Saturday, June 24, 2023

The Deliverers 4: Chapter 5--Keller Tavern

The tavern looked like a large, rambling colonial house. It had several brick chimneys that rose up above the gray slate roof tiles at odd intervals. The two story building was clad in white clapboards. Green shutters flanked each of the many windows that looked out on the street. A square, painted sign depicting a rider on a horse stood on a post in front. Eric still could not believe how unchanged it was from his own century.

A sturdy carriage with a team of horses harnessed to it stood in the road in front of the tavern. The driver looked down at Eric and Kate disinterestedly as they went through the gate in the white picket fence that lined the road and approached the large green front door. Eric turned the worn brass doorknob and pushed the door open.

The hum of leisurely conversation and the slightly sweet scent of pipe tobacco washed over them as they stepped inside the foyer. Directly in front of them was a staircase leading to the guest bedrooms. On their right was a closed door. To their left through a wide, open doorway they could see tables and chairs and a fire crackling in a field stone fireplace beyond. It was from this room that the talk and the tobacco smoke emanated.

Suddenly, there was a banging and scraping from upstairs and three men in embroidered silk coats, white wigs and tri-corner hats came scrambling down the staircase. Pushing past Eric and Kate, they pulled open the door and hurried out to the carriage. As they left, one of them called back over his shoulder. “Hurry with that baggage, boy. We have to be in Hartford by dark.”

Eric and Kate turned and saw a trunk and several other pieces of luggage with legs teetering down the stairs. “Coming good sirs!” the baggage called. Under its breath it muttered, “If you swine carried your own bags, you might get out of here all the quicker.”

“Uh, hey, need a hand?” Eric asked.

The baggage stopped in the middle of the flight of stairs and a boy’s face peeped around the edge. He looked to be about the same age as Eric and Kate. His brown hair was tied back in a small pony tail. Stray wisps trailed across his pale face.

“Oh, hello, didn’t see you there,” he said. “Yes, I would gladly accept a hand, as many as you can spare. Thank you.”

Eric and Kate both relieved the boy of part of his load. Together they carried it all out to the carriage. Two of the men had already entered and settled themselves. The other waited for them at the rear, hands on hips.

“Make haste. We are already behind schedule thanks to the muddle at breakfast!”

The boy began strapping the luggage to the rear of the carriage with large leather straps and brass buckles. Apparently he did not do it fast enough to suit the man who pushed him aside and fastened the buckles himself. After tugging on the load, he gave a nod of satisfaction and alighted into the carriage without even looking at them. He gave a shout to the driver who snapped the reins and they were off with a pounding of hooves and a cloud of dust.

The boy snorted as he watched them go. “Humph, not so much as a farthing tip, ungrateful wretches.” He turned to them. “Hello, I am grateful for your help. My name’s Mathias. Welcome to Keller Tavern.”

Sunday, June 11, 2023

Another Cover Reveal

 Hi everybody! I hope all of you are doing well and enjoying the start of what looks like a great summer! Things have been busy here at Deliverers Publishing Headquarters, aka White Owl Manuscripts. This week, I received the final artwork and the map for book 2 in the Deliverers series, Order of the Crystal Lion. Illustrator Emily Hurst Pritchett did another fantastic job on the book, just as she did with Sharky and the Jewel.

With all the artwork complete, that meant that I had a boatload of work for myself this weekend. I am happy to report that I successfully formatted the interior and the cover for the paperback and Kindle versions as well as a brand new hardcover version of the book. The updated Kindle version is now live on Amazon (see link above), and the paperback version should be up in a few days. The hard cover will be available late next week or early next, depending on whether or not the Amazon formatting police find anything out of spec.

Oh yes, I also was able to put together a cover reveal video featuring a behind the scenes look at how Emily colors her artwork on the computer. Take a look and get an eyeful of the new cover at the same time:

In going through this book almost line by line after not having read it in many years, I've gained a new appreciation of the book. At the time it came out, all I saw were the flaws, but there are way more successes than failures in the book. I have a sneaking suspicion that I was being too hard on myself, perhaps because in my mind nothing could measure up to the first book. 

So, for those of you who want to see the cover right away, here it is (but please go back and watch the video later):

Once I have a minute, perhaps next weekend, I plan to make an updated book trailer and post it to YouTube. 

So, now it's on to Book 3. Emily is already reading the book. I have so many thoughts as to what would make a good cover that I can't pin a single one down. I think I'll see what Emily suggests. It was her idea to focus on The Machine, and it turned out great.

So, good bye for now. Please let me know what you think of the cover in the comments below.