Friday, April 29, 2016

Merely A Partner ~ April 2016 Quote Queste


I finally whipped up a scene for this month's QQ.  This was a lot of fun to write.

Prompt:
https://www.pinterest.com/pin/504192120764730772/


    ‘Simply a partner', I was told. 


    “It’s solely a business relationship,” they agreed, sitting in a well lit library with the Minister of Diplomacy and the Chief State Councillor. 
    Opposite Fahd sat Princess Zahira, pearls shimmering as she tossed her head saucily.  “Don’t look so worried, Father, Uncle.  Do you doubt our power?”
    Lord Akram frowned, “No, child, I’ve never doubted your power.”  He hesitated, “Be careful, Zahira.”
    She smiled and reached across the table to grip her uncle’s hand.  “We will be.”
   
    “Merely a business relationship,” Satha, Zahira’s mother, frowned over dinner.  “Very well.  Be careful, Zahira.”
    “We can hardly fail to remember to be careful with so many people cautioning us,” the princess retorted smilingly.

    “It’s a business relationship,” Zahira shrugged her shoulders cheerily, a stark figure of living color in the verdant gardens drenched with the creamy light of two moons.  A shawl the color of blood slid off, leaving her arms bare.  She did not replace it, letting it hang off her elbows, though the night was cool.  “One would have thought it was a business marriage, by the way everyone is carrying on.  Use the Sirin power.  Convince everyone.  Then sever our partnership.  Why are they overreacting?”
    “Youth was never intended to understand the weightier thoughts that decades of life bring,” Fahd’s low chuckle glided along her bare arms and up to the back of her neck.  “Who can say what dark things they imagine coming out of the shadows of our power?  After all, one Sirin alone wields great power, but two Sirins,” eyes nearly the color of night gleamed down at her.  Zahira drew a breath heady with the surging challenge as he continued, “Two Sirins together will never be outmatched.”
    “Especially not ones as strong as ourselves,” she agreed.  Slender fingers brushed a leaf from his shoulder.
    They smiled at each other, eyes glittering with complete accord. 


    ‘No more than a business partnership.’  It’s what was promised.  In school, I had one professor who had traveled in his youth, and developed an appreciation for the British method of education, particularly teaching Latin and Greek.  His better students had lessons in at least one of the languages, usually Latin, after having completed their regular work.  One of the phrases he taught us recurred to my mind with increasing regularity during these nights of power entwining and reaching for a higher goal.
    Veni, Vidi, Amavi. 
    She was supposed to be a partner.  Nothing more.  But I came to understand exactly what it was that our elders had feared as I grew to know the woman under the masks.
    I came, I saw, I loved.

 
To join Quote Queste, visit this post.


Sunday, April 24, 2016

Print Launch ~ Five Gems and Thaw


Once upon a time there was an author who began the process of writing a fairy tale retelling series and a medieval fantasy series, in addition to envisioning many other books.  Once upon another time, five of her books, formerly published only in ebook format, became available in paperback, with illustrations drawn by none other than... herself.

Yes friends, E. Kaiser's delightful books are now available in physical form; actual books you can hold in your hands.  (I love my Kindle, but I will agree with many people that there is no feeling quite akin to holding a book in your hands, smelling and feeling its pages.)  In addition, the Five Gems Series is being released with illustrations and new covers.  I have not yet read any of these books, but I have read a short story of E's and I loved it.  I recommend trying these books if you love fairy tales or clean fantasy.


Five Gems Series:
On her first visit to the palace 16 year old Fia Brithin stumbles onto a court secret. To keep the secret safe, the Chancelor sends her off as apprentice to a famous, reclusive, high mountain jeweler.
...And straight into adventure. 


When the loyalist cause enlists the mountain house into a weaponry, apprentice Fia is confronted with three refugee children, a disturbingly upstart former messenger, and accidents happening everywhere. Are saboteurs out to nix the weapons works... or is it the incognito crown prince they're after?


THAW series:
Sometimes, when we get what we wish for, we don't know what to do with it.


The only one who can break a neurosis... is the one who has it.


