Silmaril Award Ceremony Presentation: Most Silver Tongue! (2019)

There was quite a stir in the Shire when just three days before the long-expected Most Silver Tongue Silmaril Award presentation was to be held, its presenter, Bilbo Baggins of the Bagginses of Bag End, disappeared at his birthday party of the 22nd of September.

Fortunately, it was not for long. A notice was found tacked to the gate at Bag End:

Interested parties (unexpected or otherwise) please find Silmaril Awards ceremony presentation now held at Rivendell!

(By all accounts—mostly through Frodo and Merry—Bilbo was rather proud of his joke.)

It was quite an inconvenience for the proceedings to move all the way from the cozy Shire setting to some far-away Last Homely House, inhabited by Elves of all people—and with only three days’ notice. It was just the sort of adventure that rarely happened in the Shire. Perhaps Bilbo had been taking lessons from a certain grey-bearded wizard.

What was to be done about it? people and Hobbits alike wondered.

But, again fortunately, there appeared around that time a tall, ominous-looking black castle with four tall, thin turrets, and it seemed to be moving gently across the fields around Hobbiton. A certain other wizard (not grey-bearded at all) had appeared in those parts since he was a previous winner of the award and had come to attend this year’s ceremony. This castle of his formed the perfect way for those who had already gathered in the Shire to make it to Rivendell on time, since the door opened on more than one place—and one of those places, for the moment, was Rivendell.

“This way, please. Thank you,” Frodo said.

“Don’t mind the fire giving you looks on your way—he’s quite harmless,” added Merry.

“I am not,” said the fireplace grumpily. “I’m quite a menace.”

Frodo and Merry (since Pippin and Sam were busy off presenting awards of their own) organized the flow of people making their way into the moving castle. A polite brown-haired apprentice boy and rather flustered-looking young woman with red-gold hair shooed the people back out through the door after twisting the knob over it—and the door opened onto the stunning valley of Rivendell.

“Only if you’re burning the bacon,” the young woman panted in reply. “There are rather a lot of people, aren’t there? There has got to be a spell to make this faster.”

“Howl could do it,” the apprentice said.

She snorted. “Of course he could—if he wasn’t off leaving us to do all the work, as usual. I’ve half a mind to stick a hat-pin in him. Silver Tongue, indeed! I don’t know what they were thinking giving him that title last year. Where is he, Calcifer?”

“How should I know?” the fire grumbled. “There’d probably be green slime if we tried to make him help, and then we’d never get everyone through here.”

“Oh, just let him try the green slime!” she said with a gleam in her eye.

The various Hobbits and visitors from other lands (since their portals had opened to near the Party Tree and they now had to transfer to Rivendell) tried not to listen to this slightly ominous conversation. Though some of the Hobbits couldn’t help thinking of second breakfast, what with the bacon and everything.

In this way, all the guests made it from the Shire to the new place of the ceremony, just in time.

Meanwhile, nobody had seen Bilbo for days. A sign was posted on the door of his room in Rivendell which read “No admittance except on Silmaril business.” Mutterings and scribblings and humming were to be heard from within.

And so at last, the day arrived.


Elegant streamers, tapestries, pillars, and strings of lights surrounded the place of the ceremony, which the Elves had merrily set up, with quite a lot of patience and efficiency, considering their short notice.

The crowd gathered with excited murmurs into the seats facing a stage and the pedestal at its center.

A hush fell as a small Hobbit in a fabulous red waistcoat pattered barefoot across the stage. Bilbo stepped up onto the pedestal and bowed as the audience applauded. Then he spoke.

“My dear Narnians and Earthans (Middle or otherwise), Prydain folks and people of Aerwiar, Goldstone Wood dwellers, and all the rest from lands near and far.”

“And the Wood Between!” shouted somebody in the front row.

Bilbo waved him off and continued. “Today is the presentation of the Most Silver Tongue Silmaril Award!”

Cheers erupted from the crowd.

“I don’t know half of you half as well as—well, I don’t know half of you!”

The crowd laughed.

“But thank you all for coming,” Bilbo went on. “I know it was a little unexpected to move the ceremony’s location. But what’s life without a little adventure, eh? So here we are. I thought it was fitting to hold this award here in Imladris, haven of song and lore and Elves, a place where beauty and tales and silver-tongued speech in which to tell them is much valued.

“And now, to start things off, here’s a little something I wrote for the occasion:

“The Silmaril Awards go on
The fourth year since they did begin.
The gem I bring with gold light shone
And who can say who it shall win?

“Presenting it with eager hands,
Award for tongue of silver wrought,
I welcome those of foreign lands,
Whose songs and words have wisdom brought.

“Tongues that ballads fair have sung,
And melodies like gold did trill,
Now gather here: a silver tongue
Shall bring home this year’s Silmaril . . .”

A hush fell briefly, before applause filled the air.

