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.

Feel free to share or post these blogs. Just tweak the content, except for fair use chunks, and link back to my site. Thanks!

In Defense of Cultures, Readers and Communication

It’s a dangerous world, attempting to tread water in the ocean of words, let alone swim in these times where “cultural appropriation” and “cultural insensitivity” may blow up in our faces, after a mere brush against the drifting mine.

This is true for writers and readers alike.

One of those avid readers, squarely in the camp of enjoying new and fascinating stories wherever I find them, I have a few words in defense of us readers and writers trying to navigate the “cultural appropriation and insensitivity” minefield.

Take any movie set in the early Middle Ages, or any book. As far as cultural accuracy goes, most of them could be accused of insensitivity because they have not been historically accurate or true to the culture throughout their work. Yet it does not necessarily follow that they are culturally insensitive, or seizing the culture for their own.

The producers, story writers and authors are trying to communicate a time and place filled with people that stir our imaginations to fire.

The great stories call us to adventure, to love, to fight for good and conquer bravely. They are trying to help us understand a different culture, a different person, at the level of heart and soul. To do this to the best of their ability, they must at times use words or customs that did not even exist in those times they are creating a story about, or they must adapt them to our contemporary understanding. If they were true in every detail, we would completely miss some important character motivations and scene meanings because we had no idea that what we saw or read had a specific meaning, and we would possibly understand less than three words in ten because of old style language.

This is true whether we are English, American, or any other culture going back in our own history. If we are going back in time and crossing cultures, say from the American to Korean Middle Ages, there is an even larger cultural gap. But that does not mean our minds and hearts cannot meet despite the obstacles. Story is made to bridge the ocean gulf between us: whoever we are, wherever we are, whenever we are. The purpose of story is to communicate.

But what does it communicate? That is key to discover, so we can disarm the mines planted by those who love discord and do not respect peoples’ created differences with grace, who do not see that the very differences between us may be the source of every individual culture’s beauty, riches, and usefulness to the wide world. Admiration, respect, and appreciation bring every word and gesture in all forms of communication to life. Without that motivation, every word and gesture is dead, or worse, an explosion waiting to happen.

I use my own work as an example here, since I know my own motives better than those of any other communicator. Like any writer of past times and historical fantasy, in Path of the Warrior, the first companion story in Falcon Dagger, I am swimming between cultures. But it is dangerous.

This was kindly brought to my attention by my friend Jenn Rogers and her daughter, who are fans of Kdramas and all things Korean. I have never seen a Kdrama, though I plan to remedy that. My love for Medieval Korean culture started with my introduction to Tae Kwon Do years ago, and the martial history of the Land of the Morning Calm.

The martial focus was what I especially respected and explored on behalf of my main character in Path of the Warrior, an honorable exile from Korea, named in his native land Ryu Tae-shin, though his name was changed in my other stories, which did not detract from his honor but added to it, since he bore an insult with graceful nobility, because of necessity. That necessity was bearing up under slavery, and not confusing those who he knew would read of him later. He kept his name Tae Chisun, because he made the name – the name did not make him.

Despite any inaccuracies, of which I am sure there are at least a few, since I am seeing across cultures and time to Ryu Tae-shin’s story, I am attempting to bring to life a noble man, one I admire, who cares about his people, his family, and others. I am trying to share, across cultures, my appreciation of one who defends the right. Any mistakes in the work are mine, of course.

But do inaccuracies of naming, (which I have attempted to fix to the best of my ability), or historical settings or mannerisms (sometimes subject to poetic license), or outright ignorance, mean that this story of a man who sacrificed everything for the lives of his people appropriates the Choson culture or is insensitive to it?

Does it communicate that Koreans are bad in some way, more than other cultures? Does it claim they think exactly like I do?

No.

It is a story born of admiration for a strong people in a time of conflict.

That is my opinion, supported I think, by Hwarang Ryu Tae-shin himself. But you will have to discover for yourself if you can stand in Ryu Tae-shin’s boots and wrestle with the fierce conflicting loyalties between his sworn oath to his Kuksun overlord and his oath to save the love of his life and his people.

Would we put our lives on the line for right?

Some things, like our desire for justice, our love or hatred of truth, our depth of love tested by fire, our willingness to sacrifice for others, is the same in every culture. Mind you, I do not say we think down the same wave, or row the identical path to those values. The customs, mannerisms, and circumstances may, rather they will, differ. Completely leaving aside what we believe about who we are, where we come from, and where we are going, or our religion.

