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A Secret Chord

If the deity cares for music

Why shouldn’t you?

Will you become yourself

A broken shoe?

Walk no where, no place to go

So stale and, oh, so slow?

Deafly turned to visible sounds

Deafly blind mysterious rounds

Then stop up, voyager, and turn around

Your journey is whirring

And without sound

But I will listen, I will hear

Silent sounds whisper near

They call and thrum the heartstring bounds

And binding, winding to the way,

Bound I go

And listening stay.

Inspired by Hallelujah, by Jeff Buckley

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50 BEST BOOKS OF ALL TIME

Do modern novels make you cringe? Does it feel like everything written after 1950 is shallow, immoral, or ridden with sloppy language?

If your soul is slowly shriveling away inside of you and your eyes are screaming at you to find something, ANYTHING, worth their time to read, I have a solution for you!

First, spend a couple minutes of cathartic laughter with Terrible Writing Advice, where you can enjoy that someone besides yourself notices just how awful most modern novels actually are!

Then… take a look at my list below! With 50 recommendations of classic, first-rate literature, you’re sure to find something new and wonderful to read! I have personally read every title, and not only do I recommend them, but I love talking about them! Please comment about your favorite classic, any modern books and authors that are gems in this current ocean of mediocrity, or anything else book-related!

  1. George Elliot’s Middlemarch
  2. Ernest Hemingway’s The Old Man and the Sea
  3. Antoine de Saint Exupery’s The Little Prince
  4. Gail Carson Levine’s Fairest
  5. Elizabeth George Speare’s The Witch of Blackbird Pond
  6. Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland
  7. Lloyd Alexander’s The Book of Three
  8. Lloyd Alexander’s The Black Cauldron
  9. Lloyd Alexander’s The Castle of Llyr
  10. Lloyd Alexander’s Taran Wanderer220px-The_Chronicles_of_Prydain_set
  11. Lloyd Alexander’s The High King
  12. Harper Lee’s Go Set a Watchman
  13. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby
  14. Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray
  15. Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn
  16. Robert C. O’Brien’s Frisby and the Rats of Nimh
  17. Peter S. Beagle’s The Last Unicorn
  18. Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time
  19. William Goldman’s The Princess Bride
  20. T.H. White’s The Once and Future KingOnceandFutureKing-768x1179.jpg
  21. C.S. Lewis’s The Great Divorce
  22. Anne Bronte’s The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
  23. C.S. Lewis’s Till We Have Faces
  24. Noel Streatfeild’s Theater Shoes
  25. Shakespeare’s The Tempest
  26. Louis Sachar’s Holes
  27. Norton Juster’s The Phantom Tollbooth
  28. Frank L. Baum’s The Wizard of Oz
  29. George McDonald’s The Light Princess
  30. Charles Dicken’s Great Expectationsgreat-expectations
  31. Gaston Leroux’s The Phantom of the Opera
  32. Frances Hodgson Burnett The Secret Garden
  33. Elizabeth Russell’s Halfbreeds (Yup, my shameless plug! But I’m not ashamed – I love reading my book, and I highly recommend it!)
  34. Aldous Huxley’s A Brave New World
  35. A.A. Milne’s Winnie-the-Pooh
  36. Mary Ann Shaffer’s The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society
  37. Sigrid Undset’s Catherine of Siena
  38. Mark Twain’s Joan of Arc
  39. Mark Twain’s The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
  40. J.M. Barrie’s Peter Pan51f-7KjjFeL._SX317_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg
  41. Grace Lin’s Where the Mountain Meets the Moon
  42. Roald Dahl’s Matilda
  43. Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas
  44. Louisa May Alcott’s An Old Fashioned Girl
  45. M. Montgomery’s Anne of the Island
  46. Shannon Hale’s Princess Academy
  47. Fanny Fern’s Ruth Hall
  48. Catherine Marshall’s Christy
  49. Jane Austen’s Persuasion
  50. Gail Carson Levine’s The Two Princesses of Bamarreimages

BONUS: If you read ONLY 25 of the books on the list and email me with a 1-sentence comment for each of the ones you’ve read, I will send you a free copy of my next book Trinian, An Epic Fantasy!

I can’t wait to hear your opinions!

My Email Address:

Elizabeth @ thefairytaleblog.com (delete spaces)

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Lust

Cry beyond the cage of birth

Crowding toward the crushing earth

Creeping in the soiled skirts

Of carnal lust and losing mirth.

 

Laughing loud in loyal love

To gain a shred of laughter rough

In breathing in the layered lore

Of life forgotten and forged l’amour.

 

Loving lust and lousy grime

To grovel low in lowest slime

Crawling and craving and carving

Tomb of craven cries and starving.

 

Cry contrary and contraband!

And crowd the criers’ crying stand.

