Category Archives: Authors

AMA’s and Other News

AMA POSTS

Kate ForsythSome of you may already be members of the Fairy-Tale Forum, a Facebook page that fellow author Shonna Slayton and I started a few months ago. If you are, you will know that we have frequent AMA (Ask Me Anything) posts from invited guests. We have had talented artists, authors, crafters, bloggers, podcasters, and more visiting our page, and it is always SUCH a blast.

If you’re not a member of our page, please come visit! Check out the past AMA guest Thirteenth Princessposts, along with all the other intriguing and even fascinating things our other members post on a daily basis.

I’m excited to say that I recently booked Diane Zahler for an AMA on June 26th, and we will have author Kate Forsyth visiting sometime in July. You won’t want to miss your opportunity to ask these wonderful authors anything you like about their work, life, or fairy-tales in general! See this past AMA post from when Gail Carson Levin was our guest.

OTHER NEWS

I recently had a historical flash fiction story published in Splickety Magazine, featuring one of my favorite historical figures, Eleanor of Aquitaine. You can purchase the paper or digital version of the magazine here. This issue features some pretty great authors, such as Gillian Bronte Adams and Julie Berry.Splickety June

Short stories have abounded recently, it seems. Other than the above flash fiction story, I have written two other stories as well (titled, at least for now: The Demon in the Hills and The Fox Prince). Throughout the past months I have written down several ideas for other short stories as well, and hope to publish all of them together in a book sometime in the future.

Edits on my middle-grade novel are . . . slow. But still happening when I get a spare half-hour here and there. Once edits are done and the manuscript is sent to my beta readers, I will want to find a good illustrator to come up with a few small images for this story. I just don’t think it would be complete without that!

SUMMER

This summer has been flying by already, writing, working, spending time traveling and seeing friends, enjoying every moment I spend with my 10-year-old son.

How has your summer been treating you? What books are you reading? What plans do you have?

 

 

Literary Losers – Interview with a Villain

You may remember the review I wrote on Nathan Lumbatis’ spectacular new book, Daniel and the Sun Sword. Well, today I feel very privileged to be featuring a video interview between Nathan and the antagonist of his exciting story. You’ll really want to see this . . . it made me smile 🙂

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Thirteen-year-old Daniel is about to be adopted. But when he learns his new family wants him as a slave, he runs away with the help of his new daniel and the sun swordneighbors, the naïve and cowardly Ben, and Raylin, a mysterious girl with a shady past.

He begins to second-guess his decision when the cave they hide in transports them to the ruins of Machu Picchu, where they find themselves embroiled in a battle between ancient gods of Life and Death. To top things off, the God of Life draws Daniel into the fray by adopting him as his son and setting him on a quest to complete a broken, mystical sword, a task that will pit him against the god of the underworld.

Now, Daniel and his friends have just one weekend to find the shards before a hoard of supernatural enemies catch up. But that’s not all they face. A trap has been set that even Daniel wouldn’t expect, and he just took the bait.

Will the power of his Heavenly Father be enough to save them?

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INTERVIEW WITH A VILLAIN

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PURCHASE THE BOOK HERE

FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE AUTHOR HERE

The Fiercest Fight: Character Interview

I’m thrilled to announce the release of an awesome new book that you Christian fantasy lovers will not want to miss.  Adventure, danger, romance, dark creatures, life and death, and a strong and true message…you’ll find that and much more in The Fiercest Fight.  Also…that cover is simply amazing – I dare you to disagree with me!

Without further ado, here’s a fun and tantalizing character interview between the author, Brent King, and the protagonist of The Fiercest Fight, Tristan.

Character Interview with Tristan

Brent:
Hey! This is the first post in a blog tour to celebrate the release my debut fantasy novel, The Fiercest Fight. I can’t think of a better way to start than with an interview of my protagonist, Tristan.

Tristan:
*leans back in his chair and runs his fingers through his hair*
But I’m going to ask the first question: Why did you give me your red hair? You must have known how my schoolmates would tease me.

Brent:
Yeah, I did. But all you have to know is how to smile and say, “I know. Isn’t it cool?” It’s a small price to pay for such a distinguishing feature.

