Shooting Hood in the Wood

Outlaws of Avalon Banner

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

And after a few minutes knocking my head against the blank, white wall of the page, trying to figure out how I wanted to introduce this post and its gallery of images, I came to an inspired remembrance: That sometimes, that’s what bards are for.

So I’m stepping aside ‘til after the main event. Take it away, Allyn-a-Dale!


An author with a love of tales –

Particularly those retold

About a certain outlaw

And his band merry and bold –

Herself betook and several books

Into the German wood,

To shoot (with camera, not a bow)

A show of Robin Hood.

McKinley 04

Among the many models,

An especial favorite:

A YA reimagining

By another Robin writ.

Cody 02

A new addition to her hoard,

Centered around a Will;

A little younger than her taste,

But she enjoyed it still.

Donald 02

Here, Angus Donald’s grimmer take,

Narrated by myself.

(And purchased, ere the shop passed on,

From a Bristol Ren Faire shelf!)

Lawhead 02

Another tale of Scarlet –

Second in a trilogy

That lends a sort of Celtic air

To Hood’s mythology.

Old Ballads 02

A chance find, and a happy one,

Among used books for sale.

Old ballads – many of Robin Hood;

One even with “Allin a Dale”!

Pyle 05

No such tribute’s complete, says she,

Without a nod to Pyle,

Seen here reposed upon a tree

In harmonizing style.

Shipley 04.2

And last of all, but far from least,

The author’s own addition:

A brand new ballad joins its tune

To the honored Hood’s tradition.


Beautifully told, thank you, Allyn! There are a few more book-in-the-woods shots where these came from, which will most likely find themselves on display on the Outlaws of Avalon Tumblr.

On that subject, don’t forget that following the Outlaws Tumblr is but one of several ways you can enter into my ongoing Rafflecopter giveaway! I certainly hope you’ll take advantage by some means or another; there’s cool stuff to win!

And if you haven’t yet, now’s a great time to drop everything and purchase your copy of “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”! (Via Amazon, CreateSpace, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, OverDrive…Take your pick!) Or, if you’ve already read the book, leave a review! Both are not only ways to earn giveaway points, but to fill an author’s sails with a blessed breeze. ❤


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.


*Bonus*: #HypotheticalFAQs

What if robin hood were a woman?

Marion raises a brow. “She might have mentioned that before our wedding.”

Top 10 Book(s that I own) Covers I’d Totally Put On My Wall

So I saw this post by The Book Rat that was all like “Top 10 Book Covers I’d Have as Wall Art”, and I was all, aw, man, how fun is that? I wanna do a post like that, too!

And me being the can-do, go-get-‘er-done gal that I am, I began that very hour to scour my shelves* for my picks.

*(Mind you, there’s no law that said I had to limit myself to books I own. I just figured I’d save myself a lot of dithering if I gave myself a solid guideline.)

Behold, therefore, in no particular order, precisely what this post’s title implies: The Top 10 Book(s that I own) Covers I’d Totally Put On My Wall!

1) “The Legend of Eli Monpress” by Rachel Aaron

eli type mockup

Okay, this one’s first for a reason. I fell hard for this cover from the moment I saw it, and I’m still smitten. Between the soft color scheme and the gorgeous rascal popping out of it, I cannot but swoon.

2) “Vicious” by V.E. Schwab

Vicious by V.E. Schwab

‘Cause it’s all coolly villainous, much like the story inside. (My recent review here, for those who’d like a recap.)

3) “The Outlaws of Sherwood” by Robin McKinley

Outlaws of Sherwood

In part because it’s associated with a book/legend I love. Also, archer in the beautifully-painted woods!

4) “Maximum Ride: School’s Out Forever” by James Patterson

School's Out Forever

Though, in my opinion, the series took a sharp downward turn following this second book in it, I’ll not let that disappointment sour me on what a cool poster this cover would make.

5) “Stone of Tears” by Terry Goodkind

Stone of Tears

Also on the list of Book 2s with epic cover art, notwithstanding the internal face I make every time I think about the series it belongs to. (It’s not you, Richard; it’s your author’s handling of your story.)

6) “The Merry Adventures of Robin Hood” by Howard Pyle

Merry Adventures of Robin Hood

Yeah, so what if I already included a Robin Hood book? NO APOLOGIES.

7) “Wildwood Dancing” by Juliet Marillier

Wildwood Dancing

Because the woods don’t need Robin hood to make me happy. A fairytale forest works, too. (Wowza, there’s so much going on in this picture!)

