About the Story:
Bensin, a teenage slave and martial artist, is desperate to see his little sister freed. But only victory in the Krillonian Empire’s most prestigious tournament will allow him to secretly arrange for Ellie’s escape. Dangerous people are closing in on her, however, and Bensin is running out of time. With his one hope fading quickly away, how can Bensin save Ellie from a life of slavery and abuse?
More About the Story
Set in a world alarmingly like our own, The Collar and the Cavvarach is the story of fourteen-year-old Bensin, a slave, whose status is made obvious to everyone by the steel collar locked around his neck. A martial artist who competes to win money for his owner, Bensin fights in tournaments with a cavvarach. But his greatest battle is the struggle to protect his little sister from the horrors of legalized slavery in a world where slaves have few rights. Desperate to keep her safe, Bensin struggles to find a means – legal or otherwise – to arrange for her freedom.
(For a fun introduction to the story’s setting and its culture, including an explanation of how cavvara shil works, click here.)
Sound Like a Book you Might Enjoy?
Click the play button below to listen to the first 15 minutes of the story as narrated by Joseph Baltz.
Click here to go to the audiobook on Audible.
Click here to go to the audiobook on Amazon.
(Either way, try listening to the free sample to see what you think!)
Like to Read Along While You Listen?
The Collar and the Cavvarach ebook is available for FREE from July 14-18. Grab your copy now!
About the Author
Annie Douglass Lima considers herself fortunate to have traveled in twenty different countries and lived in four of them. A fifth-grade teacher in her “other” life, she loves reading to her students and sparking their imaginations. Her books include science fiction, fantasy, YA action and adventure novels, a puppet script, anthologies of her students’ poetry, Bible verse coloring and activity books, and a fantasy-themed cookbook. When she isn’t teaching or writing, Annie can often be found sipping spiced chai or pomegranate green tea in exotic locations, some of which exist in this world.
“This is a great story that really takes the reader on more than a journey in self-discovery. Told in third (3rd) person; the POV switches from Lincoln, Eliza, Bree, to Andy.
I honestly couldn’t put it down; I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and couldn’t wait to find out what was going to happen to them.”
“I give this book 5 out of 5 stars, for the vivid Australia life descriptions, the great array of characters, and for teaching some honest life lessons that we all need to hear. . . . I think that David Rawlins’s style of writing leans toward realism, and in real life, we do not know always get to know the outcome of something. We are just along for the journey.”
“This is a very interesting book, with interesting characters. . . . This is my third book by David Rawlings, and each one gets better. He has a unique way of telling a story, and you just want to come back for more with each book. This is such an enjoyable read that anyone will have fun reading it. I highly recommend Where the Road Bends!!”
The four mortarboard tassels flicked away the past and ushered in the future as they arced in the afternoon sun. The circle of friendship that withstood four hard years started its inevitable loosening; the glue that bonded their foursome eased away as the cheers across the quad died away. The clock started a lifetime of mesmeric ticking, a time for potential to become performance.
The first hand thrust the caught cap onto a head of bouncing red curls. Bree Carter choked back tears as she flicked the tassel from her eyes. “I can’t believe it’s all over.”
Andy Summers grabbed his mortarboard and spun it between his fingers, his lithe forearm muscles rippling as the billowing gown’s sleeves fell away. “This moment has been so far away for years and now that it’s here, it doesn’t seem real.”
“Where the Road Bends is an intriguing tale of four close college friends who, upon graduation, promised to reunite in Australia in 15 years, whether or not they keep in close contact. . . . The characters were portrayed well and the situations fairly well described. The concept was a very sound one.”
With the gloss of their fifteen-year reunion fading, the buzz of excitement settled into the sharp ache of anxiety. One set of American thumbs twiddled on the cold gray table in the interview room of a police station parked in the red dust of the tiny town nestled in the heart of Australia. Fingernails of a second tourist beat an impatient tattoo, while another set of American nails was already halfway chewed away.
