The Druid Asks the Questions – Charles E. Yallowitz

Gather ’round ye lords and ladies, and give approbation to the builder of worlds, the scribe of Windemere and many other worlds yet-unknown, Charles E. Yallowitz.

D: Give those who may not know Legends of Windemere: Prodigy of Rainbow Tower a quick snapshot:

Prodigy Cover Final

Cover Art: Jason Pedersen

C:  Legends of Windemere: Prodigy of Rainbow Tower is the sequel to Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero.  While the first book took place in Hamilton Military Academy, Prodigy of Rainbow Tower is a journey down the L’dandrin River.  Luke Callindor and his friends are escorting the heir of Serab back home, but their enemies know their route.  So, they have to survive a gauntlet of traps, demons, and there’s this whole betrayal thing that seems to have earned me a few ‘Damn you!’ emails.  Joining the established characters is Nyx, who is a short-tempered battle magic caster and one of my favorite characters to write.  She brings a new level of magic, drama, and action to the story because of her power and lack of restraint.

D: Angry letter-inducing betrayal and a powerful woman with a lack of restraint. . . sounds like my kind of world.

D: Writers meet their characters in a variety of ways – and you have a variety of characters. Tell me about the strangest character introduction you have experienced.

C: Most of my main characters were part of a Dungeons & Dragons game, so I was introduced to many of them by their players.  The strangest character introduction would have to be Kira Grasdon.  She had a single scene in the first draft with no depth.  After that, she started slipping into other scenes when I was editing.  One day I finally noticed she was popping up and gave her a big scene that was kind of related to the plot.  I guess Kira got hungry for more because she earned more scenes and rose from her ‘barely there’ beginnings to a major factor of Luke Callindor’s story.

D: Without giving too much of the series away, do you have a least favorite character in your world of Windemere – or another world of your creation? Whose suffering do you enjoy the most?

C: I put my characters through the wringer a lot after the first book.  For some reason, I love traumatizing them and making them cry.  They grow stronger from it and it makes their victories a lot sweeter.

As for least favorite character, I recently introduced one of the new villains in my 5th book and he’s kind of blown all other hated characters out of the water.  I knew this guy was going to be evil and sadistic, but I expected a buildup.  Right out of the gate, he’s torturing the happiest of the heroes, turning on his own allies, and his has this interest in doing horrible things to Nyx.  By the end of the book, I really wanted to kill him off, but I need him for certain plot points and character development.

D: Where do you think you get sadistic characters like that? Is his inhumanity dredged up from your mind, or is it something else – something separate?

C: I’ve thought and worried about where the sadistic characters come from.  The best answer I could come up with is that I’m using the parts of human nature that I despise.  The character in question is disloyal, sadistic, and turning out to be a sexual predator, which is the aspect that scares me.  All of these are things I hate in other human beings, so this character came stepped out of that area of my morality.  Not the darkness, but what I attribute to the worst of the darkness.  I had to go philosophical on this in order to put my mind at ease.

D: Which character do you wish you were more like?

C: There are a few characters that I wish I had some traits of, but each one is flawed.  I’d love to have Luke’s confidence and courage, but he comes with a bloated sense of responsibility.  I already have that.  Nyx’s defiance is appealing too, but she has the temper that would get me in trouble.  Maybe Aedyn Karwyn since he seems to be the more balanced if not a little on the bland side of the personality spectrum.  Wait!  I’d be Fritz the womanizing gnomish inventor.

D: Nice choice, Charles. I knew a fellow like that once – he had all the fun.

Now, you and A know the gaming lingo (what the heck is a cantrip anyway?), so to call you a gamer would not be too far afield. What is it about gaming that you love, and has that element made it into your books at all?

C: I’m leery of calling myself a gamer these days because I’ve been out of the games for so long.  (A cantrip is a minor spell that takes very little energy and does something mundane like change the color of something.)

D: (Cheers – no more lording it over me, A.)

A: (Can it, D.)

C: The gaming element definitely makes it into the books with the help of my use of present tense.  A lot of the games I played in revolved around humor, action, interactions between the players, and humor.

Trust me that humor has to be in there twice.  I put this into my books in the hopes of creating the same relaxed atmosphere for the reader that I felt during the games.

