The Old Fish with One Wish – a children’s story

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This is a bedtime story told by one of my Dragon Soul characters, Morgen, to a small boy named Aidan. You must read it in a dramatic voice (lol) and please feel free to share with little ones.

The Old Fish with One Wish

There once was an old fisherman who lived in old cottage with his old wife, and in the sand outside his front door, he flipped over his old cockleboat. Now, across the cove, lived a young fisherman with his young wife. They owned a grand house with a fine fishing boat moored in the deep water. Every day the old fisherman would row to sea and fish, and complain about the unfairness of life and how he wanted a pretty wife and a grand house and a fine boat.

Then one day the old fisherman caught an old wrinkly fish that he dropped in his leaky bucket. He thought nothing of the ancient fish until the fish raised its slippery head out of the salty water and offered the old fisherman one wish if the man agreed to toss him back to the waves. It was a magic fish, you see, of which there are very few left in all the green seas. Well, that proved a difficult decision, because he wanted three things and the fish would only grant one wish. He wanted a pretty young wife; he wanted a grand house on the bay, and thirdly, a well-rigged fishing boat. The old fish told him to think long about it; the fish wasn’t in any hurry.

Well, the old fisherman thought about it all day. He didn’t want a young wife who wouldn’t want an old fisherman; he didn’t want a grand house if he was too idle to patch the roof, and he didn’t have any use for a hold full of salty fish. So it happened as the sun set, the time came to finish his thinking and make a choice. The old fisherman peered into his leaky bucket at the old wrinkly fish, and said, “See’s as if me life is just fine as it is. You can have me one wish, you old fish!” Then he tossed the fish back in the sea and rowed home.

When he got home, he flipped over his old boat and realized he had just the right boat for an old man to flip. When he opened the door to his old cottage, he saw a warm fire and supper on the hearth, and he thought he owned the coziest home an old man could own. And when his old wife laughed at his tale of the wrinkly fish with one wish, he laughed because he loved the sweetest old wife an old man could love. And he knew then that the fish had granted him each and every wish.”

– Eye of Blind, Dragon Soul Quartet

A Mother’s Whispered Song

Branwen climbed into bed with her children and spread her cloak over them. Propped on an elbow, she brushed lank curls from small foreheads and looked into the dark eyes that peered back trustingly into hers. In whispered softness, she sang them to sleep.

Little fire, starry light, guide me on my path tonight
On waves of dreams, as you sleep, ‘cross the seas, calm and deep
Farewell to troubles, lay them low, sing the seamaids, soft and slow
Little star, flame above, sail away the night, my love                      – Eye of Blind

For several years, I had the great privilege of serving families in need. As part of my work, I was invited into homes and lives to guide, teach, nurture, and when I could, to gather baskets of memories brimming with new ways of being and believing in the world. At most, I accompanied parents and children on their journeys for mere slivers of time, and yet in the collection of hours and days, I was witness to great suffering and love, desperation and hope.

Those who travel the helpers’ path are granted gifts. Not gifts wrapped in paper and laced with ribbon that we set on a windowsill and forget with time, but gifts that reside within us, that alter who we are and how we perceive our world.

We live in a time of divisiveness. Our politics shred our world, and unfiltered rhetoric spews like bile into the air, toxic with deception and blame. It is no wonder that we are losing our ability to listen and behold each other with open minds and compassionate hearts.

Branwen and her children live in an abandoned house by the sea, but they could live anywhere: in the mountains of China, on the plains of Africa, in the arid lands of Syria, or simply around the corner. Everywhere, mothers like Branwen touch small foreheads, peer into innocent eyes and sing their children to sleep.  What would happen to our world if we became still and quiet and listened to those whispered songs?

Dragons on the Loose

Dragons are on the loose!

My journey from traditional publishing to indie publishing is complete with the release of my last 4 books, a quartet set in a land of dragons and skyriders, mountain meadows and outland seas. The Moons mark the passage of the seasons in the books and here on my blog.

The Blurb-ish

In the distant mountains of the Mirror, exiled skyriders fly dragons in the old Way, merged in flesh, blood, and bone. Twenty years past, they fought for the freedom of the valley’s dragons … and lost.

Thus begins the epic adventure that stretches from the quaint village of Taran Leigh and the mountains of the Mirror to the Anghard Archipelago in the western sea. Welcome to a world where wealth and power rule, fear is the weapon of choice, and cruelty is the cost of a pocket of gold. It’s a world that forces a choice — indifference, complicity, or defiance.

