Life Hands You Blog Tags? Get Scarlet Aid!

What up, beautiful people! Will Scarlet, here. And— you know how sometimes Danielle will be like, “Hey, there’s this fun-looking blog tag going around, and didn’t nobody officially tag me, but I’m strapped for blogging inspiration, so what-to-the-ever, I’mma play along regardless”? Well, plot twist alert, because this time, called upon by name she was to join in The Imaginary Assistant Tag!

The standard rule rundown:

1 = Thank the person who tagged you and link back to their blog (assistants won’t work for ungrateful bosses). Thanks and smooches to The Story Sponge for invoking D’s participation! She may or may not have jumped in anyway, but it feels pretty dandy to receive a virtually engraved invitation.

2 = Link back to the creator of the tag.The ones to thank here are Mariposa Aristeo and her own imaginary assistant, Aberdeen the Authorosaurus, over at Dino’s Digest. So grammercy, you two!

3 = Tag 5-10 bloggers who need assistants (and if they don’t need them, tag them anyway). As usual, we’re blanket tagging. So if you’re a blanket who wants to play—! Lol, I kid. If you’re anyone who wants to play – bedcovering or otherwise – then blog away.

Now comes the main course of the tag – the part that’s all, “Please answer the following questions so the author assistant agency can find the right assistant for you.” Buuut… I’m not gonna let Danielle do that. Because, my author, I love you, but if left to your own devices, you’d probably overthink this thing, when the obvious answer is standing right in front of you and looking very handsome in the process.

So please, allow me to demonstrate what an absolutely PERFECT imaginary assistant I would be!

What type of creature/species would you like your assistant to be (human, animal, dragon, dinosaur, figment of your imagination, etc.) and why?

I am, as it happens, 100% human, if somewhat Fey-affected. (A few decades on the Isle of Avalon will do that to a person … particularly if they brought you back to life there, immediately following your first of several deaths.) But to be at my most effective for you, I shouldn’t stay in your imagination. Free reign to run amok on your plane of reality, that’s what I need! …Wipe that look off your face; I wouldn’t get into that much trouble. Not instantly, anyway.

What do you want your assistant to look like?

Exactly what I do look like, thank you very much! If it ain’t broke, and all that. Medium tall and god-like physique, gleaming red-gold hair and dazzling blue eyes, a smile made for breaking and repairing hearts, and lots and lots of expensive clothes. We should actually probably hit up the mall, first thing upon my arrival. All very “If Will Scarlet Took Me Out”, ya dig?

What qualities are you looking for in an assistant (responsible, lovable, exasperating, etc.)?

Easy: I can do what you can’t. I’m an extravert unafraid of barging in on others’ conversations and laying on the charm. You could focus on just creating stuff, and I’d take care of the rest!

What job(s) would your assistant be in charge of?

Social media presence, promotion, interaction… also meal preparation, so you have no excuse to accidentally starve. Plus I’ll happily take the lead on all your research-related needs. Look-it-up Guy, at your service! Learning’s ten times more fun when you’re doing it through me.

What would you like your assistant to be named?

You’re fine calling me Will, right? And/or Scarlet? It’s what we’ve done for almost a decade, now, so.

What would you feed your assistant (candy, books, pickles, etc)?

You will not feed me anything. I will feed myself everything. That said, I will occasionally drag you out of the house to enjoy ice cream or boba tea with me, and you will like it.

How would you pay your assistant and what benefits would you offer as compensation for their work?

Oh, babe, do not even worry, I would make you so much money, you’d suspect me of thievery. (And, I mean, fair enough.) I’ll take just a big enough slice of the pie to, well, ensure I can keep buying pie. As for benefits, seeing you happy and successful is all my heart desires! Plus vacations to cool places. You’d have to take me along on those.

What special abilities would you like your assistant to have (i.e. ice powers to freeze writer’s block, super strength to break writer’s block, or super stupidity to stare at you while you’re having writer’s block)?

Special abilities? Girl, I’ll have you know I’m endowed with the super-est superpower of all: The power of FRIENDSHIP! Banishing loneliness with a single bound! Stimulating your wit and whimsy with my ‘Yes, And’ way of life! You can bounce your ideas off me like a trampoline, funniest feedback guaranteed! And if/when I catch you pushing yourself too hard, be assured I will force you to take a break before you pull a Hamilton.

