Sample Chapter – Wizard’s Tales – A Summons

Restoration Book I

Wizard’s Tales

A Summons

The arrow flew straight to its mark. With a grunt, the stag charged off into the underbrush with the young wizard in close pursuit. Eran soon found the dying beast and dispatched it with a well-placed thrust of his dagger. He smiled as he thought of the savory meal that he and the other residents of the small cottage at the top of Crystalcrest would enjoy this evening. There would be plenty to smoke for storage since the animal was a big one.
After field dressing the animal he began dragging the carcass down to the trail to his waiting steed.
Eran loved the hunt. He had spent years honing his skills with the bow and prided himself on his skill.
After reaching his horse, he slung the stag across its back. The cottage was close, so he determined that he would just walk the horse along, leading it by the bridle.
As he walked along his heel caught on a protruding rock and he fell. He felt something in his ankle snap and a searing pain radiated up along his calf. He tried to stand but could not. He sat back down. The distance back to the cottage now increased in his mind. He did not want to crawl.
He lay back on the ground, closed his eyes and opened the channel that he had used so many times before. She would be here soon.

Keera paused as she tended her herb garden. She reveled in the potpourri of fragrances exuded by the multitude of flowers. She brushed her hand against the mints, releasing their delicious scent. The hum of bees filled the quiet summer evening as they tended their duties among the blossoms. Butterflies flickered about. She could hear the cries of the hawk as it flew in circles overhead in its relentless search for prey. She could hear Aunt Jara humming a sweet melody as she tended the vegetable nearby. She arose and turned. The view, though she had seen it many times, still caught her breath. The River Fleet fell into its valley, cascading across the rocks as it fled its source below the Crystalcrest just a short distance above.
Aris and Turis were away, in that far away cottage on the road to Cleery in Torne. Aris was completing his studies as a Wizard of the Golden Star. She sighed when she thought of him. Though raised as brother and sister, she knew that they were not. She wondered if he thought of her as his sister. She hoped that he did not.
A familiar feeling touched her mind. Eran. He needed her. She closed her eyes and allowed his thoughts to find her. She could see him lying along the road, pain flooding his body. She opened her eyes and glanced towards Jara.
“I have to go, Aunt Jara. Eran needs me.”
Jara turned and glanced at Keera.
“What is wrong, my dear?”
“I don’t know. He is lying on the trail below the cottage. He is in pain.”
She hastened towards the road.

Jara stood watching the girl walk away. She was still uneasy about the girl’s ability. Jara had trained Keera as a healer. She had used the knowledge to combine it with that other skill that appeared as a natural gift. Jara knew that it was not a natural gift, though. Her mother’s ordeal at the hands of the Mind Readers had influenced her and had absorbed some of the magic of that forbidden order. She and Turis had managed to hide her ability from the Grand Council of the Five Orders. The training as a healer had been a ruse, a cover for her real abilities. The skill involved forbidden magic. Vella and her Order of the Mind Reader’s near victory over the Council had reinforced the need for the ban. The members of that sordid order all died at the Battle of the Crystal so many years before. All died, except Vella. She had disappeared. Nuvan Gra, a Wizard of the Golden Star, had taken up the quest to find her. So far, his hunt had been unsuccessful.
She wiped her hands on her apron, stood up and hastened to follow Keera. If Eran was hurt, Keera might need her help.
Descending the road, she soon found Keera kneeling beside her brother. She watched as the girl bade her brother to lie flat on the road. She touched her brother’s forehead and closed her eyes. After a few moments, she removed her hand, stood up and took her brother’s hand. The young man arose and stepped gingerly on his foot.
“It is better, Keera. Thank you.”
“The bone will still be weak for a couple of days, Eran. It will be best if you do not put your full weight on it. I will help you mount the horse. You must ride back to the cottage. I will find a suitable branch from the forest for you to use as a crutch and we can prepare this stag.”
Eran smiled and allowed her to help him into the saddle and the three returned to the cottage.

