Mini Muses: Behind the Mystery

Covers 1 and 2, side by side

Fun fact! All of the main characters in my novel, “Inspired” – (coming in all its awesome re-release glory on March 13th!) – and it’s all-new sequel, “Out of My Head” (both newly available for preorder on Kindle, here and here!), were deliberately based off of someone else. Annabelle Gray is totally me. Her parents and sisters are essentially mine. And her characters? Well, a couple of them have yet to attain final-form stories of their own. (Sorry, guys behind Uri and Abishan! Maybe someday. I shall try.) But as for the rest, if you’ve been keeping up with the Deshipley bibliography, you’ve met them before.

And just how do these inspiration characters feel about what I made of them in the “Inspired” novels? According to Annabelle, there’d be only one surefire way to find out: A character questionnaire. So everybody give it up for my featured museling of the day!

Name and Occupation: Allyn-a-Dale, minstrel to Robin Hood’s Merry Men

As Featured In…: “The Story’s End” (The Wilderhark Tales, Book 7), The Outlaws of Avalon

“Inspired” Counterpart: Yves / Avelaine, the boy who dances with death*

*(Which is… not actually how I’ve ever described him, but Allyn just slipped that in there on his own reconnaissance, and I mean, sure, that works)

Mini Muses_Allyn and Yves

How Do You Feel You and Avelaine Are Most Similar?: Allyn stares aesthetically into the distance. “I, too, dance with death… Rather, death’s shadow has loomed large over my life since before my first breath, so I’ve developed some psychoses around it. Additionally, Avelaine and I are both greatly withdrawn and artistically gifted, thanks in part to our childhoods, which were hell. And we’re both small, which may not be hell’s fault, and speak with charming accents.”

Most Different?: “Avelaine dances, and harbors a fear of heights. I, canonically, am almost never seen dancing, and I mostly fear social situations, or my dearest loved ones dying violently before my eyes.”

Favorite Part of the Book?: “Literarily speaking, I best like the ‘Manta and the Mask’ short story embedded in Book 1. Otherwise, it’s this snippet from Book 2.”

“Dur-hur,” said Uri. “I suppose next you’ll tell me how when you were sixteen, you had to run a mile in full armor to meet the lances of your enemies, uphill both ways in the snow.”

Wilbur’s voice hinted at laughter. “Not ‘til I entered the knighthood at twenty, no. The uphill runs in the snow at sixteen were to chase down wayward sheep.”

“I was suffering child abuse,” Avelaine put in from a step behind them. “Uphill. Both ways.”

“’Twould seem Avelaine and I share a similar sense of humor.”

Favorite Character Besides “Yourself”?: “First off, I dislike choosing favorites, so how dare you. Second, I suppose I’ll say Wilbur, because he’s the nearest thing Avelaine has to his own personal Will Scarlet – in the ‘band brother’ sense, not the ‘high-key maniac’ one. You’ve developed another character for that…”

<<<>>>

Thanks for your time, Allyn! And readers, stay tuned – both for the continuation of this questionnaire series, and the release of the “Inspired” novels!

Got any more questions for Allyn-a-Dale or his author regarding “Inspired”? Ask away in the comments!

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Lightbulb Moments: Art Doesn’t Need a Box

Inspired Journal Cover 12, frontAs lately announced, I have crossed a dream off my bucket list and designed a journal, inspired by (appropriately enough) “Inspired”, and its sequel, “Out of My Head” – all three to be released on March 13th (just one month from now, holy moo!).

Because, c’mon. “Inspired” co-protagonist Annabelle lives for her scribble-filled notebooks. And gosh knows she came by that honestly, because I too am a sucker for a gorgeous journal, as “Lightbulb Moments” will definitely be – filled with quotes from both “Inspired” novels, done up so fancy-like that you better believe I’m using some of them as designs in the Ever On Word shop on Society6. For example, a page taken from this little snippet of “Out of My Head”:

“I’m magic!” Mach howls happily. “And that’s what had Luc in a bother. The man’s allergic to wonder and whimsy. He wants art kept neat and tidy between the lines. […] Our story drew its own lines. Some people can’t handle anything outside their little box. But that’s okay! ‘Cause why? ‘Cause art doesn’t need a box to be fantastic!

