Monday, December 19, 2016

In the Forests of Serre

My father and I just finished In the Forests of Serre by Patricia A. McKillip.

As Brume is the Mother of All Witches, so this was the mother of all fairy tales and further proof that McKillip ranks alongside J.K. Rowling and Diana Wynne Jones in the tier below Tolkien. Why? Because in an Enchanted Forest a Prince killed the favorite hen of a witch and got cursed and lost as his unwilling bride, a foreign Princess, approached with her wizard bodyguard.
What happens next is a secret I shall leave with the Firebird, but I have always said that Heart is the most important aspect of a person and that without its unwritten language singing within you, one is lost; a fact this tale proves most aptly and, for once, by direct example.

May you live happily ever after Prince Ronan of Serre & Princess Sidonie of Dacia, Wizards Unciel (hopefully now you can rest) and Gyre, scribe Euan Ash, and the rest.

(And if you see a white hen and/or cottage made of bones, steer clear. Seriously.)

Thursday, December 15, 2016


(The sound of distant thunder drawing ever nearer) clip clop clip clop clip clop clip clop...hoofbeats...

74 days and counting until Firebrand, book #6 of Kristen Britain's Green Rider series, comes out. By all the gods of Sacoridia, it will good to see Karigan again!!

Clip clop clip clop clip clop clip clop...hoofbeats...

Friday, December 9, 2016

Learn from the Creator of Alagaƫsia

Christopher Paolini, author of the justly famed Inheritance Cycle (which was the first major Fantasy series I read after The Lord of the Rings) has some wise Worldbuilding words for those of us who wish to not only read about adventures in the Multiverse, but want plot a journey and make first contact ourselves:

  • It’s essential to think about the underlying philosophy of your work, because that will influence the shape of everything that follows.
  • Once you’ve decided upon your philosophy, then comes the more tradition elements of world building: histories, names, technology, family trees, major events, and so on.
  • As important as it is to be consistent, it’s equally important to have a certain amount of variation.

Sunday, December 4, 2016

Happily ever after

Over the course of my forays into the countless realms of the Multiverse, courtesy of those illustrious folk knows as Fantasy authors, I have learned many things: the great potential for good and ill in humanity and that bravery is working through, rather than the absence of, fear, to name but two.
But, most importantly, I learned that the happiest ending an author is not written in ancient runes nor is the result of a mighty piece of magic. It is not a vanquished evil, nor a kingdom won, nor even combination. 
Indeed, the happiest of all endings is not arcane in the slightest, nor something born out of ancient days and dreams out of myth.

No, the most important thing Fantasy literature has taught me is that the happiest ending is, in fact, a wedding...and the more the merrier.
Fantasy's greatest lesson is that love is the highest law, and nobody has the right to deny it.

"Love supplies a kind of strength that can withstand even death." - Terry Brooks

"To love is never wrong. It may be disastrous; it may never be possible; it may be the deepest agony. But it is never wrong." - Cadvan of Lirigon

"Do not pity the dead, Harry. Pity the living, and, above all those who live without love." - Albus Dumbledore

"Power shaped by wonder and curiosity; even love. Not by fear and laws that shut out instead of inviting it." - Od

"The world is indeed full of peril, and in it there are many dark places; but still there is much that is fair, and though in all lands love is now mingled with grief, it grows perhaps the greater." - J.R.R. Tolkien 

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

A return to Annar

Cadvan of Lirigon
Just started The Bone Queen by Alison Croggon, prequel to her Pellinor Quartet.

Time to finally see that dark period in the life of Cadvan of Lirigon and, hopefully, see some other old (now younger) friends along with the School of Pellinor before it is sacked... long before Maerad's birth.

However it works out, though I already know some of it, it is a splendid thing to return to the lands of Annar and the Bards of the Light.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Mage Winds completed

Just finished Winds of Fury, book #3 of The Mage Winds Trilogy by Mercedes Lackey. (Which took me approximately five eons longer to complete than it should have!!)

As always, Lackey delivers the finest in her blunt, no-nonsense, style which nevertheless virtually quivers with emotion. She certainly delivered here, and I am more than happy to see the bloodied backs of three sadist-mages whose names are tantamount to torture and insanity.
But, more importantly, I am glad to see two old friends and many news ones find love - and learn that home is not the land you stand on, but the people you care enough to fight and die for.

"No disaster without some benefit" and "Love must live free," as the Shin'a'in say, and they along with the rest of those loyal to the Star-Eyed prove it.
Meaning, of course, my dear newer friends Darkwind and Firesong of the Hawkbrothers, and Treyvan & Hydona of the Kaled'a'in. And Nyara, of course, and Rhis (whose Famous Cousin Warrl is an old friend)
And then my older, and more sarcastic, friends: Herald-Mage Elspeth k'Shenya k'Valdemar (congrats on your wedding), Skif (same to your future one), Queen and Queen's Own Selenay and Talia, my dear Herald-Captain Kerowyn and her Skybolts, and Need, and Daren. And the Companions, of course.