Where would you like your assistant to be from (Jurassic Park, Narnia, your head)?

Oh, you know, here and there. Medieval England. A magical Midwestern U.S. Renaissance Faire. Your head, so arguably Fresno. Home is where you set your sword down, I always say, starting now.

Will you solemnly swear you will not fire your assistant in either sickness or in health, for richer for poorer, smarter or stupider, writing or not writing, for as long as you both shall live?

Darling, you could never fire me, because you’ll never have hired me. I don’t work for you; I just work, and it’s for you. Total difference. And even if you someday decide you’re done with being an author – for a while or forever – you’ll still be my author. My Dani-babe. Good luck ever shaking me off.

Scarlet and Me, Together Forever

So, any other authors/artists out there think they could use my matchless Scarlet brand of assistance? While I don’t expect I’d be available to every single one of you full-time, I’m never farther away than a quick message sent to Danielle via blog, website, Twitter, or whatever. Hit me up whenever you need to. Or, if you’ve got different ideas re: the imaginary assistant that would be right for you, tell all about it in the comments!

Until next time, beautiful people! Scarlet out.

In Which I Battle Like a Bard

Once upon a time, I—

Will Scarlet: “Wait. What do you mean, ‘I’?”

Y’know. I. As in, ‘me, myself, and’.

Will: “But you opened this post with ‘once upon a time’. When you do that, you’re usually like, ‘an author did this or that, and stuff happened, and kingdoms rose and fell, yadda-yadda,’ before finally delivering the big reveal: ‘And that author – *solemn nods* – was me.’”

Allyn-a-Dale: “Wow, Will. Spoilers, much?”

Will Scarlet: “She does it EVERY TIME!”

Not this time! Because I am an unpredictable, plot-twisty wordsmaster, is why.

Now, again from the top: Once upon a time, I came across a Kickstarter / author call for an anthology titled “Sword and Sonnet”. The theme? Battle bards.

Sword and Sonnet

Allyn: “A promising premise indeed!”

Right? So I had me a little brainstorming session, and whipped up a short story featuring a noteworthy minstrel—

Will: “Ha! Noteworthy – like musical notes, right?”

Um, not intentionally. I just meant exceptional—

Allyn: “Like Father?”

No! Like Ballady Sol!

Will: “Cool! So, when does the antho come out?”

A while ago.

Will: “But… you didn’t hype the release at all…?”

Allyn: “Psst. Will. I don’t think her story was included in the book.”

To my disappointment, it was not. Not every excellent story will make every cut. I guess mine wasn’t what they were looking for.

Will: “Well, what the deuce were they looking for?!”

Search me. I haven’t yet read the “Sword and Sonnet” e-copy I received for backing the Kickstarter. Not because I’m bitter! – (*cough* at least, not entirely *cough*) – but because I am really bad about settling down to read non-paper books.

Allyn: “Alas for the world, deprived of your short fiction brilliance. However shall we carry on?”

Pretty sure you’re being at least 80% sarcastic, right now, but there is yet good news. Because you know how I roll, boys: When life hands me a ‘no’…

Will: “You make your own ‘yes’!”

When one publisher closes a door…

Allyn: “You open a window.”

10 segue points to House Gant. Behold the blurb and cover art for…

Windows and Sol: A Bard’s Beginning”!

Once upon a time, ‘wandering songster’ was no kind of career for a woman.

Now one minstrel-in-the-making is going to change Wilderhark’s tune.

From the author who introduced Wilderhark Tales’ Gant-o’-the-Lute and Outlaws of Avalon’s Allyn-a-Dale, a new voice rises into a brave ballad of its own: That of a girl with an ear for music and a heart determined to follow wherever it leads, no matter what forces of man – or of nature – stand against her.

“The Soul Shepherdess” – Young Solwen’s fateful encounter with a man o’ music and his sullen apprentice opens her eyes to the road she’s destined to take, along with the hardship that will be her traveling companion.

“In the Window” – Although Harper Rove-a-Day couldn’t feel less qualified to serve as minstrel master to his extraordinary trainee, he just may have what it takes to learn a lesson or two from /her/.

“The Names She Played” – To hear hidden music is not merely Solwen’s gift, but her only chance in a deadly game with one of the world’s oldest songs.

