Saturday, December 31, 2016

The Important Things.

What are the important things in life to you? Really. Give it a thought for a moment. Hobbies? Friends? Pets? Socializing? Family? I’m going to wager that, among whatever else you thought, most all of you were in agreement with family and friends. Splendid, after all what could be more important than the ones you care about and who care about you? Hold on now. Let me ask you this: Was December the 25th or is today and tomorrow the only times you made time to visit them? Some of you will say ‘of course not!’, but some of you may say something else. If you are among the folks who said something else, then I’d like you to consider this: Something—or someone—is only as important to you as you make it.

     What do I mean, you may ask? Well, I imagine that all of you try to spend time doing whatever those things are that you find enjoyment in. Despite the busy schedules that our lives lead us on these days (curse you, smartphones) we all do seem to find time for making ourselves feel important. Now, of the important things that came to mind when I asked what you considered important in your lives, how many do you actually, willfully, make time for? You see, you can go on about how important something is to you till the end of time, but if you never really show it, take the time to show it, take the effort to show it, than it truthfully is not that important to you at all.

     Lots of folk claim to place importance on so many things, and yet so little of those things really matter to them. I hope that, as this year comes to a close, you will think hard and decide what is—or who is—truly important to you, because nobody ever fooled others or themselves forever.

Keep Strong!

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Finished Poem

Hello there, awesome folks. Thanksgiving is less than a week away (time flies, so it does!), and I want me some turkey! Things sure are moving very fast this November, and I'd say that that's both a good and bad thing. But let's quit beating around the bush. This post is coming later than I wanted it to (so please don't strangle me through the computer screen), but I hope you'll forgive me once you read. The other half of that poem I was working on is complete--it's been complete for a while, won't lie, but I had to tweak a thing or two and there were a couple things going on behind the scenes, but who cares?-- it is my pleasure to share it with you.

     I've managed to come up with a title for the work, and that title is: The King of the Deep. Huh? Huh? Decent, you think? No? Well... I tried... (For those of you who've not read The King of the Deep Part 1, and for those of you who have but want to refresh your memory, click here.) Now then, without further babble, here we go!

Then the wrath of the king was great indeed.
At his roar the oceans trembled.
Upon the nearest coasts of the dwellings of men
Waves of fury were assembled.
Then many mortals’ cries rang out
In prayer and supplicating word.
The fates wrought and worked that day
For one unlooked for heard.

Their cry reached the ears of Lanielia
Who paused in the waters’ caress,
And who felt a sudden pity stir
At the noise of their distress.
Forth she went, with graceful speed,
Forth unto the coast,
Where rolling waves of fury were poised
To strike many an innocent host.

Out from the sea she sprang suddenly,
Her arms raised in command.
And at the cry of her voice the waves leapt back,
Ere they dashed upon the sand.
This she did a few and several times more,
Till at last the waters took heed,
And dared not again to strike the land
Even if so the King had decreed.

Forthwith leapt Lanielia back into the sea,
And to the depths she went alone.
Till she stood before the King again
Who sat upon a pearl-white stone.
To her he smiled. “Back,” he said,
“Back you have come as a sheep.
How could it be any other way?
Who can defy the Lord of the Deep?”

“Fool!” cried she. “Pride-filled fool!
Careless abuser of might!
You hide behind your haughty strength
Because your weakness is out of sight.
The ‘Lord of the Deep?’ A prisoner you are,
Fettered against your will.
Whose anger burns at lands beyond him,
That the mortals govern and fill.

“But no longer will I allow your wrath to strike,
And bring ruin to the innocent.
Soften thy heart, pride-filled king,
Or beware my grim intent.”
The King at once leapt to his feet,
His golden eyes ablaze;
And Lanielia saw that his pride was not humbled.
He was a prisoner to his ways.

Then began a contest sharp,
A battle of the two.
A struggle such as never before was seen
In the bottom of the Deepened Blue.
The mighty strength of the King was vast;
Seven times he struck her down,
And seven times she rose up again
With wounds beneath her watery gown.

