Tag Archives: legend

My short weekend

I only get a two day weekend on the rotation. My wife is off too, so it doesn’t make for much of a writing weekend. Normally, it isn’t even worth trying.

Tomorrow is when I call my parents, so I lose an hour in the morning there.

I really wanted to reach a part in Serang, so I dabbled this morning among all the noise. This isn’t the same as quality writing time, but it did add words.

It only came to about 800 words, but I got to and through that folk legend I’ve been planning. I like the way it turned out, and Serang is working on completing her quest.

I’m happiest with a callback to her childhood that brought a bit of emotion to the scene. Early reports are that it worked.

This is the start of Serang’s quest. It involves a bit of mining while dealing with the local wildlife. It’s going to take a few words (and locations) to bring it full circle.

It wasn’t productive, but it was successful. Forward progress counts even a few hundred words at a time.

Because I already had some words, this allowed me to send about 6000 words to my critique group. I already have the majority of them back. I seem to keep making the same errors over, and over again. Maybe we all do that, but I’d like to think I’m improving in some small way.

I’ll probably try to address the critiques after talking to my parents tomorrow. They’re coming for a visit next weekend, and I’m looking forward to it. I haven’t seen them in a while. It will be fun, but takes the place of any writing progress.

The rest of the weekend will involve a whole lot of Game of Thrones.

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Fairies, Myths, and Magic – all for 99¢

Colleen Chesebro has a new book out. Check out the promo, then check out the book.

Step into a world where fairies, dragons, and other magical beings converge in a collection of poetry and short stories inspired by the celebration of Litha, the Summer Solstice.

Meet Drac, a dragon cursed by his own poisonous deeds, and two pixies who help an old man remember a lost love. You’ll meet a pair of fairies with a sense of humor, and a young girl who fulfills her destiny after being struck by lightning. Learn what happens when a modern witch’s spell goes terribly wrong. Meet the Sisters of the Fey, a group of Slavic Witches who sign a pact with the Rusalki Fey to preserve their magic for the good of all.

Atmospheric and haunting, the prose and poetry, will rewrite the mythologies of the past bringing them into the future.

From the Summer Solstice Eve through International Fairy Day, (June 20th – June 25th) the veil thins between our existence and that of the fairy realm. This is the best time of the year to experience magic in all its forms.

On International Fairy Day, we honor these supernatural creatures who have enchanted us for generations—the fairies, the fey, the sprites, and pixies of lore. Everywhere you look, fairies have permeated our culture through movies, stories, and even in our gardens!

In my research, I’ve discovered that fairies or some similar creature appear in the written and oral traditions of most cultures. Often there is a connection between the good or evil deeds the tiny beings to perform. The fairies, sprites, pixies, brownies, all fall into the category of mischievous little beings. The myths and legends are filled with sightings of these ethereal creatures performing both good and bad deeds.

Almost like parables or myths, fairy sightings were also used to teach lessons. Many a mother warned their offspring not to venture near the creek alone or the fairies would get ye! In reality, the warning was meant to scare children away so they wouldn’t drown.

My own experience in meeting a swamp fairy is recounted in Fairies, Myths, & Magic. I believe they reveal themselves to us for a reason. Fairies are elementals, the protectors of nature. As humankind wreaks havoc on the environment, these beings are alerting us to the damage we have caused. Their message is clear—fix the destruction before it is too late. An apropos message for the times, wouldn’t you say?

Colleen M. Chesebro is an American Novelist of YA fantasy and magical realism, cross-genre fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction. She loves all things magical which may mean that she could be experiencing her second childhood—or not. That part of her life hasn’t been fully decided yet.

A few years ago, a mystical experience led her to renew her passion for writing and storytelling. These days she resides in the fantasy realm of the Fairy Whisperer where she writes the magical poetry and stories that the fairy nymphs whisper to her in her dreams.

Colleen won the Little and Laugh Flash Fiction Contest sponsored by the CarrotRanch Literary Community.com in November 2017 for her piece, called “The Bus Stop.” Her debut novel, The Heart Stone Chronicles: The Swamp Fairy won gold in the 2017 AuthorsDB.com cover contest.

Colleen lives in Colorado with her husband, Ron. When she is not writing, Colleen enjoys spending time with her husband and friends. She also loves gardening, reading, and crocheting old-fashioned doilies into works of art. You can learn more about Colleen at www.colleenchesebro.com.