The ordeal started long before the police car ride back into civilization, the unexpected bookend to a reunion that had started days earlier. Their story—which they each thought to be unbelievable—turned out to be a variation of someone else’s. Except one, which went unspoken. That someone else should have been sitting in the empty chair, but the police had found no trace at all, save for a neat stack of rocks at their campsite.
“I loved the descriptions and lessons about Australia and the culture, sort of crushing some of the stereotypes that we have here in America. I learned some new things! . . . it got me thinking and reflecting on my own life since college, the path that I am on currently, and how that matches up with what my expectations had been back then. I guess it was kind of happening anyway, as it periodically does. But this book brought it back to the forefront again. . . . This was an interesting way to get you to reflect on your life and how something bigger is guiding you along the way.”
“I thought it was an intriguing storyline . . . It makes a reader reflect on their own circumstances, and how they could grow as an individual. . . . Overall it was a fun story to read. The characters all had things they needed to learn from and grow from. . . I think Rawlings fans will enjoy the story.”
“I enjoyed the journey that this book has taken me on. I think it’s because of the life’s lessons that this book has to offer and it certainly does make us think about some of the passages that were in this book. . . . The setting of Australia was so well described that I was able to picture myself in the story. . . . I certainly recommend this book. I did finish the book in one day. I didn’t want to put it down.”
“I thoroughly enjoyed the writing of this story. They way David Rawlings writes his contemporary fiction and how it’s easy to relate to the characters . . . I enjoyed the journey in their personal lives and the spiritual journey as well. Definitely a good read and would recommend it!”
“Rawlings paints a vivid picture of the Australian outback that transports you to the ruggedness the land both beautiful and deadly.
“What a fantastic book!! The author did a fabulous job of drawing me right into the story and getting me really invested in the lives of the characters. If you are looking for a great escape read, I highly recommend this one!!”
Andy’s heart pounded in his chest and his ears. A tremor rippled through him, his limbs buzzing. He’d failed the first challenge, but he still hadn’t called for help. I will deal with this myself and not give you the satisfaction. He could do this—all he had to do was chase away the goanna. He surveyed the area. A fallen limb rested against the trunk. That would do.
With an annoyed headshake, his attacker lumbered away with its strange, swaying gait. Halfway to the bushes it turned and headed straight for Andy’s backpack, nosed it open, and rummaged inside.
“Where the Road Bends is an intriguing and enjoyable novel that shows us we all have the ability to change. If you look at your life and find you’re not where you want to be or you’re not happy, take the bend in the road that leads to where you want to be.”
Eddie brushed past him. “Are you hungry, mate? Let’s grab some tucker, hey?”
Andy furrowed his brow. “Tucker?”
Eddie’s voice echoed from deep within the trailer. “Tucker. Food. We might have some spiders or bugs you can eat.”
Andy froze. He was starving, but there was no way he would be forced into that. He reached for the softened shape of the remaining Mars bar in his pocket. He hoped he wouldn’t have to make it last.
Eddie emerged from the trailer, his pearly white grin beamed through the fading afternoon light. “I thought so. I’m only winding you up because your mate said you’d be up for anything.”
In the middle of the path a long, black snake coiled back on itself. It appeared to be gathering energy to strike. At her.
Bree flushed cold in the heat as she froze. “Eddie?” Three more long syllables.
The snake eyed her from the path, the sun rippling from its dark-brown scales. Its head eased back into its body.
The foliage parted. “Don’t. Move.” Eddie stepped off the path and inched around the snake, his eyes not deviating from the threat. The snake sensed his movement and jerked back.
Eddie stepped in front of Bree and placed an arm across her, his voice flat. “I want you to take a step back. Slowly. He doesn’t like sudden movements.”
“Like he does in his previous books, Rawlings uses this story of friends to deliver valuable insight and thought-provoking sentiments. While I do wish the characters had been a little more fleshed out, Where the Road Bends does prove to be an interesting story—especially given its atmospheric setting!”
Fifteen years after college graduation, four friends reconnect to keep a long-ago promise and go on a trip of a lifetime in the Australian Outback.
