Title: The Orchard of Hope
Author Name: Amy Neftger
Short Bio: Amy Neftzger published her first fiction book Conversations with the Moon in 2003. Since then she has published books for both children and adults, including All that the Dog Ever Wanted, Bedtime Stories for Dogs, Bedtime Stories for Cats, Leftover shorts, Confessions From a Moving Van, The Orphanage of Miracles, and The Ferryman. She lives in Nashville with her family and pet gargoyle Newton.
Long Bio:Amy Neftzger (born June 23) is an American researcher and author who has published fiction books, non-fiction books, business articles, and peer review research. Her works have reached an international audience.
Amy was born in Illinois and graduated from Elk Grove High School in Elk Grove Village, Illinois. She received her bachelors degree from the University of North Florida in Jacksonville, Florida and her Masters in Industrial/ Organizational Psychology from Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She graduated from both Universities with honors.
She has written numerous business and journal articles, but her fiction works have been the most commercially successful. In 2003 she published Conversations with the Moon, which was also translated into Korean and published in South Korea. In 2005 she collaborated with her husband, guitarist Tyra Neftzger on a children's book called "All that the Dog Ever Wanted." The book was designed to introduce children to jazz music at an early age and included a CD sampler of jazz tunes. In 2007 she worked as an editor on a business fable called "The Damned Company." She's also written "Confessions From a Moving Van" and "Leftover Shorts."
In 2013, Amy released her first Young Adult book called "The Orphanage of Miracles." The sequel to this book, "The Orchard of Hope" is scheduled for release in June of 2014, and The Ferryman (adult fiction) is scheduled for release in October, 2014.
Author Links - The link for any or all of the following...
Tags/Labels: middle grade, fantasy, gargoyles, children’s literature, magic, sorcerer, miracles, hope, insirpational
Book Genre: Middle grade fiction/ fantasy
Publisher: Fields of Gold Publishing, Inc (Imprint Fog Ink)
Release Date: June 23, 2014
“Hope is never gone, but it can be eaten alive. “
A quest to save hope.
A kingdom under a spell.
A wizard in training.
A gargoyle with a sweet tooth.
The sequel to The Orphanage of Miracles is filled
with engaging characters, magic, adventure, and
unusual circumstance. It’s a story that will
both entertain and inspire the reader.
Kelsey, a strong-willed and high spirited young girl, embarks upon another adventurous quest - this time to save hope, which is being stolen from the orchard. While the kingdom is still under the spell of the evil sorcerer who distorts reality in order to gain control, the king begins training someone who he believes can ultimately defeat the sorcerer: a young boy named Nicholas. Revisit some of your favorite characters or meet them for the first time in this volume.
Excerpt One (300-500 or so Words):
Hope is never gone. But it can be eaten alive, and that’s exactly what was happening in the orchard. The king had told them about the problem before, but the problem wasn’t going away. In fact, the problem was getting bigger and becoming critical, and the king was certain that Kelsey could help. She was excited about the trip and looking forward to the journey to the orchard, wherever that might be and however long it would take.
It wasn’t as if Kelsey hadn’t enjoyed the past 18 months of training with the king’s army. The battle conditioning had been a wonderful experience for her, but now she was ready for action. Too much time spent in one place had made her restless. When the king first mentioned the quest, Kelsey had jumped up out of her seat with excitement.
“How do we save hope?” Kelsey asked with undisguised eagerness. After an awkward pause she sat down again and waited for an answer. Her fingers gripped the top of the thick walnut table where she was seated in the king’s study. Every wall in this room was covered with bookshelves from floor to ceiling, except for the places where there were windows, which also stretched the height of the room.
“That’s a question to which we do not yet have an answer. It’s a bit of a tricky situation,” the king said as he smiled. He was a tall figure with broad shoulders and flowing red hair. Although he ruled this land and was respected by his opponents in battle, Kelsey often thought about him as something of a father figure. His stature conveyed his strength, but his eyes and his smile hinted at the tenderness that Kelsey always saw in him. Of course, she had known him under different circumstances before she knew he was the king. In fact, he had been traveling in disguise and appeared to be a small mute orphan that Kelsey had attempted to help. Only later did she learn his true identity.
“Why don’t you simply fence the orchard?” asked Nicholas, who was a young boy about the same age as Kelsey. He sat upright in his chair, as if paying attention to a lesson.
