Of Artist and Muse

Today, for your reading pleasure: A pair of short stories inspired by pieces discovered via deviartART. Enjoy!

<<<>>>

Well? said the art. How’s it coming?

“Getting there. Just a little more detail.”

And I’ll be beautiful, right?

“You’re beautiful now. You’re just not finished.”

I don’t see why not, the art sighed. You’ve been working on me forever.

“Well, you have forever. You’re a timeless creation, and sure to outlive me. That’s part of the point of you.”

Only part? What’s the rest?

“Oh, mostly just the joy of watching you come alive.”

You dearly love me, don’t you?

“Yes, I dearly do.”

Tell me why.

“Because you don’t know, or because you like to be told? Don’t tell me I’ve passed on my fragile ego.”

Like artist, like art! Now tell me.

“Because you’re you. And because you’re me. Because you keep me breathing.”

Like your lungs?

“More like my heart.”

And when you’re done with me?

“Oh, my little masterwork. That will never happen.”

“Art” by kowelvain - http://kowelvain.deviantart.com/art/Art-288792411
“Art” by kowelvain – http://kowelvain.deviantart.com/art/Art-288792411

<<<>>>

You never gave up.

Never stopped searching.

Never stopped chasing your muse.

You fought on without me. Strained through the dark for glimmers of genius long after you’d forgotten how to hope.

I’m sorry. I should have slowed to let you catch me. Should have stayed to help you find your way.

I was wrong to let you suffer so, but don’t you see? I couldn’t bear to end it.

It filled me, somehow, watching you empty. It thrilled me to feel your dreams fall and fade with every failure.

I was a dreadful muse, but you…

You inspired me.

“Old Piano” by Alicechan - http://alicechan.deviantart.com/art/Old-Piano-378814958
“Old Piano” by Alicechan – http://alicechan.deviantart.com/art/Old-Piano-378814958

<<<>>>

(Enjoyed what I wrote? There’s loads more where that came from! Browse the DEShipley catalogue, why dontcha. Or if you wish, leave a tip on my GoFundMe page; I’m covered for Outlaws of Avalon 2, praise God, but there’s always Book 3 and beyond… ;D )

Of Drabbles and Dreams

Today, for your reading pleasure: A pair of drabbles (stories exactly 100 words in length) inspired by pieces discovered via deviartART. Enjoy!

<<<>>>

In his dream, he faced the Darkness. But this time, the fire was his to wield.

Cold blue flame shivered down the length of the blade in his hand, a match for the ice burning in his gaze. In waking, he’d borne no such weapon. In truth, Darkness had overcome.

But what were dreams if not a hope for something more?

He stood as the prince he once was – as the king he might have been, had the world spun differently. Memories of fear and loss, he cut adrift to vanish on the wind.

Tonight, he fought for the light.

“Colin” by Elda-QD - http://www.deviantart.com/art/Colin-625964715
“Colin” by Elda-QD – http://www.deviantart.com/art/Colin-625964715

<<<>>>

The Prince of Below murmured, one night, “I wonder… Have you ever seen rain, Friend Moon?”

“Alas, I have not,” the sad moon sighed. “For it falls from the clouds. And when clouds fill the sky, my eyes see nothing of Below.”

“That is a great shame, for rain’s a pretty sight. Perhaps…” A pause. A thought. A smile. “Here. I can show you.”

Up, a wish of the heart.

Up, an umbrella of dreams.

Up, a voice of magic for which Below has no words, though those Above remember.

Thus did the Prince sing down a shower of stars.

“Starry Umbrella” by Ebineyland- http://ebineyland.deviantart.com/art/Starry-Umbrella-520441085
“Starry Umbrella” by Ebineyland- http://ebineyland.deviantart.com/art/Starry-Umbrella-520441085

<<<>>>

(Enjoyed what I wrote? There’s loads more where that came from! Browse the DEShipley catalogue, why dontcha. Or if you wish, leave a tip on my GoFundMe page; I’m covered for Outlaws of Avalon 2, praise God, but there’s always Book 3 and beyond… ;D)

Whazzup, Writing-Wise

We interrupt my periodic reflections on walking around Germany to bring you – *drumroll* – actual authorial updates!