But at the last, weariness came,
Written on her face wrung with pain.
And the King smiled within and without,
Deigning to become her bane.
About her neck he fastened his grip,
In his eyes a fell delight.
For no help could come to Lanielia
To deliver her from her plight.

Yet even as her strength was quenched,
She swung hard her head.
And little and naught thought the King of this,
Thinking her already dead.
Thus when her league of snowy hair
Seized suddenly his mighty limbs
He had not time to feel as one
Whose hope swiftly dims.

From her neck her white locks pried him,
And upheld him doubly bound.
And ere he could summon the waters to his aid
At her command he was wholly enwound.
Coil after coil she threw about him
Till her hair was spent and tight.
Then with her nails, enchantment aided,
She cut the league of snowy white.

Then she took the nameless, pride-filled king
And cast him in a pit of the Deep,
Where madness roams, and soundless foams
Form about monsters that creep.
And there he has remained from that time on,
Twice-over bound in such a tomb.
But whether he has died, or shall yet escape,

Remains an unknown doom.

Keep Strong!

Friday, October 28, 2016

Camping Trip!

Ahoy, my good peoples! I do hope that all is well with you and yours, and that the fall colors are setting in to their full extent wherever you are. The ones around my place sure are! Recently, I've been totally absent on all of my internet platforms ('What?' you say. 'I never even noticed you were gone!') Well, the reason for my absence (if you did notice it, that is) was that I went on an awesome camping trip! It was really, really great!

     I got to link up again with dear friends, forge ties with new ones, dance and sing, and even eat vegetarian food! I know, right? The merriment lasted for eight days, and it couldn't have been better. Well, except for the night it rained chilling rain and wet the inside of our tents and clothes, forcing me to seek shelter in a populated foyer for the night... I got a few pictures, though not as many as I ought to have (there was just never a dull moment!). Take a look. I'll share a few.

Just chillin' and taking a drink. And for those of you wondering, the hand sign is the sign of the Three Feathers!

He's here, he's there, he's anywhere: It's the Everywhere Man!!!
Great guy and even greater friend. Hope our paths cross again soon, Christian.

Introducing Señora Laurie, la maravillosa! And the young and tender Ben! Fantastic person. If you don't know her, then you're missing out.

Ain't there nothing quite like a smilin' young'n?

Relaxing by a smoldering fire is the only way to fully reduce stress. They know it.

But only when the fire flames like the mane of the Balrog does it hold you mesmerized.

And joining Senora Laurie are two more increíble women. K. and Isabel!

Nine-square, anyone?

And last, but by no means least, I had the ultimate pleasure of meeting someone who's wonderful spirit even now affects me. Were I to tell you that Cyan Campau has a heart as mighty as a dragon's but as gentle as a dove's it would fall utterly short of the reality. Everything about her radiates strength, peace, and beauty. I have never met her like, and she has left an impression that shall never fade. May we meet again someday, Cyan!

And there you have it. I've been around a little. I may have some other photos somewhere, and if I do I'll try and post them. Those eight days were fantastic. 'Nuff said.

Keep Strong!

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Q & A Tag. (Cuz It's Awesome)

Hey hey hey! What's going on, guys? A whole bunch? Not a whole lot? Nothing, really? (That's no good, maybe you should read a book.) Well, here's what's happening with me: The astounding Benita J. Prins (whom any Tolkien lover should check out; her vast knowledge of Middle Earth is staggering. Plus, she's an author.) has nominated me for the popular (except I didn't know about it; don't throw stones at me) Q & A blogger's tag! (Wow, lots of parenthesis there...) Here's how it works:

-Tag the blogger(s) who have nominated you
-Answer the questions you were given
-Nominate 10 bloggers
-Write out your 10 questions
-Let them know they’ve been tagged

Sounds fun, right? Heh. Of course it does. Well, shall we begin?

  1. What do you tend to do when you're bored?
Read, of course! (But you already knew that.) Also, I may go online and read blogs and/or reviews and things of that sort. Also, I'm kinda into movie watching. That's nice.
      2. Would you rather be too hot or too cold?

Well let's see. I've been both of these at different times of the year, burning up beneath a blistering sun and chattering to death beneath a shroud of ice. I would have to say.... Being too hot is just too horrible. You can't escape and you get all sticky and...ehk. I'd have to go with too cold.

