I Memed a Meme, This Tag Gone By

December was my hiatus month as far as writing blog posts was concerned, but it didn’t stop me reading the blog posts of others. For example, this “Les Mis Character Tag” post by The Story Sponge, in which song titles from the “Les Miserables” musical demanded matching to character types found throughout literature.

Me being a lover of both books and musicals – (which would go some way toward explaining why so many of my books end up sprinkled with original song numbers) – of course I want to play! And so I shall, featuring characters from all over Danielle E. Shipley canon. (Because that sort of self-indulgent fun is my reward for having put like 15+ books out into the world.)

les mis gif, revolution
This tag’s semi-related, bro. Be chill.

First, the tag rules:

– Acknowledge the human/dragon/sponge that tagged you (tagged my own self, so check!)

– Acknowledge the sponge that created the tag (check, and kudos to you, Story Sponge!)

– Tag as many people as you so desire (check, because if you’re reading this and want to play, consider yourself tagged!)

Now, let the games being!

1) “Valjean’s soliloquy” (a character who’s whole view of the world undergoes a dramatic shift)

Sun's Rival Cover, frontFor this, I’m going with Ionquin Wyle, Crown Prince of Denebdeor. Yes, I could have just as easily chosen Princess Laraspur, the sister with whom he adventures in their life-changing story, “The Sun’s Rival” (Wilderhark Tales, Book 5). But for all that Laraspur’s worldview is rocked just as hard, it’s Ionquin who has the harder time coping with all they’ve discovered and trying to reconcile it to his future as a king. His struggle extends well into Book 6, and I’m not honestly sure he’s 100% recovered by Book 7. Sometimes your head just stays blown your whole life long.

2) “I Dreamed a Dream” (a character who never seems to have any good luck whatsoever)

I’d like to think I’m pretty nice about letting my characters catch the occasional lucky break in their otherwise harrowing lives. But wouldn’t you know, I get called out in text (in “Deathsong of the Deep”, coming February 14th!) about how Narles Semsen, jack of all trades aboard the Painted Lady, ends up with a pretty short end of the stick.

Deathsong cover, remix 01.3

“Crow’s said he’s fought with fireworks before,” [said Molly].

“And got half a score of pirates killed,” said Anafrid.

“At least most of those dead pirates were his enemies.”

“And seared the color vision out of Semsen’s eyes.”

“That part was unfortunate,” Molly conceded.

Anafrid’s eyes rolled up into the downpour. “If any of the rest of us survive Crow’s madness along with him, it will be because we’ve breathed enough of his air to catch his luck. I don’t hold high hope for the temporary hands.”

/And I can only hope a few weeks aboard the Lady have been enough for me,/ Molly thought. If she had suspected it meant the difference between her life and death, she would have made plans to join the crew sooner. Well, perhaps sharing a boat with the captain during the battle to come would tip the balance in her favor. Or cost her part of her vision. Or her face.

Sticking close to Crow hadn’t proven particularly lucky for Semsen.

So, there you have it. I am a good author more than I am a nice one. Apologies, Mr. Semsen.

3) “Fantine’s Arrest” (a character who just makes your skin crawl)

Legend cover 02, front

Thaaat would be Sir Guy of Gisborne from “The Legend of Allyn-a-Dale” (Outlaws of Avalon, Book 3). Scary. Evil. Dangerous. Also, creepy. Let’s not talk about him. Unless you’ve already read the book. In which case, let us whimper in harmony.

4) “The Bargain/The Waltz of Treachery” (a character who is a master of manipulation)

Surrogate Sea cover, front

No contest: This one goes to Austeryn, the South Wind of The Wilderhark Tales. “The Surrogate Sea” (Book 6) testifies to how far – and how sneakily – he’ll go to achieve his plans, to say nothing of his part in that one short story in “The Sky-Child” (Book 6.5). You don’t need a sorting hat (or *cough* to have ever read “Harry Potter” *cough*) to know he’s 300% Slytherin. Watch your back in the fog, my friends.

5) “Stars” (a villain with a convincing motivation)

In the ‘antihero’ category? Thackeray Kyle, the Vampire Hunter. We all know why we does what he does. It’s very much “cool story, still murder”, but how many of us would honestly do any better, were we living his “So Super Dead” life?

In the ‘not villainous but dangerous’ category? Mach Jenius, Brainstorm. Our boy’s not out to hurt anybody in “Out of My Head” (Inspired 2), but darned if he couldn’t end up destroying a few lives anyway in his entirely relatable quest for belonging.

In the ‘actual villain category’, Lord Swanton, Sheriff of Nottinghamshire. I completely get where he’s coming from. I, too, would lose patience with peasants who’d rather cheer for Robin Hood than just quietly pay their taxes. But that’s because I have a villainous streak that cares more about the world following my rules than about people. Sooooo, nobody elect me your sheriff, okay? Okay.

6) “Do you Hear the People Sing?” (a character who inspires other people)

The obvious answer? Lucianíel from “Inspired”. The light elemental’s a muse, after all.

But I can’t not mention King Arthur Pendragon. “The Once and Future Camelot” (everyone remember that magical cover?!?! would not exist without him, because like 9 out of 10 major players in the book can point back to Arthur as his or her motivation. Noble deeds, nefarious doings… Arthur inspires a lot.

7) “Little People” (a little character with a whole lot of spunk)

arcane-arts-coverIf we’re talking “no small parts, only stories with small word counts”, how ‘bout the soul of Kid from “The Dark Siren”? He’s quite the child, considering he’s basically a ghost. Inquisitive, audacious, and none too shy about expressing his feelings. Also sort of a necromancer, but it’s complicated.

