Light in the Darkness

I am responding to the WordPress Daily Post of today: Candle.

When I saw this word, I immediately thought of Tolkien. Last night I attended a wonderful talk about the “Catholic Imagination of J.R.R. Tolkien” and after that I don’t think I’ll read his books the same way again. It’s not that the story has changed for me – not at all. Instead, I feel like the story has come alive in a new way with deeper, more meaningful insights and a whole new way to connect to the story and characters has been opened up for me.

I had already loved and respected Tolkien. Now I love him and respect him even more. If I had had any doubt of his genius, those doubts are entirely banished.

In response to the prompt word “candle” I offer one of Tolkien’s most well known poems:

tolkien-01

Now if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to go re-read The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings. Have a good weekend everyone!

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Headline: Band Boosters Plan Mattress Sale Fundraiser

SURPRISE!

Today, dear Readers, you are getting two short story posts. You can thank my lovely friend Rebecca for this second story treat, because it was she who prompted me to write it with a mysterious and intriguing text:

“Headline: Band Boosters plan mattress sale fundraiser”

How could I not respond to that? Enjoy!

Found this while searching on Google...apparently Mattress Sale Fundraisers are REAL. Who knew?
Found this while searching on Google…apparently Mattress Sale Fundraisers are REAL. Who knew?
HEADLINE: BAND BOOSTERS PLAN MATTRESS SALE FUNDRAISER!

Zelina smiled as she read the paper’s headline. Gotcha.

There was a Ghastly Nightmare on the loose, and it was Zelina’s job to catch it. That was what a Dream Catcher did. And what better place for a Nightmare to be lurking than at a mattress sale where hundreds of people would be gathered around beds? It would be nothing for the Nightmare lull them into a deep sleep, and then it would attack. A feast of dreams for the Ghastly Nightmare to ravage.

She glanced down at the paper again. The Mattress Sale was scheduled for this Saturday. That gave her three days to prepare. Three days to lay her traps. Just three days, but Zelina would be ready.

Bring on the night.

 
To be continued…

Half Upon A Time: A Series Review

I love going to the bookstore, especially a used one. You never know what you’re going to find.

Sometimes you go in with a list and a goal. Other times, you sort of just meander through the shelves, looking for something to jump out at you. That’s how my last visit to the Half Priced Bookstore was – and what jumped out at me was the Half Upon A Time series by James Riley.

The cover was bright, colorful and fun looking. I had to pull it off the shelf for a closer look.

Confession: That whole “don’t judge a book by its cover” saying? I don’t follow it. I definitely get a first impression from a book cover. Often times, like this time, it’s what pulls me in and gets me interested.

What doesn't look fun about this? Adventure! Danger! Dangling from high places!
What doesn’t look fun about this? Adventure! Danger! Dangling from high places!

Of course, after the cover, there’s the synopsis or the blurb on the back (or sometimes inside front flap) to pull me in deeper, and if I start reading the first chapter, usually I’m hooked. Which if you haven’t guessed, is exactly what happened when I picked up Half Upon A Time.

So let’s get into the story. What’s it about? Who are our characters? And why should you read it?

If you haven’t guessed from the cover or the title, Half Upon A Time is a fairy tale with a twist. Full of all your favorite and beloved fairy tale characters and their classic stories…probably not how you imagined them.

So let’s meet the main characters:

First up is Jack, our main hero, or rather, our in-denial hero who really thinks his grandfather should just lay off the whole “rescuing a princess” deal. He figures he has enough to deal with after the fiasco with his father stealing from a giant (Jack hasn’t seen him since). But when a princess literally falls out of the sky and into Jack’s arms (sort of), avoiding adventure gets hard, even though his princess, the fiery, sarcastic May fervently denies being royalty (but it says so right on her shirt – “Punk Princess”!) and refuses to believe in magic or giants or any other fairy tails (Jack tried to tell her fairies don’t have tails, but she wouldn’t listen). Unfortunately for May, if she wants to rescue her kidnapped grandmother (who just might be the long-lost Snow White) and avoid being caught by the Huntsman, who is probably working for the Wicked Queen (who just wants to start a war and take over the world), she’s going to have to start believing. And even worse? Jack might be her only hope.

Jack and May’s hilarious misadventure will have you laughing out loud, sitting on the edge of your seat and gasping at the plot twists (unless you’ve got a Magic Mirror that can tell you the future…in which case you already know what’s going to happen. Which also might mean you’re the Wicked Queen, and that’s not good for any of us.).  And if you’re anything like me, it will have you quickly picking up the second and third books of the series, reading with a tight grip on the pages, your eyes wide as you drink it all in.

Pirates! Mermaids! land-walking sharks! It doesn't get any crazier than that! (until the next book).
Pirates! Mermaids! Land-walking sharks! It doesn’t get any crazier than that! (until the next book).
The Wicked Queen, betrayal, dragons and EPIC final showdowns...you really won't want it to end!
The Wicked Queen, betrayal, dragons and EPIC final showdowns…you really won’t want it to end!