      3. What was your favorite book as a kid?

Well, if we're talking single books I'll have to say the Hobbit to be honest. But if we could include series (and more than one) I loved the Secrets of Droon series by Tony Abbott. Those books are what made me fall in love with reading.

      4. Would you ever go bungee jumping or sky diving?

Um, no. Nope. Nuh-uh. Nien. Never. I like my feet safe upon the ground. Things go wrong far too often for my tastes in ordinary every day life. Something goes wrong that high up and I'm dead. Poor me.

      5. Blue pen or black?

Black. It's more professional.

      6. Which fictional character would you choose to co-author a book with?

Perhaps Galadriel. She's both patient and wise. I think we'd maybe be able to make it to chapter three before our first serious disagreement. Plus, her great beauty would... Next question.

      7. Do you hoard anything?

Candy. Whenever I get candy that doesn't have to be eaten at once I put it away, and it usually stays put away for an indefinite amount of time (sometimes even months). I guess that kinda counts. It drives my folks mad. Ha.

      8. Can you curl your tongue?

........ Yes.

      9. Do you get nervous when you hear noises at night?

Okay, here's the deal: I live in a very...wooded neck of the woods. There're things around where I live that do indeed go bump in the night, and knock on the garbage, and smash on the fence. Sooo...yeah. Sometimes I do get nervous when I hear things at night. *Covers face* But I just....don't wanna be eaten....

      10. What's the weirdest dream you can remember?

Erm... Probably the one where a neighbor of mine wanted me to tile his floor. I have no idea where it came from. The sleeping mind will do things like that to you.

Ha! There we have it!


I nominate:

Hannah Heath

Cinthia McCracken

Patricia Hamill


I know, that's only four bloggers, but I couldn't find any others in my circle that haven't already done the tag. (What could I do?)

To answer these questions:

1: What is your favorite drink?
2: What is you least favorite book?
3: What's the longest distance you've ever traveled on foot?
4: If you could own one of the batmobiles from any one of the live-action Batman movies, which one would you choose?
5: Would you rather be chased by human eating snakes or human eating spiders?
6: Would you rather have awesome kung fu skills, or awesome lightsaber skills (with a saber included)?
7: If you had to be stranded fifty miles out in either a desert, the ocean, or the north or south pole, which would you choose?
8: What do you consider to be your greatest skill?
9: What's your dream job?
10: What did you think of Batman vs Superman: Dawn of Justice?

Keep Strong!

Friday, September 30, 2016

An Unfinished Poem

Hey, guys! Hope that you all are having a wondrous Fall (even though it's just beginning). I've returned with another post, and in this one I'm going to do something I've not done before: Share one of my works-in-progress with you! This is rather a big deal for me, as I do not usually do this, but I think that some of you (or at least, I'd like to think that some of you, heh,) would be interested in reading one of my unfinished works. The poem that I'm about to lay down for you is one of my newer ideas sprung from an older seed in my imagination. I really like its concept, and fully intend to bring the tale to its end. The story is a sort of mix of elements both old and new, but both with more me in them. Tell me what you think!

In a time that was upon a time
Far and deep beneath the sea,
Was an aged king without a name
Whose power was his majesty.
Like silken weed was his sable hair.
His beard was long and white.
And his golden eyes could reach beyond
The confines of mortal sight.

His great power was great indeed,
And legends still have told,
Of his many wondrous and terrible deeds
That he did of old.
For the waves of the deep were his to command
And often he would let them roll,
To go toss about some lonely ship
Or to flood a sheltered knoll.

Thus he was cursed by nearly all,
And many held him in fear.
But little and nothing could be availed against him
For his power was without peer.
Hence whenever a breaker swept lives away
Or the tide would not abate,
Naught could be done but to fly and flee
From the power that was too great.

Yet none knew that the nameless king
Was not the might all thought him to be,
And that he was fettered with five, emerald chains
In the bottom of the sea.
With clasps on his limbs and his hardened neck
He was held in such a keep,
Permitted one thousand leagues to roam;
In the darkness of the deep.

