Once and Future Favorites

As of last week, the Artist Artwork Formerly Known as #CamelotWIP is out in the world. In celebration, I’d like to take a moment to carry on with what I’ve been doing since, like, 2016: Gush about my utter infatuation with this book.

Seriously, I’m not remembering if any other writing project of mine has made a hostage of my imagination like this. Not to play favorites but… no, actually, yeah, that’s exactly what we’re playing. Behold, a few (dozen) of my favorite things about “The Once and Future Camelot”!

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~ Favorite Character ~

Why would I even ask myself this when there’s no way I can answer it? I went into drafting this book with a spiked interest in some of the characters and their complicated plot, but it wasn’t until I was neck-deep in the ruins of Camelot that I realized I was falling in love with everyone around me.

With Gawain for his strange serenity; with Lancelot for his rough-edged passion; with Mordred for his secret heart; with Arthur for his impossible love. My spirit tangled with the rich emptiness of Morganne’s. My blood burned in tandem with Bedivere’s. My— well, let’s not go so far as to say ‘love’ is what I feel for Merlin; my inner Will Scarlet’s got too much to process for that.

Anyway, I honestly cannot point to any single character as my certain favorite. Just follow the pain, and you’ll find my heart there.

~ Favorite Relationships ~

(Just went ahead and used the plural, so I can point to more than one. ^o^)

– Galahad x Mordred, because y’all already know I’m here all day for a big ol’ bromance.

– Arthur x Robin Hood; see reasoning above.

– Gawain x Guinevere, because it’s so low-key and tangential yet grounding for both of them to have each other. I think they mutually see one another (in the “Sun’s Rival” sense) better than any other pairing in the story, and something in me takes a relieved sort of comfort in that.

Camelot Dreamcast
Favorites to Play the Cast of #CamelotWIP, as seen on the Outlaws of Avalon Tumblr

~ Favorite Chapter ~

Book 1, Chapter XV. The one I spent all the chapters that came before it absolutely itching to write. The one that could arguably stand as a satisfying short story all on its own. The one that’s been sending delicious thrills through my bones at the very thought of it for three years and counting. That chapter.

~ Favorite Scenes/Moments ~

Camelot Cover, final w blur, text, tagline 01

In no particular order…

– The birth of Excalibur

– Knight vs. Hell-beast

– Wizard vs. Lady of the Lake

– Mordred in the rain

– Orkneys in the stable

– “A moment to confer”

– Spring Break Faeries

– Prayer room rebellion

– Arthur x Lancelot, shortly after Now

– Two willing tools of enemies

– Two dragons on the roof

– Two roads diverged in a legend, and he… he chose the harder treachery… and that has me over here bawling.

~ Favorite Narrative Voice ~

I originally thought I could write an entire novel from Morganne’s point of view. I would come to learn that this would not be a viable option. The thing about Morganne is – as once I put it in a Twitter post – she’s basically got ‘magical depression.’ She’s incapable of generating her own emotions, making her POV a necessarily dispassionate experience. It’s a fascinating space to put myself in for the odd chapter here and there, but for a whole book? Exhausting just to contemplate.

camelot-tweet-oncemorewithfeeling.png

For a minute later on, I thought I could tell the book’s second half in Bedivere’s voice. Again, that turned out to be a no, but for opposite reasons. Bedivere’s got feelings and opinions about everything, and if he chooses to talk about it at all, it’ll be in the most smart-alecky way possible. While this can be fun, and makes for hilarious irreverent monologue/dialogue, he couldn’t give all the other characters’ inner lives justice if he tried (which he probably wouldn’t).

All that having been said, those two were still probably my favorite first-person voices to use in this predominantly third-person novel.

Once and Future Mixtape
~ Favorite Songs I Associate with #CamelotWIP~ (as shared on its page on my website)

~ Favorite Quotes ~

Not by any means a comprehensive list, but some of the standouts include…

– The room was thick with breath arrested.

– “Up, Galahad, son of Lancelot du Lac, Champion of the King, and so forth.”

– It was the Age of Chivalry. Unrequited love was the new black.

– Then up goes his head, no matter how heavy. Up goes a smile, no matter how sad.

– “Amendment,” I allow. “I apologize for the villainy.”

– My formative years were all prayers, rites, and living in hope that movable type would someday replace copying the Holy Book by hand.

The cost of immortality? A silent chuckle. Immortality.

