Friday, August 30, 2013

Controversial Content in #YAlit

For a while now, I’ve wondered if the contents of my book Hush Puppy might keep it out of school libraries. There’s some language and sexual situations that I’m not sure 100% of parents out there would be ok with.  But overall, compared to the onslaught of violence and sex American teens are faced with every day in television, movies and video games, I think my book is pretty tame.

Teens today know far more about the world than many adults give them credit for.  My opinion is that to ignore that part of their life is doing them a disservice in the long run. We can pretend as parents that children don’t grow up, but that doesn’t make it the truth. I’d rather have that conversation with my children, openly and honestly, than pretend it doesn’t exist.

The truth is, in real life, teens have to deal with hard stuff every day. They might be homeless, or poor, or abused.  If they aren’t now, it could happen to them in the future. What better place to explore those issues than in the safety of fiction? What do you think?

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Welcome Melissa Wray of UncommonYA~

Hey peeps! I've recently joined an online group called UncommonYA - a band of authors who have come together to help promote each other's work. Every week or two, I'll be featuring an UncommonYA author on the blog.  This week is Melissa Wray.  Enjoy~

It's been 12 months since the first box of freshly printed
Destiny Road books arrived from the publishers.
A great excuse for a celebration!

Destiny Road is about a girl called Jessica, who is building up to make a most important decision. One that will affect the rest of her life. It is a story of decision, growth and acceptance. Jessica is sixteen when she meets Bill for the first time. Six months later she is moved away by her mother, to begin a new life away from what she knows. Away from the man she is just realising she might have wanted in her life all along, her biological father. So begins Jessica’s journey of living with the choices made by herself and those around her.
Read the first chapter for free;
*Enter below to win one of three Ebooks of Destiny Road!* 

"It might have been a long while since I was a teenager, but I felt myself identifying with emerging author, Melissa Wray’s realistically drawn characters, in particular Jessica, for the strength she maintained in carrying out her choice - because it’s not an easy one, the love and absolute acceptance shown to her by Bill and Janet, and Luke, for his own pain, suffering and self-inflicted guilt at what could have been, but wasn’t!"
Book Muster Down Under

"Wray has managed to write with absolute brutal honesty that very easily could have become too confronting-especially for those that have undergone a similar situation ...
The timing is perfect. You have time to catch your breath when needed without ever compromising the flow. In fact the novel has such a polished feel I was surprised that this was indeed her debut into the published world."

Cecilia Janisk Confessions of a Booky Monster reviewer

The great thing about Destiny Road is that is filled with all the realistic teenage things- starting at a new school, family drama, friend drama, learning to drive and etc ...

My absolute favourite thing was the relationships that were in the novel. I loved reading about the building father/daughter relationship of Bill and Jessica ...

Some of the little details that Melissa wrote about actually got me thinking- one example was a really good discussion about pivotal points and all ...

I want to thank them for their honest review and feedback about Destiny Road. To read the complete review and check out their blog, click on the link below.

A Book So Fathomless

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, August 26, 2013

Stephanie Wardrop Blog Stop #1 on the Hush Puppy Tour~

Happy Monday peeps!  This week is the first stop on the Hush Puppy Release blog tour.  Today, I'm over at Stephanie Wardrop's blog, so hop on over there and see the interview. Stephanie thought it would be fun to interview Corrine and Jamie, the main characters in my new novel.  Go see what they had to say for themselves!

I also wanted to let you know, the print version of Hush Puppy is now available to order from Amazon.  Happy reading~

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Hush Puppy Blog Tour

Exciting stuff peeps! Hush Puppy was released on Monday, August 19, 2013. With that, I have to tell you the blog here may seem a bit like an infomercial while I promote the book. For those of you who don’t know, the web has become a major player in how books are promoted, especially with shrinking marketing budgets. The web is now the way many authors use to connect with tons more people than they could ever meet in person.
I’ll be making a blog tour to various other authors’ web sites to promote the book with interviews and excerpts. I hope you’ll be able to visit a few of them and support those blogs with comments, follows, tweets, and likes.  And of course, you can always visit my Facebook page for easy updates too. 