8) “Bring Him Home” (a character who is sacrificially protective)

Our Hungering Hearts, front cover

Um, Rowan “Row” Charles in “Our Hungering Hearts” only gave up his entire plane of reality to look after his best friend. He went from living in a magical dream world to battling a lousy job market in the name of love. Your fave could never.

9) “Javert’s Suicide” (an extremely conflicted character)

Once we’re really into the deep end of “Deathsong”, Molly Worth’s got a massive dilemma on her hands. Which song of her heart should she follow? Do the ends she feels owed justify the means divinely set before her?? Ought she fight her way back to Hot Guy #1, or is Hot Guy #2 her inescapable destiny??? (I’m joking! JOKING! The moral quandary far outweighs any romantic subplottery, I swear!)

10) “Empty Chairs at Empty Tables” (an impossibly lonely character)

My kneejerk answer would be Allyn-a-Dale – not least because he totally wrote a grieving parody of this very song, once, which I may or may not someday make public. But truth be told, ‘lonely’ is not the word for Allyn. It is the word, during one time or another, for the people he’s closest to. His father, for one, lived a low-key very lonely life. His best friend, for another, felt unspeakably isolated. And then there’s [name redacted], which of the three examples given here is actually Allyn’s fault, but that’s a story for a book as yet unpublished, so nothing more to see here!

And that is that! Les Mis Character Tag: Accomplished.

les mis gif, valjean approves

If any of you decide to play along in a post of your own, feel free to share the link with me so I can check it out! And whether you think all my character match-ups were spot on or would have better gone to somebody else I wrote, you can tell me all about it in the comments.

~ ‘Til next time, mes amis ^_^

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The Stranger-Than-True Book Club: Deeper into the Deathsong

Welcome back to the first-ever coming together of the Stranger-Than-True Book Club – an assortment of Deshipley characters joined in discussion about, in this instance, Danielle’s upcoming high-seas fantasy “Deathsong of the Deep”. I’m your merry moderator, Lady Marion Hood, of Outlaws of Avalon fame. To read Part One of the club meeting, click here. Now, on to Part Two. Laraspur, I believe you wanted in particular to gush about the relationships?

stt book club logo

Laraspur (Princess of Denebdeor/Queen of Welken, from The Wilderhark Tales): I did, and I do! I could go on about them for ages, but I’ll try to stay succinct. My first favorite pair, of course, is Molly and Crow. I love watching their estimations of each other develop over the course of time and conversation and adventure.

Uri (skater girl and Fire of God, from the “Inspired” novels): Time, conversation, and adventure – the holy trinity behind half your Wilderhark romances.

Nicky (genderless super ghost-whisperer, from “So Super Dead”): Well, any relationship that doesn’t have conversation behind it can’t hope to go far. The “Deathsong” characters seem pretty good about talking to each other, though. …Excepting maybe Blue Gracie, who’s more the type to only speak when it won’t communicate too much. Y’know how magical, mystical characters be like.

Lar: Speaking of Blue Gracie, I also very much enjoyed her relationship with Crow. Something about the way they wanted to be present together, even if neither one was in a real position to do much for the other. A sweet and a sad sort of caring.

Lucianíel (light elemental, muse, and fictional father figure, from the “Inspired” novels): There was quite a variety of caring to be found aboard the Painted Lady. Crow’s, often cavalier and inexpert. Anafrid’s, austere but dependable…

Lar: Oh, it was nice watching Anafrid care for Blue Gracie! Unlike Crow, Anafrid didn’t even seem to get anything out of it. She was just being kind.

U: Being kind, or flirting?

N: Anafrid didn’t come off the least bit flirty to me.

U: We don’t know how they flirt in Sjorda.

Luc: There’s nothing definitive in text about whether Anafrid is attracted to women, to men, or to no one at all. Subtextually, though, one could make inferences.

Marion: Speaking of Sjorda, what think we of the countries and cultures created specially for “Deathsong”?

Luc: Well, Danielle didn’t spend a great deal of page space delving into any of them. Even so, what little time she devoted to painting pictures of Sjorda’s cold (environmentally and culturally), Chesney’s shallow beauty, and the coarse, homely character of Hornwhal’s Lower Lee did much toward hinting at a convincingly diverse world.

N: Don’t forget the seafaring culture that fascinated Molly so hard. You could peg her for a water girl long before she ever ditched the land.

Lar: Just like Jessica! – Molly and Jessica being another favorite pairing of mine, by the way.

M: I do love me a womance in fiction.

U: A what now?

M: Womance. Female equivalent of bromance. Gal pals to the next level – like, I don’t know, you and Gabriel, or… are there any Wilderhark examples, Lar?

Lar: I’d say Father and Millyanna, but one’s a man.

M: Ah, well. In any case, yes, Molly and Jessica were proper mates. Really, it’s a bit remarkable the number of relationships Molly considered equally important to the one between her and Crow. First her and Jessica, then her and little Johnny…

Deathsong cover, remix 01.3

Lar: SO precious!

U: It’s like girl protagonists have space to have friends and be mothering and obsess over sea monsters and fall for the male lead. Who knew?

N: My book’s girl protagonist didn’t have space for any of that. I guess afterlife vengeance quests take up a lot of bandwidth.

M: So I’d imagine. Any more favorite relationships, Laraspur, before we move on for good?

Lar: Murdoch and Crow gave me feelings, and, I don’t know, I’m glad Semsen has Anafrid, since she seems to be the only one who halfway sees him.

