Friday, December 6, 2013

Friday Feature: Mikki Sadil's The Freedom Thief



Shortly before the Civil War exploded in the South, thirteen year-old Ben McKenna is fighting his own war against slavery. He and his family live on his grandmother’s hemp plantation, where his best friend is a crippled slave boy, Josiah. When Ben learns his father is going to sell Josiah, he knows the only way to prevent this is to arrange an escape for Josiah and his parents, Bess and Jesse. With only a few words from his secret Abolitionist grandmother, an old barn with secrets of its own, and a tiny rusted key, Ben plans the escape. When the buyer for Josiah arrives a week early, Ben and the slaves must leave immediately. Without a detailed plan, without even a map of the Kentucky terrain, Ben and the slaves embark on their journey to freedom into a world of hostility, danger, and deception.

Through a collapsing underground tunnel, into a dangerous swamp, and through almost impenetrable forests, Ben and his friends make their way towards the Ohio River. An almost-tragedy for Josiah, deceptive “rescuers” who imprison them for weeks, a daring rooftop escape in broad daylight, and a near capture by Union soldiers add to the many dangers they face. For months, they endure the hardships of hiding in barns, tiny attic rooms, cellars full of rotting fruit and vegetables, and even secret travel in wagons with false bottoms and coffins in a death coach. And always, the slave hunters and their dogs are not far behind.

Free Blacks, Quakers, and a strange young man offer their help to the runaways, sometimes with questionable results. Will they ever reach the Ohio River, and the freedom that is promised on the other side? If they do, will Ben go with them, or will he choose to return home, even though he knows the consequences of his actions could result in prison?


THE FREEDOM THIEF

By
Mikki Sadil
An Historical Adventure
for ages 10-14

Excerpt:
Ben and the slaves are on their final leg of their journey before reaching the safety of the Ohio River, and the man who will get them across. They are hiding in another thick forest, with the Union Fort just ahead of them. The problem before them now is to get beyond the fort, stay out of the moonlight, and onto the beach without the soldiers seeing them.

The forest came alive as a fox yipped in the distance, and somewhere overhead, a night owl hooted and swooped away from its nest. Small animals rustled in the underbrush, a coyote sang, and occasionally, a tiny scream signaled the death of a small animal in the jaws of a predator. A breeze rippled through the trees, bringing a fresh coolness to dispense the daytime humidity. Still, Ben refused to move out.

He crept to the edge of the forest and watched the fort. When most of the lamps within were extinguished and only those on the parapets were lit, he moved back to his friends.

“Okay, we should go now, but we have to be fast and quiet. The moon’s up, which means the soldiers could see us if they’re looking. But there’s only one soldier on the parapet now, so I think it’s the best time. I’ll go first, Bess next. Jesse, you best carry Josiah since he can’t run fast. Be sure to follow exactly where I go.”

They waited at the edge of the forest. The lone soldier was pacing slowly black and forth from one end of the parapet to the other. When he reached the far end, Ben whispered quickly, “I’m going now. Wait until he’s at the same place, then come one at a time.”

He bent over, trying to make his shadow as small as possible, and raced to the wall of the fort. In a couple of minutes, Bess joined him, followed by Jesse and Josiah. They huddled tightly together and Ben knew they were all barely breathing. Even though the fort wall was at least thirty feet high, if the soldier looked down he could see them. He continued his pacing without interruption.

Pressed against the wall, they moved single file toward the end of the fort. Here and there, small patches of snow crunched under their feet and they stopped for fear of being heard. The soldier marched on, thankfully oblivious to their presence.

The wall angled out to the left, toward the river. Closest to them was a huge wooden gate that opened for wagons and soldiers returning on horseback. Now there were two soldiers walking their duty line on the parapet above the gate.

Ben looked out beyond the fort. The bright moon cast light that shimmered on water far down the road. Boats, beached for the winter, were illuminated as they lay against the white sand. A few were still in the water, tied to slips near the riverbank.

Between the end of the fort’s walls and the beach, the area was wide open. Off to the right, at the edge of the forest, only a few trees here and there leaned across the sand far enough to cast even small shadows. This was the dangerous part, running in the open to the limited safety of the beached boats. It was more than a half mile of open ground, easily seen by the soldiers if they chose to look in that direction.

