Character Introduction: Adele

The most wise, righteous, and gracious God does often times leave for a season His own children to manifold temptations and the corruptions of their own hearts, to chastise them for their former sins, or to discover unto them the hidden strength of corruption and deceitfulness of their hearts, that they may be humbled; and to raise them to a more close and constant dependence for their support upon Himself; and to make them more watchful against all future occasions of sin, and for other just and holy ends. So that whatsoever befalls any of His elect is by His appointment, for His glory, and their good. – 2LBCF

I wanted to explore the symbolism behind Adele’s character a little bit. I will try to keep this as spoiler free as possible, but if you haven’t read my first book there will be some spoilers. For some of you, this isn’t a big deal. You haven’t read it and aren’t planning on reading it, or you’re waiting for it to be published, or you just never thought about it. No worries. I’m well aware of the fact that what I write isn’t for everyone. For those of you who have read it and loved it, I will do my level best not to give away much in book 2.

Jonah and Adele are two friends in my book The Cost of Two Hands. They’ve both been salvaged from their past life into a new one at Greenhome. Symbolically, more deeply, they are a reflection of converted children. I was saved as a very young child. I don’t know the date, or the time I was saved. All I remember was crying out to the Lord for mercy one night as I faced my own sinfulness. Nothing exciting.

Nothing like Jonah.

Jonah symbolizes the people I envied. They had moving conversion stories. They were horrible people before they were saved, then ‘bing!’ they were converted, and suddenly became saints. For years, I wished to be able to see such a strong demarcation between unsaved and saved. I went from struggling to obey my parents to . . . struggling to obey my parents.

What I didn’t grasp, in my youth and inexperience, was my own sinfulness.

I looked at the life of another saint, filled with sin, until the grace of God came, and envied it. I didn’t know yet the depth of my own sinfulness as a saint. I look back at that little girl and I want to cup her face in my hands and tell her that she will face the horror of how sinful she really is. She will come to find out she is every bit the sinner those others were and are, and she needs God’s mercy and grace every moment of every day. I want to tell her that there will be times when she will weep for forgiveness, and be sick at her own sinful heart. I want to tell her there will be times her sin will rage against her assurance. Salvation as a child doesn’t promise a life without deep dark sin.

In The Cost of Two Hands, Adele represents me, and all those like me. She represents children who grow up in a good home, and are converted early in life. They have never cussed, stolen anything, deeply rebelled, taken drugs, slept around, cheated, gone behind their parents back, or anything. They are good kids. I was a good kid.

At some point, I believe all ‘good kids’ run right smack dab into the wall of their own sinfulness. They have to learn the depth of their salvation.

Adele is tempted to do something that at first revolts her. She is tempted to put a soul in a machine. At first she resists. She see the wrongness of doing this. One night, Adele and Jonah are trapped out in the snow. A pack of feral hounds attack. Jonah fights them off, but is injured. They get lost trying to get home and almost die out in the freezing-cold night. It is then that Adele decides she will build Jonah an indestructible body. She justifies what she knows is wrong, betrays her friends, betrays them again, and doesn’t see what she is doing until two of them are dead.

Being a fantasy story, the path of destruction is exaggerated. We aren’t often faced with betraying friends and killing them in the middle of a pitch battle between warring gangs and bands of kidnappers. We do often justify what we know is wrong, and end up destroying the relationships around us. Sin destroys. Adele comes face to face with her own sinfulness. She sees that just like Jonah, she needed to be salvaged. She needed someone to show her grace and cover her.

What I find interesting about Adele, as a character, is how much readers dislike her. Obviously, on a surface level, she’s not a real likeable character. She betrays her friends for selfish reasons, and even murders two of them in an experiment. Adele isn’t like Jonah at this point of the story. She isn’t good and kind and strong and brave. There is nothing there for us to like.

And yet, she has been salvaged.

She is a child of Greenhome.

I hope and want readers to not like her. I want readers to wonder why I saved her. I want readers to think of her as a monster who deserves to die. I want readers to weep over the death of several characters and wonder why I didn’t kill Adele.


Because this is my own character arc. I am Adele. I thought I was pretty good. I wasn’t like Jonah. Many times I have seen people God has shown grace to and wondered why he saved the monsters. Why did my own sweet great-grandmother not ever show a bit of trust in the Lord, but there is evidence that Jeffrey Dahmer might have been saved. That’s not fair! He was a real monster. Why show him grace?

Heaven will be full of monsters, because God saves sinners. He saves the ones who come with need and hope, begging for grace. He didn’t come to save the good, but the evil. He came to retrieve the dangerous. It took many years, and much sin for me to realize that I was one of the dangerous. That while my outward actions might not be dramatically as monstrous as someone like Dahmer, I am no less vile. I would destroy everything and everyone around me but for the grace of God.

This is Adele.

She is a child who never did anything really really bad, was salvaged and adopted into Greenhome, and only there did she face her own depravity. I think this is the experience of many believers saved at a young age. I think it will be interesting to see if my readers accept the covering of Adele’s murders. I think it will be interesting to see which readers love her, pity her, or hate her.

One of my older nieces recently read The Cost of Two Hands. I think she’s the first person in my actually target age to read the book. She read it in about 8 hours, which was really gratifying. I’m not sure she’s ever read anything this dark. She loves Lord of the Rings, so she had no problem with the writing style. She really disliked Adele. It made me smile. She is also a young adult converted at a young age. I wonder if as she gets older, if she will see what Adele symbolizes. I don’t want her to deal with sin as I have, but the reality is, she probably will. I wonder if she’ll see herself in Adele at that point. She may realize that sometimes you feel your salvage, the depth of your salvage, more strongly as you face the depth and darkness of your own heart.

So, this is Adele. She’s a good kid who follows the path of her own selfishness only to find the great darkness she is capable of. Will she find her salvage to be deeper than her darkness?

A Book and a Video Game

I want to talk about a two random things that have nothing to do with one another, other than they are dear to me and I have enjoyed them.


First, before he went to be with the Lord, Ron Baines gave me a copy of The Journal of Esther Edwards Burr, 1754-1757. He gave me two copies, “For his literary girls”, with the promise that I would give the other copy to my dear Stephanie Florentino. He then proceeded to read me a passage from it and explain that he thought I would enjoy the book because Esther sounds a bit like someone from Pride and Prejudice.

As always, Ron was right. I did enjoy the book very much. The Introduction is exactly what you would expect two modern feministic women to say about intimate letters written by two Christian women. Where they see chafing against male leadership, I saw sanctification. Where they see the trappings of a society that put women down, I see Christian women trusting the Lord.