Early reviews have been overwhelmingly positive:

With a lot of emotion and skill, Cresswell weaves together a story that promotes the power of friendship and the importance of being true to oneself.

Hush Puppy is a sweet, sweet story of conquering prejudices, forgiveness and family, and a reminder that positive perspective, determination, and the support of one special person are enough to overcome whatever trauma life may deal.

I want to extend my gratitude to the following bloggers ahead of time. I sure appreciate their support for my blog tour.  Ladies, if you ever need anything, just ask. 
And you, dear reader, can help too if you want.  The best advertisement for any book is a review on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Goodreads or your own blog. I’ve add the book to Goodreads already if you’d like to add it to your “To Be Read” list and look for in ebook now.  I hope you enjoy it~

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Welcome Scifi Author and #fantasychat Moderator Warren Bennett

Today, I've invited Warren Bennett to the blog for a chat about writing scifi and fantasy. Hi Warren.  Tell us a bit about yourself…where you’re from and how you came to be a writer…

I am from the great State of Arizona. I grew up in the desert near a city on the Colorado River called Yuma.  (Many know this place a place from films and folk legend, but I meet few actually from the area.)  I’ve been reading as long as I can remember, well before I entered Kindergarten.  I have an older brother that is Three and a Half years my senior, so I tended to be at his reading level instead of someone my own age because I read the books he read.  When my brother was reading Tales of the Fourth Grade Nothing in Fourth Grade, I was in Kindergarten.  As he grew in to Science Fiction and Fantasy, so did I.  I remember reading the Lord of the Rings in my own time in fourth grade and my teacher commenting that I just didn’t read on the same level as everyone else.   That came as a bit of a surprise to me.
Because I loved to read, I started to write.   I wrote my first real story as a freshman in High School and haven’t looked back.  I guess I’ve been writing for too many years to count, now.  (I could count them but it might depress me.)
What genres do you write and why?
I write mainly in Science Fiction and Fantasy.  I write in those genres because that is what I love to read and watch. I do have ideas for non ‘genre’ stories, but most of those seem to be screenplays I’ve written or want to write.   

What themes do you particularly like to use in your writing and why?
Hope is my favorite theme.  I believe there is always hope, even in the darkest of times.  People can come back from the brink of nothing and do well. They can make up for the evil they’ve done in their life.   In the darkness, there is a light, even if this light can only be seen beyond the veil of death.  I hope this theme resonates through everything I write, even if it doesn’t appear in a deliberate fashion.  We are living in a world of such uncertainty, I’d like people to see hope in my writings.  So many people get in to situations in their life and think they can’t change, or there is no reason to go on, but that isn’t true. There is always hope and that is what I pray resonates with people in my books, stories, and whatever else I write. 

Can you tell us about your current project(s)?
I have several irons in the fire. One is a Noir novel set on a Generation Ship. Think Hard Boiled Detective fiction in space. (Gotta have echo on that in space for full effect.)  I also have three or four short story collections based around different themes I am working on.  I also have a novel based on that Exodus idea that I’ve planned but haven’t started writing.

I also am going to start looking for an agent to sell some screenplays I’ve written. I haven’t tried to do this in about seven years, so I figure I should start trying again.  I have three screenplays written that I need to re-read and update.  I also have several screenplays I need to write treatments for and outline. 