“I wish the solution were that easy,” the king replied solemnly, “but we don’t fully understand the extent of the situation. Implanting obstacles, such as a fence, will solve the problem only if it’s a simple one. However, this issue is complicated.”
Excerpt Two (500-800 or so Words):
His hair was white, but he had a very long green beard the color of moss, and he smelled of earth. It wasn’t a dirty smell, as if something were rotting. Instead, it was a rich smell that reminded Nicholas of the forest. It had the scent of both new and old things that intermixed in the present air. The fragrance seemed relevant, but Nicholas couldn't explain why.
“Hello, Sir,” Nicholas said politely.
“How much time do we have?” Moss asked.
“I don’t know,” Nicholas replied, since he wasn’t sure how long his lessons were scheduled to last.
“Then I’ll need to teach you to tell time,” Moss concluded. “Have you ever seen a clock before?”
Megan winked at Nicholas and then slowly drew a circle in the air. Nicholas understood why she had said that genius was circular, but he still wasn’t sure that Moss was a genius. But he was certainly odd.
“I’ve seen a clock, sir,” Nicholas answered.
“Good. Then telling time won’t be quite so foreign to you.”
Moss rapidly made his way across the room to an old clock and brought it back to where Nicholas was standing. The old man set the clock down on the table and told Nicholas to study the hands. Nicholas first glanced at Megan and then at Moss before turning his attention to the walnut clock that stood before him. He watched a small pendulum erratically swaying from side to side as it settled into a regular rhythm. Then he looked at the hands, which were shaped like little gloves with the palms turned outward and fingers held stiffly together.
“How many hands are there?” Moss asked as he tapped a pencil on the back of a chair.
“Two,” Nicholas quickly replied.
“Look again,” Moss insisted as he stopped the tapping motion. Nicholas glanced at Megan, who motioned for him to follow directions.
Nicholas stared at the face of the clock, and as he did, the hands turned to wings. They were long slender wings that stretched out elegantly in a slight curve as they moved slowly around in circles. Then they faded from his sight.
“How many hands are there?” Moss asked again.
“None,” Nicholas replied as he stared at the face of the clock with no hands on it. He blinked forcefully a few times, as if attempting to wake himself up. He was certain there were hands or wings on the clock only a few moments ago. Now there was nothing but a smooth round disk with numbers around the edges. There wasn’t even a notch in the center for attaching the hands.
“Better,” Moss replied thoughtfully. “But look again.”
“He’s trying too hard,” said a very deep resonating voice from somewhere near the floor.
“No, he’s not. He’s doing fine,” Moss replied to the voice without looking away from the clock. The voice, however, had already distracted Nicholas, who looked down near his feet to see a small stone gargoyle staring up at him. The creature was about two feet tall and made of granite, but his movements weren’t rigid as he turned his neck to look up at Nicholas.
“Newton!” Moss said with annoyance in his voice, “You’re distracting him!”
“He needs distracting,” the gargoyle replied as he gracefully leapt up onto the table, using his wings to lift himself through the air. He landed on his feet and sat next to the clock. He flapped his reptilian-like stone wings a few more times and then pulled them in close to his body.
“He does not need distracting,” Moss insisted with emphasis. “We’re in the middle of a lesson here.”
“My name is Nicholas,” Nicholas said politely.
“I’m Newton, the castle’s finest gargoyle,” the creature replied as he extended a claw with long sharp talons. Nicholas grasped it and did his best to provide a firm handshake without cutting himself. Newton then turned to greet Megan with a high five. He was small, but he was also formidable enough to meet Megan’s powerful greeting without being shaken in the least.
“You’re the castle’s only gargoyle,” Moss replied flatly.
“Only and finest. They’re not mutually exclusive categories,” Newton explained with confidence.
“Why haven’t I seen you before?” Nicholas asked.
“I belong to Moss, so I’m really more of a gargoyle in residence when Moss is in the castle.”
“You belong to Moss? Like a pet?”
“Sort of. He brought me to life,” Newton explained. “Technically, I could leave him — but I have a strong sense of loyalty ... although I sometimes feel that it may be misguided.”
“Newton, we’re not here to give Nicholas your life history. Some other time, please,” Moss said. “Now, can we get on with our lesson?”
“Sure,” Newton replied, then he turned to Nicholas. “We’ll do lunch.”
About the Author:
S. K. Gregory is an author, editor and blogger. She currently resides in Northern Ireland.
“Description begins in the writer’s imagination, but should finish in the reader’s.”