The dragons of land and sea, souls of grace and beauty, hang in the balance. Will they descend into howling violence, lost to the terror and pain inflicted upon them by their tormentors? Or will they fly free, the creatures they were born to be? With each book, the stakes rise and far more than the dragon soul lies at risk.

“The chest rose above his head, long neck curving, aquamarine eyes fracturing the sunlight. This dragon’s scale gleamed blue and gray, sea-shaded with crescents of curling white waves. The webbed wings shone seafoam blue with ribbons of coral and the mottled green of seaweed. Kearney smiled. If the sea glimmered like this dragon, he’d have become a sailor.” – Mor Kearney, Clan Lord of Loughran.

Myths of the Mirror (Book 1):

Imprisoned in the stone lair, the captive dragons beat webbed wings and thrash serpentine tails. They tear their flesh and batter their bodies against the black bars of their cells, iron grating against iron. The once peaceful creatures howl, tormented by spine and spur, their fury matched only by their despair.

Treasa, the daughter of exiles, seeks the secrets of a hidden past and a father she never knew. Gifted with visions, she glimpses pieces of years long lost and a veiled future that only raises more questions. The dragons visit her dreams, laden with contradictions that tear at her heart — for one day she sails in unfettered flight, her arms thrown wide, and the next she writhes in tortured darkness, desperate to be free.

The lair’s black-garbed riders sense the dragons’ growing savagery. Yet Conall longs to grasp their power, to subdue them and soar, and he will endure the reek, filth, and terror of the lair to earn his right to fly. With a heart encased in steel, he masters the weapons of compliance to see his will done. At the cost of the woman he loves.

Then, a curved talon rends flesh and dragon scale, rattling against white ribs. Blood falls like rain and the world shifts. Treasa and Conall must decide who they are and what they stand for. Thus, the battle for the dragon soul begins again. Alliances form, old myths are revealed, and new myths are born.

Thanks again, my friends, for helping with the covers! 

Now, back to writing… 🙂

Hungry Moon

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pixabay compilation

In my fantasy world, the Hungry Moon ushers in the thaw. Days lengthen, trees blossom and nature knits an emerald coverlet over the wilderness. The blues and grays of winter surrender to a tapestry of fresh color, and the sun rolls around like an old friend. Yet, this is a hungry time, winter’s stores dwindling, the cellars and cupboards bare. The fields lie sodden and fallow, new crops a distant dream. The warming sun promises fiddleheads and dandelion greens, nettle and chickweed, wild pickings filling aprons for empty bellies. For the poor, it’s a thin, lean time, a cruel tease of the spring to come.

The Hungry Moon rises on March 23rd. Hang in there, spring will come.

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Excerpt from the Hungry Moon, Eye of Blind

The hut warm, Starling listened to the timbre of Gallard’s voice, his feelings carried through the air. She heard the news as a faint echo, translating facts and events into an emotional unfolding, layered with nuance, thick, rich, and threaded with light. She barely saw bodies anymore, or faces, or remembered names. They comprised the trappings of essence. How else could she think of it? They glittered as if fashioned of stars.

She’d always called herself a Death Droom, and here she’d found there was no death. Merging with the dragons had fundamentally changed her. She no longer saw the faces of light descending so beautifully and peacefully to accompany the dying. Rather, she witnessed the infinity of soul, the stardust, color, and light that transformed but never altered. Spiraling circles of life, generation upon generation of birth and death, and yet the spirit remained unbound. The essence existed outside of form, vibrating in the void. She slowly became the World’s sublime song, losing a sense of her body and drifting more in otherness, oneness. At times, she believed she could walk through trees, dissolve into water, fragment and fly away on beams of light.

Flood Moon

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pixabay tpsdave

In my fantasy world, the month of the Flood Moon slides into fullness as winter wanes. The snow begins to melt, gorging streams and unleashing ice floes in swollen rivers.  The cold isn’t over and the snow still falls between sheeting rains, but as the days grow longer, bulbs thrust their green fingers from the loam in a sunny corner.

If the sky is clear, the full Flood Moon will shine tonight.

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en.wikimedia.org

Excerpt from Flood Moon, Eye of Blind

Gallard and Percy joined brothers Hywel and Malven at the Crow’s Nest tavern. The flaxen-haired pair from Glanmor had sailed with the Seabourne for four years with nothing to show for it except callouses. Coin dripped through their fingers like seawater. The two crewmen sat half in the cask already and Percy downed his first ale, intent on catching up. Gallard ordered a slab of beef, buttered potato mash and a stinky mushroom soup. He’d swig a tankard on the backside to wash it down.