Tristan:
*shifts in his seat*
Easy for you to say! The guys were relentless.

Brent:
So is that what you hate worst about life?The Fiercest Fight Cover

Tristan:
Well, not exactly.
*removes sunglasses, shifts glowing eyes*
It used to be, but unfortunately, life got more complex. My issues now make my red hair trouble seem juvenile.

Brent:
*squints into Tristan’s eyes* It sounds like you’ve grown up a bit then.

Tristan:
I had to.

Brent:
Was it scary?

Tristan:
*slips sunglasses back on and nods*
Sometimes.
You would be scared too if you had to face…uh…do you believe in monsters?

Brent:
I-well…
*twirls a pencil in between fingers*
I’m not sure…

Tristan:
You would if you were me.

Brent:
I would?

Tristan:
What’s the worst thing you’ve ever done to someone?

Brent:
I thought I was asking the questions.
*eyes twinkle*

Tristan:
*lifts up hand and stares at it, flexing his fingers*
Well, to answer my own question then, I’ve hurt people pretty bad. I wish the beast had never come to me. He’s a fearsome—

Brent:
Beast?

Tristan:
*nods*
You wouldn’t understand. It’s too…unbelievable. Even Pastor Mike had a hard time at first.

Brent:
Are you talking about a wildcat or a wolf?

Tristan:
*rises and shakes his head*
Much worse than that! This creature would make you believe in God…or at least search for Him.

Brent:
I do believe in God. Do you?

Tristan:
Yes.
He offered me life or death. It wasn’t easy, but I chose death.

Brent:
*rises and shakes Tristan’s hand*
That’s a bit cryptic, but I wanted it that way.
*grins*

Tristan:
Thanks a lot!

Brent:
*calls after Tristan as he exits*
You’re welcome, and thanks for the chance to ask a few questions.

Well, there you have it: a few words with my protagonist. If you have any further questions for him, don’t hesitate to leave them below. I’ll make sure he answers them.

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FOLLOW THIS LINK TO ENTER INTO THE GREAT GIVEAWAY BEING OFFERED BY THE AUTHOR!

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Brent KingBrent King is a freelance writer of Christian fantasy and historical fiction from Lake Oswego, Oregon. Brent is a musician, a waterman, and has two sons, 20 and 23, who live in British Columbia, Canada. Brent’s first book, The Grip of Grace: God’s Hand in The Lord of the Rings, was published in January, 2014.

Cinderella Schemes #5: An Interview with Cameron Dokey

For my final post in the Cinderella Schemes interviews, I’m thrilled to welcome the epic Cameron Dokey. She is, as most of you are aware, the author of the acclaimed Once Upon a Time series of fairy tale retellings. She’s with us today to discuss her own spellbinding Cinderella story, Before Midnightand the universal truths we can glean from Cinderella herself.

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Was there anything in particular that sparked the idea for your retelling? What was it? How did it come about?

pumpkinThere was a very specific spark for the direction my re-telling ended up taking. I like to do quite a bit of research, reading as many variations of the “original” story as I can. One thing I discovered very quickly about Cinderella was that, in its earliest versions, her father is alive during the events of the story (though he’s not a very active character). This totally blew me away. What kind of guy lets this happen to his own daughter? I wondered. And that was the genesis for my re-telling right there.

The other thing that putting a living father back into the story accomplishes is that it also let me do some re-thinking about the stepmother and stepsisters. I don’t know that I can claim that re-thinking the stepmother/stepsisters is a completely new idea, but I really did want to sort of rehabilitate them. If we jettison the notion that the stepmother is a straight out villain, what might her motivations for “mistreating” a stepdaughter be? Could it be as simple as a series of misunderstandings, eventually sorted out? I really enjoyed that aspect of the re-telling.

What original storylines, scenes, characters or props did you feel you just had to retain from the original Cinderella to use in your own version?

Once Upon a Time

Once Upon a Time series

One of the tricks about any re-telling is that you have to decide what you can and cannot do without. In the case of Cinderella, I think you need a ball, a glass slipper, and a pumpkin! They’re just such touchstones. And you need the stepmother and stepsisters and a prince, of course. But, as I hope I’ve successfully shown, just because you have to have them, they don’t have to behave quite the way that readers expect. Deciding what the core of the story is for you as a writer is not only fun, it also lets you decide what can stay and what might go.