Creep upon the crowding crave

And crowing, carnal lust off-stave!

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Celestial Castles Beyond Our Own

To write of fairy tales is, as J.R.R. Tolkien once asserted, “a rash adventure.” For fairy tales are enigmas, difficult to define and impossible to believe. And yet we believe them, because they are ultimately more real that real life. They offer us a glimpse of a distant, approaching reality that we cannot see.

This is by far the most important aspect of the fairy tale. It is what makes it invaluable to the developing, questioning mind of a child and intriguing to the mature rationale of the adult.

Stories that are not strictly true often take hold of deeper realities than a story based on true events. Within the context of real life, we are limited. We are flawed, fallen, floundering creatures seeking just a brief taste of sweet happiness in a sea of salty, bitter sin. Pushing ourselves through this life is exhausting and restrictive. It narrows our vision so that we cannot see the entire ocean, the ship approaching us from a distance, or the land mass just off the edge of the horizon. All we see are the burdensome, capping waves that drown us in their persistence. But a fairy tale is a step away from the water. It is a moment of relief on the deck of a boat, catching a glimpse from its mast of a distant, welcoming shore.

A fairy tale is a story that suspends belief in the world of the senses; it looks beyond what we can prove exists, and believes in a distant, wondrous, confusing, and salvific power. The person who lives just at the crest of the ocean knows only two things: there is a small space in his existence where his head is above water, and there is a large opportunity for it to be dragged under. He cannot prove that there is a land, and he may even fear to hear of it; its existence makes his life that much more miserable. It is easier to only believe in the capped waves.

But if he denies and avoids the reality of the shore, he will do nothing to reach it. He will never hope and without hope, his strength will wear out and he will inevitably drown.

It is the fairy tale that saves us! With its magical, imaginative stories, it lifts us up and broadens our imagination to see something better, something greater, something meaningful. It places the mundane struggle of our souls into a broader context, encouraging us to live for others.

The fairy tale encourages the moral imagination to stretch its horizons and see beyond the obvious. Transcending the mundane, it infuses the soul with beauty, love, and hope. It equips it to rise above mediocre life and live in the shining castles beyond. While they may be castles in the clouds, they are not insubstantial; grasping at greater realities, they move the soul toward what is truly important.

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RISE

With a glance behind and gaze to fore

I pushed myself beyond the door

Door that closed upon my past

And now the future die is cast

Cast to breaking on the shore

Shore that’s breaking on the floor

Floor of deep embedded beads

That time has wrought to sandy seeds

Seeds mix and jumble up inside

My newfound person stepping wide

Wide the round and fertile earth

a promise – a paean – of rebirth

Birth from inner sin and woe

upon the mortal shore I go

Go crawling and pushing upon my knees

Until enveloped in the balmy seas

Seas roil and billow and drown my soul

till my old life has met its toll

Toll on, yea bells, of troubled mirth

Your laughter ends with final birth

Birth anew, a raging clutching pain

And I, defenseless, cast upon the main

Mainly, you know, I’ve struggled and run

to find myself at last a conquered one

One, rise! Oh divinely mortally met

And in thy threesome bosom I am set

Set at last, on softly wafting shores,

And closed, behind, the sinful, mortal doors

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Weirdly Whimsical Words

As I was falling asleep the other night I ran through words to help me fall asleep, and I was using the letter W.

What came out ended up being a lovely vignette!


Why worry when

The woman begins

To wield the weirdly words?

A whimsical charm

A mystical yarn

That reveals itself to the world.

 

 

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I’m on a Podcast!

I was recently interviewed on a podcast for authors! Hear all about Trinian, when I began writing, my struggles with writing, and more!

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Thanks to Darshaun McAway for having me on his show!

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The Barren Garden

Where barren bones bring no life to straggling gardens, some seeds new and vibrant should be planted.

But where do we find such soulful seedlings? Where should we plant our special plantlings?

Plant and do not worry, for yesterday has passed away. Plant and rejoice, for tomorrow has a way of coming.

Plants aplenty come and go, some regal and some low, but without today last years would be a myth. With today, tomorrow’s a gift.

Rejoice and cry out, “Today is a bounty!” Rejoice and exclaim, “Tomorrow’s a harvest!”

Hope from death and death from hope. Seeds from plants and life from dust.

We harvest what we plant, we plant what we harvest. So plant anew and plant it better, there’s no such place as a barren garden.

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Timothy Zahn May Be the Best Star Wars Author – But He’s Not For Me

I read Heir to the Empire, by Timothy Zahn, early in 2018, and to be honest, and I wish I could’ve liked it better since it included aspects that I really love about the Star Wars universe!

As a child, I read Jude Watson’s Jedi Apprentice, Last of the Jedi, and Jedi Quest series and loved them! When I read other Star Wars books, however, especially ones that came after episode 6, The Return of the Jedi, I was always disappointed because the vital aspect that made Star Wars STAR WARS was lacking.