Tales of singing. Tales of striving. Most of all, tales of true love.

Windows and Sol, cover finished

Coming next week – and available for pre-order now!

Will: “Nice! So you’re re-releasing Balladry’s origin story from the Wilderhark Talettes and debuting the ‘battle bard’ short, all in one tidy package.”

Allyn: “E-book only, same as ‘Beyond Her Infinity’?”

Correct. ‘Tis more cost effective for me, that way. And since I’ve still got a picture book to fund…

Will: Hint, hint, blog readers! Any and all help would be most appreciated!”

…Wow, if I only had a dollar for every interruption in this blog post. Anyway, keeping costs down on my end means better bargains for the readers. Only 99 cents a copy, folks!

Allyn: “Best of luck wished to you and Balladry Sol on finding your rightful audience. They can be hard to reach, but they’re out there.”

And it is with that belief our author battles on.

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

(Will: “I KNEW IT!”)

Open Journal: In Pursuit of the Elusive Bliss

“Should I be doing this?”

Will Scarlet glanced over to the bed from whatever imaginary thing had his attention. “Doing what?”

Danielle sighed. “Reading this book. Listening to this music station. Wearing these particular layers of hooded garments. ‘Doing this.’”

“Why not?” Allyn-a-Dale wondered, half-concealed behind the sunny window seat’s framing curtain, wholly invisible to anyone who didn’t happen to hold him in their imagination. “What else would you be doing otherwise?”

“I don’t know. A million things. Fixing lunch. Taking a walk. Practicing my lute repertoire. Going through my latest draft of #CamelotWIP. Working on a blog post.”

Will’s vision went momentarily meta. “Well, that last one’s actually happening now. But it never really matters what you’re doing, does it, Dani-babe? You always feel you should be doing something else.”

“Two to five something elses,” Danielle corrected. “Too much to do, not enough time or energy or selves to see it done. What I need is a squad of Deshipley clones.”

Allyn’s lips twitched faintly upward. “So they could all moan over each hour as somehow wasted?”

Danielle snorted a laugh. “On rotation, yes.”

“No time is wasted in the pursuit of your bliss,” Will declared.

Dubious, Allyn asked, “Does she have a bliss?”

“Nobody has a bliss, Allyn,” Will said patiently. “Which is why it must be pursued. Now, Danielle, let’s approach this rationally, since I hear that’s a thing people do. Reading a YA novel from the library whilst smooth jazz plays: Does this spark joy?”

Does It Spark Joy

Danielle arched a brow at him. “Not sure the Marie Kondo tidying method translates to the organization of leisure time.”

“Sure it does! Or it should,” Will maintained. “Chores and day jobs aside, if you’re not having fun with a thing, why keep it up? This is your weekend. Your de-stress time.”

“But trying to de-stress is stressful,” Danielle fretted.

Will sighed voluminously. “Darling, I love you, but ugh.”

“One moment at a time, then,” said Allyn. “Danielle, what do you want to do? Not ‘today’, not ‘this afternoon’, not ‘with your life’; just right this moment.”

“This moment? I want… to review my German.”

“Really?” said Will, in honest surprise. “But you haven’t touched your German lessons on Duolingo since… well, since you switched to Italian, which you haven’t touched in ages, either. Why German? Why now?”

“I don’t know.” Danielle shrugged. “I miss it. Not just living in Germany, but reaching to internalize the language. …Not that I ever succeeded,” she brooded.

“There’s success, and there’s SUCCESS,” said Will.

Allyn asked, “Which is which?”

“Easy. The all-caps one is the version that comes with money and legacy and whatnot. Whereas little successes include taking baby steps to challenge or improve yourself or whatever. Example: When everything stresses you out, but you keep looking for different ways to cope and semi-enjoy your existence anyway.” His smile for Danielle was vividly fond. “That’s a little success you achieve on the regular. So go ahead and brush up on your German. And when that stops sparking your joy, go back to your book, or get lunch, or change into a super stylin’ outfit that no one outside will probably get to see. You’re in the driver’s seat. Pick a direction and punch it!” Will took a break from his non-stop pep talk to breathe and look hopeful. “Feeling inspired, yet?”

“…As opposed to merely caught up in a fictional conversation that could have come straight out of ‘Inspired’?” said Allyn.

