I Am Barrel Rider

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 [...]

Names of Strength and Whimsy in Literature

While researching names for my next book, I began thinking of all the names I've always loved from my favorite stories. What makes a good name, exactly? Does it need to have a certain sound? A particular meaning? A "feel" to it - happy, solemn, playful or fateful? I came up with a list of several [...]

The Birth of the Hobbit

The word Hobbit was soon to be as much a magical word for Professor Tolkien as Hocus-Pocus was for any fairy-tale magician. In fact, Hobbit was the most important single word that ever inspired him to invent a story. (David Day, The Hobbit Companion) Hob. A short enough word, simple and unsuspicious. Is this how [...]