The original Star Wars films are presented as legends, as epic heroes, as characters who fight for each other, for what is right, and for something far about themselves. I love that! And it’s the part of the story that always sticks with me, that keeps me coming back to it over and over again. It’s what makes it magic.

But most of the expanded universe books (and the recent movies), disregard the Force-as-above-us aspect of the story, and try to make it more applicable to the common man. In a sense, they take the Force and bring it down to them, instead of trying to rise above themselves to meet it. It’s a subtle difference, but it’s the difference that has stayed with me since I was a child. Obi-Wan, in the Jedi Apprentice series, always knew he was striving for something above and beyond himself, for self-sacrifice, for achieving things greater than he himself was capable of achieving!

Timothy Zahn stays true to that approach. He writes an after-story to episodes 4, 5, and 6 that feels both relatable and extraordinary. His books present the Force as something unknowable and yet something we can be a part of. They explore relationships as both complex and loving. And they explore villainy for what it is – a choice, to embrace the worst parts of ourselves.

But, sadly, I am very picky about sentence structure and beautiful sentences, and Zahn is just not high literature. On top of that, I have a hard time reading things that are only about the story and don’t explore the deeper truths inherent in the story itself, or that only explore those relationships through the action of the story. I get bored with pure action – I desire a conscious exploration of characters that delves into their minds, and their motivations, and the deeper truths of reality.

So I am grateful to have siblings who love Timothy Zahn and are happy to fill me in on his world building! That way, I don’t have to read all the books, but I get a taste of a Star Wars world that I love! And someday, perhaps, an author will take all the scattered aspects of the Star Wars universe and gather them into a true collection of the legends that they are! A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away… it’ll be a long ago, futuristic King Arthur story!

As far as my recommendation goes, if you enjoy expanded Star Wars universe books, you’ll probably love this.

And for my siblings, I would give them a 4 🌟 for reading it. <– (what is this about?)

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A Murder in the Chicken Yard – A Tale of Attempted Cannibalism

By Elizabeth Russell

A few years ago, my family briefly lived on a farm, and besides giving our chickens very weird names, we learned many odd things about the species that we had never realized before. One was that chickens are gruesomely fond of eating each other after one is dead. Here below is a brief thought experiment about what goes on in the chicken yard and in the empty, blood-thirsty minds of the chickens.

Amidst the incessant clacking that daily erupted in the chicken yard, there was today a new sort of clucking gossip.

Said Dude Jr. to Ugly Duckling, while she was joyfully gobbling down grain, “Come quick! There’s been a murder.”

Said Darth Vader, running as fast as her short legs would carry her, “Well, my dear, it’s about time. So long as it isn’t Gorgeous, I think it’s a positive development.”

“Oh no Vader, Gorgeous is quit all right – the tall man has chosen Fluffy.”

“Ooooh!! How lovely!” cried Crooked Toe, as she ran up alongside them. “He’s such a terribly mean rooster, and quite tasty, I’m sure. The mean ones always are.”

“I’ve been in the mood for meat for awhile,” agreed Dude Jr.

They neared the picnic table, from which arose the bloody aroma that promised a scrumptious meal. The tall man, which his red beard and blond hair, was hunched over the wood, plucking and scattering feathers. Ugly Duckling and Weird Al were already amongst the group that clustered clucking around the table.

Said Dude Jr. to Weird Al. “Why is everyone just milling? We haven’t missed the feeding, have we?”

“Can you believe it?” cut in Chiquita, spreading her feathers in indignation, “that human man has kept Fluffy all to himself! Anytime anyone gets near him, he shoos us away!”

“Hah! That’s just like last time!” cried Dude Jr.

“Well how do you like that?” asked Crazy Dave. “First they steal our eggs, then they steal our chickens! What do they do for us? Hmm? I’d like to know!”

Gorgeous was pecking the ground a little ways away, and they all ran over to him.

“Keeping us away! Won’t let us in!” The ladies all cried in unison, “The nerve! About time someone showed him a lesson! Ooo! Is that grubs?” And as the tall man disappeared into the farm kitchen with the bald, dead chicken, they were all happily pecking the ground again.

The End

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Coming of Age (or Internal) Genres

So, before I continue on the path of laying out each individual genre in this continuing series, I think it’s good to take a moment to talk about the category ‘Coming of Age’. This is the Internal Genre, where the story is driven by the hero’s personal struggles, rather than a villain they must defeat.

By ‘Coming of Age’, I do not mean a teen romance. I’m willing to bet that, when you hear that term, you think of a young adult category.

