If WILL SCARLET … Broke the Economy

A continuation of “If Will Scarlet Took Me Out

Ah, browsing a book store with Will Scarlet… That would be one part potential embarrassment, one part envy over all the books that are on display where my own are not, and the rest of the parts awesome. It would be great having someone to share things with. Point out funny titles and eye-catching covers. I’d take my sweet time over everything, while he’d be zipping back and forth all over the place, grabbing things off the shelves to shove in my face and remarking over it at some indiscreet volume, requiring me to frantically, laughingly shush him.

Some people just have to look with their hands. Will Scarlet is one, snatching at everything that, in his defense, snatched at his interest first. He’d probably make a point of seeking out all the Robin Hood books, just so he could check on the Scarlet representation therein. Books pertaining to Doctor Who and/or Torchwood would also be of interest, along with anything red. If anything came with a button that resulted in light or noise, he’d press it. I’d make a memo to self: Do not take him into a toy store.

Price, meanwhile, would be no object. “Dude,” he’d murmur excitedly, holding up a card. “Abréal credit. Cash for them, no cost for us. We’re going to break the economy.”

Hoo-boy. I wouldn’t even know how to feel about that. I’d maybe figure it out sometime after I made off with a heck ton of books. Supporting the writing community comes first.

He wasn’t kidding, before, about the Build-a-Bear. We head over there next, neither of us too proud and grownup to be seen in the place. I’ve only been in there in earnest twice before, a good while ago. The first time, I got Moot da Bent-Eared Bunny. The second time, it was Shaquandi, the pink teddy I pretty much gave the most ghetto name ever for no reason other than my sisters gave their bears names ending in “-andy” and in my moment of need, the joke answer prevailed.

I don’t know off the top of my head what styles of stuffed animals they’re sporting, these days, though a glance at their website just now [i.e., back around Christmas time] suggests that, HELLO, they’ve got Santa’s reindeer! Methinks Will and I would go straight for that. We’d take the soft, empty skins over to the associate at the stuffing machine, watch them get plumped up with fluff, and do the goofy dance and make the faux-vow of best-friendship that is all apiece of the heart insertion ceremony. Then would come the dithering over what outfits to get our new stuffed buddies, and what in the world to name them.

#CapFabulous

#CapFabulous

“Let’s keep this simple,” Will would suggest, holding up his reindeer. “This is Dani Doe.” He’d point to mine. “That is Buck Scarlet. They are our spirit animals in cuddly toy form.”

That would bring a smile to my heart. “So for once, the ceremonial vow of best-friendship will hold true.”

“Absolutely,” he’d say, giving his Dani Doe a full-on face smooch. “Feel free to nickname yours ‘Bucky’, after the Winter Soldier.”

“If my best friend is Bucky,” I’d say, “that would make me Captain America!”

Will would shrug. “My reasoning was just that the Winter Soldier and I are both hot, but sure, you can be Steve.”

Our next stop would be the resident Hot Topic – the chain Allyn once so scathingly derided as an emo-poser that lost all its hipster points the day it sold out to Disney, Doctor Who, and Adventure Time. What I wouldn’t give to remember his cold little tirade word for word.

“Gants,” Will would say, shaking his head at our reminiscence. “Can’t nobody judge harder than a Gant.”

“He may have been half-joking,” I’d say.

Will would raise an eyebrow. “Ever notice how a Gant joke can make its target curl up and want to end itself?”

Will: “Because dat man and his coat, tho.”

Will: “Because dat man and his coat, tho.”

Ouch but true, that.

While Will in his Captain Jack Harkness coat takes selfies with something with Tennant’s face on it for his Instagram – (#FoundMyDoctor #CapTenJack) – I’ll browse all the merchandise I’m normally too cheap to buy, trying to decide just how much I want to take advantage of Will’s cheat of a credit card. The potential breaking of the economy aside, I don’t actually have the storage space for everything I could be persuaded to own. Besides which, I wouldn’t want to feel overly materialistic. On the other hand, I wouldn’t want to feel like a chump who could have walked out with anything and chose to decline on no better grounds than half-assed principle. If nothing else, I’d get a couple of Marvel hoodies.