Luc: I expect that’s because Crow’s shame has stopped him looking.

M: Quick question for each of you: If you had to pick one, would you rather be a seiren, a mershade, or one of the seal folk?

U: If Dis were my goddess? Definitely a seiren. The power of flight and a voice made for vengeance. I’m practically qualified already.

Lar: I’d far rather be a mershade and rescue sailors in need. …Even though it means I’d have to die first.

N: Hey wait, does that mean I’d be like the only regular person who could talk to mershades whenever we want to, not just if I’m about to drown?

U: You’re never regular, but maybe.

N: Cool! In any case, I’d pick being a mershade, too. Superhero ghost mermaids for the win!

Luc: I’ve not been shown enough about the lifestyle of seal men to know how well it would suit me. As for the lifestyle of a death creature like a seiren, it’s all a bit too centered around destruction, for my taste. I suppose that leaves the afterlife of a mershade for me, as well.

M: I expect I would love being part of a seal folk community. And fair warning to the men of land: You try to touch my skin without permission, you get knifed.

Lar: Even in an AU where the land man is Robin Hood and his motives are nobler than his methods?

M: Depending on how well he could explain himself, I might apologize afterward for the stabbing. One more item, now, if we can squeeze it in: The plot. What elements of “Deathsong”s storyline grabbed you?

N: I’m hyped on the way Molly makes things happen. Like, her goals are always perfectly personal – nothing ‘world-saving huge’ about them – but when she wants a thing and a chance of getting it comes within reach, she jumps for it, no matter how crazy that chance looks on paper.

Luc: I appreciate the sharp turn it all takes, halfway through. The drastic change Molly undergoes. The sudden costs Crow has to face. Suddenly, it all goes deeper – again, ‘environmentally and’.

N: And just like that, it’s Kraken time for real!

U: I think it’s interesting how long it takes to figure out what’s up with the Aglatha arc. We hear this thing from one source, that thing from another, a contradiction further up the road, and then by the end it’s like… dang, that’s messed up. As is Crow, the more comes to light. It’s actually terrible, the stuff Danielle just puts her imaginary people through.

Luc: One could argue that it’s no intention of Danielle’s. Some authors… well, they are to their stories as her best minstrels are to their songs: The art isn’t fashioned, only found. And Crow’s backstory, alas, is one easily enough found outside of fiction.

Lar: I just love how everything comes together in the end. I don’t know whether one could call it a fairytale ending, but the deathsong’s closing notes hit me like a proper finale.

M: And on that closing note, thank you, you four, for making this book club discussion a fictional reality. And thank you, readers of the blog, for stowing away for the ride. 😉 Feel free to bring your own addition to the discourse in the comments, and forget ye not: “Deathsong of the Deep” is sailing your way, just one short month from now!

The Stranger-Than-True Book Club: Let’s Get #KrakenBook

Hello, everyone! Lady Marion Hood, here, to lead a new and exciting venture that entered Danielle’s imagination when she meant to be working on something else – because isn’t that just how the creative mind works?

Any readers who’ve kept up with the Ever On Word blog for a few years – (or who’ve explored the blog’s pages on a whim) – may recall a somewhat short-lived feature called the Stranger Than Truth Club, in which Danielle, Tirzah, and a variable number of their respective fictional friends came together to talk at each other until the authors found something quotable. The posts were good fun to create, but too much of a collaborative effort to keep up with any regularity. So since the club name has gone so long out of use, I am stealing it (in true outlaw fashion) for a same-but-different sort of club. In specific, the Stranger-Than-True Book Club! A collection of Deshipley characters come to converse on, in today’s case, Danielle’s soon-to-be-released #KrakenBook, “Deathsong of  the Deep”.

Deathsong cover, remix 01.3

First, the book’s summary:

Nineteen-year-old tavern girl Molly Worth needs a way out of the lackluster future she’s sure awaits in her small portside town. A miraculous living ship needs an ally willing to steal her away from what she’s sure will be her doom. It seems like a match ordained by the mystical Sea Queen herself, but the darkest power below has other plans for those who brave the deep.

Taken under the wing of a creature of myth, and absorbed into the uncommon crew commanded by one rakish Captain Crow, Molly begins to make her way toward the life she wants for herself, only to lose it all in an epic venture gone wrong. Now to regain what the monstrous Kraken destroyed requires that she weigh life against life, and life against death with the unnatural creature who sings to her soul.

From the author of fairytale saga “The Wilderhark Tales”, the “Outlaws of Avalon” legend, and “Inspired” love letters to the heart of creation, comes a high-seas fantasy of faith and doubt; of honor and love; and of tentacles.

Second, a brief introduction to the members of the club. Will everyone please state your name, your story world, and your role within it? Starting with you, Your Highness, then going ‘round clockwise.

stt book club - laraspurLar: Oh! As you like. Hello, I’m Laraspur, from the Wilderhark Tales – daughter of Queen Rosalba and King Edgwyn Wyle of Denebdeor, protagonist of “The Sun’s Rival”, and … something of a literal star of the heavens, by the end of things.

Uri, croppedU: The literal end of things. Been there. What up, I’m Uri from the “Inspired” novels. Skater girl, avenging angel, occasional clique leader of amateur author Annabelle Iole Gray’s character crew, when this guy’s not there to call the shots.

stt book club - lucLuc: ‘This guy’ being me – Lucianíel, elemental of light, principle muse to Annabelle, and co-guardian of our precious fictional children.

