Well, the title of this post about says it all, really 🙂 I just wanted to share some of the great boards I’ve found and followed over the past months, of various themes and interests. Anyone else a Pinterest fanatic?! Raise your hand!!
Thomas Wolfe said it. “You can’t go home again.” And he was right.
This past weekend, I visited my hometown. The one I was born in. The one where I grew up. The place I went to school, wrote my first stories, received my first kiss, made my best friends, had my heart broken by a childhood that flew away all too swiftly.
It is a small town, a boring town, even. But for me it’s a town full of ghosts and memories. And when I visited there, I found myself wanting to walk with those ghosts. I wanted to climb into the memories that were some of my happiest and live in them. Pretend I was a child again and that the world didn’t hold nameless horrors in the future for me or those I love.
But I can’t. No one can.
Because you can’t go home again.
I took my son to the beloved library that was “mine” as a child, just a block away from where I lived. I watched him climb the same stairs that I used to, touch the same books, walk the same creaky floorboards. Yet nothing was as it had been when I was a child myself.
Rooms had changed. The library itself is more than three times larger than it used to be. Walls had been taken down, others had gone up. Squeaky floors and new floors met together beneath fresh, flat carpeting the color of a robin’s egg.
I went to stand in the same spot where I had stood so many years ago, gazing at the bookshelves, dreaming of crawling into the worlds between the pages … the seeds of what eventually grew into The Word Changers. But it was no longer a children’s book room, and the space I stood in was awkwardly between magazine racks and “new release” shelves.
You just can’t go home again. Not really.
I watched as my favorite “story-time lady” talked to my son. She had always been my favorite as a child – you know, the type who does the voices, makes the faces, practically jumps out of her chair with animation. Her face – the one that was so familiar and yet somehow so changed – had been a large part of my growing to love books. I saw the eventual recognition come into her eyes when I began talking to her. She shook her head, not believing so much time had passed. She told me my son would be my age in the blink of an eye, and it would be him taking his own kids to story-time. After I left I realized I should have told her what her stories always meant to me … what they still mean.
Perhaps I’ll do it next time I go home again …
Then we drove by the house I grew up in. It’s practically the only one left standing on the block, and it’s barely standing at all. In place of the roses my mom used to grow were sparsely-leafed bushes and broken cement. The fence my grandpa had put in had lost so many panels you could see straight through into the yard. And that was the worst shock of all. Because there in the backyard was the playhouse my dad had built for my sister and me. It was leaning sideways against the garage, hovered against the bushes like a huge, sad, beaten animal. I saw the tea parties that had been had in that playhouse, the dolls and sleepovers and board games and neighborhood clubhouse meetings, the laughter and even the arguments …. Ghosts and memories.
I want to go home again … I long to go home again. This past Friday, visiting my old haunts, remembering that fleeting, thoughtless joy I had as a child … I ached to go home with every fiber of my body.
That’s when God spoke.
“This world is not your home.”
Simple words, stern and gentle at once.
It came to me, slowly at first, and then in a rush. And I realized what I had really known all along. That you can’t go home again because “home” isn’t a place. It’s a state of mind, a feeling, an age, a group of people, a combination of events and objects, a transient, bittersweet moment of time that you don’t realize even happened until it’s over and gone and irretrievable. A wisp of cloud, a sweet, faint scent in the wind.
You can’t go home again because you’ve never really been home at all.
Thank goodness the home God has in mind for me isn’t made up of these things. Worldly things. Fleeting things. No, the home He calls me to, the home I should be spending all my longing on, is entirely different. It’s heavenly, and eternal, and all else pales in
comparison to its splendor. I’m blessed to have that hope. And I’m a fool if I let myself stay locked and lost within the past, beautiful as it may have been.
So I have a choice before me, one I have to make every day, in fact. I can take the memories and the happiness and even the sweetness that feels so much like sadness, and I can either mourn over them, or I can let them remind me of where I’m going…. through the narrow gate, to a place where tears and sorrow will be gone forever. A place that my heart yearns for, though I’ve never seen it. A place that’s in front of me, and not behind.
Hmm … “Is this a duplicate post to the one Ashlee published not even two weeks ago?” you may well be asking. “Will she ever stop promoting her darned book and get back to writing fun and meaningful posts for a change?”
Well, I’ll admit, this is more or less a duplicate of the first post in which I notified everyone that The Word Changers eBook was going on sale for 99 cents. And here I am, reminding you again. This time, though, there’s just one more day until the promo period ends (August 22)!
This also means, of course, that you are stilleligible for entering your name in the GIVEAWAY.
Entered already? Well, first of all let me tell you how much I appreciate your help in sharing about my book!! The Word Changers made it to #6 on the Amazon Christian Fantasy Bestsellers list last week – exciting, yeah?!! I don’t really think it would have made it to the list at all if you hadn’t helped me spread the word, and that’s the truth!