“And now!” Bilbo clapped his hands. “I’d like to invite the previous winners of the Silver Tongue Silmaril, as well as this year’s five nominees from whom will be selected the new winner, up on the stage! Come along, then.”

Two of the three winners stepped up first—a dark-haired man who was rather absorbed reading a large book (he promptly sat down on a ledge behind Bilbo and kept reading), and a rather battered, pointed hat with a rip near its top. An Elf helpfully set the hat on a small round stool near Bilbo before gliding back into the crowd.

Bilbo looked around for the third previous winner but no one appeared, so he cleared his throat. “Yes. Well. Thank you for coming, Mo—er, Silvertongue—and Sorting Hat. And now . . . the nominees!”

Five figures made their way onto the stage. There were three men—one barefoot and carrying a whistleharp; one with a harp over his shoulder, riding an enormous cat; and one dressed in flamboyant red, with a red blindfold over his eyes. Joining them was a beautiful lady with golden hair and a green dress, and a boy swinging a miner’s mattock over one shoulder and whistling cheerfully.

“Ladies, gentlemen, Hobbits, Elves, and sundry magical creatures,” Bilbo continued, “I give you this year’s nominees for the illustrious title of Most Silver Tongue!”

The crowd applauded, each one cheering for their favorites.

“Only one can win the Silmaril this year, but I hope we can appreciate their way with words which has brought them all here today. And now—”

At this point another figure stepped on stage briefly—a tall young man with elaborate blond hair—but he was quickly yanked out of sight by one trailing blue and silver sleeve. A muffled argument followed from behind a nearby pillar.

There you are. What were you up to, Howl?”

There was a sort of half-pleading laugh. “Sophie! I think that look turned me to stone. Why all the suspicion? I was only running an errand—”

“D’oh! Don’t give me that smile. Go. You’re late. Go on!”

Howl was promptly shooed out onto the stage where he adjusted his beautiful blue and silver suit and smiled benignly at the crowd.

“Ah, yes, Wizard Howl—the winner of last year’s Silver Tongue award,” Bilbo said. “Thank you for coming—though you are a bit late.”

Howl shot him a dazzling smile. “My mistake. Though I’ve heard”—he looked off past the crowd with a charming, noble look—“that a wizard is never late.”

Laughter rocked through the audience. Bilbo chuckled. A certain other wizard in the crowd, leaning on a gnarled staff, muttered something about everyone taking that out of context. But he was smiling beneath his bushy eyebrows anyway.

“And now—for the votes.” Bilbo cleared his throat and pulled a parchment from an inside coat-pocket. He made a great show of unrolling it slowly and then peering at the words inside.

In the background, the hat on the stool seemed to be muttering in rhyme and sorting the various contestants and previous winners on the stage into Hogwarts Houses, apparently having a hard time with at least one or two of them.

“Aha!” said Bilbo, and the crowd jumped. “In fourth place, with eighteen votes (ten percent), we have . . . Curdie!”

Applause and scattered cheers rang out across the crowd.

“I hear you used poetry to fight off goblins in a mountain—things I know rather a bit about myself,” Bilbo said. “Even if the goblins I knew didn’t fear rhyming, unfortunately, and made quite a bit of awful poetry themselves. Well done, my boy!”

The boy named Curdie, still a bit taller than Bilbo, came over and shook Bilbo’s hand, grinning a little, then moved to stand on the other side of the stage.

Tying for third place—well, well, you two were quite neck and neck, weren’t you?—with twenty-three votes (thirteen-ish percent) each, are two much-beloved bards known for their songs and tales . . . Fflewddur Fflam of Prydain and Armulyn the Bard from Aerwiar!”

A double set of applause and cheering and a few whoops greeted these two minstrels.

Armulyn stepped forward, whistleharp under one arm, and gave a polite bow. “My thanks.”

Bilbo bowed back and nodded rather approvingly at the man’s bare feet.

Fflewdur slid off his enormous cat, who hissed slightly at all the noise. “Easy there, Llyan, girl,” Fflewdur murmured, patting her, before striding across the stage on his long shanks, his head of shaggy, spiky blond hair in disarray. He shook Bilbo’s hand. “Of course, I knew all along I wouldn’t win this Silmaril. I’m not disappointed in the least—” Twang! A harp string snapped and two others tightened threateningly. Fflewddur cast a hasty look at the instrument over his shoulder and was quick to add, “Er . . . that is . . . I confess to being a bit crestfallen. But a Fflam is understanding! Being in the top five is rather a feat which I didn’t expect in the first place—er—third place, that is to say.”

A smile crossed Armulyn’s weathered face and he murmured something into the other bard’s ear. Fflewdur’s expression lit up and the two moved off, deep in conversation, to stand with Curdie farther down the stage. The huge cat padded behind and tilted her head slightly with a puzzled look as she passed the flamboyant man in red.

“Next,” Bilbo proclaimed, “in second place, with forty-one votes (twenty-four percent) we have . . .”