PowerPuff NickyN: Heya, I’m Nicky Ellenbogen-Jones, aka Xtra-Medium, from Danielle’s recent paranormal publication, “So Super Dead”. Mutant teen from the moon. Pronouns, s/he and himmer. Superpower, talking to dead people; in, like, a therapeutic way.

stt book club - marionM: And once again, I’m Marion, of Robin Hood’s Merry Men from Avalon Faire. I basically smile and try to keep the band from falling apart. Not always easy, that.

StT Book Club Logo.png
N: Aw man, we’re logo-official? Sweet!
U: How much time did the author waste, making this?
Luc: Time spent in creation is never wasted.
M: Like an hour, though.
Lar: Well spent. ^_^

M: Now then! Onto the book discussion. First impressions of “Deathsong of the Deep”. Go!

N: Cool title! The death part. Like, is that a thing, with Danielle? Books full of death?

U: I mean, she did kill off my original author in the first few pages of “Inspired”. Not to mention the whole “Manta and the Mask” sub-story therein.

Lar: There’s not as much death to be found in the Wilderhark stories. But then, it’s a fairytale world. And on the other hand, the last book of the series was… Never mind. Death is everywhere.

Luc: Coming back to your opening question, Marion, I would call “Deathsong” an unusual book, even for Danielle. For one thing, she built the world herself, as opposed to her favored method of piggybacking off of established fairy tales, legends, or her own life. Even “So Super Dead” took place largely in a world like hers, just add vampires, werecats, superhuman moon colony, etc. “Deathsong” has its own geography and mythology, only borrowing fantasy creature types from various cultures to populate a wild new sea. It’s a different sort of creativity, for her, and the end result is… perhaps slightly profound.

U: I’m not a huge fan of her making up a sea goddess for it, but I get it. She was going through some stuff. Depression, exhaustion, theological disappointment. If she needed a bogus deity to help unpack and illustrate her dark night of the soul, I guess that’s what art is for.

M: Favorite characters, anyone?

Lar: Molly Worth is a treat! Sort of solemn but witty at the same time. Indomitable, and so deeply caring. She’d make a worthy princess, if she didn’t live on such a different story path.

Luc: I’d say a number of the characters exhibit a complexity I like. Each member of Captain Crow’s crew has a face they show and a passion they carry closer. Some of the passions get explored in text more thoroughly than others, but one can tell we’re dealing with people, not one-dimensional caricatures. If anything, I’m most intrigued by Anafrid, simply because we know the least about her.

U: I like Jessica. Not that I would probably want to spend much time with her, but I appreciate her heart’s devotion.

N: I— um, is it weird that I wanna say Kraken? ‘Cause, like, I get that he’s a monster, but…

U: But that’s your type.

N: I don’t have a type! I just… Part of him is dead, right? His humanity died. So he’d maybe eat me, but I’d wanna talk to him first.

M: I, for one, am here for Murdoch. Fun, friendly…

Lar: Plus-size positive!

M: …That! And a woman of color, to boot. If the crew of the Painted Lady were the Merry Men, Murdoch would easily be the Marion.

N: Ooh, ooh, who would everybody else be?

U: Anafrid = Little John, no contest.

M: They are both second-in-command and tall. Anafrid talks more than Little John, but then, who doesn’t? As for Captain Crow… not sure. He’s in charge like Robin, and has a not entirely dissimilar charm, but then he flashes that flirtatious smile that hides a tortured mind and hurting heart, and all you can think is ‘Will Scarlet’.

Lar: Father would love to design his coats. The style skews feminine, and womenswear has long been a favorite of the famed tailor-king.

N: Do we have an Allyn-a-Dale?

U: That would be Gracie – the mystery pulled in from out of nowhere who isn’t more than they seem, just more than anyone can name for certain, for a while. Also, blue.

N: Oh, yeah. That’d actually be blatant, if she’d done it on purpose.

Luc: Danielle has certainly done her share of blatant character copying. That is, as she’s readily admitted, the deliberate conceit behind the cast of “Inspired”. And if anything, Captain Crow is as much begotten of Wilderhark’s Gant-o’-the-Lute as am I. Blue Gracie, however, was based predominately on her author.

N: And I’m not seeing a match at all for Semsen.

U: Semsen doesn’t have half enough ‘merry’ in him for the Sherwood crowd. He wouldn’t make the worst knight in Camelot, though.

M: Well, this discussion is delightful, but also running long. What do you think, fellows? Should we break off and make it a two-parter? Come back next week?

N: I’m for that!

U: Why, is there more to say?

Lar: Is there! We haven’t even touched upon all the relationships! Or the locations, the magical creatures, the plot! We certainly must come back for that, if Danielle’s willing to host us again.

Luc: And why would she not be? Her characters posting in her stead is her favorite way to blog.

M: Then it’s settled. Characters, take five. And readers, take seven days. The Stranger-Than-True Book Club will return with further insights on “Deathsong of the Deep”. Stay tuned! Leave comments! And farewell!

Camelot [Cover] Revealed

Welcome to the beginning of 2019, and to the return of Ever On Word’s regularly scheduled blog posts! My December hiatus was much needed and much enjoyed, but now it’s time to get back into the swing of things as we count down to the release of my nautical fantasy novel, “Deathsong of the Deep”.

Deathsong Proof 1.0

As per my usual, the back pages of the book will include a teaser for the next novel on deck – in this case, the blurb and cover of what I’ve been long referring to as #CamelotWIP. But who wants to wait for “Deathsong”s release to begin the Camelot hype, when I can instead reveal both cover and blurb right here and now? Not me! So, if you’re ready to know just what #CamelotWIP’s all about, prithee read on.

