Friday, October 11, 2019

Reblog: iamcharlesbakerharris, Tolkien

Of Crowns and Kings and Elves and ThingsBuckle up, lads . . . it’s time to talk about Tolkien!!! What brought on this PARTICULAR bout of Tolkien musing, you might ask?  Well, it’s pretty simple.  People be out here tellin’ me you need to read Tolkien if you want to write good fantasy.
And I, er, am not on board with that?
Imma just say that, as a Tolkien lover, I agree with everything this lovely lady has to say. Tolkien, while amazing (I LOVE extensive worldbuilding), has cast a huge shadow over Fantasy, to the extent that most of it seems to be a messy regurgitation of his imagination. Elves used to be creepy midgets before he came along, y’all. Just...something to keep in mind.
Regal elves are well and good, but they’re not the only kind of elf around. Take the LotR predecessors in the Silmarillion. *snicker* (I will link to a two-panel comic illustrating this as soon as I am able.)
I would also like to say that this post gave me a few random components that may or may not become a story:
-A medieval village/hamlette/fief/whatev.
-A mountain, and a shadow you can never leave (well, you can but it’s frowned upon to the extent that guards will attempt to slay you if you try)
-A heck of a lot of rule-breaking outside of said shadow
Crud. Looking at it written out makes me realize that I could totally fit this into a partially-formulated story featuring a spoiled rich-kid who wants to be an adventurer (and actually has the skills to do that), a jaded bard, and a swordsman who would just as gladly feed an orphan as behead a king. Or maybe it was a bard who would behead a king, and a jaded swordsman...
I’ll have to check my notes, but I think one of them is a Scot/Scot equivalent (I’m pretty sure it’s the sword guy).
Anyways. Read the article.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

"Would You Rather..." Tolkien Edition

I'm a bit late for the blog party, but these questions are too good to pass up! So onward...

Click to head to Hamlette's blog!

Would You Rather...

1.  ...join Thorin's Company or the Fellowship?
Thorin's company, if only because the awesomeness of the Fellowship would overwhelm me to the point of being a star-struck idiot. XD
Once the initial excitement wears off, I think being with the dwarfs would be more like being around my family. Plus, if I were with the Company, I'd stand a chance at meeting Beorn. Do I need to specify why it would be awesome to hang out with a were-bear hermit who tends giant honey bees?

2.  ...ride Shadowfax or an eagle?
Can I volunteer someone else who would enjoy this to ride one or the other? Because I hate heights, and speed in general. :P
But, if I absolutely have to eagle. If I have to be that high up in the air, I want it to be on a sentient being who is more or less invested in my survival. Methinks something crazy would have to happen for an eagle to even consider being friends with me, though. I'm not exactly "epic" material. XD

3. through Moria or Mirkwood?
It would totally depend on who's with me, because by Melian's Girdle, there's NO WAY would I go into either alone. It would also depend on the time period. I'd love to see both in their heyday.
Ooh, wait; the Mines of Moria (Khazad-dûm), or the Mountains of Moria? If we could stay on the mountain range, and had plenty of supplies, definitely the Mountains. Though, partying with elves sounds like fun, too...can we do both? Mountains first, then on to Mirkwood as a celebration (assuming it hasn't been overrun by dark ilk and is still populated by elves)? X-)

4.  ...learn to make elvish rope or mithril chainmail?
If I knew how to lasso, I'd say elvish rope.

5.  ...try to outwit Smaug or Saruman?
Ahahahaha. Ahaha. Oh you're serious. Smaug, then. I wouldn't mind my epitaph being "Slain by Smaug, Last of the Great Dragons." Just so long as whatever fumble I made that led to my demise isn't included. Unless it was a slip of the tongue that would be hilarious in hindsight. In which case by all means, laugh atop my grave. I'll be laughing with you.

6.  ...spend an hour with Grima Wormtongue or Denethor?
Grima. I wouldn't be able to resist trying to defenestrate Denethor, or smack him upside the head with a spear shaft, both of which would likely land me in prison or warrant an immediate execution. But if I did it to Grima, he would have been asking for it, and I wouldn't feel guilty for doing something to him before the event of nastiness that made him infamous (assuming that time travel of some sort is necessary for this meet-up). Plus, I would be able to turn to Eomer for sanctuary.

