Blog Tour- TREETOPS by Peter Bremer With An Excerpt & #Giveaway!

Jaime | 12:41 PM |

I am thrilled to be hosting a spot on the TREETOPS by Peter Bremer Blog Tour hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. Check out my post and make sure to enter the giveaway!

About The Book:
Author: Peter Bremer
Pub. Date: September 18, 2020
Publisher: Peter Bremer
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 443
Find it: GoodreadsAmazon

What would you do if you lost the one thing that matters the most?

Teenager Jackie Ashmore is struggling with the passing of her mother and angry over a cross-country move to Minnesota when she receives an unexpected birthday present that opens up a remarkable fantasy world where creatures from the past and the present coexist. Aided by unlikely animal allies and an aging guardian named Nimbus, Jackie embarks on a desperate rescue mission to save her little brother Dustin who has been kidnapped by a hooded rider and stolen across the clouds. Forced to grow up, Jackie must overcome her own fears and navigate a strange land as she journeys towards a confrontation with a mysterious power named Samuel Flood, who is using the boy for his own hidden purposes. With time running out and unbearable losses mounting, Jackie faces ever tougher choices that will determine not only the fate of her brother, but possibly the Earth below as well.

Chapter 9
Jackie sat hunched over in disbelief. She couldn't believe her brother was gone. For the longest time she just stared at the last place Dustin had been before he disappeared. Tears flowed down her cheeks, but it felt as if someone else were crying them. When they finally subsided, she felt empty inside. No thoughts of anger or worry stirred within her. The expected panic did not rise from her gut. She formulated no plan of action. There was nothing for her to do since she couldn’t accept that it had really happened.
"What is this," she murmured numbly, "some kind of fairy tale?”
"That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard," retorted a voice harshly.
Jackie turned around in slow motion and for a moment, saw nothing. Then she looked down. There was the creature again. It was the same strange bird that had appeared at the foot of the tree. Perhaps she hadn’t imagined it after all.
The creature was much bigger than a turkey and decidedly more plump. Blue-gray plumage covered it like a tacky carpet. Its over-sized head sported a black bill ending in a reddish sheath that tapered off unmercifully to a hooked tip. Along each side of its body was a small, useless wing that looked like it had been put there as some sort of cosmic joke. Bearing the brunt of all this absurdity were two stout yellow legs. It was, without a doubt, a dodo bird, with a few unexpected abilities; namely that it had an attitude and was speaking to her again.
"Listen, deary," the bird continued, leveling its BB-sized pupils directly at her. With every word, the ridiculous creature managed to convey a sound directly opposite to birdsong.
"I'm no Cheshire cat as you can plainly see and no Prince Charming is going to ride in on his steed to save the day. The boy is gone and if he isn't dead already, he'll soon wish he was. There is no escaping where he's been taken."
"I'm afraid Regnal's right," said a man’s voice. It sounded like the wind rattling through October leaves; tired, coming at the end of the season.. "There's nothing we can do."
As Jackie watched, his form seemed to materialize from the wispy surroundings as if it were taking shape from some greater mystery. In front of her eyes, the shifting cloud canvas became a patchwork cloak of morning glories and creeping green vines that ended in a multitude of filigree roots. These in turn disappeared into the white clouds at his feet. On his head was a crown of bristlecone-pine with one small flower, a violet, growing from his forehead through the tangle.
The only place that wasn't covered with living green growth was on his face and hands.
His skin was weathered. His fingers were knotted and bark-like and were wrapped tightly around a gnarled staff of wood. Deep lines, rivulets of time, stretched across his cheeks and under his eyes like tectonic struggles she could not begin to fathom. A long, thin beard the color of the mottled clouds covered his chin like a retreating glacier on a rock-strewn mountaintop. But it was the stranger's mouth and eyes that held her the most, for it was these alone that seemed to contain his essence. The former drooped like a flower gone to seed, but his eyes, sunk beneath frosty brows, still sparkled like deep pools of secret blue water.
"Who has taken him? Where is he?" she asked.
"Gaylon has taken him," explained the leafy figure with a touch of sadness.
"Gaylon the Black," corrected the dodo bird. "Taken him to Flood and the Arkanum."
The tall figure nodded solemnly like a tree bowing to the wind.
"Oh," mouthed Jackie, trying to stay afloat, but it was all too much, and she was drowning, becoming as tenuous as the clouds which swirled at her feet. When her legs gave way and she slipped into blessed oblivion it seemed like the next best thing to a happy ending.
Jackie awoke with a sudden start, her body rigid as if she had just fallen to the ground.
Long strands of hair covered her face and she brushed them away. The first thing she saw when she opened her sleep-encrusted eyes was a gnarled old man covered in living growth. His face, as he leaned over her, was riddled with concern.
"So you're awake. Welcome back," the canopy of leaves said with undisguised relief.
"You had a quite a rest."
