Friday, June 28, 2013

The Writing Fairies Have Come Back! :D

Hello friends! :)

I've been gone a long time.  A lot of things have happened.  A lot still is happening.  Last weekend was probably one of the most eventful and crazy times of my life.  I was supposed to go to the ren-faire here in central Illinois, and I had been working to finish two dresses, one for me and one for a friend.  I stayed up all night the night before to finish, and was so proud of my work!  But then, as I was driving to pick up one of my friends for the fair, I fell asleep behind the wheel, woke up too late to stop in time, ran a stop sign, jumped a curb, and flew into the ditch.  No other cars were involved, thank God!  But I was pretty banged up afterward, and now I'm in need of a car yet again (the one I had apparently can't be fixed... I'm still hoping, but things don't look too wonderful for it).  Also, the EMT's had to cut my ren-dress a bit as I was being taken to the hospital, so now I have to fix that too. lol!  Oh the troubles of life!  I'm just very thankful to be alive!

Also, I'm moving!  That's something exciting at least. Lots of interesting stuff to go through and pack, and at least half of it I forgot that I owned. lol!  I'm moving an hour away to Peoria Illinois, where I will be staying with an older lady and her family.  I've known her for most of my life, and feel really comfortable and safe staying there.  She has an economy apartment on the second floor of her house which I will be renting, and she's pretty much letting me have full reign on decorating.  I can't WAIT to post pictures of how it will look once everything is in it's place!  It will be absolutely FANTASTIC!!!! :D

In other news, MY WRITING FAIRIES HAVE COME BACK!!!  It's been a long time since they've visited me, and my books have shown the strain.  But now, I've written almost 3k extra words in SOTD in the last two weeks alone (which may not seem like a lot to anyone else, but which is a definite improvement from the dead standstill the book was at before), AND I've started brainstorming and outlining for a possible 20k novella to be entered in a contest come the end of December.  I'm thinking the novella will probably be my Nano piece this year.  It's the first year since 2009 that I'll be working on a brand new story during Nanowrimo, and not trying to add words to SOTD.  I think the new writing project will be rather refreshing, and good practice.  My writing has been rusty lately and awkward, and this may be just what I need to get back to where I used to be when it came to working on my novel. :)

I thought maybe it would be nice to post a little bit about this new writing endeavor here on the blog.  It's been absolutely AGES since I've tried to write anything new.  I hope I can remember how to do it. lol!

The requirement for the contest is that the piece be a new take on the Cinderella fairy-tale.  I've always wanted to rewrite a fairy-tale!  I have plans to one day rewrite the story of the six swans, or maybe the story of the Snow Queen, but I haven't gotten that far yet.  However, I saw this contest as an opportunity to flex my skills and see what I could come up with. :)

My entry will be titled, "The Cinder-Beast".  It's going to mix elements of "Cinderella" and "Beauty and the Beast," and there will be a few other twists as well.  Here's a quick summary of what I'm working on so far.


Prince Markayle is the very last of the royal line of Aendor, heir to the throne of Tevaun, and a fugitve.  Forced to flee for his life from the evil dragon that has overrun his kingdom, Markayle is now known as the Cinder-Beast because of the Dragon's curse which renders anything he touches to fall away in cinders.  Along with this curse comes another: three long pale scars from dragon claws which completely disfigure the right side of his face and make him look like a monster.  The only reason he survived the encounter was because the fae took pity on him and healed his wounds.  Now, gifted with enchanted gloves that guard objects from his touch and a mask that hides his disfigurements from others, Markayle has set out on a journey to find a way to break his curse, banish the dragon from his kingdom, and reclaim his throne.

Marcella is a servant in the palace of Emroin.  Her job is to serve the princess Anaiya, but when Anaiya is kidnapped by an evil dragon from the north, suspicions are cast on Marcella and she is tried and banished.  Forced to wander the forests of Emroin alone, Marcella comes across a strange man in a mask and gloves.  He calls himself Kayle, and doesn't talk much.  He will not say why he wears his mask, and he will not take off his gloves.  He is searching for someone... a woman whom he was told could cure a mortal ailment he possesses which he gained from a dragon.  In him, Marcella finds her hope, and they set out to rescue Anaiya together.

But Kayle isn't everything Marcella thinks he is...

Niether is Anaiya,

And there's a secret about Marcella that she herself doesn't even know.

Only the Fae have all the answers, and they want their Changeling back.


So there you have it!  That's the working blurb for my new project, "The Cinder-Beast".  Please let me know what you think.  I'm having a lot of fun working on figuring out all the little details for it.  One of these days I'll have to find pictures of the characters to post.  I want to start working on a map too at some point.  I almost forgot how much fun new writing projects can be. :D

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"Merlin's Blade" by Robert Treskillard -- A Review

Hello my blog friends!  I know I haven't posted in basically forever, and I apologize for that.  Since School got out (and even before that) a lot of stuff has happened and I haven't had a lot of extra time.  No excuse, I know... I wish I could write something every day, or at least once a week, but sometimes life just steps in the way and everything starts coming apart at the seams.  That's kind of how it's been lately.  No worries though!  I will be posting more soon!  I have a plethora of new ideas to blog about, and some pretty exciting happenings that are making my life a bit more than just interesting of late. :)  I'll tell you all about it soon. ^_^