1) Anthologically Speaking

Guess who’s got another short story slated to appear in an anthology? *points to self* This gal! Coming to you from my word-bro Alexander Nader and his Hair Brained Press, it’s “Manifest Reality”, a horror antho of stories focusing on the twisted sh*t in our heads™.

(To my knowledge, that is not actually the book’s trademark, just how Alex once described it on Twitter.)

Word is the collection should drop around Valentine’s Day – because nothing says “crazy-commercialized day of lovers” like a psychotic tale or thirteen, amirite? Further details to come as time marches on. Stay tuned. (And if you’d like to nab an early copy for review, poke me or Alex. We probably won’t tell you “no” and run you out of town. No promises, though.)

2) Novel News

A large part of #NaNoWriMo2015 was a throwback to my first-ever NaNo, back in 2010. I spent the first half of this past November (yes, even while on a river cruise across Europe – insanity or bust) going through the last big edits on my next big publication. Ladies, gentlemen, and miscellaneous so-and-sos, I am thrilled to announce that my Outlaws of Avalon trilogy will make its debut this summer – beginning, of course, with Book One, “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”!

*Not the actual cover*
*Not the actual cover*

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.

This is it, you guys! Of all the series I’ve ever written (heck, maybe even among all the series I’ve ever read), this one is dearest to my heart. And now the manuscript is all but complete, the cover art is underway, and the finished product is scheduled to launch this July.

Ballad ARC Request

If YOU are a reader who’s game to give a contemporary Robin Hood fantasy a whirl, I wanna hear about it! Click the pic above to go fill out the request form I figured out how to whip up (*victory dance*), and I’ll send an eARC your way.

“Rejoice, my fangirls-‘n’-boys!” Will Scarlet says, grinning ear to ear. “The wait for my official story draws to a close! Slowly. Excruciatingly so. Rejoice and die of impatience, basically.”

3) [Ever] On the Blog

I haven’t committed to blogging on a regular schedule since I fled to Europe. And you know what? I’m enjoying the freedom more than I thought I would. (Fun Deshipley fact: I don’t tend to enjoy things that lack structure. I’m a darling stick in the mud, like that.)

So for the indefinite future, I’mma keep doing as I’ve been for the last few months: Posting if and when I’ve got something I want to share. And we’ll see how that goes.

4) On Another Book-Related Note

Heeeeeey, people in and around Lake County, IL: One of my favorite childhood hangouts – Cook Memorial Public Library – is hosting a Local Author Open House. And I’m flying all the way back to the States to be there! (And, y’know, to reunite with my family for a bit.)

zLocalAuthorsOpenHouse

This will be my first time as a part of an event like this. I am excited and nervous and pessimistic and hopeful and ready to ROCK. IT. OUT. If you can make it, I’d love to see you there. If I feel like it afterwards, I’ll tell the Internet how it was. (See point 3. 😉 )

Aaaaaand that’s all she wrote for now. Anyone else got any good news to share? The comment section awaits you.

To the Wail and Beyond

What is it about fear and the unknown that pulls so passionately at the human heart? Perhaps we are drawn not to the darkness itself, but to the resolution, the overcoming of what we most deeply dread. After all, the more terrible the struggle, the greater the victory when it comes at last. Presented in this anthology are twelve remarkable stories of the darkness that overshadows us, and the resolution that may be found beyond them. They are stories of fear and oppression, but ultimately stories of hope, stories that will take you BEYOND THE WAIL.

It’s the final day of the blog tour for “Beyond the Wail: 12 Grave Tales of Love and Loss”! – the latest anthology from Xchyler Publishing, featuring my own “Date Due”, my bestie for life’s “Of Mice and Monsters”, and the works of a whopping ten other word-slinging types.

As one of the authors included in the collection, I’ve not bothered to write up a review of my own. But my main character in “Date Due” gave a running commentary of the book for the Halloween-y “Fortnight of Fright” blog hop, and our reading tastes may share some overlap here and there. Check it out at your leisure!

Here and now, however, the spotlight’s on fellow author F.M. Longo, the man behind the anthology’s “Shrine of Mirrors”. One quick Q&A with F.M., comin’ atcha!

Beyond the Wail, Banner

What is your preferred writing genre?

Mystery – because everything I write turns into one. Actually, you can create a mystery in any other genre – paranormal mysteries, romantic mysteries, historical mysteries.

