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Florence Witkop_Earth Legend (1)

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Elle Olmstead, incognito goddess of the harvest, stows away on a space ship filled with 10,000 colonists on their way to a distant planet because she knows her special abilities are essential to keeping the plants alive that keep the colonists alive. She meets and becomes friends with Cullen Vail, who turns out to be head of Security, the very man who will arrest her if he learns she’s a stowaway. She’s caught, of course, and thrown in jail where her powers are useless. Soon plants begin to die and the colonists face starvation. But no one believes Elle when she says she can save them. Cullen is her only hope. Can she convince him she has special powers? Will he believe her? Will he release her so she can save 10,000 people? Or will everyone die?

Reviews:

A vivid world created on board The Destiny

EDITORIAL REVIEW

Georgina Parfitt

May, 26 2015

Earth Legend tells the story of Elle, a descendent of the goddess of harvest Ceres, who lives in a time of drastic upheaval as her own world is about to be traded in for a new colony on a distant planet.

With any story that uses a subject matter as dense and scientific as space travel, straddling the line between authenticity and imagination is difficult. I was a little concerned that the launch wasn’t more heavily protected and that that there wasn’t more of a screening process in place. But the initial conflict, of Elle and her cousins driving to the launch of Destiny, and trying to stow away as colonists, a group of genetic elite chosen to travel on the space ship Destiny and begin a new civilization on a far away planet, is surprisingly clearly and undramatically introduced to us. The author’s style is authoritative and reliable. From this point on, the reader is able to suspend her disbelief so even though we can’t verify the plausibility of the ship’s mission, it doesn’t matter.

But from then on the world building is simple and evocative. We get a clear picture of the atmosphere on board the Destiny, its expansive artificial settings, the darkness as “a good imitation of night” rather than night itself for example, and the vitality of the flora and fauna that Elle comes to care for so deeply. The outside world, and Elle’s outside connections, are less clear, but I don’t think this is a fault of the writing but a choice; it serves to make the world on board the ship seem more immersive and bubble-like. A romance plot as well as the high-stakes survival narrative pull us along expertly and with equal force.

The only aspect of the book that slightly jarred with me was the insertion of the mythological characters, but the author did a good job of convincing me in the dialogue between Elle and the Captain later on, in which the difference between myth and history is brought up, and we are able to see the characters grapple with this problem themselves.

Some sections of this romantic prose are gorgeously elongated and illustrated, the part where Elle looks deeply into Cullen’s eyes for the first time for example and notices worlds of colours and details in them – “his eyes weren’t solid black and that was close indeed because I saw clearly the pure night and lightning and thunder in them.” And the moment that Elle stops seeing the Destiny as a constrained temporary world and it becomes a full rich world, where she, at least on some level, belongs, is also really well done. “The Destiny was no longer a ship. It was a country and Center City was the capital, complete with streets and parks and it was beautiful,” she admits, as she becomes more and more invested in how she alone can determine the outcome of the Destiny’s mission.

Overall, this is a transporting read, with characters and a world that feel real and are well controlled by their author. I can imagine this as a pretty cool movie, too!

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wolf legend cover picture

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Wolf Legend is the second of the Legends trilogy. Each book in the trilogy is a complete story in itself and is only connected to the others in that it involves a legend that turns out to be true.

Jane, who dislikes wolves because they kill her livestock takes Buck Portman, wolf researcher and wildlife professor at a nearby college she attends, to an island to seek out the huge wolves of legend … the dire wolves of prehistoric times … boaters say they’ve seen there. She’s skeptical until a huge wolf runs through their camp and mentally connects with Jane and invites her to visit so they can sort out this strange mental phenomenon neither of them expected. Jane follows the wolf and Buck follows her into another world, another dimension, one populated by larger-than-life dangerous animals, including the wolves of the legend. Her mental connection to the alpha wolf is all that keeps them alive in this dangerous world and when they return, at the request of the alpha female, they take with them an injured wolf pup to be healed. The pup heals nicely… but as it grows, will it remain a pet or will it become a dangerous predator in a world where it doesn’t belong? As the attraction between Jane and the professor grows, so do the problems inherent in having a huge, prehistoric wolf in today’s world.