Now it happened upon a certain day
As the king walked in silent mood,
That he saw a sight which the secret light
Of the undersea imbued.
A lithe form, swift and fair,
Swept before his face.
And his golden eyes sought for the shape
That had moved with such a grace.

Thus he beheld Lanielia
As she swam in the Deepened Blue.
Who told unto him her fair name
Which no living thing knew.
Her eyes were black, but her skin was clear,
Like a star loosed in its light;
And she was clothed with a league of snowy hair
Like water over pearls in the night.

Then the nameless king was stricken dumb,
For her beauty was piercing yet soft.
And for long he watched her without a word
While the water bore her aloft.
Then at last the king drew near,
Reaching out to touch her hair.
But straightaway she recoiled from him
With disgust that was laid bare.

At such he bristled, and drew nearer still
In his eyes a haughty fire.
But she eluded him with lissome grace
And laughed at his desire.
At her laughter his anger boiled to fury,
And he clutched for her without heed.
But back, back, still back she drew,
Moving with a merciless speed.

With a mighty roar the king gave chase,
And the ground beneath him shook.
For his wrath had stirred the Darkened Deep,
Upon which few had dared to look.
But Lanielia heeded not his wrath,
And upon the waves he stirred she rode,
Till her laughter faded like a dream
The ears of the king to goad.

Yet still he chased after the rumor of her,
For it whispered in the water.
But put to shame in that hour was he
By the elusive Ocean’s Daughter.
A wrenching pull his body shook,
As though he was struck a blast.
And not one step further could his feet take him

For his fetters held him fast.

More to come later!

Keep Strong!

Monday, August 22, 2016

A Bit On Novel Characters (How Novel!)

Hey hey hey! How are you guys? Taking things well, I hope. But if not, well, you can always talk to someone about it.

Speaking of talk, I wanted to talk a bit (a bit) on book characters. Specifically, a few things about what makes potentially good characters bad. And I mean bad. There are just some things that, despite what certain folks may say, simply kill the magic and/or depth of a character. I've decided to list four--and they are in no particular order--that will hopefully warn fellow authors of these grievances. (Now y'all don't shoot the messenger!)

     Problem #1: Characters that do things for unpardonably stupid reasons, or worse, for no reason at all.

This is more properly a plot crutch/hole more so than a character flaw (well, depends on how you look at it), but because it's so close to my heart and mind, and has ruined otherwise interesting characters I was following, it gets a mention. This problem arises when your character is, say, journeying to the far far east along the clean, safe main road with no trouble in sight, and then, just for the sake of plot, they decide to turn out of their way and take a dark, dangerous side-path that has nothing to do with them, all because some punk in the last village they passed questioned their bravery and they felt that they now had something to prove to themselves. Sounds stupid, right? Well things like that get done more often than you might think, and they have to stop! Decisions like that take away any credibility from the author that the character in question is intelligent, so when they rise to become the leading hero of the story later on, it feels so (so) forced and weak, and ends up making the reader angry. Please don't fall into this trap, my dear writers. It's a common problem.

     Problem #2 Unbearably unbearable female characters.

Now before the shouts of indignation start, hear me out. How many books are we gonna read in which the female lead/hero destined to save the world treats everybody around her--especially her love interest--like the scum on her shoe no matter how nice they are to her, only to watch them die heroically (for her) and then cry and cry, and be all, Oh! they meant sooo much to me after all! I wish I had been nicer! Come on! You guys know exactly what I'm talking about. This is hands down the largest reason I'm leery of female leads in modern fantasy novels, or fiction novels in general. 90% of them (being generous here) act like this. No matter how nice their mentors, friends, parents, and first and second boyfriends are to them, they can't help but be sneery, snappy, and slappy. You'd think they'd learn better halfway through the book, but nope, they'll stay like that right up until old Vance, Shane, Peeta, or Roy dies, and then they'll-- Wait wait, what am I thinking? That's the part where they turn against the whole world (because grieving, you know?), claiming that life's just like a huge black hole that sucks up any attempt at happiness in their poor lives. Sometimes without the reader even realizing it, the author turns this stage into the girl's pity party for herself rather than for the person she was grieving for. During this stage, everybody's an enemy, except maybe a side character who, up till then, didn't seem that important, but will then become a sort of mother or sister figure for the girl to lean on.