The only person who can help him... is the one he most deeply wronged.


 About the Author:
E. Kaiser Writes credits her nearly nomadic childhood for the vast reach of her fictional worlds; she has lived (and gotten to known the locals) in the Rocky Mtns, the Smoky Mtns, the plains, the deep forest, the searing Texas summer and frozen Minnesota north.

 She wears many hats: writer and editor of ad copy, web copy, office correspondence & fiction; a cowgirl, animal trainer, seamstress, jeweler, artist and... authoress!



To learn more, visit:


Commenter giveaway:
She is also running a random commenter giveaway, in which you will have a chance to win some fabulous prizes.  Each comment on each blog post in the tour will make the commenter eligible to win a prize or prize package.  To find the full list of bloggers and see the prizes being offered, visit this post.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Paper Crowns Blog Tour Sign-up

Paper Crowns, a fantasy novel by my dear friend Mirriam Neal, has finally been published!  I'm bouncing with excitement.  I beta read this book a few years ago as it was being written and ever since finishing it, I've been waiting for it to be published so I could point people to it and say, 'READ THIS AT ONCE'.

There is a blog tour being organized to promote the release.  It will take place during the month of May.  There will be guest posts by Mirriam, and interviews with her, as well as a few reviews of the book.

If you would like to participate, email me (you can find my email address on my 'Contact Me' page) with your name, your blog address, what day in May would work best for you (or what days absolutely won't work for you), and whether you'd rather post an interview, a guest post, or a book spotlight (basically just posting the cover image and plugging the book).



Monday, April 18, 2016

Dear Mr. Nathan




Dear Mr. Nathan,
I've read your article (http://warhornmedia.com/2016/03/07/an-open-letter-to-rey-from-star-wars/) no less than five times, examining it from various viewpoints, and I have a few things I'd like to say in response.

I think that what you intended to point out was that there are too many warrior-type women portrayed in movies and not enough wives and mothers who are just as awesome raising kids and running homes.  And also that not being a warrior type does not devalue them.  But the way you communicated that, if in fact that is what you were trying to say, came across as arrogant, rude, dismissive and condescending.

I understand that you men are weak, too.  You need something for which to fight.  It's the way you were created, inherent with its own set of weaknesses.  God created women to walk alongside you and compensate for your weaknesses in the same way He created you to compensate for our weaknesses.  I understand that a lot of you men are feeling useless, because feminism has taught our culture that being a woman means we don't need a man and therefore, there is no purpose for you to fill.  I understand all of that and I'm sorry it's left you with a lot of cultural baggage to cut through, just as it has left many of us women with cultural baggage to battle.

I agree with you that the media portrayal of women is unfairly skewed.  We are shown a lot of fighters and not enough women who are 'just' raising kids and managing homes, which is every bit as valuable as fighting off hordes of undead.  And as a friend of mine pointed out yesterday, many females AREN'T the warrior women types and they get tired of only having warrior women in media.  I understand this.

That said, I'm going to point out a few things.  Your article was logically flawed because you incorrectly used examples of fictional female characters who were not, in fact, 'needlessly' fighting.  Each of them had a specific reason for fighting and it's because there weren't any men around to do it.  You're right, we do need more of other types of women portrayed in media.  But, please, don't use these specific female characters as examples of the /wrong/ way to behave, because that's incorrect.

I'm not just defending characters I happen to like and identify with.  I'm pointing out that by using these examples, your premise was damaged, because these examples aren't those of 'needless warrior women types trying to prove they can fight as well as a man'.  Nor am I just 'quibbling over details', because details are what make or break communication.  Your premise might be terrific, but if your details are incorrect, everyone is going to doubt your premise because once something is found to be incorrect, it automatically creates doubt that anything else in the article is correct.  Each of these five examples was not fighting because they didn't need a man, because they were as tough and as strong as men.  It's because there was no man around OR they were fighting /alongside/ men.

Princess Leia
In a galaxy where evil oppressed all- both men and women- she was doing her job of being a senator, and when caught by men, she fought back to protect herself and to protect the people she had vowed to represent.  She was, incidentally, rescued by two men.  Then she, as the only one with knowledge others in the Rebel Alliance (most of them men) needed in order to do their job, became a general to help direct the fight.