The crowd held its breath.

“Sir Eanrin, Bard of Rudiobus!”

The audience nearly exploded and positively roared with applause, screaming, cheers, and whistles, hoots, and hollers.

The scarlet-clothed young man stepped forward and swept his elaborate red hat with the plumy feather off his head in a dashing bow to the audience, his blond hair as dazzling above his scarlet blindfold as his gleaming, almost-feline smile was below it.

“Congratulations for making second place this year, Sir Eanrin,” Bilbo said, shaking his hand as the fae man turned toward him. “I’m sure we all find your ballads to be the beautiful work of a silver tongue.”

“Not all of us!” shouted somebody in the front row in jester’s garb.

Eanrin pointedly ignored him, and merely said charmingly, “Not as beautiful as Lady Gleamdren.”

Sitting beside the jester, a black-haired young woman, with a white flower tucked behind one ear, face-palmed.

The crowd laughed as Eanrin swept his hat back onto his head and moved toward the other end of the stage. If anyone had a moment to spare from looking breathlessly at Bilbo, awaiting the winner, they might have noticed that the scarlet figure was no longer there. Instead, a large ginger cat perched on the ledge near Mo (who was still reading), studiously cleaning one paw while Llyan looked on suspiciously.

“And last, but of course first—as ladies should be,” Bilbo went on, “with sixty-six votes (thirty-eight percent), in first place, we have

THE WINNER of the 2019 Most Silver Tongue Silmaril!

I present to you all . . . the Lady of the Green Kirtle!”

The applause was deafening as the audience surged to their feet with cheers and shouts and hurrahs.

The beautiful woman in the fluttering dress of a dazzling emerald-green color swept forward with a smile.

“SLYTHERIN!” the Sorting Hat announced in the background.

Bilbo held up a glimmering gem whose golden light spilled across the stage, an echo of the splendour of Valinor.

Bilbo bowed and held the Silmaril out on its golden ribbon toward the Lady of the Green Kirtle.

She laughed a silvery laugh and trilled her R’s as she replied. “What a pretty t-r-r-inket! I thank you, my good little Hobbit. Of course it should be mine.”

The Lady seized the gem, but recoiled slightly and hissed as if it burned her hand. (For of course, nothing of evil will, no matter the seeming fairness it is cloaked in, could touch a Silmaril without being scorched by its pure light.) She quickly shifted it to grasp it by the ribbon in her other hand, and put on a victorious smile.

Bilbo gave an awkward cough. “Sorry about that—I think that little problem was overlooked when we arranged this whole thing . . . But you know, I hear that for those like, er, you, who don’t like to hold a Silmaril, that iron crowns make a good place to keep one—if you don’t have any enemies named Beren or Luthien.” He chuckled.

A certain ranger in the back row murmured, “If he has the cheek to make jokes about that in the house of Elrond, that’s his affair.”

“Congratulations, my lady,” Bilbo went on. “Do you have any words, silver or otherwise, to share with us tonight?”

“But of course!” the fair Emerald Witch said. “I should like you all to know that you are invited to visit my lovely r-r-realm which I’ll be off to now.”

Bilbo blinked. “You’re not staying for cake?”

“There isn’t any cake,” said her honey-sweet voice.

Bilbo coughed and tugged at his collar uncomfortably, glancing around. “How did you know—? That is— Don’t worry, friends!” he added to the crowd. “There was a bit of a mishap with the deserts for the feast—I think someone let the Mischievous Imps in from a different ceremony, and we all know what happened after that—but I’m assured that the Elves of Rivendell are seeing to it and that this alarming lack of cake will be remedied by the time everyone has eaten!”

The Queen trilled a laugh. “There never was a cake. Or a place called—what was it?—Rivendell. Which is why you should all come with me to live in my land under the ground—the only real place.” She tossed up a handful of green powder and a sweet, drowsy scent filled the air.

Nobody was quite sure why, but she suddenly seemed to have quite good sense in what she said. Some of the audience even began standing up, ready to follow her.

But one member of the crowd—a tall, reedy Marsh-wiggle—stood up in a middle row, for quite a different reason. “One word, Ma’am. Suppose things like Rivendell and cake don’t exist and your underground kingdom is all that’s real. Then all I can say is that, in that case, the made-up things seem a good deal more important than your real ones. I’m going to believe in Rivendell and cake, even if there isn’t any Rivendell. Or cake. (I shouldn’t wonder if it is gone, and even if it isn’t we’ll all have collywobbles in our tummies if we eat it, I shouldn’t wonder . . . Do you think it might rain a little later?)”

The down-to-earth sense of this brave Marsh-wiggle, mixed with the Elven properties of the air in Imladris, cleared away the hypnotizing enchantment so that everyone suddenly remembered themselves and wondered why they had been entertaining notions of running off to some underground kingdom with this silver-tongued lady. The audience hastily sat down again.