I won’t argue that these types of stories certainly seem to appeal in a deep way to young people who are only just beginning to understand life; however, a ‘coming of age’ can imply far more. Every person is learning and re-learning life all the time, and stages of maturity and realization happen for us sometimes at 12, sometimes at 20, and sometimes at 75, so I think it is fair to say that a ‘Coming of Age’ story can happen for anyone, and appeal to anyone.

There are 4 ‘coming of age’ categories that my brother and I have been able to identify so far. I’m not sure yet if there are more than these, and would love to hear what you think!

They are:

  1. Death
  2. Self-Delusion
  3. Romance
  4. Responsibility

I’ll use death to explain this a bit more. Sometimes there is a story like My Girl, where the main character has to deal with death at a young age, and matures through that process. But there are also stories like A Christmas Carol, in which an old man has to come to scrooge-and-tim.jpgterms with his own mortality, and becomes a more whole person because of it. Both of these, in a sense, are ‘Coming of Age’ stories. They deal with someone who begins the story incomplete, or possibly broken, in some way. And when the story is over, they have grown, learned, and moved on, embracing the reality that they had before ignored or been ignorant of.

So the criteria for a ‘Coming of Age’ story is:

  • There is a reality, or truth, of life – such as death or love.
  • Main character denies or does not know about this reality.
  • The reality confronts the character with unavoidable force.
  • They run from it, rebel against it, do not want to accept it.
  • Finally, they must accept it, although they have to die (in a metaphorical sense) to a part of themselves to do so.
  • They are a more complete person after accepting it.

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So there you have it! I’ll be diving into each section in detail soon, so keep an eye out.

Are there any ‘coming of age’ stories you can think of, or any other genres that fall under this heading? Are there any stories you would like me to explore to see what genre they fall under?

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I Kept Writing, and Got Rid of the Scary Red Text!

Last night, I skimmed through the 500 page word document of my novel manuscript, and stopped every time I encountered a block of red text. Those sections were notes I left myself about missing scenes in the narrative, and with dedication, I knocked each one out of the park! All my missing scenes are now written, and I officially have a finished, readable story from start to finish.

Woo hoo!

Those red sections were like scary warning signs before – telling me my novel isn’t complete, and darkly hinting that it may never get there. But I did it! I got there! I beat that red text.

I feel so much better about it now, too, because it’s turned into a great story! I know that when I enjoy reading my book, I’ve made a good product. It might have a few problems, or not be entirely, one-hundred percent perfect, but then, nothing ever is! It’s a good book, a good story, and I can say that with confidence. And soon, it will be published and able to be enjoyed by others!

I can’t wait!

Have you signed up yet to read it for free? Really, it’s totally free, no strings attached. Well, OK, unless you call giveaways, videos, and author interviews strings. Because that’s what you get if you sign up to read it BEFORE it hits bookstores!

If you’re not sure whether you want to read it, check out the first chapter, and see if you like it!

Also, if you could help me out – what was your favorite author giveaway or promotion you’ve ever been a part of? What did they do? I’m totally open to new ideas!

And… share the link! Got friends who love to read? Send it to them – they get to read for free! Who doesn’t love that? 🙂

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Freaking out about Publishing

I had a total freak out moment yesterday! I all of a sudden got very terrified – not just about publishing my book, which is scary enough on its own – but about being a writer at all. I’ve heard about writers feeling like frauds, and for the first time, I really felt that!

My mom talked me down from the emotional ledge, thankfully. She reminded me of the big picture: of the fact that I am a good writer and am always trying to be better, and that it’s ok to not be an overnight success. “They say it takes three books,” she reminded me, “before you really get noticed.”

I sighed in relief – this is only my second novel, and already, I know it will do better than my first. This is a process! I’m taking actionable steps, and I know success is down the road – I just need to be patient about getting there.

“Wish I could turn back time

To the good old days

When the mama sang

Us to sleep, but now we’re stressed out!”

Have you been there? How did you get past the overwhelming terror?

If you want to find out what I’m freaking out about, you can read the first chapter of my newest novel, and let me know what you think. If you enjoy it, sign up to receive the whole thing for free! I won’t send you junk mail – only my book and a weekly newsletter.

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Prologue of Trinian

Hey guys! I figured it was about time you got to read the Prologue of Trinian, An Epic Fantasy!

I’m so excited to share this with you – I’m at a loss for words. This novel has been 12 years in the making, and it blows my mind that it’s so close to it’s release date.

This chapter lays out the god’s plans, and introduces us to the villain. All the fun world-building!

The picture is a rough sketch of Rordan, done by the lovely Sophia Dytewski!

Enjoy, tell your friends, and sign up to receive the entire novel!

Trinian, An Epic Fantasy

Chapter 1

Fate, the master of the heavens, watched his round glass watch as it ticked eleven, and with its final, fateful chime, the last age of the mortal world began. At the start of every century, Fate hosted the centennial convention, the time for the high gods to convene and discuss the mortal land of Minecerva, and now he took his place as mediator upon his mighty throne to host the final meeting.