Morning broke across the valley, the deep shadows of the lower elevations melting away as the sun crept higher in the sky. Keera glanced at the western sky. The sun’s light would not last long. Dark clouds were appearing on the western horizon. She glanced up to see Eran, hobbling on his makeshift crutch, and coming out of the house. His face lit with pleasure when he saw her.
“It is a wonderful morning, Keera.”
“For not much longer, I fear, Eran. There are storm clouds to the west.”
Eran’s eyes flicked to the western sky behind her. “Yes, the upper slopes of Crystalcrest are already under assault from the rain.”
“I have only to pick a few more sprigs of these herbs, Eran. They are so much more fragrant when gathered in the morning.”
Eran lay his crutch on the ground. “I don’t think I need this anymore. My foot feels fine. I will help you carry those baskets into the cottage.”
Keera opened her mouth to protest when she saw a flickering bird gliding high in the sky above her. The hawk whose cries she had heard the night before circled above the bird.
“A yuhma bird is here, Eran. It was probably a message from Turis. That hawk may get it before it can deliver its message.”
Eran turned and looked up to see the hawk begin its dive. He dropped the crutch, withdrew his wand and conjured a whirlwind that spun the bird around, disorienting it.
The confused hawk fell to the earth, unhurt. Eran knew that the hawk would awaken, disoriented, after he had retrieved the yuhma bird.
He lifted his hand to allow the yuhma bird to light on his finger. He unrolled the parchment and studied the writing it contained.
“It is from Turis. He requests that we come to his cottage in Torne immediately.”
“I would love to go, Eran. I have never been to that cottage.”
“I don’t think it is good for us both to leave.”
“I want to go, Eran.”
“You would leave Aunt Jara alone.”
A voice from behind them said, “I will be fine here. The two of you should go.”
Eran turned to face Jara, who was standing behind him. “If you think you will be fine here?”
“I will be. Does Turis say why he wants you?”
“No, he doesn’t. It just says we should leave as soon as I can.”
“Give me that note,” said Keera. She held the note in her hand, running her fingers over the parchment.
“Something worried him when he wrote it,” she said. “I can sense his concern in the parchment, but I cannot tell what bothered him.
“Then the two of you should go right away,” said Jara. “Whatever it was is substantial. It takes something serious to worry Turis.”
The brother and sister began walking towards the cottage to prepare for their journey.
Jara said, “Just be careful, Keera. Do not let anyone see your ability.”
Keera smiled and nodded. The two young people disappeared into the cottage.
Jara watched them go inside the building. She felt uneasy. She did not have Keera’s ability. She did not need it. Rumors of events inside Torne had reached her ears, even here at this remote spot. There were events that involved the brother and sister’s uncle Ruther. Turis had feared that something would erupt. Perhaps that something was happening now.