It was the strange leafy figure from her storybook dream. A dream she was evidently still having.
“We’ve been expecting you.”
But Jackie barely heard him. She barely saw him. Struggling to sit up, she at once began looking around frantically. There was something very important that she was supposed to do, but for the life of her she couldn’t remember. Nothing she saw reassured her.
"This isn't my bedroom," she said. "And this most definitely isn't my house."
Everything she saw was utterly wrong. She was in some kind of living enclosure. The walls were branches intertwined into undulating angles, an uneven sphere. Rising to her feet from a bed of sweet-smelling grass, she stared up at the ceiling only to find there was none.
Instead, a multitude of stars blinked back at her amidst a ring of celestial blackness.
"Where am I?" she exclaimed as something light and nimble ran across her feet.
Looking down, Jackie saw a squirrel the color of fallen snow scamper across the dirt strewn floor. From a string tied around its neck dangled a single silver coin. As she watched the creature slowly circled her in ever decreasing arcs until it was wrapped, bushy tail.
“You feel real,” murmured Jackie, not trusting her senses.
At those words the albino squirrel rested its furry nose atop her shoe and closed its eyes.
"It is a good sign," said the leaf covered old man with more hope than conviction.
"It is a sign we are not completely lost," said the dodo next to him. "Nothing more.
Optimism is still close to extinction."
"What is this place?" asked Jackie, nervously looking around.
They both turned toward her. The man-sized leaf pile raised his mossy eyebrows in surprise.
"My manners and my senses desert me in these dark days,” he said apologetically.
“Please accept my condolences for your loss, Jackie. We have not been properly introduced. My name is Nimbus. I am the Keeper here, and this," he paused gesturing down to the clump of unruly feathers, "is Regnal. You must not take any great offense at him. The napping creature at your feet is called Pence. You are in HeartWood, my home of sorts. Be welcome.”
He paused.
“We have been expecting a visit from a child of Jillian."
Jackie looked back dumbfounded.
"Is this some kind of joke?"
“I wish it were,” replied Nimbus gravely. “So much pain and effort could be avoided.”
“You’re not making any sense,” Jackie replied. “How do you know so much about me? I didn’t know I was coming until I got here.”
Obscured behind leaf and twig, the Keeper's eyes darted over to Regnal as if asking a secret question before responding.
"Most find us by intent rather than by accident," he replied carefully. "They come when it is time if they have the talent. Children receive many gifts from their mothers. Jillian had much to give. She was one of my best students."
“You mean she was here?” Jackie asked in disbelief. “What did she do? How long was she here?”
“Questions, questions,” chided the Keeper. “So many questions. All in good time, yes?
For now, let me merely say that Pence is my eyes and ears of the world below, and he is infinitely more reliable than that gossipy rodent you saw on your way up here.”
Jackie remembered the blazing squirrel alight on the branches of the great tree. It had been the only creature visible during her ascent.
“Ratatosk,” Nimbus was saying, “has a wagging tongue of flame, capable of spreading mischief faster than a wildfire. Pence favors me with his careful observations when it suits him, and they are invaluable, yet I would have to be blind and even more senile not to notice that you have your mother’s eyes and spirit.”
Jackie nodded, acknowledging the compliment while another part of her slipped away. It was all too much. In truth, she barely listened. Instead she shrunk into herself, retreating to a safer place where things made more sense.
“If I may,” continued the Keeper, “allow me to ask one question of you. What talent do you possess?”
“I’m not sure what you mean. Mom said I was a really good gardener and I ace all of my spelling tests.”
A troubled look passed over the Keeper’s face.
“Did your mother have a chance to talk with you about this place before she passed,”
Nimbus asked gently.
A familiar sadness wormed its way into Jackie’s voice and she shook her head.
“We’re doomed,” Regnal proclaimed. “She’s as useless as my wings.”
“There’s no sense jumping to conclusions,” the Keeper countered, but it seemed a half-hearted response.
As if raising a battered shield, Jackie covered her face with her hands and closed her eyes.
"I know its lame, but would someone please tell me if I’m dreaming," she murmured.
"There she goes again," Regnal remarked.
Ignoring his flightless servant, Nimbus shambled over. Jackie watched him through the slits of her fingers as he gingerly reached into the midsection of his forest growth where a stomach should be. She imagined him pulling out one of his internal organs (if he had any) or some jungle monster from the dark depths. With trepidation, she steeled herself as a rustling of leaves and feathers became a pair of alabaster wings. In fascination and horror, she watched as a mourning dove alighted on his shoulder.
"Isn't this better than a dream?" he said with a glimmer of a smile.
Then he reached a leafy hand out to touch her shoulder.
Jackie flinched in sudden terror.
"Get away from me," she warned rising to her feet, startling and dislodging her furry freeloader. "Whatever you are, leave me alone."
Her tone was defiant and yet the remnants of her inner strength were crumbling fast. So much had happened and she didn’t know how to make sense of it all. She needed help.