“Yes and no,” said Danielle. “The struggle goes on, but I need these reminders. Like, frequently. So thank you for delivering this one in a way that met my nagging need to come up with a blog post.”

Will Scarlet winked. “It’s what we do, babe.”

Allyn smiled in agreement. “Call it our little success.”

WHAMO! #Jack #Giants #Slaaay

WHAMO Logo

Hello, beautiful people! Will Scarlet, here. And it’s time for another edition of “WHAMO!” (which is basically “WWMHO!” – the acronym for “Will Watches Movies, Has Opinions” – but visually catchier).

Today I’m going to revisit a recent watch that may or may not have scared the hose off me for life, ye olde fairytale-style:

“Jack the Giant Slayer”

Jack the Giant Slayer Poster

The IMDb-Official Description:

The ancient war between humans and a race of giants is reignited when Jack, a young farmhand fighting for a kingdom and the love of a princess, opens a gateway between the two worlds.

From Warner Bros. Pictures; directed by Bryan Singer; starring Nicholas Hoult, Stanley Tucci, and Ewan McGregor.

Stream of Impressions (the highlights):

“YASS to rhymes that go beyond the basic ‘fee, fie, foe, fum’ original. Loved it when Danielle did it in ‘The Sky-Child’, lovin’ it now.”

“Nice back-and-forth, in the prologue, between Little Jack and Little Princess Person. And YOU GO, QUEEN, for encouraging your little queen-to-be to have adventures! Take note, monarchs and/or parents everywhere.”

“Okay, I’m well aware the Jack actor isn’t Merlin from BBC’s ‘Merlin’, but, I’m sorry, my brain is going to spend the whole movie refusing to understand the difference.”

“Oh, look – Jasmine’s visiting the marketplace. Go meet-cute with Aladdin, princess.”

“Captain of the Guard Guy’s cute. Just… observing.”

“Psst. Jack. Where’s your horse?”

“Eyyy, Evil Stanley Tucci. Whatcha schemin’?”

“Aww, don’t be like that, Uncle. In defense of the beans, there was a monk…!”

“Aww, don’t be like that, King! Your wife was so cool, before she died of Fairytale Dropsy…”

“THAT’S a hat! Hat approved! Our princess knows how to hat!”

“Ahh, so that’s why we don’t get the beans wet.”

“A twister! A twister! The shack’s headed over the rainbow!”

“Um, maybe don’t let Evil Stanley Tucci join the beanstalk expedition?”

“Okay, Captain of the Guard Guy, you officially had me at ‘tally-ho’. Calling it now: You’re my favorite. …who weirdly reminds me of cousin Robin Hood, for some reason? The low-key adventuresome English accent, mayhap.”

“And THAT’S why we shouldn’t let Evil Stanley Tucci join the beanstalk expedition!”

“Oh no. Oh boy. Here there be giants, and that guy over there is right smack in the danger zone of ‘semi important-ish, but decidedly below main character status’. He fee-fie-foe-finna die.”

“AAALKJASLDFSACKK, why is the giant that fast?!?!!!? Big creatures shouldn’t get to be fast, Little John!!!”

“Haha, that giant sounds weirdly like Davy Jones from ‘Pirates of the—’ Wait, what? That IS Davy Jones?! Bill Nighy in da house, with first line parallels to die for! (Pun absolutely intended.) I should’ve known; the beanstalk is practically the kraken.”

“ *whimper-screeches something incomprehensible while his recent death prediction comes mercilessly true* “

“ARGHH! Princess! Robin Hood Guy! JACK, SAVE THEM!”

“Daaaang, credit to the king where it’s due: He’s not one to pansy out when it looks like time to do the hard thing.”

“Soooo, I know Jack and the princess are supposed to be the endgame romance here, but counterproposal: Jack x Robin Hood.”

“DON’T DIIIIIIIEEEEE!”

“Is he gonna die?”

“HE DIDN’T DIE!”

“Oh, snap, HE died!”

“Oh no…”

“OH no oh no oh no…”

“WE ARE ALL GONNA DIE.”

“Oh, God Almighty save us, HE’S NOT DEAD—”

“ *screaming, cringing, flailing in his lady friends’ laps* ”

“C’mon, don’t die, c’mon, don’t die…”

“WHOA, what a way to die!”