[To be continued…]

Happy [Belated] Book Birthday to THE ARTISANS!

This time last week, while the next Wilderhark Tales title was debuting its face, an entire BOOK went out into the world! …with me having been under the impression it wasn’t supposed to launch until today. Welp, no matter. Never too late to put the word out about a book! So ladies and gentleman, if you’d be so good as to direction your attention to…

Artisans, TheThe Book: “The Artisans” by Julie Reece.

Genre: YA Paranormal

Blurb: They say death can be beautiful. But after the death of her mother, seventeen-year-old Raven Weathersby gives up her dream of becoming a fashion designer, barely surviving life in the South Carolina lowlands.

To make ends meet, Raven works after school as a seamstress creating stunning works of fashion that often rival the great names of the day.

Instead of making things easier on the high school senior, her stepdad’s drinking leads to a run in with the highly reclusive heir to the Maddox family fortune, Gideon Maddox.

But Raven’s stepdad’s drying out and in no condition to attend the meeting with Maddox. So Raven volunteers to take his place and offers to repay the debt in order to keep the only father she’s ever known out of jail, or worse.

Gideon Maddox agrees, outlining an outrageous demand: Raven must live in his home for a year while she designs for Maddox Industries’ clothing line, signing over her creative rights.

Her handsome young captor is arrogant and infuriating to the nth degree, and Raven can’t imagine working for him, let alone sharing the same space for more than five minutes.

But nothing is ever as it seems. Is Gideon Maddox the monster the world believes him to be? And can he stand to let the young seamstress see him as he really is?

My Thoughts: **ARC received in exchange for an honest review**

Raven Weathersby has a good voice on her – smart and detailed, with a healthy amount of teen attitude in the mix. Particularly in a spin on a fairy tale where the Beauty trades in her freedom for confinement in the Beast’s castle, one could expect the book to take the road often traveled in young-adult books by isolating the heroine from any fleshed-out relationships beyond that between her and the male lead. To my pleasant surprise, however, a generous portion of Raven’s story includes interactions with a number of non-romantic loved ones – the alcoholic step-dad she’s burdened to care for, the duo of best friends who have her back throughout the arrangement with her captor, even her oversized cat. I appreciated this solid contribution to the rounding out of Raven’s character, which made her feel more authentic to me than her “beastly” counterpart, Gideon Maddox, for whom I had trouble getting past the shiny veneer to the heart within.

Augmenting the book’s fairytale component was a Southern Gothic ghost story, complete with eerie spirits ranging from pitiable to ghastly. Some of the scenes were so effectively horrific that I physically cringed and squirmed, for which I give props to the author despite my dislike for being too strongly crept-out. The ghost element added an intriguing layer and elevation of the stakes in a story which might otherwise have had more difficulty holding my interest for the length of the novel. And the mystery that arose regarding Raven’s origins, left partially unexplained at book’s end, has me curious to know what’s coming in the projected sequel.

HSYRT? (Hey, Should You Read This?): If you’ve got a taste for a spooky, contemporary take on a fairytale favorite, you may find “The Artisans” to be tailor-made for you.

REBIRTH BlogFest: “Wishmaker”

Behold, my entry for the REBIRTH BlogFest (running from this past Tuesday, May 12 through next Saturday, May 23. Interested writers, take note). Enjoy!

<<<>>>

The summer night was warm enough to drive with the top down. Heavy with the breath of stars. Maria Luna’s hair sailed behind her, a silken black banner, as she maneuvered the car ‘round a bend in the otherwise empty road.

A periwinkle blue car. She had always used to talk of wanting one.

The dream ride lurched with its driver’s surprise as a slim shadow separated itself from the silhouette of treetops at the roadside, sailing a wide arc that brought it down and around to cruise abreast with the vehicle.

The one who flies, Maria Luna thought in awe. She hadn’t expected to ever meet any of the old wishes face to face.

“Hey, a new one!” said the shadow that was a girl – her face, form, and voice much like an early-teen version of the young woman in the car. “What brings you out here at this hour?”