The downside to this tactic is that you have to deal with people getting annoyed that your book reads like a D&D game.  Can’t please everyone and that seems to be especially true in the fantasy genre.

D: Conversely, do you have a favorite part of gaming that has not made it into your books?

C: Not really.  I was always more interested in the story and characters than the stats when I played the games.  So, I’ve brought that over to my books.  If anything, I had to cut out some fun scenes from the game because they didn’t translate very well.  There’s a big ‘you had to be there’ factor that an author has to remember if they write books off a D&D game.  For example, I couldn’t really add in the fact that Nyx in the game had a habit of charging face first into battle and getting knocked out.  It was hilarious and became a running gag, but the book version of Nyx wouldn’t do that.  She’s too powerful and cunning.  So, comedy caused by the player had to be dropped.

D: Of the Windemere books that we have yet to see, which one do you look forward to debuting the most? Why?

C: Out of the Legends of Windemere series, I’m really looking forward to the 6th book debuting because it’s a big change for Luke.  Though, I could just be interested in writing it since it’s my next book after I edit 4 and 5.  It’s really hard to pick a favorite out of the series.

Out of my non-Legends of Windemere books, I would have to say it’s a tie between ‘Tales of the Slumberlord’ and ‘Sin’.  ‘Tales of the Slumberlord’ will be interesting for me because the hero is a foolish halfling caster named Darwin Slepsnor.  I’m going to be trying to work a series with a main character who is also comic relief and kind of a sidekick at times.  It will be a challenge after the grand heroes of Legends and the anti-hero of my following vampire series.  As for ‘Sin’, I’m going to be using a 4 Act structure with multi-tiered villains and world spanning adventures in each book.  Through the series, I get to take the readers on a major tour of Windemere.


Cover Art: Jason Pedersen

C: I do believe in it, but I also think we have free will.  It’s a balance where we are destined to do something and given the tools to do it.  Yet, we have the free will to attempt another path or miss our destiny entirely.  I do feel destined to be an author because of my imagination and always thinking up new stories.  I also know that I have to work hard for it and there’s always a chance that something could go wrong.  Destiny can only take one so far, which is something I point out in the books.  It’s stated at one point that while the heroes are destined to make it to the final battle in some shape or form, they aren’t destined to win or survive.  That has to be earned, which is how my personal philosophy works.

D: As one who has created his own prophesied destiny out of myth, I understand you completely.

D: So, you’re hard at work on the third book in the Windemere series – care to share a spoiler-free sneak peek?

Sure.  This is the initial meeting between the reader and Sari the gypsy:

The ground rushes to meet her beautiful face after Sari trips over a tree root that she could not see through her tears. Dirt joins the twigs and leaves that are caught in the dark blue waterfall of hair that cascades down to her thighs. She scrambles to her feet before wiping the dirt and tears from her puffy eyes. Their emerald glow, that her partner had written songs about, is barely a glimmer amid a cloud of terror. A tear down the arm of her dirty, white blouse makes her grumble incoherently as she rips the sleeve off. She whimpers at the sight of her bright red skirt, shredded up to her knees by the forest’s underbrush.

Sari takes a moment to rub her bleeding feet before sprinting forward like a hunted rabbit, ragged breaths escaping her smooth lips. Her direction is a mystery even to her. Her only hope is that her path takes her away from the slaughter. Sari can still hear the final scream that ripped through the air and announced the demise of her kin. It took all of her strength to leave her hiding place and run for her life.

D: All right, scribe: me and a character of your choosing. Who would you pick to attempt to take down this time-traveling, god-impersonating Druid?

C: Very good question, D.  Unless you’re fireproof, I think Nyx would have the best chance.  Even then, she’s definitely the most powerful of the Legends of Windemere heroes.  After all she is a CENSORED SPOILER, which is really hard to fight against.  Then again, the villain I truly despise has time-based powers, but I’d end up rooting for you in the fight.  So, Nyx and her powers of destruction will be my champion.

D: I do love those flaming hands of hers on the cover of Prodigy. She is a worthy champion, Charles. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and your words with us. It has been a great pleasure.

