Saturday, June 13, 2015

A wonderfully written, fantastical dragon adventure.

A wonderfully written, fantastical dragon adventure. A SILVER medal winner and highly recommended. The Wishing Shelf Awards

With the feedback from the Wishing Shelf Book Award beginning with this line, I knew it was going to be good. Heck, I had already won a silver medal, it must be good. But when I read the following comments, I couldn't wipe the stupid grin off my face.

Cairn: A Dragon Memoir, Author: Rebecca Ferrell Porter Star Rating: 5 stars # of Readers: 30 

 'This was the best book I read for The Wishing Shelf Book Award. It was exciting and the dragon was cool. I liked the way there were mythical monsters in the story and I liked how complex the dragon was. Not just a lump of meat with wings.' Girl, aged 15

 'What a wonderful story. I'm not a big fantasy fan but this is amazing. I thoroughly enjoyed reading every page. The story is good, the adventure is good but it is the delightful style of the narrative that I enjoyed the most. The author is blessed with the ability to mix adventure, original and inspiring characters and a hefty dollop of comedy.' Teacher, year 10

 'Anything with a dragon in it gets my vote. This was a lot of fun to read for the award. Plenty of mystery and plenty of dragon! Amazing cover too!' Boy, aged 14

 'A pretty complex plot here; the dragon is a worthy hero for this tale of fantasy and magic. The author works hard to keep the reader turning the page; the pacing is excellent as is the character and setting descriptions. I will now hunt out the first in the trilogy for my two lads. Very well done!' Parent
Stats Of the 30 readers: 30 would read another book by this author. 28 thought the cover was good or excellent. 21 thought the best part of the book was the plot. 9 felt the writing style was the best part. 

I'm blown away by the thoughts of both the teens and the adults. There really is something for everyone in this story. Why don't you find out what most appeals to you. I'd love to read your thoughts. 

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Bye Bye Babies

Day three, and I was sure the our little family of killdeer had moved away, but there they were, just outside our door, huddled under Mom until she got tired (or hungry) and walked away. All four babies were still alive and perky. We were really excited because as you can see, they were so close. 

The babies even came right up to the door. 

But then, they walked around the corner of the building toward the parking lot. Luckily, we have another large window there and we could watch the babies sorting through the rocks for insects, grubs, and worms. 

But did you notice? One of the babies is torturing us as he prances along the rim of the drainage grate. I was ready to run out there and save him. 


He seemed to grow tired of messing with us and followed Mom across the parking lot. Dad was already back in the grass where they had been huddling for the last two days, and babies 1 through 3 obediently followed him home, but not baby 4. 

Oh no. Baby 4 was suddenly fascinated with road.

I knew it was baby 4. He's been trouble from the beginning. 

Anyway, he ran back and forth. In and out of the street while Mom tried to get him to follow her to safety. He refused to listen to reason and darted across the road. You could almost see Mom's wings sagging as she followed him. A minute later, the rest of the family made the dangerous journey. 

I'll pause here to say that I don't work in a rural area. We were on the edge of a city, in an industrial park with a road pounded by big trucks between the babies and safety. Mom knew best, but oh no, baby 4 is trouble. 

Big Trouble.

Keep in mind the babies are running nearly as fast as the adults, but they have trouble hopping curbs. 

Baby 4 and another made it safely to the yard across the street, but two were frantically pacing the curb as truck after truck thundered past. I couldn't take it any longer. I ran outside and prepared to run in front of a semi truck. I'm serious. If one of the babies had left the curb and headed back, I was ready to run into traffic. I don't know how long I was out there, but finally, I couldn't take it any more. I left the babies to their fate. Mom and Dad were on it. I'm just a big, ugly human.

Now do you see where my ideas come from? If you think I relate strongly to a nest of baby birds, imagine what I can do inside the head of a dragon. Wait. 

Don't imagine, leave that to me and Read Cairn: A Dragon Memoir.

We haven't see the family since that morning. Sadly, this concludes the saga of the baby killdeer, but there's more baby adventures to come in a few days. 

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Killdeer Rescue Mission

Yesterday, I told you about the brooding and hatching of our little killdeer, but there's a lot more to this story. 

As we watched them scamper around the parking lot, pecking at specks on the asphalt and heeding parental instruction, we could see only three babies. We were concerned, but nature is harsh, and we enjoyed the babies we had. But as the day wore on, we began to notice the parents weren't leading the babies away from the big, ugly humans. We have a marshy area nearby and we assumed they would disappear, but they didn't. They stayed near the parking lot, chirping to the babies and cuddling them under their wings. (You should be able to count 3 sets of baby legs sticking out in the photo above)

I had a midday appointment and noticed Papa was standing over a drainage grate chirping while Mama had taken the babies a short distance away. I remembered we had been nervous when the babies ran toward the grate, but Mama had spread her wings and shooed them away. I ran my errand and returned to the office. I was pleased to see them in the same place, and I went inside. 

At the end of the day, nothing had changed. It was cold and blustery, and I couldn't understand they hadn't moved into the field where the grass would provide a modicum of shelter. Then it hit me. I dropped my things next to my car, and ran to the grate. Papa barely moved as I peered down between the iron work. The city had placed a thick catch cloth in the bottom of the grate and there, in the center, was baby four! I was sure it was dead, but then it moved! I ran back inside to get help because I couldn't lift the grate because the baby was an arm's length away and alive! With help we opened the grate and I laid down on my belly to reach in. There was no time to waste. It was so cold and the baby was still alive. 
(I think you can see how a tiny bird could fall into this death trap. The gap is nearly 2 inches wide)

I scooped him up. He was a light as a cotton ball and just as soft, but incredibly weak. His head flopped to the side, and after pausing for a second to show my friends, I moved onto the grass and laid him about 10 feet from the others who were hiding under Mama. I was sure he was minutes from death, but I thought at least the parents could move on now. I went home sad, but knowing I had released the little family. There are no photos of this event. It wasn't the time to snap photos, and my friends were stunned I had found the baby, but something inside screamed, "look in the grate." I was angry I hadn't looked earlier, but I couldn't change things. 

