Indie Book Promo is happy to welcome T.J. Lantz to the blog. He’s here to share some information about his book, Rise of the Retics (Rosehaven: the Hidden City). If this sounds like a book that you would be interested in reading, please find a buy link at the bottom of the post and pick up a copy or two.
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For almost a thousand years humanity has been making a concerted effort to eradicate the world’s “retics”, an eclectic collection of non-human, intelligent species. Recently, those efforts have been strengthened and far more successful than ever, though the Council of Rosehaven, the “retics” hidden sanctuary city, cannot figure out why.
“Hey, Wayde, do you see what I see?”
“I believe I do, Bull,” answered the second boy. “I thought those things weren’t allowed at the market unleashed?”
“As did I,” Bull responded. “What is this city coming to when half-bloods can just walk around unchained and free? It’s like a zoo out here.”
Jaxon Miniheart clenched his fists. If it was just Bull, he might have been able to take him with Rigby’s help, but the large minotaur had two friends with him today.
“Tough words, Bull. Especially with Wayde and Fhart standing behind you.” Jaxon glared at the three of them. Fhart, a small green-skinned goblin placed his right hand inside his vest, revealing a small, black knife handle.
Seeing the weapon, Rigby bared her teeth, lowered her front paws and let out a low growl. She was ready to attack if her master might be harmed.
“You think I need these two, Mongrel?” Bull snapped in response. “I should rip that tail of yours off and choke you with it just to show you how to treat a pureblood retic.”
“Go ahead and try it, Bull.” Jaxon responded with a smile. “She’ll tear your oysters off before you can even touch me.” He pointed to the dog, her hair raised along her back, as he stared up at the minotaur. Bull was at least a foot taller than he was and probably outweighed him by a hundred pounds. While Jaxon tried to act calm and collected, his heart was pounding with nervousness.
“What’s going on here, boys?” The deep voice of Deputy Copperbuckle snapped them all to attention as each boy tried his hardest to look innocent. The large centaur limped gingerly down the road towards the boys, careful not to put much pressure on his front right leg.
“Oh nothing, Deputy,” replied Bull. “We’re just giving Jaxon directions on how to go back where he came from. Apparently he didn’t realize he didn’t belong here.”
Bull’s two companions tried unsuccessfully to stifle their laughter.
“That’s enough. All of you get out of here. We don’t need any of ya’ hanging around causing trouble. Especially you Miniheart. I’m not in the mood for your antics today.”
Bull, followed by his two cronies, nodded an agreement and slowly walked past Jaxon as he left, making sure to roughly nudge his shoulder as he passed him.
As he went by, he leaned in and whispered into Jaxon’s ear. “You’re lucky Deputy Lame-leg was here to save you. Next time, you might not be so fortunate.”
Jaxon took a deep breath as he continued his walk into the market, trying hard to maintain his composure. There was no one in town he hated running into more than Bull and his friends, and it had put a large damper on his mood. As he walked, his thoughts of revenge and vengeance were interrupted by a loud gurgle from his stomach.
He had skipped breakfast this morning, and was starting to greatly regret that decision. It wasn’t that there hadn’t been food in the house, quite to the contrary actually. His foster mother, Saan, always made sure the pantry was well stocked with his favorite items and she had a standing order for one of the town bakers each week for a plethora of fresh baked delights. No, food options were definitely not the issue.
The real problem was that he couldn’t stand to be around his house for any longer than he absolutely had to. Everything about the place irritated him. First, there was the horrible odor of the building, like what it would smell like if a barnyard and an outhouse got together and had a disgusting little baby. He had tried constantly holding his breath for the first few weeks he was living there, but he got sick of losing consciousness every few minutes.
The smell wasn’t everything though. He might have been able to figure out a way to make do with the place if that was the only problem. No, he also had to deal with the sounds. Mostly it was the unnecessarily happy voices of his foster parents as they aggressively tried to talk to him about his day. His step mother, especially, was always asking him such stupid questions like “How are you?”, and “Would you like a snack?” Jaxon breathed in deeply, getting annoyed just thinking about their incessant interrogation.
But even that part wasn’t the biggest annoyance about living there, not by a longshot. No, the absolute worst had to be the flowers. They were everywhere! Saan had them outside in the garden, inside in ceramic pots; she even tried to put a few in his bedroom. He hated them more than anything else. They were always so perky and colorful, constantly taunting him with their patronizing blooming. Jaxon wished he could just go around and slowly pick the flower petals off each one, chew them up really well, and spit them right back out. They all deserved it. Actually, they probably deserved much, much more, but Jaxon didn’t want to take things too far.
Needless to say, pretty much everything about living with the Hoofstomps made him sick to his stomach. He’d been with them for three years now, about two years and 364 days or so longer than any of the other fourteen foster families he had lived with over the years. For all the bad things people say about satyrs, and there certainly was a lot of it, Jaxon had to give them some credit. They were, without a doubt, a magnificently stubborn people.
Though new to the world of professional writing, T.J. Lantz has been a world class storyteller (a.k.a. liar) for many years. Originally forging his craft by creating backstories for each of the lawn gnomes he managed to liberate from the prisons his neighbors called the “front yard”, he now uses that ability to entertain his wife and six four-legged furry children. Prior to writing the Gnit-Wit Gnipper series and Rosehaven: The Hidden City, T.J. worked as an elementary school teacher in York, Pa., where he happily resides.
T.J. Lantz can be found