 

S6_Doesn't Need a Box, travel mug

As of now, the above design is available for purchase on tote bags and travel mugs, stickers and greeting cards… even its very own notebook. ;D

Society6 tryptich_Doesn't Need a Box

As for “Lightbulb Moments” in its full glory, I’ll be giving one lucky somebody a free copy on April 17th. Why then? One, it’s a good friend’s birthday, so I’ve got better odds of remembering the date. Two, it’s a good month after the release of “Inspired” and “Out of My Head”, meaning it’ll give everybody a decent chunk of time to read and review one or both of the books on Amazon, which is – you guessed it! – exactly how you get an entry in the giveaway. Just link me to your review before the April deadline (review both books for double your chances of winning!), and a free “Lightbulb Moments” journal could be yours.

“But wait!” you may cry. “What if I’m a slower reader who needs a little extra time to get through and review a book?” Good news: Advance review PDFs of the “Inspired” novels ARE available! Ask in good faith, and ye shall receive.

Covers 1 and 2, side by side

Stick around throughout the next weeks leading up to Release Day, because more peeks into the journal / new Ever On Word shop designs will be coming your way. ‘Til then, my friends…

~ Happy Writing

Mini Muses: Behind the Knight

Covers 1 and 2, side by side

Fun fact! All of the main characters in my novel, “Inspired” – (coming in all its awesome re-release glory on March 13th!) – and it’s all-new sequel, “Out of My Head”, were deliberately based off of someone else. Annabelle Gray is totally me. Her parents and sisters are essentially mine. And her characters? Well, a couple of them have yet to attain final-form stories of their own. (Sorry, guys behind Uri and Abishan! Maybe someday. I shall try.) But as for the rest, if you’ve been keeping up with the Deshipley bibliography, you’ve met them before.

And just how do these inspiration characters feel about what I made of them in the “Inspired” novels? According to Annabelle, there’d be only one surefire way to find out: A character questionnaire. So everybody give it up for my featured museling of the day!

Name and Occupation: Edgwyn Wyle, tailor*

*(Tailored service, while you wait; the wait’s well worth Wyle)

As Featured In…: The Wilderhark Tales (Books 2 – 7)

“Inspired” Counterpart: Sir Wilbur Lamb, knight of The Order of the Dove

Mini Muses_Edg and Wilbur

How Do You Feel You and Wilbur Are Most Similar?: “Oh, in many ways. Our personalities are basically twins. We love people, and live to care for them. And ‘people’,” he laughs, “very much includes our horses. We’ve also both borne the dubious honor of being our author’s crush. …though I believe he handled it better.”

Most Different?: “He’s much more physically inclined than I am. Not that I haven’t been known to carry an enchanted princess down a beanstalk, when circumstances call for it. But he sees stuffed dummies as a faux opponent for battle exercises; I see them as a place to pin a ball gown in the making. I appear to also be the more outgoing, of the two of us. A bashful sheep, dear Wilbur can often be.”

Favorite Part of the Book?: “Can it be from Book 2? Oh, good. I like the chapter wherein Wilbur attends a service at Annabelle’s church. It’s a little emotionally trying, in its way, but so very sweet and sincere. Refreshing, too, to see a story where religion isn’t the focus still take a few pages to establish the characters’ spiritual side. I don’t recall having seen that done particularly often, in fiction.”

Favorite Character Besides “Yourself”?: “High goodness, that’s difficult. Ask me to pick among my friends, why don’t you! But perhaps I would say Uri, because … well, this bit says it well.”

“Wait,” said Wilbur, rising after her and – to much face-making on Uri’s part – pulling her into a hug. “How whole you are,” he murmured. “And how much fuller you’ve become since first I knew you.”

“Thanks, man. You’re nice and full-figured, too. Can we not hug?”

<<<>>>

Thanks for your time, Wyle! And readers, stay tuned – both for the continuation of this questionnaire series, and the release of the “Inspired” novels!

Got any more questions for Edgwyn or his author regarding “Inspired”? Ask away in the comments!

Lightbulb Moments: You’ve Got to Start Somewhere

What I hope you know = My re-release of “Inspired” and first-time release of its sequel, “Out of My Head” are coming in – *checks calendar* – ohmygosh, just 6 more weeks!

What you may not know (given that I believe this is my first time officially announcing it) = Along with the novels, I’ll be releasing one more special treat. Presenting, the cover of…

Lightbulb Moments: An Inspired Journal

Inspired Journal Cover 12, front

That’s right, readers o’ mine. I have crossed a dream off my bucket list and designed a journal. Because, c’mon. “Inspired” co-protagonist Annabelle lives for her scribble-filled notebooks. And gosh knows she came by that honestly, because I too am a sucker for a gorgeous journal, as “Lightbulb Moments” will definitely be – filled with quotes from both “Inspired” novels, done up so fancy-like that you better believe I’m using some of them as designs in the Ever On Word shop on Society6. For example, a page taken from this little snippet of “Inspired”:

“Well, there’s always an alternate universe! A happier one,” I say firmly. “And after that … or before that? … ugh, who even knows? There are too many stories out there! And I do mean that in the best way possible.”