A: Yes, thank you Charles. Now, everyone, go read! Go buy! Charles, the World Builder has created something fantastic!

Legends of Windemere: Beginning of a Hero

Legends of Windemere: Prodigy of Rainbow Tower

Take me home tonight

editing2D: what are you doing, A?

A: What does it look like I’m doing?

D: Wasting time with that book—

A: I am not wasting time, D – the book is research. I needed to know just how much of Ireland in the 1950s spoke Irish and if Mayo was in the Gaeltacht or not.

D: And for those of us who have no idea what that meant?

A: I’m trying to determine if it would have been accurate for Sean and Maureen to have some conversational skill with the Irish language. Because believe you me, Grace O’Malley did not have conversational skill in English.

D: Fine, woman – this is all a diversion anyway. Editing is not writing.

A: And what would you have me write?

D: Book 2! Book 3! Both, at the same time!

A: Just because it would be fun to make me crazy?

D Crazier, A. Crazier.

A: Cheers, D.

D: Fine – you can take a rest from the series. But you should keep writing.

A: There are no thoughts in this head beyond “Gaeltacht” and “Rummage Sale” (this weekend, anyone in WI who needs Thomas the Tank Engine Toys and cookbooks, this sale’s for you!), so I’m going to have to ask you again, what would you have me write?

D: Well, there’s that prompt over at the Community Storyboard. . .

A: No.

D: Why not?!

A: Seriously? They’re all fantastic reads, certainly, but I’m rather at a loss for inspiration.

D: What am I if not your muse?

A: Oh my god, no.

By Green Embers

By Green Embers

D: Why not? I’m damned good looking – just look at the drawing Green Embers drew of me.

A: And therein lays the problem D. It’s bad enough having a decently—

D: Damned good looking. Say it with me.

A: Handsome (happy now?)

D: (Ecstatic. Please, continue.)

A: It’s bad enough having a handsome, epic, warrior-prince and druid in your head prattling on about his glory days as a god-impersonating time-traveler. Sensual is on your list, but please, for the love of god, don’t make me illustrate it with words right now. I still have to sleep at night.

D: There was a compliment in there somewhere.

A: Maybe. Don’t let it go to your head.

D: Speaking of which . . .

A: Oh, D. Seriously!? No.

D: You never take me anywhere!

A: I’m pretty sure I heard about a pole and some risqué dancing at Ionia’s in celebration of her victory. You don’t need me to go places.

D: I’m afraid I have no recollection of this pole and dancing of which you speak.

A: So there was no blue ribbon under your kilt?

D: Didn’t say that.

A: I don’t want to know.

D: On second thought, I think it’s better all around if we leave this week’s prompt to the others. There are some things I’d rather you not illustrate with words . . . or imagine with that overly fertile mind of yours.

A: And common sense has prevailed.

D: You still don’t take me anywhere.

A: Spoke too soon.

Enjoy – and submit to – Erotica Week at the Community Storyboard ! There are some luscious stories to be had!

Are there genres that you might enjoy but just don’t know how craft the words to explore yourself? What about reading – what genre can you just not read?

My Name is D, Part 2 – You Ain't Seen Nothin' Like A

D: You know what I said, A, nothing can be as awesome as “My Name is D.”

A: Yeah, I know what you said, Druid. I accepted your challenge.

D: Indeed.

A: You and smug need to break up, D. Prepare yourself. Because . . .

You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Like A

I was watchin’ the road, hard like. I was watchin’ Old Johnson’s car get smaller and smaller ‘til it was nothin’ but a speck. Then that speck – that insignificant speck – bled into the horizon.

Let him go, my brain was whisperin’. Let him think he got away.

That there “D,” as he likes to be called – that’s not what the Boss calls him, but I’ll let it stand – has been a pain in my ass since the day I got the call to bring him in.

It started just over 9 months ago. “Find him, A,” was all the Boss would say. He never did like to use my full name. The Boss handed me a picture, a stack of hundreds and an itinerary. We were on a schedule.

The Boss is like that. Everything is regimented, like. And don’t get me started on his favorite word, “prompt.” You could set your watch by this man. At least he’s a sharp dresser, and a looker too. I’d hate to have to dance to the tune of an ugly sumbitch.

