{Story Excerpt & Illustration Reveal} THE HERO'S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM

Bookworms, with Fairy Tale Fortnight looming closer, I've become a FTF Career Tribute!  I've been prepping my arsenal since January to bring you two weeks of non-stop action.  Last year, Walden Pond Press hinted that they had a middle-grade fairy tale novel up their sleeve that I would love, one set to take out a lot of competition.  Once it was revealed to be THE HERO'S GUIDE TO SAVING YOUR KINGDOM by Christopher Healy (coming May 1st) and about the little-seen fairy tale princes, I knew I had to have it.  This book had to be mine.  It had to be one of the books I reviewed for you during FTF.

Not only was Walden Pond lovely enough to send me a shiny ARC, they also asked if I'd be interested in taking part in the Illustration Reveal Tour (It looks like Healy will be updating with links here, and @waldenpondpress will be tweeting them!).  Todd Harris is a talented illustrator and I'm excited to reveal his art alongside Healy's fabulous writing!

Check back next month for my exciting review of HERO as I enter the arena.  For now, please settle with an exclusive excerpt from the novel AND two illustration reveals!  Today, it's all about the trolls, guys!  For even more trolly-goodness, check out my Mythological Mondays post and my TRYLLE review for more ways to celebrate trolls!

I apologize for the lack of indentation.  I have never been able to get Blogger to hold a tab.  I don't know why.  Instead, I added line breaks.  The final version of this excerpt will, of course, look perfect in book form!

Excerpt: Troll/Prince Gustav

**All illustrations ©Todd Harris//Walden Pond Press, 2012**

The thickset, red-faced farmer woman wiped her hands on her apron, threw open the door, and marched back outside. “Get your grimy hands off our beets!” she yelled. Her wild and frizzy carrot-orange hair bounced with every angry word. “We spent the whole morning pulling those things up, and I’ll be darned if I’m going to let you gobble them all!” 

Rosilda picked a shovel up off the ground and raised it over her head, threatening to clobber the vegetable thief, who was nearly twice her size. Her children crowded in the doorway and cheered her on. “Mom-my, Mom-my!” 

The troll looked up at her in shock, as bright red beet juice ran down its chin. “Uh,” the thing grunted. “Shovel Lady hit?” 

“You’re darn right I hit,” Rosilda growled back. “Unless you drop those veggies and head back into the woods you came from.” 

The troll looked from the woman’s scowling face to the long, rusty shovel she waved menacingly overhead. It dropped the handful of beets it had been about to eat.

“Shovel Lady no hit Troll,” it mumbled as it stood up. “Troll make no trouble. Troll go.”
Enter Prince Gustav. Clad in clanking, fur-trimmed armor and wielding a large, shining battle-ax, he charged at the troll on horseback. 

“Not so fast, beast!” Gustav shouted as he approached, his long blond hair flowing behind him. Without stopping his horse, he leapt from the saddle, turning himself into a human missile, and knocked the troll flat onto its back. The prince and the troll rolled through the garden in one clanking, grunting mass, smashing down freshly sprouted beet plants, until the creature finally got back to its feet and tossed Gustav off. The prince crashed through the wooden planks of the farmer’s fence but nimbly picked himself back up, ready to charge the monster again. That was when Gustav spotted the bright red beet juice around the troll’s mouth. 

“Child eater!” he screamed. All the children were, of course, perfectly fine—and had actually filed back out into the yard to watch the fight—but Gustav was too focused on the monster to notice. The prince swung his ax. The troll caught the weapon in its large, clawed hands, yanked it away from Gustav, and tossed it off into a corner of the farmyard, where it shattered several barrels of pickled beets with a crunch and a splat. 

“Starf it all,” Gustav cursed (which prompted some of the older children to cover the ears of the younger ones). 

Now unarmed, the prince stood face-to-face with the troll. The monster was nearly three feet taller than him, but Gustav showed no hint of fear. Gustav didn’t really do “fear.” Annoyance, consternation, occasionally embarrassment: Those were emotions Gustav was familiar with. But not fear.

Fairy tale lovers, click the button to find out how you too can participate in the second annual Fairy Tale Fortnight!


  1. "with Fairy Tale Fortnight looming closer, I've become a FTF Career Tribute!" <--- this made me happy!

  2. Good and another post from you admin :)
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