The Princess and the Siege – p.1

Stuck in a loop of time known as Ever After, in the middle of a wide ring of tall mountains, there lives a princess. Alone in her castle except for the cook, the stable boy, and her personal maid, she is fair and just to the people in her kingdom, which number three: the cook, the stable boy, and her personal maid.

The land inside the mountain ring is green and rich, and provides the princess with everything she and her few loyal subjects could ever need, so they are happy…for most of the year. Every spring, when the snow atop the mountains melts, hordes of princes ride over and seek her out. The legend tells that the princess is very beautiful, and that any man who wins her love will be king of all the mountains.

The princess, however, doesn’t consider herself to be such a prize. She is not sure how the legend got started but she certainly does not want to share rulership of the mountains with anyone, so she spends each winter preparing for the onslaught of suitors, and devising ways to thwart them.

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November 4, 2014 at 12:09 pm 2 comments

Nightsong

Once upon a time, I was invited to a baby shower, and in the course of buying gifts I found myself browsing picture books. Nothing was speaking to me. Oh, there are the classics that all kids should have, but I wanted something off the beaten path, so I poked around in the back of the store, where the books were not displayed so much as shoved into stacks. There, at the very end of a shelf, I discovered this beautiful book, “Nightsong” by Ari Berk.

Nightsong by Ari Berk (Author), Loren Long (Illustrator)

Nightsong by Ari Berk (Author), Loren Long (Illustrator)


Chiro, a young bat, is sent out into the night alone to forage for food and make his way. His mother tells him he’ll be fine as long as he uses his “good sense” to help him. The darkness scares him, but he soon discovers that if he sings a song, the world sings back to him, allowing him to “see” everything. He travels many miles and has a beautiful journey before finally making his way back home to the warm embrace of his mother.

The story is wonderful and sweet, but the illustrations done by Loren Long are what really sold me. The darkness of the world of bats is brought to life in a very approachable way. Chiro himself is adorable, with his floppy ears and fawn-like speckled fur, and the illuminated path of his song over the landscape is ethereal and charming. The muted tones of the art are a perfect match to the softly soaring narrative. I think this will make a beautiful bedtime story for the little man my friend is about to welcome into the world, especially if he ever gets afraid of the dark.

May 31, 2014 at 6:41 pm Leave a comment

Books for Brains

After a long break from this here blog, I’ve come back to report that I did a thing.

zombiebookmobile

Kids love to read to zombies for therapy! Just be sure you don’t get too close… This 12-page picture book follows the misadventures of a girl who has trouble reading, and the zombie who takes care of her.

Faithful readers of Oneirical will be well-prepared for the irreverent tale that unfolds here, and I hope the debut of my illustrations delights you in the viewing as much as it did me in the drawing!

The Zombie Bookmobile is available for Kindle.

May 19, 2014 at 12:16 pm 1 comment

A Little Breather

Just over two years ago I started this blog, and my intention was to break through the fear of the blank page, silence my inner editor, and learn to write without over-thinking. I am proud and happy to say that the experiment has been a success! I’ve been working on my novel, a project that has been on the back burner for years, and that has taken over the time I would usually spend making posts here. Dear readers, I apologize if I’ve left you hanging, but greater things are ahead!

I will still write stories here, though my initial vow of daily (or semi-daily) will no longer be in effect, necessarily. This wonderful place has served its intended purpose, so the pressure is off in that respect. The incredible surprises that my imagination has brought forth here will keep me coming back. It is an addicting feeling; those times when something comes out of you that makes you smile are delicious times, indeed. I’ve created characters here that I would like to revisit, and am sure there are others still waiting to be born whom I can’t wait to meet.

For now, though, I will be taking a little breather. I’m going to finish my novel. Would that there were more hours in the day, and that my day job didn’t take up so many of them, so that I could write here, there, and everywhere! Perhaps one day…

July 10, 2013 at 10:36 am Leave a comment

Nuisance and the Nine Golden Keys – p.23

As Nuisance emerged from the hay with the golden needle in his mouth, he heard someone shout, “Look!” He turned, but too late realized they were coming toward him, and before he could run, a man had plucked him out of the hay by the small scruff of his neck. “He’s got something, my lord,” the man said, and people gathered around.

The man who had the golden keys walked up and leaned in close to Nuisance. He was smiling. “Might I have that, little one?” He held out his hand, and Nuisance dropped the golden needle. “Thank you,” the man said, inspecting it. He stuck it through the fabric of his coat for safe keeping, and where it touched, the threads turned to gold. “An hour ago I was ready to see you become the cat’s dinner for causing all this trouble, but now I think I owe you a great debt.” He picked up the small chest of hay and bid the man holding Nuisance to drop him into it. “If you like, you can remain a treasured pet of my house, safe from harm, well fed, and I’ll even give you your own footman.” People laughed. Nuisance was not sure what a footman was, but the rest of the man’s offer sounded fine to him.

Later there was a wedding, and a great feast, and Nuisance was given a platter at the head of the table, filled with nuts, cheeses, and greens. He ate until he thought he would burst, and the new bride kissed him on the top of his head. As the people cheered and laughed, Rascal the cat brooded under the table, his tail going swish, swish, swish. There would be no mouse dinner for him.

THE END

June 11, 2013 at 11:18 am 2 comments

Nuisance and the Nine Golden Keys – p.22

The chest contained a collection of fine fabrics, woven with gold and silver threads, embellished with jewels, in patterns so complex that some of the women swooned.

Another chest was discovered, and another, as the people cleared away more debris. Nine chests in all, and the man with the golden keys moved around, opening each of them in turn. One held silver goblets and platters, another vials of rare spices and medicinal herbs; the fourth chest was filled with strands of pearls, the fifth with golden coins. In the sixth chest there were scrolls of ancient writing, in the seventh were bottles of spirits and wine, in the eighth was a purple robe fit for a king. The ninth chest was very small, and inside there was, to everyone’s dismay, nothing but a handful of straw.

The people clucked their tongues and fretted over this, but returned their attentions to the other treasures. Nuisance was curious, indeed, and slowly made his way to the small chest. No one noticed as he climbed inside. The straw was fragrant and soft, and he burrowed deep. There, near the bottom, he found a shining golden needle. Not wanting it to accidentally poke him as he lay about in the straw, he carefully took it in his mouth and crawled back to the top of the chest.

June 3, 2013 at 4:00 pm 2 comments

Nuisance and the Nine Golden Keys – p.21

The people surveyed the damage and managed to remove the tent from the debris, freeing those who’d been trapped underneath. The gobbler came running out, making a horrible racket, but no one paid him any mind. Nuisance ran out to him, and they decided to try sneaking around the perimeter of the field, hoping to make it to the trees without being stopped.

Nuisance led the way, and they heard the people shouting to each other as they cleaned. The man who’d been given the golden keys was being called over to look at something. Nuisance glanced back, and saw that there was something sticking up out of the ground. “Let’s stop for just a moment, I want to see what that man is doing with my keys.”

“What need have we of keys, friend? I have already been freed! These rogues will be more famished than before, and half their food is destroyed–no, I’ll not stay!” With that, the bird continued on, leaving the little mouse alone on the ruined field.

As he watched, Nuisance saw the men uncover a large wooden chest, and a strange silence fell over them. The man with the golden keys stepped forward, and tried one in the lock; it did not open the chest, but the second key he tried did.

May 29, 2013 at 3:27 pm 1 comment

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