How does writing impact other parts of your life?

It’s the other parts of my life that impacts my writing. I have a solid hour between 4am and 5am every morning to write. After that, I may get 5-10 minutes a couple times a day to add a few lines to my work in progress.

What are some of your other published works?

My earliest published works date to the mid-1980s, and were computer science topics such as “Generating Square-Roots using Newton’s Method,” “Approximating PI with a Buffon’s Needle Simulation,” and “Principles of Parsing Computer Languages”. After that, most of my articles were on photography and music, and then, in the early 2000s, about 100 articles on the history of food.

What is your advice to writers?

Find your own voice. If your writing sounds like you speak, then you’re there. If it sounds like someone else is speaking, go back and rewrite it. Don’t change your voice because it’s more marketable, or closer to what a specific market is looking for; find the market that matches your voice.

What’s up next for you?

I began a new short story series, this time set in contemporary Tokyo. It falls into paranormal territory and, yes, they’re mysteries. There’s two stories so far, and I haven’t gotten around to polishing them up for submission yet. Soon.

Beyond the Wail, The Authors

About F.M. Longo:

F.M. Longo grew up surrounded by books. He started his own personal book collection at the age of seven, filling his shelves with The Hardy Boys and Tom Swift, Jr. It wasn’t long before he read his way through the entire works of Christie, Queen, Sayers, Gardner, and Wolfe. He started working in commercial kitchens from the age of fifteen, but he traded his whites for a blue pin-striped suit when he started working in Lower Manhattan, developing financial and communications software for banks, brokerages and other Wall Street companies. He later went back to the kitchen, working as the banquet chef for a large resort, and later, as the executive chef and general manager at a fine-dining restaurant. He is also an accomplished jazz drummer, playing professionally for many years. Now retired, he advises non-profit groups in his area on publicity and advertising. Originally from Stratford, CT, where his four children and seven grandchildren still reside, he currently lives in Woodbury, CT.

Facebook ~ Twitter

Beyond the Wail, Availability

Prizes!
Prizes!

If you haven’t already (or if, what the hey, you wanna do it again), grab an e-book or paperback today! Also, it’s the last day to enter the Rafflecopter giveaway and potentially win awesome stuff. So go get ‘em, tiger!

If you’ve missed the other stops on the tour, worry not: I’ve got your schedule hookup below. Peruse as you will. And to any and all who have thus far read “Beyond the Wail”, THAAAAANK YOU. Double thanks if you drop a review somewhere! ^_^

<<<>>>

Saturday, Oct. 10 = Danielle E. Shipley (that’s me!)

http://afstewartblog.blogspot.ca/

http://johnmolsen.blogspot.com/

http://ninadarc.wordpress.com

*

Sunday, Oct. 11 = Alex McGilvery

http://tnicolepayne.blogspot.com/

http://scotttarbet.timp.net

http://www.ash-krafton.blogspot.com/

*

Monday, Oct. 12 = T.N. Payne

http://www.songsofmann.org

http://authorsarahhunterhyatt.blogspot.com

http://melissamcshanewrites.com/

*

Tuesday, Oct. 13 = Ginger C. Mann

www.lkmcintoshwriter.com

http://janasbrown.com

https://fairiesandpirates.wordpress.com

Beyond the Wail prizes 2
More prizes!

*

Wednesday, Oct. 14 = L.K. McIntosh

http://rampantgames.com/blog/

http://scottywattydoodlealltheday.blogspot.com/

www.terraluft.com

*

Thursday, Oct. 15 = Jay Barnson

http://www.amandagaelic-writing.com/blog/

https://creativityfromchaos.wordpress.com/

*

Friday, Oct. 16 = A. F. Stewart

http://blog.talesbyjulie.com

http://amindwandering.blogspot.com

http://holdingamoonbeam.tumblr.com

*

Saturday, Oct. 17 = Amanda Banker

http://beyondthewailblogtour.blogspot.com/

https://galacticavoice.wordpress.com/

http://semishort.blogspot.com/

*

Sunday, Oct. 18 = Julie Barnson

https://inkcaster.wordpress.com/

http://darcnina.wordpress.com

http://invicticide.tumblr.com

*

Monday, Oct. 19 = Sebastian Bendix

Beyond the Wail prizes 3
Ever more prizes!

https://jaurelguay.wordpress.com/

http://dandifluff.com/

http://originiquequanimity.blogspot.com/

*

Tuesday, Oct. 20 = Tirzah Duncan

http://amharte.com/

http://afstewartpromotion.blogspot.ca/

*

Wednesday, Oct. 21 = F.M. Longo

https://everonword.wordpress.com/ (you are here!)

http://thecultofme.blogspot.co.uk/

http://cobblestonescribe.com/blog.html

Beyond the Wail prizes 4
FURTHER PRIZES, OH MY GOSH.