Sample Chapter – Kingdoms in Chaos – Epic Fantasy Novel

Kingdoms in Chaos

Paul R. Wonning

The Fall of Torne

Kingdoms in Chaos

King Nyle Lithian watched his army’s destruction from the castle tower. Red dust swirled and began to settle over his beloved kingdom, covering it with its unwholesome stench. Gwaum’s roar resounded across the valley like nightmarish thunder.
“Gwaum has beaten us,” he said to his First Minister, Niram Trum.
Trum’s voice trembled with the fear his eyes showed as he asked,”What shall we do, Sire?”
The King’s simple reply, “Flee,” sent the minister scurrying away.
They descended the stone steps to the king’s court. Queen Betsa stood near the window overlooking the courtyard, their young son Ruther by her side. She turned as the King entered the chamber.
“Gwaum has defeated the army,” she said, in a terror shrouded voice.
“We must get out of the castle,” the King asserted.
With a glance at Niram, he said, “Gather the court aides and their families and go to the dungeons.”
The castle walls rumbled. A column gave way and the stones it supported fell, filling the chamber with dust and debris. Prince Ruther’s sobs mingled with the crash of falling stones.
Niram’s eyes glazed as terror almost overcame him. He cried in alarm, “The buildings will bury us, Sire.”
“Just do as I order.” The king said, his voice harsh with urgency, impelling the terror-stricken Niram to act. He disappeared into a corridor.
The King walked to a tapestry emblazoned with the royal coat of arms that covered the wall behind the throne. Pulling the tapestry aside, he pressed a dark-colored stone. A trap door in the floor fell away, revealing a dark passage with stone steps. Cool, dank smelling air swept up from its inky depths. His eyes swept to the Queen. “Go, my darling. Take the Prince. You know the way.”
The Queen’s dark eyes lingered on her husband. “What will you do?”
The king withdrew his scabbard from its place on the wall and belted it on. He pulled on a chain that hung from his neck. A crystal hung from the chain, a crystal that glowed with a silver radiance. He handed it to the Queen. The radiance dimmed.
“I now pass the rule of the kingdom to you, Betsa. You must find a way to save our son, Ruther and sustain the kingdom. I will not give up the kingdom to Gwaum without defending it.”
“You will die, Nyle. Do not do this rash thing, my husband. Escape with us. We need you.”
“I will not hide like a rat while this creature ravages my kingdom, killing my subjects. My duty is to my people. Take the boy. The House of Lithian will survive. Here is the Star of Torne. Put it on.”
She put the necklace around her neck. As the crystal touched her skin, the radiance returned. She was now the ruler of Torne.
Another bellow from the monster boomed across the city. Portions of the floor fell away and the wall of the king’s chamber collapsed. Red dust drifted into the room. A putrid stink filled the air.
“Go,” he commanded.
The Queen, tears brimming in her eyes, paused. She threw her arms around her king, husband and lover. Their hands clasped and they bathed themselves in the glow of one last kiss. One last time he felt her smooth skin. Then he let go.
“Go, Betsa. Take our son and flee.”
The queen took Ruther’s hand and she led them to the passage.
“Papa, Papa, come with us,” the boy said, a sob punctuating his plea.
“Go, my son. Someday you will return as King.”
More stones fell and the Queen pulled the Prince behind her as her feet clattered down the stone steps towards the dungeon. The king watched them. A moment later a stone fell, crashing into the floor, covering the passage. He could feel the palace shudder. He darted into the hall. Stones lay scattered around the passage, blocking his route. He turned and ran the other way. Threading his way through the destruction, he found another stair. Down he went. Upon reaching the bottom, he kicked at the door that led outside. A moment after he emerged into the courtyard. His feet pumped against the cobblestone street as he ran from the castle. The acrid smell of smoke choked him as he ran. A loud crash announced its fall. He turned to see his once fine palace now a heap of rubble, dust arising from its remains. A moment later, he turned and ran towards the hill, sword drawn. All around he could hear the sound of screams and moans of people caught in their fallen buildings. Fires erupted from many of the rubble piles as cooking fires spread to the wooden support beams. Smoke billowed across the rubble-filled streets, choking him and burning his eyes. People milled about, confused and terrified.
“Run for the hills,” the king said, his voice ringing out above the din. “Save yourselves.”
The creature, his task of destroying the city complete, strode into the streets. His eye roamed about, seeking more morsels for his insatiable belly. The king stopped.
Gwaum’s eyes fixed on the King’s royal garb.
“So, I have found the king,” he said, an evil smile crossing his lips. “I love the taste of royal flesh.”
His hand descended towards the king. The King drew his sword and stabbed at the palm. Gwaum bellowed in pain and his red, hot blood coated the King’s upturned face.
Gwaum’s eye burned in anger. “You will die now.”
“You will not get me without more of your vile blood staining my land.”
Gwaum hesitated. He did not wish to fight this man. He had no desire to shed more of his own blood. Gwaum did not like pain. He pointed at a buring pile of rubble near the king with his red finger. The fire flashed, followed by a sharp crack. Flamed leaped from a nearby fire and engulfed the king. His body fell to the ground, charred and smoking.
“I prefer my meat raw,” said Gwaum as he picked the king’s body from the stone street. “But you I will eat cooked.”
He dangled the body over his mouth for a second, and then dropped it into his maw.
The Kingdom of Torne thus ended.

High above the hills above the city a group of people hurried along a narrow path. Queen Betsa stopped for an instant to survey their surroundings. Below them, they could see the fires of the city of Cleery as it burned. Gwaum stalked the city. On occasion, he stooped to pick up some morsel to feed on. Screams, muted by distance, rose in a terrible shroud of sound from the destruction.
Ignoring the terror that slithered down her spine, she turned to search the rocky bluff that towered over the trail. A familiar landmark teased her eye. Pressing against a rock a rumbling sound announced the opening of a dark crevice in the bluff. She pushed the young prince into the dark opening. “Go, Ruther. I will come soon.”
“Enter the crevice,” she said to the line of people behind her. “Go now, before Gwaum turns to see us.”
One by one, the refugees scurried into the crevice. As the last one entered, she stepped inside.
Servants had lit the torches and they lent their smoky odor to the already acrid air. She pressed a stone besides the opening and the crevice closed. She looked at the Prince as he stood facing her. A torch flickered behind him, shrouding his face in darkness.
She closed her eyes for one moment. By now, the king had surely met his fate. This morning she had awakened full of hope that the wizards would prevail and that they would defeat the monster. The horror of their fall and then the crushing defeat of the last of the king’s army changed her life forever.
Queen Betsa opened her eyes. She was now the leader of her people and this dark cavern was her realm.