Though Robin Williams was never a favorite actor or comedian of mine, there are certain roles I will always remember him for, a handful of which are set in worlds of fantasy or fairy tale.
I grew up watching the movie Hook, based around the story of Peter Pan.
Another favorite of mine growing up was Aladdin – and much of the reason it was a favorite was because of Genie, I must say.
Only a year or two ago did my husband and I discover Shelley Duvall’s Faerie Tale Theatre at our local library, and I was stunned at all the appearances of famous actors and actresses before their prime. Robin Williams was one of them in his role as the Frog Prince. Corny those shows may have been … but no less endearing for that! If you haven’t watched them, you definitely should!
Were you a Robin Williams fan? In what movie or role did you like him best?
As a Christian, Katia Vingo belongs to a tiny, hereditary minority called the EC. Her friends keep a risky balance with the hostile invaders who have taken over Palladia. When Katia’s family is forced out of their isolated home by guerrilla bandits, she finds herself living in the large, city-state of Wyncon. She hopes to blend in and live quietly. But this future world is not a place where anything stays the same for long.
And Katia’s life is one of the things that is about to change.
Six hundred years ago the land of Aom-igh was threatened with invasion by the Dark Country across the Stained Sea; in their danger King Llian sought the help of the dragons and the myth-folk. Graldon, King of the Dragons, granted the human king with a gift that would help him defeat his enemies. Graldon also promised King Llian that the dragons would come to the humans’ aid should Aom-igh ever be in such danger again. Years passed, and Aom-igh remained safe and isolated from its enemies. The dragons slowly disappeared and faded into legend and myth, and people forgot magic had ever existed.
When her kingdom is threatened by the Dark Country once again, the headstrong Princess Kamarie sets off on a quest to find the man who may be able to save them all: the former King’s Warrior. Traveling with her are two companions: her eccentric maid, and a squire who resents his charge to travel with and protect the princess. However, finding the legendary hero proves to be the least of their worries. Together the companions encounter more than they ever bargained for. A beautiful gatekeeper, a sword fashioned by dragons, enemies who pursue them relentlessly and hound them at every turn, and an underground world full of mythical creatures are just the beginning of their adventures.
As they search for the answers to mystifying riddles and seek a way to save everything they hold dear the comrades will learn a little about courage, a lot about truth, and more about themselves than they ever imagined. But if they can succeed in their quest, they may join worlds together.
(Second Son, the next book in this series, will be marked down to 99 cents next week, so keep your eyes open!!)
Seventh Dimension – The Door, a Finalist in the 2013 Grace Awards, Selah Awards, and International Book Awards, is the first book in the Seventh Dimension Series that combines contemporary, historical, and fantasy elements into a Christian “coming-of-age” story. A curse put on Shale Snyder, because of a secret, shrouds her with insecurity and fear. Following suspension from school, Shale’s best friend isn’t allowed to see her anymore and she feels abandoned by her family. When a stray dog befriends her, she follows it into the woods. There she discovers a door that leads to another world—a garden with talking animals, demonic underlings, and a king unlike any other. Can Shale overcome her past, defeat the underlings, and embrace her eternal destiny?
An old story told a new way. The events Rivkah witnessed changed history. As a young shepherd girl, she accompanied her father to a Bethlehem stable where she held the baby Jesus. She watched Mary and Joseph flee to Egypt, met the strange visitors from the East who’d followed a star, and watched Herod’s soldiers kill the children of her village. Experience life in Roman Judea. The Jewish people struggle under the burden of Caesar’s armies and Herod’s cruelty. Watch false Messiahs rise and fall and see the fatal retribution that followed. Rome tore them apart, but slavery and rebellions couldn’t destroy the love between Rivkah and Shemu’el, the man she believed God destined for her.Witness it all through the eyes of one who lived it.
Today I’m visiting with author Jeff Chapman. I had the honor of recently reading Jeff’s latest book, Last Request, a Victorian Gothic. (Click here to read my review of it!). Jeff has a unique style, and definitely knows how to create a story full of suspense and excitement! Hope you enjoy getting to know him better!
Welcome to Finding the True Fairy Tale, Jeff! Can you tell us a little about yourself … hobbies, quirks, tastes, interests, passions?
I make a living writing software, feed my soul with great books, and express myself writing fiction. I love to watch mysteries and costume dramas on PBS. I have graduate degrees in history and computer science. I fell in love with words and story reading Poe. The first fantasy I read was The Chronicles of Narnia. Somewhere in my teens I discovered Dostoevsky and Kafka. My favorite C. S. Lewis book is Till We Have Faces. My favorite Tolkien book is The Children of Hurin. Not sure why my tastes run so dark. I listen to U2, Loreena McKennitt, Natalie Merchant, and Mazzy Star. I build my own bookcases. I don’t like candy and I don’t like soda, but I am very passionate about dark hot chocolate.