In the meantime, however, I have a couple of Book Reviews to post! :)  They were both supposed to be posted last week, but as some of you undoubtedly know, Illinois has been swamped with bad weather lately, mostly in the form of unstoppable rains for weeks on end.  The fields have pretty much become swamp land, and the poor farmers are probably going to have to replant.  Some of them haven't even started planting yet because everything was too wet and muddy to do so... and the grass is getting overwhelmingly tall as well.  During the storms, there were power surges all over the place, and my internet wasn't working properly... it would come on and then suddenly turn off, and I was terribly worried about it and my computer during the whole thing.  I still got on occasionally, but every time I tried to put of the two reviews, the page would go offline, so I finally gave up and waited until the sun came out again. lol!  This review here was supposed to be a part of the CSFF Blog Tour, so there will be links at the bottom that lead to all the other blogs that decided to participate in the "Merlin's Blade" tour.  You should check them out!  :D

And now to begin.

When a meteorite crashes near a small village in fifth-century Britain, it brings with it a mysterious black stone that bewitches anyone who comes in contact with its glow---a power the druids hope to use to destroy King Uthur's kingdom, as well as the new Christian faith. The only person who seems immune is a young,

shy, half-blind swordsmith's son named Merlin.

As his family, village, and even the young Arthur, are placed in danger, Merlin must face his fears and his blindness to take hold of the role God ordained for him. But when he is surrounded by adversaries, armed only by a sword he helped forge, how will he save the girl he cherishes and rid Britain of this deadly evil ... without losing his life? 

My Thoughts:


Let me just say, this book was excellent.  And I do not say that lightly.  Robert has a way with words that just make them seem to float off the page and become flesh and blood.  This book read very real to me... not just because of the flow of words, but also because of the detailed research that was put into it.  Every aspect of the story, from the area of Bosventor, to the traditions of the Druids, to the process of forging a sword read and (more importantly) felt real.  

Something else I liked about this book: it's told from Merlin's point of view.  Now, I am a lover of all things Arthurian, and as a rule, I love the character of Merlin.  So little is known about him!  He has so much potential within the story realm that writers tend to love him.  However, until now I've never seen a book done where Merlin was a follower of Christ accept for in D. Barkley Briggs' "The legends of Karac Tor".  Yet Merlin's Blade even goes a step farther than that... because in Mr. Treskillard's book, not only is Merlin a follower of Christ, but he is also a young man around the age of 16 and 17 and has the same troubles that young men have -- like, for instance, impressing the young ladies.  And as if that weren't enough trouble to begin with, this version of Merlin is also half blind.

Things start going crazy in Merlin's home town of Bosventor when some mysterious druids show up toting along an ominous stone.  Merlin can't see the stone, but he can feel that there's something evil about it... and as the story progresses, we learn that Merlin's blindness -- his greatest weakness -- is also the only thing that is keeping him from becoming memorized with the power that the stone possesses.  As the rest of Merlin's town falls under the spell of the strange stone with the blue fire, Merlin starts to realize that the power of the stone corrupts through sight... and as he's half blind, he is the only one in his entire village that can stand strong against it.  And he really is the only one, because even the monks are susceptible to the stone's power.

Merlin alone is immune.

Of course, if those were the only problems Merlin had to face down in this book, the book would be exciting enough!  But oh no... of course there are more!  Merlin finds out that the leader of the druids is actually his step mother's father, and he also discovers that his father is being held under some kind of spell put on him by his step mother to wield control over him.  Then you have Natalenya... the beautiful daughter of the magister.  Merlin can't stop thinking about her, but she's in trouble along with everyone else in the village because she stands between her greedy father and the wealth that the stone promises.

And then there are the wolves.

When Merlin was young, he tried to save his little half sister from a hungry wolf pack.  His reward was the loss of his sight and an eternally scarred face.  That was years ago, but now the wolves are back, and they are more intent than ever to fill their maws with Merlin's blood.

Between all of that, and the visions that Merlin has started to have out of nowhere, he really has his hands full... and that's only before Uther Pendragon and his family show up with baby Arthur in tow.  

I loved this story from beginning to end. :)  And I was lucky, because not only have I just recently read the newly published version of the book, but I was also one of the few privileged readers who were allowed to read through the book while it was still in the revision stage.  I loved it then too, and consider myself extremely fortunate, especially since a few of my more favored scenes scenes have been revamped and edited out.

And then, wouldn't you believe it!  I got the surprise of my life when I got to the end of the published version of the book and saw my name in the acknowledgements!  Robert, if you are reading this, just know that you made my day!  Shoot!  You made my whole week!!! :D  I never expected that, and let me just say, it is such an honor to know you and your family.  God does work in the most amazing and mysterious ways. ^_^

This is a HIGHLY recommended read at the top of my list with five out of five stars. :)

If you would like to purchase a copy for yourself, please go here:

The author's blog:

Merlin's Blade Tour Participants:

Noah Arsenault
Beckie Burnham
Keanan Brand
Jeff Chapman
Laure Covert
Pauline Creeden
Emma or Audrey Engel
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Jojo Sutis
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower Phyllis Wheeler
Shane Werlinger
Nichole White