I tend to be focused on fiction, books on doctrine, and military history. This book was my first venture into non-military biographies since I was a kid. It is a collection of the letters written by Esther to her best friend as she moves with her husband, deals with health issues, brings two children into the world, worries about her extended family, and tends to her hearth and home.

Because of her letters, I was able to live with her through fear for her parents from the Indians and French, through fear of sickness, through her struggles with trusting the life and death of her children to the Lord, and all the other things two women would correspond about.

The sense of loss which filled me when I came to the end of Esther’s letters surprised me. I had become attached to this woman. Knowing the book ended because she passed away, and not just because we lost the rest of her letters, saddened me greatly. But how different that sadness is when your reading about real people compared to fictional ones. I love Sam, Harry, Hazel and so many other characters, but they are temporary and all dust in the end. Not so with Esther. I will actually get to meet this dear saint who went to be with the Lord shortly after her husband and left her children behind. Ron is now with Esther in heaven. What a glorious hopeful thought.

I highly recommend this book. It is funny, dull, beautiful, hopeful, sad, and everything normal life is. I’m very thankful Ron gave it to me, and I will treasure it for as long as the Lord gives me.


Second, the game Price and I have been waiting for for a very long time finally came out this Fall: Final Fantasy XV.final_fantasy_xv_wallpaper__whit_new_prompto_by_realzeles-d9fy76x

After the huge disappointment of Metal Gear Solid V, we tried to go into this game with low expectations. That proved difficult after going to see Kingsglaive late one night like we were 20 again, and after the four anime shorts released on YouTube about the four main characters, and the free pre-game that included an adorable fox-like creature named Carbuncle. Just you try to stay calm.

In November, we got our copy and started to play. Right away this game was perfect. The story was perfect, the build-up was perfect, this game was perfect.

Before FFXV, Red Dead Redemption, Brothers, and StarCraft all proved to be moving stories that brought me to tears. Final Fantasy XV has replaced all of them except Red Dead Redemption.ffxv_key-art_tgs2014-noscale-1920x817

This story is a brotherhood story written from a man’s perspective. It is a very masculine game, which is refreshing when so many games and stories have lead females and are told from a feminine perspective. This game isn’t a romance story. There is love in it, but the focus is on the relationship between the four young men. Not their relationship with any girls. Its smart remarks, food, fishing, adventure, and battle.

This story follows four friends on a road trip. They are Noctis, the prince, his bodyguard Gladiolus, valet/cook/driver Ignis, and friend Prompto. Noctis is on his way to marry the beautiful Lunafreya, but taking his time to get there with no shortage of teasing from his three friends. While they’re having a good time on their road trip, their country is attacked. Noctis’ father, the king, is murdered, Luna is whispered to be dead, Gladio’s father is dead, and their capital city is destroyed. Darkness begins to encroach and deamons fill the land.

The rest of the game follows Noctis, now King, as he seeks to gain the favor and power of the gods so he can reclaim his kingdom. Gladio, Ignis, and Prompto follow faithfully after him, protecting him, encouraging him, and keeping him focused. Lunafreya, not dead, goes before him to prepare for each meeting with the gods.FINAL FANTASY XV EPISODE DUSCAE_20150317222557

Or, that’s what you think the rest of the game is going to be about. (SPOILERS AHEAD!)

In an epic battle, which has split the four friends up in defense of a city, Noctis is injured and Lunafreya is murdered while he watches. This sends Noctis into a tail spin of emotional gloom for weeks. Ignis lost his sight in the battle, but Noctis doesn’t seem to care. The four friends begin to fight as Gladio is torn between frustration with Noctis, who won’t shoulder his kingly responsibilities, and Ignis, who needs constant help. The game play became very interesting here, and emotionally painful. Through the first 2/3 of the game, you are literally tripping over your friends. They are always right there with one. With Noctis and Gladio fighting, and Ignis’ loss of sight, they are now always behind you. The fun joking turns into demands that you slow down and think of someone beyond yourself. As the player, you feel alone and isolated.

(At this point, I went to bed. I couldn’t handle the characters fighting. It was so painful. It made me realize that I would rather kill off a character than have friendships fall apart.)

Eventually, through several trials, Noctis becomes who he is supposed to be. Ignis demands Gladio and Noctis heal their relationship. And, Ignis learns to fight by sound instead of sight. Prompto is captured by the enemy, and they go to rescue him and find the crystal which will heal their land.

As the player, you’ve acclimated to Noctis being out front with his party behind, and are really happy everyone is friends again. Then, you have to abandon your three friends in a battle against the deamons to reach the crystal. Noctis’ only hope is that by reaching the crystal he can save his friends. Instead, Noctis disappears inside crystal he thought would rid his kingdom of darkness and deamons. Noctis is lost and his friends must carry on without him.

While inside the crystal, Noctis is told by the gods that the only way for him to save everyone is to die. He must sacrifice himself to bring light and peace.

When he returns, ten years have passed. There is no light. But, his friends are waiting. They are waiting for the King to come back. They believe and have always believed Noctis would return. (Seeing this Christian theme played out brought me to tears. They waited on their friend. They waited for the King.)

FINAL FANTASY XV_20161019220106

There are many more sub-plots, side quests, unique monsters, and even a whole other villain I haven’t talked about who is behind all the evil and treachery. This is a dense game with a very ‘living world’ feel. The ending fights and scenes, with characters 10 years older than before, are very moving. Noctis willingly gives himself to save his land. The last campfire scene where he tells Gladio, Ignis, and Prompto how much he loves them hurts with its beauty.

Uniquely, Luna’s entire role is to help Noctis. She goes before him to demand the gods help him, which is her role as Oracle. She could have gone down a different path, but instead she chose to help her intended husband become the man he needed to be. How rare is it to see this feminine virtue praised and shown as honorable in any modern media?

This is an excellent game for young men to play, because it honors the relationships between men without turning them into any weird homosexual thing. It shows warriors fighting for their home, setting aside boyish things to take on responsibility, and standing together against darkness. It shows a King taking on his burden, and it shows the men around him helping him. This is a beautiful game about masculine friendship.

I loved everything about this game. I loved the story, the characters, the brotherhood, the music, the setting, the gameplay. I always enjoy any story which focuses on masculine friendship and the strength found there. FFXV did just that.

Rated PG-13: There is a bit of mild language in the game, but this rating is mostly for the handful of scantily clad women. The girl who runs the garage and one of the summon spells are far from modest. This would be the main issue for me in recommending the game for young men. It’s probably nothing worse than what you see in most movies, like Star Wars, but I still wanted to give a heads up about it.

I just couldn't resist this perfect picture. lol

I just couldn’t resist this perfect picture. lol

March #WIPjoy (Part 3)

Courtesy of Pinterest.

Courtesy of Pinterest.

