I have a fun little stop for you today!! And it’s got some cool giveaways too!
Neiko’s Five Land Adventure
The Neiko Adventure Saga
Genre: YA Fantasy Action Adventure
Publisher: Two Harbors Press
Date of Publication: September 1, 2010
Number of pages: 354
Word Count: Approx 101K
Cover Artist: A.K. Taylor, Kristeen
The Indians and the Crackedskulls are locked in the turmoil of war and presently in a stalemate. Her enemies, Raven and Bloodhawk, have come up with a scheme to up the ante and break the stalemate into their favor. Neiko later finds out that a land she thought she had only imagined is actually real and contains a legendary and otherworldly evil within it. Not only that, she becomes trapped there and must escape the world, the people within it, and the sinister evil within.
Neiko must find her way back home and turn the tables on her enemies. Can she come back home and escape the evil that seeks to claim her?
Neiko’s Five Land Adventure Excerpt:
After her eyes adjusted to the glare, the two friends could see there was a cavern that was full of perfect crystals. They were in all shapes, sizes, and colors and they came out of the walls, floor, and ceiling. The beauty was spellbinding. “Wow! If I found this in Hawote, then I’d be rich! This is a rock collector’s dream come true!”
“Yeah, but didn’t you say that there were writings about Ramses somewhere in here? I wonder where the ruins of Shadazar are,” Quickstrike rambled.
“Somewhere in here, I guess, and I think we’re close. Let’s keep walking and look at the walls. If there are any branch-offs, then we’ll split up. If you find anything, then come looking.”
“Actually, I’d rather stick together, so we won’t get separated.”
“Good idea, well, I like that idea better too,” she said as they journeyed deep into the caverns. They walked and looked at the walls, but all they found were arrangements and shapes created by crystal; they gleamed and sparkled when the light hit them like multicolored diamonds. Luckily for them, there were no branch-offs, and the caverns appeared as if they were carved into the crystal. New formations were growing in the hewn walls.
Neiko found several broken pieces on the cavern floor; she picked them up and slipped them into her pocket.
“Look, there’s an exit up ahead,” said Quickstrike as he saw a break in the glamour and a darkened cave. As they entered the door, darkness overtook them and there were ruins just ahead. “We found what’s left of ancient Shadazar!”
“Yeah, and we have an underground lake to cross. I wonder what’s on the other side.”
“I dunno, but I’ve noticed the further we go in, the further we go back in time, so that could mean the writings are probably after the lake. How do we get across?”
“There’s a boat right there.” They climbed into the boat, and Neiko got the oars and began to paddle while Quickstrike carried the torch. They could see broken columns and the remains of a bridge that possibly was a shortcut long ago towering over them. She kept paddling, and then they saw a waterfall just ahead. Neiko paddled around it and parked the boat on the bank of the hidden cavern. When they entered the hallway, there were pictures and writings. “Neiko, look! We found it!”
“Hmm,” she said as she looked at the letters which were surprisingly in the alphabet of her tribe.
“Well, it’s written in English, but it is written in the alphabet of my tribe. This will be easy for me to translate.”
“That’s good. So, what does it say?”
Neiko looked at the battling figures and the dark, shadowy form of the Dark Pharaoh fighting and slaying them. She ran her finger under the letters as she read. “This is talking about something called the Good Pharaohs. It says that God created powerful beings called Pharaohs to protect the universe from evil.
Escape from Ancient Egypt
The Neiko Adventure Saga
Genre: YA Fantasy Action Adventure/ Historical Fantasy, time travel
Publisher: Telemachus Press
Number of pages: 290
Word Count: Approx. 90K
Cover Artist: A.K. Taylor, Steve Himes
Seeking his revenge on Neiko for exposing him, Francesco banishes Neiko into ancient Egypt just like he did her friends eleven years ago. During her stay there, she unravels the mystery of what happened to her four friends. Now she’s faced with a bigger problem—how to get home. After a series of unfortunate events, Neiko is now entangled with Pharaoh Ramesses II. Francesco also comes to make sure their fates are sealed. Can Neiko and her friends beat impossible odds and return to Hawote and back to the present?