My other project is a webcomic based around the truck driving industry.  I am going to both write and draw this sucker.   I haven’t really tried art in about 12 years, so this should be an interesting experience.  I wanted to have this going by September, but now I am aiming for January of 2014.  We’ll see how it works out.  I actually ran a webcomic for five years, but I had a really hard time keeping an artist around.  This is the main reason I am doing this one myself.
You moderate #fantasychat on Twitter. Tell me about how that got started and what your experience has been with that.
Well, Marilyn Muniz (@marikynmuniz on twitter) mentioned she wanted to start a fantasy focused chat for writers a few years back.    I encouraged her to start the chat and gave her a few suggestions about it.  She set everything up and ran with it. I believe that was about two years ago and the chat has been going every since.
When some changes came to her own life, Marilyn changed the day of the chat. 
She stopped being able to do the Fantasy Chat on Sunday evenings, as it has been since it started.   Some of the regular chat members couldn’t make it on the new night, so I offered to take over the chat every other Sunday at the old time.  I did every other Sunday because I wanted to leave room open for doing something on Sunday evenings with friends or family.  I think I’ve been doing this for four months or so? I can’t remember, to be honest.  I know Marilyn was able to start moderating the chat the opposite Sunday to me, so now we have it going every Sunday again.     

The Fantasy Chat experience has been amazing.  I love being a moderator, though sometimes I am not sure how good of one I am.  It’s interesting to see the clock tick by – when I ask a question and no one answers for five minutes, it feels like an few hours has crawled by. I am learning how to keep the conversation going without stepping on the subject. It reminds me of running a Pen and Paper RPG game: Nothing ever goes exactly as planned, but I can’t be so in love with the rules that I ruin the experience for the group.   No matter what the theme of the night is, the conversation always shifts back and forth along many parallel lines.    I’m just glad I haven’t had a night where no one has shown up yet.  I ran a Fantasy Game chat for a while where that happened.  It is a learning experience – I know I’ve overreacted at least once and maybe under reacted a few times.  However, I’ve really enjoyed being a moderator and hope I can do it for a long time. 
What advice do you have for a beginning fantasy writer or any indie writer?

Develop a passion for writing.  I don’t know about most people, but writing isn’t easy for me.  I have a little bit of Shiny syndrome (My relatives and friends will say I have much more than a little bit of that) so to stay focused on a project, I have to be passionate about it.  It’s a constant battle with my attention being drawn elsewhere and focusing on the page at hand.  Having a passion about a project also helps get me through those times when I don’t want to write and would rather be killing monsters in Final Fantasy XIV.

I also believe that Writer’s write, always.  Write everyday and treat it like a job.  Set a goal for yourself and stick to it.  You might have to give up a few things in life, like going out to a party or hanging out with friends for the night.  That is the way of a career since without those sacrifices, the eventual success won’t be as sweet.   True success comes with shedding blood, sweat, tears and moments of anger, depression, lunatic madness, and  times of ubergiddiness.  For me anyway, but of course I may measure success different than you. J

Is there anything else you’d like to mention?
Be Open to Critiques.  Not criticism, as in people just slamming your stuff to slam it, but thoughtful and helpful critiques.  I have friends and family that aren’t about just telling me that I’m a good writer. They will point out how I can make my story better or what they truthfully think of my work. Now, I’m not always in the mood to take that advice but I always end up thinking about it later.  I can be a bit surely but their opinions do penetrate, even if they don’t think so at the time.  Being open to critiques will also help you when you hit the real world of writing. Editors will tear your stuff apart, and then ask you to put the bloody mess of your manuscript back together before the deadline.  It isn’t easy but it is a part of the industry. 

Thank you for interviewing me. I’ve enjoyed answering these questions.  I hope to do it again sometime.   If people want to hear more from me, my blog is and my twitter handle is @warrencbennett.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Hush Puppy Release Day

I’m so pleased to be able to finally share my first traditionally published novel with you, Hush Puppy.  This has been a long time coming.  I won’t tell you here what it’s all about; you can read that on the back cover.  But I thought I would tell you how this story came to be and how it almost never happened at all.

I initially wrote the first few chapters of Hush Puppy years ago when I was taking a writing correspondence course. Originally, I told the story from Jamie’s point of view until I realized, this is Corrine’s story.  I changed the point of view, but in the back of my mind I felt like I shouldn’t be writing from a black girl’s perspective. What did I know about the black experience?  I’m not a black girl OR a white boy for that matter.  I didn’t worry about it too much since it was just a few chapters for my correspondence course.  My instructor liked it.  At the end of the course, she wrote “I hope you finish this story. It will get published.”  (I guess I’d better let her know she was right.)