From the vast corners of Minecerva his brothers and sisters came flying to the heavenly palace. The first to arrive was Terror, on his wings of panic that were spread wide in darkness behind him.

Then sister Resolve, in her straight-laced dress, walked with dignified, regal, controlled steps to her seat in the circle.

Peace erupted into the chamber with a triumph of color, her gown fluttering freely. She was unrestrained, creative, and joyful; and she was wise and calm.

Knowledge sparkled and she was pure beauty. As she entered, she drew the other god’s eyes to her in wonder, fear, and scorn. They all considered her far too pretentious, but they envied her all the same.

Famine tripped in hand-in-hand with Plenty, both carefree and careless.

The three brothers Depression, Destruction, and Death stumbled about, singing a rousing war cry with their arms firmly round each other’s shoulders. The other gods gave them a wide berth, their presence unpleasant, but they three did not care to notice and threw themselves upon a bench, their feet stretched forward, their heads thrown back to drink during the proceedings with disinterest.

No one noticed Solitude, pale and forgettable, creep into her corner.

Charity and Passion carried on an age-old argument as they entered, their different beauties, the first subtle and the second overwhelming, clashing as they passed witty banter between them.

Hope smiled softly as she crept through a side door; she looked over all and shook her head at brother Fate. He smiled back, and made room for his favorite sister on the throne beside him.

Power, last to arrive, dominated with each shaking step, until he sat, not in a chair, but on the ledge above Fate. From here, he could make eye-contact with every god except his oldest brother, and he smiled. Let them notice him, let them roll their eyes at his vain seat of power here. Soon, he would control everything; soon, he would rise above Fate himself.

When Power had taken his seat, Fate lifted his mighty gavel and called the session to order.

“To this day,” he announced gravely, “we have conducted affairs on our own; we have not involved any low gods or mortals in our affairs, nor have any higher interfered with us.” There was a swell of assent that roared through the chamber like a mighty river, deep churning and little trickles drawing together into a mighty roar.

“But we are nearing the end of our reign. The Golden King has at last sent a messenger to me. We must heed what he says, for we know that when the clock has turned to the completion of time, it is His rule we will obey.”

With a rumble of voices that would have opened a chasm in an ocean bed, murmurs and whispers behind cupped hands, boastings and bragging, music and cheering and laughter, filled the hall at the mention of the Golden King. Hope held her hands over her ears and smiled to herself, doing what she did best. Power also made no sound, but settled himself firmer on the ledge, and sneered. He had waited patiently, plotting a long time for this hour.

Fate let them have their varied fun and anger until finally, he pounded his gavel once. “You will each decide how to act when the twelfth hour arrives,” he continued. “Until then, we have a little more time, and those who have not had free reign in the lives of men, will have it now.”

Death came forward to complain. “But you know why we’ve never gone down everywhere yet. Free reign – I snap my fingers at it, and you know why. The city of Drian, the very capitol of Minecerva, stands like a silver beacon, untouchable. We don’t want to go down if we can’t go everywhere. It’s a low, dirty trick of favorites, and it’s unfair.” Depression, Destruction, and Famine nodded their heads angrily, for it was they, too, had not yet had their turn.

“I have not forgotten. For the first time, we will convene with a lower power, for he has proven himself a force to be reckoned with. While we left him alone, he was not content to leave us so. Rordan, natural god of the river, I call you to the presence of the high gods!”

A colossal man entered the throne room of the gods and strode forward until he stood before Fate.

He showed no embarrassment in their presence, but merely bowed his head in submission before their might. There was, however, a rippling of his shoulders as if he would lash out any moment, at any threat. There were two remarkable things about the giant; the first was his hair, which flowed down his back almost to his knees, clear and green, blue, and silver, depending on how it caught the light. When he moved, it rippled.

The second was the walking stick he held in his fist which was the width of a fifty-year-old tree, gnarled, knotted, and ringed, and twice as tall as himself. Destruction, who was all too familiar with the weapon’s reach and solidity, backed up and hid behind Charity.

While all eyes were on the river god, Power, angry and stifled, was unable to maintain his temper in the presence of this discussion of the Golden King. Silently, he slipped from the chamber. But he did not leave. He listened still from the shadows of the outer hall.

“You have been called here, Rordan,” continued Fate, “because, as the natural god of Drian, you have set yourself as its protector and defended it from misfortune for over a thousand years. You have done well and the Golden King thanks you.”

The giant bowed, his flowing hair cascading over his shoulders and brushing the floor.

