So you can read my books

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

CLOSE ENCOUNTERS OF THE WORST KIND_CassaFire Blog Book Tour Continues!


Athee glared at Byron. “It’s your fault that I’m in this ridiculous outfit, isn’t it?”

Byron whispered as he counted off his fingers. “One, I see too much of you aboard my ship as it is without seeing this much of you!”

Athee snorted, “Yeah, right. Like seeing me in this doesn’t ping your radar.”

Byron made a show of ignoring her, which given how little there was of her outfit was something. “Two, we are trying NOT to be noticed so as to rescue this Alex Cavanaugh from the grey aliens.”

Athee did some counting off of her own slender fingers.

"One, there are no such things as ‘grey aliens’ in the known universe.

Two, why should we care what happens to some primitive alien called an Alex Cavanaugh?”

“One,” Bryon started ….

Athee snickered, “I made you lose count.”

Byron’s lips twitched and dust motes swirled about him.

“One, under orders we used that alien artifact to transport us to this alternate universe. Two, this Alex Cavanaugh somehow viewed our universe, writing it down in some manuscript named CASSAFIRE.”

Athee frowned, “CATCH FIRE?”
“I wish you’d catch fire,” muttered Byron.

“I heard that,” snapped Althee.

“I would hope so since we are standing way too close!”

He jabbed a finger at me. “Three, this primitive’s unconscious affects these Shadowlands. So HE is to blame for that wretched outfit.”

Athee snorted, “Wretched? If your eyes stay any longer on my legs, I’ll charge them rent!”

Athee pointed her weapon at me. “So if I kill you, I’ll ….”

“Go up in the same puff of smoke as me,” I whispered.

She lowered her weapon. “Then again, I’ve always wanted to talk to a primitive alien.”

Byron smiled crooked, “I think you’re full of skit.”

She flicked ice eyes to me. “The only way I’ll ever warm up to Byron is if we’re cremated together. Speaking of which, we are at the cabin you said the greys dragged this Alex Cavanaugh.”

I pulled out my note pad and pen. “I’ll rescue Alex. You just cover my exit.”

Athee smirked, “Oh, is that what you humans call your butt?”

Byron frowned, “When they kill you, we’ll show your ghost how a rescue’s done.”

I knew he was only trying to keep me from what he saw as suicide and smiled, “A soldier’s comforting is like a dog walking on its hind legs. It’s not done well, but you’re surprised that it’s done at all.”

I walked into the operating room quickly, scribbling on my note pad, ‘Startled by the human’s entrance, the greys fell dead from shock.’

Such is my power in the Shadowlands, the greys did just that. A hurried undoing of Alex’s restraints and putting back on of his clothes, and we were out of there.

Alex, rubbing his backside, muttered, “This is the last time I let you sucker me into Meilori’s. Do you know where those aliens were trying to insert their probes?”

Athee’s eyes flicked to where Alex was rubbing and smiled drily, “Where?”

Alex turned to her and sputtered in surprise, “Athee?”

Her eyebrow arched. “You call your butt ‘Athee’? Now, I’m insulted.”

Byron smiled wide. “I think it appropriate myself.”

Alex kept staring at Athee. “You can’t be here! You’re just a figment of my imagination.”

She scowled, “I think I prefer being called a butt.”

Byron smiled crooked, “Fine. You’re a ….”

Seeing her fingers tighten on the grip of her gun, I interrupted, “We have to save the ghost of Mark Twain.”

“Why?,” the three of them said in unison.

“Alex, do you want those greys to do to him what they tried to do to you?”


Byron nodded to the pad still in my hand. “Just use that again.”

I shook my head. “My power is tied to how words work in literature. And in good novels, you can’t use the same trick twice.”

Athee looked at Byron. “Can I shoot him?”

As Alex said ‘Yes’ Byron snapped, “No!” (But he sounded disappointed.)

Before Byron changed his mind, I hurried down the hallway of the greys’ space ship to the next operating bay door. I heard Mark Twain’s raspy Missouri accent.

“Ow! You boys’ fingers are colder than Hemingway’s prose. Lots of luck with inserting that thingy there! Why I have you know the term ‘tight ass’ was coined just for me.”

Mark Twain cackled, “Why the only tighter ass was Miss Ellie Jefferson, poor old filly. She was a good soul -- had a glass eye and used to lend it to old Miss Wagner, that hadn't any, to receive company in.”

Mark laughed and went on, “It warn't big enough, and when Miss Wagner warn't noticing, it would get twisted around in the socket, and look up, maybe, or out to one side, and every which way, while t' other one was looking as straight ahead as a spy-glass.”

As the aliens buzzed in frustration, Mark kept talking, “Grown people didn't mind it, but it most always made the children cry. It was sort of scary.”

Alex began twitching as Mark Twain spun his tale, “She tried packing it in raw cotton, but it wouldn't work, no how -- the cotton would get loose and stick out and look so kind of awful that the children couldn't stand it no way.”

Athee started looking at her gun in a way that made me antsy, while Mark drawled on, “She was always dropping it out, and turning up her old dead-light on the company empty, and making them oncomfortable, becuz she never could tell when it hopped out, being blind on that side, you see.”

Mark cackled, “Somebody would have to hunch her way and say, ‘Your game eye has fetched loose, Miss Wagner dear’ -- and then all of them would have to sit and wait till she jammed it in again – “

I heard the aliens buzz louder as Mark laughed, “Wrong side, as a general thing, and green as a bird's egg, being a bashful cretur and easy sot back before company.”

Byron’s face began to twitch as Mark continued, “But being wrong side before warn't much difference, anyway; becuz her own eye was sky-blue and the glass one was yaller on the front side, so whichever way she turned it, it didn't match no how.”

Alex cried, “I can’t take any more!”

He grabbed Athee’s gun, but before he could race in, the ghost of Mark Twain ambled out with a sly grin. “Would you believe it? Those grubs went and killed themselves!”

“Yes!,” we all said.

There was a patter of bare furry feet behind us, and we turned. It was the Hoka now dressed as Indiana Jones.

"Did I miss all the fun?"
The portraits of Athee done by the incomparable Leonora Roy.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012


A few days ago, I wrote how to get a good story ...

C ..... Conflict

A ..... Action

R ..... Resolution

Last Thursday, I wrote how you got a GREAT story ...

G ..... Goal

A ..... Adversay

S ..... Sex

Today, I let you in on what you need to write a winning query ...

M ..... Mission

A ..... Answers

P ..... Passion

I. First, a broad view of M.A.P. :

A.) A MAP is a visual medium ... like fiction and a query themselves.

