Monday, December 22, 2008

It's the 21st, time for the Teen FIRST blog tour! This is the very last Teen FIRST tour as Teen FIRST has merged with FIRST Wild Card Tours. If you wish to learn more about FIRST Wild Card, please go HERE.

and his book:

Amg Publishers (January 22, 2007)


Mike Hamel is a seasoned storyteller who has honed his skill over theyears by telling tall tales to his four children. He is the author of several non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles.

Mike and his wife, Susan, live in Colorado Springs, CO. Their four children are now grown and their two grand children will soon be old enough for stories of their own.

From His Blog's About Me:

I am a professional writer with sixteen books to my credit, including a trilogy of titles dealing with faith and business: The Entrepreneurís Creed (Broadman, 2001), Executive Influence (NavPress, 2003), and Giving Back (NavPress, 2003). I also edited Serving Two Masters: Reflections on God and Profit, by Bill Pollard (Collins, 2006).

My most enjoyable project to date has been an eight-volume juvenile fiction series called Matterhorn the Brave. Itís based on variegated yarns I used to spin for my four children. They are now grown and my two grandchildren will soon be old enough for stories of their own.

I live in Colorado Springs, Colorado with my bride of 34 years, Susan.

As you read this blog, remember that Iím a professional. Donít try this level of writing at home. You might suffer a dangling participle or accidentally split an infinitive and the grammarians will be all over you like shoe salesmen on a centipede.

BTW ñ I have been diagnosed with Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma, an aggressive but treatable form of cancer.

Mike's Blog, Cells Behaving Badly, is an online diary about Wrestling with Lymphoma Cancer.

To order a signed edition of any of the 6 Matterhorn the Brave books, please visit the Matterhorn the Brave Website!

Product Details

List Price: 9.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 181 pages
Publisher: Amg Publishers (January 22, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0899578330
ISBN-13: 978-0899578330


Emerald Isle

Aaron the Baron hit the ground like a paratrooper, bending his knees, keeping his balance.

Matterhorn landed like a 210-pound sack of dirt.

His stomach arrived a few seconds later.

He straightened his six-foot-four frame into a sitting position. In the noonday sun he saw they were near the edge of a sloping meadow. The velvet grass was dotted with purple and yellow flowers. Azaleas bloomed in rainbows around the green expanse. The black-faced sheep mowing the far end of the field paid no attention to the new arrivals.

ìAre you okay?î the Baron asked. He looked as if heíd just stepped out of a Marinesí recruiting poster. ìWeíll have to work on your landing technique.î

ìHow about warning me when weíre going somewhere,î Matterhorn grumbled.

The Baron helped him up and checked his pack to make sure nothing was damaged. He scanned the landscape in all directions from beneath the brim of his red corduroy baseball cap. ìIt makes no difference which way we go,î he said at last. ìThe horses will find us.î

ìWhat horses?î

ìThe horses that will take us to the one we came to see,î the Baron answered.

ìAre you always this vague or do you just not know what youíre doing?î

ìI donít know much, but I suspect this is somebodyís field. We donít want to be caught trespassing. Letís go.î

They left the meadow, walking single file through the tall azaleas up a narrow valley. Thorny bushes with loud yellow blossoms crowded the trail next to a clear brook. Pushing one of the prickly plants away, Matterhorn asked, ìDo you know what these are?î

ìGorse, of course,î the Baron said without turning.

ìNever heard of it.î

ìThen I guess you havenít been to Ireland before.î

ìIreland,î Matterhorn repeated. ìMy great-grandfather came from Ireland.î

ìYour great-grandfather wonít be born for centuries yet.î

Matterhorn stepped over a tangle of exposed roots and said, ìWhat do you mean?î

ìI mean weíre in medieval Ireland, not modern Ireland.î

ìHow can that be!î Matterhorn cried, stopping in his tracks. ìHow can I be alive before my great-grandfather?î

The Baron shrugged. ìThatís one of the paradoxes of time travel. No oneís been able to figure them all out. Youíre welcome to try, but while youíre at it, keep a lookout for the horses.î

Matterhorn soon gave up on paradoxes and became absorbed in the paradise around him. The colors were so alive they hurt his eyes. He wished for a pair of sunglasses. Above the garish gorse he saw broom bushes and pine trees growing to the ridge where spectacular golden oaks crowned the slopes. Birdsongs whistled from their massive branches into the warm air. Small animals whispered in the underbrush while larger game watched the strangers from a distance.

