My Misguided Fairy Godmother Muse

Once upon a time, there was a girl who started writing stories.

She spent several years scribbling away at them, going back and forth between a few different ideas and consequently not making much progress on them.

Then something strange began to happen. She began to have even more and more ideas for even more stories! What could this mean?

But, cheerily, she continued writing, and making notes for all the new ideas. She became obsessed with making lists of the stories, and developing titles for them, and designing mock covers for them, and writing out summaries of what they were about. She began to be more excited about “playing” with the stories than actually writing them.

Time went on. The list of stories continued to grow and grow and grow! But far from complaining, the writer was delighted.

She did so enjoy making those lists and writing those notes, you see.

Somewhere along the way, she began to notice patterns. Whenever she would take a break from working on her writings, whether on purpose to recharge, or accidentally due to busyness, she would suddenly get hit with all this inspiration — and, more often than not, that inspiration might include ideas for new stories.

Then the year of 2015 hit. The ideas were flying in left and write right. It began to get insane. The writer began to despair of ever getting around to writing all of the things, especially at the snail-like pace the actual writing was happening.

So the writer stepped back and analyzed this phenomenon.

That was when the writer discovered the presence of her fairy godmother.

Most writers talk of their “Muse”.

(very helpful…)

This writer realized that instead of a muse, she had a benevolent but misguided fairy godmother of inspiration. (Perhaps rather like Ophelia from Broken Glass by Emma Clifton…)

The writer realized that the fairy godmother muse freaks out whenever the writer is not making Story, knowing that the writer is happier when making Story. So the fairy godmother, thinking the writer is just tired of the old stories, quickly throws a bunch of new ideas at the writer to get her attention.

If you haven’t figured out by now, this writer is me. And this benevolent but misguided fairy godmother of my writerly brain/inspiration/muse is the cause of both my excitedness about having so many story ideas to write, and my despair over ever finishing anything, let alone all of them.

My fairy godmother muse, especially this year, is constantly going:

“STORY. STORY! YOU’RE NOT MAKING STORY. YOU’LL BE HAPPIER WITH SOME STORY. MAKE STORY!”

And hands me more and more storyness, shoving it into my brain and then beaming and watching happily as I flail around like a headless octopus and try to work on ALL OF THE STORY THINGS.

Unfortunately, my fairy godmother muse doesn’t seem to care if I’m actually making PROGRESS on said stories, i.e., actually writing them down…

As long as I’m flailing around doing plotting or brainstorming or making lists, she feels confident that she has been doing her job well and fulfilling her role in keeping her writer happy playing with stories.

To give you an idea of the insanity that’s underway, I’m going to share a list of the story ideas that have “clicked” this year ALONE.

The main ones are:

  • The Other Half of Everything (I think I’ve mentioned this enough…)
  • Darkling Reflections (Finished this one! Huzzah! …Yes, it’s a short story; I can still be proud.)
  • The Siren and the Skyship (swashbuckling sky adventuresome gender-swapped steampunk Little Mermaid retelling)

Five more stories in the Kedran’s Wood series (bringing it to a total of 8… so far; last year it was supposed to be a “trilogy”. Haha. Isn’t that just ADORABLE?)

  • Son of Kedran’s Wood – prequel novella
  • Return to McAllistair Mansion – short story (I wrote this one! I’s so proud of me.)
  • Mixup at Kedran’s Wood – novella between books 2 & 3
  • The Novelist of Kedran’s Wood – novel set after book 3, a double story
  • Celebrations at Kedran’s Wood – short story set after all of the planned books (thus far… *cough*)

As well as:

  • A modern Cinderella retelling about a writer, set during NaNoWriMo
  • An untitled fairy-tale mashup conglomeration retelling (RETELL ALL OF THE THINGS)
  • An untitled thing I’m currently calling “The Epic Book” which is vague but has some awesome ideas swirling
  • An extremely vague notion of an idea for a con/heist story that would be a companion to Underground Rainbow, starring the eccentric purple-haired artist (no, unfortunately this has no plot yet and I probably will never be able to make it work)
  • An idea for a nonfiction book about various things

And I also “made official” i.e. added to my lists because I had had ideas about them but was pretending they didn’t exist:

  • The tenth Starrellian Saga book
  • A sequel/companion novel to Heartseeker about the Bard and Trillum
  • An untitled Arthurian retelling which is going to be super cool

Not to mention my Sleeping Beauty novella The Rose and the Raven, which had been a vague idea for years but only just this year finally came together as something I could write… (But, again, having trouble CONTINUING… ya know?)

Yes. That is 16 (or 17 if you count The Rose and the Raven) stories, either from ideas from this year or “officialized” by listing them as stories to write. THAT’S JUST THIS YEAR ALONE. That’s not even thinking about the 30+ other stories from BEFORE the notorious 2015-when-all-the-stories-exploded-in-plotbunnies-and-said-write-us-or-we’ll-kill you. Sometimes I scroll through my list of 50ish stories and just go… “HOW EVEN.”

Sixteen new stories this year, guys. (So far…)

Can you see how insane this is getting?

Apparently there’s just no dealing with a benevolent but misguided fairy godmother of inspiration.

(And no, I don’t actually know whether you should be very happy for me or PLAYING A DIRGE.

It’s very confusing and I honestly can’t tell anymore.

Blame it on my fairy godmother.)

Blogoversary Shenanigans

blogoversary2year

I want to thank each and every one of you, blog readers and commenters, for coming with me thus far on my writing journey and reading my li’l ol’ scribbles on this here blog, as The Road of a Writer turns 2 years old today.

Thank you so much.

I love you guys to Starrellia and back.

Here’s a bit of a (longish…) scribble in celebration. Enjoy! 🙂


Blogoversary Shenanigans

The sun rises slowly and shines its warm pleasant golden beams past the trees circling a green forest glade. It is empty. All is still save for a quiet twitter of birdsong and the rustle of the leafy branches swaying gently in a soft breeze.