– “The sun favors those brave of face.”

– Feeling I must tell you, choosing to say nothing: My kindest, cruelest way of holding power over you…

– Mordred’s lashes, doom of adoring maidens…

– “What else?” said Robin Hood. “Call our congressmen.”

“I would know him,” I point out, and you shoot me a glare of irritation.

“Of course you would. And were it practical to wave you about like a divining wand over every man I met, so would I. But you are not a /tool/, Morganne.”

My lips play the part of a smile. “Meaning I am not biddable.”

You nod your hair into your eyes, shove it back again. “Meaning I need something that is.”

Camelot Tweet, BedivereIsOnFire

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Have you started reading “The Once and Future Camelot” yet? If yes, what are your favorite parts or aspects of the book, so far? If no, but you think you might get around to checking it out eventually, what are you most looking forward to? (Or, hey, did you perchance have a favorite part of this blog post?) Gush along in the comments!

Letters to Camelot: At First [G]Lance

Dear Lancelot,

I must apologize.

It was one thing for Allyn-a-Dale to form a certain impression of you during Books 1, 1.5, and 2 of the Outlaws of Avalon series. He was but a fellow character, with a character’s limited view. And for all his exceptional talents and abilities, soul-reading is not one. Of course he thought you were merely stuck-up.

CamelotQuotes_Lance_LowestofKnights

But I, as your author, ought to have sooner known better. Ought to have taken half-a-moment to scrutinize past your frigid exterior. Ought to have figured out sometime before the third novel I wrote you into that, oh, you weren’t an arrogant asshole, you just had autism.

Also, misery. You had a whole lot of that. (And they say you can’t take anything with you, when you die…)

CamelotQuotes_Lance_King'sChampion

Once I actually went looking inside your head, I found you unexpectedly appealing to write about. Sure, you still pulled some jerk moves; did some people wrong; were as far from perfect as anyone semi-universally agreed upon to have cuckolded his beloved king would have to be. But you’re more than your faults, and bigger than your blunders. And to  my mind, you deserved better than you got.

CamelotQuotes_Lance_BestofKnights

May the future renaissance of Camelot see the wrongs you’ve done (and done to you) made right.

Your author,

~ Danielle E. Shipley

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One for the #CamelotWIP playlist!

For Lancelot = I don’t know what made me first think so, but now I can’t unthink it: Lance singing “Falling Slowly” (Glen Hansard and Marketa Irglova, ‘Once’) to Arthur would be just a little bit perfect.

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Camelot Cover, final w blur, text, tagline 01

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.

The Once and Future Camelot” – coming soon!

Edit: Sooner than soon, in one respect: The Barnes & Noble/Nook e-book edition is available for pre-order here! Buy now, receive the goods on October 25th! Kindle and print editions, still to come. Stay tuned!

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.

Lightbulb Moments: Our Story Drew Its Own Lines

Item One (A Quick Reminder) = Still super excited about my upcoming author appearance at the Independent Bookstore Day meet-‘n’-greet/signing at Petunia’s Place in Fresno! Tell your friends! Like and share! And if you can make it out, I look forward to seeing you there!

Petunia's Place FB Cover

Item Two (Our Regularly Scheduled Blog Post) = As you may by now have heard (since, y’know, it’s all I’ve been blogging about for the last few weeks), I’ve 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 lately released to the world!

Covers 1, 2, and Journal

(Ordered your copies, yet?? You can find them here:

Book 1 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble, ebook

Book 2 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble

Journal = Amazon, paperback)

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” most definitely is – 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.”

The dog’s furry brows wiggle at me. “Our story drew its own lines.

S6_Drew Its Own Lines, metal 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_Drew Its Own Lines

As for “Lightbulb Moments” in its full glory, today I’m giving one lucky somebody a free copy – my way of saying an extra-big ‘THANK YOU’ for reading and reviewing my work. And that lucky somebody is…

…Actually two lucky somebodies.

Congrats to Miranda McNeff AND Chelsea de la Cruz!

(Will Scarlet: “I.e. the only two people who managed to get their ‘Out of My Head’ reviews up on Amazon before the giveaway deadline?”

Yup, that’s them.

Will: “They’re so loyal.”

Aren’t they just?

Will: “LOVE YOU, ladies!!!”)

