Category Archives: Fairies

#FlashFictionFriday: Edna’s Garden, Part 2

I’m packing up to move. Selling the house was more work than I thought it would be. My agent assured me the large sum of money I spent replacing the old carpets with laminate, and getting new, natural-stone counter-tops would more than pay for itself when I found the right family to sell the place to. Frank Lanier, my real estate agent, has known me for years. He accepts that I believe more is at stake than mere money and was willing to write some unusual clauses into the contract.

My daughter doesn’t know this, but I told Frank that if the right people wanted the house, I would accept any offer they made, even if it was a little low.

The problem is, I’ve buried two husbands, and now I’ve outlived my handyman, Jasper. He seemed so healthy too. But he dropped dead of a heart attack at the young age of only eighty-two. Jasper did everything I couldn’t for the last thirty years, mowing the grass, cleaning the gutters, fixing the wonky electric system, or repairing the roof. I don’t want to have to train some young know-it-all in how things should be done, such as not running the lawnmower over the sprinkler heads. I’ve accepted that I can’t care for the place anymore.

But I do have a responsibility to see to it the right family moves in here. They must be able to see past the expected, must have an imagination, and absolutely must be committed to preserving…nature.

Marjorie, my daughter, is only in her seventies and, unfortunately for her husband, she’s as healthy as a racehorse. The way she carries on about every minor ailment, you’d think she was at death’s door. Arthur, Marjorie’s husband, is the least spirited man I’ve ever met. I suppose forty-eight years of being tied to her has long since beaten anything resembling a backbone out of him. Marjorie has the notion her life will be much easier if they sell everything and move to Florida.

I know what my extraordinarily lazy daughter is up to.  By purchasing a condominium in a resort for well-heeled seniors, Marjorie will have housekeepers to order around and will never have to cook again. They could eat every meal in the community dining room. I’m sure Arthur sees that as a point in her favor since Marjorie can’t even boil water without burning it.

It sounds like a cruise ship but without the Norovirus. However, she needs me to foot the bill, because she always spent her and her husband’s salaries faster than they could earn it, and then she insisted on retiring early. So, they’re out of money now, but she has a new retirement plan–me. She’s been pretending I’m senile and petitioned the court to be given custodial power over me and my assets “for my best interests.”

That will never happen. She now hates my lawyer, because he made it clear that I am in complete possession of my wits, and the judge rather bluntly asked her what she was hoping to gain. She became quite offended, saying it was her duty to care for me in my declining years.

Of course, she came apologizing afterward, trying to convince me to move in with them, but I told her I had plans that involved having a life. Marjorie got that pouty look, the one she wears anytime she’s balked. After we had left the court, I did tell Violet that booking myself into the lowest-rated nursing home in a Bombay slum would be preferable to putting myself and my money in Marjorie’s power. Violet knows Marjorie, and had to agree.

With Jasper’s untimely death, I had to do something about the house, but I have a responsibility to the “guests” in my garden. I didn’t tell Frank why I wanted only a certain kind of family, but the truth is, whoever purchased this place had to be people with an open mind. They had to be able to see my fairies and understand they are an endangered species and that they have a sacred duty to protect them. That’s why I had Frank put the clause in the contract that the new owners must never cut the hedge.

Frank finally found the right people. Kaitlyn and Martha fell in love with it. When they looked at the garden, Kaitlyn spotted the fairies and got all excited, pointing and whispering to Martha that this was the place for them to build their life together, and she had to have it, no matter what.

Martha agreed.

So now, that perfectly sweet couple will live here, and my fairies will be safe.

As the judge advised me to, I’m spending Marjorie’s inheritance. Frank found me the perfect little condo downtown near the senior center, and I can bring my cat, Rufus. It’s only a few blocks from the farmer’s market, and it’s on the bus line so I can sell my car, which will make my insurance agent happy.

Once I get settled there, Violet and I will take a two-week trip to Italy. We have a lot of plans, and making a pilgrimage to Fabio’s birthplace is just the beginning.