A black raven flies into the glade, and alights soundlessly on a large grey rock near the center. It ruffles its wings into place, cocking its head this way and that to survey the area as it settles on the rock. Then there is a blur and it morphs into a black-haired woman with a black cloak and a dress with a pattern of roses, sitting on the rock.

She is still looking about as she was when she was a raven, and a moment later she nods and stands up with a little smile.

“Yes. I think this will do nicely.”

Immediately, an ageless looking man with gold-tinged light hair that curls about his ears, and a gold harp in one arm, appears in the glade. He does not appear surprised, merely curious, as his golden eyes survey the dark-haired woman. Then he smiles very slightly and sits down on a nearby stump. He begins to softly pick out a melody on his harp, the golden notes filling the glade.

At that moment, there is a sudden bump and two more figures appear.

“. . . I just don’t see why on earth you should be acting like — Oh!” The eighteen year old girl in jeans and an assortment of either fashionable or extremely slipshod shirts and layers, with brown eyes and dark brown hair, breaks off in the middle of her sentence from talking to her companion, to look around the glade in a startled manner.

Her companion, however, a young man of twenty-something with sandy-ish fair hair, a pencil behind one ear and a pen in one hand, with a rather large notebook in the other hand, does not seem to have noticed either the girl’s talking or the glade he is suddenly in. He just goes on scribbling where he sits on the grass.

“Teague!” the girl half shrieks, half whispers, prodding him in the ribs with the toe of her red converse sneaker. “Pay attention! What on earth just happened?”

“Mm…?” Teague says distractedly, and finally looks up. His uncertainly-colored eyes rove about. “Oh.” He pauses a moment, looking absentminded. “I thought we were in my house,” he adds mildly, going back to his scribbling.

“We were.”

“Hmm. We seem to be somewhere else now. How did we get here, exactly?”

“How should I know? But I suggest you figure it out pretty quick. Your dinner’s going to burn,” she adds, folding her arms.

“Don’t get so excited, Meridian,” Teague says mildly. “My dinner usually burns.”

“Not when I’m there to look after it.”

“Well, you’re not.”

“That’s entirely the point!” Meridian howls in exasperation. “Look, stop scribbling and do something about it!”

His pen continues scratching. “I don’t get any pleases around here, do I?” he says resignedly.

“We don’t even know where ‘here’ is,” Meridian says pointedly. “But okay. Please.”

Teague sighs and stops writing. He looks around again. Then he gets unconcernedly to his feet, looking absentminded again, like he’s forgotten the entire conversation already. He wanders toward the bard, a trail of yellow sticky-notes detaching themselves from his notebook pages to flutter quietly toward the ground behind him. Meridian grimaces, but begins picking them up from the grass as she trails in his wake.

“You there: harper,” Teague calls.

The golden-eyed bard looks up, his fingers still moving on the strings.

“Any idea how we got here? Or . . . where here is, for that matter. That would be extremely helpful,” Teague says.

The bard nods toward the black-haired lady by the rock. “You might ask her. She was here at the start.”

“Mm.” Teague wanders toward her. Meridian sends a quick “Thank you, by the way,” that Teague had forgotten, in the bard’s general direction; he smiles.

“Good morning,” the black haired lady says pleasantly.

“Is it,” Teague says vaguely. “Incidentally, I don’t suppose you’d care to tell us why we’re here, would you? I’m not particularly caring about it myself, but Meridian will carry on and keep me from writing until I find out for her,” he adds with a certain stare over his shoulder at his follower.

Meridian wrinkles her nose at him and says, “Teague.

“I wouldn’t mind at all,” the black haired lady says, smiling widely. “In fact, I’ve called you two and the others here –”

“Others?” Teague says, raising a quizzical eyebrow.

“They don’t seem to have all shown up yet. How annoying.” The black haired lady looks questingly around the glade. “Ah. Here they are.”

The forest glade is suddenly full of several other people, scattered randomly about in small groups, save for the nearest person, who is alone. He wears a long black leather jacket, has black hair, and glances sharply around with narrowed eyes, looking tense and ready to fight off anyone who so much as steps in his direction.

“Tare, would you mind awfully — ?” a voice is saying, but breaks off and turns into a yelp.

“Yes, I would,” the young man in the leather jacket growls at the teen boy, in jeans and blue t-shirt with tousled brown hair, who had yelped.

He changes his tactic and his plan. “Where are we?”

Tare’s black eyebrows draw together, his dark blue eyes scanning everyone in the glade. “I’m working on figuring that out. Quiet.”

“You don’t look like you’re working very hard,” the other remarks, tucking his hands in his jeans pockets.

“I said quiet,” Tare repeats, his glance making its way warily over the nearby observing faces of Teague and Meridian and the black-haired lady.

“Alright, alright, I’ll be quiet. I can be quiet. Bazzes are very good at being quiet when they need to be, especially this Baz –”

The freezing dark blue eyes turn to look him in the face. “I said — ”

“Right.” Baz clams up very quickly.

A short way off, a very tall young man in his twenties, with a shaggy mane of rusty-brown hair, clad in a sleeveless brown leather jerkin and brown pants, wields a long double-ended crystal spear in his hands, looking warily about like a trapped beast. If the leather jacket fellow looked ready to fight off anyone who steps toward him, this one looks ready to instantly kill anyone who so much as breathes in his direction. His jewel-green eyes dart quickly all around the glade. A harassed-looking boy in a cloak and a once-fine travel-stained blue embroidered tunic looks nervously around, standing just behind the spear-holder, and beside them is a dark-haired princely-looking fellow, who looks like he’s resenting something. Or possibly everything.

A young man with shockingly purple hair runs languidly by, clearly neither knowing, nor caring in the least, what is going on around him. He is apparently in pursuit of two very small men in dusky brown jackets (one in an Irish-looking cap) who seem to be carrying paintbrushes far too large for them. The little men are much too quick for the purple-haired fellow.

Two small, scruffy baby griffins prance awkwardly by at dangerous speeds, flailing feather-down-kitten-fluff tails and wings. They make chaos and get underfoot everywhere, snapping and biting at ankles merrily, and frolicking about with a small fluffy white puppy who is yapping with apparent ecstatic joy and panting with a little puppy grin, his pink tongue hanging out.