B.) To get anywhere using a map, it must be clear to the eye, to the mind.

C.) If the agent can't "see" your novel clearly from your query,
you're in trouble.

1.) If your prose is so muddled that your agent can't see it in her mind,
the odds are your novel's prose and plot are muddled as well.

2.) An unclear idea of your novel means the reject button from the agent.

D.) What does a Map do for you as you drive?

1.) Shows you where you are. (In the query, it gives the agent your MC's start.

2.) Shows you where you where you want to go. (In the query, it gives the novel's end.

3.) Indicates the best way to get to your destination. (In the query, it gives the agent a brief idea of how your MC gets from the start of the novel to the climax. It also lets the agent know you have a blueprint for your story.)

E.) A MAP gives broad strokes.

1.) Condenses. Miles become inches. Cities becomes dots.

2.) Few details -- no descriptions of the fluffy bunnies, or the angst of the teen MC, or the unsavory dietary habits of the adversary.


When you looked at the picture of the treasure map above, did you frown, going "what kind of language is that?"


If you write to a Frenchman, you use French. If you write a query to an agent, you must use agent-ese.

A.) We write the query backwards usually.

1.) We write what the textbooks say : a winning one page summary of the plot, putting down why we think the agent would be a good fit for our novel.

2.) WRONG!

B.) If you want to accomplish the mission of your query, you must be clear to what it is in the first place.

1.) What is your query's mission?


3.) How?


A.) Again, we get this word backwards.

B.) We think of answers to how to write a GREAT query.


D.) We have to ANSWER the AGENT'S QUESTIONS as she reads our query.

1.) Can I sell this story easily to any editors I know?

2.) Can the targeted editor sell this story easily to the PURCHASING DEPARTMENT of the publisher?

3.) Is there a mass audience for this story large enough that will convince the editor and the purchasing department that the returns will far outweigh the cost of this novel?

4.) Is this query so long it depresses my weary eyes?

*) How can we know the answers to those questions?


A.) Passion, not of your characters, not even of yourself, but in the minds and hearts of prospective readers.

B.) Grace Potter and the Nocturnals

1.) I saw the TV ad for this movie as I walked across a hospital lobby today. Derivative and cliched. Generic beauty in mini-skirt. Generic Stud with flashing smile. Vampires who obligingly waited for the awkward leg sweep of heroine. Puh-lease.

2.) TV can get away with that because it's free. Books cost the reader hard cash money. Cliches are out. Hot, imaginative twists to popular themes are in.

C.) Imagine the book in your query is an audio book :

1.) Would your story, your MC and her obstacles be good company on a road trip?

2.) Would your story entertain or depress?

D.) Imagine reading this query to a hospitalized respected teacher or landlord or ill mother -- would they want to hear more?

E.) Look carefully at your brief query :

1.) Would your story make a stranger want to root for your heroine?

2.) Does your story and its outcome seem real or cardboard?

F.) It's hard to become passionate for a cause

1.) Donna wrote yesterday that her novel had no real adversary or antagonist.

2.) There always is one : inside the MC


A.) It wasn't Darth Vader or even the Emperor who were Luke's adversaries.

B.) Luke's enemy was his temptation to give in to anger, to abuse his skills.

A.) He is a man who has lost his way due to the Civil War long before he becomes lost on Mars.

B.) His healing comes from the love he discovers upon an alien planet.

I hope this has helped in some small way to help you craft a stronger query, Roland

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Alex Cavanaugh held his head. “Ow! Where am I?”

I said, “I can explain ….”

His eyes popped open. “It’s never good news when you hear those words.”

The ghost of Mark Twain chortled, “Alex, old boy, you just set back and enjoy the ride. Captain Clemens is at the wheel.”

The wheel in question was straight off a Mississippi riverboat. Sadly, we weren’t on the Mississippi. We were in the Shadowlands of outer space.

Alex started to spring out of his seat, but the safety harness stopped him. His eyes went wider as he took in his surroundings. We were on the command deck of a space ship. Or what Hollywood thought a space ship to look like in the 1930’s.

We were not alone.

Tied not too securely was Princess Ardala from the 80’s BUCK ROGERS show. She was muffling outrage through her gag. Ming the Merciless was out cold in the seat beside her.

A large teddy bear was busily half-doing the ropes on him. The teddy bear was dressed like Mr. Spock.

“A Hoka!,” gasped Alex. “An honest to Gordon R. Dickson Hoka!”

“Commander Spock,” squeaked the Hoka, whose race lived to imitate all that fascinated it.

Princess Ardala spat out her gag, “You dare?”

Mark Twain beamed, “Why, ain’t you the feisty hellcat? Don’t worry none about your daddy, Ming. I just needed his space boat here.”

“He is not my father, moron! I am having a tryst with Ming!”

Mark frowned, “I don’t see any pastries.”

“Tryst, imbecile! T-R-Y-S-T!! We are having an affair!”

Mark Twain’s cigar dropped from his mouth. “With that honey dew melon?”

Ardala was about to spew something forgettable when the Hoka inserted the gag back into her snarling mouth and waddled to his blinking console.

“What?,” sputtered Alex. “Where? How? Why?”

Mark Twain cackled with pleasure, spinning the wheel, sending the poor Hoka tumbling as I answered in reverse order.

“While we were guzzling Romulan Ale at Meilori’s, you mentioned you yearned to go into space in a real space ship.”

“This isn’t a real space ship! This is the movie set of Ming the Merciless’s space ship.”

Mark Twain twirled the wheel again, sending the Hoka tumbling across the deck in the opposite direction.

“This is as real as it gets, Alex! This is the Shadowlands where everything thought of by Man exists for deadly certain.”

I groaned, “Would you stop spinning that blasted wheel? My head is killing me.”

“Son, I’m trying to keep those Klingons from doing that to all of us.”

“Klingons!,” shrilled Alex, finally getting his harness undone.
He and I both looked, mouths ajar and eyes wide, at the view screen, showing the Klingon Bird of Prey preparing to blast us into tiny disbelieving bits.

The Hoka cocked its big head. “Most odd. Rudolph’s nose is glowing, and it is not even Christmas.”

Alex picked up the Hoka, shaking it while shrieking, “That is not a nose, you little Furball! That’s a plasma cannon!”

The teddy bear tilted its head. “Alex Cavanaugh, do I look in need of fluffing to you?”

Alex sputtered incoherently, dropping the Hoka.

The teddy bear muttered, "You were more fun drunk."