512px-August_Malmström_-_Dancing_Fairies_-_Google_Art_Project

 


Edna’s Garden, Part 2 © 2016 Connie J. Jasperson, All Rights Reserved

Click here to read part one of Edna’s Garden 

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#amreading: The Well at World’s End, William Morris

TheWellattheWorldsEnd423x630First published in 1896, and now in the public domain, The Well at World’s End by William Morris has inspired countless great fantasy authors. J.R.R. Tolkien and C.S. Lewis were students at Oxford when they became devotees of Morris’s work, to name just two. I first read this book in college (back in the dark ages) when Ballantine released it as a two-volume set. The original Ballantine covers are below, at the end of this post.

This fairly unknown literary treasure is available for free, as a download for your Kindle or any other reading device. I got my Kindle version through the Gutenberg Project on Google–and it reminded me of what my true roots as a reader of fantasy are. Give me the beautiful prose, the side-quests to nowhere, and wrap them in an illusion of magic, and I’m yours forever.

First, The Blurb:

The rich, interwoven tapestry of William Morris’s four-volume epic, “The Well at the World’s End”, is brought together in a handsome edition featuring the tale of Ralph of Upmeads. Literally and figuratively, this story is the wellspring that gave rise to both C.S. Lewis’ “Chronicles of Narnia”, and J.R.R. Tolkien’s “The Hobbit” and “Lord of the Rings”. Many elements of the story will be familiar to those who love these and other modern narratives of fantasy and adventure, set in a mythical world.

Ralph of Upmeads is the fourth and youngest son of the king of a small monarchy, and the only one forbidden of his elder brothers from going in search of his fortune. He runs away, but not before his godmother gives him a necklace with a bead on it, which unerringly directs his destiny to seek out the legendary and titular well at the end of the earth. Along the way, he encounters friends and foes in an ever-changing landscape of rolling hills and barren wood, towering mountains and meandering rivers. Through them all pass roads down which many heroes since have sojourned; united in fellowship, or alone on solitary quests.

Great and splendorous cities await, and in between, thriving towns, tiny villages, and protective farms at the edge of vast wildernesses. The further our intrepid wayfarer gets from home, the more he misses the simple pleasures of his hearth, table, and bed. Many have followed in his footsteps since, both character and reader alike.

Its language is that of another age, but its archetypical settings and denizens are the timeless stuff of once and future legend.

William_Morris_-_Project_Gutenberg_eText_13619

Portrait of William Morris by George Frederic Watts, 1870

My Review:

William Morris wrote beautifully crafted poems. The prose in this narrative is both medieval and sumptuous. He was born in 1834 and died in 1896. He was an important figure in the emergence of socialism in Britain, founding the Socialist League in 1884, but breaking with that organization over goals and methods by the end of the decade. Famous as a designer of textiles and wallpaper prints that made the Arts and Crafts style famous, Morris devoted much of the rest of his life to the Kelmscott Press, which he founded in 1891. Kelmscott was devoted to the publishing of limited-edition, illuminated-style print books. The 1896 Kelmscott edition of the Works of Geoffrey Chaucer is considered a masterpiece of book design.

The Well at World’s End is a real departure for the literature of the Victorian era, in that the morality is indicative of the free-thinking bohemian lifestyle of the famous and infamous artists of the day. William Morris was a member of the Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood and was a man who enjoyed an unconventional lifestyle in the company of like-minded people, with few permanent ties, all of them celebrating musical, artistic, and literary pursuits.

Using language with elements of the medieval tales written by Chaucer and Chrétien de Troyes, who were his models, Morris tells the story of Ralph of Upmeads, the fourth and youngest son of a minor king. The king is wise and his kingdom prosperous, but nevertheless his four sons are not content. The three older brothers set out, with their father’s blessing. Ralph is still young, and his father wishes him to remain at his side.

Not happy with his lot, Ralph departs without his father’s blessing. He yearns to find knightly adventure and is encouraged by a lady, Dame Katharine, to seek the Well at the World’s End, a magic well which will confer a near-immortality and strengthened destiny on those who drink from it. The Dame is childless, and sees Ralph as a son; she gives him a necklace of blue and green stones with a small box of gold tied on to it, telling him to let no man take it from him, as it will be his salvation. She also gives him money for his journey.