8) “Peter and the Starcatchers” by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson

Peter and the Starcatchers

Because who says fairytales need to be restricted to the forest? Let’s take it to the skies! To the high seas! To by-gosh Neverland! That, and I really like the style/colors/composition this cover’s got going on.

9) Classic Nancy Drew by Carolyn Keene

Nancy Drew covers

Going through the fifty-six covers in my classic Nancy Drew collection, I found I couldn’t decide on just one. What would be awesome is if there were a gigantic poster that featured them all, lined up together in rows. I’d love that!

10) “Rose Under Fire” by Elizabeth Wein

Rose Under Fire

I think it’s the gate. Together with the flutter of red and the airplanes in the sky overhead, it just all-around pleases me as an art piece.

Aaand there you have it, folks – my top ten, give or take fifty-six. Time shall tell whether they ever go up on my wall to join the likes of my sketch of Will Scarlet and Edgwyn Wyle clothes shopping and somebody’s awesome photo manip of Backstreet Boy Kevin Richardson as LOTR’s Aragorn.

What say you guys? What would be some of your picks for book cover wall art? ^^

“Favorite” or “Literary Folk I Adore and/or Admire… and, Oh Yeah, Those People Who Wrote Them”

The ship’s rail at my back. A blade at my throat. Sweat beads on my brow as I strive not to swallow. My eyes locked on the pair glinting opposite mine, I croak, “What d’ye want of me, ye soulless scalawag?!”

Leaning in so close I can sniff the rum on her mind, the dread captain snarls, “Who are your favorite authors and why?

For such are the life-and-death questions presented to we who sail under the flag of the jolly Buccaneer Blogfest.

Now, I don’t know how most people settle on their favorite authors, but me? I’m a character nut. So if an author writes a book that introduces me to a character I love, that author’s earned him/herself some serious “liked or preferred above all others; regarded with special favor” points. That being said, let’s compile a quick list – say, the first three I feel like writing about.

Author: Rachel Aaron. Book(s): The Spirit Thief and sequels. Character(s): Eli Monpress.

I’ve raved about his book here, and I’ll rave about another of his books two days from now, but to succinctly summarize, wizard thief Eli Monpress is my literary crush du jour, and I love Rachel Aaron for having written him into my life. I like a bunch of her other characters, too, when I can pry my attention away from Eli. And I like Rachel’s style – light, humorous adventure-fantasy that doesn’t take itself too seriously…unless things are getting serious, in which case they get serious hardcore, and you may be up all night turning pages. What I’ve seen of her on the internet has also convinced me that she’s just a generally awesome person. So take it all round, I’m a shameless Rachel Aaron fan.

Author: Robin McKinley. Book(s): The Outlaws of Sherwood. Character(s): The eponymous outlaws of Sherwood.

If memory serves, this was the book that made me go limp and doe-eyed over all things Robin Hood. I’ve read and enjoyed other work from her, as well (“Beauty” and “Sunshine” come to mind), but none of them took over my imagination the way “Outlaws” has. I’m not even sure I can properly express why I love her take on the Merry Men so much. I just got this really great sense of camaraderie – and it blended so beautifully with the way she presented their world, so that story and characters felt inseparable to me, if that makes a lick of sense to anybody – to the point where part of me wanted to go back to the days of King Richard and get myself run off my lands by Nottingham’s Sheriff, just so I could chill in the greenwood with Robin and the gang. I try not to let that part of me do the decision-making.

Author: Tirzah Duncan. Book(s): “Ever Actor”, plus some short stories. Character(s): Syawn, and Rowtan.

Sometimes I’m so busy considering her my best friend and writing buddy, I forget that she’s a legit author, too. An as-yet unpublished author, true, but no less an author for that. And in fact, I don’t know that we would have ever met, were it not for her novel’s MC, Sy. But fortune smiled upon me, for I read a quick bio about a thief lord whose name meant “fox”, and I was all over it. (This post is perhaps being too subtle about it for all but the keenest to grasp, but I have a pronounced attraction to thieves. …And I like foxes.) It was only after further familiarizing myself with her book (which has a new Facebook page, didja know?) that I likewise became a fan of her powerful mage, Rowtan. And now I hang with all three of them all the time in our imaginary pillow fort. Wouldn’t it be the coolest if we could do that with all our favorite authors? (:

Which literary faves would you hang in a pillow fort with, if you could?