Affecting composure, Maria Luna said, “It’s a full moon.”

“So?”

“So come and see.” Maria Luna tipped her chin toward the passenger seat. “Want a lift?”

“No way,” said the girl, tumbling a loop in the air before offering her hand. “Do you?”

After a moment’s hesitation, Maria Luna shook her head. “The drive is part of the wish.”

“Same here for flying. It’s cool.” The girl shrugged carelessly. “I’ll follow along.”

Maria Luna nodded, a-tingle head to toe with an unspoken excitement. It seemed the night held more wonders in store than she’d first supposed.

In time, the travelers by wheels and flight reached the edge of a field of wild grasses. Rolling to a stop, Maria Luna cut the glare of the headlights and noise of the engine, plunging the space into silvery silence.

“All right,” said the girl, arms folded, feet hovering well above the ground. “You had your drive. Are you allowed to fly now?”

Maria Luna shut the car door behind her with a smile. “The wish was a drive to see the moon. It never specified the view had to be from the earth. Take us up, Maria Pan!”

With a crow of delight, the girl seized the woman’s hand and rose higher, the pair’s path doodling invisible designs over the meadow. Maria Luna’s blood raced and thrilled. This was utter magic!

And then, above them – So close!, Maria Luna’s eyes told her, even though her head knew better – there hung the sphere of white, vast and glowing, drenching the heavens in otherworldly light. The biggest, brightest full moon in years, news sources had predicted, and it looked like they’d been right. For a lover of the moon, as she was, it made for a sight not to be missed.

“Why didn’t she just come out and see it for herself?” The girl’s voice poked through the edge of the young woman’s awareness.

“Hmm?”

“Y’know. Her,” said Maria Pan. “The Mother Maria. I mean, I get that she doesn’t like to drive. Or to leave the house much at all, really. But look at it.” She gestured with her free hand to the celestial beauty before them. “How could she not think this is worth it?” Her mouth twisted down with disdain. “How can she be so lame?”

Lame. Maria Luna conceded the term fit the circumstance Maria Pan referenced all too well. A pity, too. A disgusting waste. A life that could be so much more, if only she – Maria, mother of wishes – would actually live her dreams. Instead, hers was the bad habit of creating dreams to do all the living for her.

“She doesn’t wish to be lame,” Maria Luna murmured.

At her side, Maria Pan muttered, “But does she wish not to be?”

Eyes on the moon, Maria Luna said nothing.

They stayed in the sky for as long as the night’s light shined, returning to the ground with the sunrise. That’s gorgeous, too, Maria Luna thought, drinking in the delicate dawn. Fit for a Maria Soleil.

Of a sudden, she noticed Maria Pan’s hand still clung to hers, more tightly than before. A furrow of anxiety appeared between the girl’s fierce, bright eyes – green with an inner ring of purple. Her maker had once thought that would make the coolest combination. “What will happen to you, now that the moon’s gone?”

Touched, Maria Luna ran her free hand through the pixie cut of the wish to fly and never, never grow up. A forever sort of wish, her purpose and existence secure. Not all wishes were made to last so long. The girl will have seen countless sisters come and go. “What happens to the others, when the wish is fulfilled?”

“Depends.” Maria Pan shrugged a shoulder, then cast a grimace behind it. “For some, the end can’t be worse than the start.”

Maria Luna’s gaze followed the girl’s to where the field met a patch of suburban woodland; settled on the collection of graves in scattered rows among a tangle of brush and wildflowers. Though the dates on the headstones varied, each bore the same name: Maria Morte. Every one a testament to a time the Mother Maria had wished to die.

Too many times.

Too much wishing to die. Too much wishing to live. Past time to stop wishing and start doing.

“There will be other full moons,” Maria Luna said. “Other sunrises, and sunsets. There will be music and dramas and people and places. And I’m going to make them mine.”

Maria Pan looked up at her in puzzlement. “That’s not what you’re made for.”

“What I am,” she said, “is what I make me.”

“What you— Wait. Are you…?” Purple-and-green eyes peered closer, then widened as understanding struck. “You’re her,” the girl gasped, startling into the air. “You’re the Mother Maria!”