Now, Mr. D had a rap sheet nearly as long as my leg, and was wanted in three different states for a string of bank robberies. Not the big banks, mind. Not the ones owned by big ol’ conglomerates back east, but real mom-and-pop shows. Nasty.

Don’t look at me like that. I might not talk as smooth as some, but I got learning. I got my hands on these audio tapes. Let me tell you, that Homer, he’s a pistol!

Anyway, Mr. D and his rap sheet could have come to me through my day job, but it didn’t. I do some bounties for the Feds, but they don’ t like to pay if prisoners are missing bits. Not my fault that Bobbitt fella tried to get fresh. The Boss now, he don’t mind so much. Though, come to think of it, he did take exception to the state Ol’ Johnny was in. I think that’s why he saddled me with Mr. D.

Saddled me with Mr. D and then left me high and dry.

Apparently, Mr. D has bigger friends than the Boss. He says to me that Mr. D isn’t ours to keep. That he’s meant for someone else.  Someone else! The Boss runs with some pretty heavy fellas – I’m not too sure I want to know who ranks above him.

Of course, I wasn’t thinkin’ that at the time – I was thinkin’ that I was feeling mighty used. I mean God Almighty, I wrestle this fella to the ground, bring him in, all prompt like, and the Boss tells me to let him go. Let him go! You gotta be kidding me. You should’a seen the shiner I was sportin’ – not to mention the split lip and the missing fingernail on my left hand. That Mr. D sure do look nice, but he fights dirty.

So I took him. He was still conked out in the bed of my pickup, trussed up like a pig, so getting’ outta there wasn’t too bad. They weren’t expectin’ that I would take off like that. Hell, I wasn’t expectin’ I’d take off like that.

I’m still not sure if I thought I was rescuin’ Mr. D or if I thought I was going to find this “someone else,” and tell that man what I thought of him. It might have been the last bit. He had some explainin’ to do after all. It’s not every day you see a pretty man like the Boss sit there like he’d wet his pants. A pretty man like that has no business being as scared as he was. Ain’t no $500 suit in the world going to wipe that image from my mind.

And now, nine months later, I ain’t no closer to finding this Someone Else, though I think he has a lot to answer for. And not just for the goons he sends after us. Lucky I know my work and those fellas have just been little itty-bitty flies on my windshield insofar as givin’ me problems. But that Mr. D – boy oh boy, have we had a time.

I’ll be honest: I’m glad he took Ol’ Johnson’s trash heap of a car for a spin. Mr. D is a complex fella. I can’t quite explain it. Now, he’s not happy I kidnapped him, for his own good, mind, but usually he understands his extreme circumstances.

Other times, I think he confuses me with that Someone Else. Just last week he was convinced I’d been torturing him for ten years! Ten years! I was just a slip of a thing 10 years ago, breakin’ all the boy’s hearts.

I know I’ll have to go after Mr. D, just to make sure he don’t get himself into any more trouble. That boy and trouble is like bread and butter. And if that Someone Else is as bad as I reckon he is, then trouble is just around the corner. But I don’t mind. I say bring it on.

Because let me tell you, Sweet Cheeks, you ain’t seen nothin’ like A.

Read more in the My Name is D series

Part 1 | Part 3 | Part 4

The Druid asks the Questions – Michael S. Fedison

D: And so it was, on a lovely day in the month of August – named as such for that rat, Augustus Caesar – did Michael S. Fedison, author of The Eye-Dancers, bequeath to A the winning gift card. Stunned and overcome by this beneficence, A requested the honor of allowing yours truly to interview him.

A: First of all, wordy. Second, what’s your beef with Augustus?

D: Who is asking the questions, here, woman?

A: . . . oh, you are off to a roaring start.

D: And without further ado, The Druid Asks the Questions

An interview with Michael S. Fedison.

D: Give those who may not know your book a quick snapshot:

eye_dancers_lowres3M: Have you ever had a recurring nightmare?  The kind of dream that repeats itself, night after night, after night?  That’s what seventh-grader Mitchell Brant experiences at the beginning of The Eye-Dancers.  A mysterious little girl with blue, spinning, hypnotic eyes comes to him in his dreams, three nights in a row.  He is convinced she is trying to snare him and transport him to whatever world she calls home.