I don’t want to spoil anything for those you (all of you, I hope) who want to read the series, so I won’t say more, only this: I heartily recommend this series to all lovers of fairy tales, fantasy, adventure and good reading fun. It’s suitable for all ages, and will definitely leave you smiling. Plus, this awesome author has a treat for his readers on his Tumblr…an epilogue! If you get that far, check out that amazingness here. You won’t regret it.

Happy Reading!

To Be or Not To Be?

You have three hundred words to justify the existence of your favorite person, place, or thing. Failure to convince will result in it vanishing without a trace. Go!
Via Pinterest.
Via Pinterest.

“How much sooner one tires of anything than of a book!” – Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

It was true 200 years ago and it’s still true today. Books are an inexhaustible source of information, entertainment and inspiration. They can be lifetime companions and intimate friends. They see us through our trials of despair and disappointments, during moments of joy and times of boredom when we are in desperate need of escape. Books help us grow and learn. We carry their stories with us in our hearts and pass them on to our children.

Through books we can travel through time and read the words of those who came centuries before us. We can escape to new worlds that haven’t been discovered yet or only exist in our imagination. We can see things we’ve never seen, visit places we’ve never visited.

Books move us to tears and laughter. While reading them our hearts beat faster and feel fuller. Goosebumps cover our skin, chills tickle our spine, and our stomachs swoop with excitement and fear. Hunger gnaws at our bellies and desire burns. Our minds are utterly captivated, our imaginations enchanted.

How then could something so wonderful, so compelling, so magical as a book cease to exist in the world? It cannot be borne. Are we to be deprived of such objects that have defined generations? It cannot be. Life as we know it would not exist without books, and it would certainly be less enjoyable. Is there anyone who can say they have not enjoyed a good story?

Books need no justifying. They justify themselves. They’re more than ink and paper and glue, more than letters turned into words, turned into images in our brains. Books are the keepers of worlds and histories, of love and hope. Books will never die.

 

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Writing prompt Do or Die provided by Daily Prompt.

 

Just One

Happy Friday! It’s time for Friday Fictioneers! Special thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for always posting such awesome prompts for us bloggers. Enjoy today’s story!

Copyright: Jennifer Pendergast
Copyright: Jennifer Pendergast

Just One

“Anne, don’t spend the whole day reading. You need to socialize with your peers.”

Anne sniffed and burrowed deeper into the cushion on the window seat. “The people in my books are more real to me than my vapid, self-absorbed peers could ever be.”

She heard her mother sigh deeply from the doorway. “You’re telling me there isn’t one person out there that could spark your interest?”

“Not one.”

Anne waited til she heard her mother walk away before looking past her book to the street below. Like everyday, Jared Elliot was walking home from work. Maybe there was one person.

Quoting the Quill #10

“I woke up thinking a very pleasant thought. There is lots left in the world to read.” Nicholson Baker

to read list
Via Pinterest.

The idea that there will always be something to read, that we will constantly be creating and writing new stories is a wonderful thought. I could never be bored among books. There are just so many things to learn, characters to meet, places to go, and adventures to be had!

What are you reading today?

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Quoting the Quill is meme created by Becky at Blogs-Of-A-Bookaholic, which is posted every other Wednesday.  If you’d like to find out more or join in the fun, check out the details here.

Gearing Up for NaNoWrMo

2013 NaNoWrMoIt’s here again, folks.

The month of writing frenzy. This November, thousands of writers all over the world will be locking the doors to their rooms and chaining themselves to their desks. In the midst of writing pep talks, advice, tips, tricks and tales of author struggles, writers will be battening down the hatches and doing what they do best: writing.

The goal on the NaNoWrMo (National Novel Writing Month) is to finish a novel of at least 50,000 words by the end of November. There isn’t a prize for  finishing, except that rough cut novel, ready for editing and the satisfaction of a job well done. There aren’t any rules, merely guidelines for helping you get through the month. For example, who’s to say you are restricted to just writing a novel? Maybe you’ve got a series of short stories you’d like to finish, or a collection of poems or personal essays you’ve been working on but haven’t finished (or even started on) yet. November is the month when you can lock yourself away and work on accomplishing those goals.

Last year, instead of writing a novel, I decided to start a blog, something I had been wanting to do for ages. I set the goal of two posts a week and I did it. Nearly a year later, I’m still blogging. I think my decision last November was one of the best I’ve made in my writing career.

This year I going to try another novel. Two years ago, when first participated in NaNoWrMo, I worked on a novel and got to about 25,000 words. Let’s see if I can’t go the full distance this year, shall we?

To all those writers out there who are signing up this November, I wish you the best of luck. Let the madness begin!