Monthly Archives: May 2013

Spotlight – Luke’s Tale by Carol McKibben

Luke's Tale by Carol McKibben

Synopsis: Luke, an intelligent, 89-pound yellow Labrador retriever, has an odd ability to understand human conversations and actions. When Luke discovers that Sara Colson, his owner’s girlfriend, is hiding a secret and soon disappears, the dog uses all of his skills to help reunite them. Through clues that he provides to his master, Ashlundt Jaynes, Luke is the catalyst bringing the two lovers back together. But this is only the beginning of the challenges the three must face. Ashlundt, who suffers from a tormented past, doesn’t understand how the conditions he places on those around him, prevents him from finding happiness. Luke, knowing how to give unconditional love, helps them stay together and overcome a series of life-changing events.  In the midst of it all, Luke is spiraling into blindness!

At the heart of Luke’s Tale is the story of two lovers and their struggle with unforeseen disillusionment to build a lasting relationship – as told through the eyes of the loving furry creature who is devoted to them beyond all reason.

Excerpt: On the flip side, there seemed to be no movement on his part to try and locate Sara. In counting my filled dinner bowls, I was able to make it to 120 since Ashlundt and Dr. Hines had met at Starbucks. What Ashlundt called Christmas had come and gone quietly. His family tried to get us to come to San Diego for the holidays, but he refused saying he had to work. I couldn’t even begin to count how long it had been since Sara had left us. I know she left us in warm weather in the summertime. Then, the cool weather passed us by, and it was warm again. The flowers were in full bloom. It had been way too long. I missed her and decided to start reapplying the reminders.

One thing about Ashlundt: he hated it when things were moved away from places where he’d left them. He’d get crazy when he couldn’t find his socks, his wristwatch or his pens. So you can only imagine his reaction when I went back into the bedroom, grabbed Sara’s charm bracelet and the once-buried framed photo and dragged them back to his office… just after one of his newest clients had completed a session.

The photograph of them laughing together was the last straw. He was reading his notes when I laid it on his lap. He exploded. “What are you doing to me?” Ashlundt reached for a big Yellow Pages phonebook, picked it up and hoisted it onto the floor. Thwack! It landed about a German Shepherd’s length from where I was standing. Now, I was mad. I began barking at the top of my lungs. This was behavior I rarely exhibited, but surely necessary in that moment of desperation.

Ashlundt grew angrier. He stamped his foot in my general direction and began to shout. “Luke. Knock it off! Now! I’m warning you, no supper tonight if you don’t calm the hell down!”

I wouldn’t calm down. If one bowl of K-Dog was my sacrifice for getting Sara back, I was willing to starve for at least one night. Only my barking seemed to have the opposite effect on Ashlundt. Instead of motivating him to action, he seemed to just get madder at me.

The more I barked, the more things he threw on the floor. A paper weight. His appointment book. A computer speaker. Finally, I was starting to feel threatened. I leaped onto his chest, catching him off balance in his anger, and brought him to the floor. We hit the carpet together alongside his desk with a muffled thud.

My master flashed me a puzzled look. He was still breathing heavily; his heart was pounding like a jackhammer. So was mine. It took both of us a moment to gather our senses. And then something amazing happened. Ashlundt’s anger subsided into sighs of frustration, then tears. He began to wail; a sadness I had never witnessed before in my life. Tears were flowing steadily down his cheeks. I did what any loyal canine would do. I licked his face and hands as he curled with his arms around his legs on the floor. Then, I sat directly in front of him and waited.

Eventually, Ashlundt sat up. He wiped his eyes with the bottom of his shirt. And then he looked at me. I nudged the picture of the two of them with my nose until it rested next to his feet.

“I know, Luke, I know. I’m such a bastard. But I can’t stand to see her suffering and sick!” He ran his fingers through his long shaggy hair, then stared at the ground.

I was flabbergasted. How did this once charming man become such a coward? I recalled how gentle and understanding he was with one young housewife who was trying to cope with her own cancer. She had been deeply depressed, and he helped her realize how much her family loved her. “You need to not give up; fight the cancer for the sake of those who love you so much,” he had told her. How could he take such good care of his patients and not be there for his greatest love? Perhaps it had something to do with what he had mentioned to Tim. Something about being so emotionally involved with Sara but detached from his patients? Well, anyway, it sounded good.

I barked once and pushed the photo up against his leg with my nose. He said nothing; just stared at it in silence. I couldn’t tell you precisely how long it was that we just sat there, but I know it was until long after the sun went down. Eventually, I pushed the photo frame between his legs, put my paw on his knee, then looked at the phone. He followed my gaze and let out a deep sigh. “Okay. You win. I know what I need to do, boy. Enough.”

Meet the Author: Carol McKibben currently writes from the heart of a dog’s eyes. Often telling her stories to Labradoodles, Basset Hounds and any stray that happens by, it wasn’t long before people stopped to have a listen as well. Now Carol writes for people and speaks to large audiences, dogs included. Carol was a magazine publisher for more than 20 years. She began a new career in freelance writing and editing in 2007, as well as working with other authors to realize their dreams. She also has published a Memoir, Riding Through It. Visit her at www.carolmckibben.com.