Gardener’s Guide to Growing Cucumbers

Gardener’s Guide to Growing Cucumbers

Gardener’s Guide to Growing Cucumbers is an excellent vegetable garden guide for the garden beginner as well as the veteran gardener.
Vegetable gardeners will find sections on growing, freeing, storing and canning cucumbers. Planting, culture, harvest and storage of the cucumbers is covered as well.

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Other Books in the Series

Gardeners’ Guide to Growing the Tomato
Gardeners Guide to Growing Green Beans
Gardener’s Guide to Growing Potatoes in the Vegetable Garden
Gardeners Guide to Growing Cabbage in the Vegetable Garden
Gardeners Guide to Growing to the Carrot
Gardener’s Guide to the Cucumber
Gardener’s Guide to Growing Sweet Potatoes
Gardener’s Guide to Growing Onions in the Vegetable Garden
Gardeners’ Guide Book Growing and Harvesting Lettuce
Gardener’s Guide to Growing Zuchini and Summer Squash
Gardeners’ Guide to Growing Peas
Gardener’s Guide to the Pepper
Gardener’s Guide to the Pumpkin and Winter Squash
Gardeners’ Guide to Growing Sweet Corn
Gardener’s Guide to Growing Beets
Gardener’s Guide to Growing Cauliflower
Gardener’s Guide to Growing Turnips and Rutabagas
Gardener’s Guide to Growing Broccoli
Gardener’s Guide to the Radish
Gardener’s Guide to Growing Garden Salad Greens
Gardener’s Guide to Those Other Brassica Crops
Gardeners Guide to Growing Vegetables


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Sample Chapter – Gardener’s Guide to the Raised Garden Bed – Garden Soil Types – A Quick Soil Primer

Sample Chapter
Gardener’s Guide to the Raised Garden Bed
Garden Soil Types – A Quick Soil Primer

Soil is the top several inches of the earth’s crust. Soil is necessary for civilization to exist, as it supports the plant life that sustains forests, plains, agriculture and other habitats. Five basic factors influence the formation of soil, the bedrock, climate, local fauna and flora, topography and the passage of time. The gardener will find three layers of soils underlying their garden, the topsoil, and subsoil and parent material. The parent material is the minerals that originally formed the soil. The subsoil is the intermediate level between topsoil and the parent material and will have some qualities of both. The topsoil is the part that concerns most gardeners.
In the Dirt
On average a soil will contain about twenty-five percent air, forty-five percent mineral matter, twenty-five percent water and about five percent organic matter. These levels can vary according to soil type, location, rainfall and other factors. The average soil will include a number of organisms that live in it. These include earthworms, grubs, fungus, bacteria and plant roots.
Topsoil
Topsoil is the first layer of soil, and is the major concern of the gardener. Topsoil can range from a thin layer over the underlying subsoil, or several inches. Good garden topsoil can contain between two and ten percent organic matter. A good garden soil must have the following qualities:
Good aeration, to allow root penetration and allow oxygen to penetrate the soil
Porous enough to allow drainage, but not so porous as to allow soils to dry quickly
Moisture retentive
Soil Composition
Improving Topsoil
The major effort of the gardener should be to work constantly to improve the topsoil quality and fertility. Fertile, loose topsoil will produce healthy, fast growing plants. Healthy plants will suffer less insect damage, have fewer diseases and produce top quality vegetables with maximum nutrition. Poor management of topsoil can cause them to erode away quickly, exposing the less desirable subsoil.
The gardener will encounter six basic types of soils:
Loam
Clay
Silt
Chalk
Sand
Saline
Note, there are other soil types, but these are the most common.

