind.” Driew smashed his fist into his palm. The force stung, causing him to shake off the pain.

The cowbell interrupted their conversation, followed by a more determined call from Nieve.

“I gotta go!” said Driew.

“Here, one last swig for the road.” Gulia tossed the canteen to Driew.

He finished the last sip of cool Outback water then leapt from the comfortable branch. “I’ll see you around the Outback,” said Driew, running toward home.

“Hey, mate! You’re the best roadside treasure I’ve found in the Outback—a scarecrow with a brain!” Gulia watched Driew descend the hill.

Driew’s perspective of his Outback was not clear like Gulia’s Outback water. The pumpkin patch and the tree line were concealed by dusk’s darkening hold. A sprinkling of fireflies twinkled in the foggy air. Like the pumpkins, Driew was maturing.

Nieve called southern slang lazy-talk. Some of her words like dija, y’all, and prolly were Driew’s favorite words. Gulia’s slang wasn’t southern, but boomerang was sort of like lazy-talk, and it was a word he could adopt.

Speaking a combination of Kentuckian and Australian slang—how cool, Driew thought. He sensed speaking Australian words made Gulia feel closer to her Australian relatives. Her words made her unique!

— • —

Marq found the house’s torn window screens obstructed his view from inside and had not rushed to replace them. Their absence freed the night air to blend with the fragrant smell of southern cooking. Driew enjoyed this open-air lifestyle.

Bits of plastic jugs, stacks of decaying vehicle cushions, and bald tires were strewn around the front yard. The eyesore Gulia saw was clear from this distance.

Nieve beckoned Driew from their two-story concrete house’s side porch. The rest of the Qweepie family had gathered in the dining room.

“Driew Dawin Qweepie, where were you, baby doll? Dinner is ready!” Nieve hugged him, happy he had returned from out back.

She hung the heavy cowbell beside the door and gave it a pat. Great placement, she thought. “You’ll save my voice,” she whispered. Overwhelmed by the work ahead of them, tears welled within her as she surveyed their Kentucky farm. She gently kissed Driew’s forehead, removing straw from his hair. I don’t want to know, she thought. “You’re a mess! Wash up before dinner.”

They strolled through the aged 1930s doorway to dinner.

—•—

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

OUTBACK: Moment One

This complimentary excerpt from OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters. Read the Introduction and Moment Two also.

—•—

MOMENT ONE

HANGIN’

“Be them ever so cruel, there’s no family crueler than ours!” Driew Qweepie’s hooded tormenter chuckled. “Go! Here comes that Brown kid!”

Four teenage silhouettes bounced through the overgrown pumpkin patch, their escape concealed by the shadowy tree line.

Fall’s first cool breeze crept through the once popular town of Dawson Springs, ending the suffocation of summer’s dog days. Driew Qweepie’s tween body hung limp in his overalls from the scarecrow’s post. Cawing crows, darker than his hair, mocked him from their perch above.

His eyelids rose and fell over eyes of blue and green. Heterochromia, the condition was called, thought to be hereditary, or caused by a disease or an injury. Since he was healthy and the only family member with heterochromia, Driew’s explanation was an unimaginable injury. His siblings teased, “Dropped on your head is your problem.”

Thick wire-rim glasses obscured the condition. Non-family members awed at Driew’s pleasing appearance. His dark complexion, chocolate ringlets of hair, and dwarf-like size made him a doll for sure.

As he hung from the scarecrow’s perch, his consciousness swayed like a porch swing in a gentle wind. The hangin’ left him to reflect on his family hierarchy. An unwritten historical timeline that flipped through his mind recalled a decade of prank-filled albums created by four tormenting siblings. Soon his eleventh year would bring new volumes of teenage tortures.

Labeled “little bother,” he was the youngest and lowest ranking member in the Qweepie family. From the first moment of his life, he learned trust was not easily earned. His bothers’ and sinisters’ torments had worsened since moving to the Kentucky farm.

His parents, Nieve and Marq Qweepie, uprooted their Florida lives to resolve nasty letters received about their farm’s demise. Marq listed the property for sale after his father died and never intended to return. Ida Mae, the caretaker during Marq’s absence, became feeble and unable to maintain the farm properly.

“She needs you. She needs you,” a voiced echoed melodically, awakening Driew. His heavy eyelids rose to reveal a hazy heterochromic gaze reflecting his own.

“PSST! Holy Dooley! You alive mate? G’Day! Here down under!” a voice called below him.