“Woulda been here afore,” Percy complained, scratching his cow-licked head. “But Gallard makin’ me tramp up and down the hill like a grounder.”

“Lookin’ for Meriel still?” the older brother, Hywel, asked.

“She’s disappeared,” Gallard replied, unsure of his next step.

“She’ll find the Seabourne if she can,” Malven said. The brothers were hard to tell apart, except where Hywel boasted the start of a thick beard, Malven’s chin refused to grow a single pale whisker. “We’re here every week. Don’t seem like she’d miss us.”

“That’s what worries me.” Gallard’s food arrived, and he swatted away Percy’s finger that scooped at his potatoes.

“Shame puttin’ her in the locks.” Percy slugged down his ale and ordered more for the table. “Too old fer me but pretty elsewise.”

The brothers guffawed, slopping their ale, and Gallard frowned as the brew doused his supper.

Tears in his eyes, Hywel patted Percy’s shoulder. “She wouldn’t give you a wink, Perce, even if she were an old sea hag with green teeth. You’re no looker.”

“My teeth isn’t green.” Percy scowled. “They’re barely near yellow.”

Hywel and Malven bent over laughing, and Gallard pushed his supper away. “You need another drink, Percy. The teasing won’t hurt so bad.” He filled Percy’s tankard and poured one for himself. Percy swallowed it down and Gallard poured him another.

The Crow’s Nest filled as the day lengthened, crewmen and yardsmen finding seats on sturdy benches. Voices rose, ale spilled across the tables and floor, and there remained enough good-natured tolerance for stumbling drunkards to keep the peace. Gallard figured Percy was already sloshed beyond the borders of hope, and Hywel and Malven made sloppy drunks, reminiscing about the old days in Glanmor when they stole crabs from  traps and steamed them on the rocky shore. Gallard remained mildly sober, enough to get them back to the ship without drowning.

**

Today I head home to the rainy Northwest, timely with the start of the Flood Moon – Hawaii’s forecast predicts high seas and, well, flooding of beaches and low-lying roads. I’ll be winging over the Pacific for much of the day, losing time as my planetary destination spins away from me. I’ve been remiss in keeping up my blogging duties, but I’ll catch up quickly tomorrow. Enjoy the full moon tonight!

Burrower’s Moon

pixabay free image, skeeze

pixabay free image, skeeze

In my fantasy world, the full face of the Burrower’s Moon heralds the coldest days of winter. Fronds of ice feather the windows, and the snow crunches and squeaks. Fire licks the sooty stones of the hearth while candles burn low. We sleep in our socks and drink tea to warm our bones.

Here in Oregon, the Burrower’s Moon lights the sky just after midnight, during the wee hours of January 24th. We haven’t any snow, but in my books, the white is deep and cold.

pixabay free image, stocksnap

pixabay free image, stocksnap

Excerpt from The Burrower’s Moon, Eye of Blind

Lying beside Gallard, Starling felt the tenderness she’d carried all day. She thought of the Endellion and the finality of terror they faced while she lay sheltered in a landscape beautiful in its rawness, her World full of possibility. She was struck by the contrast, starkly rendered for all to see if they would only look. A contrast pitting life against death, connection against separation, compassion against brutality, vision against blindness, caring against indifference. She could go on and on and on as if the differences were so absolute there remained not a scrap of common ground for them to reach across. Yet that was illusion; there existed no air at all between hunter and hunted and the wilderness they inhabited. That alone felt so terribly heartbreaking.

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Ice Moon

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The dawn of between-time rises gray and slick with ice. Sheets of rain turn to sleet, to snow and back to rain, the cold raw and penetrating. The first of the winter moons rims the shunting clouds in silver, the ice moon, when the world requires far less effort.

When I started writing fantasy, I found myself contemplating worlds without the modern convenience of electricity, worlds without light switches and clocks, furnaces and gas ranges. Logistics needed to be attended to, and I paid attention to the way the moon and stars lit the forest’s night sky, the way the cloud cover blocked or magnified light.

I began taking short lightless walks at night (despite the cougars and coyotes). There were nights when the woolen darkness was so thick I couldn’t see the ends of my fingertips and nights when the luminous moon cast long blue shadows. I began writing with greater attention to the seasons, the phases of the moon, the natural rhythms of the wilderness that were integral to my characters’ lives.

In the Dragon Soul Trilogy, the Ice Moon begins with the full moon’s appearance in the early winter sky. Here in Oregon, the Ice Moon bares her full face on Christmas.

My blog’s green summery background has been irking me a bit lately, so I thought for a year I would follow the moons through my fantasy world. Welcome to the Ice Moon. Happy solstice.

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