When Mitchell learns that two of his friends are having the same dream, things really start to get weird.  The boys then go to the class genius, Marc Kuslanski, for advice.  But the very next night, as Mitchell feared, the boys are indeed whisked away to a strange, new world.  What follows is a dimension-busting adventure that will severely test each of the boys, forcing them not only to confront the dangers of the new world they find themselves in, but also to face down and overcome their own inner struggles and insecurities.

D: How did you meet your characters? Were you introduced, did they demand your attention in some innocuous place, or have you known them so long that you can no longer remember life without them?

M: Definitely the latter!  The characters in The Eye-Dancers are inspired by childhood friends I grew up with.  So, yes, absolutely.  I have known them all my life!  And it was a lot of fun “fictionalizing” them and writing about them.

D: And I reckon you honor your friends in that – it was many a man who vied to have the chance to be immortalized in my words.

D: Which of your characters can you identify with the most?

M: Without question, Mitchell Brant.  He and I share many similarities.  For example, when I was in middle school, I, like Mitchell, had an overactive imagination, loved collectible old comic books, and was very shy around girls.  There is no doubt that Mitchell and I are, in many ways, as Anne Shirley might say, “kindred spirits.”

D: Do you have a least favorite character – one that you almost enjoy watching cope with any disasters you as author send his or her way?

M: Honestly, no.  I liked all the main characters, and there weren’t any of the supporting characters I hated either.  “Grronk,” who we meet in chapter four, is incredibly obnoxious, but he was very fun to write for.

D: Mmm, you could teach A some pointers. If only she had the same outlook. . .

D: If you were in the same situation as your characters, what would you do differently (without giving too much away)?

M: Hmm, that’s an interesting question, and I’m not sure if I would do anything all that differently, especially if I were twelve years old, as they are.  Even though I relate more to Mitchell than the others, I would probably have chosen the Marc Kuslanski method—trying to gather as much data as possible about their new surroundings.  But really, I can see myself incorporating each of the boys’ strategies.  That’s what’s fun about being a writer.  You can write about multiple characters, and, in one way or another, each character has a piece of yourself in them.  Kind of like make-believe multiple-personality disorder, I suppose . . .

D: Oh yes – A can commiserate. Although in her case, I’m almost certain she’d lean less towards make-believe—

A: D, behave yourself.

D: What makes you uniquely qualified to write The Eye Dancers?

M: Well, the first thing is the characters—the fact that they are based on friends I knew personally, and grew up with.  Apart from that, the themes and concepts of the story have always interested me and resonated with me.  Some of the novel’s themes are:  the magic of childhood, and the enduring, transformative quality of friendships formed early in life; quantum physics and the idea of parallel worlds; a fascination with nostalgia, especially the 1950s; and the interconnectedness of all things—the fact that a stranger, so far away you can’t even imagine, can, in some mysterious, unexplainable way, be connected to you in a very real and powerful way.

D: You love The Twilight Zone – tell us why.

M: The Twilight Zone is really a unique TV show—the quality of the writing is unsurpassed, I think, in television history.  I love the way so many of the stories probe beneath the surface.  The stories, in and of themselves, are entertaining, sometimes scary, but, even more important, The Twilight Zone at its best forces us to look at our world, and at ourselves, and examine what we see.

D: Your story tackles how we perceive reality: if you could perceive it in any way and have it be true for you, what would you choose to perceive?

M: I think the number-one thing I would like to see is a world where people are not so quick to judge and impose their opinions on things they don’t understand.  One of the themes of The Eye-Dancers I failed to mention above is the idea that “there is more in heaven and earth than is dreamt of in [our] philosophy.”  This is a lesson Marc Kuslanski needs to learn over the course of the story.  And it’s a lesson we all need to learn, at one time or another, I think.

By Green Embers

By Green Embers

D: Any more trips amid the fantastic planned (i.e. books in the works)?

