Maxwell Grantly

Magical stories from an independent author

Archive for the tag “Grantly”

Smashwords

Jack Reading

You may like to know that all of Maxwell Grantly’s stories can now be found at the site called Smashwords, totally free of charge. Here you can access his stories in epub, Kindle, PDF, Sony Reader, Palm Doc, Plain Text and Online Reader formats. There is bound to be a format at Smashwords that suits your own personal reading preference!

If you enjoy reading these stories then Maxwell is pleased that you were able to briefly enter his fantasy world too, if only for a brief ten or fifteen minutes of your busy life.

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Pfaffenthal Update

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Next year (2017) will be the 150th anniversary of the Second Treaty of London.

For people living outside Luxembourg, this date will have very little significance. However, for those who live and work in Luxembourg, the year 2017 will be an important opportunity to celebrate the reaffirmation of the neutrality of their city and a chance to remember the starting of a new chapter of this important European location.

The Second Treaty of London was an international treaty signed on 11 May 1867. It was agreed in the aftermath of the Austro-Prussian War and the Luxembourg Crisis and it had wide-reaching consequences for Luxembourg and for the relations between Europe’s Great Powers.

As part of the many celebrations planned for 2017, I am currently working with a team from across the whole of Europe; helping in the production of a transmedia comic strip set in a computer generated reconstruction of the 1867 city. The story revolves around a young Luxembourgish boy named Steft and it explains how his vivid imagination caused him to cross the paths of many different characters in and around his home city of Luxembourg.

If all goes to plan, the comic strip will be released some time next year and it is hoped that it may be a unique way of retelling the stories of the inhabitants of this important European City.

World Book Day 2016

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Today is World Book Day and it is celebrated in nearly 100 different countries around the globe. In Great Britain, many children dress up as their favourite fictional character and then attend school in fancy dress for the day.

If you want to celebrate World Book Day in style, why not download a free eBook by Maxwell Grantly and enter his crazy magical world of disbelief for an hour or so. (All Maxwell’s eBooks are free to download from both iTunes and Kobo.) You won’t regret it!

Children and eBooks

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Surveys show that many adults prefer to access their reading material in a paper format. Children, however, are more open to using digital devices.

The use of eBooks is on the rise in schools, by children as young as three, and digital devices are making a large difference to the reading habits of boys in particular. The School Library Journal has reported that tablets or laptops are currently used in about two-thirds of schools across America, however their use is rather more sporadic in British schools. Over the past year, the National Literacy Trust has been conducting research into the impact of digital reading devices upon the literacy development of a sample of 800 children from 40 schools. Interestingly, in a period of just four months, boys made (on average) a progress of 8.4 months, compared to an average of 7.2 months among girls.

Researchers are now beginning new studies to try and discover why boys respond so well to digital media.

There is still a place for a wide range of different reading formats in both schools and the home but it is encouraging that, despite the reservations of adults towards the introduction of eBooks, many children flourish with the acquisition of sound literacy skills, using digital formats.

If your child is interested in using a tablet or laptop to access reading material, you may like to know that Maxwell Grantly has produced an exciting range of original reading material, all of which can be downloaded from Kobo and iTunes completely free of charge.

(Source of information: BBC website)

Christmas Podcast

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If you have read several of my eBooks, you might have noticed that I have developed a specific formatting style for many of my works. Most of my stories have a simple narrative thread but they are packed with numerous beautiful illustrations to accompany the text. However, you may have noticed that my last story (The Christmas Penny) deviated from this general trend. The reason for this change was that my last story was written solely for a steampunk podcast competition, due to be released in time for Christmas.

I am very pleased to announce that this story was successful in the competition and that it was selected (with three others) to form part of the podcast production. Incidentally, just by chance, all four stories were based around street urchin characters and so I understand that the podcast will have a strong steampunk urchin theme. If you have children, they may particularly relish this aspect!

The podcast is currently in the production stage and I understand that it is due for release in the few weeks. Of course, I shall be pleased to provide a link when it is finally available for download.

Child Literacy at Christmas

Have you seen the new Sainsbury’s Christmas Advert this year? Mog sets off a chain of unfortunate events that almost ruin Christmas for the Thomas family. Can she pull it all back to save the day?

This year, Sainsbury’s are working in partnership with HarperCollins Children’s Books and world renowned author/illustrator Judith Kerr to create a Christmas story based on her much loved character Mog.

If you enjoyed the video clip, you can buy the beautifully illustrated book from Sainsbury’s. Every penny of the profit from sales of the book will be donated to Save the Children, improving child literacy in the UK.

