Over the Mountain and Back
by Marie Aster
With his father gone missing and his mother losing her grip on reality, Peter Bailey’s life is nopicnic. Peter’s gray existence changes unexpectedly after he takes his new snowboard for a ride in the mountains of Colorado and is stunned to find himself in Transadonia – a hidden world
that coexists alongside with the Earth.
Lara Grover never listened to her elders, so warnings like “do not talk to strangers” mean nothing to her. When a boy from an unknown world saves her from an avalanche with the aid of a snow dragon, Lara is not stunned in the least. Instead, she joins Peter on his quest to help him realize the purpose behind his arrival to Transadonia.
Together, Lara and Peter embark on an adventure filled with perils, trickery, betrayals, and unexpected alliances.
Check out this exclusive excerpt!
“Master Auberon agreed to see you.” Naum opened the heavy wooden door that separated the antechamber from the rest of the house. “Prove to him your courage, and he will not refuse you,” the bear whispered to the children before ushering them into the vast hall. “I will leave you now,” said Naum humbly to the Bear Charmer and exited the room.
The Bear Charmer had lived so long among bears that he had begun to resemble one himself. He sat on a massive, coarsely-built wooden throne. His face was haggard with years of life in the wilderness. His dark eyes were deep set, expressionless, and, like a bear’s, impossible to read. He wore clothes made of deer hides, and in his hand he held a wooden scepter. It was just a rough, wooden stick, but to the bears it signified power and respect. He looked at Peter and Lara dispassionately as they approached his chair. When they were close enough, the Bear Charmer began to speak.
“You are the first human visitors to enter the bear fort. Because you have saved one of my best bears, I am willing to hear your story. But I warn you, I have no tolerance for lies.”
“We come to ask you for help, Master Auberon,” said Peter in a firm and steady voice. Although the Bear Charmer’s cold impassive stare made him uncomfortable, he did his best not to show it. Instead, he concentrated on the purpose of their visit and blocked everything else out of his mind, thinking of Naum’s parting words of encouragement.
“Is that why you helped Naum?” the Bear Charmer’s voice was deep and rough, like a bear’s growl. Through the small open windows of the hall, the bears could be seen shifting in agitation, ready to come to the defense of their ruler at any moment. Even though they could have easily torn the human they had accepted as their master into shreds, they obeyed and listened to his every word because he had turned them from mindless beasts into skillful workers.
“No, Master Auberon; that is not the reason. When we saw Naum trapped in the pit, we helped him because it is not right to leave someone suffering, especially if it is within your ability to help. And he was gracious enough to walk us to your fort. We hope that you will agree to help us.”
The Bear Charmer rose from his throne and approached the children. He walked with great strides, leaning forward heavily with his arms swinging by his sides, and at times it seemed as though he would lean on them, as a bear leans on his front paws. He stood next to Peter; close enough for Peter to hear his measured, calm breath, burrowing into him with his piercing stare, searching for any hint of fear or lies.
“What is it that you need help with?”
“We need your help to rescue Lara’s cousin, Ethan, who was kidnapped by the forest witch, Ramona,” replied Peter in what he hoped was an even voice.
“And what does that have to do with my bears or me?”
“It doesn’t. Not exactly, but Peter’s quest does,” Lara cut in before Peter could speak. “You see, Peter was going to see the Chancellor and that was when he met me – he saved me from an avalanche, and I persuaded him to let me join his journey. Thinking back, I caused him more trouble than good, but he never said a word about it. You see, that’s the kind of person Peter is – he never complains and he always helps those in need of help...”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Thank you very much for joining me for Over the Mountain and Back blog tour. The story of Over the Mountain and Back began over twenty years ago when I was fourteen years old and decided to write a novel as an anniversary gift for my parents. It was going to be a fantasy adventure about a boy named Peter and a girl named Lara set in a magical country, Transadonia. I remember writing studiously on the pages of an ornate notebook I had acquired especially for the occasion. Back then computers were not yet widely used, so I had to pay extra care to my handwriting. A year later, Over the Mountain and Back was completed, or at least I had thought so at the time. Needless to say my parents were very surprised with their anniversary gift.
Years passed; I finished high school and went on to college. Lara’s and Peter’s story faded from my mind, replaced by the hustles and bustles of everyday life. Then, one day – the day that happened to be my thirtieth birthday, my parents presented me with a gift: it was oblong in shape and wrapped in shiny paper. After I opened the wrapping, I was stunned to find the long forgotten story I had written all those years ago.
Long story short, after two years of extensive work, I rewrote and expanded Over the Mountain and Back into a novel of 95,000 words. For me it had been an exciting journey to be reunited with my old friends: Lara and Peter, Forest Witch Ramona, Chancellor Libra, Bookbrownies, and, of course, Carnelion, among the many others.
I hope that you will join Lara and Peter on their adventure in Transadonia.
If you would like to find out more about my books, please stop by my website: www.marieastor.com.
Books by Marie Astor:
For Young Adults:
Over the Mountain and Back – a fantasy adventure novelKindle link: http://amzn.to/ZeEhTH
To Catch a Bad Guy – romantic suspense
This Tangled Thing Called Love – a contemporary romance about overcoming one’s inhibitions, learning to tango, and finding one’s true love match.
Lucky Charm – a humorous contemporary romance about love, luck and friendship.
On the Rim of Love – a contemporary romance about the unexpected power of love.http://amzn.to/SVzF3M
A Dress in a Window – a collection of short stories about love, coincidences, and fate.
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