GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Troll Stereotypes in Modern King City by Selah Janel (Olde School Book Tour) | I Smell Sheep

Saturday, May 31, 2014

Troll Stereotypes in Modern King City by Selah Janel (Olde School Book Tour)

The laptop glowed mercilessly and the blank document taunted him as the minutes cruelly ticked by. Paddlelump stared, then slowly, begrudgingly typed.

Troll Stereotypes in Modern Kingdom City

Well, that got something on paper, at least. As the minutes stretched on, he frowned and added the next line:

An Essay by Paddlelump Stonemonger

He groaned and let his face fall in his hand. “There’s a reason I never did well in literature in school,” he grumbled. A few more minutes of staring at the screen did nothing but make him breathe out a long, put-upon sigh.

“If ye keep starin’ and groanin’ like ye got indigestion ye ain’t gonna get nothin’s gonna get done.” The voice was croaky and annoying, though its owner was letting him stay at his apartment, so Paddlelump couldn’t complain. His friend and current landlord had his bulk stuffed into a battered easy chair and was pretending to look over last week’s paper.

“I’m no good at things like this. I hate assignments. It’s why I started my own business,” the younger troll sighed and tugged on a shock of lovely red ear hair. Between his round cheeks, pleasant face, large brown eyes, and just the start of tusks, he looked far too young and friendly to amount to much as a troll. As the owner of the biggest bridge business in Kingdom City, however, Paddlelump had come into his own. That phase of life was over, though the self-employment theme was still going strong. It was nice that people were interested in him and his story.

If only putting the story out didn’t mean actually having to write anything.

“What’re ye supposed to be workin’ on? Ye been click clackin’ those keys all day. Ye mean to tell me you ain’t come up with nothin’ yet?” Ippick was far older and far more typical for a troll. Although his bulk was getting out of control, his beady eyes contrasted nicely in his full face, and his tusks were long and menacing. His grey, greasy hair hung down in spindling waves, and his sack shirt and leather pants hiked up to his chest fit with his overall appearance.

“A short piece about troll stereotypes. I don’t know why I was asked for this. You’re better at complaining,” Padd sighed.

“Oh, no. Yer not gonna rope me into doin’ yer dirty work just because you saved me life an’ all. I don’t feel that bad about it,” Ippick shot back, glaring over the edge of the newspaper parchment. “What ‘bout Clyde? Why can’t he help ye?”

“He’s at Trip Trap’s. He had something he had to be working on, as well, and I wouldn’t help him so he’s trying to talk Flora into it.”

“Sounds about right,” the old troll admitted and paused to scratch an itch under one of his chins. “What’s the problem? I’d think you’d have lots to yammer on ‘bout.”

“I dunno, it just feels like it’s not good to think about that kind of thing in these modern times,” the businesstroll admitted. He slid a glance over to his badly-concealed friend, half-hoping that Ippick’s grumpy nature would take the bait and fill in the blanks with his rants.

Behind the paper, it was obvious the older troll was muttering a few choice curses, but interestingly enough, he withheld his opinion. They’re adventures must have had more of an impact on the old fellow’s brain than Paddlelump had thought.

“Eh, yer probably right. Everything’s peachy these days in the city. Just do a piece on that, whydoncha?”

Irritation stomped all over Paddlelump’s better judgment. “How in blazes can you say that?”

“What? I’m jus’ repeatin’ back your lovey dovey opinions on the state of the realm! After all, ye of all creatures showcase the glory of the modern age. Ye had a successful business, ye can waltz around with human friends without bein’ beheaded, yer treated jus’ like anybody else—”

“What in the realm are you talking about?” Paddlelump choked. “Sure, I’ve had success, but I’ve also had to have a goblin lawyer who likes bloodshed go to bat for me to keep it. I’ve had maids hire assassins on me to get my fortune. You think a fool girl would pull that with any other race of employer, short of an ogre or a giant?”

“Can’t blame the state of th’realm on one dumb lass,” Ippick snorted.

The younger troll was on his feet and pacing, not an easy feat in the small apartment. “What about the city, then, trying to tell me I don’t really own my land when it was in my family since before the beginning of Kingdom City?”

“Addlebaum wants what he wants. Who’s t’say he wouldn’t do that to anybody?” Ippick mumbled from behind the sports section.

There was probably some truth to that, but still, he was good and fired up and not buying the platitudes his friend was so strangely offering. “Maybe, but he wouldn’t have gone to such a far extent if it was someone besides a troll. What about all those comments I hear all the time? Sure, most of my patrons liked me, but I heard enough muttered commentary everyday about how they’d probably catch warts or how I’d eat up someone who didn’t pay! I can’t win, Ipp! Either folks think I’m too nice and try to steal from me, or they think I’m going to slice them apart where they stand! I can’t win,” he grumbled and rubbed the base of his tusk stubs to fight the headache coming on. “Why do you think I’m movin’ on?” he pointed out. “There’s nothing left for me here, not when the city obviously thinks I’m a murderer because things happened on my land. Who are they gonna suspect first: a cute little blonde maid, or me?”