Then my life took a turn, as life so often does.  I had my son and became very busy for the next few years.  The chapters and the outline sat in a computer file tucked away for years, until one day; I saw an ad for the 2010 Young Adult Novel Discovery contest sponsored by Writer’s Digest.  The entry only required the first 250 words of a story, which wasn’t even required to be finished.  I had nothing to lose, so I entered Hush Puppy on a whim.  After entering, I learned the final judge was to be Regina Brooks, a literary agent who also happened to be a black woman.  I worried that I was not a black writer, but the entry was already submitted. I couldn’t take it back.  Life continued as normal and I sort of forgot about the contest for several months, until I got notification that Hush Puppy was a Top 20 finalist.  The pages went on to end up in third place and earned me a phone call with Regina Brooks.  It was all enough to convince me it was a story I had to write. 

I’m still not a black girl or a white boy, but I did grow up in the South and I know what that’s like.  Now that I’m older, I also know that each of us is the same inside anyway. We all have fears and desires, doubts and strengths.  We all make mistakes, fall in love, hurt people, get hurt, and grow up.  It’s the way we’re made. I hope you enjoy the book on Amazon or B&N~

Be the Reader

If you write for adults, it's not really that hard to put yourself in the place of the reader. They generally have the same frame of reference as you. But if you write for young people and you haven’t been a young person for a very long time (if you’re like me), you have more of a challenge putting yourself in the shoes of the reader. Make no mistake, your writing will suffer if you cannot find a way.
My daughter is starting sixth grade this year. Today, in fact.  She is bubbling over with excitement and angst.  New to her will be lockers and switching classes and dressing down for gym and having a half dozen different teachers, each with their own foibles. Somewhere in the back of my mind, I knew this was a new adventure for my daughter, but I had forgotten exactly what it was like, what it felt like when it was happening to me. She’s happy one minute, a complete nervous wreck the next, and I’m along for the ride all over again.
I do remember my middle school experience being one of the hardest times of my life. I had to get glasses in eighth grade and I was devastated. Nobody else had glasses, at least that I could remember.  They weren’t cool glasses; they were 1980’s glasses. Uhg! Everyone said they made me look smart, which I was, but that’s like the last thing I wanted to be called at the time. I went through a string of boyfriends who all made me feel rather inadequate, except for Timmy Chin.  I wonder what ever became of him? And the drama I went through with my female friends. It’s a wonder how our parents ever tolerated us. I suspect they too had amnesia about what it was like and the things that went on in middle school.
As authors, we have a duty to return to that time in our own past and dig those feelings back up when we write.  What do you remember of middle school? Anything?


Monday, August 12, 2013

First Draft Dash~

I'm in the middle of the first draft dash right now. I'm trying madly to finish the last of the Storyteller Series while having a new novel published. It's a little crazy in my world to say the least. I'm planning a blog tour to promote the new book and I have a short story due on Sept. 15 to the 13 Stories event.  Signing up for another 31 day blog challenge in October probably wasn't the best idea I ever had. Gah!!!

But forget all that. I want to talk about first drafts. I wrote last month about creating an outline for every project. That's essential. But what then??  Then comes the first draft dash.

What is that, you say? Well, let me tell you.  The first draft should be that stage where you just puke everything up on the page as fast as you possibly can. If that means writing on the computer, do that. If it means scribbling in notebooks 'cause you can't type fast like me, do that.  Do whatever it takes to get it out and get it out fast!  And whatever you do, DON'T LOOK BACK!  That is not the direction you are going.

Why not, you ask?  Why don't you want to read and reread everything you've done to date every time you sit down to write?  Because it's not pretty.  You'll find mistakes. You'll find stuff you want to change, stuff that needs to be fixed, and very soon, you'll be bogged down with all that "needs" to be done. So DON'T do that.