He turned to the others and whispered, “Look, see where those boats are? That’s where the man is going to be.”

He looked around at the beach before them and the edge of the forest a short distance away.

“No matter how we do this, we can be seen if the soldiers start looking down this way. I reckon the best way is to get to the edge of the forest over there.” He pointed to where the sand trickled back into the woods. “Those big trees that lean out over the sand are the only shadows we have, and we’re still going to be in the open between them. But that’s the best chance we have. Let’s go.”

Single file, they ran silently from the protection of the fort wall out into the open and toward the edge of the forest. They had just reached the shadowy edge of the first few trees when Jesse, who was carrying Josiah, slipped on a thin patch of icy ground and fell. Josiah cried out as he rolled away before Jesse could grab him. He hit a rock and lay still.

Immediately, a shot rang out, and a voiced yelled, “Stop! Who goes there?”

Find Mikki on Facebook and Twitter.

Find The Freedom Thief on Amazon and B&N.

So, what do you think?

280 comments:

  1. So cruel to end the excerpt there! This reminds me a little of 'I am David'; one of my favourite books as a child. May well be seeking this one out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, how great that it reminds you of your favorite childhood book!

      Delete
    2. Hi Angeline, and thanks for the comment. I agree with Kelly, it's nice to know that the book reminds you of one of your childhood favorites!

      Delete
  2. Hi Kelly, its nice to meet you. I am here because you are being Blitzed!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh wow! I wasn't expecting to be blitzed. What a nice surprise. Thanks, Carolyn.

      Delete
  3. Excellent excerpt! Thank you for sharing that with us. Mikki has tackled a tough subject and it looks great.

    BTW...you've been BLITZED! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. Definitely a tough subject and I now Mikki worked really hard on this book.

      Thanks for the blitz.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the comment, DL. It was a tough subject, and took 2 years of research before even beginning to write, but I'm happy with the result!

      Delete
  4. Hello, Kelly! Mikki's book sounds great. Thanks for the recommendation. Hope you have a terrific weekend, and happy Blitz Day!!

    Happy reading and writing! from Laura Marcella @ Wavy Lines

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Laura! I'm so excited to be blitzed this close to my birthday. It's like starting the celebration early. :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the comment, Laura, and Kelly, happy early birthday!

      Delete
  5. Wow! This book sounds interesting. I love books dealing with historical aspects.

    Happy Blitz Day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad you like the feature.

      And thanks!

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the comment, Miranda!

      Delete
  6. Kelly, that you for spotlighting this book. It is definitely an interesting historical period. Great snippet and summary.
    Happy Blitz Day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Susan. Glad you enjoyed the spotlight.

      Delete
    2. Susan, thank you for the comment, I appreciate it.

      Delete
  7. The novel sounds very interesting. Congrats to Mikki!

    Happy Blog Blitz Day, Kelly!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Historical fiction books are my favorite, thanks for the tip, Happy Blitz Day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Vicki, if you do read the book, please let me know what you think of it! And thanks for the comment!

      Delete
  9. Happy Blitz day! Been spending the morning reading through your blog. It was quite exciting to see you book on the shelves (I know from experience!)

    Keep up the great work!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Timothy. It definitely is a great feeling.

      Delete
  10. Great excerpt! Good luck to Mikki! And happy Blitz day to you, Kelly. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you for the comment, Christine, I appreciate it!

      Delete
  11. I can only imagine the excitement of seeing your own book on the sehlves of a bookstore (when I was a reporter I used to get excited seeing the local newspaper on newsagents' shelves with my byline, but it's not quite the same!). Happy Blitz Day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That is very cool to see your name on a byline. :)

      Delete
  12. Huh. This sounds like a pretty exciting book. Great post!

    BAZINGA! You've been blitzed! Hope you have a great day!

    I really hope your querying pays off soon. Your books look really good. I'm going to add your name to the Pay It Forward Book List on my blog. Feel free to come over and add titles of your own or get new titles for yourself!
    Heather

    http://hmgardner.blogspot.com/2013/12/iwsg-pif-book-list-lets-pay-it-forward.html

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh wow! Thanks, Heather. I'll check that out.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the comment, Heather!