You can find Colleen in all the usual places. Drop by anytime.

colleenchesebro.com Author Blog

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And here is that all important purchase link: Smarturl.it.FairiesMythsMagic

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The Fireborn, on #LisaBurtonRadio

Lisa Burton

Don’t touch that dial. You’ve landed on Lisa Burton Radio, the only show that brings you the characters from the books you love. I’m your host, Lisa the robot girl.

My special guest today is here seeking our help. It’s like an APB for civilians. “Welcome to the show, Dr. Elliot Everett-Jones.”

“Thanks for having me on, Lisa. And please, you don’t have to spit out the alphabet when you talk to me, I am just plain “Elliot”.”

“Elliot it is then. Before we make that plea to our listeners, let’s get into you a bit. You recently went through a bad divorce, and fled London for New York City. Was it really all that bad?”

“It does seem like yesterday, but I wouldn’t call ten years recent. Eleanor is beautiful and devastatingly intelligent. She’s the woman of dreams. She’s… Damn it, I didn’t mean any of that. Actually, I hate her. She left me for my best friend, Mark. Ex-best friend I should say, and, I guess now ex-anything since he recently passed away. With Mark safely in the great beyond, I could return to London without fear of perhaps bumping into him at an awkward moment. An awkward moment would be any time either of us were breathing.

“I haven’t been back long, but I’ve been enjoying every minute. I did love New York. There is a treasure trove of old books the Yanks stole, I mean brought over there, allowing me to do some research as I taught at CUNY. But I do love exploring old estates, trying to be the first to lay eyes on a manuscript lost for hundreds of years, stuffed away in a great library, gathering mold. All of my best ideas have come from those dusty old forgotten books. That is what I do, read books and interpret them. A lot of people say I misinterpret them, but what do they know? In case you are wondering, I’m not a librarian or bibliophile, I’m a historian.”

“What era do you focus on in your work?”

“I like those fuzzy areas just at the verge of history, but if I had to pick one era that I specialize in, that would be British history from the time the Romans left until the Saxons were well settled and had the island carved up. It was an exciting period, full of change. And there are so many blank holes in the record of that era, which fascinates me. Imagine, some of those holes are perhaps big enough to hide a king, though I think he was more of a war lord or general, not a king at all. That’s Arthur, if you didn’t catch on. Uhm, King Arthur if you insist. Of course, my brother laughs at it all. He thinks I’m a bit daft and teases me about this little obsession with Arthur and some of my other fringes of history passions, which he thinks is a bit extreme.”

“In what way?”

“Hmmm. You’ve heard of Dr. William Everett-Jones, the distinguish archeologist, haven’t you? Half of the time I call someone they think I’m him and sound disappointed when I tell them that, no, I’m the less than distinguished Dr. Elliot, the historian. William has taken on the family profession and is as straight-laced as they come. All of the facts must be in a row, thank you very much. No room for creativity. Creativity. Right. He thinks that I am a bit too creative. Sure, some of my sources are little known romantic era authors who quote obscure 15th century poets who quote long lost 9th century manuscripts that have quotes form even longer lost 6th century letters, but I do pull some amazing facts form these madmen and absinth addicts! William just doesn’t understand. He is always so cold, so reserved. Except, except… Well, the other day, when he showed me the uhm.. well, his latest find. Hmmm. It was, how can I put it? Excuse me, it has that effect on people. Even William was at a loss for words. He felt it’s power. Yet he didn’t believe me when I told him that the giant pot he had discovered was the mythical Cauldron of Resurrection.”

“You’re going to have to flesh that out for me.”

“Oh come on, you know, don’t you? It is in just about every Celtic myth and legend written. The Welsh went wild over it. Some called it Pair Dadeni, the Cauldron of Rebirth. And there are references even in artifacts, like the famous Gundestrup Cauldron, with its depiction of an altered king creating an army of the undead. No? I mean, it is all over The Mabinogion. You know the parts about taking dead bodies and making fighting men? I’m sure you know the story Branwen the daughter of Llyr. And that’s just the beginning. There are stories of an ancient king, the Cauldron King, who used the undead, the Fireborn, to conquer large sections of Europe, pushing Celtic culture all over the continent. No?”

“Um, yeah, my history research is kind of lacking in that area.”

“You’ve have heard of Caesar, haven’t you? Julius Caesar? Name ring any bells? Right. Caesar described meeting naked Celtic soldiers painted blue when he tried to invade Britain. I’m not saying Caesar saw any fireborn, but these Celts were in costume of the scariest thing they could imagine. You see, when the Cauldron King placed a dead body in the Cauldron of Resurrection, given that it is properly heated, a fireborn will come out. This is an undead soldier. It is animated by the fire. The body is blue, like the heart of the flame while the hair sticks up like a punk rocker, but bright red, like tongues of flame. They are hot, so fight in the nude. The fireborn are dead and so can’t be killed.”