“Well,” says a smiling, shrugging Wilbur, “you’ve got to start somewhere.”

“Phew. Okay. Priorities. Into the huddle, Guys,” I say. “We’ve got some brainstorming to do.”

S6_Start Somewhere 01 - Copy

As of now, the above design is available for purchase on tote bags and travel mugs, stickers and greeting cards… even its very own notebook. ;D

Society6 tryptich_Start Somewhere

As for “Lightbulb Moments” in its full glory, I’ll be giving one lucky somebody a free copy on – *re-checks calendar* – April 17th. Why then? One, it’s a good friend’s birthday, so I’ve got better odds of remembering the date. Two, it’s a good month after the release of “Inspired” and “Out of My Head”, meaning it’ll give everybody a decent chunk of time to read and review one or both of the books on Amazon, which is – you guessed it! – exactly how you get an entry in the giveaway. Just link me to your review before the April deadline (review both books for double your chances of winning!), and a free “Lightbulb Moments” journal could be yours.

“But wait!” you may cry. “What if I’m a slower reader who needs a little extra time to get through and review a book?” Good news: Advance review PDFs of the “Inspired” novels ARE available! Ask in good faith, and ye shall receive.

Covers 1 and 2, side by side

Stick around throughout the next weeks leading up to Release Day, because more peeks into the journal / new Ever On Word shop designs will be coming your way. ‘Til then, my friends…

~ Happy Writing

Mini Muses: Behind the Light

Covers 1 and 2, side by side

Fun fact! All of the main characters in my novel, “Inspired” – (coming in all its awesome re-release glory on March 13th!) – and it’s all-new sequel, “Out of My Head”, were deliberately based off of someone else. Annabelle Gray is totally me. Her parents and sisters are essentially mine. And her characters? Well, a couple of them have yet to attain final-form stories of their own. (Sorry, guys behind Uri and Abishan! Maybe someday. I shall try.) But as for the rest, if you’ve been keeping up with the Deshipley bibliography, you’ve met them before.

And just how do these inspiration characters feel about what I made of them in the “Inspired” novels? According to Annabelle, there’d be only one surefire way to find out: A character questionnaire. So everybody give it up for my featured museling of the day!

Name and Occupation: Gant-o’-the-Lute, minstrel extraordinaire

As Featured In…: The Wilderhark Tales (Books 3, 4, 6.5, and 7), The Outlaws of Avalon

“Inspired” Counterpart: Lucianíel, light elemental muse

Mini Muses_Lute and Luc

How Do You Feel You and Luc Are Most Similar?: “Well, most obviously,” says Lute, “there are the shortened forms of our names. You didn’t stretch yourself terribly far on that one. Then there are his superhuman qualities – the speed, the brightness, the distinctively musical voice… I, in some measure, possess all of these. Furthermore, he’s deeply dedicated to his craft, a very much goal-driven protagonist, and not nearly appreciated enough by his author or fellow characters for all he contributes to the world.”

Most Different?: “The fellow cares entirely too much about books, and deems it necessary to collaborate with inferior creatures to create them, whereas my passions are music and adventure, and I much prefer to pursue them alone.” Lute’s gaze slides unhappily sideways. “I suppose I must also admit that he has proven himself, by far, the better father figure.”

Favorite Part of the Book?: “I don’t know about ‘favorite’, but I would be remiss as your imaginary friend not to highlight this particular passage from ‘Inspired’…”

Annabelle gave a ragged laugh. “You don’t have any time to waste, Lucianíel! You are not real! You are a piece of my imagination that is running amok, and who needs to get his ego in line before I start thinking this cute, delusional relationship of ours has gone past its expiration date and needs tossing out! I can’t believe I’m sitting here yelling about this! Go away. I’m reading. Come back when you want to be worth something again.”

Lucianíel’s eyes blazed. “You want to speak of delusions?” he hissed, leaning down until, on the same plane, their noses would have touched. “Here’s one you’d do best to rid yourself of, little girl, before I start forming thoughts of my own – of which I am more than capable, Annabelle Almighty, let there be no mistake about that!