“Okay, phew, yes, day saved by— him??? Why not the princess?! The princess totally should have saved the day, dude – I don’t care who the title names as giant slayer! Still: Day saved. Thank goodne— NOPE, NopeNopeNope, I did NOT need that ending. I’m not sleeping tonight. Anxiety attacks ever after, the end.”

More Coherently Summarized:

Definitely less of a fairy tale for kids than for, I dunno, whichever crowd wants to see people getting their heads bitten off by CGI titans. And I mean, I love an adventure. I do. Sing hey for throwing yourself face-first into danger, death be hanged. But that’s when I’M the one in danger! I can die as many times as you like. Less fun is watching that happen to characters I care about – and I have a bad heart condition that makes me care way too much about way too many characters, okay?!?

Biggest complaints, though: 1, the princess didn’t get to do jack. 2, Captain Robin didn’t get to do Jack.

Regarding the first, you could see the writing in Act 1 setting Princess Isabelle up to be a gal raring to live her own adventure. But all the script gave her for the rest of the story was the usual Distressed Damsel role. Kidnapped by the krakenstalk. Captured by the giants. Rescued by The Hero Men™. Running and/or hiding while The Hero Men™ fight. Lame, but redeemable, if only she’d been the one to defeat the giants in the end. And she COULD have! She totally could have, and there I was, 100% expecting she would… then she didn’t. Because writers – even well-intentioned ones; even progressive ones; even ones fighting uphill not to fall into the story trap The Patriarchy created; yes, even my own beloved author – have the darnedest time letting women in a man’s story do anything that would mean the man’s ultimate upstaging. It’s just, the movie’s prologue had led me to believe that this was Isabelle’s story, too. Oh, well.

As for the second complaint, I maintain that there was chemistry – and desire, at least on Captain Robin’s part. Leave it to a mainstream movie not to go there. XP

Where are the POC?

So, am I remembering wrong, or were there ZERO (0) faces of color to be seen anywhere in the film? Maybe I missed somebody in a crowd scene somewhere, but even if we want to credit them so far as too assume that, crowd scene representation alone is pretty weak sauce. And we’ll just be generous and choose to assume that none of the giants were supposed to be of color, because I know DARN well that we all know better than to have the only non-whites be the monstrous bad guys, riiight?

C’mon, y’all. I don’t care if the movie was set in Fantasy Medieval England. I don’t care if it was set at the bottom of a bucket of white paint. Non-Caucasian people were not invented 40 years ago. They existed everywhere, and they did stuff. And even if they didn’t, they exist NOW, and a substantial number of them know how to act. GIVE [clap] THEM [clap] WORK [clap]. /End yelling.*

*…About this.**

**…For now.

<<<>>>

And that’s today’s review! What think ye? Have any of you seen this movie? Were you planning on it? (Are you now, since I did such a super fun job of hyping it up?) Any other fairy tale retelling films you wanna recommend, or warn me away from? Put it all in the comments! ‘Til next time, babes ~

In Which Will [Scarlet] Watches Movies, Has Opinions

Hello, beautiful people! Will Scarlet, here.

Why? As in, why me, instead of Danielle, whose web space this supposedly is? Because I have an idea for a blog series, that’s why! Nothing as off-the-wall as “Will and Allyn’s Interactive Theatre”, nor as titillating as “Will Scarlet’s Kiss & Tell”, but hopefully you’ll enjoy it just the same.

WHAMO Logo

I call it “WHAMO!”, which is basically “WWMHO!” – the acronym for “Will Watches Movies, Has Opinions” – but visually catchier.

That pretty much lays out the premise, right there. As for the “why” behind the idea, I’d say Outlaws of Avalon, Book 2, makes that fairly self-evident as well.

“You said we aren’t to allow ourselves to get too close to Outsiders anyway.”

“Yes, I did.” Will nodded. “I know I said that, and it’s very good advice. But, Allyn — she’s invited us to the movies!”

Allyn only looked at him.

“The mo-o-o-ovies!” Will reiterated. “[…]Big screen! Popcorn! 3D glasses, if we’re lucky! Do you have any idea how much or how long I’ve wanted to go to a movie? This is my dream, Allyn! You wouldn’t dance a merry jig all over the grave of your best friend Will Scarlet’s dream, would you?”