If you would like further inspiration for teaching children to read, you may also like to know that every story by Maxwell Grantly can be downloaded (completely free of charge) from both iBooks and Kobo. There is even a free special Christmas eBook planned for released in December – more news about that later this month.

A Merry Christmas to you all.

Gobbler and the Mirror

Gobbler and the Mirror

We all know that light travels incredibly quickly in a vacuum. When it passes through other media, such as water or glass, it slows down very slightly. So, just imagine what life would be like if light travelled substantially slower in glass! How would such a world look?

Professor Higgins discovered that, if you added a special crystalline compound to the manufacture of glass, you could create a new transparent substance that had the property of slowing light by a total of three hours. Just imagine looking through a window that was made of this new invention: it would be like looking three hours into the past!

A local street urchin named Gobbler accidentally stumbled into a lecture given by Professor Higgins and learnt the secret behind this new amazing substance. His life would never be the same from that moment on. Find out how Gobbler’s life changed for the worse when he found himself being framed for a theft that he did not commit and discover whether he managed to clear his name.

Maxwell Grantly reveals all in his new eBook: “Gobbler and the Mirror.”

As is common with many stories by Maxwell, everything is not what it might at first seem to be!

Skippy’s Lost Shadow

Kris, Skippy and Maxwell meet a kind stranger at Shamrock Market, who generously passes the three of them a pogo stick. Unfortunately, Skippy bounces so vigorously, his shadow falls off and the three elves have to begin a search for it.

After searching high and low, they find the shadow trapped beneath a doughnut in the Shamrock auction houses.

In their excitement of finding the doughnut, they retrieve it too quickly and the hole falls out of the doughnut and into the centre of Skippy’s shadow.

Skippy recovers his shadow but sadly the hole has ruined the shadow. Even the offer of a bite from the doughnut does little to console his disappointment. As Skippy collapses into a flood of tears, Kris suggests that the three of them travel to the Land of Shadows and search for a new shadow.

The three elves trek to the depths of the deepest seas in the Land of Shadows and discover the remains of a sunken soap cargo aeroplane shrouded in the darkest shadows of the ocean’s floor. Perhaps they can find the perfect shadow there.

Searching the rusting remains of the cockpit, Skippy finds a small shadow that fits perfectly.

Kris drags an old box of soap from the cargo hold so that they can open it and use a cake of soap to stick the shadow back in place.

The shadow is stuck firmly back in place so that the three brothers can safely return home with their shadows safely intact.

Moral: Should you see a shadow trapped beneath a doughnut, please remove the doughnut carefully before retrieving the shadow.

The Journey Home

Kira the Wolf

(Note: This story was written for a Second Life script reader story-teller that is designed to read separate lines at 10 second intervals. So, please excuse the fact that each sentence is on a unique line and no one line exceeds 256 characters in length.)

The elven trio set off from the Southern Oracle on their long trek home and soon they had left the Valley of the Wolves behind them.

“It’s late afternoon and we must hurry,” announced Maxwell anxiously, “We have a long journey ahead.”

As he spoke, a double clap of thunder rang out across the darkening skies and the first of a multitude of tiny raindrops began to fall.

“Did you hear a cry of help?” asked Kris with an air of alarm, pricking his ears up to catch the very faintest unspoken sounds.

The two other elves both shook their heads in disbelief and continued with their long journey home.

“I think we’re heading into a storm,” Skippy announced with apprehension and, as he spoke, tiny raindrops fell upon his face and trickled into his mouth.

“The rain tastes salty!” he exclaimed with an astonished cry to his brothers, “Something’s wrong!”

“I’m sure I heard an unspoken cry of help,” Kris repeated and he held out his hand to catch the falling raindrops.

Maxwell did the same and the two of them raised their hands simultaneously to their mouths to taste the fallen rain.

“You’re right!” they both exclaimed together, “This rain is salty. Something’s very wrong indeed!”

The three elves turned back towards the Valley of the Wolves and quickly followed their steps, from back where they had once came.

With a heightening sense of alarm, they traced their path into a shaded wooded area to discover four large sinister-looking men standing over two grey limp masses.

As they stepped closer, they made out that the two grey shapes were the dead corpses of two adult wolves; one male and one female.

The four men looked up together at the approaching elves and one of them gave a warning shout.

“Beware! Stand Back!” he called out, “There are dangerous wolves in these woods. This pair nearly killed us all!”

The three elves surveyed the wooded area to see the four men hovering suspiciously over two dead wolves, their guns propped up on a nearby tree.

“You cowardly thugs!” Kris yelled out in anger, ”You liars! Those wolves didn’t attack you!”

It was obvious to Kris, who could hear the unspoken word, that the men were deceitful and could not be trusted.

