Superpower Outage

Once upon a time, an author sat down and dashed off a quick little flash fic about some gender-indeterminate teenager and superpowers and shocking family secrets.

It took practically no time to write, and the author didn’t have any plans for the story beyond ‘The End’. She certainly couldn’t have predicted that the story would one day, and for some while, have a place in an online literary magazine (before said magazine vanished from the ‘net, as these things sometimes do). Or that the short story’s protagonist would make a reappearance as the narrator/one main character of three in a NaNoWriMo novel. Or that, having basically bid farewell to the idea of pursuing traditional publishing, the author would go on to someday produce a gorgeous paperback (and e-book, currently available for preorder via Amazon and Barnes & Noble) all by her independent lonesome.

And that author – *solemn nods* – was me.

And that novel is “So Super Dead”, to release on September 25th.

And that short story where it all began is, as of now, no longer missing from the internet, because never mind that defunct magazine – you can read the story right here, right now, in this blog post! Even though (full disclaimer) I would have you remember that this story and its world don’t entirely line up with the upgraded version you’ll get in the novel, because the flash fic was just typed up out of the blue with no rhyme or reason apart from from ‘start talking and see what happens.’

…Which, upon reflection, is truly the Nicky-est of story-making methods.

That having been said: Guys, gals, and assorted superheroes, I present to you…

Superpower Outage

So Super Dead 09 - Copy

(Also, since we’re throwing it back this far, here’s the cover idea I put together to go with “So Super Dead” back when it was just a NaNo project waiting to happen.)

<<<>>>

“Nicky, there’s something we have to tell you.”

I flicked my eyes from parent to parent. I’d known something was afoot for a couple of hours, now. They’d been jumpy from the moment I came home from practice, and all though dinner. They kept looking at each other and at me, whenever they thought I wasn’t paying attention. Like I’m not gonna pay attention when they act so fully suspicious, right? It was just as well they decided to sit me down on the couch and say whatever they planned to now, before my head exploded from the suspense.

“Okay…” I said. “So tell me.”

“Nicky, honey,” Mom began. “You know all those superpowers you’ve been noticing lately? The speed and the strength and invisibility and flight and teleportation and telekinesis and communing with dead plant matter, and all that?”

“Ye-eah…” I nodded, like “go on”.

“I suppose you’ve been wondering why you don’t have any powers like that.”

I had wondered.

“Well, Nicky, the fact is…” Dad hesitated a second before blurting, “You’re not like the rest of us.”

Well, no kidding. I mean, the whole personal power outage thing had made that glaringly obvious. All the other kids had at least one. “And if all the other kids jumped off a bridge,” I can just hear some parental voice saying, “would you want to jump, too?” Actually, yeah. Just last week, practically every friend I had had gone bridge-jumping, to see how close to a fatal ker-splat they could come before flying or teleporting or asking the ghost of a grapevine to whisk them out of harm’s way, and I totally hadn’t been allowed to go along. It stank to high heaven.

“So what’s the difference that’s screwing me over?” I asked.

Mom and Dad shared yet another look before Dad cleared his throat, took a deep breath, and laid down the big shocker: “You’re human.”

“I KNEW it! I— Wait, what?”

“You’re a human, sweetie,” said a teary-eyed Mom. “I’m so sorry, we should have told you years ago…”

“What the heck is a human??” I shouted.

“It’s basically like us,” said Dad, “except that you don’t get to do anything cool.”

“Oh, Dear, really,” Mom reproved. “Humans can do cool things, too. Sort of.”

“Like what?” I asked, totally shaken. I mean, what up?! Drop this kind of bomb on me while I’m in the midst of my volatile teenage years, why don’t you! There had better have been some good news on the way.

“Well, humans can, um… they can… create stuff.”

“What kind of stuff?”

“Y’know. Art. Paintings and books and music; lovely stuff, all.”

“We – well, you – can make that stuff, too,” I pointed out. “Grandpa made that 4D rock opera experience for your anniversary last year, remember? With his mind.”

“Ah, but you wouldn’t simply be creating with your mind, Nicky.” Mom’s eyes were shining with optimism, now, in addition to tears of sympathy for bursting her freak child’s bubble. “You would actually have to go through a lengthy, frustrating, soul-wrenching creative process! You would have to physically paint the paintings, and write the books, and—”

“Alright, and that’s supposed to be better how?”