Keep your outline handy. It's your road map. It will show you where to go next when you reach the check point.  And then run. Run for your life.  Why hurry? What's the rush?  You must hurry for two reasons.

First, a fresh idea is like a fresh loaf of bread. It's lovely and smells good and you just want to slather it with butter and eat it.  An older idea is also like bread - old, stale bread that doesn't look so appetizing.  If you can't stay excited about your story, your reader won't either.

And second, inspiration is a flighty thing. If you dawdle, if you say "I'll get around to it later", your fresh ideas will evaporate like rain in the desert. You may or may not get them back. Saving them on paper is the only way to be sure they'll stick around. That's why you always need a notebook and a pen handy.

So are you ready?  On your mark, get set....GO!

Friday, August 9, 2013

A Short Rant on a Long Rant

I got a little fired up the other day about this article in Salon.  In it, an author complains about having to be on social media in order to market his book.  I took exception to his whiny, foot stomping tirade about hating to be forced to be social, which probably got his article a ton of views on Salon, but I can tell you personally, it certainly doesn't make me want to read his books. Ever.

I guess in that way, social media can cause more harm than good for an author. It can turn a reader off before they've even looked at your first page, which is a very bad thing if you want people to read your book.  I also have a feeling that we authors have been sold this terrible lie: you have to be on social media to sell your book.  I don't know about you, but nobody has ever convinced me to buy a book by tweeting ads about it 24/7.

Books are sold by word of mouth, by friends telling friends "hey, you should read this." You can't buy that or make it happen if your book isn't any good.  Readers have a limited time in their lives and authors have to respect their choices. No amount of hours on social media is going to change that.

The other point I want to make is this because I see a lot of other authors feel the same way as the guy on Salon. Yes, almost every author wants you to enjoy their story and they can take it very much to heart if you don't. We're all human. It takes an amazing amount to strength to put yourself out there for people to judge.  Believe me, I know how hard that is.  But don't ever doubt for one second that you have something important to say. Don't do that to yourself!

Work hard. Perfect your craft. Make it the best it can be. And if you can't stand the thought of talking to strangers on social media about it, just don't do it. A good book can speak for you.  Books have been doing it for hundreds of years and hopefully, they'll keep on doing it for hundreds more. ~peace~

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Fantasy Author Interview ~ Welcome Gary Vanucci

Today I've asked self published fantasy author and twitter friend, Gary Vanucci, to visit the blog.  Gary was kind enough to post an interview of me on his blog last month and I wanted to return the favor.  Welcome Gary!

Tell me a bit about yourself…where you’re from and how you came to be a writer…

I’m from a small suburb of Philadelphia, PA. I read a lot growing up and found myself gravitating toward comic books, science fiction and fantasy novels. I think that was the mind-expansion or escape from reality that I needed at the time and still do today. If you can read, your mind can go anywhere! I came to be a writer as my history and interests indicated an artistic path. I have always been creative and it was not until the last few years that I discovered a passion for storytelling. I pursued that as a secondary thing that I hope to expand one day into a primary thing.

Can you tell us what genres you write and why?

Right now, I am only doing fantasy. I tried science fiction about 13 years ago, but grew bored with it. I may go back to it sometime. Not sure where my mind will take me next, but I at least want to finish the current story arc in my Realm of Ashenclaw series. If fans dictate that they want more, who knows? If not, I have many other stories I need to tell in a few other genres. Horror being one I find fascinating.

What themes do you particularly like to use in your writing and why?

Great questions! A few topics I like to include are: fallen heroes, addiction, naturally progressing romances and, although my characters are powerful (otherwise they would not be heroes), they have weaknesses. I like to write about things that people could relate to. Everyone has an addiction. Everyone thinks about love. Everyone has flaws and baggage and/or secrets from their past. These are a few things that I like to hone in on. I figure if I don’t care about my characters, why should you? So that thought motivates me to write them with vulnerability.