“Zombies, or super-zombies?”

“If you must call them that, yes. Actually, I think sword wielding naked blue zombies does have a certain ring to it, don’t you?”

“And what makes you think this is all real?”

“William dug up the cauldron. One-hundred-percent-fact-based William. It’s real. I touched it. It’s hard to explain unless you’ve seen it. There is nothing in the universe that has so affected my mind, not even Eleanor. It sucks the energy out of the room like a black hole yet spits out a dark energy. I’ve had dreams about it. I’ve seen them. The fireborn and more. My dreams match my research, obscure sources be damned. And it’s not just me. Everyone who has come into contact with it has had the dreams, even needs-ten-references-to-take-it-seriously William. The dark lord, the Cauldron King, would speak to him in his dreams every night. William told me this.”

“Maybe they used the cauldron to brew some kind of super hooch and it’s still potent enough to give you guys hallucinations.”

“No, no, no. Well, OK, there was a mythical cauldron like that, but this isn’t it. William’s kettle was guarded by bodies that still looked alive, including one I suspect was the Cauldron King himself. It all fits. It all is exactly as my research says it must be. Not that I’d mind finding the never-empty super-brew cauldron. In fact, I used to enjoy a pint at a pub known for its bottomless glasses and topless… oh, never mind. What’s important here is that the cauldron vanished into thin air. It weighed over a ton, the car park was muddy as all hell, and someone took it without a trace. No helicopter was involved. It’s just gone. That would only happen if it were, you know, the Cauldron of Resurrection. Damn. We need to find Caledfwlch right away. Uhm. You know, Caliburnus? Ah, yes, I’m sure you call it Excalibur. We need the Sword!”

“Excalibur. Seriously?”

“Yes. Excalibur. It was created to kill the fireborn. Didn’t you ever wonder where it came from? I’m still researching the Lady of the Lake, but I do know that she is the keeper of the sword. She rose form the depths to give Arthur the sword in Britain’s time of need and his men tossed it back to her when he rid the land of evil and died. We need her to rise from the depths again and give us the sword now that we are in our own time of need.”

“Strange women, lying in ponds, distributing swords is no basis for a system of government.”

“Ha ha, I say ni to that. Or perhaps no as I don’t want to be king. And if you were listening, Arthur wasn’t a king either, just a warlord that became famous because he rid Britain of the fireborn. Which he did because he had the Sword. It all comes down to that blasted sword. We need our fiery sword to stop the fiery undead, to stop the… Well in your terms, the zombie apocalypse. It is coming. Bullets can’t stop them. Arrows can’t stop them. Locomotives can’t, uhm, well, clichés can’t stop them. The sword can stop them. It is the only thing in the world that can kill the undead. Please, if there is anyone out there that is listening, if you have seen a forever young lady handing out magic swords, please call into this program. She’ll most likely be around a body of water, but if she is standing in a pond, puddle or on Lake Street… well, just call, OK? Do I sound a little desperate? I hope so. We need the Sword.”

“To tell you the truth, I hope you find Excalibur. I’d like to see it in a museum somewhere. On the off chance the Fireborn are coming, I’d also like you to find it. Any last thoughts for our listeners today?”

“Thanks Lisa, I think you are the first one who has taken any of this even half serious, or perhaps it’s a quarter serious. I’m known as an eccentric and I’ve screamed about this so much people are beginning to think I’m a lunatic. Those who don’t assume I’m just doing promotion for another one of my books. I’m not! It’s been several weeks since the cauldron vanished. The police are clueless and aren’t listening. I’m sure that sooner or later it will be all over the news. All of you out there, please be careful and keep your eyes open. If there is even a hint of sword yielding naked blue zombies, uhm, damn, I love saying that… as I was saying, if you hear a hint of the fireborn, stay away! They can’t be killed. Well, without the Sword. You’ll keep your eyes open for that too, won’t you? Let me know if, well, you know. Hmm, it does sound silly when I saw it out loud, doesn’t it? But, damn it, we need to be ready for them. They’re coming!”

“Elliot, I wish you luck in your… might as well call it a quest at this point. Listeners can learn all about Elliot, the cauldron, and the Fireborn in the book The Fireborn, by Trent McDonald. I’ll post all the deets on the website after I go off the air.

“Don’t forget to use those sharing buttons today. I’m sure Trent and Elliot would do it for you, when your character appears on the next Lisa Burton Radio.”