“Don’t sell yerself short,” Ippick muttered, not bothering to look up. “I’m sure ye could pull off cute if that’s what ye really wanted.”

“What about things like Trollslayer?” Paddlelump demanded, pointing a long nail at the newsprint that obscured his friend’s face. “That game franchise makes people think that it’s fun and games to kill our kind, that we’re nothing but brainless, witless oafs who can do nothin’ but wield a club! Don’t we have feelings? Don’t we work hard to earn our coin jus’ like everyone else? Sure, we have muscle, but my Mam and Da had brains, didn’t they? What’s next, cramming us into a horror franchise? They might as well start making films called Troll Death and let it all fall where it may!” He was itchy and perturbed. There wasn’t enough room to pace and his right arm was sweating bullets in its leather glove.

“Prolly already in production, knowin’ the film industry. ‘Sides, didn’t yer Da’ make his livin’ bustin’ skulls?” Ippick pointed out.

Fuming, Padd stalked over to the arm chair and glowered down at the parchment his friend used as a mask. “You aren’t even paying attention or you wouldn’t be spouting such claptrap! My da owned his business, thanks! He worked hard and could’ve done anything he wanted. It’s attitudes like that…this….simplification of what a being is, that perpetuates the stupid attitudes that I have to live with every single day, especially now! I’m gonna have to finish this at Trip Trap’s. I can’t even stay here at the minute, what with you blathering such nonsense!”

The younger troll yanked up his laptop, shoved it under his arm, and stormed out the door.

Ippick waited a few minutes to make sure his friend wouldn’t come back, then lowered the paper. Behind it, a battered old paperback labeled Manipulating Friends and Enemies for Their Own Good (but Especially Yours) sat on his lap. While he wasn’t much of a reader, he’d discovered the tome holding up his coffee table when they’d started to pack up for their next big venture. If it was a choice between packing up the apartment or having Paddlelump do it while he claimed he had some necessary things to see to, well, the answer was obvious. Those essay assignments couldn’t have come at a better time. He regarded the book curiously in his large hands and let his tongue flick out and turn a few pages. “Who woulda thought the bloody thing actually worked, an’ for the youth’s own good, at that? Stinkin’ amazin’,” he chortled. “Clyde ain’t the only one that can get his way with his stupid brain.” He’d have to put it in his suitcase later on, but first, a nap was in order.

Olde School (The Kingdom City Chronicles Book One)
Kingdom City has moved into the modern era. Run by a lord mayor and city council (though still under the influence of the High King of The Land), it proudly embraces a blend of progress and tradition. Trolls, ogres, and other Folk walk the streets with humans, but are more likely to be entrepreneurs than cause trouble. Princesses still want to be rescued, but they now frequent online dating services to encourage lords, royals, and politicians to win their favor. The old stories are around, but everyone knows they’re just fodder for the next movie franchise. Everyone knows there’s no such thing as magic. It's all old superstition and harmless tradition.

Bookish, timid, and more likely to carry a laptop than a weapon, Paddlelump Stonemonger is quickly coming to wish he'd never put a toll bridge over Crescent Ravine. While his success has brought him lots of gold, it's also brought him unwanted attention from the Lord Mayor. Adding to his frustration, Padd’s oldest friends give him a hard time when his new maid seems inept at best and conniving at worst. When a shepherd warns Paddlelump of strange noises coming from Thadd Forest, he doesn't think much of it. Unfortunately for him, the history of his land goes back further than anyone can imagine. Before long he'll realize that he should have paid attention to the old tales and carried a club.

Darkness threatens to overwhelm not only Paddlelump, but the entire realm. With a little luck, a strange bird, a feisty waitress, and some sturdy friends, maybe, just maybe, Padd will survive to eat another meal at Trip Trap's diner. It's enough to make the troll want to crawl under his bridge, if he can manage to keep it out of the clutches of greedy politicians.

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About the Author:
Selah Janel has been blessed with a giant imagination and a love of story since she was little and convinced that fairies lived in the nearby state park or vampires hid in the abandoned barns outside of town. Learning to read and being encouraged by those around her only made things worse. Her work ranges from e-books to traditional print, and she prefers to write every genre at once rather than choose just one. The stories “Holly and Ivy”, “The Other Man”, and “Mooner” are available online through Mocha Memoirs Press. Her work has also been included in The MacGuffin, The Realm Beyond, Stories for Children Magazine, The Big Bad: an Anthology of Evil, Thunder on the Battlefield: Sorcery, The Grotesquerie, and the short story collection Lost in the Shadows, co-written with S.H. Roddey. She likes her music to rock, her vampires lethal, her fairies to play mind games, and her princesses to have adventures and hold their own.

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