“What are we supposed to DO?” wails a flustered-looking lad of seventeen, with ordinary brown hair, looking for help from a younger lad with silver hair and sharp grey eyes and a blank expression, who is leaning unconcernedly against a tree, absently fingering a gold ring.

“Calm down, Faron,” a deep voice rumbles, as an enormous black bear saunters by, pats the brown-haired boy briefly on the shoulder — in a comforting gesture that nearly knocks him over — and commences efficiently and effortlessly taking charge of the small fluffy mischievous things.

“How can I be calm when –” Faron splutters, apparently lacking further words to continue.

Several other people mill about around the edges of the glade, and between yapping, screeching purrs, harp music, and miscellaneous chatter and wailing, the place has become quite lively in the space of a short time.

“Oh. Those others,” Teague says, unconcernedly.

Meridian sighs and hands him his dropped sticky notes, neatly stacked, which he takes with mild surprise and tucks into the notebook under his arm.

“May I have everyone’s attention?” the black-haired woman calls loudly.

Most eyes turn to her (the painter, leprechauns, griffins and puppy don’t seem to notice), and there is a slight quieting down so that only a few murmurs and the soft trill of the harp continue.

“Now, perhaps you’re wondering why I’ve gathered you here on this auspicious day –”

“Then be quick about it and tell us so that we can be on our way,” the spear-holder growls.

“Shut your mouth, outlaw,” says the dark-haired resentful-looking princely young man behind him. “Let the lady speak.”

“Don’t you tell me what to do — ” the outlaw spits through his teeth.

“Calm down, both of you,” the harassed boy says hastily.

“Just because you’re princes doesn’t mean you can — ” the outlaw begins.

A loud thrum of harp music pauses everyone’s voices. “Quiet for the lady.” The golden-eyed bard speaks seemingly quietly, but the strength of his voice carries through the glade with authority.

“Thank you,” she says. “Now. I have called you all here today because it is a special day and I thought we should consult together for an appropriately celebratory . . . well . . . celebration.”

“Which is?” Meridian prompts.

“It has been two years since the author began a certain endeavor . . .”

“Is this about the blogoversary and throwing a surprise party for her?” Baz speaks up, suddenly.

There is a pause, all eyes turned on him.

“Which . . . I know nothing about, of course,” he adds quickly.

“Yes, I believe the ‘blogoversary’ is what it was called,” the black-haired lady says. “Two years is a long time . . . for some” — here she smiles distantly with what might be mischief in her eye — “and I thought it would be considerate of us to congratulate the author in some way.”

“The author . . .” Tare says, fixing her with a hard stare. “She’s not even writing you yet.”

“Yet. I have my ways.” She smiles.

Tare snorts. He folds his arms and eyes her warily. “Who exactly are you, anyway, and why do you think you’re in charge here?”

“I’m Ev, of course; I’m a fairy and — oh, I forgot my own,” she adds suddenly, and that instant beside her, standing by the rock, appears a young man in a royal purple tunic with a golden coronet, and a young woman with a silver circlet in her dark hair. They appear to be kissing, and break off just then, looking around in confusion.

“What — ?” the prince begins, looking around at the assembled gathering and gently pushing his lady behind him in a protective gesture, a hand going to rest lightly but unapologetically against his sword-hilt as he turns a calculating eye on everyone.

“Prince Derrick, Princess Brier-Rose . . .” The raven fairy Ev quickly fills them in on why they are gathered. “So,” she finishes, “I am only asking what you all think we should do to surprise the author in celebration for this day that she finds so special. Suggestions?”

Princess Brier-Rose smiles. “I think it’s a lovely idea.” She pulls a long-stemmed scarlet thorny rose from behind her back and holds it up. “We could give her roses,” she adds softly.

Prince Derrick deftly takes the rose from her. “Don’t touch that, Brie,” he says, kissing her forehead. “You’ll hurt yourself.”

She frowns. “I like roses, and I don’t see why they’re forbidde –”

“Cake!” Baz exclaims. He gets another round of stares. “Cake,” he explains firmly, grinning widely and obviously enjoying the attention, “is absolutely the only way to celebrate any celebratory celebrations whatsoever. Which would include blogoversaries.”

The bard is seen to smile in the background.

“Well, not that I know anything,” Faron speaks up from the edge of the crowd, still looking flustered — it looks as though he had been continually prodded by the silver-haired boy, who looks innocent of all such doings as if he has merely been quietly observing the bark on the branch above him. “But I should think that a proper royal feast would fit the occasion.”

“How about we leave her alone,” the outlaw growls.

“Nonsense, all of you,” says an imperial voice from somewhere above everyone’s heads. Several people look up. A great airship is hovering above the glade, and standing on the bottom rung of a long slightly-swinging rope-ladder, unconcernedly holding the side with one hand, is a young woman with truly impressive fiery red hair in gorgeous but haphazard curls about her pretty face. “A ride in my skyship should do. Scurry off, everyone. Unless you’d all like to be invited along too, which… could perhaps be arranged. I think you’d fit. As long as everyone behaves in a shipshape fashion, of course.”

“They won’t. I don’t like their looks. Don’t let them up,” calls a voice from above.

“You’re one to talk,” the redhead says, tossing her hair out of her face as an errant breeze tries to blind her with it.

“And who are you, exactly?” Ev calls up. “I’m not certain we have met before.”

The girl on the rope-ladder smiles with cheerful charm, mixed with royal elegance, and touches her brow in a sort of salute. “Princess Tasmania Peckham-Archley, Captain of the HRSS Star-Dreamer, at your service.”

“That won’t do. I believe the author is afraid of heights,” calls a random sandy-haired youth in a cloak with a sword, who is standing among a collection of others.

“Not at all — it’s only you that is,” retorts one of his companions, a sea-blown looking young fellow with a young lady at either shoulder.

A new rush of voices begins as almost everyone begins to give suggestions or argue about them.