Driew’s light-sensitive eyes focused on the pumpkin patch. Behind the scarecrow’s post, the setting sun cast a veil of darkness over the stranger. “Wh-wh-who are you? Wh-wh-what do you want?” Driew’s voice screeched into the silent patch.

“I heard whimpers. Thought I’d find an abandoned pup out here, or something entertaining. People dump treasures off this road all the time.” The stranger pointed toward the road leading to the Qweepie farm.

Scarecrow was an elevation from being a “little bother.” This prank signified his torturous life—a pawn to ward away intruders.

“No worries. They aren’t coming back,” coughed Driew.

“Who did this, mate?”

“My bothers and sinisters.”

The stranger tugged at Driew’s overall straps, releasing him from their confines. The stranger backed away in awe of Driew’s glide to safety.

A whirling cloud of dust howled through the patch. Crows abandoned their perch, alerting the hillside of the disturbance.

“A willy willy! Let’s rack off! These spirits give me the heeby jeebies!” The tween stranger grabbed Driew’s overall straps and led him away.

—•—

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

OUTBACK: Introduction

This complimentary excerpt from OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters. Read Moment One and Moment Two also.

—•—

INTRODUCTION

“Before you can understand your family tree, you must uncover its magical roots.”

M. W. Adams

A family tree supports various magical branches throughout extreme conditions. Its survival requires continual sacrifice. Therefore, when a diseased branch causes imminent danger, it is shed. Its loss is felt deep into the roots.

In Aboriginal culture, family stories are told in sing-song, a repeated, rhythmic voice rising and falling over the Australian continent. When a family member is lost, speaking his name is forbidden. His spirit continues through sing-song until his family falls silent.

Modern society records life through silent words, written with the belief that one hundred forty characters will exist perpetually. When a family member dies, his name is liked and shared until an algorithm deletes his wall. Modern society lives in the now and rarely explores its family’s deleted past.

Both cultures send children to play in their Outback. In this magical land, thought to be a childhood safe haven for creating memories, children are lost, stolen, or barely escape. Their extreme Outback adventures are buried, never to be unearthed through words or song.

For generations, the family tree records words and sing-song that wind deep in its core. Children playing in or around the tree may accidentally sever or uproot disturbing moments hidden in their Outback.

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

Kussins on The Authors Show

  • M. W. Adams give us a quick synopsis of your Family Tree Novel series and DOWN UNDER: Kussins.

The Family Tree Novel series is a real and relevant story about modern family relationships and hometown history.

In DOWN UNDER: Kussins, Pester’s unyielding pranks force Driew to question his biggest bother’s not-so-loving intentions. During Driew’s countrified lessons with twins, Able and Cain Poe, a brotherly secret surfaces. Driew vows to protect family secrets and moments, carving their words down under the Outback tree’s protective bark.

  • Is there a specific type of reader you had in mind when you wrote your book?

I wrote this book for tween/teen readers to understand family roles and how love works. Whether readers are the oldest, middle, youngest, adopted, blended, or an only child, they’ll related to a Family Tree Novel character. The series’ Walkabout moments offer family perspectives of Driew’s journey along an uprooted Aboriginal songline.

  • What influences your writing style?

Reading is a strong influence. When writing middle grade YA, I must research myself at that age: fears, actions, and reactions to surviving your social tribe. In my youthful exploration of love and family, I used books like: The Five Love Languages of Teenagers, Gary Chapman and Growing Up First Born, Kevin Leman.

Research is a fascinating influence. In the Family Tree Novel series I decided to include my research as second source reading for educators. Beyond the book reading includes: local history, traditions, foods, and social factors.

Lastly words and language are important influence in writing. Words have unique meanings in various cultures. Take for example Caddywompus, (a non-derogatory word to describe functions or actions associated with uncharacteristic behaviors, socially or physically). My neighbor used the word to describe a table with a short leg, or a photo that hung off-centered on the wall.

  • What makes your characters unique?

Each teen characters express love differently based on the role they play in family hierarchy. I also like that each has their own sense of humor that sparkles throughout.

  • Where can we purchase your book?

If visiting the small town from the book, Dawson Springs, Kentucky, Southern Belles and Notions on the town square or Pennyrile Forest State Resort Park gift shop are my two favorites. The books are available at my publisher’s website: syppublishing.com, my website: markwayneadams.com, or any major retailer.

The full interview and original broadcast are available at The Authors Show.