Alex started for Mark Twain when the view screen changed to show a confused Klingon who growled at us.

“Your vessel … it is being propelled by a wire on top?”

Alex stopped in mid-step. “What?”

Mark chortled, “You keep asking that question, son. That’s the way Hollywood got this danged thing to fly in the 30’s so that’s how it flies now.”

“No matter,” grunted the Klingon. “You are invading Klingon space. Prepare to die!”

Alex shrilled, “Twain, do something!”

Mark turned to the Hoka, “Commander Spock, you have a plan?”

“He’s a teddy bear!,” shrieked Alex. “What kind of plan could he have?”

“An excellent one,” smugly smiled the Hoka, flipping a few switches. “I have taken control of their vessel.”

Alex danced in place. “Great! You’re turning off that cannon, right?”

The teddy bear frowned. “That would be rude.”

Alex’s eyes looked as if they were preparing to leap out of their sockets. “Rude? RUDE!? ”

The teddy bear sighed, “Really Alex Cavanaugh, your emotions will be the death of you.”

“That cannon’s going to be the death of me, you fuzzball!”

“No,” smugly said the Hoka. “Klingon Poop is the most devastating stench in the known galaxy. Observe as I re-route their sewage system through their ventilating shafts.”

Streams of thick brown ooze flowed through the vents above the Klingon Captain. Gagging wetly, he grabbed his throat, sinking to his knees along with the rest of his crew.

“H-Have you no shame, no honor, human?”

Mark Twain smiled wide as he lit up a new cigar. “No. That’s how I win, Turtle Brow.”

He turned to the Hoka. “Mr. Spock, the Borg Sector, if you please. I always fancied that Borg Queen to be a sexy little thing.”
“Nooooooo!,’ Alex and I wailed.

Alex began clicking his heels. “There’s no place like home. There’s no place like home!”

Buy your own copy of CASSAFIRE!
Want to read more of the Hoka (used copy for only a penny!)
Oh, Erin Kane Spock (no relation to the Hoka!) just let me know that I have been shortlisted for the the finalists in the 4th campaign's first challenge. Neat, huh?

Saturday, February 25, 2012


We talked about C.A.R. Thursday ...

C ..... Conflict

A ..... Action

R ..... Resolution

Using C.A.R. will get you a good story.

But you don't want a good story ... You want a GREAT story.

To get that great story, your C.A.R. needs G.A.S.

G ..... Goal

A ..... Adversary

S ..... Sex


1.) Goals in great stories are not anemic ...

A.) Primal

Any goal in a great story is primal, high stakes, CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT!

Love to a loveless man. Food for children to a mother in a world turned upside down. Revenge to a man robbed unjustly of everything that made life worth living.


The reader must see herself in that goal. We all yearn to belong. We all have been mocked and snubbed. We all feel alone in some form or fashion.

Once you have the reader looking out of the MC's eyes, you have her hooked into rooting for her to win ... because if the MC wins, a part of your reader wins, too.

In becoming the MC, the readers become more than they are, experiencing things in a way they might never experience any other way. Each of us is an on-going equation striving to answer itself. Reading is one way we do that.


You're switching channels on the TV and stumble across an announcer going crazy. You pause. The horse in the back of the race has just pulled ahead ... one horse ... three horses at a gallop ... two more. Now, there is only the lead horse.

The runt pulls ahead only to fall behind. The runt closes just a bit. The jockey on the lead horse spurs his mount ahead. The runt stumbles. Your heart goes into your mouth. Then, somehow, the runt reaches into its last strength and pulls even. The two race like that for long, agonizing moments.

Then, the runt pulls ahead by a nose, winning the race.

You had no money on the race, but you feel like cheering. Maybe you do cheer. We all root for the underdog ... remember that in your writing.


1.) "Oh," you say, "you mean antagonist."

Pardon me? Did I say antagonist? Antagonist is for ivory tower discussions of Jame Fennimore Cooper.

I'm talking Adversay, buddy!

Eric Northman, who, when you try to escape his cellar, tears out your throat with his teeth. Then, when your spurting blood ruins his highlighting dye job, repeatedly kicks your corpse for good measure.

We don't need no stinking antagonists! "You wanna mess with me? Here, let me introduce you to my little friend!"

2.) IMPOSSIBLE ODDS : (Remember the Underdog Principle)

Remember Jodie Foster going to interview Hannibal Lector for the first time? Then, he escapes. Who would you have bet cash money on in the real world?

Little Harry Potter versus Lord Voldemort :

Hagrid to Harry: "Some say he died. Codswallop, in my opinion. Dunno if he had enough human left in him to die."

"We bow to each other, Harry," said Voldemort, bending a little, but keeping his snakelike face upturned to Harry. "Come, the niceties will be observed.... Dumbledore would like you to show manners.... Bow to death, Harry...."


1.) Romance is all very well and good. But come on. Picture Eric Northman from TRUE BLOOD. Romance or sex?

For most readers, romance is just good table manners for sex. Witty talk is all fine. Flirting is fun because it delays the pleasure. But the goal is always in the backs of the minds of the readers in the exchange of words and actions.

I get around thatsomewhat with Samuel McCord because he is from both the era of the Revolutionary War and the Old West. And Victor Standish, for all his bluster and brass, is a 13 year old boy, struggling with his first love.

2.) Tension is the key to making music with violins and smitten hearts.

You have happy characters? Look around. You have no readers. Angst is the magnet for readers.

Tension is everything. Look at Bella and Edward ... who are the King and Queen of delayed gratification. A goal easily gotten is cheaply held.

Remember the underdog runt of a racehorse?

Victor Standish loves Alice Wentworth, the ghoul. And she loves him. She also has almost surrendered to her hunger for his flesh three times in the first novel. He knows she hungers for his flesh nearly as much as his heart.

But Victor, who in the past has so often bet his life for food and shelter, has no problem betting it for love ... something he has been without all his days.

Victor knows. Alice knows. All who care for them know : Alice will one day lose the battle to keep from eating Victor alive.

To lose his life for the love he never had? "Fair trade," Victor thinks.

And who are we to say different -- we who throw our lives away for so much less?

Whatever the tension ... it must be for most of the novel. Only at the end may it be released ... but only for a time. For in real life, there is no "happy ever after."

Thursday, February 23, 2012

PERFECTION IS WHERE YOU FIND IT_Friday's Romantic Challenge

The leader of the vampires shoved me onto the porch leading to the entrance of The Bourbon Orleans and laughed, “Poet, your dream is about to become nightmare.”