Tare shakes his head, muttering. “This is ridiculous. I’m out of here.” He strides toward the edge of the glade, ignoring everyone, but when he reaches the border, he finds himself suddenly back where he had been standing near Teague and Meridian and Ev and the rock. “Hey –”

Ev finds herself the recipient of the icy dark-blue stare, but instead of doing anything about it, only climbs up onto the rock so she can see everyone better.

The outlaw looks as though he had been going to try to leave as Tare had, but seeing the results of it, he makes a surly face, sticks one end of his double-ended spear in the ground, and leans against a tree, apparently waiting it out.

At this point, there is a rather interesting disturbance at one side of the glade. A whole cluster of young ladies come through the trees and into the clearing, talking animatedly among themselves. There are twelve of them, they appear from their circlets to be princesses, and they are each wearing a different colored dress: grey, black, purple, blue, green, blue-green, red, reddish-brown, white, yellow, pink, and light orange. The grey one is leading the way, looking about alertly while engaged in some sort of argument with the one in blue-green. The green one seems to be complaining about a horse, or perhaps the lack of it, while the blue one is soothing her and simultaneously trying to keep track of the pink and the orange. The red and the brown, who have the same face and appear to be twins, are laughing, and the yellow one is somehow reading a book while walking. The one in black and the one in white are at the back, silent; the black, a withdrawn silent; the white, a shy one.

“Good afternoon,” the princess in silvery-grey says to Ev as they approach. “We seem to have lost our way; or at least to have found a very curious gathering.”

“Indeed,” the golden-eyed bard speaks up pleasantly, still playing a quiet melody that weaves through the sunbeams.

“And I have certainly not met the rest of you, either,” Ev says curiously. “Who might you be?”

“We are the daughters of King Fergal,” the blue princess says. “Or . . . most of us are,” she adds with a glance at the silver princess.

“And it’s quite obviously not doing us a bit of good, because we’re bloody lost,” the green princess says, folding her arms.

I don’t care,” the peach princess says carelessly, her eyes sparkling. “It’s far more interesting to be lost.”

“And the author is definitely not writing them yet,” Tare mutters. “Not till November. She promised.”

“Jealous, much?” Baz says comfortably from behind him.

“Actually . . . no, I’m not. And you said you were going to be quiet.”

Meridian is frowning, staring around with her hands on her hips. “Well, one thing’s for certain,” she says. “There are far too many princesses around.”

The outlaw glowers. “More like far too many princes.” His resentful prince looks ready to go at his throat, but the harassed one makes peace by stepping between them (a dangerous move, but he seems to live despite it). Prince Derrick stands by politely and does not appear offended.

I think,” Teague says mildly, “that there are far too many people of any kind around.”

“That’s the first sensible thing I’ve heard all morning,” Tare says with an annoyed sigh. “Nothing’s going to get done, and we’re never going to get out of here.” He looks toward Ev with a left-over glare. “Can’t you — ”

But at this point a rather severe, tragic looking young man — or fairy? (He does seem to have the semblance of silver wings growing out of his black cloak.) — with long black hair and silver eyes, arrives and severely addresses the twelve princesses. “There you are. I told you not to stray off the path. Come.” And, with several severe glances at some of the others, particularly Tare and the outlaw, he escorts the twelve princesses to the edge of the clearing . . . and out of it.

Which means that they at least could get away.

Tare looks put upon, and the outlaw looks angry.

Princess Tasmania, still swinging idly on the end of her rope ladder above everyone’s heads, is looking vaguely bored.

But most everyone else is still talking at the same time and there is a general buzz of noise, mostly arguments, that makes it quite impossible for anyone to really accomplish anything.

“For the love of Faerie, be quiet at once before I decide to put you all to sleep just to save a headache!”

This startling announcement is made at the top of her lungs by Ev the raven fairy, who is standing on top of the rock at the glade’s center. There is a sudden silence. Everyone looks at her. Until now she had been the picture of amiability, but now there is definitely some anger to her, and her black hair seems to have been fading into a shade of red.

“Now then. Can we possibly stop quibbling and come to an agreed-upon mode of celebration?” Ev glares around, hands on hips, the red color crawling further up her hair. “Everyone, make one suggestion each, and then we’ll vote.”

She unfortunately had not specified who was to give suggestions first, for everyone begins talking at the same time again. But before Ev or the bard or anyone else can restore order, there is a sudden voice from another direction altogether.

“Guys! What . . . in the world . . . is going on here?!”

There is a sudden, deathly stillness. Then everyone turns to look.

A girl with long brown hair, in a green t-shirt and brown skirt, with a notebook embellished with clock-faces in one hand, and a black pen held limply in the other, is standing at the side of the glade and staring in utter confuzzlement at everyone.

The bard ceases his playing and comes smoothly to his feet, his golden harp in the crook of one arm. He makes a minor bow in the direction of the newcomer, a smile playing in his golden eyes. “Author. We did not expect you so soon. The Lady Ev here has been . . . Well . . . She had plans.”

“What are you doing all together — what happened — is everyone all right?” the author asks, darting frantic looks at everyone. “Has anybody killed anyone? You do not mix well! Tare, get away from Bithoa — now.”

“I wasn’t doing anything,” Tare says with a frown of perplexity, not moving. The outlaw narrows his jewel-green eyes but otherwise makes no move. They are several feet away from each other, but this does not seem to do anything to soothe the author’s worries.

Ev slides down the rock and smiles. “We’re fine. I only thought it would be nice to call everyone together. We were going to . . . surprise you.” Her face falls. “Unfortunately, we seem not to have come up with a surprise yet.”

“For what?” The author looks very confused.

Tare sighs and folds his arms. “Your blogoversary. Obviously.”

“Yes, we were going to give you a surprise celebration,” Baz cuts in. “I suggested cake, but nobody’s listening.”

Others begin to put in what they had thought of, particularly Princess Tasmania.