But we are all human, and our hearts are fashioned from cuts of the same sail, each loosed on the sea of life from our individual islands and continents. We can sail together, all the brighter and more formidable in array for our different flags, painted sails, or pennons.

If we detonate the mines between us with well-aimed ordnance, disarm them with the truth of the story, or on the occasion when there is truth in the accusations of appropriation or insensitivity, if instead of cursing the dark we light a candle of communication, we can retain and grow mutual respect and admiration for the greatness of every people. We can swim without harm through the minefield, and our hearts and hands meet in understanding.

We can enjoy our intriguing idiosyncrasies, our various culture strengths, and help each other overcome our different weaknesses, for everyone has them.

Each person is made in the image of our Creator, the master of the waves, of every land, every heart. He made equality. Meeting another heart and mind in the sea of thought, across the waves of life, is an invaluable gift.

May we overcome every wave and mine between us. For the sake of us readers, who love brave adventure and goodness, and also to encourage those who communicate these human truths to lighten our darkness.

Or, as my Tae Kwon Do Grandmaster, Tae Hong Choi, and Grandmaster Vince Church, would say, Pil Sung! Certain victory through courage, strength, and indomitable spirit.

Azalea Dabill

Crossover – Find the Eternal, the Adventure

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Kingdom’s Fall Sneak Peek

Below is a sneak peek at Kingdom’s Fall rough draft that I have been working on a little this week in the midst of attempting to record Fantastic Journey, a book giveaway or two, and a wise word for February.

With a dark scowl, Brother Rolf hunted bright fall leaves blown in from the road off the church stoop. He swept fiercely. The wooden broom handle nestled in his grip, heavy as his old spear shaft. The wide entry-stone under his feet stretched two chill lengths into the walled court under the warmth of a new sun that peered over the walls of Bolton Abbey and streamed past the open gate. His breath shot in a thin cloud above the lowest step of the north transept tower.

A shiver raised his freckled skin where his thick wool sleeves did not protect him. The chill of the stone beneath the edge of his black habit pierced his bare toes. He moved faster, chasing an errant leaf, red as his hair, vibrant as the dew spangled dawn.

If a leader did not soon rise from the Northumbrian mists, stones sister-kin to the icy, glistering dark granite beneath his feet would mark the last resting places of his people. The kingdom was weakening.

Brigands harried the strongholds north of the Humber River as he did the leaves. With few to stay them while the king lay ill, such raiders grew ever bolder. Even Lord Dain Cieri of Cierheld, leading the north lords from his stronghold walls of uncommon stone, did not have enough armsmen to guard every hold between the ancient Roman Eagles’ great North Wall and the Humber. The brigands melted like frost when chased, yet seemed always to know where to strike. And with talk growing in the north against the south lords, the unrest in Britannia might mean more than brigands. It might mean war.

Turning, Rolf swept the last crimson beech leaf from the side door with a vicious stroke. Though the brigands had not yet struck near Bolton Abbey, it was their nature to hunt the vulnerable. Even though, unlike some church holdings, his brothers of the abbey had little in the way of riches. Even their dedicated church utensils were not of gold, but bronze. Abbot Alton would not keep gold when their people were hungry. Rolf smiled a little, then his scowl crept back. He was slipping indeed, not to have suggested to Abbot Alton the looming possibility of attack.

A thudding of small hooves and a soft, heavy step against the dirt of the courtyard rang loud at his back. Rolf swung around, continuing the swift motion of his broom in a level stroke.

A man leading a donkey ducked the twiggy end coming for his head and swung in return, the blur of a long weapon coming at Rolf from the left. His heart in his throat, Rolf sprang to the edge of the step to soften the full blow, bringing his broom across his body in both hands. Blade struck wood with a dull thud. Rolf blinked. The weapon did not bite, for it was sheathed in leather. And the face beyond it . . .

His breath of relief became a growl. Knocking the blade to the side, he dove down the steps and thrust the broom handle at his attacker. The donkey reared and backed. Its giant owner quelled it with ease, wrapping a long arm about the donkey’s gray neck and twisting his body to let Rolf’s attack slide past.

“Cease, little brother!” Dark eyes twinkled above a bristling black beard and a large, misshapen nose. That pot of a dented helm and the big feet in leather boots caressing the earth—Rolf knew them both.

A merry laugh rolled from the man’s wide chest beneath a mat of curly dark hair between a thick neck and gaping tunic. “Ye’ve not lost all yer’ skill.”