The well lies at the edge of the sea beyond a wall of mountains called “The Wall of the World” by those on the near side of them but “The Wall of Strife” by the more peaceful and egalitarian people who live on the seaward side.

Ralph meets a mysterious Lady of the Dry Tree, the Lady of Abundance who has drunk from the well, and they become lovers. Together and separately, they face many foes and dangers including brigands, slave traders, unscrupulous rulers and treacherous fellow travelers. The lady is murdered, leaving Ralph bereft. Later, Ralph meets another lady, Ursula, and with her help and the aid of the Sage of Sweveham, an ancient hermit who has also drunk of the well, Ralph eventually attains the Well, after many more adventures.

Because the main character, Ralph, and a nameless lady become lovers with no thought of marriage, the novel was not well known in its time, until twenty years after Morris’s death when it was discovered by free-thinking university students, to the dismay of their strait-laced parents.

The underlying story is strong, with many twists and turns. The relationship between the Ralph and the Lady of Abundance is well portrayed, as is the jealousy of her former lover, the death of her husband, and the way she is either loved or feared by everyone around her driving the plot forward. She is a woman of mystery, alternately cruel and kind, one minute the Lady of the Dry Tree, and the next, the Lady of Abundance.

Ralph’s story really begins after her death and the intertwined threads of fate and magic are compelling. The characters Ursula and the Sage of Sweveham are both deep and well-drawn.

I freely confess that in the same way as the works of William Shakespeare are hard for a modern reader to translate, the language of William Morris’s work is difficult to follow. A quote will show you what I mean: “But Ralph gave forth a great wail of woe, and ran forward and knelt by the Lady, who lay all huddled up face down upon the grass, and he lifted her up and laid her gently on her back. The blood was flowing fast from a great wound in her breast, and he tore off a piece of his shirt to staunch it, but she without knowledge of him breathed forth her last breath ere he could touch the hurt, and he still knelt by her, staring on her as if he knew not what was toward.”

When you read it aloud, it rolls off the tongue with beauty and grace and is somehow easier to understand.

I was always intrigued by the works of the medieval and renaissance authors whose works I had to work to translate into modern English. Once translated, reading it was like opening a time capsule. It was a window into a lost world of romance and mystery.

The Well at the Worlds End is a foundational work in the canon of modern fantasy literature. All the great works of the twentieth century have some roots in this novel. The hard-core devotee of true fantasy literature will not be intimidated by the archaic prose. A wealth of tales lies within this volume, all of which come together in the end.

The_Well_at_the_Worlds_End_1-2


Parts of this review were originally published  on 31-Jan-2014 on Best in Fantasy

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Comfort books, a three-course meal: 1st course, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn

Dragonbone_ChairI’ve been reading a lot lately. I know, you’re surprised, right? Mostly I’ve been revisiting my old favorites. I have a group of what I call “comfort books.”  That is not to say these books are comfortable, because they’re quite the opposite: challenging, involving,  and at times a little horrifying. But they are books that I can go back to again and again and never be disappointed in either the writing or the tale. I always find some new thing, along with the themes and characters that enchanted me the first time I read them.

These are the books that inspired me to write, not because I thought I could write better, but because these authors were unable to keep up with my reading demand. So, in the lull between “real books” I began writing the stories I wanted to read. Today begins  the first course of this three-course meal. Two more will follow!

First up is Tad Williams’ epic masterpiece, Memory, Sorrow, and Thorn. This tale was so large he couldn’t fit it all into one book. Each book is quite large, and believe me, there is no fluff in any of them.

Stone_of_FarewellIn this gripping tale, Williams takes a traditional tale of a kitchen-boy turned hero, and turns it sideways, giving it depth and power. He puts his protagonist, who begins as Simon Mooncalf, though hell,forging strength of character and courage in a boy who always dreamed of adventure. Simon the dreamer is real, human; a man with flaws as well as strengths. As a boy he is afraid, but he is courageous when it counts. And as a warrior, Simon Snowlock is strong, and not always forgiving. He is a multilayered hero, as is the story in which he is set.