When I returned the next day, I drove into the parking lot very carefully, but I didn't see the little family. I don't know why, but I went to look for the dead baby, but he was gone. Surely a fox or raccoon had eaten him. 

An hour later, my friend arrived "Did you see the babies; there's four of them!" 

"No way." I ran outside and together we tried to count the tiny things, but they were hiding under Mama. First one ran out, then another, then Mama stood and walked away leaving baby three and FOUR standing there. Baby four was alive, and I had rescued him. We didn't stay long, but when we turned to go, Papa (they're slightly bigger) was right next to us, quiet 

So unlike a killdeer. I like to think he was saying "Thank you." 

Nobody would believe this story if I hadn't had two witnesses. 

They stayed nearby all day, and I have resolved that should they decide to nest in our rocks again, I'll cover the grate as soon as they hatch. 

But Wait. There's still more to this hatchling story. Come back tomorrow. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

A successful hatching

It's been a very active Spring here at the office. I've blogged about the surprise visit from the Sandhill Cranes, but I didn't tell you the longer and far more involved story of the Killdeer.

Killdeer are long-legged, shore birds living far from the shore. They run around open grasslands in pursuit of insects, worms, and grubs. Hmmm, a bit like a troll come to think of it. Anyway, killdeer nest on the ground. Their four eggs look like tiny pebbles and the bird is a master at blending into the environment. Imagine our delight when we stumbled upon a nest a few yards from the front door of our office. Mom and Dad took turns incubating the eggs through a cold, wet spring. They were utterly devoted to the task, and we left them alone as much as possible, but all kept watch for tiny movements signalling the arrival of the babies. 

Four weeks passed, and suddenly, we noticed the parents acting strangely. While one stayed on the nest, the other tried to lead us big, ugly humans away.  We knew what it meant. The babies had hatched. 
Can you see them all? Count four little heads between the long, blue legs. The didn't move as their instincts protected them. 

As much as we wanted to stay, we again left them alone. Then, the next morning, we heard a terrific fuss of tweaks outside the door, and I ran for my camera just a two babies scooted across the sidewalk trailing Momma's tail feathers. 

Aren't they cute? Miniatures of the parents, they blend into the surroundings and run nearly as fast as the parents. We watched them for a long time through the large windows overlooking the parking lot. Thankfully, only a few people work here, and they were relatively safe as long as they stayed away from the road. 

Come back tomorrow for more about the Baby Killdeer.

Monday, June 8, 2015

A few kind words can make someone's day

As an author, I pour my emotions, both good and not so good, onto the page. It can be frightening to send a piece of my soul out into the world, but I continue to do so. I can never know how my books will affect people, but once in a while, a reader is so moved they take a few minutes to write a review. I love them all, the good and not so good. So far, Cairn: A Dragon Memoir is spurring far more love than disappointment. (4.4 stars)  I thought I'd share a few lines from recent reviews.

Rosie had this to say about the half-mad Bone Master:
And an example of Rebecca’s humour as spoken by the Bone Master (terrific name):
‘Well, grab a pebble and pelt my hide. The legend come to life has returned. I thought you were dead, a rotting corpse on some far away battlefield, but here you are, still wearing your bones.”

Tequila Rose had this to say:

Once again, Porter has created such a vivid and detailed world with these beautiful mythical creatures. I love Leaf even more in this book than I did the first. If you are a fantasy lover, especially a lover of dragons, then this book is for you.

Anonymous said:
Cairn is an amazing story that carries you away to a fantasy world where you can almost feel the breeze and smell the air. This story really makes you feel as though you're right there with them. Rebecca Ferrell Porter is an amazing writer and story teller. She has an amazing gift and an imagination that is beyond creative. I enjoyed book one of this series so much that I was concerned this book would pale in comparison. I couldn't have been more wrong.

It is apparent Ms. Porter has a gift for expression and the skill to weave wonderful phrases into vivid images. I love the dragon fantasy; the colorful interpretation and unique vision the author offers this universally loved subject matter, is quite charming.

The characters are unforgettable and realistic especially Troika the "Promised One" of prophesy who finds his integration back into his dragon family filled with pitfalls and loneliness. Content in Elvsmyr with Leaf's family Gaven and Uredd, he suddenly finds himself struggling to contain his anger and insecurity. The Trolkin Leaf is a loyal friend who's fearless, stubborn and highly perceptive. Aurora's the Elemental who seems like an enigma, aloof and unknowable. Add to these captivating personalities the indomitable puffin Bay, the gentle fawn Fern, Troika's diplomatic, but iron-willed mother Wren and the volatile Sparrow. But it is the destructive behaviours of the cunning and bitter Pearl and the aggressive, tough but narrow-minded Quill that help build the intensity and suspense of a murder mystery as events unfold and tempers rise in the clans' bid for Guardianship.

 I thought I had the mystery figured out, but was surprised at the end to find I was wrong. I realized I had missed a few important clues.

I have also received emails from my readers that make me tear up. While I don't feel it's proper to share them here, let's just say that when someone suffering tells me that my story allowed them to leave their reality for a few joyous hours, I melt. 

Have you read Cairn?
Don't you wonder what you're missing?