“Good old Puddleglum!” a boy and girl nearby shouted.

Bilbo sensed all of this was getting a little off track, so he quickly said, “Well, congratulations again! Let’s hear it for the Lady of the Green Kirtle!”

The audience joined in with another round of applause and a little nervous laughter—especially from those whose nerves hadn’t quite recovered from the last two, more villainous, award presentation ceremonies.

The Emerald Witch merely laughed and moved off the stage toward the exit, Silmaril dangling from its ribbon, and calling back in a sweet, silver voice, “And r-r-remember, there’s no such thing as lions, either!”

But with two creatures who at least looked partly-related to lions currently occupying the stage, and the green dust mostly dispersed, there was no danger of anyone taking any heed of her puzzling parting shot.

At least three Elves—in fact, it looked like Glorfindel and the sons of Elrond—made sure to escort the Emerald Lady, to be sure that she was safely off the premises without anything more untoward happening.

Bilbo sneezed as the last of the green dust tickled his nose. “Thag you very buch for coming—” He blew his nose with his pocket handkerchief. “Ah. That’s better. You know, I always make sure to bring my handkerchief along after that one time in my adventures when I forgot to—well, you don’t want to hear about that right now. As I was saying, thank you all for coming, and you’re welcome to head that direction for the feast! And as I said, the cake situation—”

“Oh, that,” Howl put in. “No need to worry. I stopped in at Cesari’s and had them make the grandest cream cake that’s been seen in all of Ingary, Middle-earth, or Wales. It’s waiting in the hall now if you’d care to check.”

This news left Bilbo speechless for the first time.

The crowd wasn’t. They cheered loudly, more than ready to celebrate.

“So that’s what you were doing,” Sophie said, coming up on stage. “And of course Twinkle had nothing to do with the other cakes disappearing.”

Howl placed one dramatic hand on his chest. “You wound me.”

“Well at least you fixed it.”

“I only did it out of the blackness of my heart.”

“Liar,” Sophie said, linking arms with him, and they followed the rest of the crowd which had surged to their feet to taste the Elven cooking and the famed cream cake from Cesari’s.

“Even if there aren’t eleventy-one candles on it,” Bilbo muttered. “Ah. Yes. Talking of which, I have things to do . . .” He reached one hand into his pocket . . .

But nobody noticed him disappear. An explosion of gorgeous fireworks went off overhead at that exact moment.

Because, of course, a wizard is never late.

Everyone laughed and applauded the firework display. Then, in a hum of contented chattering, they went on to the feast—while somewhere quiet by a fireplace, Bilbo settled down to finish his book, and outside, Gandalf’s fireworks hung in the twilight all evening, silver like the stars.

Silver for a silver tongue.


Results

38.6% (66 votes) — The Lady of the Green Kirtle (The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis)
24% (41 votes) — Sir Eanrin (The Tales of Goldstone Wood by Anne Elisabeth Stengl)
13.5% (23 votes) — Armulyn the Bard (The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson)
13.5% (23 votes) — Fflewddur Fflam (The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander)
10.5% (18 votes) — Curdie (The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald)


I hope you enjoyed this presentation of the Silmaril for Most Silver Tongue!

Thank you so much for visiting!

Make sure to drop by the other Silmaril Award Ceremonies!

Yesterday the Most Nefarious Villain award was presented, and tomorrow will be the Most Faithful Friend, with Most Epic Hero coming the next day, last of all, to wrap up these delightful awards for another year.

The other ceremonies can be found here:

Thanks for reading!

Fantasy Favorites Tag!

G’day, my Roadlings!

It’s the LAST day of February (say what? How did this happen?) so I’m squeezing in at the last second of February Fantasy Month to do this lovely tag that the hostess of this awesome event, Jenelle Schmidt, put together.

No, I’m not late—what gave you that idea?

Ahem. On with the tag, shall we? All of these questions are so hard! O_O

What is your favorite fantasy book?

(I lied. This question is super easy.)

The Lord of the Rings/The Silmarillion and Howl’s Moving Castle. I KNOW. SUCH A SHOCK. XD

(Okay, I know that’s not one. But. You know.)

Also, I’m looking forward to reading Howl’s Moving Castle for the sixth time (I think?) next month for March Magics since there’s going to be a readalong for it! 😀

What is your favorite fantasy movie or TV show (or both!)?

At first I couldn’t think of any fantasy TV shows, which shows a definite problem somewhere . . . But I’m going to go with Ren: The Girl with the Mark, which I mentioned before, and if you haven’t checked it out, I totally recommend doing so!

I’m going to be posting about that soon, regarding a possible season 2 (!!) so stay tuned!

For movies:

(I need to see the new How to Train Your Dragon movie! Aaahh!)

  • How to Train Your Dragon
  • The Lord of the Rings
  • Prince of Persia

And if you haven’t seen Prince of Persia yet — what are you even doing with your life?