What themes from Cinderella do you think resound well for readers today? What themes or lessons did you personally take away from this fairy tale?

It has always seemed to me that one of the core lessons of the Cinderella story is the notion that, eventually, you will be seen and honored (or punished) for being who you truly are. I think, even more than the “she gets the prince” angle, this is what keeps us coming back to this particular story. She is misunderstood, put upon–in many versions we would say abused–but eventually, she comes out right. She stays true to herself, and her worth is recognized. I think we’d all like to believe that this aspect of this fairy tale that could come true for us. That someone will see us for who we really are no matter what the surface might suggest, no matter what others might say about us. And that, having seen us, they will love who we are and give us the opportunity to love in return. Now that’s a happy ending!

It was an honor to visit with you, Cameron. Thanks so much for visiting Finding the True Fairy Tale!

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Find out more about Cameron and her books here:

Website     Amazon     Facebook

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BEFORE MIDNIGHT

Etienne de Brabant is brokenhearted. His wife has died in childbirth, leaving him alone with an infant daughter he Before Midnightcannot bear to name. But before he abandons her for king and court, he brings a second child to be raised alongside her, a boy whose identity he does not reveal.

The girl, La Cendrillon, and the boy, Raoul, pass sixteen years in the servants’ care until one day a very fine lady arrives with her two daughters. The lady has married La Cendrillon’s father, and her arrival changes their lives.

When an invitation to a great ball reaches the family, La Cendrillon’s new stepmother will make a decision with far-reaching effects. Her choice will lead La Cendrillon and Raoul toward their destiny — a choice that will challenge their understanding of family, test their loyalty and courage, and, ultimately, teach them who they are.

Disenchanted by Janet Ursel

Today I welcome author Janet Ursel. Her upcoming debut novel, Disenchanted, will release July 14. She is giving us a peek into how and why she decided to write this intriguing book. The premise looks amazing, I must say. What do you think?

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Disenchanted+by+Janet+UrselIn this Christian fantasy, one young wizard with a hunger for wisdom and some dangerous secrets finds himself pitted against another ready to reach for power with the darkest forces possible.

Wizards have never in the history of Coventree, renounced Wizardry. But Blayn Goodwin finds himself growing detached from the practice of Wizardry, even as he rises through the ranks to become the youngest member of the Supreme Council. He has lost interest in the usual gods in favor of a god without a name, not that he makes that fact public.

Edgar Savile has his own traitorous secrets and kidnaps Blayn’s eldest son to prevent Blayn from probing into them. Meanwhile the Supreme Wizard, suspicious of Edgar, sends Blayn to retrieve an ancient book from the Other World, hoping it will arm them against Edgar’s treachery.

What Blayn finds is not what anyone expects, and threatens to tear Coventree’s fraying system apart at the seams.

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In a parallel earth, populated by witches who fled Cromwell’s England, an influential wizard turns his back on witchcraft at the worst possible time, leaving his land of Coventree vulnerable to a traitor who plans to subject it to the rule of the Black Priesthood. It’s a book for a general adult audience, although younger men might be especially fond of it.

So how does a woman on the downhill slope of middle age decide to write something that’s a little outside of her normal demographic? There are a number of reasons. Although I read very widely, and have a degree in languages and literature, I have always had a special fondness for speculative literature. I love the scope for imagination, and how by examining issues outside of their familiar context we can gain new perspectives. Plus they’re just so much fun. My first favorite books were the Narnia books: I was lending them out to my friends by the time I was seven. I guess we were nerds before the word was even invented. I moved on to Asimov and Heinlein and Clark and Tolkien in my preteen and teen years and I am honestly still reading them along with a good number of younger writers.

I am also a contrarian. I had heard that first novels are usually biographical in nature, so I figured if I wrote about a tall, dark, quiet, young wizard in another world, I would avoid that trap. I have no desire to write my life story, not even symbolically, so this way I was safe. Or so I thought, anyway. It mostly worked.