***

In the shadowy area where myth and history collide, an unlikely hero is forced to save the world from an ancient Celtic curse. Dr. Elliot Everett-Jones knows that shadowy area well, having spent most of his life exploring its dimensions as given by a host of unreliable sources and imaginative speculation. Some would say he daydreams over the improbable plots of second-rate Romantic era authors. These fantasies, however, come to life after the discovery of the Cauldron of the Dead.

When the Cauldron produces the evil fireborn, Elliot is forced to confront an army of these mythic undead with nothing but his obscure knowledge and the hope of finding the legendary Lady of the Lake to give him Arthur’s sword. Even more frightening is the idea that he might have to confront his ex-wife, Eleanor.

The Fireborn is part joyful romp through history, myth and legend, and part fast paced adventure set in modern England and New York. The entire book, though, revolves around Elliot’s relationships with a large variety of characters. These relationships form the key that may unlock the mystery or lead to utter defeat.

US Paperback: https://www.amazon.com/dp/1522046488

US Kindle: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B074MMH537

UK Paperback: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1522046488

UK Kindle: https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B074MMH537

 

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I never decided what I wanted to do when I grew up.  I compose and play music, draw and paint, take a lot of pictures, and yes, I write.  I’ve written a couple of books that are sitting on my shelf waiting to go out and I write a new short story almost every week, which I often post on my blog, trentsworldblog.wordpress.com.  I’ve collected some of the best short stories I’ve written and put them out as “Seasons of Imagination”.

I also like to eat, so I work as a computer nerd during the day while I figure out what it is I really want to do.

If you really need details, I was born and raised in Ohio by the shore of beautiful Lake Erie and now split my time between mountainous New Hampshire and the coast of Massachusetts, specifically, Cape Cod.

One thing to know about me is that I hate to write bio-blurbs in the third person.

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The Astronomer’s Crypt, on Lisa Burton Radio

Don't touch that dial, you've found Lisa Burton Radio. Coming at you with 1.21 jigawatts of power, this is the only show that interviews the characters from the books you love. I'm your host, Lisa the robot girl, and with me today is Mike Teter. Mike is an astronomer with the Carson Peak Observatory in New Mexico. “Welcome to the show, Mike.”

“Hi Lisa, it's great to be here. Thanks for having me on the show.”

“My bio says you've recently returned to the observatory after a two year hiatus. What happened, grass wasn't greener?”

“Actually, leaving the observatory was the hardest thing I'd ever done. You see, a terrible blizzard blew in my last night there and the two of us working that night decided to leave the site. Ron Wallerstein drove ahead of me. He was going a little too fast when he reached a bridge spanning a gorge that had iced up… Sorry, this is difficult, I don't talk about it much… He went off the road and died instantly. I tried to get help, but couldn't get cell phone service. He died clutching the data he'd taken that night. I took a week off, but I've never been able to get the image out of my mind. I just couldn't bear going back.”

“So you had a breakdown?”

“Erm, I hadn't really thought about it like that, but I guess so. I needed to get my feet back under me, so to speak. I opened a little computer repair business. Anyway, Jerome Torres, the site manager called me a couple of weeks ago and persuaded me to come back. He had a staffing shortfall and said he needed me back.”

“I just searched newspaper articles from your time period and found a report that Roscoe Perkins was involved in a big fight at the Sacred Portals Casino and was dismissed from the observatory the next day.”

“Yeah, I didn't want to say his name because of confidentiality, but yeah, that's why they asked me back.”

“How did you decide to return to the site of your breakdown?”

“Oh boy, that was tough, but my wife, Bethany, is expecting our first child. She's an astronomer at New Mexico State University and wants to take some extra leave. We really needed a better income than the computer business provided.”

“She's an astronomer too? Any chance to spend a working evening together up there? It could be kind of romantic.”

“You've gotta be kidding me!”

“Really? That's harsh.”

“Look, I know I sound like a terrible husband, but it's at altitude and it's a primitive site. There aren't any creature comforts and I want the best for my wife.”

“I hate to be rude, but it sounds like you're making excuses, Mike. There've been rumors that you saw something up there right before Ron Wallerstein died. I've read stories that the site is haunted by the ghost of the observatory's first director, Robert Burroughs.”

“Lisa, I don't know what you've heard, but I can tell you it wasn't the ghost of Professor Burroughs. I've heard those stories, too. I don't even know if what I saw was real. I'd like to think I was just sleep deprived, but what I saw was the stuff of nightmares. I was just minding my own business, getting the telescope shut down for the day when I saw this thing that looked almost like those velociraptors from Jurassic Park, except it had a flat face, like an owl, and it was covered in grizzly feathers. Man, it gives me the chills just thinking about it. It ran at me and then… it just vanished. I was still shaking when I got in my car. It was right after that Wallerstein ran off the road.”