The author begins to laugh and stops everyone. “Well, you needn’t think any further,” she says. “I’m glad everyone’s okay — I was worried there for a second. There’s a reason you’re not all in the same story, you know. And a reason you don’t ever gather together, besides. But if you were looking for a special way for me to celebrate my blogoversary . . . you’ve already done it. Thank you, guys.” She smiles happily.

Several of them smile back — though some, like Tare, the outlaw, the silver-haired boy, and the still-oblivious purple-haired young man, do not seem to do smiling much in these or any circumstances.

“Well, I’m off,” Princess Tasmania is saying from above everyone’s heads. “You’re sure you don’t want a ride, author?”

“Sometime, thanks,” the author calls back. “I’m just busy for now, with . . . other things.”

“As you please,” Princess Tasmania says cheerfully, shimmying up the rope ladder in a twinkling. “I’ll give the rest of the crew your greetings.” She waves a hand back down. The author waves back with a wistful look.

“If that’s all cleared up,” Teague says, “I suppose you can go back to writing. And so can I,” he adds with a pointed look at Meridian, who picks up another dropped sticky-note and sticks it firmly on the notebook he is holding, giving him a raised-eyebrow-look.

The author laughs. “Fine. And . . . Ev. I loved seeing you all together for a minute, and there weren’t any casualties, but don’t go making a mess like this again.”

Ev laughs too. Her hair is quite black again. “I was only trying –”

“I know, I know,” the author says. “But please don’t. Now, everyone back to where you belong. Before somebody kills anyone,” she adds under her breath.

“I shouldn’t worry about that,” Ev says, tilting her head curiously to one side.

The crowd breaks up and people (and griffins, dog, bear, leprechauns, etc.) begin to disappear or wander out of the glade, which they now seem able to leave.

“Where did Baz go?” the author asks suddenly.

Tare had been striding off to leave, but pauses and looks sharply around.

“You may want to look up,” the golden-eyed bard remarks casually as he strides by, harp under one arm, on his way out of the glade.

The author and Tare both turn their gazes skyward. Baz is just disappearing inside the skyship, waving cheekily down at them. “I’m going to explore the clouds and be fabulous!” he crows when he catches their eyes.

“I’m gonna kill him,” Tare says through his teeth, making a lunge and catching the bottom of the rope ladder. Baz yelps and disappears inside as Tare quickly climbs upward.

The author sighs, about to go after them and prevent violence, but first gives Ev a pointed look. “You see?”

Ev’s laugh turns into a sound of ruffling feathers as she is once more a sleek black raven. She spreads her wings and flies off in the other direction from the skyship (with the dangling rope-ladder and its climbers), leaving below an empty forest glade full of golden sunbeams and no sound save the quiet twitter of birdsong and the rustle of the leafy branches swaying gently in a soft breeze.

Starring, As Themselves (In Order of Appearance):

Ev (The Rose and the Raven)
Bard Reldin (Heartseeker)
Meridian Brownley (The Other Half of Everything)
Teague Aurelius (The Other Half of Everything)
Tarragon “Tare” (Kedran’s Wood Series)
Basil “Baz” (Kedran’s Wood Series)
Kevin Johnson (Underground Rainbow)
Donal and Liam (Underground Rainbow)
Troggsie and Scottle (Underground Rainbow)
Small Occasion (Kedran’s Wood Series)
Faron (Starrellian Saga)
Ryan (Starrellian Saga)
Darksky (Starrellian Saga)
Bithoa (Starrellian Saga)
Prince David (Starrellian Saga)
Prince Donavin (Starrellian Saga)
Prince Derrick (The Rose and the Raven)
Princess Brier-Rose “Brie” (The Rose and the Raven)
Princess Tasmania Peckham-Archley (The Siren and the Skyship)
Andrew (Starrellian Saga)
Liam (Starrellian Saga)
Laura (Starrellian Saga)
Marigold (Starrellian Saga)
Princess Silver (The Silver Forest)
Princess Ebony (The Silver Forest)
Princess Amethyst (The Silver Forest)
Princess Sapphire (The Silver Forest)
Princess Turquoise (The Silver Forest)
Princess Emerald (The Silver Forest)
Princess Auburn (The Silver Forest)
Princess Ruby (The Silver Forest)
Princess Ivory (The Silver Forest)
Princess Goldie (The Silver Forest)
Princess Rosie (The Silver Forest)
Princess Peach (The Silver Forest)
Prince Taghdach (The Silver Forest)

With Special Guest Star:

Deborah O’Carroll as ‘The Author’

Written on location at the forest glade.

No characters were harmed in the writing of this crossover.
(Baz came close, though.)
(And Tare and Bithoa within seeing distance of each other were murders waiting to happen.)

Corroded Thorns

ctcoverCorroded Thorns
by Emma Clifton

5 stars!

Young Adult / Fantasy / Steampunk / Fairy Tale Re-Telling / Beauty and the Beast / Novella

Sequel to Broken Glass (review here) in Five Glass Slippers

I received an e-copy of this book from the author in return from my honest review; I was not required to be positive; these opinions are entirely my own.


As the sequel to BROKEN GLASS (found in the FIVE GLASS SLIPPERS anthology), I was so excited to read CORRODED THORNS to experience the rest of Darcy’s story! And boy does it ever not disappoint!

I loved this book so much that I read it twice in one week. I have an occasional urge to do that with other books, but almost never follow through. But this time I just couldn’t help myself! Fortunately it’s a novella so I was able to read it in a sitting, and it’s one of those perfect novellas that feels exactly the right size.

As a Beauty and the Beast retelling, I so enjoyed watching the plot unfold and picking out the similarities and twists. It’s a favorite fairytale of mine, particularly that it shows how even really horrid characters can find redemption. I LOVE fairytale retellings, and this has to be one of my favorite versions of Beauty and the Beast! I simply adored it.

The plot behind the normal Beauty and the Beast part of the story was so awesome — I loved that there was so much more going on under the surface than meets the eye and it TOTALLY made sense for the story; plus, fascinating fairy godmother politics! Isn’t that just cool? It was all so interesting to read about!