I saw Alice shiver. She was looking at the four entrance columns , towering above us. Her face seemed to glow it was so pale. Her nose suddenly wrinkled like a rabbit’s.

“V-Victor, those columns ….”


“They are painted with … human blood.”

The leader laughed low, “Makes you hungry, little ghoul?”

Alice began to shiver worse. The blood moon struck fire from the silver edging to her black Gothic Lolita dress. Sfumato! I glanced down at the moon doing the same to my white Mark Twain-style suit.

I sighed, angry at myself. You know, one day I would die, not because of what I didn’t know, but of what I had forgotten.

Like I had forgotten our clothes had been bathed in the Waterfalls of Eden, not once, but four times … with us in them. Such a thing was fatal the first time, much less four. But our love for each other had pulled us through.

I smiled like I was feeling that love as never before … which I was.

I reached out and squeezed her hand still smiling. “We are not of the night nor of darkness but of love.”

My suit and her dress flared like suns. The vampires screamed shrill yet husky. Reeling away from us, they burst into foul-smelling two-legged bonfires. They didn’t make three steps. They collapsed to go up like dry driftwood.

I brought Alice’s hand to my lips and softly kissed it, surprised that for the first time in our love that it was warm.

“People think they know who we are, Alice. They are wrong.”

She smiled with trembling lips. “Wrong.”

Alice embraced me, kissing me hungry, loving, and with the passion that I knew would never die. I shivered. We had kissed before but never had her lips been warm. Never. I ruined our kiss by smiling.

She pulled back. “You smile?”

“Your lips.”

She swallowed. “What about them?”

“They’re warm.”

“Warm? Your love has made them w-warm?”

Our love, Alice.”

She mewed like a lost kitten having found home, rushing into my arms, renewing our kiss with even more passion.

Her hand reached around my neck, pulling me into it. She needn’t have bothered. I was doing just fine on my own. I pulled her body into mine, not roughly, but with all the tenderness in my heart.

I wasn’t an orphan anymore. In her arms, I was home.

I heard screams from behind the windows all along the balcony. Alice and I stepped back, looking up in shock.

Vampire bonfires flared behind each and every window where those leeches had been watching us being led to our supposed slow deaths.

They fell to the wooden floors. I made a face. It was certainly going to be a hot time in the old town tonight.


Do you need a good story? Of course you do. All authors do.

Well, get a car ...

C ..... conflict

A ..... action

R ..... resolution.

Duh! Right. All novels need those three ingredients.

1.) But sometimes the simple principles are the most profound. And C.A.R. is one of those.

You see, it's just not your novel as a whole that needs Conflict, Action, and Resolution. Each of your chapters needs them as well.

And to carry the locomotion analogy a bit further, each novel must end with a hook, leading the reader anxiously to the next.

Think the teeth in the sprocket wheel of a bicycle : each tooth must seamlessly fit into the next link in the bicycle chain to propel the bike forward. So, too, much each chapter in your novel do the same.

Example :

In the chapter, BLACK MIRROR, SURE DEATH, in the Victor Standish novel, UNDER A VOODOO MOON :

Victor, his ghoul friend, Alice, and the ghost of President John Adams have escaped the ice palace of the revenant Empress Theodora. They did so by entering her cursed Black Mirror which led them to an endless, lifeless cemetery world ... one with seemingly no exit.

Just as they discover that, Alice's stomach starts to growl and her voice becomes the gravel it does only when she is ravenous. And Victor is the only human flesh in that dimension. End of chapter. Makes you want to jump to the next one, doesn't it?

2.) Your novel is much like a onion, too.

Each layer of your novel must bring tears and spice to your reader's mind.

Conflict. Action. Resolution. All three must be contained, as much as you can arrange it, on each page. Impossible?

It better not be ... because one page is sometimes all you are going to have to entice your prospective reader in a bookstore.

3.) You must think of your novel as a microscope :

The throbbing life of conflict, action, and resolution must resonate in each sentence as much as you can craft it to be ... especially the first sentence of your novel and each following chapter.

{Hurricane Katrina lashed the French Quarter as the sobbing mother sat on the curb, cradling her dying baby.

In that one sentence, you have painted locale, time, conflict, action, and a hope within the reader for a rescuing resolution.} All in the first sentence.

{General Eisenhower walked angrily to the prison cell of Adolp Hitler.

In that one short sentence, you have painted locale, time, genre (alternate history obviously) with conflict, action, and a question of what kind of resolution could there be to this scenario.}

4.) Your first sentence is all the introduction to your agent you're probably going to get.

Conflict, action, and resolution must resonate like a tuning fork in that one important paragraph.
5.) C.A.R. not only lets you know what to include but ...

what to exclude : everything that does not pertain to the conflict, the action, and the resolution in each paragraph, page, chapter, and final whole of the novel.

No matter how beautiful the prose or how insightful the character study, if it does not propel the story forward using C.A.R. --

then it has to go. Ouch.

Have a great Thursday, Roland

Wednesday, February 22, 2012




there was


written by Edgar Rice Burroughs.

100 years ago, science fiction was still in its infancy, and a hero named John Carter enjoyed the sort of popularity that characters like Luke Skywalker and Captain Kirk do today.

Love knows no bounds for science fiction heroes, even across the cold depths of space. A major focus of the first Barsoom novel, A Princess of Mars (and the upcoming movie adaptation), is the growing bond between Earthman John Carter and Martian princess Dejah Thoris.

John Carter/Dejah Thoris relationship most reminds me of the romance in James Cameron's Avatar. As in Avatar, it's a relationship that builds from two strangers

(one of them a soldier from another world)

attempting to understand one another, and it grows during the looming threat of war. Various physical and existential divides threaten to keep the two apart, but in the end, love prevails.

Decades earlier, Burroughs wrote of an Earthling who found himself an alien on another world, gaining strength from the lower gravity.

Even as Burroughs was doing his part to build the science fiction genre, he was also becoming the first author to merge science fiction and Western elements.

John Carter is a hero who wouldn't be out of place in a Wild West movie. He's an ex-Confederate soldier who headed west after the Civil War to seek his fortune as a gold prospector. He even battles a tribe of Apache warriors before his fateful journey to Barsoom.

A number of popular films and TV series have sought to blend science fiction with Westerns. Joss Whedon's short-lived Firefly features a crew of space-faring heroes who live in a very grungy, lawless galaxy. The popular anime series Cowboy Bebop follows a similar crew of rugged bounty hunters who seek fortune and adventure as humanity slowly begins expanding throughout the solar system. They'd have found a kindred spirit in the rough and tumble John Carter.