Eliza needs to disconnect from her high-powered fashion job to consider the CEO position she’s just been offered. Lincoln hopes to rekindle a past relationship and escape from another one. Bree looks forward to a fun getaway from home and her deeply buried disappointments. Andy wants to disappear from the mess he’s made of his life—possibly forever.
Dropped at a campsite in the middle of nowhere, the friends quickly discover they aren’t the same people they once were, and they begin to confront hard truths about one another—and themselves. Then a bizarre storm sweeps across their camp, scattering them across the desert. Wondering if they are part of some strange escape game, each of the friends meets a guide to help them find exactly what they need: purpose, healing, courage, and redemption.
But they’ve already traveled far down the road of life and course-correcting to become the people they were meant to be won’t be easy.
About the Author
David Rawlings is an Australian author, and a sports-mad father of three who loves humor and a clever turn of phrase. Over a 25-year career he has put words on the page to put food on the table, developing from sports journalism and copywriting to corporate communication. Now in fiction, he entices readers to look deeper into life with stories that combine the everyday with a sense of the speculative, addressing the fundamental questions we all face.
One winner will receive a print copy of The Camera Never Lies by David Rawlings (US only)
Ends June 24, 2020
Joining forces with Her Majesty’s Royal Typo Brigade, Typo Squad takes up residence in Buckingham Palace to try and draw out this dangerous madman.
With the lives of the royal family in their hands, will Typo Squad be up to the challenge of finding and capturing the Wordmonger? Or will history repeat itself?
Typo Squad is dealt a terrible blow by Anton Nym and his new errorist cell, known as the Erristocracy. But when all seems lost, the tide turns with the rise of the Typo Alliance.
With a new headquarters, a new captain, and the arrival of some truly unexpected allies, Typo Squad is set on a collision course with the most dangerous foes they’ve ever faced.
Will Dick and his team be able to overcome the odds and make the world safe from typos once and for all? Or will Nym and his inner circle be victorious in the end?
Fantasy author A. R. Silverberry is stopping by today for a cover reveal of his forthcoming short story collection, Cerberus, Tales of Magic and Malice. To celebrate, he’s giving away prizes! And the book, available for pre-order, will be on sale for $0.99 from now until a short time after it’s released. To enter the contest, just use the handy Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post, where you’ll also find the pre-order link. But first, the cover!
|Cerberus, Tales of Magic and Malice, by A. R. Silverberry|
Don’t stop there … a wizard, a friendless boy, a devil cat, and Shakespeare’s fairy queen lie within. From the boundless imagination of A. R. Silverberry, these irresistible tales conjure up a wondrous brew of MAGIC AND MALICE. FEATURING SEVEN ALL-NEW STORIES: Cerberus, Tangles, The Willow Sister, Titania, Blaze, and The Mask
Mystery and magic reside in both strange and mundane places. The same may be said of the heroes and heroines, big or small, who quest there as well as the beasts, human or otherwise, that they battle. Skeptical? Take a gander at the locales and folk that occupy the tales in this volume.
Three Steaks and a Box of Chocolates: Stuck in a desolate town and down on his luck, Doc Turner takes on a mysterious case. He gets more than he bargained for.
Cerberus: Bailiff Giles Dunstable is hell-bent on stopping the spread of superstition in his village. But his beliefs are sorely tested after the witch of the Hevyl Mountains reads his fortune.
The Willow Princess: Separated in childhood, two sisters struggle against a terrible enchantment to reunite and claim their birthright.
The Demon Monkeys: The mountain hides a secret. Deep in winter, the orphan girl Scamp fights to survive in the shadow of a menacing terror. When a stranger crosses her path, her life changes forever.
Tangles: Lessy needs one last spell. But it, like everything else, has faded.
Titania: After a mysterious encounter on her doorstep, a reclusive actress battles doubt and disability to take on her greatest role.
Blaze: In 1689, the lonely servant boy Davie fights to protect his one friend from the malice of a heartless earl.
The Tea Party: A dying Sir Wainwright offers his selfish sons one last invitation to tea …
The Mask: Jessica Lansing is certain her tyrannical methods will win her Teacher of the Year. But her plans start to unravel when little Christopher makes a singular mask.