The way that societies change through history also fascinates me, and by placing my story in a different world, but still working with very human dynamics, I got to play with these ideas. That sociology of religion class finally came in handy! I also wanted to show what it would be like for someone with an unsatisfied spiritual hunger to encounter the God of the Bible when it was something totally foreign to his experience. We tend to forget that early Christianity exploded across the ancient world because the message of a God of love who wanted to make his temple in human hearts was such a radical departure from the gods who needed to be appeased or coerced or approached through intermediaries that it just blew people away.

I also wanted to break free from foolish stereotypes. Modern Christians tend to either deny that there is any power at all in witchcraft or else live in abject fear, like medieval peasants. Neither one of these attitudes is balanced in my opinion and I wanted to fill my world with normal human beings who happened to practice a pagan religion. People who love or don’t love their kids, or their books, or power, or stability, or knowledge, or country. Real people. All different kinds. Just like real life.

After I decided I wanted these elements, then I had to find a story. This is the hardest part for me, but I put it together piece by piece, with just a very rough idea of where I wanted to end up. I’m not going to talk too much about this now, because I don’t do spoilers. But I did my very best to make it an exciting story with believable people. While I love deep and heavy ideas, novels are supposed to be fun to read, not philosophy textbooks. Heavy ideas are like bones: they hold everything up, but you shouldn’t see them, just feel them if you squeeze a bit. So those who like to squeeze will find something solid underneath, and those who don’t should have a lot of fun watching the body move.

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JanetUrsel200After raising five children and one husband, Janet Ursel came to the obvious conclusion that writing novels was an essential part of the recovery process. Her studies in languages and literature, along with her experience as a pastor’s wife, market analyst, and ESL teacher, made her uniquely qualified to explore the life of a wizard in a parallel universe, so she did. She can be found at janetursel.com and on too many social media sites in one universe, and alternating between Canada and the United States in another universe.

FIND JANET HERE

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A Love Letter – Out of Darkness Rising

OODR Blog Tour Header

This is a guest post by Gillian Bronte Adams.

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Brevity may not be my strength, but if you were to ask me to describe Out of Darkness Rising in only a few words, I would say that at its heart, it is a love letter.

To whom, you ask?

I suppose it could be written to everyone who believed in me when I scarce believed in myself. Publishing this book has taken me along such strange and twisting paths that I was tempted to throw up my hands and admit defeat more than once.

Just as “Frodo wouldn’t have got far without Sam,” I wouldn’t have “got far” without my stalwart companions encouraging me along each step of the way.

It could be written to writing itself, a wild compilation of all the things I love about fantasy and fairytales.

It could even be written to you.

If you are anything like me, you can easily lose yourself in a storyworld for hours at a time. Far too frequently when I was growing up, my younger siblings would get frustrated when they tried to talk to me because once my nose was buried in a book, I would smile and nod but not hear a word they were saying.

Reading my own books is a bit different. Once the final edit has been finished and the final proof completed, there is no element of surprise left in the story for its writer. I have planned the action down the second, dreamed up the dialogue in my own noggin, tweaked each word to sound “just so,” and have the plot fixed as firmly as a road map before my eyes.

Every now and then, there remains a battle scene that sets my blood pumping, a section of prose that makes me sigh in contentment, or a piece of witty banter that brings a chuckle to my lips. I can still shed a tear or two over the death of this character or the sorrow of that one over there.

But I am rarely deeply stirred by the things I write after the initial writing, simply because I wrote them.

Not so with Out of Darkness Rising.

Even now, six years after the imagining and four major rewrites later, something about this novella still manages to grip me by the throat and sink its teeth into my heart.

Perhaps because there is so much of me written into this novella. So much of my hopes and fears, my struggles, my doubts, my dreams.

This book grew from the wild imaginings of a girl who dreamed an impossible dream. It was tempered by a girl who faced theOODR Front Cover difficulties of impossibility, set her teeth against the challenges, and braved her fears to see success … only to watch that success shatter in her hands. It was made anew by a girl who had learned enough to know she had so much more to learn.

It was edited in pain and handed to you now with the air of a knight returning from battle with the enemy’s standard in hand.