One of the men turned and reached for one of the guns that was propped vertically against the tree while a second rushed forward and grabbed Kris firmly by his shoulders.

In anger, remembering his elven oath, Maxwell screamed an ancient elven spell and waved his hands in the air.

As he did so, a vine sprung from the tree and wrapped itself around the four guns, securing them firmly against the tree.

Skippy followed suit and called another olden spell. A nettle sprung from the ground and whipped its serrated leaves across the face of Kris’s adversary.

With a painful shout the man released his grip on Kris and dropped him to the ground with a thud.

The remaining three men closed in, formed ranks and ran towards Maxwell and Skippy, clenching their fists threateningly and menacingly.

Kris stood up, raised his hands in the air with an air of authority and called upon the trees using an enchanted magical charm.

The ancient trees creaked and groaned and bent their branches down to the ground, shedding their leaves and exposing their bare harsh brushwood surfaces.

With a defiant slash, the trees whipped their branches firmly across the buttocks of the hunters, causing them to scream in pain.

The four men looked around with disbelief at the swaying branches of the trees and again, the branches slashed through the air, to flog them again and again.

With a scream of wild panic the four men turned on their heels and ran in disorganized retreat away from the scene leaving the three elves safe in the security of the woods.

Kris, Maxwell and Kris looked reassuringly at one another and then down to the ground at the dead bodies of the two wolves.

“We can’t leave such noble beasts here in the woods,” sighed Kris with great sadness, “It would be such a disrespectful way to treat such a magnificent animal.”

The other two elves nodded in unison and the three of them searched the woods together, searching for falling logs and branches with which to build a funeral pyre.

Within hours they had gathered sufficient timber and they built one large pyre on which to place the two dead bodies.

The afternoon was turning into night and the sun gracefully bowed its head below the distant horizon; the first shafts of darkness crept into the wooded glade.

Then, with great respect and reverence, the three elves dragged the first body (the male) onto the timber mound and carefully arranged his limbs spread-eagled across the wood.

As the three elves returned for the second corpse, the body of the female, Skippy gave an astonished yelp and pointed down at the dead grey mass of fur.

“I’m sure I saw something move!” he cried out in excitement and pointed down to the underside of the carcass.

There, hiding in the folds of the fur was a tiny wolf cub, barely a few days old.

Kris removed his cloak, bent over and carefully scooped the tiny creature lovingly into his arms.

He stroked its head with great affection and a tear welded up in the eyes of each of the trio – there was no way that they could leave this vulnerable creature alone in the woods to fend for itself.

Delicately and with great care, Kris wrapped the wolf cub in the soft warm folds of his cloak and then the three of them continued with the respectful cremation of its two parents.

Finally, the three elves sat at the edge of the pyre as Kris held the bundled wolf treasure securely and tenderly in his arms.

As the flames of the pyre sprang and danced into the darkened woodland air, tiny orange sparks flew up and danced in the swirling smoke.

The twirling eddies of smoke carried the glowing orange cinders into the night sky and they vanished within the thousands of twinkling stars.

As the rites determined them to do so, Skippy played a haunting dirge upon his flute, Maxwell sung the words of a sorrowful lament and Kris spoke the words of a deeply moving eulogy.

They had shown the proper respect to the passing of two great noble beasts and had performed the due rites with correct reverence and honour.

The Thousand twinkled in the blackened nighttime sky, looked down at the three elves with the sleeping wolf cub and bestowed a silent nighttime blessing on them all.

Tomorrow the three elves would finish their journey home but they also now had the responsibility to care and nurture the tiny wolf cub too.

Kris’s special gift has proven its worth twice that day and the three elves knew that the power to hear the unspoken word should never be underestimated.

The Search for Kris’s Gift (Part 5)

The sun begun to set and it was becoming darker as the three elves stepped forward into the temple Southern Oracle with a sense of joyous relief. It had been a long and treacherous journey but, after many trials and tribulations, they had finally arrived at their destination. At the far end of the temple, nobly and alone, sat a single lone she-wolf, wearing a splendid and colourful Japanese mask, a pure ceramic white mask etched with bold red and black markings. This was The Southern Oracle. On her right, lay a single crystal of translation upon the bare surface of the floor.

Kris, Maxwell and Skippy stepped forward with trepidation. Despite being very attractive, the Japanese mask made them apprehensive and doubtful as to her true identity and they hesitated in their final steps towards the Southern Oracle.

The Southern Oracle greeted the three elves with a welcoming blink of her eye through a hole in the mask and then carefully and precisely she softly growled a wolfish salutation.

“And how might I help you?” she asked with a soft and friendly canine growl.