Prince Dastan can’t believe you haven’t watched it, either

Who is your favorite fantasy hero/heroine?

I have SO MANY FAVORITE HEROES, I’m not even going to try listing anybody. My mind overwhelmed itself and short-circuited with the sheer amount and left me suddenly unable to recall anybody. I’ll regret it later but I’m going to skip that.

Instead, I’ll just do heroines, since that’s a much shorter list. 😉 Here are some:

  • Mina Klug (The Bright Empires series by Stephen R. Lawhead)
  • Eowyn (The Lord of the Rings) and Luthien Tinuviel (The Silmarillion), both by J.R.R. Tolkien
  • Eilonwy (The Prydain Chronicles by Lloyd Alexander)
  • Ginny (Paper Crowns by Mirriam Neal)
  • Cordelia Beaumont (The Beast of Talesend by Kyle Robert Shultz)
  • Echo (Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer)

It takes a LOT to write a heroine I really love and admire. I’m not sure exactly what quality these heroines share but they’re all fabulous! (You can read a post I wrote which in part concerned those first few heroines, if you like.)

Who is your favorite fantasy side-kick?

Uuuurgh. Do you realize how difficult this question is? Do you realize how many amazing fantasy side-kicks there are? This is threatening to short-circuit my brain again.

*panics* *scrambles around* *grabs one name from the swirling mass and tosses it out*

CRISPIN BEASLEY HE’S JUST THE BEST OKAY BYE

*panting*

*thrusts The Beast of Talesend haphazardly in your face*

*hurries on*

Who is your favorite fantasy villain? (the one you most love to hate?)

For some reason all I can think of right now is the Gentleman with the Thistledown Hair from Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell. He’s just . . . really creepy. O_O

(I was tempted to list Carhartan from Orphan’s Song or Rupert de la Mare from Plenilune or the Keeper from Entwined but “most love to hate” might not apply; it’s more like I HAVE FEELINGS WHICH MAY BE HATE I DUNNO. I talk about villains here.)

I . . . don’t want to linger on this question; there’s a sort of chill in the air over here. I’ll just . . . Yeah, I’ll move on.

*sprints hastily to next question and locks door behind self*

What is your favorite fantasy sub-genre?

*breathes sigh of relief* Much safer, cozier, warmer question. 🙂

Fairytale retellings, and steampunk-fantasy or Regency-fantasy! Those are ones I’ve been really into lately, anyway.

I love a good classic epic fantasy, too!

What is your favorite thing about fantasy?

The limitless possibilities and imagination and wonder. There’s just so MUCH that can happen! It also has great potential for my favorite sorts of character types, and of course fantastical creatures and settings! And . . . well . . . everything.

Fantasy is my home, and while I enjoy other genres from time to time (non-speculative fiction, and non-fiction occaaasionally), they just often seem . . . dry. They don’t have the wonder. I enjoy visiting them sometimes but Fantasy is where I live.

It has so much potential. I find I learn truths about life more deeply when I encounter them in fantasy.

Lloyd Alexander said it best.

What is your favorite fantasy realm?

Tolkien’s world, absolutely. I have recently been re-immersing myself in Middle-earth and particularly Beleriand and the other lands of The Silmarillion, reading Tolkien’s Book of Lost Tales and The Fall of Gondolin.

I “grew up” there, living and breathing the richness of his world and the far-reaching wonder of the ages of Middle-earth. I had no idea how much I missed it until I went back again and realized it was so natural to slip back into this world. I do need to give The Lord of the Rings a good re-read one of these days soon, but at the moment I’m enjoying going through the older drafts of what later became The Silmarillion and having a blast.

If you need me, I’ll be walking the shores of Valinor or visiting the hidden valley of the city of Gondolin between the mountains; treading under the trees of Doriath with Luthien and Beren or staring at the wide sea from the cliffs of Beleriand; visiting the Shire or the Lonely Mountain or Lothlorien or Minas Tirith; spending a couple of weeks by the fire in Rivendell with the music and the books, the food and the Elves; galloping the vast plains with the Rohirrim; or walking the woods of Ithilien with Faramir. Watch out; I may never come back. 😉

What is your favorite fantasy magic system?

I’m not sure! I don’t always pay that much attention to how the fantasticalness works in the fantasy I read? But I will say that I know I liked Spellsmith and Carver (where it was half like computer coding) and Beggar Magic (the “strains” sort of like music), both by H.L. Burke. And the Song from the Songkeeper Chronicles by Gillian Bronte Adams, and the aether gifts in the Sentinel Trilogy by Jamie Foley, are all coming to mind. So I guess I’ll go with some of those. XD In Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer, I ADORED the book-mirrors where you can step into a story, so if that counts . . .

Sell me a fantasy book! Have you written a fantasy book? Give me your best pitch for it! Have you read an exceptionally great fantasy book recently? Convince me to make it my next read!