“You and the abishan are under a similar misconception. You think that because you are our author, we should all bow at your feet in unquestioning adoration. But you are not our goddess. You are not our queen. We are gods and heroes, angels and elementals – and you are merely our annoying scribe.”

“I forget, now, what you’d done to set me off like that, but some of Luc’s dialogue there was almost word for word what I once spoke to you. I’m glad to see the moment made an impression on one of us.”

Favorite Character Besides “Yourself”?: “Avelaine,” he says fondly. “Let us simply say he’s based upon a character of great importance to me.”

<<<>>>

Thanks for your time, Lute! And readers, stay tuned – both for the continuation of this questionnaire series, and the release of the “Inspired” novels!

Got any more questions for Gant-o’-the-Lute or his author regarding “Inspired”? Ask away in the comments!

Time for Tag! (Or So We’ll Pretend)

Once upon many moons ago, The Story Sponge tagged me in a thing – and I’ve finally got the time to play along!

Saruman Time Tweet

I’m carving out the time, okay?

Writers's Book Tag

So: The Writer’s Book Tag. In which writer-life turns of phrase are used to relate to reader-life questions. Lez go!

First Draft: a book or series you have never read before

Ohhhh, plenty. Most notoriously, I have neither read the Harry Potter nor the Game of Thrones books – the one phenomenon because I missed it when it was new, and now it’s too culturally pervasive for me to feel like I have to; the other behemoth because it really sounds a lot more ~adult~ fantasy than I tend to prefer.

Second Draft: a book or series you didn’t like as much the second time you read it

Bonemender Trilogy

The Bonemender Trilogy. Although, I did still really like it the second time around. But when I picked up the first book again last year, I realized it wasn’t actually written as well as I’d remembered it from my teens. (Lord only knows what I’d think if I reread “Twilight” now…)

Final Draft: a book or series you have liked for a really long time

Montmorency Series

Montmorency! My favorite thief living a double life in Victorian England! (I have a lot of favorite thieves, y’all. Gotta be specific.) I totally owe my knowledge of a question’s answer on “Who Wants to Be a Millionnaire?” to this historical fic. And I love how it’s considered YA, even though most of the main characters are adults. Like, see? It’s not the age of the protag, but the voice of the narrative that counts! I call that empowering.

Killing off your Characters: a book or series that made you cry

DANG IT, MISTBORN. Can’t even remember if I shed real tears, but I was BAWLING ON THE INSIDE, several times over the course of the trilogy.

Plot Holes: a book or series that disappointed you

Maximum Ride movie poster

Maximum Ride. I adored Books 1 and 2, but 3 didn’t do it for me, and 4 just turned me away from even bothering with the rest of the series. SO SAD. I did recently find the disappointing movie on Netflix, though, so… that happened, too.

Writer’s Block: a book or series you never finished

Skullduggery Pleasant box set

Soooo many. Haven’t finished the Skullduggery Pleasant series, but not because I don’t want to! It’s just taking forever to find all the later books – and, y’know, the time to read them. Also the Sword of Truth series, because too much horrific gore, not enough focus on the sexy-cinnamon-roll-who-will-cut-you protagonist, Richard Rahl.

Feedback: a book or series you would recommend to anyone and everyone

“I Am Nottingham” by Tirzah Duncan. It’s not anywhere close to finished yet, but even in its WIP state, it is THE BEST Robin Hood retelling I’ve ever known. Like, don’t even make me choose between it and my own Outlaws of Avalon; I will split apart inside.

Aaaand I am probably supposed to tag other bloggers now, but I’m out of time as it is, so if there’s anyone reading this who wants to play? Consider yourself personally invited. And if play along you do, feel free to link up to your posts in comments below; I’m sure to eventually have the time to read them.

P.S. – bonus photos of Yosemite! Shared at the request of The Pixie Chronicles. (See what magic you wield when you leave comments? ;D)

Yosemite_IMG_20180112_100550955_HDR - CopyYosemite_IMG_20180112_104001298_HDR - Copy

The Life and Times of Yosemite Dan

“So, how’s life in Yosemite National Park?”

I’m glad you asked, unspecified italicized voice*. It’s been… something else.

Yosemite - Adventure Usual

*(Or didn’t I name that voice, at one point? I wouldn’t put it past me.)

The Job:

I’ve been about a month working in the Majestic Yosemite Hotel as a dishwasher – ahem, make that as a Majestic Steward, according to my manager.

Yosemite - Majestic Steward

Running rinsed flatware, glassware, utensils, and more through the pair of heavy-duty machines. Working with the team to keep the kitchen’s dishes in some semblance of order for the chefs and servers. Walking the line between mind- and body-numbing repetition and cracking the puzzles of how to make everything fit on the shelves – like a living video game that dries out your hands and tweaks out your shoulder.