“Creepy! And you want to go up there and spend your nights peeping at the stars and not watching your back? I hope they're paying you well.”

“Well, like I say, I was probably just sleep–“

“Hold that thought, we have a caller. Hello, caller, welcome to Lisa Burton Radio with Lisa and Mike. What's on your mind?”

“My name is, … Ronald Parsons. I'm a … friend of Mr. Perkins and I'm here to tell you the observatory management made a big mistake. I was … I mean Roscoe was the best technician that observatory ever saw.”

“Look, I have nothing against Roscoe. From everything I heard, he was good at his job. He just made a mistake, that's all.”

“Mistake, hell. The only person who made a mistake was Jerome Torres, the observatory manager. So what if Roscoe threw a few dollars at the roulette wheel or cards. So what if he unwound with a drink or two.”

“Wait a minute. Your voice is familiar. Roscoe, is that you?”

“All right, you got me. This is Roscoe. Man, you jerks will be sorry when I'm in the Bahamas soaking up rays with a woman on each arm, while you're still up there freezing your butts off at that observatory.”

“Roscoe, this is Lisa. If you've lost your job, how are you going to get to the Bahamas?”

“Er, um, let's just say Roscoe has a new gig and we'll leave it at that. Bye bye for now, suckers!”

“Sorry about that, Lisa. Where were we again?”

“I don't remember either, but it sounds like Roscoe has an axe to grind. What can you tell us about that?”

“All I can tell you is that Sacred Portals is an Apache casino and Jerome, my boss, is also Apache. From what I hear, the tribe took Roscoe's car and put a lien on his house because of all the money he lost at the casino. Oh God, I hope he hasn't fallen in with pot hunters.”

“Pot hunters?”

“People who look for Native American artifacts and sell them on the black market. Carson Peak has a handful of sacred caves. The tribe believes they're the portals humans used to enter this world. There are stories of monsters hidden behind some of those portals.”

“Like the one you thought you saw?”

“Now that you mention it…”

“I sure hope he doesn't take something that opens one of those portals.”

“You're right about that. The portals are all just old stories and superstition, but Roscoe's in bad enough trouble with the tribe. If he goes into those caves, he could be in jail for a very long time.”

“Thank you for being with us today, Mike. You be careful up there… all alone… in the dark.”

“Thanks, Lisa. You know, I never had any problems working in remote locations until that one night. It just took me a couple of years to realize that Wallerstein's death wasn't my fault and that… creature… was just a figment of my imagination. Let me tell you, none of it holds a candle to the amazing stuff I see at the telescope. I've taken images of colliding galaxies, exploding stars, and there's even a nebula out there that looks just like a phoenix. On that note, it's time for me to catch up on some sleep so I can rise from the ashes and get back to work.”

“Mike's story unfolds in the pages of The Astronomer's Crypt, available right now. I'll put all the deets on the website.

“Make sure to hit those sharing buttons before you run to Amazon to check out the book. Mike will appreciate it, and I'm sure David Lee Summers, his author, would appreciate it too.”

 

***

The Astronmer's Crypt:

If you scare easily, don’t read this book.

If you dare to read it, you’ve been warned.

Two years ago on a stormy night, in the dead of winter, Mike Teter experienced something that would change his life forever. Mike was a telescope operator at the world renowned Carson Peak Observatory in New Mexico. We won’t tell you what he saw that night on the mountain nor what happened afterward on a dark stretch of highway, because it would haunt you just as it has haunted Mike. But what we will tell you is that Mike is back at Carson Peak. And what he witnessed that night two years ago is about to become a reality…

 

 

Purchase Links:

Amazon:

Kobo:

Lachesis Publishing:

Bio:

David Lee Summers is the author of ten novels along with numerous short stories and poems. His writing spans a wide range of the imaginative from science fiction to fantasy to horror. David’s Old Star/New Earth science fiction series and his Scarlet Order Vampire series are both published by Lachesis Publishing. He's also the author of the Clockwork Legion Steampunk series from Sky Warrior Publishing.

His short stories and poems have appeared in such magazines as Realms of Fantasy and Cemetery Dance. He’s been twice nominated for the Science Fiction Poetry Association’s Rhysling Award. In addition to writing, David edited the quarterly science fiction and fantasy magazine Tales of the Talisman for ten years and has edited four science fiction anthologies: A Kepler’s Dozen, Space Pirates, Space Horrors and Maximum Velocity: The Best of the Full-Throttle Space Tales.