Facebook

One lucky winner will receive a print or e-book copy of Luke’s Tale: A Story of Unconditional Love FREE! All you have to do is reply to this post and write something about Unconditional Love and what it means to you. Please be sure to include an email address where we can reach you for an address and we will pick one lucky winner at random!

ANTics by Dakota Douglas – book review

ANTics

Readability Grade Level: 3.5 http://www.readability-score.com/

Number of Pages: 50

Word Count: 24,500

Book Description: ANTics is a fun children’s fantasy in e-book and paperback format with some interactive suggestions at the end. The story is for ages 7 to 11 about a colony of ants that live in a hidden world called InhabitANT, at the bottom of an English country garden. All the ants have names that describe their personality and end in ANT. The story centers around three little ants – ExuberANT (nicknamed Zube), BrilliANT (called Brill) and HesitANT.

When the trio set out to bring a juicy berry back to their nest they never imagine the antics in store. The pals are having fun until they stumble across their fiercest enemy – a crazy, evil spider with magic powers. They call him RepugnANT (Puggy for short) because that’s what he is. He’s got the biggest temper and worst smell of any creature in the crawly kingdom.

The little ants flee for their lives with the eight-legged beast in hot pursuit. He’s vowed to turn them into ant soup and wipe out their nest.

Can they outsmart the monster and save their nestmates?

Excerpt: The three ants are caught in a spider’s web:

Sawing was hot, tiring work. Zube mopped his brow. He looked up, blinked and looked again.

“Uh-oh! Time just ran out.”

Brill and HesitANT followed Zube’s gaze and saw Puggy lumbering lopsided towards them on six legs.

“I don’t think he sees us,” Brill whispered.

The three prisoners sucked in their breath and crossed their claws.

They heard a whistle. “How convenient!” Puggy laughed. “It must be my lucky day.” Zube’s heart sank as Puggy planted one big foot in front of the other and stomped up to the web. “So pleased to see you again, Short Stuff,” Puggy said, staring hungrily at HesitANT, “and your two little friends.” The beast rubbed his leg recently speared by the pine needle. His eyes sparkled as he strutted up and down in front of the trapped trio. “Who will I eat first?”

HesitANT collapsed against the tangle of silk, Brill frowned and Zube glared at Puggy.
Puggy pushed his face up against the web. He leered and poked a hairy claw at Brill. “Will it be you?” Brill blinked. “Or you?” Puggy smiled nastily at HesitANT, who slammed his eyes shut and groaned. Next Puggy snapped his jaws at Zube. “Or maybe you?”

“I’ll pass, if you don’t mind,” Zube said, wriggling against his silken chains. He screwed up his face. “Gross!” he exclaimed. Puggy ponged worse than ever. “Don’t you ever wash?”

“Huh!” Puggy frowned and looked down at his body. “What’s wrong with me?”

“Hmmmm! How long have you got?” Zube said.

Puggy’s eight eyes narrowed. “Ahh! A smart mouth.” He growled deeply. “We’ll see if you’re still laughing when I chop you into tiny pieces and turn you into ant soup.”

About the Author: Dakota Douglas is an author from the North East of England. As a kid, she read books under the bedclothes by torchlight. Now she dives under the covers, torch in hand, to scribble down conversations between her book characters in case she forgets them in the morning.

She has written stories since she was about eight years old. She wrote them on a toy typewriter, and her father did the illustrations. When she wasn’t pounding on her typewriter, she could be found smashing a tennis ball against the brick end of a block of garages beside her home. For hours on end, she perfected her lob, backhand and forehand shots – all the time spinning stories in her head.

Growing up, she dreamed of becoming an astronaut, tennis star, archaeologist, air stewardess or superhero. Her love of writing, however, drew her to a career in journalism. She worked as a newspaper reporter and since retiring is fulfilling her initial childhood dream – of becoming an author. When not writing, or burning her husband’s dinner, she can be spotted on the golf course, not hitting like Tiger.

Website: www.dakotadouglas.co.uk

Book Review: 5/5

I loved this book. Even as an adult, I was captured completely in the life endangering adventure of BrilliANT, HesitANT, and ExuberANT. Douglas does a fANTastic (I’m following in her footprints) job of writing children’s characters with which a young mind can easily identify. The adventure is enthralling, and the characters’ names are clever. Not only is it a delightful story of youthful adventure, but it gives a general overview of the inner workings of the ant kingdom, which Douglas cleverly names InhabitANT, without drawing away from the adventure and keeping her audience captivated.

Favorite Character: While HesitANT is the protagonist and hero of the story, I found ExuberANT (nick-name Zube) to be my favorite character. Zube is a fun loving ant who reminds me of the average 7 year old boy who wants to experience adventure and make his parents’ proud but somehow manages to find trouble. Or is it trouble that finds Zube? You be the judge and tell us what you think after reading ANTics by Dakota Douglas.

ANTics can be purchased by visiting any of the links below:

Amazon: http://viewBook.at/ANTics

Smashwords: http://tinyurl.com/87wpoac

Barnes & Noble: http://tinyurl.com/cbjpj92

Goodreads link: http://bit.ly/DakotaDouglasPK5wiO

If you would like a free review of your book or would like me to be the host of a stop on your virtual book tour, please click here to learn more.