This is a big one, guys, and it's got to come to an end. Female leads can be strong and independent without being the banes of their book's existence.

     Problem #3: Characters that have no motivation for their actions and/or attitudes.

This one is a bit more subtle, but it fits into problem #1. Look at it this way: If we were introduced to a story in which a bounty hunter was the main character, most of us would probably instantly be interested. However, if upon reading the first few pages, we discovered that this hardcore brutalizing individual had no idea why he was doing what he was, we'd definitely be inclined toward annoyance. Halfway through the book, if the bounty hunter still had no idea why he continued to bounty hunt, and there was no info on some hidden agenda (such as mind control or memory loss) we'd be exclaiming, What's going on here?! If we ever managed to make it to the end of the book to where the bounty hunter rides off into the sunset after getting the better of his numerous foes, and still we had no idea as to why he did what he did, most of us would be angry enough to write a negative review.

     Motivations are important. Without them, your character has little to no direction. What's the point of anything he or she does? Everything's got to have a reasoning behind it. More books than is proper to be allowed miss this oh-so important element in their stories.

     Problem #4: Characters that get saved (all the time) by dumb luck.

Okay, this usually has nothing to do with the characters themselves, as it's more a product of forced plot, but hey, it needs to be mentioned. Why? Because characters that ought to catch it--whether that's punishment, pain, or, yes, even death--but keep escaping for no other reason than because the author wants them to keep on living makes the reader angry with the character! Really? Yes! Through no fault of their own, the poor character (who should have been dead as a stone six chapters ago, and eight before that) find himself/herself on your bad side because they continue to defy the laws of the universe by breathing. Sometimes people get so attached to their characters, or the character constantly in danger just becomes too important to the plot to kill off, that they'll employ any and every tactic to keep them alive, moving from one totally unbelievable save to another. Now listen to me: I'm not saying your character cannot be saved by dumb luck every once in a while; that can be a good thing and is quite permissible. But every three chapters? No no no no no. By then you either have to kill them, or else stop putting them in inescapable danger. (It's a funny thing, though, that this problem is probably the most easily forgiven for some reason or another. People like to complain about it, but it doesn't often stop them from finishing a story.)

So there you have it. Four things not to do to your characters if you want to endear your readers to them. Hope you guys enjoyed. That's all for now.

Keep Strong!

Monday, May 16, 2016

Author Interview: Grace Crandall

Hello, everybody. How’s spring treating you? Well, I hope, and lushly! I’ve been moving about things I’ve got to get done rather…slower than they ought to be getting done. Some would accuse me of procrastination, but I stand firmly on the grounds that I’m a victim of unrighteous circumstance. Why, just recently, within the last couple weeks, had a bug go through that, out of all the millions of users on there, affected my account adversely! (It also might have sort of kinda affected a few other authors as well, but let’s talk about me, shall we?) This insidious BUG, kept reposting one of my old blog posts from a year ago over and over and over again for all the world to see! Not a thing I could do about it, and my followers, dear me, they must all hate me with a passion…

     But, enough about me. You’ll never guess what I’ve got for you today! No, don’t even guess, I’m going to tell you. Today, we get to discover the path and ways of a great author of fantasy. I had the vast pleasure of interviewing the talented Grace Crandall, and I couldn’t wait to share that interview with you all! Are you ready?

Grace Crandall is a writer of short stories and planner of novels, currently at work on her first full-length book. When she’s not playing the hermit and poring over her writing projects, she can be found at her day job taking pictures for a local newspaper, or roaming the woods around her Wisconsin home and dreaming up adventures. Her debut work, Ashes, can be found on Amazon.

  Can you tell us a bit about your book, Ashes?

Most certainly! Ashes begins at the end of a long-running rebellion--a failed rebellion, thanks to the machinations of the protagonist, Fendin. The rebellion’s failure is a tragedy, leaving a tyrant comfortably in power and a lot of good men and women dead. Employed by the tyrant as a spy, Fendin was technically just doing his job. The devastating betrayal of the rebels still plagues him though, the guilt eventually driving him to seek redemption.