Everyone knows the story. Nobody knows the truth.

According to legend – and to Merlin’s prophecies – the great King Arthur Pendragon will someday reign again. But “someday” has been a long time in coming, with decades spent confined in Avalon, the ancient Faerie isle disguised in modern times as an everyday  Renaissance Faire. What remains of Camelot’s court pass their summers by putting on famous faces for the Outside world, all the while questioning who they were before death and magical rebirth robbed them of their memories.

For Camelot to rise again, they must remember the fall.

With nothing but centuries of hearsay to mine for clues, the mysteries remain: Were Queen Guinevere and Sir Lancelot the betrayers, or the betrayed? How came Sir Bedivere to be known as “the One-Handed”, and what hand had he in the kingdom’s undoing? Did the inscrutable Morganne le Fey stand with Arthur, or with his enemies?

And do truly great enemies ever die?

In this epic successor to the Outlaws of Avalon trilogy, the time comes at last for “once” and “future”  to unite, thanks to – (or in spite of) – a king and a wizard, the Round Table and the Fey folk, and one outlaw minstrel whose destiny has only just begun.

And…

 

now…

 

the..

 

cover:

 

Camelot Cover, final w blur, text, tagline 01

 

HUUUUUUUUUUGE props to the cover’s illustrator, Dariana Loki! Just… how often do a book’s cover and the story vibe inside it match so perfectly? The gravitas of Excalibur… The intriguing quality of the hand that holds it… The duality of the kingdom, straddling time… It’s all there in a thousand words’ equivalence. But so many more thousands of words still wait to be shared, and the necessary delay between the ‘once’ of my writing them and the ‘future’ of their publication is KILLING ME.

Top Reasons I Can’t Wait to Publish This Book:

– You ever have a character make a throwaway comment in “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”, only to realize half-a-decade later that HOLY HEAVENFIRE, that’s actually a mind-blowing piece of #CamelotWIP foreshadowing? Because that’s what happened to this author, and I swear, sometimes I’m convinced my imagination be like:

When Have I Ever Told You Anything

– Most of my books have been written in the closest approximation of silence I could get, but #CamelotWIP has demanded a soundtrack from the first. Not only did I require random “2 hours of relaxing [faux-Medieval and forest-Fey-like] music” videos ‘n’ such replaying on YouTube while drafting…

Debt to Music

…but there are a heck ton of songs that never fail to put me in a Camelot mood – predominant among them, the works of Heather Dale, Fall Out Boy, and Imagine Dragons. For the first time, I’ll have a playlist to share! And I am eager.

– I’ll also get to release an Allyn-a-Dale song I haven’t yet been able to share in public because #spoilers. I’ve already got the chords down on my lute, so now it’s just a matter of outlasting the usual waiting games of the publishing biz until I can post a video.

– You may have thought you sorta-kinda met Avalon Faire’s Camelot crowd in my “Outlaws” series. Or you may have more rightly thought you weren’t getting much of a sense of their true selves at all. In any case, the time is soon to come when my readers – and the Camelot crowd itself – will finally come to learn better who they truly are.

To Galahad of Joyous Gard, the Round Table meant three things.

More than merely knighthood, it was the epitome of true manhood. More even than that: It was the height of Christendom.

And Mordred. It also meant Mordred

– The Once and Future Camelot

– *points upward at quote* Y’all. Need. To meet. Mordred. Love him, hate him, I don’t care what you do, but meet him.

– Speaking of important meetings, the novel’s second half will include a small guest appearance by a certain character of mine that it’s past time you’ve been properly introduced to. He’ll get a short story of his own, one day – (not to mention an entire mega-novel by Tirzah Duncan, because we borrow each other’s imaginary people whenever we feel like it) – but this bit part will be his debut.

– Basically, I just want us all to bond in suffering over my take on the saddest story legend ever told. Because I’m unkind.

So, when’s “The Once and Future Camelot” going to launch? I do not know! It will depend very much on how efficiently I’m able to get it properly edited in the time crumbs dropped from my day job. But hey, we’re only like a month away from the release of “Deathsong of the Deep” – (official release date TBD, but it shall be in February) – so let’s hold onto the tentacle-filled positives.

What do y’all think of that Camelot cover, tho?!?!? And the blurb – what catches at your imagination? Which character in Avalon Faire’s Camelot Crowd are you most excited to explore? Scream with me in the comments.

My Type o’ Writer

It’s that time of year, again! By which I mean, the one where I have been diligently producing blog content for almost a year and am very tired and wistfully looking at the idea of taking a hiatus. So I’m thinking Ever On Word will go quiet for the month of December. But that leaves today, the last Friday of November. What to blog about??

Fortunately, when Present Me is feeling uninspired, she can often turn to ideas that Past Me jotted down somewhere but never used – such as this list of ‘writer stereotypes’ by Paper Fury. How do I stack up against them? Let us discuss.

  1. Writers stay up late and work best in darkness

This actually used to be true of me. During the height of my creative frenzy (circa 2010 – 2015ish), I legitimately did most of my living in the middle of the night. (See “Open Journal: Creature of the Night.”) But anymore, I have a day job that dictates I be up-and-at-‘em with the winter sun, so bedtime’s 9pm, closer to 10 if I’m being naughty. If I wanna make words, it needs to happen in daylight.

  1. Writers drink a lot of coffee + go to coffee shops to write

Make that “writers drink entirely too much tea”, and I will, first of all, demand how you dare suggest there is such a thing as “too much tea” – (apologize or we duel) – and second of all agree that, yes, I am all about that tea life. And I do quite enjoy tea shops, but not as places to write. Noisy public spaces impede my creative process. My gal Tirzah, however, is a fiend for writing in coffee shops, and I have been known to tag along and occupy myself in other artistic pursuits (*cough* mostly selfies *cough*).