This ’twas but a sip, dear reader. For the full spell, drink on …
Click this link to Pre-order the book from Amazon. It goes live on May 18!
A. R. Silverberry writes science fiction and fantasy for children, teens, and adults. His novels, Wyndano’s Cloak and The Stream, earned numerous awards, including the Benjamin Franklin Award gold medal for Juvenile/Young Adult Fiction. He lives in California, where he explores enchanted forests, searching for pixies and elves.
What inspired you to write KINGDOM ABOVE THE CLOUD?
It really started with a daydream. What if there was a world full of characters who had mastered either a deadly sin or a fruit of the spirit? I started designing characters and imagining scenes, and it took on a life of its own. By the time I was done writing it, it was a deep dive into my Christian faith on a scale I never expected!
“The descriptions of life in a village where everyone lives in a treehouse are beautiful. . . . I found a lot of symbolism for Christianity. A loving creator who doesn’t force your decisions but asks for you to follow him. He loves unconditionally. The book was a great contrast between good and evil, the consequences of living in a corrupt society.”
“I love all the imagination throughout this story. Adia sounds like a great place to live. It was fun to follow Tovi through all of her adventures. The fantastical places in the story were interesting and great to hold the attention of the reader. . . . I highly recommend this story to other readers who enjoy a great adventure.”
How to Build a World from Scratch
When I started writing Kingdom Above the Cloud, I had images in my mind of characters and scenes. I jumped right in, never considering important details about the world they live in. . . . There is so much to consider when creating a fantasy world. If I were starting all over, I would follow these steps. . .
“Kingdom Above The Cloud, author Maggie Platt’s first book in her Tales From Adia series, was a fairly quick read and a much different take on fantasy than usual. If you have kids or grandkids in the right age group you should check this story out.”
A throat cleared behind her, and she turned away from the ridge expecting Silas. A dark-haired stranger stood close behind her, and her heart thudded in sudden fear. She scrambled to her feet, sending loose rocks plummeting toward the boulders below.
“I’m so sorry to startle you,” he apologized, holding his hands out as if to prove he meant no harm. Even in her terrified state, the first thing she noticed was there was no heart on his palm. “I was walking by, and you looked upset. Are you all right?”
Kingdom Above the Cloud’s main character, Tovi Tivka, grew up in Adia. When the story begins, she is there among the treetops, wistfully yearning for more out of life and answers to her deepest questions. To get you better acquainted with this setting, here are some common questions I receive about Adia. . .
“Kingdom Above the Cloud was a quick and satisfying read, bringing to mind one of my childhood favorites, The Mirror of N’de by L. K. Malone. The characters were very well developed and the world was painted with symbolism. Tovi’s character arc was beautifully rendered, and I found myself seeing aspects of myself in the character. . . . I would recommend it to anyone who loves allegories such as The Chronicles of Narnia, fantasy lovers, and anyone wanting a good, comforting read.”
THE 5 FANTASY WORLDS THAT SHAPED MY WRITING
I have moved homes approximately 7 billion times. As any frequent mover knows, heavy books often don’t make the cut. No matter how much you love them, they end up in the Good Will pile after you’ve moved them house to house a few times.
So, despite deep connection with my books, only a few have survived from my childhood. Most of my shelves are full of books that I have collected in just the last 2 years since moving into my current house. However, when I look at the oldest beat-up volumes, I can’t help smiling. These well-loved, dog-eared, creased and worn-out books all have fantasy elements and made me the writer that I am today. . .
As the early dawn haze ran away from the light and the birds began to wake, Tovi Tivka sprinted along a familiar ridge never pausing to consider the danger should she fall. Her breezy yellow dress billowed in her wake, as did the long waves of her dark blue hair. She was petite in every way, short and wiry. She had an angular nose, a stubborn chin, and dark brown eyes with one small purple star on the edge of her left iris. To her left was dense forest. To her right, a cliff that fell to boulders far below. Under her tough, bare feet was the hard-beaten path she had run every morning for the last six months.