And yet, this book was not written for you.

It was not even written for me.

It was written as a love letter to my Savior.

In Out of Darkness Rising, you catch a glimpse—only a glimpse, mind you—of my heart. For I am Hadriel, wild to be free. And I am Marya, too ashamed to stand. Like Hadriel, I have marched out boldly on a course of my own choosing … only to find myself bound by chains of my own making. Like Marya, I have cried out into the storm and the night that I am abandoned, not knowing and not caring that it is I who have wandered.

Like the villagers, I have stood upon the Stone and felt the heat of the Serpent’s breath, and when my craven knees could not bear me up, I have knelt in shame, only to have my head lifted by the One who bore my pain.

By my Redeemer.

Though Out of Darkness Rising was not written to you, it was written for you and me and all of the Maryas, Hadriels, Maddrells, and Bjorns in this world. It is my hope that it will serve as a reminder of who you are, where you have come from, and what the Lord has done for you. That it may rekindle your first love and awaken in you a hope everlasting.

And that the final words will set your heart to throbbing and pounding, overcome with a wild desire to stand upon the shores of the Kingdom, and to know that it is not the end, just the beginning.

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Gillian Bronte AdamsGILLIAN BRONTE ADAMS is a sword-wielding, horse-riding, coffee-loving speculative fiction author from the great state of Texas. During the day, she manages the equestrian program at a youth camp. But at night, she kicks off her boots and spurs, pulls out her trusty laptop, and transforms into a novelist. She is the author of Orphan’s Song, book one of the Songkeeper Chronicles, and Out of Darkness Rising. Visit Gillian online at her blog, Twitter, or Facebook page.

When Stories Are Truer Than Fact

This is a guest post by Suzannah Rowntree, the author of the freshly released (as in, yesterday!!) Pendragon’s Heir.

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As the author of a novel which is rooted in a deep and abiding love of medieval literature, I’ve spent much time over the last few years meditating on what great works of literature can teach us about the people who produced them.

Take The Song of Roland, a medieval French epic of Charlemagne’s retreat across the Pyrenees into France. Of this tale of betrayal, tragedy, and justice, which is almost entirely fictional from beginning to end, Dr George Grant says, “Its true lies tell us much about ourselves, our world, and the shaping of Western Civilization that we might not otherwise know.”

Stories tell us something far more important than the facts about the people in them. Stories tell us far deeper and more resonant truths about the people who tell them.

The Song of Roland, for instance, is obviously fiction. In this chanson de geste, a nobleman of Charlemagne’s court betrays his rearguard to the Saracens as Charlemagne’s army withdraws across the mountains. At Roncesvalles, the legendary Roland with various other paladins of France fight desperately until evening and then fall defending the PendragonsHeirpass. Horrified by his loss, inspired by the sacrifice of his greatest warrior, and obligated by an emergent chivalric code, Charlemagne recrosses the Pyrenees and wins a resounding victory against the Saracens. Finally Ganelon, the traitor who betrayed Roland to the Saracens, is tried and executed, not so much for his betrayal of the kingdom as for his betrayal of the chivalric virtues of Christendom: fidelity to a lord, the bonds of brotherhood between Christian warriors, and the defence of the faith against pagans.

Very little, if any, of this story is historical. But what it gives us is a snapshot of medieval civilisation at the very flowering-point of chivalry. In Dr Grant’s summary, “Roland…was the epitome of the great Christian knight. He was loyal, he was faithful, he was trustworthy to the end, and for Ganelon to betray that virtue with his cunning was to undercut the whole of Christian civilisation.” Like many other stories, The Song of Roland uses its fiction to tell us what lies, most burning, more insistent, most truly in the hearts of its tellers and hearers.

If this is true for a single literary work like The Song of Roland, how much more might it be true for the Matter of Britain—one of the most often-retold tales in Western history?