Graphic Paranormal

So, how ‘bout that time “Beyond the Wail” launched and fellow anthology author A. F. Stewart made a heck-ton of amazing graphics? At least one awesome pic per each of the “12 Grave Tales of Love and Loss”. Gaze with me…

<<<>>>

OF MICE AND MONSTERS by Tirzah Duncan: Troubled by ghosts within and without, Benjamin struggles to become the man his girlfriend needs instead of the monster he is.

Of Mice and Monsters

[To the tune of “Space Ghost”]: Ghooooooost wiiiiiiiiind!

(Relevant: That time the Stranger Than Truth club reviewed “Of Mice and Monsters” in their, uh, inimitable style.)

<<<>>>

GO GENTLE by Julie Barnson: After the death of her boyfriend, a young musician uses her talents and a fabled violin to stop the fatal accidents at a dead man’s curve.

Go Gentle

Cool colors reminiscent of a ghost’s chill presence.

<<<>>>

DEAD WATER by Amanda Banker: A stalled truck, an abandoned graveyard, and a town not found on any map take two brothers on a detour they’ll never forget.

Dead Water

Don’t follow that road, boys!!!

<<<>>>

COLD SPOT by Jay Barnson: When a laptop is stolen from their computer security company, two high school buddies go to extremes to investigate. But, will they manage to return?

Cold Spot

Love how it moves from a tech-ish image into a total fade-out. Quite story appropriate.

<<<>>>

THE WEEPING LADY by A. F. Stewart: Eva Douglas must face her mother issues, past and present, when the disappearance of her sister forces a confrontation with a terrifying ghost.

When it’s the artist’s own story up at the bat, it’s no surprise if the muse goes wild. Check out these three variations.

The Weeping Lady

The Weeping Lady 2

The Weeping Lady 3

(Not sure I can pick a favorite. Can you?)

<<<>>>

THE POLTERGEIST AND AUNT BETTY by Ginger C. Mann: Aunt Betty is eccentric, but how much is ghost, how much is medication, and how much is just plain crazy?

The Poltergeist and Aunt Betty

If it isn’t the old Hammond Organ!

(Relevant: That time everyone’s favorite Crazy Aunt Betty hit the stage for Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell.)

<<<>>>

THE ‘GRIM’ REAPER by L. K. McIntosh: When a soul reaper loses the source of their power, they must either find the witch who stole it or a new purpose for living.

The 'Grim' Reaper

Ahhh, the fateful antiques shop… *nods knowingly*

<<<>>>

SHRINE OF MIRRORS by F. M. Longo: A spy on a mission becomes a believer in the supernatural when the theft of three ancient relics threaten to bring down the empire.

Shrine of Mirrors

Lovely aesthetic. Seems a view Saga Naoki and company would enjoy, no?

<<<>>>

DEAD MAN HOCKING by T.N. Payne: A world-weary zombie learns to beware what you wish for, and not all sure bets are worth the gamble.

Dead Man Hocking

I don’t care if it is only Kyle: If a zombie comes walking out of that fog, I’m completely done.

<<<>>>

SAINT PETER’S FISH by Alex McGilvery: Sam is a walking disaster of biblical proportions, but how much is he willing to sacrifice to escape, and will the Powers That Be allow it?

Saint Peter's Fish

Sure, the water’s calm now… *waits for the oceanic life to monsoon down* Also, I really like what’s going on with the colors in the second row of text.

<<<>>>

THE DIORAMA by Sebastian Bendix: A play set turns life around for Martin Taper, but things take a turn for the worse when he neglects it and the lonely child obsessed with it.

The Diorama

That’s just a straight-up cool little photograph, man. *remembers associated story* *is crept out*

<<<>>>

And then there’s MINE!