It was a gorgeous world, the settings felt so alive and real and everything was extremely vivid in my mind, despite the relative shortness of the tale. I really felt like I was in that old dark castle on the lake! The touch of steampunkness was SO cool and original (steampunk Beauty and the Beast? Yes please!), and I don’t usually notice this but I LOVED the magic in this story! It was just… I can’t describe it but it was perfect and seamless and interesting. Just… really well done.

In the interests of being fair and looking at both sides… Complaints? Umm, it took me a moment to think of any. There’s hardly anything wrong with this book! I did sometimes have a hard time visualizing exactly what the Beast looked like. I wished there had been a little more description on that, since my mental image kept changing. That being said, it was still an extremely awesome idea the way he was done!

At first as I started out, I was slightly disappointed that it didn’t feel just like the first one, BROKEN GLASS, which was hilarious and mad-dash and there were so many characters running around making a mess and being fabulous. But that’s only a partial complaint, because I quickly grew to love CORRODED THORNS just as much, despite its different feeling, and perhaps more because this one was much more straightforward of a plot, mostly following the one storyline, so I ended up more invested and just loved watching Darcy and Madeline’s story unfolding!

So don’t expect CORRODED THORNS to have exactly the same feel as BROKEN GLASS. This one is a little less whimsical and has a darker, more serious and epic feel to it (but there are still fabulous characters and some hilarious parts, never fear!). But I ended up loving that about it. They’re just different stories but you can still feel that they’re connected as well.

And now we get to the best part. The characters! I LOVED THEM.

  • Madeline is such a sweet, insecure, mousey thing and I found myself really really liking her. She’s so used to being a failure and yet she KEEPS TRYING and I love that about her. I can’t even quite describe it but… Madeline’s just so likeable. (Also tea and cucumber sandwiches.)
  • Young Niles was an unexpected but splendid (and rather important) addition, the one servant who stayed behind for the Beast. Gaahh, I just adored him! He was such an original, cheerful, stubborn, friendly fellow and was just fabulous! Yes, yes and yes. His role in the story really surprised me and I thought it was so cool!
  • Darcy… Ah, Darcy. What does one even say about him? DARCY. That is all. Despite his somewhat beastly tendencies, you still love him and it’s just incredible watching his story-arc leading from BROKEN GLASS and progressing through this one. It was amazing to read about, quite believable, awesome, and extremely well done. DARCY IS MY FAVORITE. I just loved loved loved reading this story about him! Especially his snark. So much fun.

Darcy, Niles, and Madeline make for a splendid main cast. Their interactions are just the best! The humor, the gems of hilarious lines… I loved it all! The other characters were interesting as well. Basically look forward to a great cast of characters in this book.

The ending. THE ENDING! There was one of those moments near the end where I suddenly stopped reading and went oh no — it’s about to be over — I don’t want it to END!! But then it stayed just the right extra amount of time to wrap up the things I wanted addressed and it felt… I don’t know… like a reward and it was just PERFECT! AAAHH. I loved it so much! Also, the glimpse of some characters from the first at the end totally made the book!! It made me so very very happy!

And not to give anything away, but this book contains my favorite proposal scene EVER. Yes, it was that good. ❤

Gaahh, how can I say enough wonderful things about this wonderful book? I feel like I’m falling woefully short! For such a small tale, it was packed to bursting with fabulousness. There was much incoherent squealing and babbling about its awesomeness on my part after finishing it. EEEK! ❤ And then I had to reread it only a few days later because I couldn’t help myself — I had to enjoy its loveliness again!

Basically it was glorious, epic, funny and full of characters I loved a ton, plus a setting I was completely immersed in (I want to live there!), and of course Beauty and the Beast! What more can you want?

I adore it and love it to bits and it just made me indescribably happy!

Back Cover Copy

From Goodreads:

A fairy godmother—in prison? Madeline can’t remember even being a fairy godmother, let alone doing something bad enough to land her in a cell. When a mysterious lady sends her back to her old village with cryptic instructions and no answers to her many questions, Madeline must find a way to free her father, who has been imprisoned in a tower by a terrible beast.

First banished by his father the king, then cursed by an angry fairy, Prince Darcy will do anything to escape this fate and achieve revenge and power. Just when he thinks his chance has arrived, by some cruel trick of fate a girl from his past returns and once again wreaks havoc on his life. Worse still, he begins to question what he truly desires.

Published July 14, 2015.

Amazon | Goodreads

About the Author

Emma Clifton has been thinking up stories before she knew how to type them out. Reading books such as the Chronicles of Narnia, The Door Within Trilogy, and Redwall inspired her to take her writing more seriously. Though her rigorous homeschool education keeps her busy, she also enjoys sewing, reading, and spending time with her family in beautiful Northern Virginia.

Emma won a place in the bestselling Five Glass Slippers anthology of Cinderella retellings with her enormously popular novella, “Broken Glass.”

To find out more about Emma and her work, visit:

www.PeppermintandProse.wordpress.com

(You can also find her on Goodreads.)

Glorious Broken Glass!

5gsTo my delight, I was recently asked to review the just-released Corroded Thorns which is the sequel to Broken Glass, Emma Clifton’s contribution to the Five Glass Slippers anthology. Said collection had been languishing on my Kindle app, collecting pixel-dust for longer than it deserved, so needing to read Broken Glass in order to read and review the sequel was the perfect excuse to actually start reading it!

Below you will (hopefully) find some semblance of a review for Broken Glass (if you can successfully read between the lines of fangirling… Ahem).


Broken Glass

by Emma Clifton

(in the Five Glass Slippers anthology)

5 soaring stars!

brokenglasscoverThough I was not actually required to review Broken Glass (and in fact don’t tend to review books on my blog unless I’m “supposed” to), I found I loved it so much that I simply HAD to review it and tell the world about its amazingness because OH MY GOODNESS, SO MUCH LOVE. ❤

It may tell you something to say that I adored it so much that I read it aloud to my younger siblings after reading it the first time, just to have an excuse to read it again. (Not to mention the immense fun of getting to narrate such a delicious cast of characters and witty lines aloud! Scrumptious.)