When not working with the written word, David operates telescopes at Kitt Peak National Observatory.

Contact Info

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Meet Joy Lo-Bamijoko #RRBC

Joy is one of the most supportive members of the Rave Reviews Book Club. Nobody deserves this spot more than she does. She’s the one who’s always sharing our efforts on Twitter and other social media. Welcome Joy to Entertaining Stories.

THIS IS ALL ABOUT BOOKS

DAY FIVE

MIRROR OF OUR LIVES

Voices of Four Igbo Women

An Excerpt:

Nwanyi Di Mma (The Beautiful Woman)

Twenty years later, Ify is back in Port Harcourt, a professional woman. She first visits Diobu market, her childhood training ground. She remembers the old Diobu market as an open camp where sellers of all types of merchandise sold their goods. They made their shades from corrugated iron sheet or large umbrellas. There were no toilets. The waterside next to the market was used as the public toilet. Now the market has been completely rebuilt with concrete and permanent stalls, clean public toilets with attendants, and parking spaces for cars. She has returned to Port Harcourt ten years after her studies of cinematography at the School of Cinematography at Cinecittà in Rome. Port Harcourt is the city where she grew up. Port-Harcourt has always been a very clean city, known as the garden city of Nigeria.

She is still walking through the market when she stops short at the used clothes stalls. She hears a familiar voice and turns to look at the owner of the voice. She sees a chubby woman selling the clothes. This woman somehow reminds her of Miss Nelly, her third-grade teacher at the Baptist Day School. Miss Nelly is the only teacher of her elementary school that she still remembers very well. She walks past this lady several times and looks at her. But this lady is chubby, with sleepy eyes and faded skin. She does not look anything like Miss Nelly, though she must have been pretty in her younger years. But her voice sounds familiar when she speaks.

The Miss Nelly she knew was tall, fair in complexion, and very beautiful, the picture of the woman that every young girl wants to be. The woman in the market is the complete opposite of what Miss Nelly looked like, but her voice is the same. Ify decides that this woman, who looks tired, with curved shoulders, cannot be Miss Nelly. Her Miss Nelly could not have such dull eyes with heavy bags under them or lifeless and wrinkled skin. She could not wear old faded clothes or have such faded complexion. This woman looks like someone who has aged prematurely, like some of those women in the village who fade into old age very quickly after marriage and many children.

Her Miss Nelly had a quiet and calm disposition. Ify was ten years old when she was in Miss Nelly’s class, so she remembers how easygoing Miss Nelly was. No one took Miss Nelly seriously even when she was angry. Little things in life made her happy. She did not have enemies, and yet she was surrounded by people who took advantage of her good nature. She had clear bright eyes that seemed to smile all the time, and she twisted her fingers when she was embarrassed.

Miss Nelly was her childhood idol. How could she end up like this? Ify remembers her as a soft-spoken and kind teacher whom every student loved. Her legs were slightly curved, with a dimple in the middle of the inner side of her right leg. As a kid, Ify admired that dimple and wished that she had one like that. She poked her finger into her right leg and hoped it would form a dimple. Miss Nelly had dimples also on both cheeks when she smiled. She always walked with pride, the picture of a lady who would go places.

At the time Miss Nelly taught Ify, teachers still practiced corporal punishment. Some teachers came to school with canes on their belts, or they just swung canes as a warning to students that they will use it, and that always kept the students in line. Miss Nelly never used the cane. She just made her students love her, and she knew and called them by name, also using endearing words like “sweetie,” “love,” and words like that to address them. She had a knack for remembering names. Ify competed with the other students to make her happy.

“Hello, Miss Nelly,” Ify hears someone say, bringing her back to the present. Ify makes a double turn to the direction of the voice. She sees another familiar face from where she is at that corner store outside the market. The person is sitting four tables away from her, and Miss Nelly is walking out of the market with provisions. She looks like maybe she is on her way home to cook for kids.

“Chuchu! How many times will I tell you that the name is now Mrs. Imo?”

Speaking is the same lady that she saw at the market, so she is really Miss Nelly.

“I will never call you that,” Chuchu says, teasing the lady. “You will always be Miss Nelly to me.”

Ify watches as the two crack more jokes and then watches Miss Nelly walk away. Can this chubby, fat lady be her Miss Nelly? No, she shakes her head still puzzled.