DATE DUE by Danielle E. Shipley: A magic library’s guardian determines to protect her treasured books, whether their authors elect to do things the easy way … or the fatal one.

Date Due graphic

She used the same image in a warmer shade, too, which I also liked, but this library reads as spookier, and I just tend to lean toward bluer tones in general – in life – so this is the one that gets the coveted blog post spot.

(Relevant: That time Ginger C. Mann went on a character walk with my crazy book lady.)

(See also: That other time, when A. F. Stewart’s Richard Dale had a fireside chat with my Elizabeth Young.)

<<<>>>

What do you think, Ever On Wordians? Pretty darn sweet, or nah?

Thanks for the great graphics, A. F.!

(Relevant: The “Beyond the Wail” blog tour is still going, along with its Rafflecopter giveaway. If you haven’t entered yet, get a move on!)

I See Red-Headed People (Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell)

“From the stage that brought you Will & Allyn’s Interactive Theatre,” Allyn-a-Dale proclaims before the curtain, “here’s Ever On Word’s original talk show, Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell.”

Danielle whipped up a logo for me, because she is awesome first class.

The curtain rises, the studio audience applauds, and Will Scarlet himself walks smiling and waving onto the bright, cozy set.

“Hullo, everyone! Let’s jump right into it, shall we?” Leading by example, he hops into his armchair. “Allyn, who—” He performs a double take, startling at the belated realization that the chair across from his own is already occupied. “Who-o-o have we here?”

“The creation of author Ginger C. Mann,” says Allyn. “Namely—”

“Betty,” the pudgy, older woman interjects. “My nieces and nephews call me Aunt Betty. But you, handsome… you can just call me Betty.” She bats her eyes coyly at her host.

Ever the professional at rolling with the punches, Will flashes a hospitable grin. “Betty it is! So glad you could join me. First things first – is popping up onstage unannounced right under the nose of security your only gift, or are you a woman of many talents?”

Betty tosses back a head full of thick, red hair and flashes a toothy grin. “I am a br-ILLIANT organist, and I am also a Montessori teacher – or, I was. Then, my husband Timothy died, and the whole world came after me. Every bank in town wanted a piece of my property, my money, my flesh…” She stops talking suddenly and looks over her shoulder as if she hears something. “I’m in the witness protection program,” she whispers directly to the camera. “Don’t tell anyone!”

“I have no doubt our international audience’s lips are sealed,” Will assures her. “Mum’s the word, hey, Allyn?”

Allyn’s voice wafts in from off-camera. “Did you say the banks want your flesh?”

Betty nods emphatically. “It was just fine, just fine, until the day the underworld opened up and spit zombie bankers all over Nacogdoches, Texas! No going out after that happened, not even to play my organ at the Baptist church. I just stayed in that house as long as I could and…” She checks a watch on her wrist, then digs in her purse for something. “I think it’s past my medication time.”

“I was just thinking something similar,” Allyn is heard to murmur. Will waves for him to shush, blinking in bemusement all the while.

Setting down her purse as if she has forgotten what she wanted from it, Betty carries on. “Well, when the zombies took over my house, and the vampires kicked me out of town…”

“Vampires be like,” Will tuts sympathetically.

“I called my niece, Beverly,” Betty continues. “Haven’t seen her for twenty years, but she took me in. So kind of her.”

“I’ll say. Three huzzahs for family you can count on in your time of need! How are you enjoying your stay with your niece so far?”

“Her place is so full – she has three kids! – she put me in a spare room that she made out of a giant pantry. Cute little room, all stringer lights and mirrors in there. But the mirrors work just a little too well.”

Will cocks his head. “How do you mean?”

“I’m seein’ that the place is,” Betty whispers behind her hand, “oc-cu-PIED! I’m roomin’ with a ghost, Will Scarlet, a ghost that lives in my family’s haunted house in Lake Charles, Louisiana.” She pauses, staring at the host, to let this sink in.

“Good Lord,” cries Will. “Zombie bankers, vampires, ghosts… You, Aunt Betty, are positively plagued with the paranormal! The ghost hasn’t tried to eat you or run you across state lines, has it?”

Shaking her head, Betty whispers again, “The ghost likes me, and it follows me around.” She looks over her shoulder. “Everywhere. But my family don’t believe me. Can’t say why.”