“I hear it’s more satisfying,” Mom said brightly.

“I hear it’s more work,” Dad muttered. “I hear it’s a lot of time and effort for a usually disappointing end product.”

“Dear, you’re not helping.”

“No, you know what?” I snapped. “It’s fine. I’m glad Dad’s telling it to me straight. It’s about dang time. How long have you guys known about this, anyway?”

Mom went back to sniffling, so Dad answered, “Ever since we found you abandoned in the mall parking lot as an infant. Whoever dumped you there left you this.”

He reached into his pocket and extracted what looked very much like a cell phone.

My voice trembled. “What is it?”

“What does it look like? It’s a cell phone.”

“Oh.”

“There’s a number programmed into the phone’s speed-dial,” Dad told me, placing the phone in my hand.

“Did you call it?”

“No.”

“Um, why not?”

“We thought we should leave the decision of whether or not to call that number up to you,” Mom wept. “After all, it’s your tale of mysterious origin, not ours.”

Fair enough, I supposed. I eyed the cell phone in my hand, my emotions a-swirl with doubts and desire. You see, I’d always wanted a cell phone, but I’d been hoping for something a little more trendy; this old thing from like a decade-and-a-half ago wasn’t exactly what I’d had in mind.

Obsolete tech of lameness aside, though, the moment of truth had come. Time to figure out where I came from, and who my family was, and how in the world this thing called a human had ended up amongst real people, as I apparently had.

I pressed the speed dial button, and brought the phone up to my ear…

“Hello?

“Hey,” I said. “Who’s this?”

Why don’t you know? You dialed.”

“Well, look, no need to get touchy. I just got handed this phone a minute ago, alright? I don’t know who this number belongs to.”

May I ask who’s calling?

“Nicky Elbochen-Jones,” I answered. “…Your child?” I guessed.

Not muddy likely,” said whoever I was talking to. “I died a virgin.”

“You’re DEAD??”

Yeah, why? Who’d you say you are, again?

I threw my hands up in the air in glee, accidentally throwing the dinosaur of a phone across the room and not giving a rat’s tail about it. “I CAN TALK TO DEAD PEOPLE!” I crowed. “I’m not a human freak after all!”

“Oh, yay!” said Mom, giving me a huge hug. “Your father and I must have simply jumped to the wrong conclusion, before. You’re simply a late bloomer.”

“We should have had more faith in you, Nicky,” said Dad, clapping a hand to my shoulder.

I just grinned. Dead people whispering trumps dead plant whispering nine times out of ten. Wait ‘til the kids in my neighborhood got a load of this!

<<<>>>

The End! …Or rather, The Unforeseen Beginning.

So Super Dead cover, remix 02.3, gallery

The ghost: Sure, seventeen-year-old Brenna hadn’t thought much of her life, but she’s not about to take her murder lying down. With one death to live and nothing left to lose, Brenna’s out for vengeance. Trouble is, her murderer’s already dead.

The killer: The reality of TV star Thackeray Kyle, the Vampire Hunter, is not the kind one lives to tell about. He’ll do whatever it takes – and take out whomever he must – to keep his secret safe. If only he could get his dead conscience to quit haunting him…

The talker: Agender mutant teen Nicky finally has himmer’s superpower, and s/he’s ready to save the world. …Or, y’know, talk to dead people, since that’s really all s/he can do. But now, caught between a responsibility to Brenna, a debt to a closeted monster, and the inevitability of a super-villainous terrorist attack, Nicky’s scrambling for the right words to bring two lifeless friends peace and prove himmerself a hero. Because if s/he doesn’t, the world’s dead will number far more than one ghost-whisperer can handle.

So Super Dead” – coming so super soon!

Tag, You’re First! (Or Something Like That)

Once upon sometime in June I suppose, I discovered (here) a set of questions calling themselves “The First Tag”. The theme? Writerly firsts. The appeal for me? Obvious.

So what are we waiting for? First things first…

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Who was the first character you ever wrote?

My first actually named, wholly original, given-a-full-story character I can recall was Jesse Cassidy – a middle-school-aged tomboy who liked to bake and hated her classmates but ended up spending most of her time with them anyway. Over a number of years, I wrote her a whole series of chapter books, starting with…

What was the first story you ever finished?