March #WIPjoy (Part 3)

To see Part 1, click here.

To see Part 2, click here.

Moving on to the third part of the March #WIPjoy created by author Bethany Jennings. If you want to join in the next go around visit Bethany’s Twitter profile (@simmeringmind) to be updated on the next #WIPjoy!

In January, I used my WIP The Cost of Two Hands (Book1). This month I’m using The Sparrow and The Star (unfinished Book 2). I will try to refrain from huge spoilers.



Line Love Week

  1. Share a line about a cool setting.

They trooped out the door into an orange and pink sunset, a soft warm breeze, and a view Sparrow could hardly comprehend: Metropolis. A city that wasn’t bones but bright, polished metal stacked up in row upon row before her all copper, gold, gunmetal grays, and silver. Tall square buildings with round caps, thin curved buildings, large windowed globes standing on thin stalks, spiraled buildings like sharp curls, and unusual shapes she’d never heard of made a unique skyline as far to her left and right as she could see, dotted with bright hot-air balloons.

  1. Share a line (or several) that makes you smile.

“Well, well, well, by the beautiful Sundance’s golden hair, I must have struck a chord with that one.”

“Who’s Sundance?” Sparrow ran her sleeve across her face.

“Who is Sundance? Do you not know the stories of the Guardians of the Material World?”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“No idea!” the snail huffed. “No idea!? Genesis? Quinn? Ronan? The Justicar? Crow and Olive? Please tell me you’ve heard of Crow and Olive?”

Sparrow shook her head wanting to get back to the Sons of the Dragons.

“Jack? Have you heard of Jack the Wolf and his Unlit Companion?”


Ebenezer groaned. “I have suffered a mortal wound.”


  1. Share a line that makes you feel the pain.

A keening wail came from just ahead. Royce’s hair stood on end. He’d never in his life, even as his parents died and his siblings were taken, even as the leader of the Dragons, even when they found Tom-ears’ boy among the Clowns, heard a sound like the breaking, ripping of a soul. He rushed forward. In the gloom and smoke with the fire burning to their right stood Skip. His gun hung from the tips of his fingers and fell. Ash shifted into the air as it struck the ground and bounced. The horrible sound continued to rise from Skip. Pink’s face drained of all color. Malarkey, Shifty, and Babe hurried to his sides.


  1. Share an intense line.

Girls with faces wrapped in scarves, hair shorn, and round wide eyes, poured from the Mall and raced towards the battle.


  1. Share a line about love.

“Yes, you do.” Mrs. Cummbers broke in. “You surely do, child. But, you aren’t saved, Adele, by what you did or didn’t do, or by what you will and will not do.” Mrs. Cummbers took Adele’s hand. “You’re saved by my salvage. I already took your punishment for you. You made the choice to do what is wrong and you will have to bear the consequences of that, but I already took your punishment.” She pointed down to her legs which no longer worked. Very gently, she pulled Adele into her arms. “Now it’s time to do what’s right.”

“‘Not to earn my salvage, but because of my salvage’. That’s what Jonah said.” Adele’s eyes glistened in the lights gleaming in the night.


  1. Share a line that amuses you.

“Genesis save me,” Ebenezer swore. “I’m not ready yet, Sacrifice. She can’t communicate very clearly.”

“Okay, okay.” Sacrifice disappeared then returned. “I’ll be back. You know how Heart is.”

“Silly boys, give a snail a chance.”

  1. Share a line that wrings your heart. (SPOILER ALERT)

The body. Soul looked at the body. He saw gray skin, scarred. He saw disheveled brown hair and a pointed nose.

“Oh King!” He rushed towards Cry of the Storm. The disk Jonah meant for him to have at Christmas thumped against his thigh as he ran. Dead. Dead. Dead, it said with each strike. Soul pulled Jonah’s cold body off the back of the horse who danced to the side. Soul gathered Jonah’s body close, rocking his boy, trying to warm him. Haze bent down one hand on his shoulder.

“It’s my boy, Haze. They killed my boy. They killed him.”

All the Feels Week

  1. What kind of relationship is at the heart of your WIP?

Love in many different forms is at the heart of my WIP. I have a handful of romances, but I have many more elements of friendship, brotherhood, loyalty, parent/child, and love as a choice made, not so much a bubbly emotion.

  1. If you could enter your WIP for a day, what would you do there?

I would split my day between riding Cry of the Storm through the snow, and curled up somewhere in Greenhome with a hot apple cider and Lazarus at my feet with all my heroes around me.

  1. How do you feel about your WIP right now?

I vacillate between absolutely adoring it and feeling overwhelmed by how much work is still left to be done.

  1. Have you ever cried about this WIP? Why?

Funny enough, I was just working on a single sentence and started crying…so yes, I’ve cried over this story. You should know, I cry pretty easy. Commercials can make me tear up. This story takes place after the apocalypse for a handful of people. The worst thing that could happen, did happen to them. That’s how Book 1 ended. Book 2 starts with the aftermath of the loss of families, homes, and friends. Added to that is the upswing of the story into a little bit of hope. Sometimes hope is as painful as loss. Lots of tears. Some happy. Some sad.

  1. What makes you the proudest about this WIP?

I’m not really sure how to answer this question, so I’m going to reword it. The things I’m most thankful for about this WIP are how far it’s come even with all my health issues which sometimes keep me from writing at all, or limit me to only a few minutes here or there. (50,000+ words) I’m also thankful I get to work around so many Christian themes, Christmas, and that at some point I will get to introduce a group of characters that I love, who I thought would never see the light of day.


Thank you so much for reading about my WIP. I love sharing it with the world!

March #WIPjoy (Part 2)

Courtesy of Pinterest.

Courtesy of Pinterest.

March #WIPjoy (Part 2)

To see Part 1, click here.

Moving on to the second part of the March #WIPjoy created by author Bethany Jennings. If you want to join in the next go around visit Bethany’s Twitter profile (@simmeringmind) to be updated on the next #WIPjoy!

In January, I used my WIP The Cost of Two Hands (Book1). This month I’m using The Sparrow and The Star (unfinished Book 2). I will try to refrain from huge spoilers.


Fear Week:

  1. What fears do your characters overcome?

My characters overcome Fear himself:

“What have you done!?” Fear screamed at the children who should be huddled in servile slobbering masses at his feet.

Christopher raised his rifle. “We stopped being afraid.”

He fired.

Fear fell dead in the Streets.


  1. Share a cliffhanger!

(For some reason this was very hard for me.)

The world spun. The lights marring her vision from the slapping expanded into whole suns flashing, blinding her. Her head dropped to her chest. One more. She had one more thing to say to Purity. Forcing her tongue to work, Sparrow said, “You want to know what happened in Greenhome. Soul’s boy killed your Clowns. He armed kids with big guns and they destroyed your precious Clowns. You take them from their homes, but these kids fought back.”


