Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Help Somebody Win?

Hi, Gang!

     The story pieces have been submitted in the 2018 Speculative Faith Winter Writing Challenge. Which means it's time for you to read them and vote. All you have to do is hit the "+" button on all the stories you think should win. You can click on as many different stories you like.  First round voting lasts until midnight on Sunday, the 25th.  So go to the link below and help someone out!


     I counted up the votes so far. The three writers with the most "likes" will be sent to Round Two of the voting process. Right now, I'm tied for 4th place.  One more "like" will move me into tying with 3rd place.  That is so exciting for me!  Just think!!!  At this moment, I'm only a vote or two away from qualifying as a finalist!  I didn't think I would get this close, so this is pretty thrilling.

     Mine is the story about three college friends -- (1) the smart girl who accidentally brought a ring back to this world through a portal, (2) the logical and responsible leader of the trio, and (3) the crazy but compassionate friend with a totally awesome battle axe -- all of which are about to embark on an epic adventure in another world.

      I really, really do want you to go to the link, read the entries (there are only 23 entries, and each are on 100-300 words long), and vote.  Be honest - as much as I hope you will love mine, I know there are some other great ones that deserve your attention.  Vote for the ones you think should win. Vote for mine, if you like it.  Have fun!


Esther Brooksmith

An Arranged Marriage - 8

    When the third night of the ball began, Detlef was the first to claim a dance.  Ilona swirled through the sea of dancers, her rich wine-red gown contrasting with the paler colors around her.

    “Congratulations are in order, Prince Detlef.”  She nodded politely to a passing couple before continuing her conversation.  “The servants tell me that, on closer inspection, your arrow was a hair’s breadth more centered than your brother’s.”

    “All three of us brother are well-trained in archery.  I fear I may not fair so well tomorrow in fencing.” Detlef tipped his head and guided Ilona through a spin.  “Although my brother, Matthias, might.”

    “Tell me about the time we were childhood friends and about the swing in the garden.”

    He smiled – a little half-smile that look almost wistful.  “I spent some of my happiest times here.  As you may imagine, I was too little to be useful in my older brothers’ games.  So I was enamored with the tiny blonde-haired princess who would play with me.  We spent a lot of time in that swing.  It was a ship one day, a woodland hideout the next, and a mighty throne on the third.”

    Ilona laughed.  “What fun we must have had!”

    “You were my best friend in the whole world, and I was distraught at the news that I was returning to the North Country without you.”  He cocked his head.  “But I always knew I would come back someday.”

    Ilona smiled softly.  “It sounds lovely.  I’m sorry I don’t remember it.”

    The dance ended then, and out of the corner of her eye, Ilona saw Emil coming to claim her.  She was beginning to feel a bit like a shuttlecock, tossed back and forth between the two battledores.

    “May I dance with you again later?” Detlef still held her hand.

    “Yes, I shall look forward to it.”  She pulled her hand free and held it out to Emil.  “Greetings, young lord.”

    Emil scooped her hand up and kissed it.  “So my queen has not banished me from her presence for my failure at archery?”

    “You made it into the final round.  I’d hardly call that a failure.”

    “Your kindness fills me with a warmth that surpasses the sun.”  He grasped her other hand and led her into the next dance.

    Ilona glanced over her shoulder to see Detlef watching them.  Her heart felt torn.  How would she ever decide who to marry?  Perhaps her papa was wrong to let her choose - perhaps it would be easier to let the council choose for her.

(by Esther Brooksmith)

Friday, February 16, 2018

Another Little Mini-contest that I entered

Hi, guys!
Looking for something to do?
Head over to speculativefaith.lorehaven.com/2018-spec-faith-winter-writing-challenge/
They are hosting a little contest. You can write or vote or both. Have fun! I'm posting my entry below, if you want to read it.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Rooglewood Countdown: 6 1/2 weeks: Now Introducing...

     One of the wonderful things about the Rooglewood contest is that we are all in this together.  How many people do you know who have entered this year?
     I don't know any of my regular acquaintances who have entered this year -- and by regular acquaintances, I mean people that I see face to face on a regular basis. 
     I do have some long-time blog-world friends who I know have entered. 
     And I've made some new blogging and Facebook friends who entered this year. 
     Plus, I know that Elisabeth Brown (a winner from the first Rooglewood anthology) entered again this year.  And even if she doesn't know me, I'm still super-excited that she is entering. 
     How about you?  Who do you know?

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

An Arranged Marriage - 7

    The afternoon sun shone lazily on the arena.  Flies buzzed annoyingly close to Ilona’s ear as she mounted the steps to the shaded platform where her papa sat.  In the field beyond him, she could see the band of competitors, standing in groups on the drying grass.  Emil and Detlef were among them…as were the silent, red-faced man and the bald ambassador.  And farther beyond them were the archery targets.

    “Come, my dear, and sit beside me.” Her papa spread his fingers toward a chair.  “You should watch the games, as they will help us decide which man is right for you.”

    Ilona took her seat.  “You wish me to marry an archery champion?”

    “Ilona, the man who marries you may very well one day become king in my stead.  The council reminds me of the importance of this daily.  Therefore, it is our hope that you will fall in love with a capable warrior.”