Tea and Coffee Shops
Taking time for tea and/or coffee and/or amateur photography.
  1. The writer uniform is: Pajamas

My pajamas are for bedtime and nothing else. If I want to be able to function outside of bed, I need daytime clothes. …Which can be every bit as slouchy and soft and unsuitable for errand-running as pajamas, but go by a different name in my brains, and Names Have Power. Ask a fairy tale.

  1. Writers are always crying over having to write

If I’m crying creator tears, it’s because I had a total blast making my story / song / blog post / whatever, and eagerly shared the artwork with the world … and the world did not appear to notice.

  1. Writers are partially made of crumbs or are six dragons in a trench coat

My trench coat conceals a kraken.

Fresno_IMG_20181115_073344341_2

  1. Writers are obsessed with stationary

I mean, I did design my own journal… And do have more journals than I expect I will ever actually fill… And spend a lot of time ogling fancy journals while shopping… And am essentially Annabelle Iole Gray from the “Inspired” novels

“Is she a writer?” Yves asked in a near-whisper.

“There’s hope for it,” said Luc. “She cradles two new journals in the crook of her arm, and is considering a third. If they are for her, we can assume her plans to fill them.”

– from “Inspired”

Hello, New Journal 01
From “Lightbulb Moments: An INSPIRED Journal”

Do you like your name, New Journal? It’s Irish, and means ‘fair’. I didn’t think you’d mind being given an Irish name, even if you are, according to a certain tattoo of yours, Taiwanese. What if your Irish parents served as missionaries in Taiwan, and you happened to be born and spent your formative years there before going out to seek your fortune on a book retailer’s shelf here in Missouri, U. S. of A.? Or what if you got the tat because you identify as Asian in your secret heart of hearts, never mind your being genetically second-generation Irish-American? No, make that third-generation. Your grandparents came over on the Titanic – well, partway on the Titanic; emergency switch in transport, mid-Atlantic, history will recall – and I guess their owners must have been wealthy enough to get first crack at the lifeboats, so…

“For heaven’s sake,” Luc said, his voice an almost Abishan-like growl. “Is she planning to write her first novel on the family history of a notebook?”

– from “Inspired”

So… yeah.

  1. Writers hate editing

I hate being told to edit. But I very much enjoy fiddling with what I’ve written, every time I reread it. It’s one of the increasingly few activities I can lose myself and relax in.

  1. Writers will correct your grammar

I very much will. And spelling. And usage. And unnecessary repetition. And punctuation. But mostly in my own head, not out loud, so you won’t even know how much you want to smack me.

  1. Writers want to drink readers’ tears

If I wept writing it, I want you ugly sobbing with me. Fair’s only fair.

  1. Writers hiss at people and live alone in a cottage in the deepest moors

…Close enough.

Meanwhile, in the comments section: Are you Team Tea or Team Coffee? What, instead of or in addition to journals, tops your “I don’t need it, but I nee-ee-eed it” list? Dare I ask who you are beneath the trench coat?

Chat with me in the comments, and I’ll see you all in January!

WHAMO! Shapeshifting Your Way to the Throne

WHAMO Logo

Hello, beautiful people! Will Scarlet, here. And it’s time for another edition of “WHAMO!” (which is basically “WWMHO!” – the acronym for “Will Watches Movies, Has Opinions” – but visually catchier).

Today’s pick is a special request from a favorite fan slash friend slash all-around gorgeous individual. Always happy to oblige milady Chelsea de la Cruz, the author and I hit up her place to view an animated classic with “Avalon Faire movie night” written all over it:

“The Sword in the Stone”

Sword in the Stone Movie Poster

The IMDb-official description:

A poor boy named Arthur learns the power of love, kindness, knowledge and bravery with the help of a wizard called Merlin in the path to become one of the most beloved kings in English history.

From Disney; directed by Wolfgang Reitherman; starring Rickie Sorensen, Sebastian Cabot, and Karl Swenson.

Stream of Impressions (the highlights):

“A bardic, lute-strumming prologue of an opening! In the words of many a post’s hashtags on my Tumblr: #allyn-a-dale aesthetics #minstrel approved”

“Okay. Oh great. It’s a wizard with his head up his backside’s future. I’m gonna spend half this movie jeering at On Screen!Merlin in place of the Merlin who trapped me on an immortal Faerie island, aren’t I? Sure, that’s healthy.”

“Did they totally base Arthur/Wart’s animation on Mowgli from ‘The Jungle Book’, or is it the other way ‘round? Which one predates the other? Hang on, looking it up… All right, ‘Sword in the Stone’ came first! 1963 vs. ’67. Now we know. ^_^”

“Run, Wart! Move those little stick arms! Kay’s scrunchy face means violence!”

“Pretty sure the sugar bowl’s gonna end up being my favorite character in this thing. Watch him get way too little screen time.”

“*fangirl squeal* It’s the book-packing gif!”

Merlin Books Gif

“Word on the street (or from Chelsea’s brother) is that poor, luckless wolf in the forest ranked well on some list of, like, Best Disney Wolves of All Time. I’d probably have cast my vote for the Sheriff of Nottingham, just cuz Robin Hood pride.”

“Don’t let the wizard in, Sir Ector! They’re bad news, and worse houseguests!”