     Fendin was inspired by my general frustration with traitor characters in other stories. They were always just that--traitors. Usually they would be exposed, reviled, and chased away with curses, never to be heard from again. I was always annoyed by that; I wanted to know more about them--what drove them to do what they did? Were they smug, or sorry? Did they want to forget, or want to be forgiven? And the question I most wanted to answer with Ashes--what if the traitor decided to be the hero? 

 Are any of the characters in your book based on you or someone you know?

I actually didn’t realize this before this interview, but almost all the characters in Ashes are based on me to some extent. There’s a little piece of my soul in each of them.

     Although no one character is directly inspired by someone I know, the warmth I pictured Risil and his family sharing is heavily based on my own parents and siblings.

  Tell us about your writing process! Are you the strict regimen type, or do you prefer a more laid-back approach?

     I’ve attempted the regimen route, but strict schedules and I have never been the best of friends. I tend to write late at night, since it’s quiet and I can think more clearly. Of all the writing methods I’ve tried, the one that works best for me is simply writing for a certain about of time each day. I started ‘Ashes’ doing ten minutes of writing every night, and since then I’ve worked up to forty minutes of writing a day. So far, it’s the best method I’ve found for staying on track and actually finishing writing projects, and it’s pretty flexible, which is always a plus. When the desire to procrastinate hits hard, though, I write the very first thing in the morning, focusing more on how many scenes I need to finish than how long I take to do it.

  What is your favorite genre (to read as well as write), and why?

Fantasy! Especially medieval fantasy. I also like historical fiction, science fiction and modern-day adventure stories, but I keep coming back to fantasy--it just feels like home. There’s a kind of honesty about life and people in it that’s harder to find in other genres.

  Are there any specific authors or books that you aspire to?

     Quite a few, but the author who impacted me most was Lloyd Alexander. I  discovered his books when I was about nine, and they were all I read for some years afterwards. His stories were very light-hearted in tone, but they dealt deeply with problems of human nature, good and evil and all the shades of grey in between. Though I strive towards the standards set by other authors in matters of world-building, imagery, or prose, I write in hopes that my books will be for others what his books were for me--an escape from reality that helps one to understand it. 

  Do you have a favorite character amongst those you’ve created? (don’t worry, we won’t tell any of them your answer.)

     Haha! That’s good, because I’m sure Lord Esgor would be extremely peeved if I didn’t pick him. To be completely honest I don’t have one yet. They’ve all worked their way into my heart in one way or another. I do feel most connected to Jissi, though, simply because she reminds me of myself.

  Does Ashes contain any sort of message for readers?

     It does, though I’m not certain it’s a message I could put into so many words--at the heart of it, I suppose it’s a story about a man trying to run from his demons, and the message of the story would be that sometimes, running isn’t an option. Some demons have to be faced.

  What have you learned about yourself through writing Ashes?

     Ashes was an interesting journey for me. While I’d like to say it showed me a lot of new things about myself, instead it seemed to throw into relief the things I already knew. There was one striking revelation, though, albeit not a very complementary one; like Fendin, I have a tendency to let apathy get in the way of doing the right thing, and that in turn can result in people getting hurt.

  What are three pieces of advice you would give to other aspiring authors?

     I think the best thing any writer can do is to talk to people--or perhaps more to the point, listen to people. Other people, both online and off it, are the only really unpredictable things the world contains, and In a job like writing that requires a constant sense of wonder, they’re rather indispensable.

     I’d also suggest spending some time and energy looking into different avenues of the book-publishing, author-platform-building world. I published with no clue about how complex and time-consuming marketing really was, and I’ve been playing catch-up ever since; I can’t help but think how much smoother everything would have gone if I’d known a little about it first. There are times when marketing can seem a little maudlin, but it helps to remember that it’s only a conduit for telling people stories--which, after all, is the writer’s job in the first place.