Purity spun around. Another brighter light flashed across Sparrow’s vision and everything went black.


  1. What scares you most about writing this story?

Mostly, I’m terrified I won’t be able to draw all the strings together into a satisfying tapestry. But, in reality what scares me the most is that I’ll fail my characters and that I will fail to communicate the idea of a just war. We live in a day and age when all war is thought of as evil, but there are things worth fighting for and things worth dying for, there are things worth standing up to.

  1. What scares you the most about sharing your story with the world?

There are two things that scare me. First, gracefully and confidently handling negative critiques. I have to remind myself that not everyone has to love it even if it is my soul exposed. Second, watching the meaning I intended it for be turned into different meanings for other people. One of the great beauties of art is how personally it applies to others, but that’s also one of the scary parts. Watching people read into your work something you didn’t intend will happen. I just hope I can refrain from letting that get to me, instead embracing it as something amazing.

  1. Share a line about fear.

Fear’s mark on Jonah’s face had been a child ripped from the arms of a woman. Born and unborn, had they all not been ripped from the arms of their mothers. A vile hatred of all that was killing, all that was war, all that was what Jonah was best at overwhelmed him.

(These questions about fear are a hard for me because in my story Fear is an actual person who feeds on the fear of the children around him. They deal with him in externally, not internally.)

18. Are your characters brave in any way you wish you were?

I hate conflict and would rather sacrifice what I want in order for everyone to be happy than stand for what I want. This can be a great asset because I think of others before myself and I can enjoy a wide range of people. But, there are times when I think it can be cowardly. There are times I wish I had spoken up for what I believe instead of keeping my mouth shut for the sake of peace in a relationship. My characters are not as adverse to conflict as I am and more willing to stand up for the truth.

  1. Has writing this book made you braver?

Writing this book has given me more confidence in my voice and it has given me more confidence in the concept of the Just War. I don’t know that that has made me any braver. I do hope that someday it will give boys and girls, young men and women, a chance to practice being brave.


This is an extra thought I had when thinking about my MC’s fears:

Jonah’s main fear is friends dying because of something he does. Two of his friends have already paid this ultimate cost for his decision and more may have to. He overcomes this fear reminding himself that if they don’t fight, even more children will die. He clings to the fact that the King (Christ) put him on the Streets and made him the one in charge. Jonah trusts the King didn’t make a mistake choosing him. It’s hard to say if he ever overcomes this fear. I don’t think he does. I think as long as he has to order his friends into battles, he will always struggle with the knowledge that he’s sending them to their deaths.


March #WIPjoy (Part 1)

Courtesy of Pinterest.

Courtesy of Pinterest.

Back in January, author Bethany Jennings created a fun hashtag challenge for writers, with a different prompt about your WIP (work-in-progress) every day. She’s done it again for the month of March. I’m so excited. This exercise not only allows me to share my story with you, but it prompts me to twist my brain around for different perspectives on the story.

If you want to join in visit Bethany’s Twitter profile (@simmeringmind) to see the pinned list of daily prompts!

In January I used my WIP The Cost of Two Hands (Book1). This month I’m using The Sparrow and The Star (unfinished Book 2). I will try to refrain from huge spoilers.


Intro Week: Tell us about your Work in Progress: The Sparrow and the Star:

1. What WIP are you sharing about this time? Name, genre, blurb?

This month I’m going to share about The Sparrow and the Star, the sequel to The Cost of Two Hands which I shared about in the #JanuaryWIPjoy. It’s a Literary YA fantasy. I don’t have an official blurb for it yet so here’s a start:

When everything went wrong, hope blossomed. The Artists have returned and Pain’s power slipped between his fingers. But, on the horizon Purity and her Clowns loom. What happens to the lost children when they turn 18?

2. How long have you been at this labor of love? What stage are you at?

I started working on TSATS in 2014, but had to set it aside as Book 1, The Cost of Two Hands, required a major rewrite. Then my health went south slowing the rewrite down. I was able to restart working on TSATS late last year, so I’ve really only been working on it about four months. I’m totally in the rough draft stage. This story is developing as I write it. It’s supposed to cover 3.5 days and I’m on the .5 day. I haven’t even started Day 1 yet. And I’m at 44,000 words. Lol.

3. Describe the book’s atmosphere or mood in 5 words.

Cold darkness laced with hope.

4. You might enjoy my book if you like ___________.

I’m really not sure how to answer this question. It’s like a literarily written Hunger Games minus the anti-hero of Katniss. It may be similar to The Wingfeather Saga by Andrew Peterson. Any of my readers want to comment on this??? (Two comments on this: one suggested it was like The Horse and His Boy set in Dickens’ London, the other that it was like Quintessence by David Walton. These are much closer to the mark than the Wingfeather Saga.)

5. Name a song that reminds you of your WIP.

There are two songs that remind me the most of my WIP. The Call by Regina Spektor and I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day by Casting Crowns.

Protagonist vs. Antagonist Week: Jonah vs. Purity:

6. Show a line that showcases you protagonist’s personality.

This isn’t a line…cause hey, I’m a writer. So here’s a paragraph of Jonah’s dialogue. And um…SPOILER ALERT:

“You want to know what’s wrong with the Streets?” Jonah stepped towards him, towering over the boy who he once wanted to be just like. “No one values life. Life is cheap. Life doesn’t matter. Not yours. Not mine. Unborn come up with skills and no one cares. Kids starve and no one cares. You want to change that? Then you start respecting those who died with you, for you. Nothing, and I mean nothing, is without value. The little girls who you abuse. The smaller boys you beat up. The ones who sing and draw and dance that you terrorize and even kill. You’re just like him.” Jonah pointed to Fear’s body. “You’re just like Cagen and Pain. You don’t care about anything but what you can get out of it.”

7. When is your protagonist maddening to you?

When we both forget his body is a machine and he tries to sigh, or smile, or breath, or cry or even glare at anyone…and then we both remember he can’t.

8. What is most loveable to you lately about your protagonist?

I think it’s watching him spread hope in the dark place he once lived. I just finished reading an autobiography of Earnest Gordon who was a WW2 POW forced to help build the Bridge over the River Kwai. He was saved along with many other men in that camp and it spread a beauty and light over all their suffering. That has greatly influenced my protagonist and his actions in Book 2.

9. Share a line that shows off your antagonist, Purity.

Purity grabbed her face. “Does a mother explain herself to her sons?” She shook Sparrow’s head. “What did you do to them, you vile girl?”