7.  ...attend Faramir's wedding or Samwise's wedding?
Probably Sam's, since it would be more informal than Faramir's wedding. I'd be able to learn to dance, try out Hobbit food, and generally not have to worry about dropping things or getting stains on my outfit.
(*cough* I'd also be able to feel tall. *cough*)

8.  ...have to care for the One Ring or the Arkenstone for a day?
Is it weird that I'd want the One Ring? Just to see how long I'd be able to resist its call?
It probably wouldn't be that long, as I'd totally use it to avoid unwanted conversations or make mischief at work.

9.  ...have tea with Bilbo or Frodo?
FRODO! Bilbo's awesome, but my poetry skills are horrendous (c'mon, talking to Bilbo, poetry's going to come up at some point), and I'd embarrass myself sooner rather than later. I think Frodo would be more chill, and we could swap legends and other stories without having to worry about the input of an actual legend (assuming that this is before Frodo's adventures. Hmm, I'm assuming a lot of things today...).

10.  ...fight alongside Boromir or Eomer?
Ooh. Uh. The most likely scenario with either of these: me sticking so close, that I become a tripping hazard. XDI would like to fight with Eomer, if only so after the fight we could brainstorm ideas to kidnap/otherwise aid Eowyn (and possibly enact revenge/concoct capers that would distract and keep Grima away from her.)

Sunday, October 6, 2019

The Language of Worlds: Renewal of Spirit

The Language of Worlds 1
Click to head to Liv's blog!
I came across this linkup on Nicki Chapelway's blog (check out her post here, it's great), and decided to take part. Though I'd originally been intending to finish this in August, that...well, it's October now, so obviously that didn't happen. XD

The Questions

1. How long have you been writing this story?

Over a year, I believe. It was originally intended as an entry to Kendra Ardnek's Golden Braids Arista Challenge. However, I missed the deadline. Since I was no longer under a time constraint, I decided to expand what was intended to be a short story into a novel/novella. I'm not sure which it'll be yet; it's between 5 and 10K right now. My current goal is novella length, around 30K words.

2. Who’s your favorite character? Why?

Braxton. Because he's a rambunctious side character, and I love rambunctious side characters. Plus, he's a part of this world's equivalent of Aussie culture. Do I need more reasons? XD

3. Which character do you consider the “goodest of the good”?

Corinna, even though she sees herself as a despicable being for using the Taide outside of its appointed time and for serving Aranka. She knows what's right, what's wrong, and does her best to minimize Aranka's damage.

4. Which character is the “baddest of the bad”?

The Witch Aranka. She's manipulative and vitriolic. She also knows that what she's doing is wrong (enslaving others, using the Taide--which is what this world's "magic" is called--for selfish purposes, etc.), but doesn't care. Some part of her does want to be stopped, though, so I'll give her that.

5. If you were to have tea (or coffee!) with one character, which one would you pick? Why?

If I was in the mood for a chat/being chatted at, and didn't mind having to bring along a dictionary, probably Notah. He loves stories/legends/history, doesn't get out much, and would be delighted to have someone to listen to him.
If I wanted quiet, then the Witch Kamille. So long as you don't harangue her, try to kidnap Notah, or comment on the food she likes to eat, she's pretty chill. For a Witch.

6. Describe your storyworld.

At the risk of getting into too much detail, here we go!
For starters, all of its inhabitants are elementals. Even the animals, to some extent, have control of certain elements. If they didn't, they wouldn't be able to survive the Turning, which is the storyworld's rough equivalent of a year.
The races are the Haize (aye-say), the wind elementals; Clann Smàlaidh (smuh-lade or smay-lite), fire elementals; and finally the Miltaides (mil-ti-ah-des), earth elementals. There are also water elementals, but I haven't come up with a race name for them yet, since they don't play an active role in RoS. Plus there's a bit of lore about water and ice elementals that I'm still working out. Also, yes, I find myself misspelling things quite often. XD
But, I think it's worth it.

Each elemental group is split into sub-groups, with each group taking on a different role during the Turning (Breakers, Planters, Incinerators, etc.). With their variety and expansive talents, the Miltaides make up a majority of the population, with the most sub-groups: earth, gems, and plants, each of which can be split down further!
Oh, the races have their own name themes (and by extension, culture), as well. Here are the current combos: Italian/Basque/Native American; Celtic/Danish/Greek/Medieval English; Germanic/Scottish/Australian.

