I love getting stuff for FREE. I also love being able to help other people get stuff for free…share the wealth and all that. Well, today I have the opportunity to fill you in on the YA series Dogboy Adventures by Bill Meeks and pass along some great freebie opportunities!
The first book is Dogboy: Den of Thieves and it follows the journey of 13 year old Bronson Black as he discovers his magical abilities while defending Colta City from the Guild of Thieves. Bronson is faced with some hard decisions and rough situations trying to be a normal teenager as he saves his new hometown.
Check out this trailer that Bill made in preparation for the books’ release!
The second book in the series is Dogboy: Danger on Liberty Pier where we find Bronson (aka Dogboy) faced with trying to solve a murder while kindling a relationship with Cindy McNeil. Meanwhile, Cindy is hatching her own schemes to fight City Hall.
Again, Bill gives us a glimpse into the world of Dogboy with a trailer.
Bill’s latest release Dogboy: Demon’s Dare is the most action-packed adventure yet! Bronson finds out more information about his past and takes on the toughest villain while riding a rehabilitated roller coaster!
This is where all of my Freebies come in! Bill has offered an exclusive FREE chapter from his latest book for my readers. I asked Bill to give us this one because it features my favorite Dogboy Adventures character, Mr. Horum. Enjoy!
Previously… A member of the infamous Guild of Thieves has offered Dogboy’s guardian Mr. Horum a job at the Curleyworld amusement park. Dogboy convinces him to accept the position so he can spy on the reemerging thieves and find a way to take them down. Mr. Horum arrives, prepared to audition with a magic trick straight out of ancient Egypt.
The Pharaoh’s Wish
Mr. Horum crossed the bridge from the parking lot to Curleyworld itself. Two unkempt men were busy scrubbing a large globe near the entrance. They called him over as he passed.
“Are you lost? Let us help you find your way,” said the tall one.
“We live to serve. We serve to live,” said the short one.
“I here for audition,” Mr. Horum said. “I do magic tricks for new show, hmmb?”
“Something tells me this gent ain’t from around here,” said the short one.
“Aye, you can tell by the glint in his eyes,” said the tall one.
“You know where to find man? He is called Osbert. You know him, yes?” Mr. Horum said.
The tall man jumped off the globe, took Mr. Horum arm, then led him back toward the bridge. “We do, but the park isn’t open to the public yet. We’ll have to ask you to leave,” he said.
“Gotta go. So sorry. Please come again,” said the short man.
“He tell me to come here. You ask him, hmmb? I wait. No problem.” Mr. Horum sat down on a bench and crossed his arms, immovable.
“Brother, what do you think they’d do if we let him in?” the short one asked.
“Depends on if he’s telling the truth of it, brother. I’d imagine the reaction would be awful. Simply awful,” said the tall one.
“What if he took our whiskey?” the short asked.
“Or worse,” warned the tall one.
“Well, that does sound awful, brother. Maybe we can—”
“Go ask Osbert if he knows this clown?”
“Magician,” Mr. Horum corrected.
“An excellent plan. Go ask him. Can’t get in trouble if we ask,” said the tall man. The short man ran back toward the ticket booths beside the front gates.
Mr. Horum sized up the tall one. “You ever do magic trick?” he asked.
“I can pick pockets and some other grifts, but I wouldn’t consider myself a magician.”
“You will help me, yes? With trick?” Horum said, putting his arm around the fellow then pulling him in. “You stand behind thingy for big reveal. Super simple stuff.”
Before the tall one could answer, the short one returned. He handed Mr. Horum a glossy illustrated park map.
“Just head up through Happy Town,” he said. “Cross the bridge and take a right before Old California, and you’ll run right into the main stage in Enchanting Town.”
“You talked to Osbert, right?” asked the tall one.
“Of course, brother,” the short one said.
Mr. Horum whispered something into the tall one’s ear. He nodded to the old magician then took off into the park.
Mr. Horum followed him through the gates but lost him at the turn off to Carnival Town. He passed several men mending rides. A whole crew stood in the pond with water up to their chests gathering old leaves and trash. The workers waved when he walked by. Still, every time they made eye contact he held his bags a little tighter.
Large gold letters etched into a purple curtain welcomed him to ENCHANTING TOWN. The shops and restaurants resembled old European castles with stone towers rising above them. Osbert waited near a large outdoor amphitheater. The tiered concrete bleachers sank down to a round black stage. A wooden castle was mounted on the stage, with a blue velvet curtain for a door.
“Nice set up here, you betcha,” Mr. Horum said, extending his hand to Osbert. “Like puppet theater back home.”
“Predsha, I’m so glad you could make it,” Osbert said as he led Mr. Horum down the stairs. “Do you have everything you need for your audition? I’d love to get started. Entertainment is the last big question mark on my list.”
“Everything set, you betcha,” Mr. Horum said. “Okay to have your guy help, hmmb?”
“That’s fine, Predsha. Where is he?”
“Oh, you see… Or no see if I do trick right,” Mr. Horum said, tapping his nose as he winked.
“Ah. Ha, yes. Quite a sense of humor there. Go ahead through the curtain. We’ll let you know when we’re ready.”
Osbert found a seat third row center then pulled a remote from his pocket and turned on the blue and purple stage lights. He counted to thirty then straightened his smile. “Next,” he said.
Mr. Horum hopped through the curtain, opening his arms wide toward the audience. He held an artist’s easel under one arm, a blank canvas under the other, and a leather satchel on his shoulder. As his eyes adjusted past the lights, he noticed the entire amphitheater sat empty save for Osbert.