“But the completion of time nears, and even Drian must have its time of trial. You are not allowed to block out Death, Famine, Depression, and Destruction from the mortals forever. Those gods have a right over the mortals as much as any other, and the mortals must learn to deal with them as they will. You are to step aside and give the gods who have not ruled Minecerva free reign. This is the command of the messenger of the Golden King.”

The river god tensed and held his breath a moment, as if attempting to reign in an overflowing temper. But then he nodded curtly. “I will do as the Golden King commands,” he rumbled.

He turned to leave, and Death, who was cavorting gleefully behind his back, stilled in place until the Giant had stooped through the round doorway and his long hair had followed him.

Just before descending to the mortal realm, Rordan stopped still in the outer hall. A thin shadow lurked behind a pillar, watching him. He clenched his fists when he saw the leer of triumph on the shadow’s face.

With a flex of his strong arms, he planted his gnarled staff upon the stones. “You vile beast, you have already ruled Drian!” he told the shadow, which slithered out from its enclosure. It was Power, and he trembled with triumphant rage over Fate’s decree, for he hated the river god from the very depths of his being.

“I will allow the others through,” said Rordan, “but you will never have free reign again. You will rot in your murk and grime until the twelfth hour, when the Golden King casts His light upon your buried crimes.” Power’s face twisted in a grimace as Rordan continued. “Fate may not know or care how you spend your time, but I do. If you attempt to enter Drian, you will know my wrath!” With that, he lifted his staff, and Power growled and clenched his muscles, but then abruptly turned and marched away.

Power descended to his corner of the world, desolate as it was, and plotted evil for Rordan and Drian. Meanwhile, Famine, Death, and Destruction greedily leveled themselves against Drian, spreading their gifts in a massive overdose to make up for lost time. In the process, they forgot all about the Golden King.

Loved the first chapter? Read the rest!

Novel Promo (1)

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The Terror and Thrill of Reviewing My Novel

Now that I have enough of Trinian, An Epic Fantasy put together to send into the world for review, I’m getting germinal feedback. I love it! But it’s also terrifying.

My sisters, who are geniuses with artwork, have already taken a stab at illustrating a couple characters, and my best friend Sophia has started marking up my first chapter. She says she’s being harsh, and I’m so grateful to her for that! I want the feedback as truthful as possible, so I can turn out a final product that will please my readers! And, of course, help me to achieve the highest level of writing ability that I can!

I’m thrilled and nervous all at once, and the emotions flow together inside me to create general excitement! Whether the manuscript is terrible or wonderful, it’s going out into the world, and that something!

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My Pinterest Boards

I’m going to put in a shameless plug for my pinterest board, because if you like what I put here on the blog, you’ll love what I post! So much beautiful artwork!

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Trinian for Free!

Come January, I will be providing my novel Trinian|An Epic Fantasy for free! Click here to sign up to receive it!

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Thoughts on Endings and Trinian, 2nd Draft

Sorry for my weekend extended absence. I spent all weekend, and some bleed through into Monday, finishing Trinian, An Epic Fantasy’s second draft. I just sent it out for review, and I can’t believe my project is actually out there, being read by other eyes! I’m all tingly.

I still have a few middle scenes to compose, and a bit more of the ending.

I intend to avoid the common writing choice of writers who write an entire book, with lots of detail and description, and then end the book immediately, as soon as the climax has passed. Maybe they have a brief wrap up, bringing the characters together who’ve been estranged, etc. But I have always felt far more satisfied by endings like Jane Austen or Tolkien, or even Dean Koontz, who really take the time to explain not just what the characters did immediately after the action, but how the action affected the rest of their lives.

So I’m making sure that I’m putting time into my ending, and not just wrapping up the major loose ends. But don’t worry – it won’t be a drag, making you wish that it would end already. — At least I hope not!

Author Feature – Luster Lexicon

I’m so excited!!! I’m being featured in an Author Spectacle!

The Luster Lexicon is a new platform that interviews authors of all different backgrounds, offering them a chance to talk about their work.

I’m so grateful to them for choosing me this month! You can find me half-way down the page, #5.

Check it out HERE

The Dove Princess

Princess - The Dove PrincessOnce upon a time, a king’s daughter loved dogs as her dearest friends. She had all manner of species about her all the time, and whenever she went for a walk, she always brought at least two with her. She trained the dogs herself along with her brother, who loved them almost as much as she did, and they spent all their free-time with them.

One afternoon, the princess decided to train one of the newest puppies, so she set off on a walk with Klitus and Grimus, two old, wise dogs, and OrangeYellowBlack, OYB for short, the frisky puppy.

“Shall I come with you?” asked her brother eagerly. He wanted to get out of a long meeting with his tutor. “OYB might be troublesome.”

She laughed at him. “I’m sure I can handle him,” she said, and made the prince watch her run away with the dogs while he had to go to his lesson.