     And somewhat paradoxically, I’d advise to be careful of advice. Every writer has a method and an opinion, different ideas of what ‘good’ writing is or what merits success. And to some extent, it’s good to listen to all these differing opinions; but I think it’s good to remember, too, that writing is a very individual thing. Holding yourself up to someone else’s standards--especially to the point of abandoning your own--is rarely a healthy practice.

          Do you have any future novels planned?

Ah, dangerous question. I have about fifty titles in the works, and it’s a growing list! But the one I’m most serious about at the moment is a time-travel adventure called Nightshade--I’m hoping to finish the first draft of it this year.

          And lastly, would you mind sharing a teaser with us?

Not in the least! Here’s a bit from the beginning of Chapter Two:

     “ “Hob!” someone shouted. Fendin froze. No one knew him by that name anymore. No one who was still alive. He turned around, half­expecting to see the ghost of Risil standing in the motley crowd. Instead, he saw a tall yellow­haired man reaching out to clap another upon the shoulder. “Hob!” he said. “I haven’t seen you in ages. How have you been?”  
     Fendin breathed a sigh of relief, letting the two men fade away into the throng.He was in Angras, a place where noise and chaos reigned unchallenged. The smell of dead fish and live cat permeated the air, salted over with the tang of seawater. Smalltime traders and enterprising sailors hawked their wares on every corner, their voices mingling with the cries of seagulls. The wives of merchants and of fishermen crowded the pier, small children clinging to their skirts as they cried farewell to departing ships or watched eagerly for incoming ones. Not even the grey­clad soldiers attempted to control the myriads of seafaring men that choked every street and filled every alehouse. Half­lost in the mad scramble, Fendin felt at home. After the long days spent inland with only his own thoughts for company, there was a kind of refuge in the all­ enveloping cacophony that surrounded him. He closed his eyes, taking a deep breath of the pungent air.
     He was still choking on it when the flying shadow assaulted him. Something small and dark slammed against him, latching on to him with a deathlike grip. Startled into panic, Fendin tried vainly to disengage himself from its hold, but the thing only burrowed further into his side, clutching his cloak with small, pale hands--
     It was a boy."

Thanks for your time and advice, Grace! All the best to you! 

Places to Find Grace:

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Well, This Made My Day.

Greetings, all! How have you been? Not too wet, I hope. We had a powerfully awful storm up this way last night. I enjoy rainy days, and sometimes rainy nights; I am not, however, I huge fan of storms. (Such things can be admired from the safe distance of a television screen.)

     But I'm writing this post to bring you guys' attention to the latest review written about Strife of the Mighty. Good gosh, you've got a Kirkus? *Psh!* No, and who needs those? This review is, without a doubt, the longest, the most detailed, and the most dissecting that Strife of the Mighty has yet received. And it was written by somebody I could actually visit with in my not-so-local library! Close to home! Really, it touched me and caused me to consider, and as it did such I felt compelled to share it with you guys!

     Now, it is important to note that the writer of this distinct review is in possession of a blog of their own, where they post their own thoughts and their own writing. This blog of theirs is also connected to other sites where they can be discovered (and more of their writing), so I would encourage you to check their work out! The name of this reviewer that I have not named until now is none other than Cinthia McCracken! (I know, right? You wish you had that last name. I know you do.)

Here is the link to her blog where you can view the review and other works of her hands. Cinthia's Blog!

     Let her (and me (maybe)) know what you guys think of her thoughts on my novel. Now be forewarned: To those who haven't yet read Strife of the Mighty, there are some light spoilery things in the review (it's length demanded it), but nothing story-ruining. She'll thank you for stopping by!

Keep Strong!

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Some News and a Short Story.

What's going on, you guys? Yup, I missed posting in February, you don't have to tell me. But I hope to make up for it with letting you guys read a free short story below! (It is one of my own, of course.) It's not done in my usual style, it was more of a pleasure piece. However, I think (or at least, I hope) that you guys will enjoy it. If you don't, well.... There's always Strife of the Mighty!    

     But first, I wanted to give you the news that my lovely, lucky novel is now available on smashwords!  (And what a pain it was.) But now those of you with nooks can download the adventure. Isn't that great? Isn't it??? ISN'T I..... *Ahem*

     Anyways... These last couple of months has seen my novel getting some web attention, especially on twitter. Now if only I could figure out how to work that site, I might achieve bestseller status quicker. Reviews have been coming in, and the good news is they're quite positive! What do you think? You can always take a look if you don't believe me. Really. 