M: I actually have begun a sequel to The Eye-Dancers!  It is in the very early stages (not even titled yet), but I am optimistic about it.  Five years have passed, and the sequel shows the main characters now at age seventeen—which certainly gives the book a different feel from The Eye-Dancers.

D: Finally, if a time-travelling Druid made his home in your imagination, would you flog him publicly, or make him welcome and treat him with the respect he deserves?

M: I would praise him, share his genius with the world, climb up old fire escapes to city rooftops and shout his name so everyone on the street below could hear!  I would ask his opinion on all things.  D, somehow, I think you were fishing for a compliment with this question!  Well, it worked!  You are marvelous, D!

D: A? A, are you taking notes?

A: Seriously?! I’m sorry, Mike. That was unnecessary, and you’re a dear for answering him.

M: And thanks so much, D and Katie, for taking the time to interview me and for asking such great questions!  I really appreciate it!

D: And so concludes my first entirely self-directed interview. My sincere thank you to Mike for not only agreeing to be interviewed, but for writing such a captivating book.

Read more about The Eye-Dancers, including purchasing information. You won’t regret it.

One simply did

Yup, this whole post was just another excuse to put up Captain Jack.

Yup, this whole post was just another excuse to put up Captain Jack.

D: One simply did what, A? Gods above, woman, your titles are all over the place – could you at least have a complete thought?

A: Would you like to take over the blog?

D: I thought you’d never ask. I was thinking, the color scheme–

A: D, that was rhetorical. No.

D: Well, it isn’t as though you have any grand ideas – or any ideas at the moment.

A: True, but we’ll get to that in a bit. The title refers to that delightful meme-inducing statement: One does not simply walk into Mordor.

D: Wait, I remember – Mordor refers to editing in the morass of your mind.

A: Precisely. Nice exposition, D.

D: Someone has to make sense of your thoughts.

A: As it is, I read all 421 pages of the first draft. Personally, D, I think you should take notes for me all the time.

D: I took notes for you?

A: It must have been you.

D: . . .

editsA: This. This could not have come from me:

“We’ve mentioned that it’s damp, cold and dark several times now. We get it. It’s Ireland.”

D: Oh. That. No, that was all you. You had a snark fest with yourself. The “we” has no relation to me. Don’t you remember?

A: Um, no. Really – all me?

D: Well, I’m not taking credit for it. I’m your muse, not your editor.

A: You’re my muse? God help me.

D: They already did. Remember? They gave you me. Boy, this editing thing really has blasted your brain. Now, about putting me in charge of the blog . . .

A: I am going to regret this . . . so you know how you have jack-all to do with Book 2?

D: What do you mean, “jack-all?” I thought we discussed a cameo, A!

A: Be nice and we’ll discuss it some more. And you aren’t in charge of the blog – I still hold the keys. You are a wonderful troubadour for our community, but I was wondering if you wanted to interact a bit more?

D: Interact? You mean, you’ll let me talk to people??

A: Reluctantly.

D: Well, of course I would love to! This is just what I need. Obviously, I know I’m fantastic, but it isn’t all about me, or even you, A—wait. Wait wait wait. Why?

A: . . . Um, variety?

D: No. No, there is something more sinister, more nefarious at work here.

A: I need a bit more structure?

D: Who are you and what have you done to A?

A: D, summer is over. Fall and winter are my busy seasons, and TC did indicate that I ought to be spending more time with him. Unless you’d like me to sideline the books—

D: Let’s not get carried away, A. I appreciate structure and your attempt to include me in it.

A: That’s better. You interviewed Mike, from The Eye Dancers the other day (post is live here) and it was fun. Perhaps we could develop a weekly segment, The Druid Asks the Questions, which would go live on Wednesdays. And it wouldn’t just be for writers – there are poets, photographers, people, dogs, and even a few mythical figures who I’m sure would enjoy a bit of banter with a centuries-old Druid.

D: Dogs?

A: You’re the one who likes to highlight the dogs on your tale-telling. Perhaps you could interview one.

D: I’m not sure if you’re setting the bar incredibly low, or you have a misguided idea of my ability to interact with living creatures.

A: You’re the Druid, D. I’m just the writer.