The Turning is an event which all sentient beings partake in--the destruction and remaking of the world. The state of the new world is dependent on the application of the Taide throughout the year. For example, if there were more Witches than usual during that year, the new world is darker, more dangerous, and harder to live in. Witches also are more powerful, and can summon beasts from the depths that normally wouldn't bother those living above-ground. Usually, the Smàlaidh guard these beasts and prevent them from leaving their underground homes, but if a Witch summons them, those beasts are making it past the guards one way or the other.

7. You’ve fallen into your book! Which place would you be happiest at?

The world is completely remade every Turning, so anyplace with pretty forests/lakes/rivers, interesting rock formations, and Smàlaidh (their application of the Taide is unmatched cooking skills). Though, the Smàlaidh tend to live underground/in the center of the earth, since they remain in their elemental forms unless they take a long and grueling journey to the surface, so I probably wouldn't have much luck in finding them above-ground...

8. Which place would you like to avoid at all costs? (Or, explore to know its secrets a little bit better?)

I'd definitely avoid wherever Aranka ends up. She's the most powerful Enslaver (a type of Witch) around, and so the land around wherever she ends up settling is rank with poisoned life (monsters, poisonous/semi sentient plants, vitriolic land a-la Faerie).

9. Share an aesthetic! I couldn't figure out a way to use images from my Pinterest board, and the way this is arranged makes it look like a romance, which it originally was, but now it's not. Everything else I tried to add made it look like a love triangle or a hodgepodge of who-knows-what.
You'll have to be satisfied with this. :P
The top half is Notah and his current environment, the bottom Corinna and hers.
Edit: I managed to find a couple quotes I pinned that don't appear to be copyrighted, so I added them to the aesthetic in the hopes that it wouldn't be so depressing (because the story isn't that depressing, really.) I don't think it worked. XD

10. Share a snippet!

The six Numerals bathed everything in a crisp orange light that cut through most shadows. Every so often, beneath vibrant green canopies or among crimson canyons, she passed travelers. They treated her much as the villages did—they either ignored her, or chased her off.
Her tired steps led her to a dull brown canyon, the colors subdued despite the energetic Season’s light. The shale-like walls contrasted with the solid grey of the boulders that scattered the canyon floor.
Corinna sucked in a breath. The sound echoed and rebounded, amplified tenfold. Another sound, a voice not her own, came back with it. She dug her fingers into her cheeks to keep herself from making any further sound. Who knew what kind of beasts lurked in this place?
A wheat-red fox dashed out, nearly eliciting a scream from her.
Cautiously, she continued forward. The canyon walls changed appearance: instead of being as jagged as a piece of broken wood, they looked like a piece of cloth, with wrinkles and folds and crevices. One of the crevices seemed to be a window. Corinna glimpsed something the color of the sun within.

She entered the mountain’s shadow and shivered. The song was louder, echoing among the folds of stone. “Hello?”

Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Language of Worlds: Renewal of Spirit

I was wondering why this linkup looked so familiar, then realized that not only have I read other participant's links before, but I had tried to join the linkup for the last segment, and didn't get around to finishing it. *headdesk* It's almost finished, though, and it focuses on worldbuilding (which I worked so hard on), so I might post it anyways at some point...
For this set of questions, I've chosen the character Notah, because he's been cagey and annoying me. Since he doesn't trust me to summarize things properly, he'll be responding in dialogue. XP

The Language of Worlds 1
Click to head to Liv's blog!

The Questions

1. Your character is in crisis! Who is the first person they turn to?

"My life is a crisis. Save for the exiguously exciting embrace of stories, I have no one."
"The acerbic avian that was, without my consent, given a ridiculously childish name doesn't count. It can't really do more than bring me the aforementioned stories."
"Yes. That name. I hate it."

2. Who has their unconditional loyalty?

"No one. People are stupid. Though admittedly, they are fun to watch. A few heroes have my admiration and respect, but most of them are dead."
*flap of wings* *Your fault!*
"ONCE. And I apologized."
Wait, what?
"An episode of my life you needn't concern yourself about at the moment, scribe. Moving on, please."

