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Book Feature - Over the Mountain and Back by Marie Astor

With his father gone missing and his mother losing her grip on reality, Peter Bailey’s life is no picnic. Peter’s gray existence changes unexpectedly after he takes his new snowboard for a ride in the mountains of Colorado and is stunned to find himself in Transadonia – a hidden world that coexists alongside with the Earth.

Lara Grover never listened to her elders, so warnings like “do not talk to strangers” mean nothing to her. When a boy from an unknown world saves her from an avalanche with the aid of a snow dragon, Lara is not stunned in the least. Instead, she joins Peter on his quest to help him realize the purpose behind his arrival to Transadonia.

Together, Lara and Peter embark on an adventure filled with perils, trickery, betrayals, and unexpected alliances.


Up until recently, the Viglian Smiths used to hire giants to help them with heavy mining. In exchange for labor, giants took payments in the form of the Smiths’ expertly crafted metal objects, for while giants could forge objects out of wood and stone, they possessed neither the knowledge nor the skills of metal work. Now, with all giants gone, the only hope rested on Timur, Yofur, and Baldur - the three remaining giant brothers.
King Ragnvald departed to see the three Giants himself, along with Gregor, the Chief Miner. When the two Viglians arrived at the giant's dwelling, they found the three brothers in a desolate state. The three brothers were so heartbroken by the loss of their people that at first they would not even hear of doing any work for the Viglians and bade them to leave. Thus, King Ragnvald had no choice but to swear the giant brothers to secrecy and to reveal to them the reason why their help was so desperately needed. While Ragnvald wanted to keep their mission as secret as possible, he also knew that giants were noble in their character and would keep their word. Upon learning that there still might be help in rescuing their kin, the three brothers promptly agreed and followed Gregor to begin drilling the old mine.They worked tirelessly for three days and three nights, until at last they struck upon ore.

“This does not look anything like luster ore!” exclaimed Gregor, looking at the gray, dull ore that the giants have mined.

“That's all there is. We drilled to the very bottom of the mine and there is nowhere else to look,” said Timur, as Baldur and Yofur nodded in agreement.

“Well, that is not good enough!“ shouted Gregor. “My king will not pay for such a poor job.”

“But we have worked hard for days. It is not our fault that you have already drained all the luster ore out of mountain years ago. We found all there is to find, and you must honor your word and pay us. It's not the payment itself, but the principle of the matter that is important to us,” explained Timur calmly.

“Yes, you must pay,” added Yofur, and Baldur nodded.

“Are you trying to threaten my people?” exploded Gregor. “We will not pay, and that is final!” Gregor stomped his little foot.

Unfortunately, at times Viglians could be extremely touchy and when faced with someone much taller than they, they often became hot-tempered and tended to act rashly.

“We do not want to quarrel with you,” replied Timur. “And so we will let you have your way; but remember, we are no longer allies and you are no longer welcome in our domain. Should any of your people ever set foot in our lands, it will be treated as trespassing.”

“And you can forget about using that old tunnel of yours that runs underneath our land,“ joined in Baldur.

“The minute we see any of you squirmy runts on our territory, we will catch you and fry you for dinner,” added Yofur.

Of course none of the giants would ever do such a thing, but at the moment the three brothers were so outraged by Gregor’s rudeness that their reason was clouded with anger.

“We are leaving,” announced Timur. “Let it be upon your conscience that you have ruined ages of peace between our people.”

With these words, the three giants retreated back to their dwelling, while Gregor carried the ore back to the smithy to forge the luster metal. Gregor was so anxious to deliver the luster ore to Hendrik that he forgot to tell Ragnvald about his altercation with the three remaining giants.

Hendrik was surprised to see the dull-looking ore, but noticing the irate look on Gregor’s face, he remained silent and set to work. Hendrik did not leave the smithy for five days as he labored first to forge the luster metal and then to craft the snowboard. Finally, he finished his work. Despite the fact that Hendrik followed the methods of the old Smiths carefully, the metal that he forged did not radiate blue light and looked little like the luster metal in the old descriptions. Nonetheless, the snowboard was remarkable; the color of silver, it was incredibly light; its edges were sharp, and its body was well-balanced.

Now, the last and the most important part of the task remained; the board had to find its rider. The Chancellor personally arrived for the snowboard since only he knew how to decipher the rest of the Epistemon’s words, the meaning of which stemmed from Transadonia’s ancient history:

“In the world beyond, a Craft forged from the metal that shines with piercing light Will seek its Rider to deliver Transadonia from the impending plight.”

The Chancellor carried the snowboard to a hidden passage in the Vigli Mountains. We have done all we can, thought the Chancellor as he placed the snowboard on the edge of the passage, watching it slide down the tunnel, propelled by some unknown, mysterious power.

The next morning, Jasper, the store owner received a new shipment of snowboards for the season. It was not until the new shipment had been unloaded and the deliverymen had left that Jasper noticed an unusually shaped silver snowboard perched against the wall of his store. The store owner grumpily rushed outside to fetch the lone snowboard.

“Those rascals never get the job done right,” he muttered, adding the new snowboard to the display.

Author Bio and Links:

Dear Reader,

Thank you very much for joining me for Over the Mountain and Back blog tour. The story of Over the Mountain and Back began over twenty years ago when I was fourteen years old and decided to write a novel as an anniversary gift for my parents. It was going to be a fantasy adventure about a boy named Peter and a girl named Lara set in a magical country, Transadonia. I remember writing studiously on the pages of an ornate notebook I had acquired especially for the occasion. Back then computers were not yet widely used, so I had to pay extra care to my handwriting. A year later, Over the Mountain and Back was completed, or at least I had thought so at the time. Needless to say my parents were very surprised with their anniversary gift.

Years passed; I finished high school and went on to college. Lara’s and Peter’s story faded from my mind, replaced by the hustles and bustles of everyday life. Then, one day – the day that happened to be my thirtieth birthday, my parents presented me with a gift: it was oblong in shape and wrapped in shiny paper. After I opened the wrapping, I was stunned to find the long forgotten story I had written all those years ago.

Long story short, after two years of extensive work, I rewrote and expanded Over the Mountain and Back into a novel of 95,000 words. For me it had been an exciting journey to be reunited with my old friends: Lara and Peter, Forest Witch Ramona, Chancellor Libra, Bookbrownies, and, of course, Carnelion, among the many others.

I hope that you will join Lara and Peter on their adventure in Transadonia.

If you would like to find out more about my books, please stop by website:

Marie Astor

Books by Marie Astor:
For Young Adults:
Over the Mountain and Back – a fantasy adventure novel

Kindle link:
For Adults:

To Catch a Bad Guy – romantic suspense

This Tangled Thing Called Love – a contemporary romance about overcoming one’s inhibitions,
learning to tango, and finding one’s true love match.

Lucky Charm – a humorous contemporary romance about love, luck and friendship.

On the Rim of Love – a contemporary romance about the unexpected power of love.

A Dress in a Window – a collection of short stories about love, coincidences, and fate.

Social Media Links:




Twitter: @marieastor


  1. Wow I love that you wrote this story a long time ago as a gift to your parents! The book sounds fun. :)


  2. What a great excerpt. It really makes you want to read more.

  3. Sounds like a great book.


  4. Marie...What advice would you give to other 14 year old budding writers?
    catherinelee100 at gmail dot com

  5. Thank you for featuring Over the Mountain and Back today!

    Thank you All for your wonderful comments! I hope to see you at the next stop!


  6. I'm certainly ready for an adventure in Transadonia.



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