      Delete
  13. Happy Blitz Day! Have a great weekend! :)

    ReplyDelete
  14. It looks like an interesting read. Happy Blog Blitz! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you , Laura, I hope the kids who read it will find it interesting!

      Delete
  15. Sounds like a great story, and perfect for the intended audience. My 14 year old would love it - he's into historical fiction and fascinated by the whole slavery issue. "How could we have done something so horrible, Mom?" I had no good answer.
    Nice to meet you, enjoy the Blitz!
    Tina @ Life is Good

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Tina! Glad you enjoyed the book feature too.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the comment, Tina. I hope your son enjoys the book. Maybe you'll let me know what he thinks?

      Delete
  16. Ooh, The Freedom Thief sounds like an exciting adventure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Nicki, I hope it's exciting for the kids!

      Delete
  17. I'm betting I'd love this one. I should totally read it. =)

    Happy blitz day, Kelly. Eat cheese and know you're loved, eh?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL I'm eating cheese and crackers as I type this. :)

      Delete
    2. Cheese and crackers sounds like a winner, Kelly! And Crystal, thank you for the comment. I hope you like the book, if you decide to read it!

      Delete
  18. Sounds like a lot of adventure in that book!

    Happy Blitz Day!

    ReplyDelete
  19. Yay for books that support diversity! This one sounds so exciting and touching at the same time. Wishing Mikki huge success! :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much, Lexa! don't I know you from...somewhere ? :)

      Delete
  20. Sounds like an interesting read.
    Happy Blitz Day!

    anna
    Deeply Shallow

    ReplyDelete
  21. That sounds like a great book! I always loved stories of the Underground Railroad as a school child.
    Happy Blitz Day!

    ReplyDelete
  22. This sounds like something right up my alley....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. :) I'm sure Mikki will be happy to hear that.

      Delete
    2. Thanks, William, if you read it I hope you find it a 'good" read!

      Delete
  23. I love the title and that it's targeting younger readers. This same premise inspired a subplot line in my epic fantasy.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Jeff. The title of The Freedom Thief was inspired by an article about Quakers in the pre-Civil War era...a belief they held. I suppose they probably believe the same way today.

      Delete
  24. Happy blitz day, Kelly!
    Thanks for introducing me to Mikki Sadils's book.

    ReplyDelete
  25. Replies
    1. Definitely! I had no idea, but it was a great surprise to wake up to this morning. :)

      Delete
  26. Happy Blitzer Day! And I love the books you spotlight. What a happy spot of sunshine to all the authors you promote. You rock!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you! I love promoting other authors. :)

      Delete
  27. Happy Blitz Day, Kelly! I haven't visited your blog before, so I'll be looking around, enjoying it. Wishing you all kinds of good things with your career.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Happy blitz day, Kelly, and so nice to meet you! I love the sound of this book. I haven't read a historical middle-grade in a long time, and will have to add this one to my to-read list.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Julie! I'm sure Mikki will be happy to hear that.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Julie, and I hope you enjoy the book!

      Delete
  29. Sounds like a book I'd love to read!! I'm good with anything about history and love diversity in books! Happy Blitz, Kelly! <3 <3 YOUR books are beautiful and sound awesome!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Ashley! That's so sweet of you to say.

      Delete
    2. Ashley, thank you for the comment! I hope you do read it! :)

      Delete
  30. Sounds like a great book. I was a huge fan of historical fiction when I was that age, but I haven't read any in a long time. Maybe I need to remedy that.

    Happy Blitz day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Kate. Love your avatar!

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the comment, Kate. And of course you need to remedy the "not reading historical fiction" situation! LOL

      Delete
  31. Oh wow, sounds exciting! Good luck and Happy Blitz day!!!

    ReplyDelete
  32. So sorry to hear about you losing your agent, but I bet it just leads to something even better for you in the future! That's what I tell myself every time I get a rejection anyway, haha! I love all your covers too, happy blitz day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, J.A. I'm hoping it leads to something good.

      Delete
  33. I like the tittle very much. Best of luck and happy blitz day!