3. What cause do they believe in? Why?

"Oh. That's...a question I'm not sure I can answer. Living one's life alone with no means of escape may leave one with plenty of time for soul-searching, but not much by way of material to muse over."

4. Are they easy to get along with?

"I'm locked in a tower, and have been for most of my life. So probably not."
"No one asked you, bird."
*wings striking against someone* *muffled exclamations* *irascible caws*
"If you value this--ech! ow!--interview, scribe, help me!"
*after scrambling about in the darkness, crisis averted*

5. Are they a night owl or morning dove? (Or “weird daytime pigeon”?)

"A question about birds when we've just expelled one. Wonderful. What does that even mean?"
To rephrase the question: how much do you value your sleep?
"Any who disturb my slumber are begging to be beshrewed."
You mean cursed? I thought you hated curses and Stagnation.
"I would be willing to make an exception."

6. What do they consider most vital to their health? Are they right?

"Tales of heroism, wit, and strange encounters are the only things keeping me from despair. Tell me, am I right in saying that they're vital to keeping me alive?"
Er, yes, in that your race--the Haize--are intrinsically linked to stories, and are meant to either weave--
"Don't strain yourself in an attempt to be poetic."
--or find and relate them. No, in that you won't die if stories are long in coming. You'll just get cranky. Not that you're not already a crank, and yes I'm ignoring your comment.
"Yet you answered it, first by acknowledging its existence, then by stating your reaction to it. If you had just been quiet--"
Moving on.

7. What was their childhood fear?

"Being kidnapped by a Witch. Oh, wait, that's what happened to me. You are conveying my sarcasm, yes? I fear nothing."
Except for contact with others.
"I don't fear it; I'm understandably trepidacious."
Is that why you sang a...whatever this is, into the room?
"Are you really so dense? It's darkness. Easy enough to pull together, especially with the Witch's Stagnation lingering outside. I've no wish for you to see my face."
Why? Are you hideous?

8. What do they have nightmares about?

"Nightmares? Hmm, being reunited with my people, I suppose. Those are the only dreams that move me to tears. That's what nightmares do, isn't it? Or are they supposed to leave you trembling, short of breath, perhaps angered? In which case, my life is a nightmare. Now go away. Two more questions? Bah, proceed."

9. What sights/sounds/smells remind them of home?

"My home lies in a realm separated from the physical world. And yet, everything tugs at my senses: calling me to hear a song that isn't there, to sense a presence that I cannot reach, to become part of a dance that my body is no longer capable of. Flesh and blood are repugnant and restrictive, I don't know how anyone can define such a...a tethered existence as 'normal.' As an aside, the scribe keeps misspelling words such as "existence" and "embarrassed," despite owning a device that tells her how to spell correctly. There, now they know a tidbit about you that's somewhat personal. Last question."
At least I can spell. And read.
"I refuse to examine the pressed and mutilated bodies of dead Planters. Last question, before I change my mind."

10. What do they love most about themselves?

"What sort of banal question is this?! What does it matter what I so much as think about myself, let alone love about myself? What if anything worthy of love is nowhere to be found?"
I take it you loathe this question the way I loathe the question "how are you doing?"
Yup. Don't ask, then I don't have to think about it.
"Just so."
Now, how am I supposed to leave? Stumble around until I fall out the window?
"You're the one with the power to shape worlds. Do you not have the power to leave whenever you wish? Hmm, I wouldn't object to your suggestion. If you would like a fast exit, I could defenestrate you."

Monday, September 2, 2019

Reblog: The Silmaril Awards

This Year's Awards: The fourth annual Silmaril Awards are live. Below you’ll find the links to all of the pages where you can go to nominate your favorite fantasy characters. All you have to do is leave a comment with the name of your character and what book he or she is from.

AboutThe Silmaril Awards are all about celebrating fantasy fiction. But whereas most awards go to authors or books, these awards go to the characters themselves! Sound like fun? Read on.

