Deejay, the Great and Powerful

(Originally published on the Outlaws of Avalon Tumblr page)

So imagine that you’re a minstrel dropped into this world from a faraway fairytale universe, and your first encounter with 21st-century music went like this:


Putcho hands up, hands up!

Shawty on the dance floor,

Shakin’ it like what, wha-what?!

I’mma be with muh baby in the club,

Goin’ all night long!

Don’t you stop my song, dee-ee-jay…”

Teeth gritted in pain, Allyn forced his hands away from his ears long enough to press the power button a second time, bathing the car in near-silence once more. He glowered at Will Scarlet. “What in all hells was that?!”

“I gather that whoever played the radio last was somewhat hard of hearing,” Will said, bouncing back from a cringe of his own. “Though whether they started out hard of hearing, or only became so after listening to hip-hop at such a volume for any extended space of time, is anybody’s guess.”

[…] Brow puckered, he tried again, his finger unintentionally sliding a little bit lower. It proved a happy accident, for the radio abruptly forsook the song about the hip-hop minstrel’s encounter with the highwayman called Deejay (or such was Allyn’s best guess as to what the lyrics had been going on about)…

(From “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”, emphasis added)

Weird, sure, but as an isolated incident, it’s just one random nonsense song.

Except the more you listen to hits on the radio, the clearer it becomes that this Deejay person is no mere highwayman.

Clubbers everywhere are praying to this character as if he holds their hearts in his hands.

  • “DJ give us something to ride to”
  • “Play my song, Mr. DJ, I’m in love with the DJ”
  • “Oh DJ, ease my mind will you”
  • “I love the DJ, the DJ loves me”
  • “DJ’s got the party started, there’s no end in sight”
  • “I’m so into you ‘cause I love the DJ”
  • “Last night a DJ saved my life”
  • “The DJ’s gonna save us, DJ’s gonna save us tonight”
  • “Listen to what the DJ’s spinnin’, he’s tappin’ into just what you’re feelin’”
  • “Close your eyes to the DJ, close your eyes and fade away”
  • “DJ! Don’t do this to me – I tried to do my best – I tried not to sing out of key – DJ! Don’t you dare to leave – I tried to be the one – and now I’m on my knees!”
  • “Don’t blame the world, it’s the DJ’s fault”

*record scratch*

What are you, otherworld minstrel, to make of it all? You never once doubted that music has power, but this…

Is the Deejay a wizard?? A legion of demons?? A sentient drug?? Is he God???

In Deejay we move, in Deejay we love, in Deejay we trust! Don’t abandon us, Deejay! We pump blood to your beat! We succumb to your groove! Don’t take my baby from me, Deejay!

It’s Deejay’s party, and we’re just living in it! But of course there are those who resist.

Rebel leader Ke$ha declares “it’s time to kill the lights and shut the DJ down”. She’s backed up by The Smiths, calling for the people to “burn the disco, hang the blessed DJ”.

It is to be war.

And you can only wonder… when the smoke clears… when silence falls … who will be left standing on the dance floor?

Thanks to Marcela Laskoski for making this image freely available on

The Music of Allyn-a-Dale

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

And who better to emcee today’s post than the novel’s M[ain]C[haracter]?

“Very few,” says Allyn, “given that it is a post all to do with music. Specifically, the songs of ‘Ballad’.”

As performed by me!

“…Who, in the absence of a gate between the worlds to grant me access to her recording equipment, is the best we could get.”

Such is life. Introduce the first number, why don’t you.

“The very first? Well, that was an early effort. The story was still in its planning stages. You and I had yet to officially meet. And already the book’s truth pressed itself upon you: It was not to be done without music. You couldn’t just summarize the plot to yourself in plain prose, oh no – you synopsized in rhyming stanzas. Thus was born the novel’s eponymous song.”

The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale

Click here to hear the melody, courtesy of my ocarina. And the full set of lyrics can be found in the novel, one verse at the start of every chapter.

Ballad and Ocarina

“With a beginning like that,” says Allyn, “not to mention having already worked on two novellas with my father and master in minstrelsy, she ought to have known there’d be no getting through my book without a song number or five. Yet there she was, NaNoWriMo Day 1, all surprise when from her fingers flowed the following:

A sigh escaped his lips – what Father called a minstrel sigh: An exhalation pulled from so deep inside that it brought a melody up with it. “And where there’s a melody,” Father opined, “there ought to be words of a lyrical kind.”

And so there were, in Allyn’s minstrel sigh…

“So she huffed and fretted and scrambled to find…”

The Naming of Allyn-a-Dale

Click here for the music video!

Naming of Allyn-a-Dale

“After that,” Allyn recalls, “she requested I provide her with more notice before demanding a song on the page. To this I agreed, but not before she had her revenge in the form of” – his eyes narrow, voice dropping to dire levels – “the Rock Minstrel.”

What can I say? I’d had a crazy caricature musician hanging out in my imagination for years, and what better fictional setup in which to drop him than a Renaissance Faire?

Rock Minstrel

“Arguably all very well, but was the ‘Ballad-Off’ scene entirely necessary?”

It both provided an opportunity to illustrate what a regular working day in Avalon Faire is like, and entertained me no end, so yes.

“Hmm,” says Allyn, dubiously. “In any case, it called for my composition of another song, this one inspired by a little ditty from Shakespeare’s ‘As You Like It’ – a play which (fun fact for the Robin Hood fans) features a nobleman who runs off to live in the forest with a loyal band of followers. As Will Scarlet would say: #Parallels!”

Sweet Lovers of the Spring

Click here for the music video!

“Being a bard of my word,” says Allyn, “I informed you some hours in advance when I wanted my next song. For it seemed to me that the road trip portion of the book would pass much more merrily for the Men were I to provide them with a song to travel by.”

And you weren’t wrong!

A Merry Traveling Song

Click here to watch me and my lute perform what may be my favorite part of the whole dang novel.

“It was a bit of fun, to be sure,” Allyn chuckles. “And since the book’s bonus song is reserved for those who make it to the back pages of ‘Ballad’, this concludes the day’s post.” He sweeps down in a minstrel bow. “My thanks for your time.”

And our thanks for yours! Readers who want that bonus song’s lyrics – and/or, y’know, the rest of the novel – make sure to get your copy of “The Ballad of Allyn-a-Dale”! Available in paperback (Amazon, CreateSpace) and e-book (Amazon, Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, OverDrive). And if you’ve already read it, I very much hope you’ll do me the grand favor of leaving a review. Not only might it get you a prize (see my Rafflecopter giveaway), it’s just flat-out a great way to support an author. *performs an author bow of thanks in advance*


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

If Allyn-a-Dale couldn’t be a minstrel, what would he be?

A disappointment to his father.