A big round of applause for our winners (be sure to confirm the address to which you’d like your prize shipped!), and kudos to everyone who stuck around the blog during these last several weeks of nonstop “Inspired” promo. I’ll be back next time with something entirely unrelated – you have my word as a wordsmith. ;D ‘Til then, my friends…

~ Happy Writing

Lightbulb Moments: Just Magic

Petunia's Place.png

Independent Bookstore Day 2018.jpgItem One (News of the Most Excellent Kind) = I am VERY excited to announce that I will be one of the authors featured at the Independent Bookstore Day meet-‘n’-greet/signing at Petunia’s Place in Fresno! Tell your friends! Like and share! And if you can make it out, I look forward to seeing you there!

Inspired Journal Cover 12, front

Item Two (Our Regularly Scheduled Blog Post) = As you may by now have heard (since, y’know, it’s all I’ve been blogging about for the last few weeks), I’ve 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 lately released to the world!

(Ordered your copies, yet?? You can find them here:

Book 1 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble, ebook

Book 2 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble, ebook

Journal = Amazon, paperback)

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” most definitely is – 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. […]

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!”

He shakes as if to dry himself after a wetting, scattered water droplets replaced with shards of rainbow, as if seen through a prism. “Sometimes,” he says, with a tongue-lolling grin, “magic is just magic, no explanation needed.

S6_Just Magic, travel mug.jpg

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_Just Magic.png

As for “Lightbulb Moments” in its full glory, I’ll be giving one lucky somebody a free copy on April 17th. (Just one week from today!) 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! Copy the review on the Barnes & Noble site for even more points), and a free “Lightbulb Moments” journal could be yours.

Stick around throughout the giveaway’s run, because more peeks into the journal / new Ever On Word shop designs will be coming your way. ‘Til then, my friends…

~ Happy Writing

Lightbulb Moments: The Sane One

Inspired Journal Cover 12, frontAs you may by now have heard, I’ve 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 lately released to the world!

(Ordered your copies, yet?? You can find them here:

Book 1 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble, ebook

Book 2 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble, ebook

Journal = Amazon, paperback )

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” most definitely is – 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”:

Shan never got snow in his world, so he had a great time romping with me in it, chasing my footprints, pouncing me to the ground with my willing cooperation, and having tumble races down the hill, which Wilbur always won. We built a snow knight and snow cat, and threw ourselves to our backs to make snow angels. I would have been all for a snowball fight, too, but that wouldn’t exactly fly, unless I started throwing snowballs at myself. I was already getting some interesting faces made at me through the patio doors.

“Like you’ve never indulged your inner child!” I said.

“Your mom!” Dee and Callie shouted back. The next few times I glanced back, they held up quickly manufactured signs expressing sentiments such as, “Hey, U a Foo-oo-oo-ool” and “My Name is Rodrigo! Ha-ha-ha, woof!”

Sometimes I wonder if I may actually be the sane one.

S6_The Sane One, metal mug.png

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_The Sane One.png

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! Copy the review on the Barnes & Noble site for even more points), and a free “Lightbulb Moments” journal could be yours.

Stick around throughout the giveaway’s run, because more peeks into the journal / new Ever On Word shop designs will be coming your way. ‘Til then, my friends…

~ Happy Writing

Lightbulb Moments: Space Enough to Contain a Universe

Inspired Journal Cover 12, frontAs you may by now have heard, I’ve 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 released to the world, two weeks ago!

(Ordered your copies, yet?? You can find them here:

Book 1 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble, ebook

Book 2 = Amazon, paperback ~ Amazon, ebook ~ Barnes & Noble, ebook

Journal = Amazon, paperback)

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” most definitely is – 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”:

“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?”

Wilbur smiled absently, attention captured by his and Luc’s singularly strange position: Sitting unobserved behind another’s eyes, staring out through the soul’s windows to the world as seen by Annabelle Gray.

An almost incomprehensible thing, to think of it as being inside her head; there was little enough room for two men within the confines of a young woman’s skull. “But we’re not in her head,” Luc had said when first they’d come. “We’re in her mind. And a mind has space enough to contain a universe.” His eyes glimmered with laughter. “Even you and I are not so vast as that.”

S6_Contain a Universe, 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_Contain a Universe

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! Copy the review on the Barnes & Noble site for even more points), and a free “Lightbulb Moments” journal could be yours.

Stick around throughout the giveaway’s run, because more peeks into the journal / new Ever On Word shop designs will be coming your way. ‘Til then, my friends…

~ Happy Writing