There you have it. I love movies. #ThatsCanon

So let’s kick off the series with a classic film I only saw for the first time this summer:

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s”

Breakfast at Tiffany's poster

The IMDb-Official Description:

A young New York socialite becomes interested in a young man who has moved into her apartment building, but her past threatens to get in the way.

From Paramount Pictures; directed by Blake Edwards; starring Audrey Hepburn, George Peppard.

Stream of Impressions (the highlights):

“ ‘Moon River’! I know that song! Not well enough to sing it without screwing up half the lyrics, but Danielle, didn’t the pianist play it on that river cruise through Europe? Such nostalgia!”

“Hello, Upstairs Asian Caricature Neighbor Guy. When was this movie made?* How much offensive racism should we brace for?”

*(Answer: 1961. Ren Faire huzzahs to anyone who happened to just know that.)

“Hello, Leading Man Neighbor! Aren’t you just Ken Doll cute. Allow me to stare at you with a little too much interest.”

“Milk in a martini glass. I mean, why not.”

“Hahahahaha, get a still frame of his face reacting to this woman! That is the face of realizing you’ve stepped into a Manic Pixie Girl’s movie and she don’t need no man to dream it.”

“THAT’S a hat! Hat approved! Hat coveted!”

“Your ‘decorator’, hmm? Suuure.”

“That was one sketchy weather report.”

“Heck yes, climb in his bedroom window and snuggle with him shirtless. It’s like you read my mind.”

“#PaulBaby *laughs for days*”

“This party scene is killing me in the best way…”

“Creeper alert! Wait … no? … I can’t tell if that’s even creepier or not. What year is it, again?”

“What a cute date day! What a cute couple! I ship it! I wonder when things will go wrong!”

“Aaaand there it is.”

“Fre-e-e-e-ed! Nooooo!”

“Lol, the prospect of prison. That’s always fun…”

“What?! You’re still gonna leave?! Aargh!”

“Ca-a-a-a-at! Nooooo! Seriously, you’re just upsetting Allyn, now!”

“Okay, good, Allyn’s okay now. Huzzah!”

More Coherently Summarized:

That was actually a pretty good movie! Y’never know with “classics” – (no offense, entire Robin Hood legend) – but I’d say this one held up pretty well. The leads had charm, the script was quirky and hilarious, the plot liked to twist away from the predictable formula of modern romantic comedies (which, don’t get me wrong, I’m not hating on in the least. I love me some rom-coms. Just, you gotta admit there’s a mold).

Where are the POC?

Though comparatively unproblematic on the whole, for an older film, you gotta cringe a little at Upstairs Asian Caricature Neighbor Guy. No way they’d hang onto that in a modern remake. And, uh, apart from the Asian lady sipping metaphorical tea in the background during party drama and maybe one or two black people in a crowd scene, it was a whole lotta white in Technicolor.

Maybe Danielle doesn’t feel personally affronted by these things, but I’m her brother from another plane of reality, and I watched “Dear White People” on Netflix, so you better believe I try to stay woke.

<<<>>>

So yeah, I think that’s the review format I’ll run with! Whaddaya think, guys? Looking forward to the next installment of the blog series or nah? …It better not be nah, because I’ve got at least two more movies off the top of my head that I’ve recently watched and have opinions about, so this series is here to stay for at least that long. ;D ‘Til next time, babes ~

Mini Muses: Behind the Brainstorm

Covers 1 and 2, side by side

Fun fact! All of the main characters in my novel, “Inspired” – (coming in all its awesome re-release glory on March 13th!) – and it’s all-new sequel, “Out of My Head”, were deliberately based off of someone else. Annabelle Gray is totally me. Her parents and sisters are essentially mine. And her characters? Well, a couple of them have yet to attain final-form stories of their own. (Sorry, guys behind Uri and Abishan! Maybe someday. I shall try.) But as for the rest, if you’ve been keeping up with the Deshipley bibliography, you’ve met them before.

And just how do these inspiration characters feel about what I made of them in the “Inspired” novels? According to Annabelle, there’d be only one surefire way to find out: A character questionnaire. So everybody give it up for my featured museling of the day!