    ReplyDelete
  34. I was sorry to learn about your agent, Kelly, and hope you will find a new one very soon. Happy Blitz Day to you!!

    ReplyDelete
  35. Happy Blitz Day, Kelly! I'm so sorry I haven't discovered your wonderful blog until now! Being an unpublished author myself I can only imagine how frustrating it is to develop a relationship with an agent only to have them leave the business. But I'm sure you'll find a new home for your books- strong sotries get told, one way or another.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Beverly. My agency closing was definitely a shock. It's tough but I'll get through it.

      Delete
  36. What an awesome story by Mikki! And what beautiful books by you, Kelly. Happy Blitz!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kelly's book are beautiful, but then, so is she, so what else could one expect? And thanks for the comment, M.

      Delete
  37. Happy Blitz Day :) I love your blog :) I've followed for a while and your books look awesome and I've wanted to get them for a while :) Hopefully for xmas I'll get them :) Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays :)

    Cassandra

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Cassandra. If you do get them, I hope you enjoy them. :) Happy holidays!

      Delete
  38. Happy Blitz Day, Kelly. Another great spotlight. Thank you for always being such a great resource for new authors and opening your virtual home to them. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sarah. I'm always happy to help a fellow author. :)

      Delete
  39. Hey. I don't always do these blitzes, but when someone really deserves it, yeah, I do. So with that preface--
    Heard about your agent leaving the business and almost cried for you. You're a total stranger to me, but as a writer struggling so hard to just GET an agent I can ABSOLUTELY feel and imagine and understand that kind of pain and frustration. This is something we want so much, and then? It's just not fair. It's like losing a kid, I think, only without the resolution of a funeral.
    Okay, if that's not how you feel, maybe I'm just a little writing-obsessed and need to cool it. You're a really strong person, from what I hear. But I wanted to say--you're someone who highlights other authors and helps them out, often. That's not something that's going to go unnoticed. As those folks make it big, they will remember you, and you're pretty much "big stuff" yourself. Helping other people nine times out of ten doesn't get you anything in return--and it shouldn't, it's about you loving your world and that's awesome--but when you help enough folks that 10th gets easier and easier to come by, know what I mean? What I'm saying is: you're a kind, supportive person, and I know this from just five minutes of snooping around. There's a blessing in that, and as you know, you're gonna bounce back from this! You are going to rock this. So keep on fighting, eye-of-the-tiger-style or whatever your favorite intense song is--put that song on and rock out and WRITE!
    People really believe in you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow. I'm not sure "thank you" covers it right now. I really appreciate everything you took the time to write here. Losing my agent was really tough and it still is. I really thought once you found an agent, things could only go up. My agency closing was completely unexpected and took the breath out of me. But I will bounce back. Funny you mentioned blasting my favorite intense song, because I did just that to start my day. :)

      As for helping other authors, I love to do that. We are all in this crazy industry together. It's such a great and giving community, and I'm happy to help my fellow writers.

      So nice to meet you, and thank you again for the kind words.

      Delete
  40. I know you are being blitzed today. But I wanted to say that the profiled book sounds intriguing. You have so many books out -- I am impressed by their covers. I hope others will buy one of your books as well as say HI in this blitz. I know I am. Have a safe weekend, Roland

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Roland! That means a lot to me. and I'm glad you liked the feature on Mikki's book, too.

      Delete
    2. Roland, thank you for the comment. I appreciate it!

      Delete
  41. Happy Blitz Day!! All your books look wonderful! :-D

    ReplyDelete
  42. Hi Kelly! Happy Blitz Day! I hope it's a fabulous day! :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You all have made this a great day. Thank you.

      Delete
  43. Hey, Kelly! Happy Friday Blitz day!!

    (hugs)
    Michelle

    ReplyDelete
  44. This book looks interesting. I may have to check it out some time.

    Happy Blitz Day!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you like Mikki's book, L.G. And thanks for stopping by to blitz me. :)

      Delete
    2. Thanks, LG, and I hope you do check it out sometime! :)

      Delete
  45. I love the book cover ... but your covers are even better. Happy blitz day and good luck with all your future endeavors in the writing world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Greg. I can't take credit for my covers. I have some very talented cover designers, and I'm very thankful for that.