    Ilona turned her eyes to the field as 40 men took aim and fired at the target.  Those who missed were eliminated, and the targets were moved farther away.  Ilona wrapped the edge of her sash around her finger.  “The council is worried I may choose incorrectly?”

    “Fire!”  Twenty-some men took aim and released their arrows.  Fifteen met their mark.  

    The king cheered.  Then he patted Ilona’s arm.  “The council wishes to choose your husband for you.  They think it is their duty to ensure the future of the kingdom through your marriage.  But I will have none of their arguments.  You are first and foremost my daughter.  You should get to choose your own husband.”  He waved his arm toward the field and the targets were repositioned for the next round.

    As the afternoon wore on, the number of competitors dwindled.  Each round eliminated men until only 4 men were standing: Emil, Detlef, the red-faced man, and a man whom Ilona vaguely recognized as Detlef’s older brother, Matthias.

    Emil turned and winked at Ilona as men carried the targets to their greatest distance.  Ilona blushed, and her papa, seeing the look, chuckled.

    “Ready, your majesty,” a servant prompted.

    The king stood up and shouted in his booming voice.  “Ready, men!  Take aim!  Fire!”

    Four arrows launched into the air.  Ilona held her breath.  Thunk!  The arrows hit their targets.  Emil’s missed his target entirely.  The red-faced man’s caught the edge of the target.  But both Detlef’s and his brother’s arrow hit dead center.  Detlef turned and caught her eye with a look that made her heart beat faster, and she almost missed seeing Emil’s apologetic shrug.

    “Men!” Her papa’s voice carried all the way across the field.  “My servants tell me that we barely have time to let the ladies dress for this evening.”  A chuckle rippled through the crowd.  “So we will call our results a tie between King Rowan’s sons, and retire to the castle.  Well done, men!  All of you!  There will be fencing tomorrow!”

(by Esther Brooksmith)

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Rooglewood Countdown: 7 1/2 wks: My Favorite Character

     Only 7 1/2 weeks to go! Thank you for joining me today.  Waiting is always better with company.

      What shall we talk about today?  Oh, I know!  Let's talk about our characters.  Who was your favorite character to write in your Snow White retelling?  Why were they fun for you?

     Or, if you didn't enter the contest, who is your Favorite Character in a Snow White movie (and tell us which movie they are from)?

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Fantasy Month Game of Tag

Jack (at However Improbable) sort of tagged me in this.  By which I mean, she said anyone who glanced at her post was tagged.  And I did.

1. Your car breaks down in the middle of nowhere and the last fantasy cast you read comes to help. Are they useful or no?

      Lord of the Rings was the last book I was reading.  Yes.  Stryder on my side?  We're definitely getting somewhere.
2. You go to bed one evening and wake up in the lair of the villain of the last fairy tale you read, where are you and how do you plan to get out?
The last fairy tale I read was the Snow White retelling (not yet published) by Heather Fitzgerald.  So I'm in a Persian "demoted palace" of sorts.  I've got to make myself look ugly and unimportant.  Maybe I can disguise myself as a worthless servant girl and sneak out.
3. You are transported into a fantasy realm and given a mythical creature as a companion and best friend… which mythical creature do you get?
Before this past year and a half, I didn't have a very positive association with Dragons.  But I've been introduced to some new stories, and I liked the Dragons in those.  If I can't have a Dragon, then I want the fox from The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe.
4. In a strange series of coincidences, you end up needing to take the place of your favorite fantasy hero or heroine. Who are you? 
Can Star Wars be fantasy?  Can I be Ahsoka?  Or Rey?
5. To go along with question #4, now that you are that character, is there anything you would do differently than that character, now that you are running the show?
I probably wouldn't have ignored Luke's advice and sought out Kylo.  But it turned out okay for her the way she did it...
6. If you were yourself in a fantasy novel, what role do you think you would play in the story?
I don't know.  I'm pretty versatile.  I think I could be a heroine, but I'd also do well as a supporting character -- the girl who inspires the hero to do great things, and then she sneaks around with a bow and arrow in the forest to do background work to make his great things easier for him.
7. One morning, as you are going about your daily business, you pick up an everyday item and a voice booms in your head with prophetic words about your future. What object is it, and what is your prophecy?
I'd pick up my journal, and the voice would say, "You are come to the kingdom for such a time as this."
8. You are transported into a magical realm and turned into a mythical beast… what beast/fantasy creature do you want to be?
A dragon or a stag.  I would love to fly and breath fire and look cool.  I'd also love to majestically disappear into the forest and only appear when I want to.
9. If you could read your way into any fantasy realm, but the catch is that you can never leave, would you? Which realm would you choose?
I'd only want to go if God had a purpose for me there.  
In Narnia, it was like dual worlds, each important in His eyes.
That would be cool, and I would go anywhere if I was on His side.
But if it was just a make-believe place...an escape from what I'm really supposed to be doing in THIS world...then, no, I wouldn't go there to stay.
10.  As you are going about your normal day, you discover that you have a magical power. What is it?
Invisibility, probably.  Or maybe flying.  Or moving things with my internal forces.

There you have it!  And, borrowing Jack's idea, anyone who glances at this post is hereby tagged.  Have fun!