Wellll. I have written a fantasy book, or several. But they’re not exactly available yet. XD *cough*

My latest is basically a Steampunk-Fantasy Little Mermaid. Except that the Little Mermaid is neither little nor Mer nor a maid — being a cloud-siren prince on a quest to find his father’s killer — and he gets mixed up with Princess Tasmania who is the captain of a skyship. Cloud cities, assassins, tea, love, and clockwork dragons ensue.

So yeah, that’s The Siren and the Skyship, currently in needs-to-be-edited limbo. I’m working on trying to figure out the plot for the sequel right now and it’s giving me headaches.

Maybe I’ll do an update post about how my writing is coming, since I haven’t talked about that or anything on here in awhile . . .

Actual book

In the meantime, how about a book that is actually finished! and published! and awesome!

I wanted to screech about Echo North or The Electrical Menagerie, but since y’all prooobably know by now how much I love those (given all the shrieking I’ve done. XD) and things like Howl’s Moving Castle, I think I’ll give a quick shout-out for a book I haven’t talked as much about for a little while! (But seriously, go check those out if you haven’t!! They make me happy!)

Blood Ties! By Hazel West!

Alternate modern Ireland! Warriors with swords and fast cars! Brothers by blood and by bond with great messy relationships I love! SNARK. Fighting. Epic characters! (I love them ALL! AWK!) Loyalty and goblins and castles and cell phones! (Those are good because they’re all together in one book, not because goblins or cell phones are necessarily inherently good in themselves.)

Did I mention Ireland? Because it’s almost Saint Patrick’s Day so you OBVIOUSLY need something to read for that.

I love it so much and I’ve been missing this series (the sequels are just as good if not better) and wanting book four BADLY. So go read this one if you haven’t. 😀

And look, I’m part of Ciran’s Company! And I have a real BPAFF (Bureau of Protection Against Fair Folk) shamrock necklace I won from the author, so if any of you reading this are actually malevolent fae or goblins trying to convince people not to read this book, I KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND WHAT YOU’RE DOING. Ciran and I are comin’ for you. And the rock band Swords and Shamrocks are going to write a ballad about it. So watch out.

So there you are! I hope you enjoyed this fantasy tag and my answers — do feel free to steal the tag to use on your own blog, even if Fantasy Month is over. Because the time for fantasy is always!

What are some of YOUR fantasy favorites? Let me know in the comments!

5 Year BLOGIVERSARY + Giveaway!

Hi everyone! Guess what’s special about today? 😉 (Okay, okay, the title may have given that away. *cough*)

It’s my 5 Year Blogiversary! 😀

Yes, you heard that correctly.

On this day, half a decade ago, I posted my very first post on this blog!

It’s been a long, exciting journey, and I just started another shiny website too (as well as having a book blog I’ve been enjoying for a few years) — but this is where it all began, and it’s still the heart of my online presence as a writer, and… well… a human. 😉

So I’m celebrating with a giveaway (Hobbit-birthdays and all that sort of thing, so read on for that) and general merriment and partying.

*passes out virtual cupcakes and tosses confetti on everyone*

The Stats

  • 5 years
  • 293 posts (as of this one!)
  • 590 followers (plus social media = 1,091 followers, hence the number on the side. ;))
  • 6,700 comments
  • 16,298 visitors
  • 45,789 views

Top Commenters

Commenters are my favorite — this means you! Also, special shoutout to my top commenters of late. You guys are amazing! THANK YOU! (Everyone, check out their amazing blogs! ^_^)

My top 10 most popular posts this year

Thank You

I just want to say thank you.

Thanks to all my lovely readers, followers, and commenters! You make this blogging thing worthwhile. 🙂 It’s been such a joy taking this road with you all. Thank you for joining me in the journey. ❤

*GROUP HUG*

Blogiversary Giveaway

Okay, here’s the part you’re REALLY here for! 😉

There are 5 (ish) prizes — because 5 years — and they are (surprise, surprise!) books!

I love sharing books with people, and I also frequent library sales and collect beloved books. So I’ve decided to share a few of my favorites with y’all! ^_^

But just a second, because I’m going to tell you all about one of the awesome prizes. 😀

Stellar September

I’m extremely excited to be showcasing The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder today!