D wants to get inside your head

d as imaged by Green Embers

By Green Embers

Say, you – yes, you – don’t you want a centuries old druid rummaging around in your head? Once he’s there he’ll trumpet his troubadour horn at your accomplishments and perhaps snark at your failures (It’s not my fault if you tell him and he has his way with it!).

That’s right, D and I want to interview you! We have questions – the whole WordPress community has questions – and you alone can answer them.

I will be reaching out in the coming weeks to people I know who have things to say. That said, if I’ve missed you, or I don’t know you at all, but you think D is pretty hilarious and would like the chance to let him fire 10 questions your way in an effort to shed light on whatever it is your dear heart desires, let me know:

It’s all part of my grand restructuring to help balance mom/work/writing/life/blogging. Because TC really did say that we need more quality time. When your pre-teen says that, you know it’s time to turn off the computer! Regular posting at the D/A Dialogues will be as follows: Tuesdays for updates, Wednesday is the Druid’s day and Thursdays are the day for all sorts of creative license.

D: What does that mean, creative license?

A: It means whatever I want it to mean.

D: . . .

A: Like what I did there?

D: Since we’re still negotiating my cameo, yes A. I think it’s splendid.

A: Whoever said you can’t teach an old Druid new tricks?

D: Since A is verging on 1000 words with this wordiest of wordy posts, my tale-telling is going to be regrettably terse.

Prompted prompts at the Community Story Board

The Goblin Door

Friday the 13th 

More Community Storyboard, because it’s wonderful and so are its contributors

Helena Hann-Basquait + Community Storyboard = fantabulous

Helen Midgley’s poem Where Did All Those Summers Go? is the Featured Post at the Community Storyboard.


Kirsten at Finding Kirsten has a new book, Bittersweet Goodbye.

Helena Hann-Basquait and Jessica Bell will be featured in the Off the KUF Anthology!

Laugh, because you can

25 Steps to Being a Traditionally Published Author, the Lazy Bastard Edition at Terrible Minds.

A: Actually this is good for those looking to be traditionally published and those who went independent because frankly, I read that and thought, what the hell have I done – maybe I can do a Kickstarter campaign to get the cash to self-publish, after all!!


D: Or, Because Tolkien is God.

A: I thought you were a pagan, D.

D: Fine. He’s a god. Happy now?

A: Supremely (and no, we don’t encourage fan-fiction, but we thought we’d pass it along because it’s interesting). The One Ring.Net is calling for submissions.

Gods do swear

Gods do swear,

I had years,

Of stolen breath.

Living trouble?


Living god.

D: A, A, why are you doing this to me?

A: Doing what?

D: Torturing me!

A: Thanks for the support, D.

D: You are the first person to admit you’re not really made for this sort of thing. I mean, there’s that up there and then there was the response to Dean’s September 1 prompt at the Community Storyboard. It really must end.

A: I know D, but I’m trying to learn.

D: . . .

A: Fine. Put it this way, you are made for this sort of thing and you fail, on many occasions, to impart your wisdom. What is the point of having a centuries-old Druid camped out in your brain if he won’t teach you how to turn a bit of prose now and again?

D: Job security?

A: D! You are a Druid – you are a born tale-teller, a master at words, an orator and mystic. I can do an okay limerick.

D: Sometimes.

A: Exactly.

D: I still don’t get it.

A: (Sigh) You’re a 7th century Pict. They had a written language, but much of their histories and stories were told through song and oratorical extravaganzas. Since the next two books spend a fair chunk of time in the 7th century, it would behoove me to at least be able to give a few lines here and there of your mastery.

D: Ha, you said I had mastery.

A: D, pay attention.

D: (snicker) I have mastery!

A: D!!

D: Okay, fine. Do I understand you correctly in that you would like to learn how to write a stylized oratory extravaganza in order to do my mastery justice?

A: I don’t know why I even try talking to you some days.

D: Because I have mastery.

A: (Eye roll) Fine. Yes. I want to learn. You’re the one who plopped the Ballad of Dubhshìth and Mairead in my lap at the last minute (name changer!) and I want to do it justice. At least, I want to fake well enough so you sound marginally eloquent.

D: Oh! So now I’m eloquent and masterful.

A: Someone shoot me.