The quest for the swords of power, and the larger quest to save Osten Ard from the grip of Ineluki, the Storm King, are enclosed within the real dramas of human (and not-so-human) affairs.

What made this  series of books strike such a chord within me in the first place, was the way the world of Osten Ard reflects the history and folklore of our world. Several characters’ elements and experiences mirror the legends and mythology of Great Britain and other European cultures. I felt I knew these societies, and yet they were seen through a fractured mirror, similar, yet so different.

At the outset, the Erkynlanders are are the dominant society, and are ruled by King John Presbyter, also known as Prester John. He united them, but they’re still slightly clan-based and resemble the early medieval English of around the fifth to seventh centuries, with names that are  Saxon-ish and Biblical. It is a castle-based, feudal society right out of the dark ages. They have a religion that is similar to Christianity, as if they are a parallel reality.

To_Green_Angel_TowerPrester John is the man who united Osten Ard, and carved their society, but he is dying. Like the great Plantagenet kings of our history, he has two strong sons who have a deep-rooted quarrel, and this sets up the conflict that evolves and encompasses an entire world.

After his death, the dark secrets of Prester John’s own checkered history drive the plot, sweeping Simon up in events which he has no control over.  His growth over the course of this series makes a gripping, compelling story, as does the parallel story of Miriamele, Prester John’s granddaughter.

Green_Angel_Tower_P1The other people of Osten Ard who have recognizable real-world parallels in their names and cultures, and who have strong, absorbing story-lines are:

Binabik—a Qanuc (based on Inuit, or Eskimo)

Jiriki—Sithi (distinct from a branch of their culture, the Norns, who are the root antagonists.  Based on Asian, Japanese) Ineluki, the Storm King is Norn.

Maegwin—Hernystiri (Celtic, perhaps Irish or Welsh)

Sir Camaris—Nabbanai: I just fell in love with this tragic man. These people felt reminiscent of Renaissance Italy, quite Roman

Tiamak—Wrannamen: Indigenous tribal  people who live close to the earth,

Sludig—Rimmersmen: Norse and early Germanic , quite Viking

Also included is another culture, the Thrithings: Horse nomads, reminiscent of the Mongols.

This is not a series you can read in a day or even a week. It is easy to get completely caught up in this tale, to the point that you forget to eat, and don’t hear when the dog wants out. I originally bought The Dragonbone Chair for the artwork on the cover. It was created by the brilliant fantasy artist, Michael Whelan. All the covers in this series are incomparable, and to my great joy, so was the story within.

TadWilliams200And the best part is: Tad is writing another trilogy based in Osten Ard, set thirty years later. Quote from his blogpost of April 3, 2014 : “I guess the cat has been debagged. Several of you have seen and shared the news that, yes, I am returning to Osten Ard for a series of books called (collectively) “The Last King of Osten Ard”. It will feature many of the same characters a generation later (and many new ones as well). The book titles will be (as of now):

The Witchwood Crown
Empire of Grass
The Navigator’s Children

This is assuming I don’t do my normal try-to-squeeze-two-books-into-the-last-volume trick.”

I don’t care how you do it Tad. I am just glad you are still young, and still writing amazing books in a kijillion settings. I am waiting patiently for the emergence of this series. Do your crazy thing, madman! Take your time and do it right! I will have it on pre-order the minute it becomes available, and when it arrives on my doorstep I will dance all the way to my cozy sofa, where I will sit and read until I am forced to set the book down in order to feed the hubby. Then I will continue reading until the next meal must be served.

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Hunted Heart, by Alison Deluca

Most avid readers of the fantasy genre are fans of the old fairytales as told by the Brothers Grimm and I am no exception. In fact it was my love of fairytales that inspired me to write in the first place. I am always interested in reading other authors’ takes on these fairy tales. It is amazing how differently two authors will tell what began as the same story.