Loam
Loam is the ideal type of soil for most types of agriculture. This soil will have about equal quantities of sand, silt and clay. It will also boast a high organic content. A good loam has all the qualities listed above, will warm quickly in the spring, be easy to cultivate and is ideal for the greatest number of plant types. The gardener constantly replenishes the organic, humus content of the soil. The gardener can use his fingers to test loam soil. The soil should be dark in color that is smooth to the feel and have a slightly gritty feel. A ball formed by pressing the soil together should crumble easily.
Clay
Clay particles are quite fine and create a tightly packed soil. Clay is high in nutrients and retains water well. It will take clay soils longer to warm in the spring and since these soils have good water retention, they tend to dry out slow. A clay soil will form a ball that does not crumble easily. Damp or wet clay soil is sticky to the touch. It is harder to cultivate, especially when wet as it has a tendency to stick to garden tools. Clay soils will grow good plants, as it is fertile. Improve using mulches, compost or green manure crops to add organic matter. Adding organic matter will also improve drainage.
Silt
Silty soils are silky to the touch and will leave a soil stain on the fingers. These soils heat up slowly in the spring. These soils are quite fertile and have excellent water retention. However, because of this trait, they compact easily and sometimes plants have a hard time extracting nutrients from the dense soil structure. Some plant roots will rot in these soils. If better drainage can be achieved, possibly by using raised beds, silt soils can make an excellent garden site. As with other soils, use compost, mulches and green manures to add organic content.
Sand
Made up of quartz, silica and other minerals, sandy soils feel gritty to the touch. Sandy soils allow water to drain away quickly and escape by evaporation. They tend to be low in fertility. It will not form a ball when rolled between the hands. Plants have difficulty using any nutrients in the soil, as they drain away quickly. These soils do warm up in the spring quickly and are easy to cultivate. Adding compost, using green manures and mulches can increase the quality of a sandy soil.
Peaty Soils
Peaty soils are dark and have a spongy, damp feel when compressed. Its high acidic content leads to slower decomposition of plant matter, leading to lower soil fertility. These soils also heat up quickly in the spring and have excellent water retention. Because they tend to stay wet, the gardener should supply some drainage like tiling it or use raised beds. Using lime or wood ashes can raise the ph level. Add compost or manure to increase soil fertility. These soils make excellent garden soils.
Quick Soil Type Test
Pour a trowel full of soil into a glass jar. Fill with water and shake well. Allow this to settle for several hours. In clay and silt soils, the water will remain cloudy. A layer of soil particles will form on the bottom of the jar. In peaty soils, several particles will float on the surface, some will sink to the bottom and the water will remain cloudy. In sandy soils, the water will be clear and a layer of sand will form at the bottom of the jar. A loam soil will leave the water mostly clear. The bottom should have several layers of soil particles on the bottom of the jar.
Soil PH
The ph scale indicates whether a soil is acid, neutral or alkaline. The ph range scale runs from 0 – 14, with soils below 7 classified as acidic and over 7 as alkaline. Most vegetable crops prefer a range between 5.5 and 7.0. The gardener can use a test kit from a garden supply store to test the ph. Use lime, or wood ashes to correct soil that is too acidic. Use aluminum sulfate to correct alkaline soils. Use care using these materials, as it is easy to overcorrect.

Sample Chapter – Gardener’s Guide to the Raised Garden Bed – Choosing the Garden Site

Sample Chapter 
Gardener’s Guide to the Raised Garden Bed
Choosing the Garden Site

Most vegetables require a minimum of six to eight hours of direct sunshine, good airflow and good drainage. Choose a site that will provide those conditions when planning your garden. Good airflow is also important to help prevent fungal diseases. Ideally, it should also be near a water source to make irrigation easier. The garden tool storage shed should also be nearby, if possible. Placing the garden near the home, if it can be done without the home shading the garden, is also desirable. This is especially true if it can be near the kitchen. Planting near black walnut trees is generally not recommended, as the tree produces a substance called juglone, which is toxic to most of the plants you want to grow. Every part, roots, leaves and nuts, contain this substance, so make sure you do not use walnut leaves as a mulch in the garden. 

Ten Funny Stories Complete Collection

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Ten Funny Stories Complete Collection
The ten short stories in this humorous collection will send your funny bone into overdrive. 
Sample Chapter
Softbound – $6.99
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The Adventures of Toby and Wilbur Complete Short Story Collection

The Adventures of Toby and Wilbur Complete Short Story Collection

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Trouble delights in following Toby and Wilbur around. These two delightful bears drift from one adventure to another in these surprising and funny bear stories.
These nine great short stories about Toby and Wilbur’s funny adventures in the forests of Indiana will captive and amuse you.
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Also in this Series
The Ricky Huening Stories
The Adventures of Toby and Wilbur Complete Short Story Collection
Ten Funny Stories Complete Collection
Tall Stories From the Liar’s Bench
Ten Science Fiction Short Stories 
The Flea Market Tales
Ten Tales for the Campfire
Ten Fantastic Fantasy Tales

Author’s Note – These are not children’s tales.
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