… “How the Nutcracker Suite Went Sour”. In short summary: Jesse finds herself enrolled in a summer ballet class against her will, and is subjected to the disaster that is her (and her hated classmates’) amateur performance of “The Nutcracker”. In retrospect, it was not a great work of literature. But the fun of writing it ensured I would keep making words until I learned how to do it better.

Old School Oscar, Michael, and Jason
Super old sketch of the three boys Jesse would deign to call her friends.

What was the first piece of writing advice you ever heard? Or what was the first bit of advice you used and it actually worked?

Advice? I don’t know. I’ve spent so much time ignoring the voices around me in favor of the voices in my head, that I can’t recall an answer for this one.

Who was your first villain?

Santa Claus’s murderer.

(Would love to go into greater detail about him, but I’m actually planning to make a draft of his story presentable for publication someday, so we’ll all just have to be varying levels of patient!)

Dark Elf Waits
My first (badly shopped, lol) portrait of my OG villain.

What was the first storyworld you ever built?

My first deliberately fantastical world (not, y’know, what was supposed to be a regular world, but that turned out to have a murdered Santa Claus) was called Ohlhallaveil – or, translated from the High Language to English, the Dream World / World of the Dream. I’m not sure yet how to move forward with the first version of the Dream World I wrote, but different forms of it can be found elsewhere in Deshipley canon. ‘Tis a flexible world, like that. And a persistent one.

World of the Dream 2
Poster concept for Book 1 of my first crack at a fantasy series.

What did your first attempt at worldbuilding or mapmaking look like?

Pretty sure my first cartographic attempts were treasure maps that had nothing to do with writing. I was just a kid who liked using up paper on art projects of questionable worth – maps to nowhere, faux subpoenas, a ventriloquist dummy…

When was your first crush-on-your-own-character? I know it happened, don’t lie to me.

I can sometimes find it hard to discern the line between an actual crush and a non-crush fixation, but there was no denying how hard I fell for Edgwyn Wyle when I met him in “The Stone Kingdom”. Earlier than that, though, may have been a brilliant teacher by the name of Frank Llewellyn. Perhaps not coincidentally, he and Edgwyn had a number of traits in common – big build, warm and friendly nature, green eyes ever twinkling in amusement… I definitely had a type.

What was the first character death you ever had to write and how did you handle it?

Pretty sure that was Santa. My first crack at it lacked the emotional intensity of later drafts, but then, Teen Author Me tended to turn up her nose at killing off characters in the first place.

Don’t worry. She grew into a proper psychopath.

When did you first decide that your book needed a full-blown series?

For Jesse Cassidy’s books, I just didn’t want to stop writing them; I liked throwing her and the other kids into new situations, simply to see how they’d [mis]behave. It was different with, say, The Wilderhark Tales, where I didn’t need there to be more books until I’d happened to write two … and fell for Edgwyn. And with The Outlaws of Avalon, it was going to be just “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” (currently available for free, via the Smashwords Summer/Winter Sale!) as a standalone, but then the darn characters kept growing in my head, to the point where they needed more on-paper stories to contain them. So you never know from whence the motivation will hail.

When was the first time you stepped out of your comfort zone to write a new genre?

Phenomenon 2
Cover/poster/whatever concept for my ACTUAL first fantasy novel.

I was going to cite Ohlhallaveil again, but I JUST REMEMBERED that it wasn’t my first foray into high fantasy. Before that, there was the world of “Phenomenon” – in which people were born semi-asexually out of a special pool of water, and if nobody claimed you as part of their family that was Bad News, and suddenly – Worse News! – monsters were coming out of the pool and making a menace of themselves, so our heroine – named Heroine – and her friends went off on a quest to figure out the problem’s source, the better to save the day… The book wasn’t perfect by any stretch, but with a bit of revision, I daresay it would be perfectly at home with much of the YA fantasy on shelves today.

Phenomenon, Journey Begins
Illustration of Heroine and friends setting out on their first adventure.

What was it like using a prompt for the first time?

I don’t recall, but I expect it was no more nor less challenging than writing without a prompt. It’s all just putting one word in front of the other.