Escape from Ancient Egypt Excerpt:
Neiko’s vision turned from the green light to the world spinning around her in dizzying speed. Neiko wasn’t moving, but she felt like she was in freefall—like someone had cut the cable from an elevator and she was plummeting with it. Descending in what—space and time? The evergreen and colorful deciduous vegetation of the Hawote woodlands changed to a desert with a river with some greenery and palms nearby. The cool autumn air of Hawote in October transformed into stifling, searing, dry heat. Pyramids, sphinxes, and strange statues spun around her after her house, porch, and front yard disappeared within the vortex. It was nighttime in Hawote, but the sun rose and set as time flew by—from west to east–backwards. Beneath her bare feet the wood from her front porch turned to nothing then into hot, soft sand.
Neiko’s world stopped spinning, and the sun was high in the sky. Neiko watched the sun to be sure it didn’t move again. Wherever she ended up, she guessed the time must be about high noon there judging by the sun’s position in the sky after a few moments of observation. The heat was intense, and she discovered she must be somewhere far from home. “Where?” was the ultimate question. A gust of wind blew the feathers in her long, black hair. Her hair wrapped around her face, and she brushed it back. Sweat beaded out on her body, and she tugged at her shirt and headband. “Phew! It’s hot out here! Where am I–Death Valley?” she asked. Death Valley was the only desert place she thought of off the top of her head. She had never been there, but she’d read and watched TV programs about the place. She looked around, and a city was only a few feet away. She could see the buildings down below from the high dune where she stood. She took a deep breath and fingered the fringed sheath of her knife to reassure her confidence—without thinking and by instinct. Then after a few more seconds, she trudged down to the city in the soft sand from the dune to go find some answers.
Neiko entered the city still dressed in her buckskin, decorated warrior clothes and painted for war. As she took in the sights and from the confusion, she had forgotten she was armed. Her machete was sheathed to her back, and so was her knife on her side. Incense, perfumes, and music filled the air. She didn’t recognize any of the smells, but the music seemed to be like Egyptian reenactments in movies. The buildings were white alabaster covered in brilliant wall paintings. Some men rode on camels like horses and others led them by a leash. Chariots cantered by. Neiko looked around in amazement. This ruled out Death Valley, Arizona. Neiko lifted her eyes to the sun to get a bearing on north. North was as good of a direction as any to begin a search for answers. After her eyes fell from the sun and to the north, she could see the Pyramids of Giza towering in the distance. She recognized them instantly. She had seen enough pictures and documentaries on the monuments—they were unmistakable. Even though they were miles away, they towered above the city and in view. This definitely wasn’t Death Valley.
In that case I can get on the first flight home, she thought. She believed that she had landed in Cairo. This city came to mind because it’s the only one close to the Pyramids of Giza. Then she realized she didn’t have any money as she put her hands in the pockets of her buckskin shorts and only felt the house key. She had left her wallet in the car back at home when she left from Phoenix’s house after the battle.
“Well, I can probably make up some story that I was abducted or something—which is sort of true. Really funny, Francesco. I guess you meant no way back since I’m broke. I’ll hitchhike back to Hawote if I have to. I’ll scrounge around to see if I can find some change for a pay phone on the road,” she remarked to herself, and maybe the phone book would have some information on where to find an airport or something. But, then again, would the phonebook be written in English or Arabic? It was a chance she had to take. The worst that could happen was not getting anywhere.
Neiko began walking to find help, change, a pay phone, the U.S. Embassy, an airport, or whatever she could find first. After a few more minutes of exploring, she recognized the clothing of the people: white linen kilts, some wore robes and fine jewelry, some wore headcloths while others did not. No one seemed to be dressed like the Arab residents of 21st century Egypt. “Why is everyone dressed like ancient Egyptians?” she asked herself. She wondered if this was some sort of a cult or a weird secret society that lived like the Amish in Cairo.
