Friday, 25 March 2016

Dirt by CC Hogan

C.C. Hogan is a writer and musician who loves good humour, good wine, the odd rum and to spend as much time telling stories as possible.

He writes about both fantastical and real worlds and tries not to be embarrassed about including the odd dragon amongst his eclectic selection of friends.

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About the Book

Johnson Farthing is a tall, strong, nineteen-year-old who has been pushing a cart around the coastal town of Wead-Wodder since he was a kid and he and his sister and were orphaned. Poverty and shifting other people's dirt is just about their entire life. Beer is a luxury and so has food been at times. They are about as poor as you can get and still have a roof. His current job is much like all the rest of his jobs have been over the years; he is digging a hole.

When Farthing wakes one morning to discover his sister is missing, his life turns completely upside down.

Now he has to race to her rescue across an ocean in the company of a beautiful Sea Dragon, Fren-Eirol, and an ancient, unreliable magician.

And so begins a far greater tale and soon the world is plunged into war, and the lowly cart-pusher, his friends and the dragons are right in the middle of it all.

Series one includes a trilogy, plus a sequel, Hope, which is also a prelude to series two.

Read more about the series!

Get it today on Smashwords, Scribd, iBooks, Createspace, Inktera, Kobo, Barnes and Noble, and Amazon!

Keep reading for an interview with Mistry Jinx from Dirt:

Where were you born, and what was it like growing up there?

I was born in a tiny cottage in a small village in Tharkness, in the shadow of the Black Hills. This was a very tiny, very conservative place, with very fixed views about women and young girls. They were not my views at all. Most girls would be married off at sixteen to some letcher chosen by her father, and women were not allowed to own land or property. Sadly, that still exists in many parts of Dirt, even now.

My mother died at childbirth and I was brought up by my father who feared me becoming sixteen. We had a very small amount of land that we rented; basically two paddocks, our cottage and a shed. Dad cured pork and goat for a living and I bred goats and made cheese from the age of ten.

What is the happiest memory from your childhood?

I think it has to be learning to drive. I love horses. Yes, I know, people say I am obsessive about them and tease me constantly, even now, but I really love horses and I can't help it. Sitting up on a wagon seat with four huge Bekon Brown draught horse in front of me is wonderful. Now, we couldn't afford such beautiful beasts when I was young and my team of nags was not properly matched, but they did what they told, I kept them pretty and fit and they suited me perfectly.

When we were out on the road with our old, tatty wagons, trundling along, raising the dust, the oppression and harsh life of our village just faded away.

Tell us a little about your world, and where you fit in?

I want to tell you a little, but I have to be careful; I know you might not yet have read the stories.

You see, I am not certain where I fit in. I think I can tell you that I have lost my home, and my family are my friends these days, especially the dragons. But wherever I stay, so wrapped up with the trials that we all face, it is not my home.

I can't tell you why, I can't really explain it, but finding a home is terribly important for me. I do not know where that is. I have, several times, lived in places that might have become home, but it wasn't to be.

I think, perhaps, my childhood in a place that I hated so much, though I loved my father dearly, has made me a wanderer. If I cannot feel at home, I would rather be on the road; working, travelling, and driving my horses. Is that so bad?

Did you have a close relationship with your family?

I did with my dad, but not my older brothers. They were much, much older than I and my mother was rather older when she had me. They blamed me for her death and when they moved out, had little to do with me again.

When I was ten, my father decided I should learn to drive a wagon and horses. For several months each year, we would travel across Bind to the slave market in Jerr-Vone. We would sell our cured meats and cheeses both during the trip and at the market, and on the way back, we would trade for whatever goods we needed for ourselves. 

If we could drive two carts, we could trade better and, with any luck, we would save up enough to move from Tharkness to somewhere that did not see women as nothing more than housemaids. Epinod, was the place my father would have liked lived. They grow tea in Epinod and he liked tea.
My father was a very special man.

What is your greatest fear? How did you overcome it?

I fear the loss of people. War brings loss; you cannot help that and it affects everyone. I haven't lost more than others, but I think I do not handle it very well.

Do I overcome it? No. But I think people believe I do because I fight so hard. For me, though, that is how I hide the pain and the fear.

What is the strangest situation you've ever found yourself in?

Now that would really give away far to much of the story and, worse, some secrets of mine that I hope will never make it into story!

I will say that I am rather good at being in strange situations, or those that confuse me. One of the oddest was coming across a group of starving deserters. They were hoping to find our army as they were so sick of their own. They were wounded and lost and when we found them, they hadn't eaten for days. 

And yet, just ten paces behind the trees where they had camped, was a little stream full of baby browns. You know, those little fish you can catch with your hands?

I know they don't taste wonderful and are bony as anything, but when you are hungry, who cares?
Starving in a desert I understand. Starving when surrounded by food? I don't get that at all!

Who has been the greatest influence in your life? Why?

Eafa. You may know him as Weasel.