The Druid Tells the Tale

D: Because I’m masterful.

A: I take that back – can someone shoot the Druid?

D: Oi, I’m talking here!

I criticize A all the time. Of course, it is rare that she listens to me, which is why you have this blog. If you have an eagle-eye for detail and would like to be told the truth of your own work, check out Diamonds or Dust, an unbiased critique group for serious writers.

A: There is so much fun at the Community Storyboard, but please check out the first-ever, CSB chain-story event, Squirrels: This Time Its Personal. Each episode just gets better and better.

D: In case you didn’t see it the first time, Ionia Martin, Queen of Readful Things and all of us, her minions, beat cancer. Can we give the lady the biggest hug the blogosphere has ever seen? Please? Tell her the Druid sent you.

A: D – I think Ionia might like this:

D: . . .

A: She said something about a pole dancing, and I’m just wondering if this is what happened after.

D: You mock me, but I am sill masterful.

A: I’ve created a monster.

Speaking of Ionia and Queenlieness, Part 2 of the Query Letter Series is now available. This post series is helpful, to the point, and takes a lot of the fear out of creating something an editor or an agent – or rather, their hapless assistants – might want to read and (gasp!) respond to in a positive fashion!

D: Speaking of which. . .

A: Editing, D. Editing.

D: So you say . . .

Since A is editing, take your fill from a published writer, a one Charles Yallowitz, Scribe of Windemere, whose work “Sari Fairy Tale” is available for view at wePoets Show It.

What was the wackiest thing (to you) that you learned to do in order to write a story, get a job, or do that thing that you’ve wanted to do so learning to walk on your hands backwards really didn’t seem so wacky after all??


Say my name

The mess called my desk

Somewhere in this chaos is Dubh Súile’s real name.

A: Guess who just finished her book?

TC: JK Rowling

A: JK Rowling can kiss my a*s

(No disrespect intended to JK Rowling, or her work, of course.)

* * *

A: Clocking in at a terror-inducing, unedited 112,865 words, the first book in the Changeling time traveler series is done. Theoretically. Until tomorrow. When edits start {sob}.

D: Would you stop crying? You did enough of that last night.

A: Which was totally allowed! It was emotional, D what with the . . . and the whole other . . . and that . . .

D: . . .

A: I’m not sure if you’re speechless or mocking me.

D: Can’t it be both?

A: Perhaps. Speaking of both. Or three or how about five? I am not speaking to you.

D: That made no sense. I’m not even sure you can mock the English language like that by declaring that coherent in any way.

A: Don’t you want to know why I’m not talking to you?

D: Not especially.

A: D!

D: Well, I already know why, and you’ve been yelling at me ever since you found out.

A: Do you blame me? You changed your name D! You changed your name in the book’s home stretch. Changed your name. You. Name-Changer!

D: I don’t know why you’re so upset. I didn’t change it so much as reveal my birth name. And it had to be done that way – you couldn’t know until everyone in the story knew. It wouldn’t have had the same emotional oomph otherwise.

A: Emotional oomph? D, it’s a book. I’m a writer – we aren’t going for on-screen reactions. You are not a director!

D: Yet.

A: (Eye roll) Seriously, D. It was a little disconcerting to find out that the name I thought was yours was not, in fact, your real name. 13 years I’ve had that name in my head. 13 years.

D: Exactly, A – 13 years I’ve had to put up with you not knowing my real name.

A: Don’t change the subject. What if I told you A isn’t my real name, hm?

D: I know it’s not your real name, A. See, I do know all your names and A is simply a title you’ve given yourself.

A: . . . Stop looking smug.

D: You made me.

A: Name changer.

D: I’m still not seeing the problem.

A: Fine. At least when I spell it wrong it makes a dirty word, and that makes me smile.

D: You are my punishment. I know that now.

A: Cheers, D.

Want to know what D did while I finished writing the first book of his series? Check out Green Embers’ highly entertaining response to the “where did summer go” prompt at the Community Storyboard: The Bad Plot to Steal Summer Forever. I’m still giggling.

Tell me your best story about how the characters in your head defied your whims, your expectations, and some of the most fixed ideas you had about them. Please. Because I know I am not alone in this!