A second cough – this one from off-camera – suggests Allyn may be in possession of a theory or two.

“Everyone’s a skeptic,” says Will, with a supportive pat for his guest’s hand. “It’s clear you’ve got a lot to deal with, just now, so I won’t keep you haunting this stage much longer. Just one more question, if you would. Tell me, what is your author Ginger’s biggest, deepest, darkest, most mortifying and/or hilarious secret? Or—”

“Ginger?” Betty’s eyes blink as she snaps back to attention. “Oh, you mean the tall woman who is always walking up behind me and listenin’ in? She’s not so bad. We sit out on the porch together, and sometimes she plays duets with me on the organ. Occasionally, she plays with my students. She’s behind me now, in fact. She’s become a friend of sorts, but she’s awfully shifty. Must be what happens after a person dies.”

“Wha—?!” Will startles half out of his chair. “Ginger?! But I thought—”

“Oh right, I forgot to mention that – she’s dead. Dead people are the only ones who actually ‘get’ me, you know. Some of them are hanging out right here, Will Scarlet. My own social club. There’s a banker, an author, a railroad worker, a banjo player.” She whispers behind her hand, “Kinda wish that one would go on ‘into the light,’ know what I’m sayin’? Then there are all of the little kids that want me to teach them somethin’.”

A hair curler flies across the set, followed by another one. “Jimmy! I told you not to throw those things at—” She turns to Will. “Excuse me, you know toddlers, they love hair curlers.”

Betty steps off-camera for a moment. From off-set, her voice drifts in, “And put them back in your bag. We always put our work away. Maria Montessori said—” From the other direction, the sound of a filmy drum track simulates a foxtrot. “Carly! I’m not available for your lesson now, pipe down…!”

She wanders back on set, her thick red hair sticking up at odd angles, looking bewildered. “Oh, hi,” she says to Will Scarlet, “I don’t believe we have met. My name is Betty.”

“Um…” says Will, nonplussed.

With a look of recognition, she snaps her head up hard enough to make the loose flesh on her neck jiggle. “Oh, right! Well, I don’t want to go bragging, but I see folks nobody else ever sees. And I think they like it. Some days, I wish they didn’t. You are awfully understanding too, Mr. Will Scarlet. I mean, it’s like I’ve known you forever. Wait, when did you say you were born? Or did you…” Betty peers at Will Scarlet with increasing curiosity. “Where is your body buried, Mr. Will Scarlet?”

His eyes pop wide open, his face gone white behind a strained smile. Allyn,” he hisses out the side of his mouth. “How the devil does she know I’ve died?”

“Admit nothing,” Allyn hisses back. “Change the subject.”

Will’s focus whips back to Betty, blurting, “Would you like to kiss me?”

“I’ll gladly kiss a man as good looking as you, Mr. Will Scarlet.” Betty’s eyes turn sideways, and she cranes her head to look behind Will Scarlet. “But up until now, I think my student was busy with you. Why don’t you take the curlers out of your hair first?”

“Curlers? What curl— oh.” Having turned toward the live-streaming monitors, Will belatedly notes that his golden-red locks have been somehow rolled into a set of lime green hair curlers.

“On second thought…” Betty puts on a fresh coat of fire-engine red lipstick. “You look great to me. Pucker up!”

“Puckering up.” Will sweeps Betty into his arms, swings her ‘round, and dips her low, calling over her head, “Allyn, how ‘bout a word from our sponsor?”

“Today’s Kiss & Tell segment,” says Allyn, determinedly ignoring anything else taking place on this stage, “was brought to you by Ginger C. Mann’s ‘The Poltergeist and Aunt Betty’ – included in ‘Beyond the Wail: 12 Grave Tales of Love and Loss’, launching tomorrow.”

Beyond the Wail, full spread

“Thank you, Allyn,” Will says. “Thanks to you as well, Betty …and, um, Betty’s ghostly coterie. And thank you, my beautiful audience. Remember, authors – if your characters would like to appear on the show, simply follow the guidelines provided here, and we’ll get them on the schedule. ‘Til next time, lovelies: Scarlet out!”

Wintry with a High Chance of a Teaser

Quick word from our sponsor (…so, basically me):

My serial Wilderhark Talette continues, today, with Part 4 of “The Soul Shepherdessnow live on Channillo.com. Subscribers, check it out! Non-subscribers… well, I’m sure you can figure out how to remedy that.