Two weeks into it, aforesaid manager sat me down to say that he was very much impressed with me and wished to groom me into his managerial position. Color me both flattered and terrified! Of course I strive to shine in whatever role I’m given, and due recognition for my efforts is always appreciated. But… a manager? At the Majestic? Whether I’m psychologically competent to handle the responsibility aside, I’ve never planned to stay in Yosemite long-term. By the end of the year (at the latest), I want a place in Fresno with the BFF.

This I told my manager, largely anticipating that would be that. But, “Oh, Fresno?” he says. “The company has a branch in Fresno. Let me make a phone call…” And he totally calls over there to see what kind of position might be available for me within a year’s time.

If that’s not a sign to go ahead and accept the position of his protégée, what in the world is?

The Cast:

I wasn’t long on the job before I started thinking this would all make for quite the book.

Yosemite - Outlaws AU

Not that I’m big on memoirs (unless you count the upcoming Inspired, which I halfway do), but something in the rom-com vein would suit. …minus any romance, at this point, since none of my coworkers have yet to make a move on my heart. That’s just as well. Amusing as these characters may be to read or write, they’re hardly Deshipley love interest material. I mean, just get a load of these guys – all, for the sake of identity-protection, to be called Jo[e]*.

*(As life would have it, Joe is the actual name of one of my coworkers. Which? I’m not about to tell.)

Mansplainer Joe = Here to make sure that I know he knows what I should know. Because I guess my quick competence is only visible to actual bosses, not just bossy people.

Dead Inside Joe = Going through the motions without any memory of why he once cared, if ever he did. Should probably get a different job before there’s nothing left of him to save.

Muttering Joe = What’s that he’s saying? Nobody knows, and I suppose it doesn’t matter, given that he’s 9 times out of 10 talking to himself. Freezes with overwhelm when the servers pile the unwashed dishes too high at the sink. Will be taking his break now whether there’s anyone to relieve him or not

Super Joe = This elderly man doesn’t speak English (I think he’s some kind of Eastern European?), but he can pull and stow dishes like nobody’s business. “He’s a superhero,” Dead Inside Joe says candidly. “Whenever he’s here, I feel safe.” Clearly, the Majestic Steward that Gotham needs right now.

Sociopathic Witch Priest Joe = …Or so he claims. There’s no telling how much of his manic chatter is true, and how much is him just trying to keep himself entertained. Can verifiably wash and load dishes at the speed magic, if and when he can be bothered to work at all. Loves my high-level use of English. Thinks we should plot a murder together.

Boy Band Joe = Looks like an early Nick Carter. Proudly calls himself the weirdest person here. (Which, wow, have you not met Sociopathic Witch Priest Joe?) Can barely keep it in his hairnet. Low-key resents the manager acting like this is a job to be taken seriously.

“It” Girl Jo = Or is Boy Band Joe the only one hollering for her attention all night? Whatever the case, I’ll totally buy her as the queen bee of the dish pit, proving that you don’t have to look like (or be) a Mean Girl to read as popular. Knows her job and gets it done. Caught me proofreading “Inspired” and showed an interest. Obviously one of the smart ones.

And those are just some of the folks I encounter day-to-day, to say nothing of the rest of the kitchen’s colorful crew. Come at me, Netflix; let’s collab on the next hit original series.

The Perks:

One free meal (often big enough to split into two), plus random tidbits to be had throughout the day. I’m saving like whoa on groceries!

Yosemite - Yum

Yosemite - Fruit

Yosemite - Veggies

Steady money via a job I don’t hate. I began to doubt I’d live to see the day.

Yosemite itself. Sure, I spend most of the winter’s limited daylight hours laboring indoors, but nature’s glory is never far, and is miraculously healing. My head and heart, praise God, are feeling healthier than they have since before the trauma at Germany’s end – and that goes for some of my characters, too.

– Seriously, my characters love it here. The trees and rivers and mountains fill them with joy. And since they’re inside of me, the benefits are partly mine to share.

– When I’ve got two days off to rub together, the BFF is just a few hours away by bus and train. Our reunions are always sweet, and keep us going strong until we’re back together for real.

The Takeaway:

For now – and for once – I’m fairly sure I’m where I’m supposed to be. Certainly, I’m feeling well taken care of. And whether this experience ever makes its way into a book or onscreen, I know it to be well worth living.

Yosemite - Nature