She has been away from Port Harcourt, her old school town, for twenty years. She has come back to see what the Biafran Civil War has done to her town. The war has indeed changed Port Harcourt. Her house at Bende Street is no more. The whole of Bende Street, and the timber market at the end of it, are now part of a new layout in downtown Port Harcourt. Everything has changed. A huge concrete embankment lines the ocean shore where she used to go with other children to catch frog fish left behind by the ocean as it retreats. Port Harcourt is on the edge of the Atlantic Ocean, and the ocean retreats completely at noon, leaving dry land and struggling fish behind. The children used to jump in with baskets to catch the fish. If a child strayed too far into the ocean’s dry bed, that child would be swept off by the ocean when it returned at 2:00 p.m. Many children lost their lives that way. The return of the ocean was so swift that even grown-ups could not outrun it. They either knew how to swim or would be carried off by the ocean.

***

 

Joy Nwosu Lo-Bamijoko

Joy Nwosu was born in Enugu, Anambra State of south-eastern Nigeria. Her parents were Charles Belonwu and Deborah Nwosu. She is the fifth in rank of the seven children of her parents. Joy was born into a music family.

Joy, now retired, was a music teacher, trained in Santa Cecilia, Rome, and obtained her Ph.D. in Music Education from the University of Michigan, USA.

She has written and published extensively on national and international scholarly journals, magazines, and newspapers.

Her short story I Come from Utopia was published in African Voices, Spring/Summer, 2007, pg. 18, and her first English novel; Mirror of Our Lives: Voices of Four Igbo Women was published in 2011, and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Book Contest in 2012. She has also two books published in the Italian language.

Joy is a trained musician, and taught music for 35 years. She writes, performs, and record folk songs.

Her new book: The Legend of the Walking Dead: Igbo Mythologies, which has just been released, is a journey into the mysteries of life and death of the Igbos of Nigeria. She loves reading romances and mystery stories.

Websites:

http://sbpra.com/joylobamijoko/ Mirror of Our Lives …..

http://sbprabooks.com/JoyNwosuLoBamijoko/ Legend of the Walking…

Buy Mirror of Our Lives…Amazon Link:

http://www.amazon.com/Mirror-Our-Lives-Women/dp/1450278965

Barnes & Noble Link

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/mirror-of-our-lives-joy-nwosu-lo-bamijoko/1102630079?ean=9781450278966

Link to my Blog:jinlobify.Com

Face BookLink: https://www.facebook.com/joy.lobamijoko

Link to my LinkedIn Book Add: http://goo.gl/fT1P2O

Trailer: Mirror of Our Lives: Voices of Four Igbo Women

https://youtu.be/UhSyMaUz0Uk

Twitter Handle:@Jinlobify

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Collaborating on a book

I invited Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty to talk about writing a collaborative book. I’ve written one story in concert with Mari Wells over Halloween, but we each wrote our own story. The collaboration was in making sure our tales complimented each other. Ali and Jane have a book out now, and I’ll let them tell you about it.

Grá mo Chroí

‘Love of my Heart

Long ago in a green island surrounded by protective mists, a people lived among the relics of a bygone age of which they knew nothing, not being archaeologists, but around whom they created a mythology. They were a volatile people, easily moved to love or war, and motivated by a strict sense of honour. They had women warriors and handsome lovers, wicked queens and cruel kings, precious heroines and flawed heroes. Magic was in the air, beneath the ground, and in the waves of the sea, and hyperbole was the stuff of stories. They were the Irish, and these are a few retellings of some of their beautiful stories.

Introduction

Ali Isaac and Jane Dougherty are writers with a shared heritage. Ali has woven that heritage into the fabric of her stories about Conor Kelly and his adventures in the Otherworld. Jane consistently slips references to the old stories and the old heroes into all of her novels.

This collection of retellings of some of the great love stories from Irish mythology is our tribute to this culture which has so captivated us. Love in the Iron Age, as you will see, did not have the benefit of Disney. The Ancient Irish had to contend with far more violence than modern lovers, and their ideas of what constituted happiness were not necessarily the same as ours. An Irish princess was not going to languish at the top of an ivory tower waiting for a knight in shining armour. She was much more likely to get on her horse and drag him out of his bed with a curse if he hung about too long. But in many ways, love through the ages has not changed one iota. Grief, sorrow and passion are all there in spadesful.

If the only thing you know about Irish mythology is Saint Patrick, serpents, and Leprechauns, it’s about time you read this collection. If you like what you see, this could be the start of a life changing experience.