The woods beside the palace were a golden green, full of playful shadows, butterflies, and trilling birds. She knew to stay only in this wood, since further on, against the very edge of her father’s kingdom, there was a deep, dark forest, ruled by a sorcerer.

 

OYB - The Dove Princess
OrangeYellowBlack, the frisky puppy

Klitus and OYB ran ahead, and then back again, and then on ahead. The princess practiced calling OYB’s name and making him learn to obey. Grimus plodded on patiently beside her – her loyal, faithful watchdog.

Out of the trees beside the path hobbled an old, ugly, hunchbacked man. He was pulling himself along with a gnarled staff, and grunting as he came. He did not seem to see the princess until he nearly ran into her, and she had to hop out of his way.

“Watch it! Ah, princess, I didn’t see you. Have a few coins for a poor old traveler?”

The Encounter in the Forest
The Encounter in the Forest

The princess was frightened by his awful appearance and brisk manner, but she was too polite to show it, and fumbled in her purse for some coins.

He stomped over to receive them and, as if by accident, hammered his staff into Grimus’s paw. With a squeal, Grimus jumped back and growled lightly in his throat. He did not like or trust this old man, and his paw pounded so painfully he could not walk on it, and had to limp on three legs.IMG-5755

“Oh, Grimus, my darling, are you alright?” The princess bent over her friend and the two other dogs danced excitedly nearby, unnerved by the event.

“Oh, terrible accident that,” mumbled the beggar. “Whoops. Didn’t see him!” He whirled about as if to help, sending his stick going in every direction and nearly whacking the princess’s head off. Though it missed her, it hit OYB in the rear, and with a cry of panic, the puppy took off running into the forest.

“Ho, there! All this fuss is putting me out!” cried the old man, but the princess ignored him and called and called for OYB to come back.

“Oh, where is he? OYB!” She was so upset that she ran after her lost puppy without a second thought, closely followed by Klitus. Grimus whined on the path, torn because he wanted to go too, but knowing he would be no help hobbling on three paws. So finally, he turned back toward home, leaving the beggar grumbling to himself on the path.

When he reached the palace, he barked like a mad pigeon, and everyone yelled and told him to be quiet, but he only got louder and louder, until the prince, who was studying geography and finding it exceedingly dull, heard the noise and ran downstairs.

“What is it boy?” he asked, and Grimus started limping back toward the forest. “Something’s wrong,” said the prince to himself, and followed after.

Grimus led the prince to the place where they had met the beggar, but there was no sign of him. So he began to sniff the ground, and then took off after his beloved princess’s scent.

To both their horror, the scent led them right up to the dark forest, and there, against the outermost tree, lay Klitus, dead.

Grimus whined and wept over his fallen companion, and the prince knelt beside him. “You must go home,” he whispered. “This is no place for an injured creature.” Grimus looked at him with large, worried eyes. “I’ll be alright, you know,” the prince assured him. “The sorcerer never harms young men.”

Dark ForestSo with his tail between his legs and his ears hanging past his mouth, Grimus trudged back to the palace, and the prince disappeared into the black shadows of the dark forest.

Immediately beneath those trees, day turned to night, and he could see no further than the stretch of his arm. As he searched for his sister, he began to despair. There was no sign of her. Instead, there was a big black toad the size of his fist sitting on a mushroom.

“Have you seen my sister?” he asked the toad.

“No,” he croaked. “All I see all day are the black flies that fly around my head.”

A little further into the forest, he found a lion. “Have you seen my sister?”

“No,” he growled. “All I see all day are the scuffling hogs I eat.”

Even further, a snake was coiled around a tree limb. “Have you seen my sister?”

“I have sssseen only the miccce that I sswallow whole.”

The prince searched for two more days until his strength relinquished itself to the weight of his desperation, and he fell to the ground and slept.

In his sleep, a dream came to him. He saw OYB run into the forest in fright, and his sister chase after him. He saw a mighty black crow fly across the gray sky and land in a tall, dark tower in the very middle of the forest. The crow changed into the evil sorcerer, the dark master of the land, and with a wave of his staff, he transformed the princess into a beautiful dove.

When the prince awoke, he no longer searched for a princess, but called out in a loud coo for a dove. Finally, a coo came back to him.

From the very tops of the trees flew down a bird on a single beam of light and alighted on his shoulder. He kissed its beak, and the dove nuzzled its head into his cheek.

“Oh, my dearest sister, how shall I save you from this fate?” he asked her. She cooed softly in response and a tear fell from her eye.

“I will save you!” he declared, and headed off for the black tower with his sister still on his shoulder. When they reached the mighty fortress, the prince banged on the door.

The Sorcerer's Dark Tower
The Sorcerer’s Dark Tower

“Sorcerer!” he yelled. “How can I save my sister?”