Today my good friend, Alison DeLuca, author of  the steampunk Crown Phoenix Series, has consented to answer a few questions for us, and allow me to share the wonderful cover of her new book, Hunted Heart. It is a standalone book, and is a true fairytale, the premise of which had really intrigued me.

CJJ: Alison, tell us a little of early life and how you began writing:

AD: I always loved reading. My early favorites were Alice in Wonderland, the Odyssey, Arabian Nights, and fairytales of all kinds.

CJJ: Tell us about your most recent book.

AD: Hunted Heart is an adult version of Snow White. Prince Kas is the one threatened by the wicked queen, and the huntress, Tali, is given the job of taking him to the forest to cut out his heart. They end up falling for each other, but not without a great deal of adventure along the way. Yes, there is a wicked queen and my version of a poisoned apple. And we mustn’t forget True Love’s Kiss…

CJJ: How did you come to write this novel?

AD: Someone I met online prompted me and begged me to write the story – she is the J.R. in my dedication. I loved her idea of making the hunter a strong female and ran with it.

CJJ: Do you have a specific ‘Creative Process’ that you follow, such as outlining or do you ‘wing it’?

AD: This book was an exercise in winging! The Snow White structure supported my story, and I was able to take off from there. Writing a fairytale redux is completely addictive – I might have to do a few others.

CJJ: How does your work differ from others of its genre?

AD: It is genderbent, and I’ve set the story in a mythical Norse country. I couldn’t resist including Freja, Iduna, and a few others from Norse tales. It’s also quite adult, with violence and some sexy scenes, and a charity project: Tali, my main character, suffers from some terrible abuse as a child, and so 100% of the royalties go to HelptheChildren.org.

CJJ: Why do you write what you do?

AD: Honestly, because I can’t help it. When I get an idea it needles me until I pin it down on paper. It’s like giving birth, to be honest.

CJJ: I so know that feeling! I know why I chose the indie route for my work, but I’m curious as to why you’ve chosen this path.

AD: I love the freedom indie publishing gives me. I’m able to write what I like and donate the proceedings when I do a charity project like this.

CJJ: What advice would you offer an author trying to decide whether to go indie or take the traditional path?

AD: Both have their merits and challenges. Being an indie does give you freedom but also relies on individual marketing. Traditional publishing gives more support but gives the author little choice on things like covers and presentation. Both are good in their way – each author must decide for herself how she would like to proceed!

 CJJ: Alison–I love the answers you gave my stock questions!  Thank you for giving me this opportunity to get the word out about your charity, HelptheChildren.org.

AD: Thank you so much for having me on your blog, Connie. This was a lot of fun!

And without further discussion, here is that amazing, most intriguing book cover:

HuntedHeart cover final

 

I confess I am blown away by this one, and I have become quite a fan of Alison’s graphic designer.

Alison DeLuca HeadshotAlison DeLuca is the author of several steampunk and urban fantasy books.  She was born in Arizona and has also lived in Pennsylvania, Illinois, Mexico, Ireland, and Spain.

Currently she wrestles words and laundry in New Jersey.

You can find Alison here:

Facebook – http://www.facebook.com/alison.deluca.author

OR http://on.fb.me/TNWEfb

Twitter – http://twitter.com/ – !/AlisonDeLuca

Google + http://bit.ly/ADGoogle

Author Central: http://amzn.to/ADeLucaAuthorCentral

Pinterest: http://pinterest.com/alisondeluca/

I have long been a fan of all of Alison’s work and have been fortunate enough to have some of my own work  included included along side of hers in a charitable anthology, Christmas O’Clock,  a book of wonderful short stories for children that is available in both paperback and for the kindle. (All proceeds for Christmas O’Clock go to Water Is Life to help children and families in an international effort.)

 

 

 

 

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Dial-a-Plot

No matter how careful I am when building my outline, there is always a point where I am writing by the seat of my pants.  As I am normally rather a linear plotter, this can really change the direction a tale goes in.