Opening line: share your first, your favorite, and your most recent.

First, for all intents and purposes:

You know, on the whole, I really love my mom. Seriously. But sometimes, I really wish she were someone else’s mom. Like someone on Mercury, maybe. One particular instance comes to mind.

– “How the Nutcracker Suite Went Sour”, circa 2000

Villem Deere 10
My first completed portrait of Doctor Villem Deere.

Favorite – if I absolutely have to choose – by virtue of its simplicity and the pattern it set:

Doctor Villem Deere was not easily surprised.

– “The Swan Prince”, published 2013

Most recent:

The most tiresome thing about war, thought Calia, /born of Knossos, first king of Yassar/, was how it made a hostage of her in the name of preventing her capture.

– A short story (February 2018) I was gonna submit somewhere, but missed the deadline, so it’s chilling out in the drawer for now

What was your first ending like?

“How the Nutcracker Suite Went Sour” went out like it came in: With Jesse complaining.

What was the first ship you ever wrote and, be honest, did you make them a ship name?

Hmm… I think Jesse maybe had a crush called Blue Jay, at one point? If ship names were even a thing, way back then, I didn’t know about it. What would they have been, anyway? Blue Jesse? In any case, she went on to get together with her best friend instead, naturally. I guess that pair could have been McCassidy…

What year was your first NaNo[WriMo]?

The year of our Lord, 2010.

Allyn Ballad Cover.png
My first artwork in honor of the NaNo ‘10 novel that first took me to Avalon Faire

Which novel is memorable for being the first one you ever gave up on?

Oh mercy, I’ve given up on any number of novels – not to mention the novels I haven’t given up on per se, I just don’t know if/when I’ll ever pick up work on them again. But the most memorable surrender has to be the second of my two NaNo 2012 projects, “Singer of Skycastle”. I recycled some of it into “A Mind Prone to Wander” (as seen in “Steel & Bone: Nine Steampunk Adventures” and soon to be re-released in “Our Hungering Hearts”), but the full-length work I had in mind never made it off the ground. Which only goes to show that you can be a word boss like me and still have a tale get the better of you.

When did you first share your work with someone else and how did they react?

My sisters showed little appreciation for having my dozens of early-author-effort stories forced upon them. X)

<<<>>>

And that is that! Any author types reading this who want to play along? Tag! You’re next! Share your firsts in your own blog post, or down in the comments. ^o^

 

The Many Faces of Will ‘n’ Allyn

Outlaws of Avalon Banner

The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”s Launch Week+ continues!

My last post discussed the evolution of my vision for Marion Hood’s look. Then you’ve got Will Scarlet and Allyn-a-Dale. As far as the novel goes, this Merry Men pair looks the same now as they did back in draft one. But that’s not to say there aren’t a variety of ways to depict them.

“Too right!” Will jumps in. “For starters – as in, some of the first fan art portraits of us ever drawn – there’s our canonical ‘Outsider’ looks in our author’s typical sketch-in-MS Paint style.”

Will 'n' Allyn, Outside

“As replicated by said author in cosplay form,” Allyn recalls.

Will 'n' Allyn, Outside Cosplay

“Nailed it,” Scarlet approves. “And oh, remember the time she tried to sketch our faces more realistically?”

Will 'n' Allyn, Realistic

Allyn nods. “Those were rather lovely.”

“By which I hope you mean ‘gorgeous’. But if we’re going for ‘adorable’, there’s nothing can top Figurine!Will and Figurine!Allyn, as gifted by Chelsea de la Cruz.”

Will 'n' Allyn figures 02

“Whereas if we’re looking to ride the line between ‘adorable’ and ‘alarming’,” says Allyn, “the clear winner is the result of that ‘Powerpuff yourself’ app.”

Will 'n' Allyn, Powerpuff

Will laughs delightedly. “LOVE those! Almost as much as I love the lookalike avatars Tirzah Duncan made for us in Guild Wars II.”

Will 'n' Allyn, Guild Wars 2

“Not that I’ve got a beard in the books,” Will reflects. “That’s Robin’s look. Clearly, though, I can pull it off. And that expression on your face? So 300% Allyn.”

“I’m not always glaring like that,” Allyn protests.

Will grins. “You will be in a moment.”

