Category Archives: Scop Talk (“Shop Talk”)

A Scop is many things. A Shaper of Words to fit events, thoughts, and hearts: a shaper of words to help us see truth.

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Azalea’s Scop Talk

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Mythic fantasy often displays the moral war, an adventure we are all embarked on.

Path of the Warrior: First Entry, is my opening story about how Tae Chisun, respected warrior from Korea, Land of the Morning Calm, seeks to save his people from annihilation by making peace with an attacking enemy in secret.

His Kuksun (general) exiles Tae from his love and his life, setting him on the path of a wanderer, where he will save enslaved stronghold daughter Kyrin Cieri of medieval Britain, impacting the lives of many in their stories to come.

Path of the Warrior explores how compassion, anger, and love can motivate a man to sacrifice everything. When Tae sees his Kuksun foolishly determined to die with all under his command, dooming their people to death, he seeks terms of peace with the enemy. He must kill a master above him who taught him what he knows of war, yet betrayed them all.

In spite of his Kuksun’s wrath, and about to be executed, Tae thinks of his wife, Huen, the Kuksun’s daughter, and begs him to give her his sword and his mother’s land. His general decides to let the gods decide Tae’s fate and has him thrown over the wall to the enemy. Thus the Chronicle begins …

How compassion and mercy can coexist with killing, and drive a person to kill to protect others, is important. Warriors are not necessarily evil. In fact, killing is sometimes necessary. It depends on the warrior’s motive. If it is worthy, a warrior is truly a hero or heroine, as the case may be.

Our motives of love, mercy, kindness, fear, revenge, and anger can become quite tangled. Our desires tend to be mixed at the best of times, but that does not let us off doing the best we can. And if we are God’s forgiven child, he is growing more love and compassion in us all the time.

Genuine care for some people’s lives may require the loss of other’s lives. Many people who do evil will not be stopped by niceness—they are set on their path to destroy others, to achieve what they want at any cost—deadly force is the only thing that will stop them. We are given responsibility in the way of the warrior to save life in just defense. 

The moral war yields good story fodder. And always growth. Downwards or upwards. The choice is ours.

Crossover: Find the Eternal, the Adventure

P. S. Lance and Quill is still in my editor’s capable hands, and events there have pushed my publishing date a few weeks forward. Thank you for your patience, and enjoy summer!

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Azalea’s Scop Talk

 

Falcon Heart

If you’re in the Klamath Falls, Oregon, area and want local good eats, community artisans’ craftsmanship, and an enjoyable stop to booth-shop, come join me at Shepherd’s Spring Fair.

This Friday-Saturday, May 15th-16th 9 am-5 pm. 

Hosanna Christian Academy, 5000 Hosanna Way, Klamath Falls, Oregon 

Falcon Heart will be there too, and I’ll be happy to autograph your book!

Have a great day,

Azalea

 

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Scop Talk: On Reading Fantasy

The bit below, from Gladys Hunt’s Honey for a Child’s Heart, is just good. I have to share.

It brought back so many wonderful memories of adventures in my early reading days. She encapsulates much of what I’ve felt about reading fantasy and what it does for me in my heart, soul, and mind. Because of that, what she says extends to you and every human in our world.

She writes a frank, uplifting and inspiring conversation about the importance of books, fantasy, and reading for children and parents. You’ve got to read her book if you have any interest at all in the world of hopeful books. She includes a good list of books at the end. They brought back to me the adventure and wonder. Dive in!

“Lewis Mumford once said, ‘The words are for children, and the meanings are for men.’ But I don’t believe it. Children suspect more is present than the actual story, and because there is little space between the real and the unreal world in a child’s mind, they reach across with amazing ease and begin to ferret it out. They may read the story again years later and find that their experiences in life help them see more. Adults will read the same book and begin to better understand why they loved it as children. But at any age, the story is an experience of quality and substance.

“The most subtle and profound ideas are often found in books written for children. A kind of ‘suspended reality’ exists in which what is true becomes more obvious. Good fantasy helps us see ‘reality in unreality, credibility in incredibility.’ A child accepts and loves fantasy because of his own rich imagination and sense of wonder. For children, magical things are not nearly as complicated at they are for adults. They have room in their minds for all sorts of happenings. And those who write fantasy are not so much those who understand the heart of a child as those who have a child’s heart themselves. Out of the depth of their personal experience they combine a child’s heart with profound insights into life’s meaning. Some fantasies laugh; some are full of nonsense; other are breathless with adventure and brave deeds. …

“Not everyone takes to fantasies or fairy tales, although I believe most children do. These stories are certainly at their best when read aloud–especially fairy stories–because the lovely cadence of words and the economy of language make them a special experience. It is adults who worry over the make-believe, the magic, the strange creatures, the evil events, the wars, and sometimes the gore. Children have far less trouble. They readily know the difference between fantasy and reality. ‘No child confuses dragons or unicorns with cattle in a meadow,’ one writer said. It is the child who doesn’t know about dragons and unicorns who is to be pitied! …

“Children don’t squeeze life into boxes. They have room for a large variety of emotions and happenings and are quite aware of the possibilities in people. They know life is difficult; they are happy to believe it also turns out right in the end. I like Beauty and the Beast to this day because in that tale an act of love transforms what is ugly into something beautiful. I believe it still happens.”