“Yikes, that tower’s fit to topple like Jenga. Zero stars. Would probably not relegate a wizard to it, no matter my trauma-born prejudice.”

“Did my King Arthur never get turned into a fish? Cuz I don’t wanna say that’s why Camelot fell, but…”

“Why is the grumpy owl the only one trying to save little Wart Fish from getting eaten by the moat monster? OF WHAT USE THE MAGICAL WIZARD?”

“Debatable wizard use = Book-Packing Gif: Dishes Edition.”

“Debatable wizard use 2 = Sex Education: Squirrel Edition.”

“My heart is B R E A K I N G for Girl Squirrel, right now! Forget the sugar bowl – she’s fun and flirty and tenacious and brave, how DARE a wizard’s antics toy with her loving soul?! You’re just gonna leave her there, crying in a tree for what she thought was her husband?! I REJECT THIS. Somebody make it canon that Girl Squirrel gets magicked into a human named Guinevere. Animate the sequel. I’ll wait.”

“That… is very obviously not the same voice Arthur had a minute ago. Or a minute later. Like, not even close. Who thought no one would notice??”

“Is Mim short for, like, Morgan/Morgana/Morganne le Fey, or is this just some random antagonist witch?”

“And now for everyone’s favorite ‘battle of the shapeshifters’ trope, the Wizard Duel! You see it in fairy tales (see ‘The Sorcerer’s Boy’), you hear it in song (hear ‘Ceridwen and Taliesin’)… Classic.”

“Oh, hey, look, it’s the sword in the stone. Hands up if you forgot halfway through the fish transformation that this was the title and prologued plot point of this movie.”

“If the fact that Wart can remove the blade doesn’t serve as proof of his rightful kinghood, maybe the sparkly light and heavensong will convince you. It’s at least as good a basis for a system of government as strange women lying in ponds distributing swords, amirite?”

“Well, well, well. Look who’s back from Bermuda, just in time to regain the ear of the new Once and Future King. Sketchy AF. For the love of England, let the owl act as court adviser. Or appoint the sugar bowl. Anyone but Merlin.”

More Coherently Summarized:

My psychological issues involving archetypal wizards aside, I did find the movie lightly entertaining, albeit ultra-light on an Arthurian plot. Where was all the knightly drama? The peril of the Fey folk? Grand ventures of chivalry? All we really focused on was a kooky mad scientist in a pointy hat. Is that what the T.H. White book the film’s based upon did, or is it just Disney taking whatever liberties it thinks will own the box office of the day? I don’t even know. I have not read the book, and am not an exert.

Arguably, Danielle’s friend / fellow creative Aly Grauer is an expert, at least on Disney. You should totes check out Aly’s watch-through of ‘Sword in the Stone’ on her blog, and all the other installments in her Disney Odyssey series and/or the million other magical things she gets up to.

Where are the POC?

What, you haven’t heard? There were more talking owls and sentient sugar bowls in Medieval England than non-white people. Have a wacky wizard give you an education, why don’t you.

Shade Gif

<<<>>>

And that’s today’s review! How about you guys? What’s your favorite movie / TV show / book / Wild Western Rock Opera more-or-less based on the King Arthur story? Who are your picks for Best and Worst Wizards of All Time? Discuss in the comments below!

‘Til next time, babes ~

A Melodic Memento Mori

Contrary to what any strangers wandering onto this blog post might assume, Ever On Word is not in fact a music magazine. But I’m gonna temporarily act like it is, in celebration of a grand occasion – namely, my outlaw minstrel is dropping an all-new song on his trilogy’s Facebook page today! If that doesn’t call for a special author-to-musician interview, what in the worlds does?

So everyone please join me in welcoming the face of the music industry, Allyn-a-Dale Gant!

zFaceoftheMusicIndustry05.2

Allyn: Simply had to reference that canonical music magazine in my third novel, did you?

DEShipley: Sorry, yep, didn’t have a choice. But let’s get right into it! This new song of yours. How did it come about?

Allyn: Quite differently than my usual, as it happens. Normally, my songs spring up as a natural part of the narrative in my books, or are at the least inspired by them or my relationships with the characters therein. The inspiration for this song was nothing like that. No story involved but this:

Tirzah was driving you to work. And where you go – à la Annabelle Iole Gray and her characters in the “Inspired” novels – any number of your fictional friends will follow. So I was there, as of course was Will Scarlet, and we all of us chanced to find ourselves behind a truck bearing a load of rolled-up carpets. Somebody mentioned the possibility of the carpets flying off the vehicle and impaling us. Will didn’t suppose anyone will have ever expired that way, to which Tirzah and I made an amusing, alternating reply. Something to the tune of, ‘Well, now, Will, surely someone has, once. After all…

Tirzah: There’s a whole lot of world.

Allyn: And a whole lot of carpet.

Tirzah: And a whole lot of people.

Allyn: Everybody dies.

And then and there, we recognized the potential for a song. Thank you, by the way, Danielle, for recording the words directly after, so we’d not have the opportunity to forget them.

DEShipley: Hey, I’m the scribe. It’s what I do. How long did it take you to build a full song around that improvised, spoken-word snippet?

Allyn: I don’t believe I put my mind to it until the following day, or the one after. But once I began actively searching out lyrics and melody, it only took you a few hours to catch up with me. Then a short while with you on your lute to work out the chords. Then most of the next morning to see it all recorded, and voila: ‘Everybody Dies’.

DEShipley: The making of this video was more involved than our typical recording process.

Allyn: Necessarily so. The full song is five verses; just under five minutes long. Your phone showed no interest in allowing a video of that length, so we broke it up into parts – one video per verse, plus the introduction. And you pieced them all together on your laptop. Not a bad bit of editing, considering your lack of skill and resources.