You write science fiction, fantasy and horror … is there a genre you haven’t written in which attracts you? Do you see yourself ever writing in that genre?
Six months ago I would have said historical fiction but Last Request is historical. I like mysteries, but I don’t think I could come up with all the clever plot twists to write a good one. I have a thriller novella with a publisher. I definitely plan to write more historical fiction and if the thriller works out, maybe I’ll write some more of those. My base is definitely in fantasy and horror. Those two elements creep into every story.
Tell us about your road to publication.
I started writing for my own amusement as a teenager. I took some fiction writing classes at university and tried to publish some stories. I didn’t meet with any success. I kept reading fiction and toyed around with writing but I wasn’t serious about it. I shelved the dream of being a writer, thinking I would get to it someday. A serious illness shocked me back to reality. I’m going to die someday and it might not be on my schedule. Becoming a parent gave me a new sense of maturity. So with my new sense of maturity and mortality, I decided I had to become serious about my writing dream. I began writing every day, joined critique groups, and delved into books on the craft of fiction. I made my first sale in 2009.
Do you remember the first story/book/poem/etc. that you wrote … ever? (Or if not the first, one of the first!). What was its title? How old were you when you wrote it? If you were to read it now, what would you think or feel about it?
I remember writing some stories in sixth grade. My teacher gave me good grades for them, but I was way too shy to volunteer to read them out loud to the class. One was about a guy on a whaling ship. Another was about a guy who crash lands a glider on a mountain. I think they were highly derivative.
Of all your main characters in all your books and stories, which has been the most fun to write, and why? Which has been the most difficult? Why?
Esme from “Esme’s Amulet” was very fun. She tries to be clever and quickly gets in way over her head, but she never gives up. She’s going to have her own novel some day. The most difficult is from a work in progress, a weird Western about a murder committed during the Civil War. The hard part is how to resolve the protagonist’s guilt. I’ve written three different endings to that story and haven’t liked any of them.
If you could get lost inside of a book, and become one of its characters, which book would you choose?
Definitely not any George R. R. Martin novels. I want to survive the story. I would be content to tag along with Ransom in Perelandra, so I could visit the astounding planet Venus as Lewis imagined it.
Your latest story, Last Request, is a Victorian Gothic. What made you decide to write this particular type of story? Is it something you’ve always been interested in? Or did you get a sudden spark of inspiration from somewhere?
I saw a reference once to a crypt in which the future occupant had placed a bell that could be wrung from inside in case of a premature burial. Premature burials are also a frequent theme in Poe’s work. I’m a bit claustrophobic. Nothing terrifies me more than the thought of being buried alive. I thought about what someone might do to make certain they were dead and cutting off the head came to mind. The story wouldn’t work as well now with most people being embalmed so I chose a Victorian setting. I’ve read a lot of nineteenth-century novels. The rest of the story flowed from the setting and the initial problem –an aging claustrophobe asking his relatives to cut off his head postmortem, just to make sure he’s dead.
If you had to describe yourself in three words, what would they be?
Tall, dark, and handsome, of course. Okay, above-average-height, quiet, and creative might be closer to the mark.
Jeff Chapman writes software by day and speculative fiction when he should be sleeping. His tales range from fantasy to horror and they don’t all end badly. He lives with his wife, children, and cats in a house with more books than bookshelf space. You can find him musing about words and fiction at jeffchapmanwriter.blogspot.com.
If you’re new to my site, and unfamiliar with The Word Changers, you can click here to read the back-cover blurb.
In honor of this promotional price, and to help spread the word, I’m hosting a giveaway! It’s super easy to enter your name, and you can come back every day it’s going on and enter again.So, lots of chances to put your name in the hat!
All you’ve got to do to enter is share about the promo price of The Word Changers on one (or several!) of your social media.
Below are a couple of pictures that may come in helpful when sharing. Feel free to use either of them, or both.
A word about Rafflecopter … my site won’t allow the actual giveaway widget to show up here on this page, but you can click on the link at the foot of this post and it will take you directly to where you can enter your name. No problem.
And without further ado, here are the super fun items I’m giving away to one lucky winner!
I’ve always loved Bilbo’s account of himself when being questioned by the dragon, Smaug. Even when his life is at stake, Bilbo manages to stay witty and even throws in a riddle or two.
So here’s the challenge: If you were to face a dragon with scales like tenfold shields, teeth like swords and wings like a hurricane, and this dragon demanded you to account for yourself … what would you say to him?
I can’t see myself giving any account at all, truth be told, other than perhaps a whimper or two. But let’s pretend you’ve kept your wits about you, maybe even some humor, and definitely creativity.
Here’s my try:
I am enchanted with enchantment, lover of love and hater of hatred. I chase dreams and words and images – and lash them onto pages. I am forest-walker, story-weaver, follower of the Grower of all trees, worshiper of the Teller of all tales.
Your turn! Comment below and share your best description of yourself, Bilbo-style!