It wasn't long before John Carter began to inspire similar sci-fi adventures.

Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon were two heroes who debuted in the pulp era and who were direct results of Carter's popularity. Both men hailed from Earth, with Buck even being a war veteran like Carter.

In the case of Buck Rogers, exposure to a gas caused him to fall into suspended animation for almost 500 years and awaken to a very different sort of civilization. Flash Gordon, meanwhile, travels by rocket ship to the planet Mongo and battles the evil emperor Ming the Merciless.

So keep all this in mind when you go to see John Carter on March 9th the debt we owe Burroughs' creation for the sci-fi we all enjoy today.

For more see :

If Neil Gaiman ever wrote this about me or about you, we could die happy writers :



Tuesday, February 21, 2012

I DIED A MAN_Platform Builder's 1st Challenge


Rachel wants us to create a 200 word flash fiction starting with "shadows crept across the wall" and ending with "everything faded." I edited a segment from my NEW ORLEANS ARABESQUE {a WIP.} :

Shadows crept across the wall. Three Spirit Night. Cosmic conjunctions aligning.

Outside, this house on Dauphine Street offered no clue to the carnage that took place within more than a century ago.

Time was unraveling. The Nameless One who had breached the Cosmic barrier, killing the Turk called the Sultan was now entering the present.

Screams of dismembered harem girls. The trilling of the Nameless One. The Sultan racing past me out the back door, running into the gardens -- where the police would find him buried in a grave dug with his own hands.

The house was a nightmare. Body parts were strewn along the staircase. The wood floors were slick with blood.

There. Right in front of me, layered in wet orange scales. An obscenity of flesh and tentacle. I would stop this abomination from preying on the innocents outside.

Perseus. Gilgamesh. Beowulf. Simple men who fought monsters. But I was a monster.

Tentacles slashed. Hungry teeth gnashed me. I laughed. I tore off my right glove, grasping a tentacle. The Nameless One screamed. I kept on laughing though it smashed me into oak walls.

It groaned, dropping me. I smiled. I had died a man.

Everything faded.
The murders of the Sultan and his entire household occurred in 1834 along with the fire which consumed the mansion of New Orleans' Jill the Ripper, Delphine LaLaurie. For more of the Sultan's murder mystery :


Monday, February 20, 2012




in your book. Press the limits, push the boundaries of what you think will work, then make it work somehow.

Aren't you as a reader tired of seeing the same old thing :

shy girl goes to new school and meets a hot bad boy who turns out to be :

a werewolf, a vampire, a cross-dressing son of a mad scientist (caught you with that last one, didn't I?)

How about a tiger named Hobbes who imagines his human boy doll is alive and talks to him?

Spin the expected on its ear. You will snare bored readers, making them your loyal fans.

You can't go beyond yourself. No matter how strange your twist ... shadows who live and breathe, casting people behind them as they walk in the sun. No matter your idea, it will still have the stamp of your personality, your style of writing.

Be open to any whim drifting from your unconscious. To create means to think beyond the limits we have placed upon our muse. The mind has no boundaries. The imagination is the key to infinity ...

and to bestsellers.

A persecuted boy cracks. He climbs to the top of the school with a rifle and the school's yearbook. He starts shooting.

His persecutors? No. He shoots every nice person he knows. Why?

To spare them the hurt he knows is waiting for them as it waited for him.


Break the rules. The shy girl falls in love with the vampire. His love for her turns him human. Now, his coven is out to turn them both!

Extreme is good.

The vampire was confident and kind. As a human he is sullen and snotty. The girl wants him to be a vampire again even if it means the death of innocents.

Her shyness hid her selfishness. The vampire realizes what a monster she would turn into if she becomes a vampire. He kills them both ...

as a gesture of the last remnants of his kindness.

The only rule :

everything in your novel must serve a purpose, down to the painting of the dying swan on the girl's bedroom wall.

It is what he looks at as he smothers the girl he loves. He sees not the monster she has become but the lovely, shy swan he thought her to be when he first saw her.

Everything in your novel must do double-duty.

The murder of the girl. The painting of the dying swan. Even going to the prom. The surface meaning. The meaning behind the character doing it.

Have we moved beyond the rules, beyond the boundaries of what you think possible?
Choose your side!

Sunday, February 19, 2012



WIND is really a Noir thriller, but I will take action adventure popularity!

All of you have done this for me. THANK YOU ALL.

The more downloads I get today, the closer I get to #20. Why is #20 important?

That's how many books are on the first page of the top 100. Some people who are bored this Sunday will pick one of those 20 free ones.

If WIND pleases them, then they may take a chance on one of my 99 cent books.

Will you help spread the word for me?

The Lakota way of living is one from which anyone can derive strength and healing. Luke Winters finds the inner strength for the combat with crime and passion from the teachings of his grandfather.

If you are curious, try THE LAKOTA WAY by Joseph Marshall. Reading his words, I heard some of the same stories my own half-Lakota mother told me.

It is so popular that Amazon is buying it back to satisfy reader demand. Get your used paperback copy for only $6.97 :


Saturday, February 18, 2012


This has been a grueling week,

so I have decided to celebrate surviving it

by giving another FREE GIFT TO ALL OF YOU.



(LET THE WIND BLOW THROUGH YOU is now AT #69 IN AMAZON'S TOP 100 ACTION ADVENTURE LIST! The more who download for FREE the closer to #10 it will get!)

{I grew to like the names Luke Winters and Victoria so that I cast them in other roles in a new storyline.}

Civilized Man has developed sharp elbows, deaf ears, and hard hearts in his pursuit of success. Such things bear a price.

Man has become divorced from himself, from the world in which he lives.

The time has come to listen to the echoes from our land...

the wisdom and teachings of the mountains, streams, and woods. Their words are simple and their voices are soft. We have not heard them, because we have not taken the time to listen.

We have been too busy smothering them in crypts of concrete and steel.

Luke Winters has spent his whole life straddling two worlds, Lakota and White, belonging in neither.

He isn't complaining. He feels richer for the twin heritages and for the struggle to be an authentic human being. He has learned to accept himself whether or not he is accepted by anyone else.

But losing his license to be a psychologist in Boston brings him back to his deadly home town in the Southwest.

The woman he has loved all his life has become the feared donna of the crime family which controls the state. She has mastered all her enemies but one --

the disease that is now killing her.

As she metes out revenge and fights rival crime bosses sensing her weakness, can the psychologist save her from herself? And what cost will he pay for trying?

Enter the murky, dangerous world of a Native American Noir thriller with undercurrents of forbidden love.