      Delete
    2. LOL Thanks, Greg, and No,I'm not laughing at you. But of course Kelly's covers are better, they are all of beautiful women! And mine is...umm...well, intriguing, and maybe just a little bit...deceitful! Like Kelly, I had little input into the covers!

      Delete
  46. Oh, that book looks goood!

    And, Kelly, keep your chin up! You're an amazing writer and everything will fall into place. Good things are in store for you, I'm sure!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Nicole. I appreciate that.

      Delete
    2. Thanks for the comment, Nicole, it's appreciated!

      Delete
  47. Hi, Kelly,
    The book you've featured sounds intriguing.
    Checking it out.
    Enjoy the weekend!

    ReplyDelete
  48. Ooh intriguing excerpt!

    And happy Blitz Day Kelly!

    ReplyDelete
  49. Losing an agent has to be tough, especially with all the upheaval in publishing. I hope you find another-- or that your success is so spectacular that you no longer need a middleman/woman.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Lea! I'm in the query trenches as we speak and have a few fulls out, so fingers crossed. :)

      Delete
  50. Happy Blitz Day!

    This sounds like a book I might enjoy, since the Civil War has been one of my favorite historical eras since I was about eight years old.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, yay! I'm glad it sounds like a book you'd enjoy, Carrie-Anne.

      And thanks for the blitz.

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Carrie-Anne! I wrote the book for the same reason: that era and War had always enthralled me. As a child learning about it, I couldn't understand how a difference in philosophy could lead to brother fighting against brother. Of course, eventually I learned that it is usually a difference in philosophy that leads to war. I hope you enjoy the book!

      Delete
  51. Whoa. This looks like a FANTASTIC book. Thanks for the feature!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kiersi, thank so much for your comment, it is appreciated!

      Delete
  52. Love the excerpt- Happy Blitz day!
    ~Summer

    ReplyDelete
  53. SOunds like a fantastic book. happy Blitz Day

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ednah, thank you for your comment, I really appreciate it.

      Delete
  54. Wow, I like the premise on this novel. My son might read this.

    .....dhole

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Donna. I hope your son does read it, and enjoys it!

      Delete
  55. Sounds interesting--Happy Blitz Day! :)

    ReplyDelete
  56. Sounds like a good story. And Happy Blitz Day!

    ReplyDelete
  57. That story sounds really good! Too bad I'm such an old fartessa.

    After getting blitzed all day, I sure hope you don't have a hangover later. Happy blitz day, Kelly. Enjoy!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the comment, Susan! But being an "old fartessa" shouldn't keep you from reading a book for kids! :)

      Delete
    2. lol, Susan. I'm enjoying it. I'll sleep a little later tomorrow morning. ;)

      Delete
  58. I love your blog! So happy to find out more about another YA fantasy writer. Happy blitz day, Kelly.

    ReplyDelete
  59. Love the synopsis and the excerpt! I'm definitely intrigued and would keep reading (or rather, start from the beginning, lol).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Tiana! I think Amazon has the first chapter out for "free" reading if you're interested. Hope you like the book if you decide to buy it. :)

      Delete
  60. Sounds like a great story! Happy weekend and happy blitz day to you!

    ReplyDelete
  61. Hey Kelly,

    I am here with the riff raff wishing you a happy Blitz Day! Congratulations on all your success. You obviously have some mad skills to have such success so early in your life. I wish you well as you continue to grow your career!

    ReplyDelete
  62. Nice to meet you Kelly! Happy Blitz Day to you and Congrats on all you have accomplished, so far!

    Mikki your book sounds amazing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ella, thank you for your comment, it is greatly appreciated!

      Delete
    2. Thank you, Ella. Nice to meet you too.

      Delete
  63. Wow, that book sounds amazing. That excerpt was intense.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Auden! I hope you enjoy the book, if you read it!

      Delete
  64. The description had me at 'crippled slave boy' - it doesn't get more heart-wrenching than that.

    P.S. Congrats on all the comments today, girl! You deserve it :-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Faith, thank you for your comment, it is greatly appreciated.

      Delete
  65. Excellent excerpt! Happy Blitz day!

    ReplyDelete

I love comments, but not spam. All spam will be deleted.