The body of legends known today as the Arthurian legendarium, or the Matter of Britain, has come down to us in a vast body of iterations and reiterations. Scholars today continue to debate the existence of Arthur, the man at their centre. Did he really exist? Was he Roman, Celtic, or Sarmatian? And what, exactly, did he do? Defeat pagan invaders—win the battle of Mount Badon—preserve civilisation for a time before the Saxon conquest?

knights at round tableAbout the only thing we do know for certain is that the vast majority of the stories about this man were invented by pseudo-historians, minstrels, and romancers. We see each new storyteller putting his own gloss on each of the tales and sending it on to the next storyteller to gain new details, new characters, new adventures. At the same time they pick up new anachronisms: a courtly love tradition that certainly could not have existed in the sixth century when the real Arthur may have lived; a code of chivalry; the latest knightly weapons and fighting tactics.

Apart from perhaps one small grain of truth, the Arthur legends are fiction. Yet, over the years I worked on Pendragon’s Heir, my own retelling of the Matter of Britain, I came to appreciate just how profoundly truthful these tales could be—a truth powerful enough to captivate storytellers and audiences from England and Wales to France and Germany, from the High Middle Ages right down to the present day.

For at the heart of the Arthurian legendarium in its most refined form there is a painful gash that lies like a wound between medieval ideals and medieval reality. In Thomas Malory’s classic English version of the myths, Le Morte D’Arthur, the knights of Arthur are a savage, sinful lot, far removed from the idealised knights-in-shining-armour of popular imagination. Some of the knights—Galahad, Perceval, Bors, and (nearly) Lancelot—truly are men of honour and integrity, but the majority are violent, unchaste men who not only break their oath of allegiance to the Round Table’s brotherhood but also fail to live the life of holiness and humility necessary for them to achieve the Quest of the Grail, the one thing that might establish their realm forever. CS Lewis calls them “the peak which failed to reach heaven”—the warriors who dreamed of something better, who reached out to grasp beautiful and high ideals, but who ultimately failed through their own sinfulness.

It was my aim in Pendragon’s Heir not so much to use the Arthurian legends to construct something new, or to provide a faithful picture of any particular historical time, as it was to probe this painful gash between ideals and reality, to explore in my generation the same issues which the medieval romancers explored in theirs. And as much as us, the medieval romancers had excellent reason to explore this topic: they lived in a world of fierce, nigh-unbeatable warriors who all too often broke their oaths, betrayed their marriage covenants, rebelled against their lords, and preyed on the very people they were sworn to protect.

But that is only half of the truth that lies at the heart of the Arthurian myth. The other half is an equally compelling image of virtue: against oath-breaking, oath-keeping. Against unlawful passions, a tender and Christlike love. Against rebellion, meekness and courtesy. Against oppression and exploitation, self-sacrifice and charity. And these qualities, too, rose to a high and fierce flame in the Middle Ages: not all men knocked, or sought, or asked, in vain, and if there were many defeats in the quest to incarnate the kingdom of heaven on the earth, there were also glorious and awe-inspiring victories.

My hope in Pendragon’s Heir is to introduce you to the world of Arthur, which is the world of medieval Christendom: not to tell you what the medievals did, but to show you what they thought, what they believed, and above anything else what they hoped to leave as a legacy to future generations. My hope is to sketch out for you a map of the medieval faith: their ideals, their hope, their fears.

It is a story of dreams and visions. But to the men who dreamed them, those dreams and visions were more immediate, more solid, more true than anything else in the world.

I hope that through Pendragon’s Heir, they will inspire you too.

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Suzannah RowntreeWhen Suzannah Rowntree isn’t travelling the world to help out friends in need, she lives in a big house in rural Australia with her awesome parents and siblings, trying to beat her previous number-of-books-read-in-a-year record. She blogs the results at www.vintagenovels.com and is the author of both fiction and non-fiction. Pendragon’s Heir is her debut novel.

 

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Blanche Pendragon enjoys her undemanding life as the ward of an eccentric nobleman in 1900 England. It’s been PendragonsHeiryears since she wondered what happened to her long lost parents, but then a gift on the night of her eighteenth birthday reveals a heritage more dangerous and awe-inspiring than she ever dreamed of—or wanted. Soon Blanche is flung into a world of wayfaring immortals, daring knights, and deadly combats, with a murderous witch-queen on her trail and the future of a kingdom at stake. As the legendary King Arthur Pendragon and his warriors face enemies without and treachery within, Blanche discovers a secret that could destroy the whole realm of Logres. Even if the kingdom could be saved, is she the one to do it? Or is someone else the Pendragon’s Heir?

