G’DAY: Moment 1

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

—•—

MOMENT ONE

COFFIN

Driew had never known anyone to die, and he wouldn’t let today be that day.

Driew fought! Bound and gagged inside the suffocating supply box, his sing-song voice now restrained by his bindings remained unable to save him. Driew feverishly peeked through the cracks of his locked wooden coffin of doom. His eyes burned with pain from the sliver of sunlight upon the horizon.

His Tasmanian Tiger joey, squealed from the tormenting blows of two masked teens. Dingo hung from the rusty wire clothesline bagged like a papoose in a sinister’s dress—Gayle’s. With two wooden baccastix, the teens walloped Dingo like a celebratory piñata.

Disguised in a black hooded sweatshirt, the boy tormentor commanded the girl, “Let’s take the mongrel to the river.”

“You never mentioned drownin’ it,” the girl tormentor said, wearing a matching disguise.

“If it swims, it won’t drown. If it drowns, then it would’ve died sooner or later,” the boy said.

Fraught with urgency, Driew wriggled against his painful confines.

“I’ve never seen claws on a dog before. I’m not touchin’ it,” the girl said.

“We’ll use this stick for totin’ the mongrel down to the river,” he said, handing the girl a wooden baccastix, normally used for firing dark tobacco.

Driew rubbed his cheek against the wooden floor, snagging the gag cloth on a splintered board. Nostrils flaring in anger, he peered through the cracks of the box as Dingo slid off the clothesline onto the baccastix carrying pole.

Driew pressed hard against the splintered board, grimacing as it pierced his cheek. With a fitful yank, the gag ripped but remained cinched.

The tormentors dragged Dingo to the supply box where Driew struggled. The boy tormentor kicked the box near Driew’s head. The forceful kick cracked the board against Driew’s temple. He winced, knocking back urges to cry out his pain. The bully stole Driew’s happiness but he wouldn’t find satisfaction in Driew’s pain.

Dingo’s marsupial cries subsided into low, fearful whimpers. He, like Driew, sensed potential danger.

“There’s no family crueler than ours,” the boy said.

This all too familiar phrase Driew learned and understood bloody quick. He pulled at the slobbery gag a third time, freeing his clenched jaw. Inhaling a much needed breath, he was able to sing-song, bellowing to the baccastix supporting Dingo.

The baccastix ignited, engulfing stick and dress with teal blue flames. Startled by the sudden fire, the tormentors dropped the flaming stick and cargo onto the unforgiving soil.

Ripping through the dress with his cat-like claws, Dingo escaped, scurrying to a nearby tree for safety.

“You’re full of bad ideas! The dog is loose and mad!” The girl yelled as she ran from the flaming baccastix out of Driew’s sight.

“Come back you big sissy. We’re not done with him!” The boy hollered, chasing behind the girl.

Driew rolled onto his back and sighed, “As always, left like a magician to free myself.”

Lured by his curiosity to the opened yard supply box, Driew had spent nearly an hour locked away in solitary confinement. While peering into the box, his twin tormentors wrangled him like a rodeo calf, locking him inside.

When faced with difficult situations, Driew sought out his own solutions to problems. This meant not asking others to do something he wouldn’t. He calmed himself rather than bellyaching and calling for help.

His oldest sister and brother, Killiope and Pester, both graduated and moved away. Killiope served in the US military, and Pester played college lacrosse. Their absence offered no comfort as Driew’s twin siblings sealed his little bother fate on the farm.

Driew lay staring through the darkness of the confining coffin, focusing on the wooden box lid.

“Torments must be what the last born deserves,” he said to himself.

Sing-song, a spooking voice called from the familiar spook, finding Driew once again in despair.

Hopeful his sing-song controlled this wooden box as it had many other wooden objects on the farm like the baccastix, Driew sang. The supply box lid rattled against the lock outside. Driew turned his song’s focus toward the end of the box at his feet and sang his sing-song intently. The end fell open and a joyful tiger-striped flash bounded into the box over his feet and onto his chest. Dingo’s joyous licks showed Driew his parents weren’t the only ones who loved him unconditionally.

Shuffling feet first from the box, Driew scooted outside in the sunlight’s freedom.

“I must be a magic man to escape their box of doom.”

—•—

G'DAY-Aints-www.mwa.company-Flat Book
Text and illustrations copyright © 2018 by Mark Wayne Adams. All rights reserved. Family Tree Novel is a SYP Kids imprint.

AR Reading Quiz for “OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters”

AR Reading Quiz for OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters

16-Adams-FTN-OUTBACK-Reading Quiz

1. Who is the Australian girl-next-door?

2. Who is the housekeeper in the book’s name?

3. What does Killiope do to earn the money needed to pay Gulia to walk Driew home?

4. What object does Killiope use to torment Driew?

5. Who is Driew Qweepie?

6. What project does Driew help his father, Marq, complete?

7. What town did Driew move to?

8. What name does Driew give to the mysterious floating eyes?

9. Where is the entrance to Driew’s workshop?

10. What was the first gift he received from Gulia?

 

READING QUIZ KEY

OUTBACK-Bothers & Sinisters-www.mwa.company

 

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.

Managing Multiple Characters

The Family Tree Novel series is about a family of seven: five children and two parents. Each child has: a way they love, a birth order, a gender, a physical/mental limitation, and an aspiration. The conflict between these varied characters flares by his or her responses to one another.