Rolf glared at the black-haired giant, who again whisked the sheathed blade about to rest at Rolf’s throat. Rolf squinted. The plain hilt marked his own blade—or the blade that had once been his.

-Kingdom’s Fall rough draft excerpt (this book will be part of Falcon Dagger – cover in the sidebar)

And here is a: Spring Break E-book Stuffer ~ All Genre Clean Giveaway
And in case you didn’t get my newsletter and would like a peek at that giveaway: Fight the Good Fight All Genre Giveaway

And if you missed the newsletter, here is an encouraging word of wisdom for February:

Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He will do it. And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, and your judgement as the noonday.

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, because of the man who carries out wicked schemes.

Cease from anger and forsake wrath; Do not fret, it leads only to evildoing.

-Psalms 37:5-8

This is so encouraging to me. That God would have me do what is right and fight injustice where I can, first in myself and then in my world. And that I can then rely on Him for the final outcome, that He will bring justice to all.

God bless you!

Azalea Dabill

Crossover ~ Find the Eternal, the Adventure

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Author Lead Magnet Collaboration

Derek Murphy CreativIndie

I’m scheduled to release my book Fantastic Journey – The Soul of Speculative Fiction and Fantasy Adventure the first week of January 2021, and I wanted to extend this author collaboration opportunity to you, if you’re an imaginative fiction author.

If you have a lead magnet this might help you get a lot of new subscribers. (For readers here, I won’t forget you either, but will be sure to share these upcoming special events soon.)

Authors, if you have a free lead magnet for subscribers that is a free fantasy or speculative fiction book, and you’d like to get it in front of 100s of potential new subscribers, please send your newsletter lead magnet link and a cover pic for one free novel of your choice to fantasticjourney.dynamospress@gmail.com.

Fiction adventure and battle scenes are great, but no romance above the “moderate” level. Which I don’t think will be a problem in our group here. 🙂 Books with spiritual themes are appreciated. I reserve the right to choose which books make our lead magnet list.

If chosen, I will put your lead magnet on a special page on my website. Your subscription link and lead magnet will also be advertised on my social media as part of a free book bundle for imaginative fiction readers.

The whole time to my book launch in January 2021, readers will have the opportunity to pick up your lead magnet, besides my book “Fantastic Journey – The Soul of Speculative Fiction and Fantasy Adventure” on $0.99 preorder.

Who could pass up a bundle of free books from great authors? (I’m looking for a 30-40 author free book bundle of lead magnets for readers to enjoy.) 5 places are already taken, so don’t wait!

In exchange for your lead magnet on my website, would you be willing to share these gifts with your email list?

1. On the future of fantasy and speculative fiction – a whopping 27 Q and A Author Roundup Interview

2. A massive SIGNED book giveaway from 25 speculative fiction and fantasy authors

3. A $0.99 preorder deal for “Fantastic Journey – The Soul of Speculative Fiction and Fantasy Adventure”

4. And the book release special of “Fantastic Journey” for imaginative fiction lovers – with a secret bonus.

If chosen, your lead magnet will remain on my website for the foreseeable future. I will also send it to my list of 780 subscribers.

If you like this collaboration idea, just send me the subscription link to your lead magnet so we can get your work in front of 100s of deserving new subscribers over the next few months – and into 2021.

I’ll provide swipe copy emails to make everything easy to share when the time comes.

Epic adventure, great speculative fiction, and fantastic journeys are irresistible to imaginative fiction aficionados. Readers will love it.

Let’s win more readers together!

Please send your link and cover pic to fantasticjourney.dynamospress@gmail.com

Thank you,

Azalea Dabill

Crossover ~ Find the Eternal, the Adventure

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Frodo’s Journey

The fantasy readerscape is a curious place. A choosing of souls. This is a snapshot of a hero’s journey. And a dream of meaning.

After the gray, piercing mountains of hopelessness in the far North, that extreme and dangerous center-line of the world, one would suppose the South to be a hospitable place. It is – until we see Frodo striding toward the horizon, and we follow, clad like his absent halfling companions.

He walks before us, seeming unaware of my companion and I, our voices unheard by others in these lands. We see his back, always just out of reach, elven cloak rippling, concealing, his footsteps never faltering or ceasing. We wonder, but follow.

After all, is he not a hero?

Time and distance are meaningless, amorphous as a night thought. Over rolling hills, sere wastes, forest and fell, we follow. Our destination is near. We feel it in our bones. More, Frodo quickens his steps, still never looking back, though we leap and wave our arms. All is now bare dirt, rock, and ice.