The country flattened out and, at times, they glimpsed stone houses over the tops of hedgerows. They steered clear of these and any other signs of civilization. In a few hours, they reached the spring that fed the brook they had been following. They stopped to rest and wash up.

Thatís where the horses found them.

There were five strikingly handsome animals. The leader of the pack was from ancient and noble stock. He stood a proud seventeen hands highófive-foot-eight-inchesóat the shoulders. He had a classic Roman face with a white star on his wide forehead that matched the white socks on his forelegs. His straight back, sturdy body, and broad hindquarters suggested both power and speed. A rich coppery mane and tail complemented his sleek, chestnut coat.

The Baron held out an apple to the magnificent animal, but the horse showed no interest in the fruit or the man. Neither did the second horse. The third, a dappled stallion, took the apple and let the Baron pet his nose.

ìThese horses are free,î the Baron said as he stroked the stallionís neck. ìThey choose their riders, which is as it should be. Grab an apple and find your mount.î

While Matterhorn searched for some fruit, the leader sauntered over and tried to stick his big nose into Matterhornís pack. When Matterhorn produced an apple, the horse pushed it aside and kept sniffing.

Did he want carrots, Matterhorn wondered? How about the peanut butter sandwich? Not until he produced a pocket-size Snickers bar did the horse whinny and nod his approval.

The Baron chuckled as Matterhorn peeled the bar and watched it disappear in a loud slurp. ìThat oneís got a sweet tooth,î he said.

The three other horses wandered off while the Baron and Matterhorn figured out how to secure their packs to the two that remained. ìI take it weíre riding without saddles or bridles,î Matterhorn said. This made him nervous, as he had been on horseback only once before.

ìBridles arenít necessary,î Aaron the Baron explained. ìJust hold on to his mane and stay centered.î He boosted Matterhorn onto his mount. ìThe horses have been sent for us. Theyíll make sure we get where we need to go.î

As they set off, Matterhorn grabbed two handfuls of long mane from the crest of the horseís neck. He relaxed when he realized the horse was carrying him as carefully as if a carton of eggs was balanced on his back. Sitting upright, he patted the animalís neck. ìHey, Baron; check out this birthmark.î He rubbed a dark knot of tufted hair on the chestnutís right shoulder. ìIt looks like a piece of broccoli. Iím going to call him Broc.î

ìCall him what you want,î the Baron said, ìbut you canít name him. The Maker gives the animals their names. A name is like a label; it tells you whatís on the inside. Only the Maker knows that.î

Much later, and miles farther into the gentle hills, they made camp in a lea near a tangle of beech trees. ìYou get some wood,î Aaron the Baron said, ìwhile I make a fire pit.î He loosened a piece of hollow tubing from the side of his pack and gave it a sharp twirl. Two flanges unrolled outward and clicked into place to form the blade of a short spade. Next, he pulled off the top section and stuck it back on at a ninety-degree angle to make a handle.

Matterhorn whistled. ìCool!î

ìCool is what weíll be if you donít get going.î

Matterhorn hurried into the forest. He was thankful to be alone for the first time since becoming an adult, something that happened in an instant earlier that day. Seizing a branch, he did a dozen chin-ups; then dropped and did fifty push-ups and a hundred sit-ups.

Afterward he rested against a tree trunk and encircled his right thigh with both hands. His fingertips didnít touch. Reaching farther down, he squeezed a rock-hard calf muscle.

All this bulk was new to him, yet it didnít feel strange. This was his body, grown up and fully developed. Flesh of his flesh; bone of his bone. Even hair of his hair, he thought, as he combed his fingers through the thick red ponytail.

He took the Sword hilt from his hip. The diamond blade extended and caught the late afternoon sun in a dazzling flash. This mysterious weapon was the reason he was looking for firewood in an Irish forest instead of sitting in the library at David R. Sanford Middle School.

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