A small group of armed soldiers marched in front of her, but they didn’t pay any attention to her. They carried swords, shields, spears, and were dressed in ancient Egyptian armor. She had seen it in books and movies. They weren’t carrying guns or dressed in desert camouflage BDUs like Egyptian soldiers of the 21st century.
She headed farther in to the marketplace. It was obvious since people had shops and bazaars selling goods. People were yelling and haggling. People thrust things at Neiko trying to entice her to buy. Neiko put up her hands and shook her head. She couldn’t understand a word anyone was saying. Funny, no one seemed to be selling T-shirts, souvenirs, or that type stuff for tourists. Quite frankly, no one seemed to be selling any maps.
Neiko walked up to a man who was a merchant at a bazaar. He was selling all manner of fine jewelry. Heavy collars, bracelets, necklaces, arm pieces, earrings were on display. All gaudy like the ancient Egyptians liked. “Excuse me, can you tell me where I am? I seem to be lost. Do you know where I can find a map or where the airport is? A phone?” she asked as she made her hand like a phone and put it to her ear; her thumb the earpiece and her pinkie the mouthpiece.
The man looked at her startled because of her strange appearance and because he couldn’t understand her. He was dressed in linen like everyone else and sported some of that same Egyptian bling since he was a successful jeweler.
“That’s a little out of style, don’t you think? I mean, guys don’t wear eyeliner…and, that skirt and that sheet on your head are not how people dress nowadays. People dress like ancient Egyptians only on Halloween. Last I checked it was still three weeks away,” Neiko said to the man as she shook her head.
First, tell me a little about your books…
Neiko’s Five Land Adventure: The Indians and the Crackedskulls are locked in war and presently in a stalemate. Eighteen-year-old Neiko bears the title of “Chosen One” helps lead the fight and seems nearly untouchable. Neiko’s archenemies King Raven and Prince Bloodhawk plan to fix that with the help of their mole Francesco. By using magic, Raven inadvertently opens the door to another universe, and an entity of ultimate evil comes through and targets Neiko. Later Neiko later discovers Quickstrike the scorpion-cobra in her bed and discovered a world she felt that she imagined is real. After a showdown, Neiko becomes trapped in Qari, one of the Five Lands. Neiko must find a way home and some how escape the traps and clutches of the Dark Pharaoh…
Escape from Ancient Egypt: Three years after Neiko’s first adventure in the Five Lands, Neiko becomes used to her three sided life. Now 21, she now lives in her own home, but still her life is far from normal. The Crackedskulls try an attack and ambush but suffer a devastating defeat. That same evening Francesco collects on his threat to make Neiko pay for exposing him three years earlier by sending her to Egypt about 3,000 years in the past during the reign of Ramesses II the Great. Upon her arrival in Memphis, it’s not too long before Neiko finds herself in trouble and captured by a rich man. She discovers what happened to her friends 11 years earlier. They escape and venture to Thebes in search of Sito, the brainiest of the group. Finding their friend is the least of their problems. After a showdown with the rich man, Neiko finds herself in the sights of another rich mystery man. Things unravel very quickly when they discover the mystery man is Pharaoh. Francesco is sent to find and bring Neiko back under the threat of death by Raven, but instead he finds another king to serve. He exposes Neiko, but then they know he has their ticket home. They must somehow find away out of this hot mess and back into the present!
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated or did you always just know? General interest in writing probably started upon introduction when I was 8 years old. I moved up to novels at 16. I did this to see if I could and as an experiment on myself. I taught myself how to write novels then by taking what I learned in language arts and from studying other books I’d read. I didn’t have any teachers and I didn’t know any writers. I’ve learned more stuff over time and picked up a few tidbits to hone my craft, but I’ve never attended a class. I was invited to a writer’s conference when I was 21, but I didn’t learn anything new except how to publish the traditional way. This was before self publishing was on the radar.