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novel... Spirit Legend... cover picture

 

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This is the first of the Legends trilogy. Each book in the trilogy is complete in itself and only connected to the others in that it involves a legend that turns out to be true.

Legends are fascinating. Most have a connection to reality, however tenuous. Some connections aren’t tenuous at all. Some legends are true.

Legend says a spirit lives in the lake in the center of a tract of wilderness purchased by Macallister Outdoors. While Charlie, forester or Macallister Outdoors, and Ian Macallister, are checking out the new property a horrific storm destroys the forest and the beaver dam that created the lake.  Ian decides to stay in order to repair the dam instead of returning to assess the damage to his business. Why is a nonexistent spirit more important than his business?  Then night falls and lights appear over the water.I love the north woods.  I love the wilderness in general and I’m glad I’ve been privileged to live in one of the forested regions of the USA.  Often, on walks through the woods, I’ve run across ponds or small lakes that are jewels in the forest.  The kind photographers visit in the autumn to create greeting cards showing a pond surrounded by beautiful trees.  And I’ve always thought that such ponds or tiny lakes could well be home to unknown spirits.  So now you know the inspiration for Spirit Legend.

The inspiration for the storm that isolated the characters in the wilderness and destroyed the lake the spirit lived in was the July 4, 1999 storm that was the largest blow-down ever recorded in North America.  It devastated much of northern Minnesota. It only lasted about 20 minutes but the winds were in excess of 90 miles per hour.  It’s effects will be felt for a lifetime.  We were sitting in the kitchen that day when we saw dark clouds approaching.  As they grew nearer, it looked as if the earth itself was being lifted into the sky.  We ran for the basement.  Though we were fine, the wilderness was changed dramatically.  Our daughter, who was on a train shortly after the storm, told of looking out the train window for hours at a time and seeing trees that had been flattened by the storm.I cannot even imagine how many miles of forest were destroyed.  Even now, years later, we occasionally still see remnants of that storm.
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WANTED: SHARPSHOOTER
As manager of a high-end upscale horse training facility in northern Minnesota, Maggie Squires does everything herself, thank you very much, along with Carlos, a bona fide horse whisperer, until a rogue puma threatens the horses and she must go against her gut and allow former Army Ranger sharpshooter Max Abrams, who is helping out while Carlos’ broken leg heals, to take charge of the hunt for the puma, the facility, and possibly Maggie herself.
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When Dreams Do Come True

 

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“When Dreams Do Come True” is a quick read about a woman who has a dream while wide awake in which she… and she alone… can save a lost child. But dreams aren’t real, right? Or are they?  The child is crying and asking her for help.  She can’t ignore her.  But if she goes with her  gut, ignores common sense, and steps into the dream in order to save the child, what will happen?  Will she be able to return to the real world once the child is safe?  Or will she cease to exist?  And what about the child’s good-looking father who is searching frantically for his daughter?  What will happen if they meet?

 

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short story the tree thing cover 1

 

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A short story about a member of the Olmstead family, descendants of Ceres, goddess of the harvest and fertility. What happens when love goes wrong? Will the seasons survive?

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flying birdClick here to read free from Smashwords

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A one-page short story written in the style of Native American ‘creation’ stories, this tale tells how birds first flew.

 

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nonfiction book write fiction like a pro cover

 

 

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Tips and techniques to improve your fiction. Short and concise advice to help writers at every stage of the writing game.

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short story the river boy cover picture take 3

 

 

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Short, dark fantasy about a girl who falls in love with the prince of a river.

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short story the goldfish pond cover

 

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A short fantasy about a boy who disappears while sailing across a goldfish pond on a ship made of an old barn door and the detective who searches for him.

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short story down from the mountain cover picture

 

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A dystopian short story originally published in The Talking Stick by the Jackpine Writers’ Bloc about a group of condemned prisoners on their way to be executed, not for anything they did wrong but because they are carriers of a virus.

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book cover universe

 

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The Eye of the Universe” is a short story that explores what happens when the world will end unless two lovers agree to part forever…. and one of them decides not to abide by those terms.

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