10. Could you ever be friends with your antagonist?

Absolutely not. I do have villains that are less villainous, like sub-villains that I could be friends with, but the great antagonist of the story? Absolutely not. That’d be like being friends with Sauron. And yes, I know this puts me in the ever shrinking camp of those who like purely evil villains. In my defense, I have both the understandable villains and the unimaginable.

11. What makes your antagonist so formidable?

My antagonist is the ruler of one of the few remaining cities and she commands a group of boys called the Clowns who kidnap children to use as slave labor. But what makes her truly formidable is the ignorance she encourages in her people. She wants them to not know and not care. They are to enjoy life and not think about the children running around doing their bidding, or the fact that they no long have children of their own. Her true power comes from ignorance.

12. What’s put the two at odds?

My antagonist uses children as slave labor in her city. She sends out the Clowns to kidnap those children and this puts her in Jonah’s path. Jonah has no intention of letting her take more children and as the story unfolds, he works with the Dragons to get the ones she has taken back.


I hope you enjoyed this set of thoughts about my WIP. Maybe it even sparked your interest in my story! 🙂

I will continue to post sections of these as the month moves along.

Thanks for reading!



#JanuaryWIPjoy (Part 2)

novel inspiration from Bethany

Bethany Jennings  helped me put this “inspirational poster” together of art that inspires my writing. 🙂

I normally don’t post twice a week, but I wanted this close to January and not almost a whole month later. 🙂 This is Part 2 of the fun hashtag challenge Author Bethany Jennings created for  the month of January. Each day we had a different prompt about our WIP (work-in-progress).

I can’t do math, so Part 2 is a lot longer than my Part 1. Thanks for reading it despite it’s loquaciousness!

#JanuaryWIPjoy Part 2 :

  1. How do I want my target audience to be affected by my story?

First, I just want them to love my WIP as a fun adventure story. Then, I would like it to be encouraging to kids who are saved at a young age and still learning about their commitment and walk. Last, I’d like it to encourage boys to fight for the right things, and girls to see the joy of helping others. Nothing too major. [Symbol]

  1. Is there an animal you love in your book?

I always include animals in my books because I love them. In my WIP, I have a mouse named Gus who is calm and quiet. His best friend is a mushroom man. I also have a magical black stallion named Cry of the Storm. He is in just about every book I’ve ever written. When I was in high school my Mom asked me to write about something other than black stallions. Someday I hope to actually own a black horse.

  1. Some sights to see in your WIP:

From the bones of the old city where violent gangs rule the Streets, you can hike north into the Forest and there you will find an old oak tree far larger than the rest. If you travel east by car or motorcycle Greenhome will greet you. Forever blooming white roses form a hedge around the small town decorated for Christmas. If you’d rather head out west, the Stockyards are your first destination. This wild town is where oxen the size of houses are herded onto trains and sent further west to the clockwork city Metropolis. Only small, lonely homesteads break up the snowy landscape to the South. That and the Relay Stations of the Clowns where they send kidnapped boys and girls to Metropolis, who either can’t or won’t have its own children.

  1. Some sounds to be heard in your WIP:

You might hear the sound of engines as biker gangs roar across the frozen plains. You might hear the sound of gunshots as rival gangs in the bones of the old city push into one another’s territory. You might hear the ringing of the bell in the Tower at Greenhome warning of a coming ice fog.

  1. Some scents smelled in your WIP:

There aren’t a lot of pleasant scents in my WIP other than the scent of wet wood in the Forest and Christmas trees in Greenhome. Pretty much everything else is unwashed.

  1. Some tastes/flavors in your WIP:

In my WIP you will enjoy the taste of a thick tomato soup and a hot grilled-cheese sandwich washed down with apple cider . . . if you don’t get caught up in the food fight.

One of my characters eats chocolate for the first time: Chocolate filled Bree with a great sense of happiness. She quite believed that if all of Metaphysical World would just eat chocolate everyone would quit bickering and fighting.

  1. Some touches/textures experienced in your WIP:

Knurled tree bark, cold metal, frozen pipes, hot flashes of steam, soft rose petals, the velvet nose of a horse, silk gowns, leather gloves, and the sharp edges of rubble.

  1. You’d love your WIP to be made into a movie because . . .

Who wouldn’t? lol. Actually the more I thought about this the more I wondered if I would want my WIP made into a movie. The only real reason would be to “see” my characters for real, and to introduce more people to my world. But, there are so many interpretation issues, I think it would also be very strange to have it made into a movie.

On the other hand, there is a part of me that would find it very magical to have my WIP made into a movie.

  1. Most epic thing about your WIP:

To me, the most epic thing is watching Jonah cling to being Soul’s Man after Soul pays the cost for his crime. Jonah goes from grace to confidence and learns that his ability to fight is a good thing if he fights for the right thing.

  1. Advice given to you that made your WIP better:

I can’t begin to address all the excellent feedback, critiques, suggestion, and the fan-please-include-this list that have made my WIP better. Instead, I’ll just focus on a recent one. A new reader told me she didn’t think the book was done. I hemmed and hawed and argued, mentally with her for a few days, then realized she was right. The book wasn’t done. I was mentally avoiding the last two battle scenes by just brushing over them. Sigh. Back to work on the end. I know have a rough draft place holder and will go back and flesh them out more after Book 2 and possibly Book 3 are done. Thanks again everyone for all the great advice and help!

  1. Advice you ignored cause you know your WIP best!

I know this will ruffles some feathers, but I decided to keep my prologue at this point. I like prologues myself, and mine is very short. I also happen to love my prologue. I’ve taken a lot of the advice to modify it, but I really believe it sets the tone of the world.

  1. Shout-out to some people who have encouraged you in writing your WIP!

Well, I don’t know where to begin. First, to Deanna for telling me that I hadn’t lost my voice when I switched genres but had kept what was best. For Stephanie and Heather for cheering me on and listening to my worries and concerns and always being ready with a text or a message. For Emily S. who messaged me a blow by blow as she read through my book giving me a sense of what a reader experiences and also cheering me on. For Michelle V. who pushed through the darkness and gave me a critical point I hadn’t seen yet that I’m super pumped about. For Lelia Rose Foreman who has encouraged me when I felt discouraged by being a fan even though she doesn’t know me in ‘real life’. To H. L. Burke who pointed out paragraphs and Bethany Jennings who helped with blurbs. And to my writing group and everyone on Scribophile who has critiqued. Plus so many many more! My fans are the best!

  1. I love my WIP genre because . . .

I love a well written fantasy book for children and YAs because they tend to have more imagination in them, they retain a certain level of innocence, and often feature more courage and bravery than books for grown-ups. Plus they can deal with scary subjects without getting gratuitous. (I will add that there are plenty of YA books that I don’t fit this profile anymore. They’ve gotten more gratuitous and hopeless than many books for adults.)