Rounding a last corner, we reel back in horror.

Not to the fiery mountain have we come, nor the door to the land of the West, nor Elrond’s half-way house, nor the simplest mountain cote in Middle-earth, always ready with a warm welcome for weary travelers.

Our path has brought before us a black maw, a sucking darkness without stars. The air smells of every rot in the world. Frodo steps into the inky mist swirling along the ground, thickening.

A shaft of chill freezes my heart. That curly-headed figure, cloaked in tattered grey-green, turns at last.

It is not Frodo.

My companion raises an arm, pointing, feet stuttering back wildly. “It isn’t me! That isn’t me!” he shrieks.

It is. And then that face changes, and it is me. Grinning: without amusement, pleasure, or kindness. It is the “me” I chose at every turning of the path, every point of decision.

We’d struggled not toward the fiery mountain, but the unending, icy clutch of self-trust. Self without the warmth of my better self – a spark from Another – guiding and channeling the strength of our hearts, keeping our feet from the guiding-pole of the world that kills by self-deception.

The Frodo that was not, stared at us. Without heart, almost without mind; without hunger but for one thing – us.

The weight of that malevolent gaze drove me to my knees. Shaking my head violently, sweat stinging my eyes, I tasted the bitterness of the lies I nursed along our way.

In desperation I sprang up and turned, gripping my companion’s hand. I left my back to the death beyond death. To the darkness that had our names, that could swallow every name on earth and remain unchanged: a brooding, mindless, insatiable hunger.

A light grew before us, where improbable grass met the warming dawn. A breeze stirred my hair, kissed my face with a touch of fresh hope. Was return possible?

Our packs were empty, and we were empty of every warmth of heart and spirit. Frodo never chose this path under my deadly cold feet, never chose to trust only himself. Despite Gandalf’s advice in the movie.

In the true tale, in a life-giving scene left out of the second-hand telling, Frodo chose quite differently. He knew he had not the strength to do it alone, and dared not put his trust in himself.

What I tell second-hand, the true-teller shows.

“A great barrow stood there.

”’Where are you?’ he cried again, both angry and afraid.

”’Here!’ said a voice, deep and cold, that seemed to come out of the ground. ‘I am waiting for you!’

”’No!’ said Frodo; but he did not run away. His knees gave, and he fell on the ground. Nothing happened, and there was no sound. Trembling he looked up, in time to see a tall dark figure like a shadow against the stars. It leaned over him. He thought there were two eyes, very cold though lit with a pale light that seemed to come from some remote distance. Then a grip stronger and colder than iron seized him. The icy touch froze his bones, and he remembered no more.

“When he came to himself again, for a moment he could recall nothing except a sense of dread. Then suddenly he knew that he was imprisoned, caught hopelessly; he was in a barrow. A Barrow-wight had taken him, and he was probably already under the dreadful spells of the Barrow-wights about which whispered tales spoke. He dared not move, but lay as he found himself: flat on his back upon a cold stone with his hands on his breast.

“But though his fear was so great that it seemed to be part of the very darkness that was round him, he found himself as he lay thinking about Bilbo Baggins and his stories, of their jogging along together in the lanes of the Shire and talking about roads and adventures. There is a seed of courage hidden (often deeply, it is true) in the heart of the fattest and most timid hobbit, waiting for some final and desperate danger to make it grow. Frodo was neither very fat nor very timid; indeed, though he did not know it, Bilbo (and Gandalf) had thought him the best hobbit in the Shire. He thought he had come to the end of his adventure, and a terrible end, but the thought hardened him. He found himself stiffening, as if for a final spring; he no longer felt limp like a helpless prey.

“As he lay there, thinking and getting a hold on himself, he noticed all at once that the darkness was slowly giving way: a pale greenish light was growing round him. It did not a first show him what kind of a place he was in, for the light seemed to be coming out of himself, and from the floor beside him, and had not yet reached the roof or wall. He turned, and there in the cold glow he saw lying beside him, Sam, Pippin, and Merry. They were on their backs, and their faces looked deathly pale; and they were clad in white. About them lay many treasures, of gold maybe, though in that light they looked cold and unlovely. On their heads were circlets, gold chains were about their waists, and on their fingers were many rings. Swords lay by their sides, and shields were at their feet. But across their three necks lay one long naked sword.