Again a drawing, if this receives 10 reviews {It is just a novella}, for A ROBERT DOWNEY, JR. AUTOGRAPHED MINI POSTER OF IRON MAN! Not too shabby, huh?



Friday, February 17, 2012


You need the right ingrediants to prepare this dish :


It must be short, magnetic, and say it all.

Sure, piece of cake ... Devil's Food Cake. Darn hard, but it can be done.



(You just know it's going to be a comedy of errors, and you know all the players in just 5 words.)


(It says it all in another 5 words : horror, action, the living versus the undead)


(In 4 fours you get comedy, horror, and you know it is going to be a toss-up between a floundering human against hordes of shambling dead.)

(II.) The sweet/sour sauce of IRONY with a hint of the spice of SAY WHAT?


She's the perfect girl -- until she takes that first drink.

(You see it all, don't you? In just 10 words. Comedy of a guy finding his dream date, only to see his dream become a nightmare.)


On Christmas Eve, a cop tries to repair his broken marriage, only to find her company's building seized by terrorists.

(Twenty words this time, but they spell out irony, desperation, action, and thrills.)

III.) Remember THE GOOD; leave out THE BAD and THE UGLY :


Two polar opposite men must scramble across country in whatever vehicle they can to make it home for Thanksgiving.

(This title is the good -- you know from it that it is a comedy and the venue where the action is going to take place.)


(This is basically the same movie, but the title is vague. Is it about an expectant mother? The only draw is Robert Downey, Jr.

But your novel will not have that catalyst. In novel loglines, the magic must be in the prose.)


(Do you have any idea what this novel will be about? Is it a name of a girl, a store, a restaurant, a name of a covert Intelligence plan? This is an example of an UGLY title for a logline.)



A cowardly cop on the eve of retirement finds he is dying from a disease not covered by police insurance. To protect his family's future, he must have none. The cowardly lion must die in the line of duty. The only problem : his partner wants to live out the week!

(Long but you see it all. Fifty words gives you the whole novel : the fear, the love, the desperation, ... and the partner going crazy trying to stay alive.)

VI.) The whole picture :

A.) All the above examples gives the agent the entire novel in just one short logline. You must do that -- and fast to snare the eye-weary attention of an agent numbed by a long line of vague, rambling loglines with no clear conflict and intended goal.

B.) How do you come up with that?

Think of your novel as a movie poster. The iconic image, the swirling glimpses of the dangers and allures in the background. Put the movie poster of your novel in 30 words or less -- and you have a winning logline.

C.) Create an itch the agent must scratch :

1.) With a title that grabs the collar of the agent :


2.) With irony that won't quit :

A teen finds the love of his life looking down upon him as he lies in his coffin.

3.) With a logline that gives you goal, obstacles, and resolution in one mental flash :

A mysterious funeral director tells the ghost of a teen he can be with the girl he loves always ... if he convinces her to take her own life. The teen must decide what true love really is.

@) There. I hope I have helped in some small way. Roland


Thursday, February 16, 2012


Like jade half moons waiting to rise, Maija's eyes smiled cruelly down upon me.

"You are quite alone, Roland. All your friends at Meilori's are otherwise occupied. And those steel cables hold you fast to my throne of blood."

She held a frosted glass of spring water to my lips, then pulled away. "Oh, no. No taste of your favorite drink."

"You've got to get out more, Maija."

Her riding crop slashed open my cheek. "My throne's name in Japanese is Kumonosu-jō!"

"I had a Latin teacher just like you once."


"She gave me my life motto : vincit qui se vincit. He conquers who conquers himself."

"I know that quote, worm."

"No, Maija. You don't. You may kill me, but you will never conquer yourself."


I was getting tired of that crop. I would have to be more like my fictional hero, Ulysses, if I was going to get out of this.

Maija wiggled without moving in her skin-tight Dragon Lady dress. "Oh, if you knew this morning that you would die this day, how different you would have lived it."

"Not really. I saved lives today delivering rare blood to the dying. What better way to spend my last day?"


"Your moral compass doesn't exactly point north, does it?"

She raised her crop, then stopped, "Do you think that this is the last scene in GLADIATOR, where the hero wins even though he dies?"

"Actually, my favorite movie is GALAXY QUEST : NEVER SURRENDER. NEVER QUIT."


My face throbbed, but I would be damned if I let her see me squirm. "You know I'm reading a book that reminds me of you : THE PSYCHOPATH TEST."

She snarled, "Are you expecting the revenant, Abigail Adams, to save you? All know in the Shadowlands how enamored of her you are."

“Just because you are a character doesn't mean that you have character."

She dropped her riding crop and took a strangle hold of my throat. "Why shouldn't I kill you?"

"With me dead, who will mourn you when you die, weep for you at your grave side?"

She backed up, tears welling in those suddenly hurt green eyes. "Damn you, Lakota! Why must you be this way?"

"I know of no other way to be."

I sighed, "You've already done plenty of things to regret, you just don't know what they all are. It's when you discover them, when you see the folly in something you've done, and you wish that you had it to do over, but it's too late."

"Too late," she murmured as if summing up her whole life.

I went on, "So you pick that thing up and carry it with you to remind you that life goes on, that the world will spin without you, that you really don't matter in the end. Then you will gain character because honesty will reach out from inside and tattoo itself across your face.”

I put all my heart into my words. "Why can't you do that?"

Her voice was of a little girl's, "I know of no other way to be."

She walked with a dancer's grace to the door of her throne room and said without looking back, "McCord is at the beach. He will be told of your plight. He will be here within minutes."

She walked out the door. And even though I knew it was daylight outside, it felt like night.

Here are the Platform Builder's questions from Daniel Todd Noyes

I wove in my flash fiction :

If you had one week left to live, what would you do?

What quote inspires you?

What movie scene inspires you? Why?

What comedy do you end up watching again and again as the years go by?

Do you think love can last forever?

What fictional character would you trade lives with if you could?

What historical character would you marry if you had to choose someone?

Which do you prefer, coffee, hot cocoa, soda, vegetable juice, water?

How long would it take you to drive to the beach from where you live?

What are you currently reading?


Wednesday, February 15, 2012


{"There is a garden in every childhood --

an enchanted place where colors are brighter,

the air softer,

and the morning more fragrant than ever again."

- Elizabeth Lawrence.}


explained how my dream to spin stories was sown. It was watered by the LEAGUE OF FIVE.

The origins of the League of Five stretches back to my childhood too.

That league was given birth by :

Mystery and wonder.

They were the seeds from which grew the League of Five.