 

Lines from my WIP and a Party Invitation for YOU

The 777 challenge requires you go to Page 7 of your work-in-progress, scroll down to Line 7 and share the next 7 lines in a blog post. Once you have done this, you can tag 7 other bloggers to do the same with their work-in-progress.

WIP

The following lines are from the novel that is now in the hands of my beta readers, so they are definitely subject to change. But in the meantime, maybe they’ll give you a small glimpse into my story, since it may be a while before the rest of it is seen …

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Aylah looked at her husband, light flickering in her dark eyes. “It’s a Gift, Eoghan, I know it.” Her voice was breathless with a timid excitement.

But a deep frown creased Eoghan’s face. He stood staring down at his son, who was frozen with the knowledge he had given himself away. Then his good hand shot out and took hold of Frayne’s arm. He jerked him to his feet. Frayne was fifteen, and already nearly as tall as his da. They stood eye to eye.

Eoghan’s voice was a low growl. “How long?”

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Ok, so that was a very tiny glimpse. But you were introduced to the main character, Frayne, and in the throes of a fairly crucial scene, actually. So that’s something! I never like tagging people for these types of things, but I will leave it in your hands … if you’d like to share 7 lines starting from line 7 of page 7 in your WIP, go for it. Comment with your post link below and I’ll be sure to visit and read your lines!

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On another, completely unrelated, note … have you heard about Nadine Brandes’ 6-month-anniversary release party for her novel, A Time to Die? Well, it’s happening soon! March 31, in fact. I will be a special guest at the party (so excited!!), promoting The Word Changers (and giving away 2 Kindle copies of it). And Angie Brashear (Of the Persecuted) will be there, too!

You won’t want to miss it! Consider yourself invited! Click here to visit the party page 🙂

party

Ramblings on Writing Spaces

Growing up, all my stories and poems and songs and plays – even my first couple of books – went into spiral notebooks. They were badly smudged, with that pesky left-hander pencil smear across most of the pages. I can still remember the smell of pencil shavings and the satisfying rustle of pages turning.

I toted my notebooks and a fistful of sharpened pencils with me just about everywhere. Everywhere is the key word here. Because I wrote. Absolutely. Everywhere.

At the little desk overlooking our front yard in my teenage bedroom, in the closet under our back staircase, in the field behind our house while leaning against a hay bale (with my dog’s head in my lap, as often as not, and my horse grazing nearby), in the dusky, dusty barn loft with kittens playing around me, at family reunions, in the car on the way to piano lessons, sitting in the waiting room at the dentist …

Yeah. You get the point. Everywhere.

Years later, I still don’t have a particular place I write. Many times it’s in the chair in my living room, sometimes at the desk (the same desk I used growing up!) in my bedroom or at the dining room window. Now and then I lug my laptop to the back patio or even out to the park so I can sit in the shade while my son plays. Several times I’ve taken it, along with a blanket, to sit on the bank of a pond while my son and husband fish. Once in a while I write while waiting in the parking lot to pick up my son from school.

But sometimes I find myself wondering: What would my true preference be, if I had the choice? Do I like still writing just about everywhere, like I did as a teen? Or do I want to grow up at last, and have an office or writing workspace like the “professional” writers do? Would it help me concentrate? Or would it merely restrain my creativity?

The answer? I don’t really know. I’ve always been a strange mixture (thanks in part to two very extreme parents) of rigid control and organization, and get-me-out-of-here-I-need-to-breathe free spiritedness. I get inspired by new locations and fresh points-of-view. But sometimes I do long for the solidarity of a permanent writing location, even if I can see myself abandoning it on a whim for other writing spaces on a fairly regular basis …

Either way, I’ve always been fascinated with the places in which other artists choose to do their work, writers in particular. I’ll share a few pictures of my favorite writers in their work spaces, just for fun.