What inspired you to write your first book and what was it? A lot of things. Books, movies, video games, music, art, nature, science, and my own adventures as a kid in the backyard and the woods all play a part in my inspiration. I just like separation from the norm and reality, so that is why I love fantasy and science fiction, but I love action and adventure as well!
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? Parts of Neiko’s life as Amanda Hawk are based on my own life. The main event Neiko and I both share is the difficulty of laying down something that brings peace and comfort because of our age and because society say so while the world rages around us.
How do you chose when/which characters die in your books? It’s not really me who decides, it’s the other characters. Death is oftentimes a transition and sometimes an antagonist must die in order to be conquered. They won’t go down any other way.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Mostly new friends I have met on Facebook, social media, and my new business. There are too many to name.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your book? Not really as far as writing is concerned, but I wished I had discovered self publishing sooner and had access to the knowledge that I have now when I first started out.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? Trying to limit unnecessary –ly adverbs, speaker tags, and words. Sometimes it’s the whole show vs tell thing and trying to adopt the new style of little or no exposition when all the stuff I read and taught myself with were the opposite.
What book are you reading now? Or what genre? I’ve always been an avid reader when I was able to go to the library, and I enjoy a plethora of genres. I am reading thrillers (several subgenres), mysteries, paranormal (not PNR), horror, adventure, fantasy (almost all subgenres), and science fiction. A few nonfiction in between.
Who designed the cover? And do you help with them? I did most of the design as far as the sketches and the schematic is concerned. The artist just puts it all together in a digital format that rocks. There is room for his/her creativity. It usually falls into place nicely!
Did you learn anything from writing your books and what was it? Since I was so young when I did it, it was just that I could. I could do just about anything that I could put my mind to. At the time I didn’t realize what a huge accomplishment that was. I realized I was a pretty good self teacher—I had to teach myself a lot of things besides writing. A lot of times if my family or friends couldn’t teach me something, I had to learn it on my own because people just wouldn’t bother with me, and why that is, I don’t know. I didn’t have anyone teach me; I didn’t know anyone, and anyone I knew knew zip about writing novels. I didn’t go to a workshop or take a class if there were any around. I didn’t personally know any authors. I took what I knew from Language Arts and the patterns I saw from books and just sat down and put my fingers on the keyboards of my parents’ dinosaur computer. Neiko’s Five Land Adventure was being born, and then the series followed behind.
If you could be one of your characters, who would you chose? I’m sorry, but I can choose just one :P. First choice would be Neiko. I just love her and we have so much in common. She does and gets to do things I dream of doing. My second choice is Quickstrike, the scorpion-cobra. It would just be fun to see people scream and hang on chandeliers and street lamps when they see me. I would be too big for a chair or a footstool to be sufficient.
Are there any books you think some of us should read, just because? Since this a good fantasy crowd I could recommend some of my friends! Books by Jonathan Gould (they’re funny and silly) and The Silver Sphere by Michael Dadich. If anyone hasn’t read Brian Jacques or Terry Brooks go check them out.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Thanks for stopping by! I hope to “see” you at my website/blog http://www.backwoodsauthor.com. All my pages and newsletter are all there if you want to connect with me. I always look forward to meeting new people.
About the Author:
A.K. Taylor grew up in the backwoods of Georgia where she learned about nature. She enjoys hunting and fishing, beekeeping, gardening, archery, shooting, hiking, and has various collections. She also has interest in music, Native American history and heritage, Egyptian history, and the natural sciences. A.K. Taylor has been writing and drawing since the age of 16. A.K. Taylor has graduated from the University of Georgia with a biology degree, and she shares an interest in herpetology with her husband.
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Escape from Ancient Egypt GR Giveaway Code:
So, there’s some great giveaways! I think you should enter them ALL! 🙂 I hope you check them out! Happy reading and later gators!!