I don't know what it is about that bloke, but he just gets me. I think it is because he is a wanderer too.
I know I can be mad and I know I and Mab-Onin took ridiculous risks at times, but I got fed up with everyone constantly worrying about me and getting annoyed that I did my own thing, made my contribution in my own way.

Eafa didn't. Oh, I think he worried, but he was not going to stop me. He knew why I did it and the bloke had so much knowledge based on all those long years, he knew what I had to do. What I did was vital; not just for Farthing and the rest, but for me too.

Eafa saw right through my young stupidness and saw my heart and my need. And he gave me the space and support to sort myself out. 

Good bloke that.

Do you have any hobbies? What are they?

Making maps. I love them. When I was young I couldn't read or write, but I knew my numbers and I understood patterns in things and shapes. 

Maps are brilliant; they not only tell you where you are, but tell you how you can live, what the dangers are and what your enemies are up to.

The mountains, rivers, deserts, plains all shape our lives and how we live them. If we map them out, take away the surprises, then we can take control of the way we live.

Yep, maps. Love 'em to bits!

Do you have a secret you've never told anyone? Would you tell us?

Oh, yes; quite a few.

Some people, like that bloody magician Weasel, are good at digging my secrets out like a whelk from a shell. But most, thankfully, are useless at it. 

I keep a lot of things my little heart that I don't know what to do with, and it is not easy sometimes. I suspect much of it will come out one day; I am not that good at keeping things quiet. You will have to wait, sorry.

Have you ever been in love? How did that work out for you?

Oh, don't!

Yes, of course I have. The first time was when I was eight, I think. He might have been nine. I think we held hands one day and that was it. I mean, I was completely in love, but we never hands again.
What? There should be more to love?

I wish there wasn't sometimes. Despite that, I do not fall in love easily and I do not give myself at the drop of a hat. Yes, I have been in love and I cherished that love for many years.

What kind of clothing do you prefer to wear?

I am a touch modest, I admit that. When I was young it was probably because of how I was brought up. Later it was the amount of scars I had picked up. You might like to boast about your cuts and bruises mate, I would rather not.

So, what I wore most were rider's leathers. When you are a few thousand feet up in the air on some idiot draig (got to love them) it can be bloody cold and your hair can get in a right mess. So us riders are nose to toes leathers with our hair tied up or braided.

Riders leathers are funny things. They are certainly not revealing and they are too tough and practical to be sexy, but you kind of grow into them; so much so that you feel really odd if you are not wearing them. They are just so easy and practical though mine always were pretty tatty, if I am honest.

Famously, I hate wearing skirts. I used to get into trouble with my neighbours when I was young because I wouldn't wear skirts when I took the goats up to the common grazing. But, bloody hell, you ever tried herding goats while your long skirts are dragging through the mud? It can be wet on the flanks of the Black Hills! 

If I were to pick one clothing item I love more than anything else, it is my hat. I am quite dark skinned and my father thinks my mother had a bit of Pharsil-Hin, the plains nomads, in her, but despite that, I do burn quite quick. So, I have worn big floppy hats since I was a little kid. All these years later? I still wear them - even on a dragon, though I have to tie it on tightly!

What is your favorite food? 

Pies and Beer. Especially the beer.

Is beer food? I think it is. I am not very good at big quantities; well, good at drinking them, but not good at handling it. Farthing thinks it is my small body, but I can't keep up with that big, blond git. But I do love it. I sometimes um and err between stout and wheat beer, but I think generally I prefer the big frothy beers that they used to sell up in Sarn-Tailin. Oh, the Jipperson's stout was special, but there was something about the huge, clay pots that you get in Bind with the froth right round your nose that is sublime.

Oh, yes, you said food. Good goat pie; gets me every time. Thankfully, lots of taverns sell pies, so I am often happy!

Name some of your bad habits.

Killing. Sorry, I think you wanted me to be jokey, but this was a war and sometimes the jokes are hard.

I am small, you see, but I am very strong. I am also very fast. I can't take Farthing, and the bugger knows it, but then no one else can either, not even Martin and Ben.

So, if I get into a fight, wounding and trussing up is probably not an option, and I will tend to kill.
Yes, it is a bad habit, because for me it is an easy way out. Sorry, not what you wanted to hear from a small, pretty girl with brown eyes? Tough.

If you had one day left to live, what would you do with your last day?

One of my closest friends, Fren-Eirol, has answered this question in her interview. She has said that more than anything else, on her last day she wants to fly. She is a dragon and flying is what dragons do and love.

You know, I might not be a dragon, but up there, on the back of one of the Draig yr Anialr is something I love. So, me too. If I had only one day left, I would want to fly on the back of the fastest dragon, as I high as I could go till I was breathless.

Or, on the other hand, it would be to get on a horse and ride for leagues at a gallop. I love that too.

See a theme here?

There you go, Renee. I am not always good at answering questions about myself, so perhaps you caught me on a good day. But, you know, if you really want to know us all, you are going to have to get yourself to Dirt, walk in our shoes, fight our battles, and share a drink with us all in the tavern. 

That was what it was all about in the end - the love between us all. It kept us strong.

Here's a hug for you. Hugs I can always do.


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