“I was,” Maria admitted. “But not anymore. Maybe I can’t fly on my own power or change my eyes, but I can become the me I want inside – one who takes hold of the magic within reach. This time, the magic was the moon. And better, as it turned out: It was a friend.”

Taking once more the hand that had lifted her to the skies, Maria smiled widely, the expression mirrored in the impish face above.

Wishes on their own might not be enough. But some were too precious to let go.

REBIRTH Banner BLUE

Jack and the Genre-nauts, Finale: I Saw Three Wishes Sailing In

W.A.I.T. Button, 78 percent

“Welcome, one and all,” says Will Scarlet, with a broad smile and a bow, “to Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre!”

“Every second Friday,” says Allyn-a-Dale, “Will and I and our friends from the story world of ‘The Outlaws of Avalon ’ trilogy—”

“Coming one of these days to a book retailer near you!”

“—Will take at random two of the suggestions gleaned from you, our gentle audience, and incorporate them into… well, the sort of tomfoolery Will calls entertainment.”

“So make yourselves comfortable,” says Will, “as we now present to you the long awaited/despaired-of-ever-happening ‘Jack and the Genre-nauts’ finale: ‘I Saw Three Wishes Sailing In’!”

<<<>>>

[The curtain rises on a forest of Christmas trees before an icy background, faux snow glittering on the floor. Annabelle Gray and Sir Wilbur Lamb from INSPIRED stand over the dejectedly-kneeling Gant-o’-the-Lute as Loki. Will Scarlet as Jack Snow in the Mad Hatter’s body also stands by, while Hatter’s grinning Shadow dances over the backdrop.]

Sir Wilbur: Well, Annabelle? What do you propose we do with our vanquished Trickster?

Annabelle: That depends. Do we have a way to make sure the Shadow does as we wish instead of running mad?

Will [voiceover]/Shadow [turning somersaults, laughing like a loon ]: Madness-made is what I am! Control the likes of me? Why, you’d just as easy turn back time itself!

Will/Jack: Spoken like a Wonderland riddle. And this body I’m in has a Wonderland mind. A reflective surface, someone – quickly!

Annabelle: Something like this?

[From behind her back, she hefts the mirror taken from the Sheriff’s castle in Steampunk Nottingham.]

Lute/Loki [his crestfallen scowl gone baffled  ]: Where have you been carrying that thing, all this time?

Annabelle: In my back pocket. It’s important to dress comfortably when traveling between imaginary realms; my go-to is jeans made of stretch-credulity denim. But is a mirror really the best plan, Jack? If the Shadow catches sight of his reflection, he’ll return to his host, and there may not be room inside Hatter’s body for his spirit and yours.

Sundial

Will/Jack [straightening from having sketched a sundial in the snow beneath the Shadow ]: Aim not for the Shadow, but downward. What there do you see?

Sir Wilbur: The shadow of a shadow, circling clockwise.

Will/Jack [triumphant ]: And in the mirror, counterclockwise! A widdershins shadow is time turned backward. Shadow of Hatter, you’re now in our power.

Will [voiceover]/Shadow: Well, tweedle-dee-dee, you’re too clever for me. How would you command me, masters?

Annabelle: Gone genie on us, have you? Excellent. Wish one: Bind Loki to my mind, making me his author, and him my character.

Will [voiceover]/Shadow [giggling ]: Granted!

Lute/Loki [shooting to his feet ]: WHAT! How dare you?! I am a god!

Sir Wilbur: And as fictional gods go, you wouldn’t be her first. We’ll introduce you to the abishan, sometime.

Lute/Loki [teeth grinding ]: Why would you do this to me? After all else of which you’ve robbed me, why my freedom, too?

Annabelle: Oh, hush, it’s not as bad as all that. My characters get plenty long leashes, believe me. But keeping you tethered to a proper story, as opposed to this nonsense we’ve been living for twenty-some acts, will guard against your mischief taking down too many worlds. You want Ragnarok? Fine. But contained in a book. [smiling kindly ] I’ll even be sure to work in Fenrir. You’ll get your son, and he’ll get his story, just like I promised him.