I won an ebook ARC copy of this book, and loved it so much that I raved about it in a review, got a paperback copy when I got to meet the author at Realm Makers (!!!), and just ordered a second paperback copy just so I could give it away on my blogiversary post today. 🙂

Mollie was also awesome and donated two sets of gorgeous character cards, of the delightful characters from The Electrical Menagerie, for me to share with y’all! (Visit the artist on Instagram.) One set I’m giving away with the paperback (US), and one set I’m offering as an International prize, because I love you peeps too! ❤

But wait, there’s even more delightful news! 😀

The Electrical Menagerie got a starred review on Publisher’s Weekly yesterday! :O I’m SO excited for Mollie, and so proud of her and this splendiferous book (and its characters. ;))! I just love it so much, and I hope more people will discover it. ^_^

If you’re curious to read it, now is a fantastic time to try it out, because the ebook is only 99 cents on Amazon right now, for a promotion Mollie is calling Stellar September. And is it ever stellar! 😀 So go get yourself a copy! ❤

And, of course, enter to win a paperback copy of this (and other books) below. 😉

You can learn more about The Electrical Menagerie, Mollie, and the characters, and sign up for Mollie’s newsletter for a free novelette about Huxley (it’s hilarious, FYI!), at thecelestialisles.com or writeratops.com!

The Giveaway Prizes

  1. The Electrical Menagerie by Mollie E. Reeder (paperback) — Steampunk (ish). The rest of these books I got at library sales, but this one I ordered. It’s a recent release, which I may have flailed about a lot. 😉 And since I’m writing steampunk right now, and love humor and dynamic characters, it seemed to fit the theme of my giveaway. 🙂 Let me just tell you that if you love The Greatest Showman, or steampunk, or dynamic duo friendships, or humor/snark, or magical worlds (floating islands with sky-trains run by stardust!), you simply have to try this book out! ❤ Included with this book is a set of the 4 lovely character cards!
  2. Magician’s Ward by Patricia C. Wrede (paperback) — Regency Fantasy. You can read my full review here, but this is a fascinating and fun story set in an alternate Regency London, about the fabulous magician (and eligible bachelor) Mairelon the Magician, and his ward, Kit, who is a street-thief-turned-Regency-lady. And yes, this is as fabulous as it sounds. XD It’s technically the second book in a duology, but I read it as a standalone and understood it just fine. (I’ve since read the first book, and enjoyed it, but not as much as I loved this one.) This is an ex-library paperback and is slightly worn — apologies! — but the story inside is lovely. 😉
  3. Conrad’s Fate (Chrestomanci Series) by Diana Wynne Jones (hardcover) — Fantasy. You know this had to be on here, because of COURSE I have to give away a DWJ book. 😉 Even if you haven’t read any of the Chrestomanci books before, you can start with this one (as it’s sort of a prequel). It’s a lot of fun, and features a teenage Chrestomanci/Christopher Chant, which was AWESOME. It’s also a buddy story, from the point of view of the “servants” at an older, fancy, British-like house, with magical shenanigans and humor. I love it. 😀
  4. The End of the Third Age by J.R.R. Tolkien (paperback) — This is the tail-end of a series of books featuring some of Tolkien’s older drafts of The Lord of the Rings (edited by his son Christopher Tolkien). But the reason I’m giving away this one is that it has the UNPUBLISHED epilogue of The Lord of the Rings, which never made it into the final version, but which I strongly believed SHOULD HAVE. It’s about Sam and his kids after the end, and makes the end of LOTR not sad, say I — it ends on a better note. There are two versions of the epilogue, both collected in this volume, and even if you don’t read the rest of the book, you HAVE to read them. And I want to make it possible for some LOTR fan to read it, so I’m giving away a copy. 🙂 (Plus, what with the Silmaril Awards going on right now — don’t forget to vote for your favorite characters this week!! — this feels like an appropriate thing to give away. ;))
  5. If You Want To Write: A Book About Art, Independence, and Spirit by Brenda Ueland (paperback) — Nonfiction. This is one of my favorite books on writing. I wrote a whole post about it once, which you can check out to see if it’s the sort of book you would like. And since this is “The Road of a Writer” and I know many of you are writers, it seemed fitting. 🙂
  6. Another set of Electrical Menagerie character cards (INTERNATIONAL) — Because, as I mentioned, Mollie kindly sent along two sets, and I wanted something for any of my lovely non-American readers who would like to enter a giveaway. (Huxley makes a great bookmark. I’m just sayin’. ;))

Giveaway details

  • You must be subscribed to my newsletter, or if you haven’t, your email address will be added to my newsletter, from which you can unsubscribe any time. (But I like to think that the sort of people who enjoy the sorts of books I’m giving away above, will be the sort to enjoy my newsletter. ;))
  • This giveaway is open from September 11 – 15, 2018
  • The books are US entries only (sorry! Because shipping) but the second set of character cards are just for international entries! 🙂
  • There will be 6 winners
  • Winners will be chosen by random draw. The winners be contacted by email, and posted here on or after September 17

You can subscribe to my newsletter here. 🙂

Enter the giveaway in the form below, or, if it’s not working for you, click here!

Giveaway Form

That’s it!

P.S. If you want to follow me on Instagram, I’m hoping to post a different fun picture there each day this week during the giveaway to showcase each of the books, so… there’s that. 😉

Whew! I think that’s all the fun I have for you guys today. 🙂 (Special thanks to Mollie for providing the character trading cards for the giveaway!)