Fantasy is so much about world building.  When you're writing, how do you go about it?

I have a map and a fairly detailed description of it. As a matter of fact, my friends and I wrote a D&D RPG supplement that had an incredible amount of detail about the Realm of Ashenclaw, and yet, leaves enough open for the users to expand on the framework within. I also take copious notes, reference my documents constantly and progress from there. I have an entire northern section of my world that I had ear-marked for possibly another fantasy realm that is completely separated from the first and has its own unique origins going on. We’ll see if I can bring you there in the future!

Your covers are great.  Can you tell us how they were developed?

I found another author, William J. Kenney, who did character work on his covers that I loved. After a few brief discussions, he talked me into letting him do a re-make of my first cover. I loved it. We have had a successful working relationship since then and he is a friend now. We are both struggling to get noticed in this world of self-publishing where anyone with the know-how can put their product out there. It’s difficult to sift through the bad stuff to find the gems, but we feel that once we find a fan base, we will succeed in satisfying them. But, to your point, I deliver a concept of what I want, the descriptions, etc. as I have a vision in my head and send it to William and he fleshes it out. I am very pleased with it. He also did all of the sketches and artwork in the D&D supplement as well. The artwork is top-notch and I highly recommend him for anything!


What influenced your decision to self-publish?
I thought about trying to query an agent for a long time before saying the heck with it and trying it myself. I have never sent in any queries or contacted an agent at all. I figured if I was good enough that people would find me. However, that thought is idealistic. See my above statement about finding the gems. So, I have persevered and am in negotiations right now with a publisher that has a unique formula for publishing and I am in discussions with them. They are currently perusing my first manuscript and we shall see where it goes. I am hopeful that we can come to an agreement and work together on finding an audience.

What advice do you have for a beginning fantasy writer or any indie writer?

Try hard. Don’t quit. If you really believe in what you are doing, that is all that matters. It takes time and there are a lot of pitfalls and discouraging obstacles. But, keep at it. You will find that (hopefully) you will find your voice one day and things will become so much easier. I almost quit once, but I find that the voices in my head need to come out. That and that alone, drive me now. I write only for myself. If you do it for any other reasons, you are cheating yourself. Good luck and get writing!
Is there anything else you’d like to mention?

I think we have covered most of it. I feel that I would also like to thank anyone that has given my work a read, a review and hope they come back for more. I want to thank readers and especially reviewers of all books and hope that more people turn off their televisions more and do some reading occasionally! Books are the ultimate vacation and lead to a higher IQ. So keep on reading! Lisa, thanks for having me and I liked the questions a lot!


Monday, August 5, 2013

Looking back

I realize I said I would blog about my trip to Oregon, but there was so much going on that week, it proved rather impossible.  Now that I've been home a bit, I've had time to reflect on the trip. This might be a bit on the long side, so bear with me. There is a lot to tell.  We got there just in time to see this sunset, best one of the whole week as it turned out.

I ate lots of delicious seafood. If I recall, I had salmon, halibut, shrimp, crab, and clams. Some people pretended to eat seafood, like Ryan with this string of gooseneck barnacles.

And some people, like Hannah, don't like seafood at all, which is too bad.  (Check out Hannah's face when I suggested we could eat this dead crab we found on the beach.)

We made some fun side trips to various places along the coast.  One day, we went to Cape Mears to see the shortest lighthouse I've ever seen and the Octopus Tree, a crazy big Sitka spruce.

My favorite trip was the day trip to Cannon Beach, to see all the beautiful flowers and shop at their epic candy store, and visit Ecola State Park, to see the stars! Starfish, that is. Hundreds of them.