  1. Share a favorite image that reminds you of your WIP:

I have two. The first is one Bethany Jennings helped me put together, and the second is about warriors which is one of the themes of my book. [Symbol]

  1. Describe a character relationship you love in your story.

Friendship is very important to me, more important in many ways than any romances in the story, so one of my favorite character relationships is Jonah and Cid. Cid sees Jonah as a threat to his friend Adele and warns Jonah off, but when Jonah proves he’s willing to do what it takes to befriend Adele and protect her, Cid loosens up. Though he’s a few years older, Cid naturally follows Jonah’s lead even into danger. By the end of book one, he’s fighting by Jonah’s side and risking his own life to save the boy he didn’t want around. Their brotherhood is one of my favorite parts of the book.

  1. Why are you passionate about sharing this story?

I love warrior stories. I love stories about the men who sacrifice their “normal” lives to stand between us and the monsters. I love stories about the women who stand beside them. I have a group of people called the Scarecrows in my WIP. That’s what they do. They are the ones who empty themselves to protect everyday life. So my story is one of brave, ruthless men and women facing dark monsters with bright lights and big guns. [Symbol] Obviously, I’m heavily influenced by war stories and seek to honor veterans, police officers, and fire fighters. But even more so, I see pastors as the real ‘scarecrows’ of the world. They are the watchman over our souls. They sacrifice lots of normal things for the sake of their flocks. They seek to arm us with truth and fight off wolves in sheep’s clothing. That’s why I’m passionate about my WIP.

  1. Why do the themes of my WIP come from my heart?

One of the strongest themes in any story I write is grace, the undeserved rescue. This comes from my heart because it is my own experience. I’m a sinner saved by grace. One time, one of our pastors described grace as the undeserved rescue. This isn’t the princess up in her castle who probably deserves to be saved. This is the villain, the scum, the dank, the dark, the evil pulled into the light. This is monsters receiving mercy. That struck a chord with me, and I’ve always tried to tell stories that show an undeserved rescue. This book is no different. It has big moments of grace and small moments of grace. Since I’m a monster saved by grace, the story and characters flow from my heart.

  1. What are somethings writing this story has taught you?

Well, I can’t think of something that it’s taught me, but it has served as a good reminder that I don’t live Christian life of holiness to earn my salvation. I live a Christian life of holiness, all be it imperfectly, because of my salvation. And because I’ve been given the grace of God, I know have confidence to approach him. Those are two of my favorite quotes from my WIP: The Cost of Two Hands:

“Not to earn my salvage, but because of my salvage.”

“From grace to confidence.”

Well, that’s all 31 of my #JanuaryWIPjoys! I’d love to know what you think? How does my story sound? Something you’d be interested in? Did you participate in the hashtag fun? Share your own WIPjoys in the comments below!


#JanuaryWIPjoy (Part 1)

novel inspiration from Bethany

Bethany Jennings  helped me put this “inspirational poster” together of art that inspires my writing. 🙂

Author Bethany Jennings created a fun hashtag challenge for writers, with a different prompt about your WIP (work-in-progress) every day for the month of January.

A Gathering Fire posted her responses on her blog, and I thought that was a great idea! So I stole it! 🙂 (With her permission of course!)

If you want to join in visit Bethany’s Twitter profile (@simmeringmind) to see the pinned list of daily prompts!

So, here are the first thirteen days of my #JanuaryWIPjoy.

  1. “Describe your story as ___ meets ___.”

My story is a warrior story meets fairy tale meets semi-dystopian steampunk.

  1. “Why you love your protagonist.”

I love my protagonist because he experienced an undeserved rescue and is seeking to live in light of that even while he’s suffering.

  1. “A side character you love and why.”

My favorite side character is Presto the Mushroom. He is best friends with Gus the mouse and talks in third person, like the Queen. He is sarcastic and loving.

  1. “Why you love your antagonist.”

            I don’t really love anything about my antagonist. I specifically design villains that are pretty evil. Now, I do love Adele who makes choices that hurt my MC, and I love Christopher who is violent. He may get shown mercy.

  1. “You hope someday your book gets a review that says…”

            . . .this was encouraging to my faith. And I love Jonah. And I cried. For some reason, I always feel more fulfilled as a writer if I made my readers cry. I’m a horrible person. 😉

  1. “A character you’d be best friends with and why.”

            I’d be best friends with Bree. She’s a mother who has lost her husband and sons, but found someone to help. We both enjoy serving others and building them up. Plus, I share her love of trees.

  1. “The first idea or inspiration you had for this WIP.”

            The very first idea I had for this world was wanting a place where kids lost through abortion had a chance at life.

  1. “A favorite line from your WIP about a character.”

I love when Presto calls Bree a floozy:

“No, but they needed it. Their own heart had been broken, so I gave them a new one. I gave them mine.”

“Can you tell us even one little thing about who has your heart?” Presto said through a clamped jaw getting irritated. Gus grunted a warning at him.

“You know, sir,” the mouse turned to Oak. “It might be a good idea to know a little bit about this person.” Gus paused and took a deep breath. “Your heart belongs to them now and that brings responsibilities and obligations.”

“I know that they’re kind,” Oak said. He leaned forward, listening not with the ears he no longer had, or seeing with eyes no longer his own, or thinking with a mind no longer there, but remembering what he had given away. “I know they needed hope. I know great sorrow and loss marked them. She lost everything she cared about, and that loss broke her free.”

“Did you say she?” Gus said, leaning forward.

“We’ve already established Oak gave his heart to a woman,” Presto said throwing up his hands.

“Just let him keep going,” Gus hissed at him.

“Yes. I gave my heart to a woman. She loved eight men and when the last one was safe or dead, or both, she left.”

“Sounds like a bit of a floozy if you ask me,” Presto muttered, getting another pointed glare from Gus.

“No. No. Not grown men. There was only one grown man. The rest were growing men, her growing men. Her boys.”

Gus gulped. “She had seven sons. You gave your heart to the mother of seven sons?”

“No. I gave my heart to a woman with a glint in her eye and a heart for trees. I gave it to Bree.”

  1. “A favorite piece of description from your WIP.”

White flakes fell thick and fast from the flat, steel-gray sky. Brittle branches tingled stiffly in the wind. Gray sky above the gray naked branches, and white below, white falling, all lined and encased in silver ice—the world gone monochromatic.

  1. “A favorite line of dialogue from your WIP.”

“I didn’t come to earn my salvage. I came because of my salvage.” Soul’s words from yesterday morning echoed in his mind. “It’s grace. And grace gives confidence.”

  1. “A favorite line about emotion from your WIP.”