I've talked in the past about Edith Hamilton's MYTHOLOGY with its stunning illustrations by Steele Savage.

As a child I caught sight of mythic Proteus rising from the wine dark sea,

And heard shadowed Triton blow death from his wreathed horn.

Mythology and fantasy were the mid-wives of the League of Five. And my tales show it.

But I want to speak on what the League of Five taught me ... and what it might teach you :


{Mystery is the siren call for all lovers of fiction. Better to leave out commas than mystery in your tales.}

Its first sentence : "The place was silent and aware."


A desert fortress manned by the dead.

Every French Foreign Legionnaire was standing at his post along the wall. Every man held a rife aimed out at the endless sands. Every man was dead.

Who stood the last dead man up?

That question drove me to check out a book as thick as the Bible.

I remember sitting down that April 1st with my four junior high chums in study hall. They couldn't get over the size of the book. They looked at me like I was crazy. Then, I told them the mystery.

Tommy and Gary snapped up the remaining two copies in the school library. Raymond and B.J. (we called him Beej) had to go to the two different branches of the city library for their copies.

And then, my four friends, sluggish students at best, were racing with me through the pages to discover the solution to the mystery.

But then came stolen jewels and desert danger. We were hooked.

Mid-way through the book, I discovered the classic movie marathon that Saturday was going to show BEAU GESTE, starring Gary Cooper and Ray Milland.

The five of us roughed it that night in front of the TV.

After the movie, we planned on sleeping on the floor of my front room. It would be like we were French Foreign Legionnaires on a mission.

We were enthralled. We booed the bad guys. We cheered on Gary Cooper. And we sniffed back embarassing tears when he died.

But with the mystery solved, my four friends didn't want to go on.

The solution fizzled the fun of the reading. We all moped. A throat was cleared. We turned around.

Mother sat with a leather-bound volume in her hands, and with her voice blessed with the magic of the Lakota Storyteller and the lyrical beauty of the Celtic bard, she smiled,

"Let me read you five something --



{And he will keep your readers' interest up high -- so no lukewarm antagonists. Think epic. Think primal.}

Mother, in her rich, deep voice, read low like distant thunder :

"Imagine a person, tall, lean and feline,

high-shouldered, with a brow like Shakespeare and a face like Satan,

a close-shaven skull, and long, magnetic eyes of true cat-green.

Invest him with all the cruel cunning of an entire Eastern race, accumulated in one giant intellect, with all the resources of science past and present, with all the resources, if you will, of a wealthy government--

which, however, already has denied all knowledge of his existence.

Imagine that awful being, and you have a mental picture of Dr. Fu-Manchu, the yellow peril incarnate in one man."

She put down the book on her lap and intoned, "That, young men, is the insidious Dr. Fu Manchu. Do you want to hear more?"

Man, did we! And so the League of Five was born.

For every Saturday night for the rest of that year and all through my last year of junior high, we sat cross-legged on the front room floor and listened to all thirteen of the Fu Manchu novels ...

along with the adventures of Sherlock Holmes, starting with "The Adventure of the Speckled Band." I never went to sleep after that without looking at my headboard!


{Instill that truth into your tale, and it will intensify the fragility of the human body and the enduring courage of its spirit.

And if it teaches your readers to hold gently and gratefully the love they find in their own lives, so much the better.}

Unknown to us, Mother was teaching us the value of a mind that thought beneath the surface, that grew stronger with use as with any muscle.

We made special nights of it when the classic movie marathon played any Sherlock Holmes or Dr. Fu Manchu movie. Flash Gordon with Ming the Merciless was great. It was like seeing Fu Manchu in a space opera.

But the seasons pulled us apart to different cities, to different high schools, to different destinations.

Fatal car accident. War. Disease. Mugger's bullet.

Until now, only I remain of the League of Five.

But every April 1st, in the late evening hours, I sit down and pull BEAU GESTE from the shelf. I read aloud the words, "The place was silent and aware."

And no matter the room I find myself ...

it is silent ...

and it is aware.

I see five wide-eyed boys, their eyes gleaming with wonder and awe, listening once more to my mother reading into the wee hours of the morning,

her voice a beacon in the darkness of our imaginations.

I pull down my worn copy of THE INSIDIOUS DR. FU MANCHU and turn to chapter two with Sir Denis Nayland Smith's description of his adversary.

After a few moments, the words blur. But that is all right. I know the words by heart.

What novel meant so much to you that you just had to share it with a friend or friends? Tell me. I'd like to know.

Compare it to what you are writing now. Did it have any effect on your style or genre of writing? Please write me on that, too.
THE LEAGUE OF FIVE actually watched this trailer for the Halloween classic movie marathon that absorbed us SUPER 8 aged adventurers :

If still whole, THE LEAGUE OF FIVE would sit in awe in the movie theater of today for this movie. Perhaps there is a cinematic future for Samuel McCord?

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

A KISS TO LIVE FOR_Hot Kiss blogfest!

Cassie Mae & Hope are doing the HOT KISS BLOGFEST :

My entry, A KISS TO LIVE FOR, is from my THE PATH BACK TO DAWN :

{Blake Adamson had been left chained to a tree in the New Zealand wilderness by the last fae. He escapes death by being given an apple of immortality from Idun's Asgardian garden.

By whom? Odin's ravens, Huggin and Munnin (that's MIND and MEMORY for those of you not versed in Viking - and yes, there is a bit of an allegory going on there.)

He has been discovered by Hone Heke (an angel on a sort of community service punishment) and by Kirika Amaratsu. In happy relief at finding him alive, Kirika has bowled him over on his back with her atop him.

Blake has kept a slice of Idun's apple for her. She agrees to eat it ... on one condition.

“What kind of condition?,” I asked with a sinking heart.

An evil gleam started to grow in her deep, large brown eyes. “Oh, nothing obscene, nothing bizarre, nothing sexual.”

She winked. “I lied about the sexual.”

Hone groaned, “Uh, oh.”

Kirika smiled wicked. “I will eat your apple. But only if you share the last bite ... in a kiss with me.”

She wiggled, pressing her hips dangerously into mine as I managed to croak, “I - I can live with that.”

She laughed, “I thought you might.”

She brought the apple to her lips.

“Oh,” I started, but Kirika had already bitten into the slice.

Her eyes rolled up as she stiffened in spasms on top of me. With horror, I saw her begin to fade, becoming a ghost on top of me. I wrapped both arms around her tight.

“Stay with me, Kirika! Don’t fade on me. Stay with me, please. I don’t know what I’d do if I lost you.”