Name and Occupation: Will Scarlet – swordsman, entertainer, legendary rogue

As Featured In…: The Outlaws of Avalon

“Inspired” Counterpart*: Mach Jenius, brainstorm

*(…Though he doesn’t actually show up until “Out of My Head”)

Mini Muses_Will and Mach

How Do You Feel You and Mach Are Most Similar?: “Easy,” Will declares. “We’re both ideas guys with, like, pretty much no ‘off’ button. We’ll try anything once – twice, if it’s the fun thing to do. If there’s a Lute/Luc character, they’ve got problems with us. And we’re cute as hell, and super supportive of our little artist friends.”

Most Different?: “Lucky son of an art attack can shapeshift. You don’t see me with any such cool superpowers – although I have proven impressively difficult to kill and keep dead.”

Favorite Part of the Book?: “Ooooh, tough call. Part of me wants to say the chapter where Mach and Annabelle go for a moonwalk, because watching them together just gets me right in the feels. But I gotta give it to the early scenes where The Guys fly out of Annabelle’s head and have to navigate not only her plane of reality, but her family.” Will cracks up laughing at the remembrance. “The whole thing is gold – this bit especially.”

“Can I get you guys something to drink?”

“Thank you, but we don’t wish to be a bother,” Wilbur said.

“Hmm,” said Dallas, stating clearly enough how much of a bother she viewed the whole world as being, at the moment.

“I’ll take a lemonade, if you’ve got some,” Uri volunteered.

“Fries with that?” Dallas asked flatly.

“If you’ve got those.”

Her soft mouth’s hard line at a downward slant, Dallas turned to go back upstairs. “I’m not making fries,” she tossed behind her.

“Somebody making fries?” Callie’s voice blared from above.

“No one is making fries,” Dallas bellowed back.

“Girl, you better make me some fries! My sister’s in the hospital! I’m too mad, right now!”

“I just…” a still-sniggering Will wipes his eyes. “It’s terrible your sisters will probably never read the novel, because their caricatures are everything.”

Favorite Character Besides “Yourself”?: “Oh, rude. I was gonna say me. But since I can’t, it’ll be Annabelle. Don’t look surprised, author! You know what you mean to me, and what it by extension has to mean to share a story with you, even if neither of us is exactly us. It’s magic. We’re magic. Go team.”

<<<>>>

Thanks for your time, Will! And readers, stay tuned for the release of the “Inspired” novels … one week from today*!

*…Although you can totally preorder the ebooks right now!

Book 1 = Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Book 2 = Amazon ~ Barnes & Noble

Got any more questions for Will Scarlet or his author regarding “Inspired”? Ask away in the comments!

Books I’ve Read (and My Characters Recommend) in 2017

As of this post’s drafting, I’ve read* 73 books** this year.

*(or listened to on audio)

**(not counting shorts stories, or the bits of flash fiction I wrote myself, or the draft of Part 2 of #CamelotWIP, or the “Inspired” novels I’ve reread in editorial prep for their release next March…)

Do I remember all of them? No. Have I reviewed all of them? Hardly. Weren’t there a couple of other books I totally told myself I’d read but have yet to get around to? Why, yes. But ignoring all that, I still call this a win of a year for reading. And some of the people in my head got to benefit from the words I consumed as well.

Since I plan to give my life-in-upheaval a break by not blogging during December (apart from that one post I’mma schedule for the first), now’s the time if ever there was to do a recap post of sorts.

I’m not gonna do one, though. My characters are.

Please welcome Will Scarlet, Allyn-a-Dale, Loren McCaughley and Sir Bedivere (all of Outlaws of Avalon fame), and Edgwyn Wyle (from the Wilderhark Tales)! Which books would y’all like to spotlight?

Will Scarlet’s top pick = “The Gentleman’s Guide to Vice and Virtue” (Mackenzi Lee)

Character Rec'd - Will

“This was SUCH A ROMP, you guys! I wanted Danielle to grab it for me the moment I heard the premise – which she couldn’t actually do, since the book wasn’t even out yet at the time, but it showed up at the library eventually! Monty (the main character, yo) is just ENTIRELY ME. Y’know, if I’d been born in 18th-century England to an awful father, as opposed to 12th-century England to a father I have no memory of. So yeah. This book. My fave. Hands down.”

