Book One of the Kingdom City Chronicles
Cross-Genre: Fantasy, Fairy/Folktale, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy, Horror
Kingdom City has moved into the modern era. Run by a lord mayor and city council (though still under the influence of the High King of The Land), it proudly embraces a blend of progress and tradition. Trolls, ogres, and other Folk walk the streets with humans, but are more likely to be entrepreneurs than cause trouble. Princesses still want to be rescued, but they now frequent online dating services to encourage lords, royals, and politicians to win their favor. The old stories are around, but everyone knows they’re just fodder for the next movie franchise. Everyone knows there’s no such thing as magic. It’s all old superstition and harmless tradition.
Bookish, timid, and more likely to carry a laptop than a weapon, Paddlelump Stonemonger is quickly coming to wish he’d never put a toll bridge over Crescent Ravine. While his success has brought him lots of gold, it’s also brought him unwanted attention from the Lord Mayor. Adding to his frustration, Padd’s oldest friends give him a hard time when his new maid seems inept at best and conniving at worst. When a shepherd warns Paddlelump of strange noises coming from Thadd Forest, he doesn’t think much of it. Unfortunately for him, the history of his land goes back further than anyone can imagine. Before long he’ll realize that he should have paid attention to the old tales and carried a club.
Darkness threatens to overwhelm not only Paddlelump, but the entire realm. With a little luck, a strange bird, a feisty waitress, and some sturdy friends, maybe, just maybe, Padd will survive to eat another meal at Trip Trap’s diner. It’s enough to make the troll want to crawl under his bridge, if he can manage to keep it out of the clutches of greedy politicians
It was an out-of-the-way location for a diner. It sat tucked between the western edge of Thadd Forest and the lazy flow of the Glass River. The view was picturesque and sweet wildflowers and healthy grass filled the meadow, but the area was not the bustling center of Kingdom City proper. The Diner sat in range of the suburbs and growing communities that were springing up around the city limits, though not many of the new transplants came through the door. Trip Trap’s wasn’t the kind of diner most residents in Kingdom City would bother to eat at unless they really wanted to be there, no matter how pleasant the staff or tempting the menu.
This suited Trip Trap’s patrons just fine.
The building was similar to a lot of Kingdom City architecture: built from tan chalk rock, it was lined with wooden accents and featured a wraparound roof made from shake shingles cut into jagged shapes. The front picture window was framed by branches, and the wild bushes planted along the walkway gave Trip Trap’s a rustic and homey feel. It wasn’t the appearance, the location, or the menu that subtly discouraged patrons, though. It was rather the steady noise of hooves and bleating that slowly drove clientele out of their minds unless they had grown up around the clatter. Needless to say, it was a popular gathering spot for shepherds and trolls.
At a table that was tucked a distance away from the front window but close enough to the shining wooden counter, two of the regulars opened the lunch menu.
“Same old, same old,” a voice like a devoted smoker grumbled.
“Yes, but at least it’s better than those chain places springin’ up everywhere,” rasped the older troll, the aural equivalent of dead leaves and dried lizard scales. “Y’never know what you’re gettin’ there.”
Uljah Toothgnasher sighed and thwapped his menu face down on the marginally sticky table top. At only three hundred and ninety-seven he was more or less middle-aged for a troll, but had kept his lack of looks through the passing of time. His body was bony, all knobs and limbs that protruded every which way like a confused spider, but his head was wide and his face pleasantly bulbous, made even more substantial looking by his long, black matted beard and important-looking unibrow. His clothes were of the more traditional variety, and the grain sack shirt and fur-and-skin kilt overwhelmed his lanky frame, though both pieces were quite useful for smuggling extra food and the occasional “special interest” magazine past his wife. He dragged a long nail over his scalp and a thin shower of dandruff flaked onto his shoulders. “True, true. Anything’s better than going to Magic Porridge Pot for the thousandth time, though the wife keeps telling me I should pack my lunch and save the coins.”
Selah Janel has been blessed with a giant imagination since she was little and convinced that fairies lived in the nearby state park or vampires hid in the abandoned barns outside of town. The many people around her that supported her love of reading and curiosity probably made it worse. Her e-books The Other Man, Holly and Ivy, and Mooner are published through Mocha Memoirs Press. Lost in the Shadows, a collection of short stories celebrating the edges of ideas and the spaces between genres was co-written with S.H. Roddey. Her work has also been included in The MacGuffin, The Realm Beyond, Stories for Children Magazine, The Big Bad: an Anthology of Evil, The Grotesquerie, and Thunder on the Battlefield. Olde School is the first book in her new series, The Kingdom City Chronicles, and is published through Seventh Star Press. She likes her music to rock, her vampires lethal, her fairies to play mind games, and her princesses to hold their own.
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Amazon Author Page – http://www.amazon.com/Selah-Janel/e/B0074DKC9K