I hear people whining all the time about this character or that one dying right and left in Game of Thrones. I don’t have HBO, so I’ve never seen it, but I have friends who seem to find this distressing.  I suspect that winging it and writing to a deadline is why people die  so frequently in George R.R. Martin’s world–it’s certainly how they meet a messy end in my world.

But how do we fly freely with our narrative, and yet not destroy the awesome story arc we have created? How do we avoid having to hide the mangled corpses of our beloved characters when they might be useful later?

Enter my home-made Dial-a-Plot (sustainably powered by dark matter).  It’s just your standard circular thingy that can be printed out and taped to your desk.  Whenever you have lost your way writing your epic fantasy, rather than resort to a sudden influx of something as far-fetched as cannibal fairies, feel free to refer back to this little gadget to remind you of those elements that really drive a plot.

Dial-a-Plot

When your writing mind has temporarily lost its momentum and you are stretching the boundaries of common sense, it can’t hurt to take some time to consider the central themes that inject true tension into the story, to keep the action moving and the heroes swinging their swords.

Hopefully you won’t have to resort to killing anyone you might need later, and cannibal fairies won’t take your tale in a direction you can’t recover gracefully from…unless…heh heh…Cannibal FAiries

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la vie fantastique

Map-pugetsoundMy hubby and I went to Victoria, British Columbia (Canada) over this last weekend. It was a wonderful two days, spent in a town that exists partly to govern the Province of British Columbia, but mostly to help you lighten the burden in your pocket book, and make you beg to let them do it again.  We got up at 3:00 a.m. and left our house at 4:45.

(Gah!)

I am often up at that time of the day, but not intentionally, so it was no surprise to me that I could hardly pry my eyes open. Then we drove up to Seattle, collecting two of his sisters along the way.

It’s amazing how little traffic is on I5 at that time of the morning–perhaps I will do all my traveling at ungodly hours. And parking…OMG, it was heaven.

(Sorry, too much texting the GKs lately. Makes me want to lol out loud. Might write my next book in textspeak.)

Anyway, I had my pick of prime spots in the parking garage, and found one I was easily able to maneuver the old minivan into with no trouble. I hardly gave my poor brother-in-law, Dave, a heart-attack  at all on the way up to Seattle. He  is a sweetheart of a guy but the man is a nervous and verbal passenger.  The trip back–well lets just say he wanted me to take the Alaskan Way Viaduct, and I didn’t want to.

I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that. 

I don’t trust the viaduct. It’s as shaky and narrow as a one-legged ladder.  I’d much rather drive in aimless circles around downtown Seattle hunting for a southbound freeway on-ramp, counting the number of times we pass Nordstrom’s and he doesn’t see the fun in such an exercise. But that’s another post (the one on how our family puts the fun in dysfunctional.)

Catamaran_Victoria_Clipper_IVSo we got on the Victoria Clipper at 7:30 a.m., which is definitely the way to go if you are traveling from Seattle. Victoria Clipper catamarans typically complete a one-way trip in less than 3 hours, in our case, 2 hours and 45 minutes.   To drive there would take 6 hours from our house anyway and we would still have to take a ferry, so why not just leave the car in Seattle and go in style? And we were flying over the water, traveling at 30 knots, which is just a hair over 34.5 miles per hour in landlubber-speak. That’s cruising pretty fast on the inland Salish Sea.

Then we toured the Butchart Gardens. THAT place is most definitely a fairyland.  I can’t even find the words to explain how beautiful it is.  My cellphone photos suck, to use a technical term, so I am using images cadged from WIKIPEDIA to illustrate this:

1200px-Butchart_Sunken_Gardens

 

1200px-Butchart-gardens-002

Needless to say, after a long day of hiking the most gorgeous gardens, and then trundling all over the downtown, spending money like water in Victoria proper, I was SO ready for a lovely meal in what is really a lovely, vegan-friendly city. A long soak in the hotel hot tub, and followed by gin & tonic in the hotel lounge (light on the gin and lots of lime wedges, thank you) and this old lady was ready for bed.  I got on the internet just long enough to check my email.  I wasn’t completely out of writer-mode–I did note my ideas down in my little book while I was on the ferry.