Stellar job and good luck cleaning up the corpse-lawn on the border. I will see you all again, probably, next time I journey into the wondrous world of Velgarth. May the wind guide your wings to joy.
(My only regret is that leshy'a Kal'enedral Tarma never got to see the change in a certain sword; I would say the same for Kethry and Warrl, doubly the former, but where their souls went I cannot guess)

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Azure creed

It has come to my attention that a Fantasy author could be described by the Azure creed, as stated on the Azure Mage card from Magic: the Gathering.

"We draw our power from the infinite ocean of the mind, where all manner of things can be conceived."

Compare it to this blog's namesake and you will see the truth in my words. "The realm of fairy-story is wide and deep and high and filled with many things: all manner of beasts and birds are found there; shoreless seas and stars uncounted; beauty that is an enchantment, and an ever-present peril; both joy and sorrow as sharp as swords." - J.R.R. Tolkien

Hence Fantasy authors could call themselves Azure Mages with at least a degree of truth – despite the fact that our power manifests in a radically different way.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Parenting Goals

Growing up reading Fantasy and having parents who raise one to genuinely despise profanity and other forms of crude language is a blessing. Why? Because you learn to speak elegantly and use archaic words with deft precision.

Also, in place of such base and/or simplistic words, one learns to be creative. I say "silence" and, in place of swear-words, oaths like "Thank the flame", "Gods and sacred Goddesses", "Darkspawn", "Freya's tears", and "By all the gods above and below the Earth".
In other words, binge-reading Tolkien crafted my manner of speech and style of writing – and it worked out great!

Sunday, November 13, 2016

The Ghost of Thomas Kempe

My father and I just finished The Ghost of Thomas Kempe by Penelope Lively.
Good work, and better endurance, James Harrison.
Be at peace, him of the Cunning Folk.

(A fine book, to be sure, and wrapped in the elegant grace and lore of Oxfordshire, England)

Friday, November 11, 2016

Calling as he used to call, faint and far away...

As we all know, Fantasy literature was born out of the countless folktales, myths, and legends that populate our own often mysterious world – tales which continue to inspire today and remain among the greatest and most evocative of stories. The Sea of Trolls trilogy by Nancy Farmer and The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel series by Michael Scott are perfect examples of Fantasies build upon the mythologies of our own cultures.

Below is the poem Sherwood by Alfred Noyes, noted in that it truly captures the magic of one of the world's dearest legends: that of Robin Hood and his Merry Men.

Sherwood in the twilight, is Robin Hood awake?
 Grey and ghostly shadows are gliding through the brake,

Shadows of the dappled deer, dreaming of the morn,
Dreaming of a shadowy man that winds a shadowy horn.

Robin Hood is here again: all his merry thieves
Hear a ghostly bugle-note shivering through the leaves,
Calling as he used to call, faint and far away,
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.

Merry, merry England has kissed the lips of June:
All the wings of fairyland were here beneath the moon,
Like a flight of rose-leaves fluttering in a mist
Of opal and ruby and pearl and amethyst.

Merry, merry England is waking as of old,
With eyes of blither hazel and hair of brighter gold:
For Robin Hood is here again beneath the bursting spray
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.

Love is in the greenwood building him a house
Of wild rose and hawthorn and honeysuckle boughs:
Love is in the greenwood, dawn is in the skies,
And Marian is waiting with a glory in her eyes.

Hark! The dazzled laverock climbs the golden steep!
Marian is waiting: is Robin Hood asleep?
Round the fairy grass-rings frolic elf and fay,
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.

Oberon, Oberon, rake away the gold,
Rake away the red leaves, roll away the mould,
Rake away the gold leaves, roll away the red,
And wake Will Scarlett from his leafy forest bed.

Friar Tuck and Little John are riding down together
With quarter-staff and drinking-can and grey goose-feather.
The dead are coming back again, the years are rolled away
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.

Softly over Sherwood the south wind blows.
All the heart of England his in every rose
Hears across the greenwood the sunny whisper leap,
Sherwood in the red dawn, is Robin Hood asleep?

Hark, the voice of England wakes him as of old
And, shattering the silence with a cry of brighter gold
Bugles in the greenwood echo from the steep,
Sherwood in the red dawn, is Robin Hood asleep?

Where the deer are gliding down the shadowy glen
All across the glades of fern he calls his merry men--
Doublets of the Lincoln green glancing through the May
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day--

Calls them and they answer: from aisles of oak and ash
Rings the Follow! Follow! and the boughs begin to crash,
The ferns begin to flutter and the flowers begin to fly,
And through the crimson dawning the robber band goes by.

Robin! Robin! Robin! All his merry thieves
Answer as the bugle-note shivers through the leaves,
Calling as he used to call, faint and far away,
In Sherwood, in Sherwood, about the break of day.