I had not a single complaint about this story. Which, lately, is indeed a rare find among the books I read! I loved everything.

As a novella, it was a quick read that I devoured in a sitting (both times). A nice bite-sized story that held SO much in it, despite its relative smallness. It felt neither too short nor too long; neither stretched nor squished. It was just perfect!

The writing was amazing, brilliant, and witty — every word was intricately yet effortlessly woven together with its neighbors, creating sentences that packed a punch and I was just staring in awe half the time because of how simply fabulous it was.

The characters. THE CHARACTERS!!! They were such a glorious bunch who often had me hysterical with laughter! All the humor and snark and banter and gaaah I loved these characters so much! The three princes were so awesome to read about, different as they were! I just loved reading about that entire messed-up family. It was a delight! Spoiled, full-of-himself Marius, dark and shadowy Darcy, endearing and wonderful Henry… All favorite characters in their own right! (Despite certain failings on the part of some… ;)) Rosalind and the cinder-girl and the (quite surprising!) fairy godmother were all great too! Each were distinct and fully real. I LOVE THEM ALL. The whole story was bursting at the seams with this spontaneous crackling cast of characters. I can’t even EXPRESS how much I loved the characters and the humor and their interactions!

The story itself was awesome. I loved how it feels like a Cinderella retelling, and yet at the same time like its own tale, especially how it starts in an unusual place — when the slipper is being tried on . . . and fits the wrong girl! The twists were wonderful. I was just amazed at how many different story threads were going on, weaving together seamlessly. It was fantastic!

I loved the setting! It’s fantasy with a dose of magic and some fabulous steampunk — surprising, but actually incredibly well fitted to the tale! It just all felt so awesome and I loved feeling a part of this lovely world.

The story and characters had a “British” feel to me, which is basically the highest compliment I’m capable of giving a book, and I really can’t describe it any other way. (If that makes sense to not a single person in the world besides me, I do apologize…) But something about the writing and style and dialog reminded me in some indefinable way of beloved books like Entwined and Howl’s Moving Castle.

Between a twisty retelling, a beautimous setting of steampunk and magic, a cast of colorful characters that you’ll find yourself falling in love with despite their bickering, some mad schemes and uproarious disasters, a touch of superb EPICNESS by the end, hoards of humor and wit and snarky dialog that just begs to be quoted aloud, not to mention the tea and cucumber sandwiches — why, what is not to love about this, quite simply, incredibly fabulous, rollicking, hilarious tale?

I have yet to read the other four Cinderella tales that share space with Broken Glass in the Five Glass Slippers collection (though I look forward to hopefully enjoying them as well), so I don’t know if they’re any good or not . . . But I can tell you that the collection is well worth grabbing a copy of if only for this one story.

Keep an eye out for my review of the sequel, Corroded Thorns, in a day or two!

Splintered: A Thor/Loki Fanfic

(Notes:

This, like my Hawkeye fanfiction, was a dream I had and then wrote down. If it’s weird, that’s why…

I wrote this back when I had only seen “The Avengers” and hadn’t yet seen either of the Thor movies… so I didn’t know Thor used to grin in Thor 1, and hadn’t seen Loki’s hair like it was in the dungeon scene in Thor 2.

These characters don’t belong to me, obviously, but to Marvel.

Pictures from Pinterest.

This is just for fun.

Hope you enjoy.)

“Splintered”
A Thor and Loki Fanfiction

by
Deborah O’Carroll

Starring
an Old House
a Random Girl (that’s me)
and
Thor and Loki from the Marvel Movies


974dd788523f19b1affc1d42aeccf977I walked gingerly along the half-finished floor of a room in the big old wooden house that was under repair, trying to find safe footholds on the rickety boards that I feared might snap under my weight. Whoever was fixing this place wasn’t doing a very good job.

But hopefully Thor, who was following my lead, would catch me if I fell. Come to think of it, why wasn’t the so-called floor merely falling apart beneath his weight? He probably weighed a ton.

I swiveled to see how he was faring in our crossing of the room.

Thor was walking easily, his fair hair and silvery armor dulled in the faint light, his dark clothes blending with the shadows, and his red cloak swaying after him as he strode along, finding the solid beams beneath the floorboards.

As he went, he glanced down and absently poked at a board with his boot. The piece of wood snapped and fell away. He kicked another and it met the same fate.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

He glanced at me. In his serious and strong-jawed face, dusted with golden stubble, there suddenly flashed what if I hadn’t known better I would have thought was a gleam of malicious intent. It looked more like an expression his brother Loki–who was in the back yard and who we were on our way to find–might make, than anything that would cross the face of Thor under normal circumstances.

(That’s as close to devious as I could find. Thor just doesn’t make devious faces, y’all…)

Saying nothing, he leaned over and started deliberately breaking the floorboards with his hands, in a way that jeopardized my currently safe footing.

“No,” I said, as I stepped hastily backward, and then “nonononono!” in one long word with five short syllables as the boards under me caved in partly so that I fell backward and slid halfway between them. I ended up lying on my back at the bottom of the slanting wood; if I moved the wrong way, I would slide down under the house.

Thor kept coming toward me, leaping lightly from beam to beam, tearing up boards. With his hammer, he could probably have demolished the entire house in three seconds flat, but fortunately he did not have it with him. Apparently he was in a mood for leisurely destruction.

Something was clearly wrong with him.

With some little difficulty, I scrambled out of my precarious position and streaked across the room as quickly as the treacherous floor would allow. I dashed out a side door and I found myself outside on a sort of balcony-porch—only half-finished like most of the house—that was several feet above the ground and didn’t have any steps yet.

I turned toward the back-yard and made a call for help to the only person for miles who might be able to do something.

“Loki!” I yelled.

A short silence followed. I could still hear Thor shattering the floor inside. Then the thin smooth face, sharp nose, and long sleek black hair (spiky in the back) of Loki appeared just above the side of the balcony’s floor, where he had apparently climbed up.

“What,” he said, more in annoyance than inquiry, as he pulled himself higher.