Do you want to read The Electrical Menagerie? And which of these books would you most love to win? 😀 Thanks for joining me in my blogoversary as I celebrate 5 years of blogging! You’re all awesome! ❤

18 Books I Want Made Into Movies/TV Shows (Bookwyrm Confessions)

Following up on my Bookwyrm Confessions post from a couple weeks back, Movies I Liked Better Than the Book (and Other Confessions), I’m here with a list of some books I’d love to see made into movies. *gasp* The shock! … Continue reading

Diana Wynne Jones: 6 Quotes to Live By

I love Diana Wynne Jones books.

One of the things I love about them (besides the brilliant humor, the original fantasy elements, the larger-than-life-characters, and the sheer un-pigeon-hole-able-ness of the books) is the writing.

I love those times when you run across a line and have to stop reading and sit back and stare unseeing at the universe, and think: “Wow.”

I’m sure I’m only scratching the surface, but here are a mere half a dozen of those gems, which personally impacted me or which I feel have something to say about life that we should listen to. 🙂

“There goes Mig with her happy endings again,” Chris said. But I don’t care. I like happy endings. And I asked Chris why something should be truer just because it’s unhappy. He couldn’t answer.

— from Aunt Maria

This one kind of sums up my thoughts on happy endings. XD I really believe that happy endings and eucatastrophe are important in fiction. Life has enough darkness and sorrow. Fiction — especially fantasy — is the place where one can have happy endings that give hope. I’ve often seen it said that happy endings or certain good things in fiction are “unrealistic”. My response is like Mig’s. Why should something be truer just because it’s unhappy?

“When you grow up to be an author and write books, you’ll think you’re making the books up, but they’ll all really be true, somewhere.”

— from Witch Week (Chrestomanci series)

I love this one! It really makes you think, you know? It’s one of the things that really fits with my work-in-progress novel I’m writing, The Other Half of Everything. It also seems to fit in quite well with Tolkien’s idea of a “Tree of Tales”, which he wrote about in his essay On Fairy Stories. I recently read The Game by Diana Wynne Jones, and this quote seems to fit with that too, with the idea of the Mythosphere in that book, where stories are really out there and really true.

“Only thin, weak thinkers despise fairy stories. Each one has a true, strange fact hidden in it, you know, which you can find if you look.”

— from Fire and Hemlock

This one was from Thomas Lynn, one of my favorite characters. I could probably do an entire post about Tom and his sayings in Fire and Hemlock, including one I often quote, about not leaving a book open, lying on its face (the poor thing’s in torment!). But this one is one of my favorites, and I agree with it. I mean, look at the true, strange facts I find in Diana Wynne Jones’ books! I think it’s true of all really good fantasy — real fairy stories.

“Only way I can do something this frightening is to tell myself I’m not doing it!”

— from Howl’s Moving Castle

I mentioned this quote in a guest post I did, all about my writing technique, Draft Zero. But it’s not the only thing I use this “Howling myself into things” method for! I just love this one, because I can apply it to most things I don’t want to do. It really taught me something about myself when I read that. I think many of us relate to Howl on this point more than we would like to admit… Or at least, that’s the case for me! 😉

“Can’t you treat yourself with a bit more consideration?”

“Why should I?” Mordion said […]

“Because you’re a person, of course!” Ann snapped at him. “One person ought to treat another person properly even if the person’s himself!”

“What a strange idea!” Mordion said.

— from Hexwood

This is a rather complex one. It goes on to say, later: “Ann had once more put her finger on something he did not want to think about.” And I’d say, yes, it’s one of those things that, like Mordion, I didn’t really want to think about — but it made me. And that’s one of the things about Diana Wynne Jones books, is they’ll do that to you.

How often am I simply too hard on myself about things, when I would never dream of treating another person that way — only myself? Because, well… I don’t matter, so that’s silly. But… well… it’s not. Because I’m a person too, and I ought to treat another person properly, even if the person’s myself.

And when I’m reading the book, I can see exactly why Mordion feels the way he does, because (not to go into spoilers) the villains are horrendous and Mordion was brought up a certain way, which is why he doesn’t see himself as a person, and it takes Ann snapping at him to make him see this and to realize he is one after all.

But the contrast between Mordion’s terrible life and my own ordinary one, with both of us feeling the same way, is startling, because I have absolutely no excuse, and yet I can see myself saying, with Mordion, “What a strange idea!” And Ann replied: “It’s not strange, it’s common sense!”

“I think we ought to live happily ever after.”

— from Howl’s Moving Castle

Of course this has to be included, last of all! 😉 I don’t think it needs much explaining . . . I can only say that I wholeheartedly agree, Howl!

(All quote images were designed by me, using free images.)

I’m posting this in honor of March Magics 2018, hosted by Kate @ We Be Reading.

What are some of your favorite quotes, from Diana Wynne Jones or otherwise? And what do you think of these? Thanks for reading! ^_^