Lute/Loki [anger cooling ]: Well. If I am to be your prisoner, I suppose it could be under worse conditions. Very well, author. I am yours. [smirking ] Good luck to your plots, having to keep pace with me.

Will/Jack [stage-muttering ]: If Danielle could handle Austeryn in “Surrogate Sea”, I’m sure Annabelle will get by. [“aloud” ] Now, Shadow, for a second wish: Return to us my rightful body, and set my spirit within it.

Will [voiceover]/Shadow: Granted!

[The Shadow spins in a cyclone of smoke, and when the obscuring darkness clears, Will Scarlet has fallen to the floor, but there stands Allyn-a-Dale.]

Sir Wilbur: Jack! You’re really back!

Allyn/Jack: That I am, and of it glad! A body’s a body, more or less, but how I’ve missed my mind. I don’t know how Hatter lives with himself.

Annabelle: That’s the wonder of a man of Wonderland. Speaking of, time for wish number three. [holds mirror higher ] Hey, Shadow! Look here!

[With a squeal of delight at the sight of its own self, the Shadow flies right into the glass. No sooner has it disappeared and Annabelle set it down, propped up against a tree, than Will Scarlet jumps up from the floor.]

Will/Hatter: End of the line!

Everyone else: Huh??

Will/Hatter [arms spread wide ]: We’re here, Jack: The Fairytale Forest’s North Pole. I told you I’d get you back home!

Allyn/Jack: Why… so you did. And so you have. Not the route I’d have taken, but nevertheless. Thank you, Artifice Cheshirecott.

Will/Hatter [bowing with a sweep of the hat ]: More than welcome, Jack Snow. Now, I’m bound for Wonderland, a big bowl of homemade ice cream, and a nice long nap. All very fun to play the travel guide, but real talk: Keeping you kids entertained on the road exhausting. So long, everyone! Watch out for rabbit holes!

[With that and a wink, he steps through the looking glass and is gone.]

[The curtain falls.]

<<<>>>

“Aaaand SCENE!” says Will.

“Thank you to audience members Miranda McNeff and Tirzah Duncan,” says Allyn, “for providing us with the inspiration ‘homemade ice cream’ and ‘widdershins’.”

“If you enjoyed yourselves,” Will says, “(or if you didn’t, but you totally did, right?), don’t forget to leave suggestions for future productions in the comments! Words or phrases we’ve got to include, a prop to use, a prompt to run with… anything goes! ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”

All Will Be Revealed

And by “all”, I mean the covers of two soon-to-be-released books with Danielle E. Shipley stories inside of them!

Cover the First

If you keep an eye on me on Facebook and Twitter, chances are you’ve seen this one already. But for those of you who missed it, I now present to you, in its debut appearance on the Ever On Word blog, the face of Xchyler Publishing’s upcoming anthology, “Steel and Bone: Nine Steampunk Adventures”!

Shovel the coal and stoke the boilers as nine Steampunk authors explore islands of mystery and adventure across the seven seas.

“The Clockwork Seer” by Katherine Cowley: On an island of oddities, a young clairvoyant struggles for normalcy, but deadly automatons have other plans.

“Sindisiwe” by Scott E. Tarbet: A slave girl in Zanzibar escapes a beating when a stranger in the marketplace proves her past in more than just a fairy tale.

“Stand and Deliver” by TC Phillips: Neither shackles, slave labor, nor the island’s deadliest inhabitants will prevent these brothers from meting out justice to their father’s murderers.

“Island Walker” by C. R. Simper: Kit digs her treasures out of trash heaps, but the theft of her invention leads to discoveries money can’t buy.

“A Mind Prone to Wander” by Danielle E. Shipley: Beyond a locked door lies Rowan Charles’ death or his sanity, and the survival or extinction of his people.

“Curio Cay” by Sarah E. Seeley: The future of humanity rests in the hands of three time-traveling scientists battling biomechanical creatures in the Jurassic past.

“The Mysterious Island of Chester Morrison” by Kin Law: Dodging her chaperone, a debutante stumbles into adventure and romance at the World’s Fair.