Axe pounded the punching bag. He drove his fist faster and faster into the rough canvas. Sweat soaked through his shirt. It dripped off the end of his nose and turned his light-red beard rusty. It ran over the mark Fear had put on his face—a child dead in the streets, alone—years ago as an unborn freshly harvested, a new body to hold a gun once his time as salvager had been done. Axe punched the bag again, again, again. His muscles throbbed. Each time his fist flew past his face, his eye caught the scar. Again. Again. Again. He didn’t want to think about the scar. He didn’t want to think at all. Pound. Pound. Pound. If he stopped before he washed the emotions from his mind he might lash out at someone. Bree had brought it all back up: recent events and old dusty ones.

  1. “A scene you deleted but love anyway.”

The crowded street parted. A laugh tinkled in the night like a million happy chimes. Oak cocked his head. Something amazing sat just on the edge of his vision.

“Who is that?” Presto whistled.

“That,” said someone at Oak’s elbow, “is the Lady Olive who lives in the Material World and is Guardian of all four seasons. She is the most powerful Guardian in the history of Guardians.”

Presto leaned around Oak to look at their informant. It was a pale, cream colored fawn with soft orange spots. Three horns carved up out of his head and a little beard decorated his chin. He held a lantern in one hand and an umbrella in the other.

“She smells like spring,” Oak said. “And fall.”

“And winter and summer, I presumed,” Presto grunted.

“Yes,” Oak said.

“May be we should talk to her and see if she’ll help us?” Gus said.

The fawn grunted. “Cause Guardians are well known for mixing in other creatures issues.”

“What about fellow Guardians?” Presto said.

“Even less likely,” the fawn said.

Gus look to Oak for affirmation. Oak nodded.

“Besides,” the fawn said. “You see that grumpy looking man next to her, and that wolf next to the pale man?”

“Yes,” Presto said. “Are you sure that’s a wolf? It’s huge.”

“In this world it’s a wolf. I don’t know what he is in the Material World, though rumor has it that it’s Olive’s adopted son. Regardless,” he shook his head. “That is not her entourage. That’s her husband, her wolf-son, and her husband’s best friend. Getting close to her—”

  1. A piece of feedback that made you smile.

“You are giving us a diamond with many facets. A beautiful, beautiful chapter with a fascinating conversation and lyrical description.

Work of this lyrical and literary quality will be difficult for those of us used to reading in genres to judge. I am so interested in the work, I’m willing to wait as I piece together clues, but I wonder if the typical reader will be able to handle the complexity of your prose. I like work that does not beat me over the head with obvious meaning, and I hope I’m up to the challenge of deriving meaning from this. This is the kind of book that should earn a lot of prizes.”

“Ok, now I hate you.

I was pretty sure the book was going to end with (no spoilers) dying but still hoped I could wish it away.”



More to come! Follow the discussion on Twitter and Facebook with #JanuaryWIPjoy.




A Short Story: The Pearl King’s Son


This is a short allegory about Christianity. I’ve been trying to find a good story for years to describe our rebellion against God. We often glorify rebellion, especially in America, and I’ve wanted to try to show that we rebelled against a good King when Adam fell in the garden. I rarely write allegory because it becomes frustrating and breaks down the closer you examine it. Thoughts appreciated.


Once upon a time, there was a beautiful kingdom by the sea. Her buildings were carved from the white glistening shells of the ocean. When the sun rose in the east and set in the west the Pearl Kingdom glimmered and shown so brightly that far off wanderers could see her light.

A wise and good King tended the kingdom, both in the city and the green fields that surround it. The people lived free and happy lives protected by the King and his knights from her enemies and guided gently away from any ills by his wisdom. No trash marred the beauty of the Pearl Kingdom. No families lived without a roof over their heads, food on their tables, or clothes on their backs. No one went without work for their hands to do, or art to share with others. Everyone helped their neighbors. The countryside was orderly with good crops and fat cows and sheep, goats and chickens. Little wild places broke up the farms full of hidden delights for children and adventures alike. It was a good Kingdom ruled by a good King, a jewel on the Earth.

But, one day, darkness came.

It was not a natural slipping down of the sun into the sea and a rising of the silver moon, but a pestilence, a plague. It whispered in the ears of the unwise and the foolish that this land wasn’t the best and the King wasn’t the kindest and wisest. It whispered that far across the land an Onyx Kingdom lay where everyone could really be free. Where everyone could be their own king.

A rebellion arose against the good King. His once happy people shook their fists in his face and hurled horrible words and rotten food at the beautiful white walls of the castle. Then, they followed the darkness out across the land to the Onyx Kingdom where they could be free.


Free to lie about and do nothing. Free to forget their neighbor and keep even what they didn’t need. Free to say aloud what they thought of others without restraint, and free to eat and drink until they grew sick with diseases. They were free to mock the kingdom they left and the King. They were rebels and traitors condemned under the law to die if they ever came home. Instead of cowering under their condemnation, they fought the Pearl King, and stole from their old kingdom. They crept in at night to take and whispered to any who remained in Pearl Kingdom to come away with them.

But the King wasn’t content to let the darkness just have his Kingdom. He wasn’t content to have his people blind, sick, and lost in the unlit streets of the Onyx Kingdom. He wasn’t content to let his people be eaten by the King who ruled that land for that was their fate. When they had grown fat in the darkness, the Onyx King’s slaves took them and fed them to the Onyx King.

He sent light with a promise of hope and mercy. Here and there, it slipped in searching under windows and behind doors for the King’s true people. The wealthy of the Onyx Kingdom pushed the light away, so it went to the poorest of the poor. It went to the lazy, the deceased, the dead. The light went into the darkest of the dark and searched out the King’s true people.

The Onyx King sensed the light in his shadows and sent his goblins and trolls to snuff it out. Over and over, they slayed the lights, but the Pearl King only sent more and more. Little by little, his true people came back. They came back filthy, broken, reeking of their own laziness and putrid rotting. The ones who made it to the Pearl Kingdom fell on their knees and begged mercy knowing they had to die for their rebellion. They knew they had broken the old laws. They knew they’d broken the King’s laws. Traitors had to be executed. But, they begged the good King for mercy. The King washed them, clothed them in royal robes, and gave them rooms in his castle. He helped them see the black lies they had believed. They dared to hope in the King.

Not everyone came. Not all who once lived in the Pearl Kingdom returned. Many, far more than the ones who came, stayed in the Onyx Kingdom. They hunted down the light. They slew those who listened to it. They revealed in the darkness. The Onyx King sent them out into the highways to attack and maim the ones trying to return to the Pearl Kingdom. Some they killed, and some returned to the darkness deciding the Pearl Kingdom wasn’t worth fighting to get home to.