“Suddenly a song began: a cold murmur, rising and falling. The voice seemed far away and immeasurably dreary, sometimes high in the air and thin, sometimes like a low moan from the ground. Out of the formless stream of sad but horrible sounds, strings of words would now and again shape themselves: grim, hard, cold words, heartless and miserable. The night was railing against the morning of which it was bereaved, and the cold was cursing the warmth for which it hungered. Frodo was chilled to the marrow. After a while the song became clearer, and with dread in his heart he perceived that in had changed into an incantation: Cold be hand and heart and bone, and cold be sleep under stone: never more to wake on stony bed, never, till the Sun fails and the Moon is dead. In the black wind the stars shall die, and still on gold here let them lie, till the dark lord lifts his hand over dead sea and withered land.

“He heard behind his head a creaking and scraping sound. Raising himself on one arm he looked, and saw now in the pale light that they were in a kind of passage which behind them turned a corner. Round the corner a long arm was groping, walking on its fingers towards Sam, who was lying nearest, and towards the hilt of the sword that lay upon him.

“At first Frodo felt as if he had indeed been turned into stone by the incantation. Then a wild thought of escape came to him. He wondered if he put on the Ring, whether the Barrow-wight would miss him, and he might find some way out. He thought of himself running free over the grass, grieving for Merry, and Sam, and Pippin, but free and alive himself. Gandalf would admit that there had been nothing else he could do.

“But the courage that had been awakened in him was now too strong: he could not leave his friends so easily. He wavered, groping in his pocket, and then fought with himself again; and as he did so the arm crept nearer. Suddenly resolve hardened in him, and he seized a short sword that lay beside him and kneeling he stooped low over the bodies of his companions. With what strength he had he hewed at the crawling arm near the wrist, and the hand broke off; but at the same moment the sword splintered up to the hilt. There was a shriek and the light vanished. In the dark there was a snarling noise.

“Frodo fell forward over Merry, and Merry’s face felt cold. All at once back into his mind, from which it had disappeared with the first coming of the fog, came the memory of the house down under the Hill, and of Tom singing. He remembered the rhyme that Tom had taught them. In a small desperate voice he began: Ho! Tom Bombadil! and with that name his voice seemed to grow strong: it had a full and lively sound, and the dark chamber echoed as if to drum and trumpet.

Ho! Tom Bombadil, Tom Bombadillo! By water, wood and hill, by the reed and willow, By fire, sun and moon, harken now and hear us! Come, Tom Bombadil, for our need is near us!

“There was a sudden deep silence, in which Frodo could hear his heart beating. After a long slow moment he heard plain, but far away, as if it was coming down through the ground or through thick walls, an answering voice singing: Old Tom Bombadil is a merry fellow, Bright blue his jacket is, and his boots are yellow. None has ever caught him yet, for Tom, he is the master: His songs are stronger songs, and his feet are faster.

“There was a loud rumbling sound, as of stones rolling and falling, and suddenly light streamed in, real light, the plain light of day. A low, door-like opening appeared at the end of the chamber beyond Frodo’s feet and there was Tom’s head (hat, feather, and all) framed against the light of the sun rising red behind him. The light fell upon the floor, and upon the faces of the three hobbits lying beside Frodo. They did not stir, but the sickly hue had left them. They looked now as if they were only very deeply asleep.

“Tom stooped, removed his hat, and came into the dark chamber, singing: Get out, you old Wight! Vanish in the sunlight! Shrivel like the cold mist, like the winds go wailing, Out into the barren lands far beyond the mountains! Come never here again! Leave your barrow empty! Lost and forgotten be, darker than the darkness, Where gates stand for ever shut, till the world is mended.‘” – The Fellowship of the Ring pg 193 – 197

Instead of waking no more except to despair under the dark lord’s hand, the creature of the maw is banished, till the world is mended. Frodo is freed. We alone do not have the strength for our moral battles. We must go to the One who has won them all, and sets us free to new life.

Pardon my telling. It is necessary in these days as the sun goes down in the West, until the mending.

Did you know that villains place ruthless trust in themselves alone? More than the minds of great kings and long schemers are clouded. Truth-tellers are now rare as Faramir. Who, contrary to a comment on the movie, did exist and yet lives. Not under that name, but I have seen him. Even in our land.

Frodo chose goodness. Despite any cost. Hope, beauty, and bravery brought him, along with many other heroes, to a good end. Though the way was fraught with real peril.

Some things are worse than mere death. Frodo knew it well. And it is not Frodo behind me, aching to consume all I am or might ever be.

But our path need not end here, swallowed by the death beyond death. Frodo showed me that. Turning from the maw, I have given our fate to Another. Ahead, the Light illumines a path without deception, though with both torturous places and fair. Places where my cowardly, untrue self will die, and my true self will rise to great deeds, and do exploits.