“Help,” I squeaked, barely suppressing an exclamation mark, in a sort of sheepish but panicked plea. Loki was the last person I could imagine going to for help.

Apparently he thought the same thing. His face held a blank and incredulous look as he tilted his head slightly to one side and blinked his shifty eyes at me as though trying to grasp the idea.

Louder crashing ensued from inside.

“Thor’s breaking things!” I wailed.

“Ah.” The questioning look cleared and Loki vaulted himself over the edge of the balcony up to where I stood, his green cloak swishing, and went inside through the doorway I had left by.

Careful to stay away from the area I had been in before, I hurried inside the house another way to find the people who lived in the more completed rooms. I paused in a doorway, unable to go further due to a rift in the floor, and found them in a hurried state, trying to leave. With good reason. Thor’s previous noises paled to nothing in comparison to the catastrophic smashing that now came from the far end of the house, the tell-tale signs of a fight between Thor and Loki.

“Girls!” the mother called. She was a tall thin woman in grey, with wispy blond hair pulled up into a bun on the back of her head.

Her three daughters scampered from the other room where they had apparently been grabbing coats, and began following her out, along with their two dogs who were barking frenziedly at the sounds of the battle.

(In the dream, the mom was Mrs. Everdeen from Hunger Games)

(And two of the girls were Bard’s daughters from The Hobbit movies)

In her haste, the oldest daughter, dark-haired and wearing blue, dropped a pail she was carrying, and it slid down a sloping board.

“Bucket, bucket,” she said, running after it to fetch it back, while the mother called for her to leave it and hurry, herding the two younger girls with blond curls out the door. But the older girl retrieved it quickly and all four of them quickly exited the house, the two dogs following half-heartedly as though torn between going with them and staying to bark at the strangers who were breaking the house.

As I was about to go back out the way I had come, the floor suddenly gave way beneath me—chain reaction from the next room, I supposed—and for the next several minutes I was engaged in trying to clamber my way out from a tangle of broken wood. During that time, things got oddly quiet except for the one dog, who had stayed and was still barking.

I couldn’t find any sort of proper footing on what used to be the first floor, so I clambered up more wreckage to a sort of attic area. It was dark up there, and piled with stuff, but I managed to find a place to stand at the edge of the gaping hole that used to be the ceiling of what had once been the room Thor and Loki had been fighting in.

The dog barked still, and I heard the oldest girl, who must have come back for it, telling the dog, “Be quiet—you’ll wake him!” The dog quieted and apparently left with the girl, for there was silence.

Wake him? I scanned the dark attic anxiously, the words “Waken a sleeping giant . . .” running through my head. It was hard to see in the dark, but I gradually made out a mattress by one wall with a pile of blankets tumbled on top. They shifted, and a pair of boots stuck out at one end suddenly. The person under the blankets moved again and the coverings fell away, showing Thor curled up under his scarlet cloak, apparently napping after his fight.

Not wanting to wake him in case he still had any smashing feelings left, and wondering where Loki was, I tried to tiptoe quietly away.

Despite my efforts, the floor creaked. Thor stirred, flicked his cloak to one side and sat up, stretching his arms over his head. Then he glanced over at me. His mane of blond hair was all pushed back instead of falling to both sides of his face as usual, and he smiled.

“Greetings,” he said in his deep rumble of a voice.

“I’ll just be leaving,” I said.

“What, no kiss to commemorate my victory?” he jested, grinning again. A big grin on him was so weird . . . He stretched again and the movement caused the floorboards to quake a little.

I felt my portion of the floor begin to teeter—I was about to fall.

“Eheh,” I said, grinning skittishly at Thor as I tried to regain my balance and not panic and plummet to my death. “Loki!” I hissed urgently in a furious whisper in the general direction of where the shattered room used to be. Where was he?

Thor looked in that direction as though he saw something.

Loki!” I yelled again.

Loki’s head and shoulders appeared, poking up above the edge of the hole in the floor, his black hair no longer sleeked back and instead hanging forward over his ears from the fight. It struck me that I had never seen his hair like that before.

Thor and Loki faced each other, opposites—Thor with his fair hair pushed back, and grinning, Loki with his dark hair hanging down, and serious-looking. They both looked so different than they usually did, just with their changes of expression and what their hair was doing.

“I win,” Thor said in his deep voice, still smirking.

“You usually do,” Loki’s more flute-like voice said. I blinked. That was an uncharacteristically truthful and non-competitive thing for him to say . . . He turned to me, casting a brief look at his brother and saying with mock-weariness, “Let us be going before he knocks down the entire building.”

He lent me some balance with his arm so I could get off the unsafe part of the floor, and we exited through a far-window, leaving a still-grinning Thor watching us leave, reclining in comfort on a mound of pillows. We climbed back down onto the unfinished balcony. As soon as we were standing there safely, I turned and stared at Loki.

“What is going on?” I said.

“We have to go and find out why he’s being so petty and violent and foolish—it’s out of his character,” Loki said, looking thoughtful.

Thor is acting out of character? I thought. Then what about you? Normally Loki would have enjoyed calling his brother those things, and grinned the whole time.

(“Wait… what?”)

“And we have to find out why you’re acting so serious and noble,” I said as a test.

I expected Loki to blink and suddenly realize he’d been acting like his brother, and shake his head and say, “Oh, is that what I’ve been doing. It’s a repulsive feeling.” Then he would suddenly flash his brilliant grin with all his white teeth and sleek his black hair back, saying, “You know what? You go on ahead. I’m staying right here.” And then he would leap back inside, from where further fighting noises would shortly ensue.

Instead he paused, tilting his head and raising an eyebrow. “And that,” he agreed. Then he blinked and shook his head slightly as if thinking that’s not right, and half remembering . . . but he couldn’t seem to grasp it. He blinked again and shrugged.

“Loki,” I said, almost saying ‘Thor’. “I think someone switched out your personalities with each other.”

“I think you’re right,” Loki said. “Come, we must solve this.”

He strode toward the end of the balcony and I followed him.