DEShipley: The same lack of skill and resources that stands between us and ever creating a full album of Allyn-a-Dale songs, just yet. I remain hopeful for some future day, though! This plane of reality would be the richer for it.

Allyn: It is already the richer for all you’ve done to share the songs we’ve found together. Every artwork of mine known to this world has you to thank, for only through your voice can I be heard so far from home.

DEShipley: Dang it, Allyn, you’re gonna make me squirm for joy. Speaking of joy, I can’t help but notice how uncharacteristically happy you look, during this song.

Allyn: I’m afraid that’s so. How can I but do? ‘Tis a jaunty song of death. Despite all it’s cost me, I’m quite fond of death.

DEShipley: ‘Everybody Dies’ has got a definite folksy feel to it. Very Johnny Cash, or some such. A stylistic departure from much of the music we’ve heard from you, to date – with the entertaining exception of ‘A Merry Traveling Song’ from your first book.

Allyn: True, my general aesthetic tends toward romantic melancholy. But every now and then, my father’s influence shows through, and out comes the sprightly, satirical wit.

DEShipley: The latter makes for a lot of rapid-fire lyrics to get through. You had my tongue in a twist during more than one take!

Allyn: And yet, you managed. Father selected you as his author for a reason. And that reason certainly wasn’t anything to do with the temperamental compatibility between you.

DEShipley: Lord, no. Well, that’s about all the time and space we’ve got today, if we wanna leave room to share the song’s lyrics. Thanks so much for dropping by, Allyn! And congratulations on yet another musical triumph.

Everybody Dies, still frame 02

“Everybody Dies” (Click here for the video!)

‘Twas a truck on the highway, so I’m told,

Carrying carpets in great, long rolls,

And the car behind thinks it’s going too slow,

So the driver speeds up, as he plans to go around.

 

Wasn’t quite tailgating, but near enough to,

So when the truck braked hard and the carpets flew,

The car’s windshield and driver took one through

Like a javelin’s thrust. Now the driver’s in the ground.

 

Sure, it might seem an unlikely end,

A short way out with surprising long odds,

But, blame it on we mortals or blame it on the gods,

I can say this much, my friend:

 

That there’s a lotta ways to come, and a lotta ways to go,

And a lotta dirt, under which someone lies.

There’s a whole lotta world, and a whole lotta people.

A whole lotta carpets. Everybody dies.

*

‘Twas a fellow I knew, and no buffon.

Had a long life left; didn’t think he’d go soon.

But then, like a gag from a kid’s cartoon…

Well, you’d hardly believe it if I said.

 

There he was, just walking down the block,

When a snap from above made him stand still, stock.

Up he looked, and plummeting down like a rock,

A piano that landed on his head.

 

Now, it might seem an alarming end,

And so often played for laughs, perhaps too silly to be true,

Yet a man could pass for sillier, and many of them do.

I will say this much, my friend:

 

There’s a lotta ways to come, and a lotta ways to go,

And a lotta dirt, under which someone lies.

There’s a whole lotta world, and a whole lotta people.

A whole lotta baby grands. Everybody dies.

*

‘Twas a day not unlike yesterden.

Just an ordinary woman in a plain kitchen,

Prepping food for next day’s lunchbreak, when…

Well, you’d never guess the tragic farce to come.

 

Warming up a can of soup, adding spices from the rack.

Dash of salt, dash of peppercorn – she’s no hack,

But a sip of the soup’s enough to lay her on her back,

For she choked trying to get it in her tum.

 

Yes, it might seem quite the hapless end,

One mere problematic swallow parting body from soul,

But the smallest of mistakes can take the harshest toll.

I have seen this much, my friend:

 

There’s a lotta ways to come, and a lotta ways to go,

And a lotta dirt, under which someone lies.

There’s a whole lotta world, and a whole lotta people.

A whole lotta peppercorns. Everybody dies.

*

‘Twas a hockey game at the community rink

For a charity for breast cancer – (have your say in pink) –

So it’s really quite ironic, if you stop and think…

But there’s no good deed unpunished, so they say.

 

A thwack of a player’s stick ‘gainst the puck,

And the shot goes wild! There’s no one struck,

But the scoreboard’s hit. All sparks, no luck.

One inferno later, folks are in their graves.

 

True, it might seem like the worst of ends,

Death by icy immolation while they’re playing for the cure,

But however wrong and random, it’s taxes-sure.

I can vow this much, my friend:

 

There’s a lotta ways to come, and a lotta ways to go,

And a lotta dirt, under which someone lies.

There’s a whole lotta world, and a whole lotta people.

A whole lotta hockey pucks. Everybody dies.

*

‘Tis a possum in the yard, or a meteorite.

A trip upon a crack of pavement, or a small bug’s bite.

It was laughing too hard with your friends one night,

Or the loneliness of having none at all.

 

In the air, in the water, on fire, on earth,

From the moment we grace the stage at birth,

It’s anyone’s guess, whatever guessing’s worth,

How the final curtain’s gonna make its fall.

 

‘Cause there’s a lotta ways to come, and a lotta ways to go,

And a lotta dirt, under which someone lies.

There’s a whole lotta world, and a whole lotta people.

A whole lotta drama, then everybody dies.

<<<>>>

Let Allyn know your thoughts on “Everybody Dies” in the comments! And if another of his songs are a favorite of yours – or if this new ditty reminds you of some other artist’s work you enjoy – by all means, make mention of that, too. ^o^