My companion follows my forward step. We choose, and have been chosen. To One, victory is due, never to might of thew.

Life is ahead.

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2017 Beginnings–Scop Talk

I’m hungry for a deep talk about meaning in writing—about why, and a little about how, books impact you and I. If you want to join our conversation, please leave your thoughts in a comment at the bottom of this post.

Authors who have taken me on deep journeys to far places of great import include Patrick Carr (Shock of Night), Tessa Afshar (Land of Silence), JRR Tolkien, C. S. Lewis, and Anna Thayer’s (Knight of Eldaran trilogy) to name a very few.

I’m hungry, not for a fast read, but a complex world that is so real it scares you, enthralls you, lifts you out of yourself to a higher plane. And then when you return to your own world, you bring that life experience, that bravery, that truth, back with you and apply it, even in some small way, to yourself. You make that sacrifice required for the life of another, face down your fears, take the next step on a dangerous journey, or simply do the right thing, which we are sometimes such great cowards about doing. At the least, you see through other eyes that another road is open to you.

In author lingo—seize the hero’s journey. For it has certainly seized you, if you draw breath in this world. The battle is on!

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K M Weiland’s Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author’s Guide

Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars This book will stay on my shelf., November 15, 2016
This review is from: Creating Character Arcs: The Masterful Author’s Guide to Uniting Story Structure (Helping Writers Become Authors) (Volume 7) (Paperback)

This book is so good. I was given an e-copy for an honest review, and I just bought the print copy.

I’m a real write-by-feel historical fantasy author, but this comprehensive breakdown of how characters and their arcs tie in and support and drive plot is invaluable. I have a feeling I’ll be coming back to this book again and again. And the nice thing is, the author doesn’t give you the impression that “this is the way it is,” but “this is what’s possible,” and “discover greater possibilities.”

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Coloring pages sample . . .

I’ve been working on coloring pages for Trencher and Board: food and recipes of the Middle Ages, an Adult Coloring journey.

Here’s what I have to date. Trencher and Board coloring pages sample. I know I said in my blog letter I’d give a few samples, but I decided to give you what I have so far. The recipes themselves are forthcoming, in the completed book format.

If you like the sample, would you leave a comment on how the coloring pages worked for you? I’d like to know if the grayscale and traditional coloring mediums work together, and whether the pages work well for you for markers, pen, or pencil. (I’ve been using pencil.)

On another note, Mary Pearson’s The Beauty of Darkness the third book in her trilogy, in hardcover, is cheaper than the $9.99 e-book, and just released the 2d. Don’t miss it! That is, if you like YA fantasy. I tried her books out from the library first, but this one I’m buying. 🙂

Thank you so much!

And have a great August!

Azalea

 

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Ruthlessly slash What??

It’s summer, and the game is afoot!

If you’re an author or reader, you’re either furiously creating or relaxing in your favorite warm spot with a book. Or you may do both consecutively. That’s two blessings of the land we live in, the USA, and I hope you’re enjoying reading or some equivalent summer fun. This is the time to be out of doors!

And we never quit learning, it seems. I enjoyed these interesting editing tips, Kristen Lamb’s article on what to ruthlessly slash, passed to me by a bestselling writer, KM Weiland, who wrote Storming, a great steampunk historical. I loved (still do) this daring air pirate adventure.

There’s more. It’s time for The Clash of The Titles, and I’m voting for Jenn Roger’s new release Astray, book one of the Ariboslia series. If you want to vote for her or your favorite title, go here starting Wednesday, June 22, 2016.  Page is not live until Wednesday.

There are many great reads and blessings – what are some of yours, if you’d like to share? Leave a note in the comments. It may take me a little time to get back to you, but I will!

PS. If you would like inside news and special offers on my books and coloring book projects and you are not yet on my list, join my blog letter in the sidebar. I won’t give your info to anyone else, and you’ll get the inside scoop bi-monthly or less.  🙂

Have a great summer!

Azalea

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That last book report is easier than you think

A fascinating study of literary adventure by email:

I had the privilege of mentoring a teen student recently. Victoria’s questions about her book report were so well laid out, I thought our talk might be helpful and entertaining to you. At the bottom of our post is a link to a free medieval poem, Falcon’s Ode. Plus a link to Falcon Flight, a young adult medieval fantasy, free 5/13 – 5/16. Family friendly of course. But definitely adventurous! 🙂 Continue reading

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