The weight of her body pressed back down on top of me again. She was soft and firm in my arms once more. She squirmed her hips into me, her lips melting into mine.

She murmured, “Then, fade from you I never will. Never.”

I smiled, “I - I can live with that.”

She asked, “Are all the bites like that one?”

“Just the first.”

She raised an eyebrow, and I insisted, “Honest.”

“In that case ---”

She slowly took another bite. Her eyebrows shot up. She wiggled delightfully on my body. She actually seemed to glow. She let out a long, ragged breath.

“B-Blake, never have I tasted such a wonder. It fills me with such a power and joy. Starving, you denied yourself this for me?”

“Denied? Seeing you enjoy it this much is better than I have the words to describe.”

Her whole face glowed, her deep eyes seeming to swallow me. I went willingly. She bit slower and slower, savoring each bite, squirming more and more into me.

Hone coughed uneasy.

She seemed not to hear. Only the last bite was left. She took it and moistened her full lips with the piece. Then, she bent her face right to mine.

“When I place it in my lips, Blake, place yours around it, and we will kiss as I swallow. All right?”

I nodded. She moistened my lips with it, then re-wet her lips again. She smiled, and promises dark and tempting filled my head. Hone coughed again, but I barely heard him.

In fact, the whole world grew dim around the edges. All that was clear were Kirika’s gleaming, deep, deep eyes. She slipped the bit of apple into her wet lips, leaning right into me. I shyly wrapped my lips around the apple.

Like I knew she would, she tried forcing it into my mouth with her tongue, I thrust it back. Then, she caught me by surprise and swallowed it, wrapping her tongue around mine, doing some thrusting and rubbing of her own. I could feel my eyes roll back into their sockets, and tingles dance all down my body.

From the magic of Idun’s apple or Kirika’s tongue I couldn’t say.

She arched in my arms, thrusting her hips into me again and again. I was about to lose it completely, when she went limp in my arms, slumping across my whole body.

This time it was me that let out a long, ragged breath. I shivered in spasms. That had been --- something. Kirika purred in my arms.

“Next time, get a hotel,” growled Hone.

“I didn’t do that,” I sputtered.

Kirika breathed, “Was it good for you, beloved?”

I couldn’t help myself and let out a sigh, “Oh, yeah.”

Hone grunted, “Tell me again what you didn’t do.”

Monday, February 13, 2012



You shrink back from the shadows at my appearing. Do not fear. I am Elu, wandering Apache spirit.

You seek the origin of DreamSinger's path of words.

Come. Let me turn back the seasons to a time not so far removed …

… yet to almost a different world than you two-leggeds now stride in such clustered aloneness.

Where wisdom was better than strength.

Where two-leggeds walked and rode with no hinged slabs of plastic pressed tight to their ears, speaking words not cared about miles away.

Where they did not hunch over those same slabs punching fewer and fewer scribbles to a world that read seldom and cared less.

Where boxes of metal bits did not spew one’s and zero’s to faceless strangers foolishly called “followers.”

Where “friend” truly meant comrade. Where alone often meant death.

See that young boy coughing until his frail body goes limp, his eyes bleed tears? That is he whom you call Roland.

Look at the fear and love mixed in the Lakota woman's face as she holds him in his bed. She is his mother. And she knows he is dying.

You feel the cold, but can you feel the isolation of this basement apartment in the worst ice storm in Detroit's history? The mother has just come to this town. Whites are hardly friendly to strangers of their own race, not at all to those who are different.

The ice has frozen the city. The wires that carry voices are down. No one can travel. There is no help.
Should she wander the empty night in vain search for help? Or should she stay, holding the hand of one who is her whole life?

Her only son is dying. But she will not have him die in fear and terror. No, she refuses. But what can fend off those demons in the night?

Her words seem so hollow to her ears. Yet, words are all she has. Words. Yes, they are the answer. Words.
Words she remembers the Grandmothers of both sides of her blood, Irish and Lakota, speaking to her when she was her son's age.

So hugging the cough-wracked body of her son, she begins to spin tales born of sparkling myths and misty legends of both worlds. Roland sees a fabled world spread out from horizon to horizon in the darkness.

Though the White Man believes different, magic is real. In the frigid darkness, myth sings her haunting song of majesty and wonder to this coughing little boy. He shivers ever worse.

"That is good," the Mother says, forcing the fear from her face to smile with lips wooden with dread.
"For your shivers mean The Turquoise Woman is standing close by you. Her touch is cold, oh, so cold. But she embraces only those she loves."

The mother points to the foot of the bed. "See that hulking shape there? No, it is not the coat rack, Roland. It is Hibbs, the bear with two shadows, the protector of all ill children."

She waits patiently for his next coughing spasm to pass, wipes his mouth, his chin, then tweaks his nose. "And once he was your age, Roland. The Turquoise Woman then called him Hibbs, the cub with no clue."

"Truly, Mother?"

"As truly as love can whisper healing and laughter even though the night is dark and filled with pain."

His coughing grows worse. The mother hides her tears from Roland. She kisses his scortching hot forehead. "Let me tell you tales of magic and wonder of the ever-curious Hibbs."

"I never heard of Hibbs before, Mother."

"That is because he lives in a land that you cannot reach by foot or cart or horse. No. Only the imagination can take you there. And dreams are the fuel your journey will need.

But once there, you will find great quests, fierce monsters, faes whose beauty is both terrible and haunting beyond any singing of it."

"Oh, tell me about them, Mother."

And so the mother told the tales she frantically pieced together from the myths of both her Peoples.
The more Roland shivered, the more loved he felt by the Turquoise Woman.
The more his eyesight faded from his growing fever, his approaching death, the more clearly he saw Hibbs, the protector of all ill children, at the foot of his bed.

The trusting heart of a child is a strange, wondrous thing.

His worsening shivers made Roland feel loved by The Turquoise Woman. He saw Hibbs at the foot of his bed, protecting him from the fever and coughing. He heard the tales of magic and healing.
Sometimes trust, awe, and belief can give birth to miracles.

When curious Sun peeked his head over the silver mist of the dawn, Roland's fever had broken, his coughing eased.

Sometimes the magic works.

So little DreamSinger learned the power and magic of words young. As a kiss to the winds to the spirit of his loving mother, who did not want her son to die in fear and darkness, Roland wrote THE BEAR WITH TWO SHADOWS.

He spins his tales still in the darkness. Now, you know the birth of his desire to fling tales into the night. Should you write him, say that Elu waits with his mother and Hibbs to speak to him when he slumbers.
- Elu.

{ }