“…Why, what are you—”

Will 'n' Allyn, Disney Gone Wrong

“Sweet music, why?” Allyn throws his hands skyward. “Why did Scarlet Elsa ever happen?”

“Because reasons,” Will sniggers, pointing to a past post’s comment section. “And I’m pretty sure you in a Frollo hat kinda just happened for the hell[fire] of it. Danielle practically scams for excuses to play with us in her art.”

Because you two are the absolute best, no matter the forms you take. ❤ Expect such works as these to find a place in my website’s Outlaws of Avalon art gallery – coming quite soon.

Of course, my favorite Will ‘n’ Allyn are the ones in their story’s pages. Have all you lovely readers grabbed your own copy, yet?  Its sweet face is waiting for you via Amazon, CreateSpace, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, OverDrive… Oh, and don’t forget to try your luck in my ongoing Rafflecopter giveaway! One good book deserves a chance to win other stuff, as they say.

Allyn pulls a rather GW2!Allyn face. “Has anyone ever said—”

“Shh, babe,” Will quiets him. “#LetItGo.”

<<<>>>

Ballad Cover, front 02

Welcome to Avalon, a Renaissance Faire where heroes of legend never die. Where the Robin Hood walking the streets is truly the noble outlaw himself. Where the knightly and wizardly players of King Arthur’s court are in fact who they profess to be. Where the sense of enchantment in the air is not mere feeling, but the Fey magic of a paradise hidden in plain sight.

Enter Allyn-a-Dale. The grief of his father’s death still fresh and the doom of his own world looming, swirling realities leave the young minstrel marooned in an immortal Sherwood Forest, where he is recruited as a member of Robin Hood’s infamous outlaw band. But Allyn’s new life may reach its end before it’s scarcely begun. Their existence under threat, the Merry Men are called upon to embark on a journey to the dangerous world Outside – ours – on a quest which must be achieved without delay, or eternity in Avalon will not amount to very long at all.

AVAILABLE NOW!

*Bonus*: #HypotheticalFAQs

What would the merry men be like as cats?

Robin Hood = would be the charming, roguishly benevolent alley cat who runs this town’s kitty underworld

Marion Hood = would be the indoor/outdoor sweetheart who’s got the whole neighborhood of humans eating out of her paw

Will Scarlet = would be the maniacally affectionate ginger beast who jumps ‘n’ humps everything that moves

Little John = would be the massive black tom with bobcat blood who calmly makes off with his pick of the groceries you dropped during your heart attack at his sudden, silent appearance in your path

Allyn-a-Dale = is basically already a cat

Five Thousand Words’ Worth of Feels

Once upon a time – specifically, on the day I was scheduled to hop a 10-hour flight from Chicago to Amsterdam – I was granted a blessed distraction from my stressful morning full of last-minute packing (and repacking) by a message from friend/fan Jay Cottle. To paraphrase said message:

I’ve read “The Story’s End”, and I have FEELINGS!

As the book’s author, those words alone would have been enough to brighten my heart. But then – THEN – I realized that I was also looking at a series sketches inspired by the book, which caused my insides to go something like:

I’m looking at fan art, and I have FEELINGS!

‘Cause I don’t know about authors in general, but my definition of success prominently features fan art. *starry-eyed smile*

So here we are a month later, with my European river cruise behind me, my 2015 NaNoWriMo won, and me about as settled in Germany as I’m probably going to be before briefly returning to the States. Sounds like the perfect time to finally show you guys Jay’s “Story’s End” pics! #Behold

<<<>>>

Jay Cottle ''Story's End'' Art 1
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Jay Cottle ''Story's End'' Art 2
2/5
Jay Cottle ''Story's End'' Art 3
3/5
Jay Cottle ''Story's End'' Art 4
4/5
Jay Cottle ''Story's End'' Art 5
5/5

<<<>>>

If you’ve read the novella, you’ve probably got a pretty good grasp of everything going on in these images. If you haven’t read it – if, indeed, you haven’t even purchased it yet – good news: That is easily remedied!

Big thanks for the Wilderhark love, Jay! And anytime anyone else wants to throw some Deshipley story-related art my way, know that I will be more than happy to receive it. ^_^

Go Figur[in]e

“We interrupt what would have been your regularly scheduled Interactive Theatre skit,” says Will Scarlet, “to bring you something so, much, cooler!”