So, while I didn’t get any writing done I had a wonderful time with my in-laws, and that’s paradise, to me.

Victoria_harbour_-_Victoria,_British_Columbia_-_2014

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Cover reveal,Tales from the Dreamtime

Tales from the Dreamstime jpg 2013Great covers sell books! I love great covers, but haven’t always been that good at creating them.

This is the cover of my soon-to-be-released book, Tales from the Dreamtime, a collection of two short stories and one novella.

The image is The Lily Fairy by Falero Luis Ricardo. The image itself is in the public domain, because the original author or artist passed away over 100 years ago. Thus, instead of crediting the artist with a © symbol, we use a different  method:

 

Luis Ricardo Falero Lily Fairy 1888.

{{PD-Art|PD-old-100}}

The credit line is extremely important, as you must always clearly represent on the copyright page of your book each person with an interest in the work.  You must have on file a license clearly granting you permission to use the image in way you intend to use it.

In the case of public domain artwork, a good source of free artwork with clearly written  creative-commons licenses is Wikimedia Commons.  There is a limited number of works that are suitable for my purposes, and some of the best ones have restrictions clearly stated on them. This picture, however, has the following provenance clearly stated on the bottom half of the page beneath the picture:

Author
[show]Luis Ricardo Falero (1851–1896) Link back to Creator infobox template wikidata:Q2744493
Description
Lily Fairy
Date 1888
Medium oil on canvas
Source/Photographer [1]
Permission
(Reusing this file)
Author died more than 70 years ago – public domain
This is a faithful photographic reproduction of an original two-dimensional work of art. The work of art itself is in the public domain for the following reason:
Public domain This work is in the public domain in the United States, and those countries with a copyright term of life of the author plus 100 years or less.
This file has been identified as being free of known restrictions under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights.

The way you are to credit the artist is also clearly expressed in a link:

Courtesy credit lines[edit]

Public Domain media do not require credit line or any kind of attribution; however, reusers are encouraged to attribute author (if known) and inform users that the work was released into public domain. Below are suggested creditline formats for the reusers:

License Author Source Credit line
{{PD-self}}
{{PD-author}}
{{PD-heirs}}
John Doe Own work John Doe / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
{{PD-old}} John Doe publication / self-scanned John Doe / Public Domain
{{PD-self}} [[user:JohnDoe]] Own work user:JohnDoe / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain
{{anonymous-EU}}
{{PD-anon-1923}}
{{anonymous work}}
anonymous publication Public Domain

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I have found many old masters that I use on this blog on Wikimedia Commons.

“Public domain” means nobody claims any rights to the property, either because they gave them up or because time or some other factor ended copyright. Anyone can use it for any purpose. For instance, anyone can publish and sell a copy of “A Christmas Carol” because it is no longer copyright due to age.

“Royalty free” means “I own it, but I am allowing you to use it under specific conditions without paying me royalties for it” A Royalty free license does have qualifications. For instance it might allow you to use the work but not to sell copies. Many times you pay the artist a onetime fee and then you have the rights to use the work within the limits of your contract.

Bedermann dreamstime_14266940Affordable Royalty Free art can be found on Dreamstime.com, and the price ranges from $1.00 to $75.00. There are thousands of images on that website. iStock.com is another great royalty free website.  Their contracts are clear and printable and the credit lines are also clear. You always have a record of your purchases through them, on the website so your provenance is never in doubt.

Being an indie is a lot of work, and you really have to be your own art department. It is a lot of fun, I find. I have even tried making my own cover art, with mixed results, but I really learn a lot from these sorts of experiences.

Being an indie is a s much about the learning the ropes of the publishing business as it is anything else.  I have learned that just owning the rights to use the art is only the first step to a good cover. You must either be able to use Photoshop (mondo expensive) or Gimp (free), both of which are startlingly difficult to learn the ropes of.  Not only that, you must understand how a book cover is laid out. There are YouTube and Amazon walkthroughs, which is a free education but also which is complicated.