Honorable mention(s) = “The Alloy of Law” / “Shadows of Self” (Brandon Sanderson)

“Also entirely me: Wayne. Y’know, if I were a cheerful kleptomaniac whose brilliant brain makes no sense. Which I am. So obviously I love him. He is the best. Also, Sanderson’s Mistborn books are just awesome. Amazing world-building. Plots like whoa. And did I mention Wayne. We’ve still gotta get our hands on the next book in the series, though, so NOBODY SPOIL IT.”

Allyn-a-Dale’s top pick = “The Hearts We Sold” (Emily Lloyd-Jones)

Character Rec'd - Allyn

“A girl made desperate from abuse sells her heart to an enigmatic demon, meaning she’s now under contract to battle interdimensional portals and the creatures that lurk within. #Relatable The love interest was nice. The narrative voice was casually decent. I liked the parts that hurt.”

Honorable mention(s) = “A Conjuring of Light” (V.E. Schwab) / “Strange the Dreamer” (Laini Taylor)

“More pain! ^o^ At least one of these made Danielle cry; I don’t recall whether the other did, too, or if she only ached. And sorry-not-sorry, but after everything she put me through in my last book, she owes me this means of catharsis.”

Loren McCaughley’s top pick = “Robin Hood” (J. Walker McSpadden)

Character Rec'd - Loren

“Speaking as someone who knows her way around a classic Robin Hood novel, I felt this version was particularly enjoyable. Like, up there with Howard Pyle’s; definitely more fun than Roger Lancelyn Green’s. (We’ll see how it stacks up against Henry Gilbert’s when we get there. Fingers crossed we start reading it on the plane when Danielle leaves for California!) If you’re a fellow Sherwood junkie, do it.”

Honorable mention(s) = “Remnants” (Stacy Xavier)

“Yeah, okay, this and ‘Ivanhoe’ were the titles that Danielle was going to read this month, but then… didn’t?? And both of them have Robin Hood in them, so I’m less than overjoyed at the holdup. But she’ll definitely make a point of reading ‘Remnants’ eventually, because it’s a Hood retelling, inspired by a Hood photo shoot she was in, written by a fellow Bristol Renaissance Faire cast member. In other words, how could she not?”

(Related note: There’s a giveaway for this book going on right now. Just sayin’.)

Sir Bedivere’s top pick = “The Fall of Arthur” (J.R.R. Tolkien)

Character Rec'd - Bedivere

“Vexingly, the poem isn’t even finished, so the book’s padded out with the author’s son’s speculations and analyses and other stuff that is not the father of modern fantasy waxing lyrical on my king’s demise. Still, speaking for the Camelot demographic of Avalon Faire, if it’s relevant to the lives we lost, we’re reading it. And this was an interesting take on it all, if incomplete. It left my soul wanting, and isn’t that just what thinking on our fallen kingdom’s all about?”

Honorable mention(s) = “Yvain, the Knight of the Lion” (M.T. Anderson and Andrea Offermann)

“Yippee, more Camelot – this time in graphic novel form. Arthur was kind of worthless in this one, as were… wow, pretty much all the men, really. Sorry, damsels and dames, you deserved better. But the lion was on his A-game, the story was about on par for a medieval ballad, and the illustrations made things worthwhile.”

And speaking of Wyles: Edgwyn, take us home!

Edgwyn Wyle’s top pick = “Murder, Magic, and What We Wore” (Kelly Jones)

Character Rec'd - Edgwyn

“A Regency-era spy novel with a focus on fashion! As a tailor, I was very much drawn to main character Annis’s attention to one’s attire and its making. And then – (this is in the book’s blurb, right? It’s not spoiling to speak of it? Ah, good) – she discovers she has a magical sewing talent! Imagine my delight. ^_^ I was easily enough able to predict most of the plot twists, but it was good fluffy fun, for all that.”

Honorable mention(s) = “The Marriage of Allyn-a-Dale” (Danielle E. Shipley)

“This late in the year, Danielle’s mostly forgotten she released this novel back in early spring. But that’s in part why she keeps me around: To remember things for her. Thus do I recall this charming love story – a fine match for my fairytale heart. She’s never sure which book in the Outlaws trilogy to name as her favorite, but mine is without a doubt this one.”

Awwwww, thanks, Edg! And thanks to you all, for sharing your literary opinions.

How about YOU, readers? Which tales have filled your year, so far? What do you think you’ll read next? Discuss in the comments!