And now onto our regularly scheduled blog post.

<<<>>>

Only 2 weeks and a day (can you believe it?!) until the launch of “The Story’s End (Book Seven of The Wilderhark Tales)”. To mark* the occasion (*you’ll see in half-a-sec what I did, there), have a look at this gorgeous piece of work from my treasured Wilderhark Artist, Yana Naumova!

Aquinore, color final, gallery size

That chill in the air isn’t just October breathing down our necks. It’s Aquinore, Wind of the North, standing proud on one of three new bookmark designs made just for “Story’s End” – which you can bet will feature in a giveaway during the online Launch Party, coming soon to Facebook. (Drop in! Invite your friends! We’ll party like it’s #WilderharkTales7, up in here!)

Just what role will the Sky’s icy wind have to play in the Wilderhark Tales’ final chapter? That, I’m hardly about to tell you. But if we’re talking of chapters, how’s this for a tease: A peek at the lineup of chapter titles for “The Story’s End”!

<<<>>>

~ A Ballad of Life and Death ~

~ Winter and Spring ~

~ Gant Expectations ~

~ Sky on Earth, Earth in Sky ~

~ The Silencing of Song ~

~ A Lost Lullaby ~

~ The Bard and His Boy ~

~ No Kind of Home ~

~ Whispers in the Night ~

~ Tales of Time Gone By ~

~ Old Friends with New Faces ~

~ The Gant Commission ~

~ The Dark Divide ~

~ Spinning a Long-Ago Spell ~

~ Last Light of the Moon ~

~ The Way through the Window ~

~ A Gathering Storm ~

~ Song’s Finale ~

~ Epilogue: …All the Rest of Their Days ~

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Story's End Cover, gallery size

For Gant-o’-the-Lute, “ever after” has been less than happy. With the last of Carillon’s charm over him gone, the minstrel-king puts royalty behind him in pursuit of the music he once knew and the lifelong dream he let slip through his fingers. But dark whispers on the wind warn that time is running out – not only for Lute and the apprentice in his shadow, but the whole of earth and Sky.

The Story’s End (Book Seven of The Wilderhark Tales”, coming October 13, 2015; now available to add to your Goodreads “To Read” shelf.

Extreme Makeover: Wilderhark Edition

Quick word from our sponsor (…so, basically me):

My serial Wilderhark Talette continues, today, with Part 3 of “The Soul Shepherdess” now live on Channillo.com. Young Solwen is moving ever closer to her minstrel destiny – and naturally, she’s singing all-new, original songs about it. Subscribers, check it out! Non-subscribers… well, I’m sure you can figure out how to remedy that.

Also, there’s a Wilderhark extravaganza coming, and you (*points to absolutely everyone*) are officially invited. Check it out!

And now onto our regularly scheduled blog post.

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Once upon a time, an author loved the covers of her fairytale novella series very much.

But then she decided that she could love them more.

For you see, this author was something of a perfectionist, her eye ever open to ways things could be made better. In the case of her books’ covers, they were beautiful to behold. …Up close. But from a distance – or, y’know, a thumbnail image – they didn’t read as well. Moreover, the spines were too plain. Too dull. She wanted to fancy them up a bit, so they better held their own among a whole shelf full of titles.

Fortunately for our author, this series of hers was self-published, so making the changes she desired was as simple (and as frustrating/wearying/time-consuming) as making those changes herself. Thus did she roll up her sleeves, send up prayers for strength, patience, and technological cooperation, and buckle down to get ‘er done.

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

And since I was at it, I went ahead and swept the pages again (both paper and electronic) for persistent typos and formatting stuff that bugged me, so now the books’ insides and outsides are better than ever! Although Books 1 and 2 still don’t include pronunciation guides, because… *squints at past self* What was your reasoning, exactly?

Past Me: *shrugs*

Ohhh-kay. For, um, mysterious reasons unknown, then. But those who want reassurance that they’re saying “Harrold Babbit” correctly can always pop onto the Wilderhark Tales page on my website.

In any case: Look ye now upon the before-and-afters of the old and NEW ‘N’ IMPROVED, full-spread covers for Wilderhark Tales One through Six!