“Maggie Platt has crafted a well-written allegory. . . there are characters to love and characters to hate. There are fantasy elements in this allegory, making it a good book for fantasy lovers. Kingdom Above the Cloud is book one in the Tales from Adia series. I look forward to reading future books.”
What if the nine Fruit of the Spirit and the Seven Deadly Sins were locked in a battle for control?
Abandoned as infants, Tovi and her twin brother were raised by an eclectic tribe of warm, kind people in a treehouse village in the valley. After her brother’s sudden disappearance Tovi questions her life and her faith in an invisible King. Ignoring her best friend Silas’ advice, she decides to search for her brother in the kingdom on top of the mountain.
Above the cloud, the Council of Masters receives their orders. Tovi and her brother are the objectives. King Damien has a plan and Tovi is the key. The Council of Masters want her, but will she remain unscathed?
Amidst the glamour of the kingdom above the cloud Tovi is torn between her own dark desires and unanswered questions. It starts with a snake and a crown. When the ring is complete, will her life be over?
About the Author
We hope you enjoyed the tour! If you missed any of the stops
you’ll find snippets, as well as the link to each full post, below:
Thanks so much for joining me for the launch of The Bartolini Legacy trilogy. This family saga filled with secrets, surprises and lots of romance begins with THE PRINCE AND THE WEDDING PLANNER. . . . I hope you’ll join Bianca and Prince Leo in this royal romance as they wrestle with the past and come to terms with the present in order to have a happily ever after future.
“In her familiar style, Jennifer Faye, once again, creates a wonderful “feel good” novel which is sure to leave the reader uplifted and entertained. . . . Within this tale, is a whirlwind of fun, often unexpected events, which will keep the reader eagerly anxious for the next page. The characters are delightfully endearing. and portrayed well. The background scenes and events are well described, allowing the reader the feel he/she is there, experiencing it.”
“I… I’ll be there.” Bianca turned her back to her brother, not wanting him to see the unshed tears shimmering in her eyes. She could be strong like him. She could get through this agonizing day without crumbling into a million pieces.
She needed to think about anything but the hollow spot in her heart. She lifted her head and her gaze came to land on the old photos on the wall. It was a collage of her grandparents, her parents’ wedding and herself and her two siblings. They’d all looked so happy—
“Bianca, they loved you.” And then her brother exited the room, closing the door softly.
“I’ve become a fan of Jennifer Faye’s simplistic warm hearted stories. The Prince And The Wedding Planner did not disappoint. This story is delightfully entertaining and charming. The premise is unique and fun, and I just love a good royal romcom. . . . Bianca and Prince Leo are quite adorable in close company, and I enjoyed reading their story. This was a fast read for me. In the end, it’s the kind of story that will make you smile!”
“This was a sweet romance that took you out of everyday life and into a life of royalty. Which certainly is no picnic at times but there is [definitely] some advantages. Leo and Bianca instantly hit it off and of course there is an immediate attraction. What follows is should they or shouldn’t they follow their hearts desire and go against expectations or after his sister’s wedding go their own separate ways.”
. . . Truth be told, there was another woman that had caught his attention. Her hair was dark and her skin glowed a warm tan. He noticed that she spoke when addressed but for the most part she was quiet. And when she did speak, her voice was soft.
He caught himself staring at her more than once. Maybe it was because she didn’t make a point of walking up to him and introducing herself like so many of the other people. In fact, she acted as though she didn’t even know he was royalty. Could that be possible?
Regardless, his interest in the beautiful woman increased. It’d been a while since he’d enjoyed a woman’s company. With his pending engagement and marriage—a necessity in order to ascend to the throne—he wasn’t in a position to start anything. But for the moment, he was still a free man.
” It’s cute and fun. It is a romance that many people like to fantasize about. The characters are interesting and their story keeps the book moving at a good pace. It is easy to read and engaging. This is a book that is an escape when you need a few minutes to relax and enjoy a book.”