“What now?” groans Allyn, ever among the last to know.

“I’ll tell you ‘what now’. No, better: I’mma show it. Get a load of this!”

Will 'n' Allyn figures 02

“Oh!” Allyn brightens. “The figurines fashioned in our likeness, as gifted to our author by dear Chelsea de la Cruz.”

“Heck yes!” Will cheers. “I mean, it was awesome enough when she made the ones for the Wilderhark crowd—”

“As can be seen in the Wilderhark Art gallery on Danielle’s website,” Allyn inserts helpfully.

“Yeah, right, sure. But THEN – out of the blue – Christmas in September! Can we take a minute to analyze the perfection of these pieces? ‘Cause seriously.”

Will 'n' Allyn figures, Will

“First of all, let’s talk about my hat. That is a fabulous hat – all red and feathered and vaguely sparkly. And then you’ve got the complimentary redness of my shirt and sorta raspberry-swirlness of my nod-to-hose. Dat belt, tho. And – best thing of all – the 100% symbolic heart of gold!”

Will 'n' Allyn figures, Chelsea chat

And then there’s my little ALLYN! ^o^

“Down, D,” says Will. “We’re telling it. Allyn-a-Dale, your assessment, please?”

Will 'n' Allyn figures, Allyn

“Blue,” Allyn says happily. “A magnificent, marbled blue, like unto a windswept sky.”

“ ‘Like unto’?” Will repeats. “Isn’t that a little much?”

“You said we’re telling it, so let me tell it. Also of note, the cape. A fine, princely garment, that – particularly with its shining chain.”

“I’ll say,” Will agrees. “Mercy, when have you ever dressed up so fancy in real/fictional life, Allyn?”

“A rare occasion or two comes to mind.”

“Well, you look darling as all get-out. That FACE, man!”

“It’s all eyes.”

“Meaning Chelsea nailed it. Is she or is she not the absolute best friend of all time?”

“She certainly ranks in the upper echelons,” Allyn grants. “And we treasure the gift just as we do the giver.”

“Word. (#EverOnIt) Thanks again, Chelsea-babe! Likewise to all the blog readers who ogled these mini masterpieces with us. ‘Til next time, friends: Will and Allyn out!”

Will 'n' Allyn figures 01

“Habiliment” or “My Little Edgwyn (#PonyFest13!)”

I’ve got a very special Save-a-Word Saturday for you today, folks! For any who need a reminder of/never knew what the day usually means, here’s how it goes:

Save-a-Word Saturday

1) Create a post linking back to the hosts, The Feather and the Rose.

2) Pick an old word you want to save from extinction to feature in the post. (If you find yourself in want of options, Feather ‘n’ Rose recommended a site that may have some word-lovers drooling. Luciferous Logolepsy. Even its name is old and delicious!)

3) Provide a definition of your word, and use it in a sentence/short paragraph/mini story vaguely related to the particular week’s chosen theme.

4) Sign up properly on the host post’s linky list so participants can easily find each other and share their logophilistic joy.

5) Be a hero by sharing these retro words with the world!

I’ve been participating in the weekly fun via my Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” Facebook page, giving myself the extra challenge/fun of relating every word I pick to my re-imagining of the Robin Hood legend, the “Outlaws of Avalon” trilogy (a.k.a. the magnum opus to be self-published after the completion of “The Wilderhark Tales”). But I figure, hey, with my vignettes generally pre-written and ready to go, no reason I can’t post them here for the blog-inclined to see!

So, without further delay, here’s my word-saving civic duty of the day – plus an adorable treat!

The theme: Masks.

The word: “Habiliment”, a noun meaning “clothes, dress, attire, outfit”.

The Example:

“An inter-storyworld costume party!” Will Scarlet enthuses, rummaging through his chest of elaborate garments. “This is going to be great! We’ve never gotten to hang out with Danielle’s other characters in public before!”

“Well, the party itself won’t be in public,” Allyn-a-Dale points out. “And that’s assuming there’s to be any real party at all. She’s just using this scene of us talking about it to further her own ends, as authors will do.”