The sorcerer stuck his head out of the tower. “Go away!” he shouted, and disappeared back inside.

He pounded even harder. “Sorcerer, how can I save my sister?”

This time, there was no response. For ten minutes, the prince yelled and pounded. Finally, the sorcerer returned to the window.

“I said, go away! Or I’ll turn you into a dove!”

The prince pounded so hard on the door that the wood splintered in two, and then he ran up the spiral staircase.

When he arrived, the Sorcerer was very angry. “Go away, I tell you! Why do you test my patience? I’ll enchant you!”

The Dark Sorcerer
The Dark Sorcerer

“Everyone knows you do not enchant men. I’m not leaving here until you tell me how to lift her curse.”

The sorcerer groaned with annoyance, but he saw he could not get rid of this boy. “Very well,” he snarled. “You must leave her in this forest for three years. You cannot return home – instead, you will wander the world as a nameless beggar collecting one whole seashell from each ocean and stringing them into a necklace. After three years, if you put that necklace around her neck, she will turn back into a girl. Now go away and leave me in peace!”

The brother and sister said a tearful goodbye at the edge of the forest. Just as the prince turned to leave, however, he heard a tiny bark and from out of the foliage leapt OYB. With a coo of joy, the dove lighted on the animal’s head, and the prince left them together, relieved that his sister would have a friend in her exile.

At the first cottage he came across, the prince traded his rich royal clothes for the costume of the resident peasant, and then departed into the world to find the shells.

At the first ocean, he encountered a polar bear and wrestled with him on an iceberg until, finally, he overcame the beast and collected the shell. Just before reaching the second ocean, he faced a giant, evil koala bear who tried to kill him with a rifle. But the IMG-5756prince defeated the evil Koala, took the rifle for himself, and found his shell. At the third ocean, he strangled a sea serpent. At the fourth, he slew a gigantic spider. And finally, in the final year, when he had traveled, and suffered, and grown into a man, he came to the fifth ocean.

Evil Shark
Evil Shark

There, he picked up the final shell and threaded it onto the string he had worn around his neck for three years, then he sold the shark to local fisherman who could make use of its parts, and with the money from the sale, headed back to his own country.re, just as he bent to pick up the final shell, a giant shark flew out of the water and came right for his throat. He leapt back, pulled out the rifle, and with one single shot, killed it in the head.

He went straight to the forest, and there, right where he had departed from her all those years ago, he saw his sister waiting. He ran up, placed the necklace over her head, and she transformed instantly back into a princess. The sorcerer knew when his magic had ceased, and he flew instantly to where the prince and princess were embracing.

“I have completed your tasks!” proclaimed the prince.

The sorcerer had never expected to see the prince again, and he was very angry. But a promise was a promise, so he had to let them go. But before they did, he said to them, “You have escaped my power for now, but someday beware…I will come after your descendants.”

The brother and sister headed back to the kingdom with their now grown dog OYB, and their father the King, who thought both his children had perished years ago, received them with tears of joy.

The End

 

Keep a look out for future stories about the Sorcerer! Why doesn’t he enchant men? What will happen when he goes after the prince and princess’s descendants? Why is he always so cranky?

Images were made by myself and my four-year-old brother

Why I like that The Little Mermaid DIES

Check out my very first video essay! Wherein I compare the fairy tale to the Disney version, and talk about why I LOVE the ending of the original.

Halfbreeds Artwork

See the world of Halfbreeds through the author’s eyes.

I’ve created a couple of the iconic images from my novel that stick in my mind.

  1. First, here are some I did months ago.

Bobakin_Image

Above: Bobakin, in soft chalk pastel

Below: Dalimi, in soft chalk pastel

Dalimi_Image

I’m very happy with the way these turned out! I feel they get across the essence of their characters. It’s rare that I’m able to do just what I want with art, so I’m proud of this.

2. I keep going back to the barn for some reason – every image looks similar to how I picture it, and eventually, I’ll get one that looks exactly right.

The_Barn_Image

Above is a closeup of my first one that I did in colored pencils awhile back.

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Here is an oil pastel I did just the other day. The terrible forest is in the upper right corner. It’s rougher, but has more of the appropriate feel.

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I thought I was going to put the barn in this one, but turned into a stretch of the Terrible Forest. The hard copy is very heavy and shiny since it is done in thick oil paint.  I was out of blue paint, so I had to be creative with the sky, but I think I like this better. It brings across the true feel of the forest.

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3. I wanted to work the title into the wheat field, so here’s the logo in colored pen! I used up an entire blue pen on this one. 🙂

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4. Finally, here is a sketch I did of Cornanam a long time ago. I waited to post because I kept thinking I would finish it, but I just never got around to it. I like that he looks more savage than Bobakin – and yet, like he feels deeply.

 

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