“Throughout the story, Faye wants you to remember to hold back judgment and to see how her characters choose to take steps to reassert their own independence in their lives. They each desire to find happiness and to catch it as long as they can whilst dealing with obligations none of them are truly ready or prepared to accept. Its a lovely story about the fortitude one needs to survive the ruts in the road life brings along whilst keeping hopeful about the future which is never quite written in stone as some would like to believe! . . . Faye writes realistic narratives for today’s Romance reader and that is exactly why I love continuing to follow her publishing journey.”
“This is a great book about love. The love between a family, a couple, and even a kingdom. . . . I can not wait to see how the rest of this series plays out.”
“This was a sweet, fun, and whirlwind read. I didn’t even know it was over until I got to the last page. The author’s vivid writing brought the scenery to life. Bianca and Leo were such a perfect couple, and it was easy to see where the novel was going.
The romance element was absolute perfection . . . The author does a terrific job of keeping the pace going for the romance. This short, but addictive little read is the perfect beach day or even rainy day read.”
“I’m confused,” he said. “Are you a guest of the bride or the groom?”
“Neither. I’m their wedding planner, Bianca Bartolini.”
He hadn’t expected that response. He must be slipping. He was usually very good at reading people. It probably had something to do with the turmoil back at the palace. By the time he turned in at day’s end, he usually had a headache that kept him up until late into the night.
He needed to do something to bring peace back to the palace. If he couldn’t do that for his family, how would he ever keep peace over the nation?
“I have read a few of Jennifer’s books and have enjoyed this one. . . . Overall, it was a quick read and I can’t wait to read the rest of the novels.”
“I loved Leo and Bianca as a couple. They are sweet together and compliment each other. . . . I can’t wait to read the other two books in the series. I will miss the Queen and how she deals with Bianca and Leo’s relationship but upward and onward. Again, Ms. Faye has written a beautiful book about two characters that you will like and want to keep in touch with.”
“Bianca Bartolini, I’d like to introduce you to His Royal Highness, Crown Prince Leopold of Patazonia.”
Once again, Bianca curtsied. She willed her face to cool down, but it only succeeded in making her warmer. Goodness. What was he going to think of her? First, she was openly staring at him. And now her face must look like a roasted beet—all red and steamy. Not good. Not good at all.
“You’ve put on a splendid wedding,” the prince said. “I’ve quite enjoyed it.”
“Th…thank you, Your Highness.”
“The prince is searching for a wedding planner,” Benito said. “And I was telling him what a great job you did with our wedding.”
“This is the first book in a new series by Jennifer Faye and it promises to be quite a wonderful series based on this book. . . . I thought this is an engaging story with charming characters and the perfect way to spend a relaxing afternoon or week-end getting lost in a book.”
“The author does a great job of writing this story, weaving together the many different issues going on, and giving readers a wonderful story that will stay with me for a while. Some couples I just can’t get off my mind, and this as one of them. If you enjoy romance, check this one out. It’s a pretty fast read, and will give you a few hours of enjoyment and entertainment.”
“I love Jennifer Faye’s books and The Prince and the Wedding Planner is no different. . . . I highly recommend it for readers who enjoy a quick, heartwarming and sweet romance.”
As though Bianca sensed his presence behind her, she turned. “Your Highness.” She dipped her chin. “Is there something I can do for you?”
Just then the orchestra started to play a new song. It’d been a while since he’d danced and from what he’d observed, Bianca hadn’t let up on her duties long enough to enjoy the evening. It was wrong for her to miss out on such a marvelous evening.
With the lanterns sending a warm cast over the patio area, he asked, “Would you care to dance?”
“An unexpected romance develops in Jennifer Faye’s The Prince and the Wedding Planner, the first of her Bartolini Legacy trilogy, and it is so fun. . . . I always enjoy a romance from Faye. Falling in love with a prince is a traditional childhood fantasy, and I enjoyed seeing the drama of that fantasy playing out on the pages of The Prince and the Wedding Planner.”
“A wonderful romantic read, The Prince and the Wedding Planner is sheer reading delight from beginning to end. Jennifer Faye has written an emotional and dramatic tale sprinkled with humor, warmth and heart which readers will read in a single sitting as they find themselves completely and utterly bowled over by Leo and Bianca’s love story and unable to put the book down.”