The Onyx King was hungry. He wasn’t willing to let one person from Pearl Kingdom slip through his fingers. He wanted the ones who had left him back. He smiled. He had a plan. They were traitors and there was a law, after all.

The Kings met on the line between light and darkness. Behind the Onyx King gathered his vast black host. Behind the Pearl King stood only the weak and broken host of those to whom he had shown great mercy.

The Onyx King laughed at the Pearl King.

“This is a trick. They can’t be free. What of the old laws you yourself wrote?” he said. “They must be executed as traitors. It is the law.”

The Pearl King agreed. It was the law. Only death could a traitor expect.

The executioner came from the black land with his dirty axe on his shoulder.

“I will pay the price, Oh Father King,” a quiet, meek voice spoke out.

From out of the crowd of broken people needing mercy stepped the King’s only Son. The Pearl King nodded, granting the Son’s request. “If you pay this price, these people will be yours forever. Not one will ever be the Onyx King’s again.”

The Onyx king nodded, delighted to watch the Son die for such a group of useless people. He was losing nothing by their redemption for they were the poorest of his poor, scrawny and hardly worth eating.

As the Son knelt before the executioner, the poorest of the poor fell to their knees and wept that the good and kind Son would die in their place.

He freely laid his fair and noble head on the chopping block and the axe fell. His blood was shed in their place.

The poorest of the poor cried and wept.

“The price has been paid,” The Pearl King announced. “I declare peace on the earth and my good will towards my people. Pardon has come to all who now come because they heard the light.”

Much to the Onyx King’s surprise, many of his vast host quit his ranks, dropped their swords, and walked through the Son’s blood to join the poorest of the poor on their knees behind the Pearl King.

“And now, my law has been satisfied,” the King said. “Grace has been shown. The Dead are no longer Dead.”

With his words, the earth cracked between the two kingdoms and the sky broke apart casting the Onyx Kingdom into utter darkness never to see the sun again while the Pearl Kingdom rose into the heavens.

Lo and behold, the Son who had died rose up. All the host of heaven cheered with joy. He took his great spear and cast it down into the darkness right into the heart of the Onyx King.

His people surrounded him, forgiven, loved, the law satisfied and the Darkness slain.

The End

Tolkien Reading Day

1645a5217db5dc2db1d0d1a5a6af5c84“I wish it need not have happened in my time,” said Frodo.
“So do I,” said Gandalf, “and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”  – Lord of the Rings

“There, peeping among the cloud-wrack above a dark tor high up in the mountains, Sam saw a white star twinkle for awhile. The beauty of it smote his heart, as he looked up out of the forsaken land, and hope returned to him. For like a shaft, clear and cold, the thought pierced him that in the end the Shadow was only a small and passing thing: there was light and high beauty for ever beyond its reach.” – Lord of the Rings

“It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end… because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing… this shadow. Even darkness must pass.” – Lord of the Rings

“At that sound the bent shape of the king sprang suddenly erect. Tall and proud he seemed again; and rising in his stirrups he cried in a loud voice, more clear than any there had ever heard a mortal man achieve before:

‘Arise, arise, Riders of Théoden!
Fell deeds awake: fire and slaughter!
spear shall be shaken, shield be splintered,
a sword-day, a red day, ere the sun rises!
Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!’

With that he seized a great horn from Guthláf his banner-bearer, and he blew such a blast upon it that it burst asunder. And straightway all the horns in the host were lifted up in music, and the blowing of the horns of Rohan in that hour was like a storm upon the plain and a thunder in the mountains.

‘Ride now, ride now! Ride to Gondor!’

Suddenly the king cried to Snowmane and the horse sprang away. Behind him his banner blew in the wind, white horse upon a field of green, but he outpaced it. After him thundered the knights of his house, but he was ever before them. Éomer rode there, the white horsetail on his helm floating in his speed, and the front of the first éored roared like a breaker foaming to the shore, but Théoden could not be overtaken. Fey he seemed, or the battle-fury of his fathers ran like new fire in his veins, and he was borne up on Snowmane like a god of old, even as Oromë the Great in the battle of the Valar when the world was young. His golden shield was uncovered, and lo! it shone like an image of the Sun, and the grass flamed into green about the white feet of his steed. For morning came, morning and a wind from the sea; and the darkness was removed, and the hosts of Mordor wailed, and terror took them, and they fled, and died, and the hoofs of wrath rode over them. And then all the host of Rohan burst into song, and they sang as they slew, for the joy of battle was on them, and the sound of their singing that was fair and terrible came even to the City.” [The Return of the King: The Ride of the Rohirrim]


Today is Tolkien Reading Day!  These are four of my favorite Tolkien Quotes.


A Fairy Tale

Once upon a time, Beauty blessed a girl with all the physical loveliness she could bestow.  The girl’s chestnut hair flowed down a petite straight back.  Her dark eyes sparkled like brilliant smoky topazes set in flawless skin with just the right amount of olive, pink, and yellow tones.  Beauty’s creation moved gracefully in a figure both thin and curvaceous.  She spoke with a soft voice and a quick, sparkling laugh.   Gold and silver rings envied her long fingers and flowers her straight, cute nose.   Beauty’s creation gave material substance to Beauty’s spirit.  But, creating in a hidden away place, Beauty forgot to seek the help of other creators.  Her creation lived and moved, but lacked a character to match.  Beauty‘s delight became her disappointment.  Not once did her creation, endowed with so much of her own heart, show grace, charity, pity, humility, or empathy towards her fellow-man.  Without a good heart to match, Beauty wasted her gifts.

Beauty cursed the girl and removed her physical attractiveness.  She twisted her right shoulder up and out into a hump, and her fingers into hooked claws with no mobility.  Her left foot deformed into a dragging club, while her beautiful lips mashed into a soft sneer which marred any smile or frown.  Beauty Quasimodo-ed her creation as passionately as she had Helen-of-Troy-ed her.

With her outward attractiveness striped from her, the girl’s friends faded.  What she failed to provide to those around her, she now required of everyone: grace, pity, and love.  Abandoned and alone, the girl haunted the dark, dank sewers under the city which once worshiped her.

The King looked on the cursed creature and gave her the compassion which no one else offered.  As an old creator died, he graced the deformed monster with her powers – Happy Thoughts.

“She is still cursed,” Beauty told the King, watching his pity in action.

“The curse can be broken,” he said.

“Only if a man can love her.”

“A man will if she grows a straight soul inside her twisted body.”

(My own twist on the old Beauty and the Beast story.  I was inspired to write a story where the woman was the monster and the man the beauty.  Not because I feel like a woman can do anything a man can do, but because we women can think far too highly of ourselves while we backbite, gossip, and destroy.  We are just as much monsters and men, and in just as much need of pity as they.)