Charlotte Bronte's writing space. Just think, Mr. Rochester may have been "born" right here! *sigh*

Charlotte Bronte’s writing space. Just think, Mr. Rochester may have been “born” right here! *sigh*

Well, you knew I wouldn't leave C.S. Lewis out. I've heard his house was rather a mess ... something he has in common with me, then! ;)

Well, you knew I wouldn’t leave C.S. Lewis out. I’ve heard his house was rather a mess … something he has in common with me, then! 😉

Jane Austen's humble yet famous writing table. I WILL see it someday ...

Jane Austen’s humble yet famous writing table. I WILL see it someday …

Joan Aiken with her typewriter. Her Wolves Chronicles will always have a special place in my heart. When you love something that much as a child, it just never goes away.

Joan Aiken with her typewriter. Her Wolves Chronicles will always have a special place in my heart. When you love something that much as a child, it just never goes away.

Elizabeth Peters, creator of one of my favorite sleuths of all time: Amelia Peabody!

Elizabeth Peters, creator of one of my favorite sleuths of all time: Amelia Peabody!

Charles Dickens, a total classic and a definite favorite.

Charles Dickens, a total classic and a definite favorite.

So interesting to see the wide variety of places these authors worked! Rather inspiring in and of itself, really …

Do you have a favorite place to create things, write, craft, or even just daydream? Or are you a bit of a free spirit like I am?

Last Words

Characters die.

Sometimes they’re characters we don’t like. But sometimes they’re characters who mean so much to us that we mourn their deaths almost as a friend would do.

I’ve never liked killing off my own characters – even the truly evil ones. Yet sometimes an author must.

Recently I had to work on writing the death scene of a beloved character … a heartbreaking process, to say the least. To aid me (emotionally more than anything else), I refreshed myself on some famous last words, or “death speeches,” in literature.

As I read them, I had to wonder: What was going through each of the authors’ minds as they wrote their characters’ last words? Did their hearts break, even a little, as they composed the scenes that would mean the end of someone so close to them?

More so: What do last lines say about the characters themselves and their stories?

HONOR

“It is a far, far better thing that I do, than I have ever done; it is a far, far better rest that I go to than I have ever known.” (Sydney Carton, A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens)

BETRAYAL

“Et tu, Brute?” (Caesar, Julius Caesar by Shakespeare)

IRONY

“Bad form.” (Captain Hook, Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie)

PASSION

“Towards thee I roll, thou all-destroying but unconquering whale; to the last I grapple with thee; from hell’s heart I stab at thee; for hate’s sake I spit my last breath at thee. Sink all coffins and all hearses to one common pool! and since neither romeo and julietcan be mine, let me then tow to pieces, while still chasing thee, though tied to thee, thou damned whale! Thus, I give up the spear!” (Captain Ahab, Moby Dick by Herman Melville)

“Precious, precious, precious! My Precious! O my Precious!” (Gollum, The Return of the King by J.R.R. Tolkien)

“Yea noise? then I’ll be brief. O happy dagger! This is thy sheath; there rust and let me die.” (Juliet, Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare)

REMORSE

“Lord, forgive me everything.” (Anna Karenina, Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy)

“Farewell, Aragorn! Go to Minas Tirith and save my people! I have failed.” (Boromir, The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien)

“The ultimate sacrifice for love: I kiss’d thee ere I kill’d thee: no way but this; Killing myself, to die upon a kiss.” (Othello, Othello by William Shakespeare)

FRIENDSHIP

“Cher ami …” (Hercule Poirot, Curtain by Agatha Christie)

“Harry … Potter …” (Dobby, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling)

“You have been my friend. That in itself is a tremendous thing. I wove my webs for you because I liked you. After all, what’sthorin a life, anyway? We’re born, we live a little while, we die. A spider’s life can’t help being something of a mess, with all this trapping and eating flies. By helping you, perhaps I was trying to lift up my life a trifle. Heaven knows anyone’s life can stand a little of that.” (Charlotte, Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White)

“There is more in you of good than you know, child of the kindly West. Some courage and some wisdom, blended in measure. If more of us valued food and cheer and song above hoarded gold, it would be a merrier world. But sad or merry, I must leave it now. Farewell!” (Thorin Oakenshield, The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien)

Is there a character whose death broke your heart? Who was it? What were their last words?