"I have to find my brother,” she said as tears welled up in the corners of her eyes.
Turning, rather than be seen by whoever or whatever it was, she started walking away.
Soon she was running across the mossy floor towards the edge of the enclosure looking for a way out. But whichever way she turned, she could not see a door or an opening which might let her pass. The tangle of wood and leaf was complete. All around her the air seemed stagnant and stale as if the weight of time accumulated here.
Out of the corner of her eye she spied, in the center of the room, something that looked like a window in the floor. With her heart pounding in her chest she made for it, gulping air as if she couldn’t get enough. It was a raised circle, easily ten feet in diameter, containing a pool of glasslike liquid. Clouds swirled at her feet but when she tried to touch them, they were out of reach. Water rippled gently but the image remained untroubled. It was only then that she noticed the ribbons of blue and the unmistakable patterns of dusky continents as they coalesced and drifted into view through the bands of white.
She was looking down at the Earth.
This was more than she could take and so she ran again, but this time without purpose.
She needed time, she needed space, and she needed to escape.
Unseen behind her, the Keeper raised a leafy digit and traced an invisible circle in midair.
An arched doorway suddenly appeared where before there had been only an unbroken wall of tightly woven branches. Fresh air filled her lungs as she plunged down the tunnel-like exit. For the first time, she realized how rich smelling everything was, how alive. Branches whizzed past her, tugging at her clothes, scraping at her skin, and she imagined herself back in the park, scampering through the trees. But there was no sun visible, only a faint light that broke through the dark wall of leaves like an afterglow without warming her skin. Layer after layer of foliage dropped away in ever decreasing density until, with a final wave of her hand, she pulled back the last branch and peered out on a vast cloudscape valley filled with a multitude of animals beyond counting. It was like a colossal puzzle with the pieces all jumbled. Overhead a golden and radiant chariot arced its way across the sky heralding another day.
"Welcome to Treetops," toned Nimbus from her side as if he had never left it. 

About Peter Bremer:

Peter Bremer is a librarian at a small college in Minnesota and the author of almost a dozen published professional articles, none of which feature dragons or unicorns or impossibly tall trees. He lives with his wife and furry dog in a very small town and believes that the world, on average, is a far better place with more nature in it, not less.

Giveaway Details:
3 winners will receive a finished copy of TREETOPS, US Only.

Tour Schedule:
Week One:
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Week Two:
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