Black Widow
She was severely brainwashed into becoming a weapon.  The very men who should have protected her were the ones who used her, hurt her, and molded her into something that took her years and years to break free from.  Incidentally, she was /also/ rescued by a man, when Hawkeye refused to kill her and instead showed her a better way.  She fought alongside the Avengers not because she was trying to be as good as the men, but as a way to atone for her crimes in the past and as the only way she knew how to fight her inner demons.

Katniss
Katniss wasn't even a warrior at all, initially.  She wanted a better life, she wanted kids and love.  She was forced to become a warrior because she lived in a twisted society in which if a child was chosen, they were forced to fight to the death.  She fought this fight alongside men (and boys), and when it was all over, she did become a wife and mother.  The point of her story isn't that she didn't need a man, it was to show what a society can become when they disregard that all life is sacred, and also to point out that when confronted with a society that is wrong, a few people standing up against it can make a difference.

Tauriel
She's an elf.  Not even a human.  Elven society is different from human society.  The 'proper' places of males and females were different, because even though Tolkien portrayed them as having been created by God, they were a different race with different rules.  (And yes, I'm well aware that Peter Jackson is the one who created the character of Tauriel, not Tolkien, but having read much of Tolkien's work, I believe she adheres to the precedents Tolkien set for some female elves.)  She didn't fight because she wanted to prove she was just as good as a male.  She was trained as a guard.  Then later, she fought because at first none of the males were stepping up to do what was right.  When Legolas joined her, they fought side by side. 

Rey
Rey was a survivor.  She fought because she had to learn how in order to protect herself and stay alive.  Plus, she's strong in the Force, which definitely affects how good you are at fighting and your strength.  There weren't any men around to protect her and once that mode of thinking had become habit, it isn't going to disappear because some men show up to protect her or help her.  Not to mention that she then fought to protect her new friends, and because once again, they were all under attack and therefore, if she didn't fight, she'd probably die.

I haven't seen any of the other examples you alluded to, so maybe some of those warriors were needlessly jumping into a place where other people were already doing the work or were just doing it to prove they were as good at fighting as a man.  I don't know, so I won't comment on them, but if you're trying to point out that feminism is a problem, please don't use examples that don't illustrate feminism, but merely show women fighting when confronted with evil.

"What I’m getting sick of is the men that think it’s cool and sexy to make you be the way you are. The men who refuse to tell stories that encourage and ennoble other men to protect and care for the weak ones, the vulnerable ones, the hurting ones—the women and the children, the widows and the orphans."
Again, I agree that there is some of this in media.  But, using the examples you cited... wait a minute.  Refuse to portray men defending weak and vulnerable and hurting people?  I can't help but ask if you actually watched the Avengers?  Because it was about one woman and five men protecting the weak, vulnerable and hurting.

"But a hard, mean, manly woman is difficult for a real man to care for."
Princess Leia, Black Widow, Rey, and Tauriel were none of them 'hard, mean, manly' women.  They were strong, beautiful, feminine, soft women whose main strength came from their compassion and love for people which led them to fight the battle in front of them.  They weren't trying to be just like men.  They were stepping up when men stepped down and/or when there was a fight in front of them which needed them to fight alongside men.

You challenged us women to give you something to fight for.  In return, I challenge you men to do a little more searching about what the Bible actually says about the role of women.  Research the words used in their original languages.  Oh, and please, climb down from the arrogant high horses to look us in the eye and walk next to us.  We appreciate it more than I have time to describe right now.


Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Quote Queste: April 2016 ~ Veni, Vidi, Amavi




Dear me, here we are nearly halfway through April already (Problem 1. How is April here already??? and Problem 2. HOW IS IT THE 12TH ALREADY??) and I still haven't posted April's Quote Queste.  For that, I apologize.

To all of you who participated in March's QQ, thank you!  Reading each person's interpretation of the prompt is one of my favorite things.