Driew (the main character) feels unappreciated by his oldest sister, Killiope, for the deeds he does to show her love. She feels Driew’s do-gooder personality keeps him under foot. As the oldest sibling, she is responsible for getting Driew to and from school. Killiope can’t enjoy her teen life or appreciate her brother’s acts of service when responsibility supersedes fun.

Gender is an important factor in character development: Driew responds physically and Killiope verbally to confrontations. Driew attempts to fix problems that Killiope feels only need resolution.

Physical and/or mental limitations and aspirations shape a character’s response. Examples: Driew’s glasses prevent him from seeing the world below his nose; a D+ student will do poorly on tests and have a limited vocabulary compared to an A+ student; a non-swimmer will not aspire to participate in water activities like boating, rafting, or tubing in a river.

Creating a list of character traits for the main characters, is a guide for directing scene outcomes. When writing, first write the full scene. Then reference the characters’ trait list, confirming they aren’t doing any uncharacteristic behavior or making uncharacteristic choices.

Create the same list for everyone as simple as yes/no:

  • Does the character drink milk? John–Yes, Mary–No
  • Does the character have a food allergy? John–Yes, Mary–Yes
  • Does the character express love through quality time? John–Yes, Mary–Yes

Using John and Mary’s answers to the three questions above:

Everyone in the senior class is excited about the ice cream social but John. His peanut allergy prevent him from visiting Pistachio’s Ice Cream Parlor. Mary, who is lactose intolerant, boycotts the ice cream social, having a private picnic for John. Sharing their favorite foods and quality time, an unexpected love interest blossoms.

Each character’s traits and preferences direct the conflict and resolution by his or her food preferences, gender, and love.

Qweepie Names

Moment Three: Unearthed

“I mean Killiope, Pester, Payne, Gayle, and Driew. Our names aren’t spelled right! They’re confusing, annoying. They even sound . . . painful. People automatically assume the worst in us,” said Driew, avoiding eye contact by tossing garbage onto the pile.

“Names don’t define people. People define names. Look at me, baby doll!” said Nieve, waving to capture Driew’s attention. “Your father and I can’t thank the hospital enough for the spellings. We lucked out with a caring nurse who couldn’t spell. We accepted the names and knew you would in time. That’s also why spelling is important! Words have power.”

OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters by M. W. Adams

Who is Killiope Qweepie?

Moment Four: Sinister

The glass door supporting Driew swung open. He collapsed onto the spongy rain-soaked doormat just inside the doorway. His body lodged the door open, leaving him both inside and out. Raindrops gathering on his lenses distorted an attractive teenage figure standing over him, wearing a sinister smile. Killiope released her grasp on the door.

“Where have you been, little bother?” she asked, wiping her wet face. “I’ve been waiting in the rain while you’re here, hanging out. Oh dear, what have you done?” Straddling him, she dropped onto Driew’s body. She pinned his arms with her sharp knees. “Your glasses are wet. Let’s clean those.” She licked her thumbs then smeared them across his lenses like boney windshield wipers. “Get up, you little bother. Let’s go!” she said, leaving little room for Driew to stand.

OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters by M. W. Adams

Killiope’s Eviction Letter

Moment Four: Sinister

Driew looked at Gulia, then Killiope, then back to Gulia. He slid toward Gulia and watched Killiope storm out the stairwell door. Confident with Gulia by his side, Driew decided now was the time to publicly post Killiope’s eviction letter.

He burst through the door, sobbing. “Sissy, come back! Sissy, come back! I promise to kiss you goodbye on the lips this time! Don’t leave mad! I love you!”

OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters by M. W. Adams

Which character do you have the closest connection to?

Which character do you have the closest connection to?

16-OUTBACK-Conversation_With_The_AuthorI feel a connection with each of the characters, they are like family. To pick one character I would say Killiope. As the oldest sibling in my family, I feel a responsibility for each of my siblings. Leaving home was my only escape from responsibilities, which soon caught up with me. As the series continues, I hope to become more relatable with each sibling hierarchy as the series continues.

Read the full OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters, Conversation with the Author

Reading Group Guide for “OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters”

Reading Group Guide for OUTBACK: Bothers & Sinisters

16-OUTBACK-Reading_Group_Guide
1. How does the author parallel out back the yard to Outback the Australia region?

2. What are Driew’s perceptions of his big sinister, Killiope? Could Killiope have been perceived differently if he understood her sooner?

3. Can you relate to siblings as Bothers and Sinisters? Have there been times when your actions were bothersome or sinister toward your siblings? Were those feelings resolved?

4. In what way has Killiope forced Driew to grow? Is there a defining moment in Driew’s maturation?

5. How does Gulia’s family life contrast Driew’s? Would Gulia have the same experience as Driew if they were switched at birth?

6. How do you think Killiope would have handled being the youngest Qweepie sibling? What are some ways the youngest girl might be treated that the youngest boy wouldn’t be?

7. What stops Killiope’s anger in the Blue chapter? Is there a line she has drawn that keeps her from going too far? Do you have lines drawn in your own family relationship?

8. How does the tornado resolve the issues Killiope has with Driew? How might their relationship be different if the blue had happened sooner?

9. How does Driew’s relationship with Killiope affect his relationship with Ida Mae and Gulia?

10. What role does Ida Mae play in the novel as a permanent fixture on the farm and in Marq’s family?

11. What role does Jameson Junior play in Driew’s story? How does he influence Driew’s actions?OUTBACK 3D-book-72DPI-RGB

12. For most of the novel Eli, the diary, has influenced Gulia and Driew’s friendship. What are other influences that affect both characters’ relationship?

13. Does the Outback appear to be a safe haven for children?