This year's Silmaril Awards have begun! I'm stoked to finally be present in the blogosphere in time to participate in this event! So just giving the event a bump (and also putting the links someplace I hopefully won't lose track of :P), and encouraging you to nominate and second your favorite fantasy characters!
So far I've only seconded other's nominations. I'm going to nominate some lovelies as soon as I can take a few hours and comb through my books to make sure I'm remembering and spelling characters' names correctly. :P

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Reblog- Story Embers: Three Ways to Avoid Stagnating Your Skills as a Storyteller

Three Ways to Avoid Stagnating Your Skills as a StorytellerMany of us, myself included, struggle to break away from the types of stories we gravitate toward. We assume that we need more training before we can tackle a different genre or point of view. But expanding is one of our responsibilities as writers, and it’s a precursor to growth!

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Golden Braids Blog Tour: Rebekah's Refuge

A friendly retail PSA: not all retail workers are out to annoy you and withhold your food. We want you to take our food, that's why it's there; for you to buy, consume, and (hopefully) enjoy. There are the occasional few workers who don't like people (why did they choose a retail job? No clue). Don't worry, they'll be gone within a week (usually. Unless they work at Walmart--no idea why the stereotype is so accurate, but it is--or somehow sequester themselves in a management position, in which case we'll look the other way if you happen to key their car or something). Just something to keep in mind when you shop.

Today, we have a character spotlight, from the book Rebekah's Refuge! First, a bit about the book:

Click to purchase!
Book Blurb:

Never allow a stranger to buy you anything. Never reveal what you truly are. Above all, never, ever allow your hair to be cut.

In a plague-ravaged world, people will stop at nothing to find a cure. Rebekah is a young norn who on the run for her life. Charles, a man desperate to heal his ailing wife, wants the life-giving magic contained in Rebekah's hair.

When Rebekah’s path crosses with Martha’s, a mother who has lost her daughter to the same man, secrets will be revealed. Buried fears will be resurrected, and the conflict between norns and humans may cause devastating havoc. Will Rebekah and Martha find a way to help both human and nornkind, or will Rebekah’s pursuer capture her? Will the plague be eradicated, or is a more sinister plan at work?

Things are not how they appear in this story of finding a place to belong. Rebekah’s Refuge is a tale of sacrifice, love and courage. You will meet many individuals, human and norn alike, who bear scars, scars that cannot be seen. A tenuous thread binds their destinies together, but threads, like hair, can easily be cut. Only those who listen can find the courage to fight. Rebekah’s Refuge is a tale of desperation and hope, a story of turmoil and healing.


Meet Martha:

Martha Brunswick is a stout, soft-spoken woman with a careworn face and a kind heart.  She loves to bake and spend time outdoors.  She lives in Plumvale, a rather commonplace town.  Her husband was a banker, so Martha’s house is large.  Martha’s time is spent volunteering with charities and other tasks of a helpful nature.  The activities provide Martha with something to keep her occupied and serve as an escape from her inward turmoil.

Martha is not a stranger to tragedy.  She lost her husband to a plague outbreak.  She has also lost someone very dear to her, a fourteen-year-old daughter who vanished without a trace.  Martha knows the name of Laura’s captor, but no trace of her daughter has ever been found.  As months pass, Martha’s desperate hope continues, but her loneliness grows ever stronger.

When Martha meets a blind norn on a train, she is immediately drawn to her.  She resembles Laura in so many ways.  When an accident occurs and the norn reveals that she has no where to go that is safe, Martha offers to help her.  Rebekah and Martha need each other, but will they be able to work together, or will the division between norns and humans destroy all?

About the Author:

Meredith Leigh Burton is a voracious devourer of fairy tales. She is a motivational speaker, teacher and writer. She attended the Tennessee School for the Blind and Middle Tennessee State University, where she received a degree in English and theater. Meredith hopes to convey through her writing that people with differences can contribute much to the world. "Snow White" has always been her favorite fairy tale. Meredith has written another fairy tale based on "Snow White" entitled Hart Spring, which can be found in her anthology, Blind Beauty and Other Tales of Redemption. She resides in Lynchburg, Tennessee.
Find her online at: Goodreads || Amazon

Today's Tour Stops:

Knitted By God's Plan - Five Reasons to Read
Light and Shadows - Five Reasons to Read

The Language of Writing

Dreams and Dragons - Meredith

Character Spotlights
Reality Reflected - Rebekah
The Labyrinth - Martha
Dragonpen Press - Frederick