Blogger’s Note: Gladys does not say all fantasies and depictions of ” the make-believe, the magic, the strange creatures, the evil events, the wars, and sometimes the gore” are good; her context deals with these subjects handled well in story. Read Honey for a Child’s Heart. You won’t regret it! Published by Zondervan, 1978.

Crossover: Find the Eternal, the Adventure.

Crossover: Find the Eternal, the Adventure.

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Scop Talk: Book Cover.

Here’s something I’ve been working on this last week or so. I’ve been playing around with various comp photos and photos found on Pinterest to compile a tentative book cover mock-up for Falcon Heart. Don’t worry, I’ll be seeking the pic rights even though my sister is just going to use the mock-up for a rough model for her artwork. Then I’m hoping to get the artwork colored so it looks like a traditional fantasy book. But what I really wanted to ask you is what you think: 1) It’s been suggested that I try the falcon flying in, wings outspread, through the the center of the arch, and 2) That I have my sister shorten the sword handle because it distracts the viewer from the model’s face. What’s your opinion? Click twice on the pic to see a larger version. Thanks for your help!

Tentative Book Cover

Tentative Book Cover

 

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“Scop Talk”

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Fantasy readers, what kind of fantasy do you like?

As a blogger of “Scop Talk” I go for quality story-telling. One element of a good tale is detailed world-building that assumes I am intelligent; such as C. J. Cherryth’s Foreigner,  Robin McKinley’s Deerskin and Beauty, Rose Daughter, etc. Not simplistic communication that tells and describes the character’s action both at once, and insults my comprehension. Another element is a sense of wonder at the beauties of the created world, and that man is not the end-all and be-all.

I have not found many stories that honor the Creator of our bodies and souls, but tales that attract me the most portray some kind of inkling that the characters know there is a governing power of good beyond ourselves: tales that show truth, honor, loyalty, and goodness contrasted with the deceit and monstrosity of evil and those who follow it. And that show how evil can be deceptive and appear beautiful. Dennis McKiernan’s The Iron Tower trilogy is one of these. A medieval setting adds to the fun.

And a good fantasy is never complete without a grand sense of adventure. The adventure comes in the main character’s inner journey and war, the outer journey and conflict, and the character’s choices and responses that shape the world, such as in Lisa T. Bergren’s Cascade, Waterfall, and Torrent, in her River of Time series.

Actions do matter. Motive matters even more. Fantasy is a vehicle. Good fantasy makes a difference in how I see myself and the world. It shows that the smallest person makes a difference. We matter, and matter to our Creator.

You matter to me. As I write my fantasy stories, I’d like to know what kinds of good fantasy stir you. What do you like about your favorite fantasy tales? What do you call bad fantasy, in the matter of crafting and content? Will you share some Scop Talk?

Thank you so much.

For a longer list of great fantasy reads, see my reading list on my resources page.

Crossover: Find the Eternal, the Adventure.

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Scop Talk: A Scop is many things. A Shaper of Words …

Despise not small things. Large goals and accomplishments are made up of small goals and moments of experience.

Today I was overwhelmed by the demands of publishing, namely the push to be visible, the loudest visible, and I despaired of ever becoming a successful Indie author. And then I began to think again.

Was the hectic, demanding load I envisioned, a life? No, it was slavery.  Who demands it of me? God? No, He asks me to follow Him, and says He’ll take care of me. I demanded success of me, or I could not be content.

Success in the Publishing World’s terms, my terms, and His terms all differ. PW’s terms says a large piece of my genre’s pie, or nothing. My terms, as much as I can slave and scrabble for. His terms call me back to motive: to love Him, to love people, to love the life He gives generously.

My terms give to others in part, but more to the publishing machine and an unreal vision. Giving more of my time and heart to immediate visibility than to the people in my corner of the world skews rightful balance.

A Scop is what I am to be, in this moment. To shape words with all my hand and head and heart, for the good of you and I. Being a good Scop includes getting the word out, planning, and accomplishing goals of all sizes, but in moderation. The end must not supersede the moment.

Slavery to myself or a publishing paradigm is not living. Experiencing, sharing, and giving  with others like you is living.

In our wonderful universe of many excellent Scops, I will give myself to small things, to balanced goals; looking to my God and my bit of the world. The results are not in my hands; the motives that drive my actions, are.

Love small things, live free, experience life; find yourself yoked beside Him, with life and giving better than you thought it could be. Become a Scop in your bit of the world …

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“Scop Talk”: Bard, Minstrel, Scop.

A Scop is many things. A Shaper of Words to fit events, hearts, and thoughts: a shaper of words to help us see truth.

reflection_mentor

A Scop bares his heart before the great Heart, and so can see clearer into other hearts. A Scop strives to be true, for he seeks what truth words can contain. A Scop is one who makes us laugh, who makes us weep, who leads us to live to the uttermost.

A Scop truly lives—flawed, yes, but reaching upward. The adventure, the mystery, the truth in life, calls a Scop to search it out and name it. A Scop crafts for the good of you and I with all his hand and head and heart. Come be a Scop with me.

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