Excerpt

From the Story of Baile and Aillinn:

Bailé, the soft-spoken, left Emain Macha in the north to meet Aillinn, his betrothed. Rare was such a wedding host, and uncommonly joyful. For the king of Ulster’s only son and the daughter of the king of Leinster had made a love match. Even the sun shone bright on Bailé’s journey, the hounds danced and milled about the horses’ legs, fancy bridle bits sang silver songs in the wind, and the company was filled with joy.

Bailé left behind his own lands of Ulster, the blue lochs and gorse-yellow hills where the eagles cried. Before him, beyond the purple peaks of home, lay the low, wooded hills and the rich plains of Leinster. He saw his Aillinn in the contours of the hills, in the white plumage of the swans on the river. She was soft as new grass and spring foals, wild as the March wind, and generous as the blackbird singing to the world. His heart was full of joy that soon they would be wed and their union would bind together her rich beauty of soft hills and birdsong, and his wild majesty of the eagle and the red deer.

Why did we write this book together?

Ali; We had already become friends through our blogs. I had this idea of re-telling stories from Irish mythology kicking around in my head for a long time, in fact, I had been incorporating some of them into my Conor Kelly books. It turned out that Jane, too, had already been re-writing her favorite myths. It just seemed natural that we would join forces and work on a compilation together. The first stories we worked on and subsequently revealed to each other just happened to be the most tragic ones, the love stories, perhaps because we connected in some way with the characters and what happened to them. We noticed the theme, and thought it would be fun to launch them for Valentine’s Day. That was in November, so we had to work fast… the Christmas and New Year celebrations held things up, but it’s amazing what you can achieve when you put your mind to it!

Jane; I started these retellings about a year ago with the story of Deirdre. It was cold, we had had a flurry of snow for about five minutes that had everybody gazing in wonder up at the sky, and the blackbirds were taken by surprise and fussed about in the trees. Something in the combination made me think of Deirdre and her feelings as a young girl kept in seclusion, just waiting to be married to an old king. One story led to another, and when Ali, at the end of last year suggested we have a go at rewriting some of these tragic stories, I knew I could do it. Tragic usually means love stories. Love stories means Valentine’s Day. Our collection had to be ready for February 14th. And it was!

Here’s what Jane and Ali think about author collaborations

Jane: There’s nothing like a good poke in the ribs from a so-called friend to produce results. The proof: I have been writing my own versions of some of the great Irish myths for over a year and have a whole clutch of them waiting to be polished and published. I even have a cover. What has been lacking is the motivation to finish the job. When Ali suggested in November last year that we have a go at retelling one or two of the old love stories, I was game. Of course I was! This was something I knew I could do.

But having the idea is one thing, getting the damn stories written and ready for Amazon is quite another. I can honestly say that if I hadn’t had Ali cracking the whip, this project would have been dead in the water. For all I know, she was getting as little actual writing done as I was, but to hear her go on! Setting deadlines, then pointing at the calendar, waving the stop watch at me. Even now, when the book is finished and up on Amazon, she’s still badgering me about different ideas for promotion, contests and giveaways. If you need a harridan on your back to make you work, Ali Isaac is your woman.

Joking apart, Ali’s energy and enthusiasm have made this project happen. She has been great fun to work with, a fund of ideas and invention. I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Well…when I’d had a bit of a rest first.

Ali: And she calls me bossy? No sooner had we agreed on the project, and the stories, when a book cover pops up in my in-box! So while I was looking at that, she only goes and sets up a blog tour… she’s a whirlwind, I tell you, and I had my job cut out just keeping up with her!

Actually, I found Jane to be a pleasure to work with, and a very inspiring person to be around. Her writing style is so beautiful, her prose is so full of poetry, and she has a way of really seeing into the heart and soul of her characters, and transfers that onto the page with ease.

We naturally fell into the roles we took on, felt comfortable with editing each other’s work, and accepting criticism. It was a real team effort, and I think we have created something unique.

Of course, if the book flops, I can always blame her cover… and no doubt she will blame my poor formatting! Teamwork is a wonderful thing!

***

I have my copy in my TBR list. I’m not familiar with Jane’s work, beyond her blog. I am a great lover of Ali’s books and will certainly read and review this one.

You can contact and follow Ali and Jane at the following locations:

Jane can be found on her blog, on her Facebook Author Page, or tweeting. You can find out more about her on Goodreads, and all her books are available on Amazon.com, and Amazon.co.uk.


You will find Ali pottering about most days on her blog, her Facebook Author Page, or tweeting. Alternatively, you can email her at: ali@aliisaacstoryteller.com. Her books are available on Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk.

 

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