As she spoke, the crystal glimmered and sparkled, throwing it’s light onto the darkened interior walls of the temple, causing a multitude of dancing shadows to etch themselves into its nighttime walls.

“We’ve tr-travelled from the Northern Forests to ask you a qu-question,”  stammered Maxwell, afeared from the solemnity of the occasion.

The Southern Oracle smiled softly and her eyes sparkled in the light of the glowing crystal. She bowed her masked head respectfully and nudged it gently into the chest of Maxwell.

“Have you anything to fear from me?” she asked warmly and comfortingly.

She tenderly raised her masked head, looked into the elf’s eyes and brushed her tail affectionately across his face. It was evidently clear that the Southern Oracle was a warm and gentle creature and that she was as placid as the soft breeze that tenderly stroked the rustling leaves upon the trees outside.

“Of course not, we can trust you totally and utterly” said Kris; for he had, up to then, been reading the unspoken cues that the Southern Oracle had given them all, “Please excuse our hesitancy for it is the first time we have travelled to these parts.”

Skippy interjected with his youthful energy, “We’ve come to find Kris’s gift. We have travelled many miles, across snows and plains, through winds and swamps to find you. Can you tell us what Kris’s gift is?”

The Southern Oracle turned towards the smallest of the three elves and spoke with soft dulcet tones.

“How did you know where I live? she asked the small elf.

Skippy thought back to the start of the journey and answered, “We asked one of Santa’s reindeer.”

“But how did you know which reindeer to ask?” questioned the Southern Oracle.

“It was me,” interjected Kris, “I spotted the unspoken word that told me which one we should trust.”

“… and then we arrived at the Plains of Loneliness …” added Maxwell, “… and we had to survive the three winds in order to pass through the gate.”

“But how did you know how to survive the three winds?” questioned the Southern Oracle.

“It was me,” replied Kris, “I spotted the unspoken word that told me we should rally ourselves with stories, music and chants.”

“ … and finally we crossed the swamps and solved the riddle of the Guardians of the Gate.” concluded Skippy.

“But how did you know the answer to the riddle?” quizzed the Southern Oracle.

“It was me,” replied Kris, “I spotted the unspoken word that told me the two wolves had swapped positions.”

“And so, my precious one,” concluded the Southern Oracle, looking directly into the face of Kris, “what do you think is your gift?”

Kris thought for a few seconds and pondered upon his words.

“Do you think it is that I can hear the unspoken word?” he wondered aloud.

“Is that what you think?” asked the Southern Oracle, gazing through her mask into the eyes of Kris and touching his very soul with her glance, “Is that what you think?”

The three elves looked at the Southern Oracle and then to each other. Their eyes widened and their jaws dropped.

“You can hear the unspoken word,” said both Maxwell and Skippy with astonishment. “That is your gift.”

The three elves smiled contentedly and their eyes began to sparkle with the realization of what they had discovered. Kris was a Listener. He had the gift to hear the unspoken word; the unspoken word that could not falsified or untrue but one which was exact and just. Kris was indeed a Listener.

The Southern Oracle raised a paw to her face and with a very slight twist; she removed the coloured Japanese mask from her face. The three elves looked respectfully and carefully at the exposed face of the she-wolf before them – she was indeed a very attractive creature, despite being of advancing years. The Southern Oracle took the mask and passed it to the hand of Kris with a knowing wink of her eye.

“I am Lupus the Wolf, the Southern Oracle,” she announced proudly and stately to the three elves, “Please accept this mask as a gift from me to remember your visit to my temple. Kris the Listener – you have a wise, a special and a wondrous gift. Use it carefully and respectfully with those whom you meet. May this mask remind you that, despite the best efforts from some people to hide their words, their thoughts their deeds, if you look carefully and use your gift wisely you are able to hear the unspoken word and you can look deep into the very souls of those around you.”

With that, Lupus the Wolf, the Southern Oracle flicked her tail and she evaporated into the air with a cascade of simmering sparkling lights that hovered in the space where once she had occupied. The lights gently twinkled and one-by-one they extinguished themselves gently to be replaced by a corresponding set of twinkling lights in the night sky above. The three elves looked up at the southern skies and made out the faint twinkling stars in the constellation of Lupus the Wolf.

“You’re Kris the Listener” said Maxwell and Skippy together. “It’s late and we ought be making our way home.”

With that one small star in Lupus the Wolf winked its eye and a faint chuckling sound could be heard reverberating across the nighttime sky. Kris the Listener held the mask tightly in his hand and looked up to the darkened southern skies.

“Good night Lupus and thank you,” he whispered and, with that, he turned to join his brothers on their long trek home, away from the Southern Oracle in the Valley of the Wolves.

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