Links to the March scenes:
TomWildRose
Katherine Sophia
Faith 


Rules:
1. Take the quote below and write a short scene based on it.  It can be a scene for a story you're currently writing, one you plan on writing in the future, or you can make up characters solely for this challenge.
2.  Post your scene on your blog, with the banner from the top of my post and a link to my blog.
3. Come back to this post and leave a link to your post in the comments so the other participants and I can read your scene.
4. Have fun!


https://www.pinterest.com/pin/504192120764730772/


Happy Writing!

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Snippets: Winter/Early Spring 2016

I don't remember when was the last time I posted snippets.  I know it's been months.  Eeeek.  Without further ado, snippets from my January, February and March writing.



    Itimburi walked across the floor towards her and Johari stiffened in fury.  Behind her, Alejan tensed in wariness.  Her brain registered that Lirios had leaned over to ask Alejan a question, but she couldn't hear the question or the reply over the fury surging in her brain as the man whom she blamed for her predicament bowed to her.
    "Your Highness, it's a pleasure to see you again."
    "Itimburi," she saw a tiny wince in his eyes as she used only his first name and not his title or any other term of respect.
    "May I say, Your Highness, that you are looking radiant tonight, and that in the short time you've had this office, you're already proving to be one of the most brilliant Crown Princesses our planet has seen in a long time?"
    Johari's eyebrows drew down and she swept the man a look of ice, "You may not say.  Excuse me."  She turned and left the dais, Alejan half a step behind her- so close she could feel his body heat- and Lirios leaping to her side.
    "You just antagonized one of the most influential men on the planet," Lirios whispered once they were several steps away.  "And in public no less."
    Johari raised her left eyebrow, "Your point being?"  She knew what she had done had the potential to be a match to straw, but at the moment she didn't care.  Serves them all right for putting me on the throne.
    He grinned, a slow admiring movement, "You're terrific."
Oath of Loyalty


    "On the Constitution of Denzli and before Dio and all these witnesses, do you voluntarily and willingly swear this oath?"
    The final step.  With one word, "No," Johari would nullify everything she had just said. 
    She could not say it.  No, the oath was not voluntary, but it was made willingly.  It was her duty and Johari had never yet shirked her duty.
    "On the constitution of Denzli and before Dio, I willingly and voluntarily make this Oath of Coronation."
    Her left hand took the Constitution, the crown settled over her head, her right hand reached out for the Scepter of State and she carefully lowered herself into the extremely difficult curtsy.
Oath of Loyalty


    Johari nodded to him and turned to leave.  Kaduna blocked her path.
    "Do you have any idea what you did tonight?" Kaduna's eyes bored into hers.
    Johari raised her chin and stared defiantly back at her mother, a complacent smile playing around her lips.  "I'm very well aware of what I did.  I publicly displayed antagonism for a powerful business man, which could complicate things for the Crown; while at the same time demonstrating support for his wife and stepdaughter, the former occupants of the Crown."  Her lips curled, "I know exactly what I did."
    "Then perhaps," her mother's voice was the coldest Johari ever remembered it being when addressing one of her children, "you can tell me why you did it?  Or am I not privileged to know?"
    Johari could practically feel the thick tension in the watchfulness of her Companions and her mother's Companions; facing each other behind their lieges.  She chuckled, a weird sound in the otherwise silent hallway.  "If he wanted civility or courtesy from me, he should have stayed at his wife's side.  Not that anyone expected him to be there; he hasn't been for years."
    Kaduna visibly took a deep breath, "Johari, you don't like him but you're Crown Princess now.  You'll be dealing with a lot of people you don't like, and you cannot antagonize them privately or publicly."
    "I won't."
    "Then why did you do it tonight?!" Kaduna's frustration was palpable.
    "Because it sent a clear message to everyone in that ballroom."  Johari paused and drew out each word, "I am not a pawn of anyone's.  Goodnight, Mother."
Oath of Loyalty