“If they tell me crowd this small, I bring coloring book instead,” Mr. Horum said, slapping the easel on the stage. He dragged over a stool and set his bag on it then pulled out a jar of black goo and an oversized paint brush.
“You think you pay for magic show, hmmb? What this paint all about? Ah, is not paint. Is special stuff from ancient Pharaoh’s tomb. Like in Egypt, yes? They have big, powerful, scary magic men, yes? They make this paste from wicked things.”
Mr. Horum twisted the lid off the jar then took a sniff. He scrunched up his nose and gagged a little harder than was probably warranted. “Nasty stuff. When Pharaoh get this, he draw special symbols. What you call them? Hydroglyphics?”
“Hieroglyphics,” Osbert shouted.
“See, why you watch me? Biggest smart guy in audience right there. Anywho, he draw these on big rocks they bury with him when he die. They are his dreams. What he wish for in afterlife. When Pharaoh die, magic men say he get what he ask for, you betcha.”
Mr. Horum dipped his brush in the jar then swung it back and forth across the canvass like a swordsman cutting down his foe. He made little whooshing noises under his breath as he painted, but nobody was close enough to hear them.
Satisfied with his work, he tossed the paint brush across the stage then flipped his masterpiece around. The canvas held a picture of a young man dressed almost exactly like Mr. Horum. “You know what I want when I die? I want to be young man again. Run quick. Work hard. Never tired. So, I paint this picture. Ah, but still I’m alive. Dark magic like this not work on living man. I fix. I fix.”
Mr. Horum pulled a glass vial from his bag, pointing out the skull and crossbones on the front. He popped out the rubber cork and gulped down the contents then smashed the vial on the stage.
“No worry. No worry. If magic work, Horum be best as ever. If no work, I no gonna notice anyhow. Now…” He pulled a golden sheet from his bag, holding it level with his shoulders as he centered himself in front of the painting.
He pulled the sheet up over his face once. Then again. On the third go he fell back, a loud THUNK as his head hit the stage. He didn’t move. Osbert jumped from his seat, rushing towards the stage to investigate.
The thin form under the sheet sat up, coughing as he pulled it off his face. It wasn’t Mr. Horum, but a much younger man dressed like him. The man stood, gesturing to the canvas that now showed a photo-realistic portrait of the old Horum. “That’s the trick, yeah?” the tall one said. “Oh, and I’m supposed to say ‘Now I’m alive, and I’m not old no more either.”
“You supposed to say ‘through power of art I live for all time’ but they get the gist,” said the real Mr. Horum as he came back out through the curtain.
“Remarkable,” Osbert said. He went up on stage and checked the canvas for clips or fasteners. Nothing. “You are nothing short of an auteur, Predsha. Your performance was pure poetry.”
“Is old trick,” Mr. Horum said, visibly embarrassed. “Assistant no get any practice. We make it better next show.”
“No. Don’t change one note in this symphony of prestidigitation. You will stay won’t you? The crowds will love you, as will the men fixing up the park. Tell me, can you do another show for them this evening? A sort of present for a job well done.”
“Yes. No problem,” Mr. Horum said. “How many men you got here?”
“Close to forty, with our wrangler Hot John bringing in more all the time. We’ll need as many as we can get. They call this park the place dreams come true, but right now it looks like the land of middling nightmares. Here, I’ll show you where you can put your things.”
Mr. Horum followed Osbert behind the amphitheater to a stone bungalow. Six steps down the hallway and they arrived at a small dressing room with counters, mirrors, and light bulbs lining the walls.
“This is your space from now on,” Osbert said, taking a handkerchief from his pocket to knock the dust off the stool. “You can rest here between shows. There’s a horrid little bunkhouse but let me check with our benefactor. An artist like you shouldn’t have to sleep with those ruffians.”
“I need no special stuff,” Mr. Horum said as he arranged his things on the counter. “As long as you paying, I sleep on floor or whatever.”
“Okay, Predsha, I’ll leave you to it then,” Osbert said as he left.
Mr. Horum waited a few minutes before opening the door to his dressing room. He looked through the other doors as he crept down the long concrete hallway. They were worse off than his for the most part. Chairs, boxes, and signs filled them to the brim.
At the end of the hallway, he found a door labeled DRUNK TANK. Curious, he gave the doorknob a twist. The door swung open. The room was dark save for a brick-sized window on the far wall. Jail cells with thick metal bars took up most of the room.
Something moved inside one of the cages. Mr. Horum took a step toward it.
“Is okay? You okay in there?” he said.
No answer. As he went to shut the door, a timid cough echoed around the hollow room. A blond boy stepped out from the shadows.
“When can we go home?” the boy asked. Another (slightly older) boy appeared behind him, his fists clenched as tight as his jaw. A teenage girl with short blond hair slept in the corner of a different cell, curled up in the corner under a blue blanket. Before Mr. Horum could answer, a shovel hit him in the head, knocking him straight out.
Osbert then unlocked a cage then dragged Mr. Horum’s prostrate body inside. He stepped out then locked the door.
“Good news, children,” Osbert said. “As soon as he wakes up, you’ll have a new playmate. Be sure to tell him he’s been fired. We accept all kinds here: thieves, burglars, violent men, even little pigs like the two of you. Nosy men put the entire Guild in danger. You know what we do to snoops? We lock them up until they’re nothing but a pile of bones.”
Isn’t that awesome?!!? The Dogboy books are available as hard copy, digital downloads, and audiobooks (Demon’s Dare coming soon)! To find links to get all of these books in their entirety check out the Dogboy Store.
In the meantime enter to win a Dogboy Sticker Prize Pack!!