What else? Oh yeah! This is totally unrelated, but have you guys seen the trailers for Dawn of Justice? You better have. I think we might finally, finally have a Batman/Superman movie that can work! It looks like Zack what's-his-face has really stepped up his game (I mean come on, we all know that Man of Steel was NOT inspiring), and Ben Affleck (I admit, he had me worried) looks pretty good. Could he be the most comic-book true Batman yet? We shall soon see.

But, without further rambling, enjoy my short story! (Unless you don't, in which case I recommend you have a cup of tea.)

(As yet unnamed. If you guys have a suggestion, I'm all ears.)

Were I able to change one event of my life, it would have been that night. Out of all nights I remember, that one alone I would alter. The night I let the truest thing I've ever known pass me by.

The sky was clouded if I recall correctly, and the wind was sweeping the red leaves of autumn gently past. She stood just before me on the side-walk, the brown, knee-length coat that was her favorite clasped about her frame. I still remember thinking how perfectly enchanting she looked that evening as the sun sank slowly, sending the last of its rays only just far enough to bathe the sable hair that crowned her.

We both were silent, neither of us courageous enough to break the quiet that had followed her last words. I hear them in my mind even now, softly echoing like some haunting whisper that cannot be shut out: "I can’t stay."

Never before had my heart been thrust with such a sudden and fierce shock as it was when I heard those words.

I loved her. I loved her in the purest way a man can give his love, with the truest yearning of his passions. It had been on a clear, early-year afternoon that I had first seen her, strolling in the meadow near Holly Hill. Hidden, I had watched her for some time, afraid, I now realize, to meet her. But she was so free and bright, so merry and careless that at last I had mastered myself and ventured forward. Her greeting had been a smile. Her smile! Like liquid diamond on a water-lily was its loveliness, and from it the sun was charmed, and everything around her roused. For many days afterward we had met, sharing one another's company with delight that grew. 'Twas with this delight that my love blossomed.

And yet I had never told her. How could I have? The dreadful fear of her not bearing for me the same affection was more than I could risk, for if such a thing had turned out to be true it would have slain me. Now here she was manifesting to me a road unforeseen, yet nigh just as painful.

I recall how I had butted against her leaving with every possible idea I could conjure, seeking desperately for a way through which she could escape. She couldn't just leave, not when I had never revealed to her my heart's love. It had all been useless. There was no way it could be averted. Complication was piled upon extreme circumstance, and they upon drastic severities. She could not stay.

But it had been during her explanation of this, through tears and short sobs, that I had realized that which I had not dared to approach in hope: She loved me. She did not say those words, but in the midst of her explanations her affection for me was laid bear. My heart in that moment felt as though it would burst. But she did not lie.

And that was when the silence had drifted between us once more, stretching as it clung to my mouth, even as it held her while she waited for the reply she hoped for. Never in all the days of my life did I wish to speak so much as I did in that moment. But words—such elusive things!—had failed me, and it was with growing agony that I could do nothing but stand and stare. Perhaps, I seem to remember thinking, perhaps by looking into my eyes she can read my answer there, and so words will not be required. It was all I could do.

I stared into her eyes, those deep pools of profound beauty. As the wind rose to a roar I gazed on her face. The first drops of rain began to fall. I looked at her dim form—lithe and slim with a radiance I knew no other would ever possess—long and gently as the automobile rounded the curve, and came to a stop beside her.

Its door opened, and still I could not tell her. She gazed at me with a pain in her look that nearly felled me. For a moment she hesitated. Still my speech—my cursed tied tongue!— would not return. Over she strode to the waiting vehicle, and still I could not speak. For the last time she hesitated. I began to tremble. With a smile that was devoid of merriment absolutely, she ducked inside and the car eased away. I watched it until it reached the end of the lane and made a sharp left, passing out of my sight.

And then the rain fell in earnest.

My clothes it soaked, but to my face it made no difference, for my cheeks already glistened with the rain of my eyes.