    It was not hard to give his loyalty to the woman, once he’d studied her personnel profile.  She was the kind of person he could follow and his loyalty, like those of his fellow Companions, was given with a fierceness and a fire that would burn all of his life.
    And now, his princess was hurting and he could do nothing for her.
    My princess.  When did I start thinking of her that way?  She was his princess, of course, just as she was ‘my princess’ to each of the Companions.  But something else tinged that word tonight.
    His princess was beautiful.
Oath of Loyalty


    “But you don’t understand,” the redhead insisted earnestly.  “I was born a princess.”
    Johari snorted, “You were born a diva.”
    Josif hastily raised his hand to hide his snicker.
    The girl’s eyes widened in mixed outrage and hurt.  “I am the Izbranik,” she insisted.
    Heaven grant me patience.  “Child, one can be born with royal purple blood so deep and dark that it spills into their pupils and displays their heritage to the world, but one still must learn to act the position they were born into.  You might have been born as the Izbranik, but you sure as blazes aren’t her by actions.”
    “But I am the Izbranik,” the girl insisted again.  “All of the prophecies point to me.”
    “No, you are a spoiled brat,” Johari retorted.  “The prophecies don’t name you.  They are just ambiguous enough that you could fit... but so could someone else with several similar characteristics, such as red hair and heterochromia.  You just happen to be the only one anyone here knows who fits the description.”
Fidelitas #4, Mystery of Loyalty


    “Ugh, can we get a new Izbranik?” Josif muttered.
    Johari snickered.
    “Thirteen,” Miro leaned around Kiril and tilted her head at her brother.
    “What?” Zander looked between the two.
    “I’m counting how many times he’s said he wants a different Chosen One,” Miro arched her eyebrows.  “This is thirteen.”
Fidelitas #4, Mystery of Loyalty


    “Are you ready to return home?  Will you miss Mirnosuma?” Miro asked.
    Johari smiled involuntarily, “Yes and yes.  Mirnosuma taught me a lot, and it was an adventure and an experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life.  I’m glad the situation is handled, too.  I wouldn’t have felt comfortable leaving for Denzli without everything resolved.”
    “We owe you a lot,” Josif’s voice slid over her shoulder and she turned to see him leaning against a pillar a few feet away, swirling blue wine in a long-stemmed glass, eyes resting casually on her.
    The air leaped into a low simmer, the summer heat intensifying.
Fidelitas #4, Mystery of Loyalty 


    “Don’t go near the pools, stay away from the tall trees and don’t go crawling around in the flowers,” Nari chanted, voice singsonging in annoyance.  “I can’t swim, so it’s not like I’m going to be jumping into any pools.  I don’t know what danger tall trees are supposed to present.  Does she think they are just going to fall over?”  Nari put her hands on her hips and frowned up at a tree a few meters away, “You look pretty sturdy to me.”  The tree, predictably, did not answer her and Nari wrinkled her nose at it before continuing to huff her way down another path.  “How am I supposed to look at the flowers properly unless I get up close?”  Something shimmered at the far corner of her left eye and she turned to look.  It was one of the pools, water moving gently in the sunlight.  Nari turned resolutely away and stared at a bed of late fall flowers.
'Prewrite' of ESIR


    She smiled tentatively, brain racing to invent an excuse.  “I beg your pardon, sir.  I was practicing.”
    “I see,” the stern lines of his mouth, jaw and brow did not unbend.  “Might I suggest that the next time you wish to practice self defense, you do so in an open area where you can see someone approaching?  Or perhaps, it would be better to not talk out loud to yourself, then you can hear people come up behind you.”
    Bora struggled not to visibly wince or cringe.  She deserved every bit of the censure.
    “Or, you can wait until night falls and then come out.  But the darker the night, the harder it is to see where you are going, and you would most assuredly freak all of the servants out.  They would think you were a reincarnated warrior from the past.  If you do decide to do that, I hope you will invite me to be present,” the right corner of his mouth twitched upwards a fraction of an inch and the eyes actually held a tiny gleam.
    Bora’s breath whooshed out in relief, and then she flushed at the sound.  “I truly am sorry, sir.”
    “I’m not,” he told her.  “The incident turned an otherwise ordinary day into something interesting.”
 'Prewrite' of ESIR