“Leave me my fantasy, minstrel. Blast it all,” he complains, digging deeper through the trunk. “I haven’t the faintest idea what to wear. I daren’t show up in the same habiliment as anyone else – that’s tackiness defined!”

“I doubt anyone else will come arrayed as flamboyantly as you, Will.”

Will’s eyes narrow in apprehension. “I know one of them who just might. Ho, tailor person!” he calls, pitching his voice to travel across the loose boundaries between the worlds of his author’s creation. “What are you wearing?”

From the fairytale realm of “The Stone Kingdom (Book Two of The Wilderhark Tales)”, Edgwyn Wyle enters Will Scarlet’s castle bedchamber. “To the costume party?” he says. “I was thinking of going as a pony.”

“A… pony?” Will repeats. “Well, no fear of us both showing up dressed like that. How were you planning to create the look? Some sort of mask, or…?”

“I didn’t create a thing. It was our author’s dear friend, Jeannie Stine. It seems friendship truly is magic after all,” he says, eyes sparkling with delight, “for she recreated me in My Little Pony form for #PonyFest13!”

Valiantly ignoring his distaste for hashtags, Allyn takes his cue. “#PonyFest13? Whatever might that be?”

“It’s a marvelous bit of fun, is what it is! Danielle’s other lovely friend, Alyson Grauer—”

Taking his own cue totally over the top, Will jumps in dramatically, “Contributing author to the steampunk anthology ‘Mechanized Masterpieces’? That Alyson Grauer?”

“Yes, that Alyson Grauer,” Egwyn laughs. “She told Danielle about this contest in which authors come up with custom My Little Pony designs inspired by their books or characters therein. All the details are over at the blog of the host, Rebecca Enzor, but the short of it is, everyone gets to vote on their favorite, and the author of the pony with the most votes will win – among other grand things – an artist by the name of Kalavista turning the winning design into an actual, physical, real world My Little Pony doll!”

“You don’t say! And what would you look like in My Little Pony doll form?” Allyn asks – still on script, true, but also legitimately interested.

“Minus the hat and cape, like this,” says Edgwyn, pointing to the accompanying pic. “Kalavista is a customizer of dolls, not their tailor, so the final product would come sans any habiliment,” he explains (slipping in another instance of our Save-a-Saturday word in the process!). “Under normal circumstances, I’d be appalled to go around nude, but as a pony, I think I could pull it off!”

My Little Edgwyn Pony

“Well, if you aren’t just too lucky to live,” says Will, trying to keep a reign on his spike of jealousy at not being the character chosen to be pony-fied. “Go on, spill all: What’s the story behind you and your little pony self?”

“I suppose this is where I should insert the ‘short description of your pony(s), and a one sentence tag-line for the book’ as specified in the contest rules. Oh dear, but Danielle’s dreadful with single-sentence summaries.”

“How about, ‘In their search for her true love, princess and tailor will leave no stone unturned’?” Will suggests.

Edgwyn lights up. “That is actually less than dreadful! Have you lately been told you’re a mad genius?”

Will beams. “Not recently enough, no.”

“You are. Thank you. As far as my pony’s appearance, it’s all very deeply symbolic. To start with, I’m a horse, because I love horses. (*cough* And because that’s what the contest is about.) Speaking of horses I love, my pony’s coat color is a nod to my dear, demanding horse friend in ‘The Stone Kingdom’, who is likewise gray. My cutie mark is a heart because, well,” – he ducks his head and blushes – “I am apparently best known and appreciated for my loving heart. And of course there’s a needle and thread in it, because part of that love is for sewing! The dark hair and green eyes, meanwhile, are an obscure, esoteric reference to the fact that my human self has dark hair and green eyes.”

“Profound,” Allyn says, with a straight face and everything. “Your pony’s got my vote, Edgwyn, for whatever it’s worth. You’ll let the people whose votes actually count know when and where they’re able to cast them, yes?”

“Oh, we can count on Danielle to do that,” Edgwyn says with assurance. “She’s too much in love with that little pony not to.”

A subtly wicked grin tugs at Allyn’s lips. “In love with the pony, or with you?”

“And now would be a good time to have a mask…” Edgwyn mutters, dropping his burning red face into his hands.

Since he’s blushing anyway, go ahead and sound off in the comments: What do you all think of My Little Edgwyn Pony? ^^