“Revolutionary” by John M. Olsen: A dirigible captain goes down with his ship, and wakes to find himself a captive of a sky-dwelling civilization.

“The Steel Inside” by Gail B. Williams: Darkness lurks in Sarah’s forgotten past, kept hidden by those who claim to be her devoted husband and loyal servants.

Steel and Bone, cover front

Ahhh, my very first authorial venture into steampunk… I look forward to holding you in hand.

The book’s available to add to your Goodreads shelves, and will be out for everyone’s reading pleasure June 27th. But hey – if you’re up for an early read in exchange for an honest review, give a shout and I’ll score you an ARC!

Cover the Second

I did something a little different for the cover reveal of my next Wilderhark Tales title. Instead of rounding up volunteers on my own, I engaged the prompt and professional services of Lola’s Blog Tours. It’s been nice, getting to leave the cover reveal’s organization to somebody else, for a change. And it’s extra nice to finally be able to show off yet another piece of breathtaking Yana Naumova artwork on my blog. Behold, my friends: “The Sky-Child and Other Stories (A Wilderhark Tales Collection)”!

Born into a world his heart knows as beneath him, an extraordinary boy becomes a man of music, hopeful that someday he’ll find a way higher.

As the first day dawns, a world comes awake, order and disorder striking a dangerous balance.

Under the stars, a princess and tailor trade age-old lore, little dreaming of the future that could trap them in the past.

All of it in, around, and far above the timeless trees of Wilderhark, the forest whose secrets reveal themselves slowly, if ever at all.

Tales of beginnings. Tales of quests for belonging. Most of all, tales of true love.

Once upon a time, you knew something of Wilderhark’s tales. Now for the stories that fall in between.

Sky-Child Cover, front 02

High goodness, Gant-o’-the-Lute, how were you so beautiful as a youngster?

He shrugs, indifferent. “Genetics, I expect.”

Yes. Well. *awkward cough, ‘cause some characters are just weird to ogle* Book 6.5 of The Wilderhark Tales is coming for you on July 7th. Like the steampunk antho, “The Sky-Child” is on Goodreads. Also likewise, I’ve got ARCs for folks interested in a read ‘n’ review ahead of the pack. You have only to ask. ^_^

Eyes on you now, readers. What think ye of the covers above? Share your thoughts below!

IF WILL SCARLET … Took Me Out

A continuation of “If Will Scarlet Were a Super-Powered Plane-Hopper

“You really just stay inside all day, don’t you?” Will would say, everything about his face, tone, and posture inclining toward critical.

“When I can,” I’d say from the comfortable (term used loosely) office space that is my bed. It used to drive me crazy when kids, upon learning that I was homeschooled, would almost invariably ask, “So do you get to go to school in your pajamas?” I’d wonder what the hell was wrong with the world that it was so obsessed with pajamas. I have since come to view the question through a different lens. It’s not about the pajamas. It’s about having to freakin’ get dressed.

“Well, you can’t today,” he’d say. “Get up. We’re going out.”

“Out where?” I’d ask, so I could calculate just how strenuously I’d want to protest.

The exclamatory firework would reply, “The mall!”

All right. Nothing I need too strenuously protest, then. But just as a matter of protocol, I’d have to put up a token resistance. “I’ve got stuff to do.”

“What stuff?” he’d demand specifics.

If the day were like today [meaning when I wrote this, back in November], I would have a blog post to share around Twitter and Facebook – my stop on Aly Grauer’s On the Isle of Sound and Wonder tour. I’d also have e-mails to field, having just sent out a request to three dozen online acquaintances, asking if they’d be game to help me spread the love around during Sun’s Rival Launch Week. (I’ve gotten a few replies already, all of them “yes”-es!) On a related note, I’d have to get the promotional images together so I could get them back to those willing assistors, and who knows how long that could take…

“Yeah,” Will Scarlet would interrupt, “we’re hitting the mall. All this stuff will keep, girl. And besides, I’ve already reblogged you, retweeted you, and shared your Facebook link. Plus I posted a thing on Instagram. Shoot, forgot to cross-post it to my Tumblr, though…”

Because Will Scarlet would be a social media maven. He’d have been on for maybe a week and already have followers in their thousands on any given account. He’s the kind of person I would hate from a distance, if we weren’t the kind of close we are. And besides, one of the top reasons he wants such a huge online presence is so he can more effectively promote me. …and himself, obviously, but that’s one of his reasons behind just about everything.