And of course, I attended the Oregon Coast Children's Book Writer's Conference in Oceanside, Oregon.  I learned a few things that week, some of it in the class from the actual instruction, but also outside the actual class. I've been to a lot of writer's conferences, so I've heard a lot of the course material before. That doesn't mean it isn't useful. It's just that I already knew it, so I started thinking~ what else am I getting out of this?
One thing I learned is not everybody can help you. Maybe that doesn't make much sense, so let me explain. There were several editors and agents at the class, but they didn't really work on the kind of material I'm writing right now. They could offer friendly advice, but they weren't my "in" to the publishing industry. On my way to the conference, I received an email from an agent I had recently queried. No, he didn't want to represent me either. It was the second agent rejection I had received on the manuscript. I had a third agent query out, but have never heard back, so I assume that's a 'no' too. An agent at the conference also rejected my offer to query, so that made four. I didn't really feel sad about it though; I'm getting used to it. The way I look at it, none of them could help me. Then, something exciting happened...
On Friday, late in the day after class was over, a publisher emailed and said they wanted to make an offer on the manuscript.  Finally, someone in a position to help me! So maybe it's just a matter of finding the right person?
The other thing I learned is this~ in the end, only kindness matters. Of course, you and I already know it, but it's always good to be reminded of this. I came to a class of strangers on Monday morning and left with many new friends on Friday. The kindness of the instructors in their thoughtful critiques was outstanding, a far cry from what I remember in English class. (*Note to self, blog about that!) The kindness of our hosts, David and his lovely family, was a refreshing escape from the rush-rush, 'I don't have time for you' real world. David, in particular, left me with the feeling that I could contact him any time and he would do his utmost to help me if he could. That's pretty impressive for someone who's about to leave for Morocco. :)  And that's a rare thing for anyone these days.
So maybe the take away is this~ we leave our footprints everywhere we go, including on the hearts of others~ always remember to tread lightly.

Saturday, August 3, 2013

#SampleSunday on Saturday ~ my treat :)

I wanted to share a bit of my current work in progress with you, but I'm too impatient to wait until Sunday to do it. This is from Storyteller III: The Last Page. Enjoy~


Between awake and asleep,
I’ll find you again~  fairy ballad


Big, crisp, orange leaves floated down on the park like a constant, slow motion rain as the sunlight dappled the green grass.  Lily looked up at the clear blue, autumn sky. The swings swayed in the breeze without making a squeak. Lily knew this place. She had been here before.  She and Peter came here after school sometimes.

“Where are you?” she called out.

“Not far,” said a voice. “You can always find me if you know where to look.”

A wind chime on the porch of a house across the street played sweet tones, but there was no one there.

“Peter, come out!” It’s not fair if you use magic.”

“Are you sure? You’re so close.”

“I don’t see you anywhere.” There was no reply. “Please?”

“Oh, all right,” said Peter, right behind her. Lily whirled around to face him. He hung upside down from the monkey bars, his arms dangling in the air. “I win again.”

Lily wasn’t about to let him gloat. She tickled under his arms while he giggled and squirmed to get away. His legs slipped and he ended up in a heap on the grass, laughing as he knocked Lily down next to him. They lay there, catching their breath. Lily watched the white clouds against the blue sky, soaking up the sunshine on her skin. She couldn’t remember when she felt so happy, which is what made her realize she was dreaming. She reached out for Peter’s hand, hoping he was real. His fingers locked with hers, warm and firm.

“You said I could find you. Where are you now?”

“Do you know what a griffin is?”

“One of the portal keepers, isn’t it?”


“So, it’s some sort of magical creature.”

“A griffin is a lion with the head of an eagle. It’s beak and talons are like razors.”

“What does the griffin have to do with finding you?”

“You won’t be able to reach me until you find the griffin.”

“What do I have to do? Kill it?”

“No, restore it.”

“But how do I do that?”

“You’ve got to hurry.”

Suddenly, clouds covered the sun and the sky darkened.

“Peter?” Lily sat us and squeezed his hand, but he didn’t respond. The brightness of his eyes dimmed. Lily watched as the darkness seeped into the whites until they were solid black.


“Hurry, Lily. I haven’t got much time.”