Swan Prince Cover, E-book
Before…
Swan Prince Cover, full spread update
…and after!
Stone Kingdom Cover, front
Before…
Stone Kingdom Cover, full spread update
…and after!
Seventh Spell Cover, front
Before…
Seventh Spell Cover, full spread update
…and after!
Song Caster Cover, front
Before…
Song Caster Cover, full spread update
…and after!
Sun's Rival Cover, front
Before…
Sun's Rival Cover, full spread udpate
…and after!
Surrogate Sea cover, front
Before…
Surrogate Sea Cover, full spread update
…and after!

Ta-daaaaaa! You collector types who simply must have every version of everything Wilderhark that you can get your hands on, terribly sorry, but it looks like I’ve given you something new at which to throw your money. And for those of you who’ve been dragging your feet about getting your copies of the Wilderhark Tales, now seems like a shiny time to get your collection going, dontcha think? ^^ Just in time for the series’ end, too

Holler in the comments: What do you think of the makeovers??

Wilderhark Cover Updates 01

Wilderhark Cover Updates 02

Wilderhark Cover Updates 03

A Delightfully Grave Announcement

Ladies, gentlemen, and assorted rogues! It is with great pleasure and no small amount of authorial pride that I present to you the first look at my latest anthology project with Xchyler Publishing.

Aaaand cue the vid!


 

Beyond the Wail: 12 Grave Tales of Love and Loss”, featuring me – not to mention my best friend, Tirzah Duncan. First soul sisters, now anthology sisters, too. It’s a Christmas miracle! …Or, given the book’s release date of October 10th, nearer to a Halloween miracle.

In celebration of the book’s cover reveal, I’m likewise revealing the related Pinterest board that I’ve been assembling since before I even knew for sure that my own uncanny short story had made the cut. So here – have a little library magic, courtesy of “Date Due”.

Also! It’s only a matter of time until we start sending out advance reader e-copies of the book. If you – yes, YOU, sir/madam/your rogue-ship – would like an early read of “Beyond the Wail” for the low, low price of an honest review, give me a spine-chilling shriek of woe! I’ll die of fright. Or hook you up. One of those. ;D

BEYOND-THE-WAIL-front-web

Behind the Talette: Soul Shepherdess Part 2

It’s the last Monday of the month, meaning my Channillo series has grown by one Wilderhark Talette. ^o^

Although – head’s up, gang – there’s a change of schedule coming up. Next month (hiiii, September – aka the start of Ever On Word’s 5th year, whaaaat?) will feature not one, but two new Talettes, on the 14th and the 28th. And October’s Talette will be coming atcha on the 12th (the day before the official launch of “The Story’s End”!). And after that… hiatus time.

“Wha-a-at??” say the masses.

Yes, the end of my current serially released short story will mark the beginning of a indefinite break for the Wilderhark Talettes.

It seemed a good time, coinciding as it does with the conclusion of the Wilderhark Tales proper, as well as my temporary abandonment of the U.S. for Europe. The winds of change, they are a’blowing (less threateningly than most of the winds of Welken, one can only hope), and I’m good ‘n’ ready to close the book on the Wilderhark world for a while.

But fret ye not! Though I won’t be adding any new Talettes past October, all the old ones will still be available for Channillo subscribers to access. And if Future Me ever gets inspired to throw some more Talettes your way, you can be sure I’ll let you in the know. ^_^

Now, then, on to today’s special treat, tied into the second chapter of “The Soul Shepherdess”.

When we last saw young Solwen – she who will go on to become the first woman minstrel in the Great Land, despite not a little discouragement along the way – she was searching out words and a melody to share the music of the world with her sister. She’s at it again today, and if anything, her new song is even prettier than the first.

Rather than attempt to pick out the accompaniment on my lute, I turned to my trusty music-makin’ computer program (a somewhat old-school version of this) – mostly because I’ll seize any excuse to throw in some cellos. Click the pic below for my humble rendition of Solwen’s ode to a winter morning, “Snowfall” (as shared on my “Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale” Facebook page).

Snowfall Still

For the story surrounding this song, make sure you’re subscribed to the Wilderhark Talettes! And do feel free to look around Channillo for other series that may catch your fancy; you’ll want something to keep you busy when the Talettes go on break, aye? ;D