I would smile my gratitude. “Thanks, Will. You’re—”

“Gorgeous? I know. Now let’s get you dressed. What’ll you wear today? I’m thinking red.”

So shock. Many surprise. Such out of character. Wow.

Outside Will

He would drive, of course. I hate driving, and he enjoys the experience, harkening back as it does to his first big, post-modern adventure in his story world. There’d be singing on the way – the loud, obnoxious kind that driving with friends will sometimes demand, no minstrels around to shame us for the musical butchery.

“Which mall?” I’d eventually think to ask in between laughing fits. “Hawthorne? The Mills?”

“Not the Mills,” he’d say snobbishly. “We could do Hawthorne, though.” He’d flash a grin. “It’s got your Barnes & Noble.”

“Boo-oo-ooks?!” I’d squeal in delight.

“You bet, babe! We’ll get you all nicely buttered up in books, and then we’ll do the real shopping. Hot Topic. Disney store. Food court and Build-a-Bear. The works!”

Sometimes it pays to get dressed.

[To be continued…]

Pics ‘Cause It Had to Happen

By rights, this post should be a thousand words, but I’ll wrap it up for you in a few hundred.

Ladies and gentlemen, I’ve found a new toy.

PhotoFunia

The gist of PhotoFunia.com is simple. Step 1, upload pics into a wide variety of templates. Step 2, enjoy the effect!

I happened upon an image a friend had created with this site, and to understate matters, I was inspired.

(“Five Paintings” effect)

(“Five Paintings” effect) Left to right, top row: Wilbur, Lucianíel, and Yves; bottom row, Abishan and Uri.

Apologies to the pun police, but seriously. Once I saw the gallery templates, I 100% had to create a piece with the main cast of INSPIRED framed on a museum wall. If you’ve read the novel, you know why. Ideally, I would have used actual photos of the characters, but since fictional folk tend to be tricky to capture on camera, I went with shots from my INSPIRED photo shoot instead.

(“National Gallery of Art” effect) Yves had to get his own wing, because reasons. Again, readers will know.

(“National Gallery of Art” effect) Yves had to get his own wing, because reasons. Again, readers will know.

(“Library” effect) And how could I not pay homage to Lucianíel and the late Jean St. John?

(“Library” effect) And how could I not pay homage to Lucianíel and the late Jean St. John?

So much for the necessities. But I figured, why stop there? So I kept playing around. Plugging my novel’s cover into the “Sidewalk” effect facilitated a pleasant delusion of big-time fame.

An author can dream!

An author can dream!

And since my short story in the “Toll of Another Bell” fantasy anthology drops Heartsinger and Row in the middle of London, using the book’s cover in the “London Calling” effect was another case of “couldn’t not”.

PhotoFunia-Toll in London

Naturally, it was only a matter of time before Will Scarlet demanded in on the act. Though my “Outlaws of Avalon” novels are still a while from publication, he’s never seen that as a valid reason not to include him when there’s face time to be had. Long story short (and with a straight-up obvious ending), the man got what he wanted*.

(“Wanted” effect) Of course, if Will Scarlet designed his own wanted poster, it would read more like: “WANTED. By absolutely everyone. So badly, it hurts.”

(“Wanted” effect) Of course, if Will Scarlet designed his own wanted poster, it would read more like: “WANTED. By absolutely everyone. So badly, it hurts.”

*And the puns just keep on coming.

Threw in one for Allyn-a-Dale, too, with the “Old Book” effect, because once again, the perfection was not to be resisted.

PhotoFunia-Allyn's in the Book

So what do you think, gang? Which gussied-up pic was your fave? ^^ And hey, if you end up putting together some cool PhotoFunia images of your own, I’d love to see ‘em!