My advice? Hire a graphic designer with experience in designing book covers. It is well worth it. My own choice of artwork is dictated by my both my pocketbook and the image’s relevance to the story, but I find that good graphics can really make a great cover.

I have a graphic designer, Ceri Clark, who does the graphics on my book covers, because I don’t have the eye for them. My advice? Hire a graphic designer with experience in designing book covers. I know I already said that, but that is my advice, lol!

So here is the blurb for my new book, Tales from the Dreamtime

Three grownup Tales from the Dreamtime in one novella…

A conversation with Galahad
A prince on a quest and a goddess in mourning
A stolen kingdom and the Fractal Mirror 
Three tales of wonder and great deeds 
Three tales of heroes and villains 

Open the door and enter the Dreamtime, the world of fairytales, the flower of all that is delightful and mysterious, frightening and amazing.

It will be offered for sale as an ebook by Monday August 12,2013 if all goes as planned.It contains three tales:

TABLE    OF    CONTENTS

1     Galahad Hawke (a short story)

2    The Tale of Prince Darién (a short story)

3    Arrabelle and the Prince of Thieves (a novella)

Each tale is written with my own particular brand of let-the-chips-fall -where-they-may take on traditional fairytales.

I may yield to pressure and pick up the story at the end of  Galahad, turning him into a novel during NaNoWriMo this year–he is an Arthurian tale with a Steampunk twist. Nothing is certain yet!

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Billy’s Revenge

HTB full cover for create space copyThe Billy’s Revenge series takes place in one of my favorite places: The wayside inn known as Billy’s Revenge.  Irene Luvaul is currently editing the first book in the series, Huw the Bard,  and I am making revisions per her kind-but-firm direction. I have begun work writing Book 2, Billy Ninefingers. It’s good to back among my close friends at Billy’s Revenge!

In regard to the Tower of Bones series, book 1, Tower of Bones is currently in the final stages of review and will be available in print by January 1st, 2013.  Forbidden Road is being prepped for publication and will be available in both print and Kindle format by the end of January 2013, barring any formatting issues. Carlie Cullen and I finished the fourth and final edit and Sherrie DeGraw is proof-reading the final edited version. I have made great headway on book 3 in that series, Valley of Shadows and also am nearly done with a stand-alone novel, Mountains of the Moon.

Writing consumes me – I have more ideas and stories than I have time to write them. I have a large number of works in progress at all times so that when I run out of ideas in one tale I can move on to another, and my creative mind is always flowing.

Irene Luvaul has given me some excellent advice in regard to keeping things straight.  If you have a made-up word, write it on a list of names and words you are using in that tale so that your spellings and capitalizations remain consistent throughout the work.  This is a really good idea for me, as I have a LOT of invented and fractured names in all my work!  I have done this, and I refer to it frequently.  When I find myself keying something wrong, I do a control-f search (find and replace) and make sure every instance of that word is consistent within the manuscript.  Irene is currently on a ‘which’ hunt.

*sigh*

In the course of editing Tower of Bones and Forbidden Road, I was rudely surprised by the number of instances of ‘had been’, ‘that’, and ‘very’ salting my first draft.  I’ve conquered the urge to fall back on those words to a certain extent, but now ‘which’ has become the bugaboo word for me! What happens is we use words repetitively and don’t realize it.  Carlie Cullen in the Tower of Bones Series and Irene Luvaul in the Billy’s Revenge series both keep me on track and out of trouble.  As I always say, writing is a journey and I never know what is around the corner.

At least everything is finally back on track and going forward as well as is possible in both series.  I also have my book of fairy-tales inching toward completion, and hopefully by June they will be ready to be published. There is a time-traveling story about Galahad, a modern take on a Snow White mashup along with several traditional style tales, all of which are nearly complete and will need editing soon. Writing the tales for that book is a great deal of fun, because telling the tales with a traditional, Brother’s Grimm style of narrative is rather liberating.  The tales are not for children.  If you think about it, most fairy-tales are extremely violent and involve adult situations.  I’ve always thought they were tales for grownups, anyway!

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