Listen to the Almost an Inkling webinar live!

Greetings and well-met! Mythgard Institute’s “Almost an Inkling” flash fiction contest is finally at an end.  The submission and voting links for Week 6 “Speculation and Subcreation” are still open, although I’m not sure if they are intended to be. The Weeks 5 and 6 winners are to be announced TODAY at a live webinar session at 4pm Eastern Time. Follow this link and click the big Register button next to the Halloween Extravaganza.

Currently on the webinar the Tolkien Professor, Dr. Corey Olsen, is touring Helm’s Deep in Lord of the Rings Online and explaining Middle-Earth lore using in-game locations. It’s actually pretty interesting!

When the LOTRO section finishes, the flash fiction contest winners will be announced, and any winners attending the webinar will have the chance to read their submissions publicly. I have a simple haiku for my Week 5 submission and a more mythical story for Week 6’s “Speculation and Subcreation” theme. If you want to know what my story is, pop over to the voting link now to read (and maybe vote) for it!

Short Film: “Darklight” (2015)

One of the most important reasons I love fantasy fiction is the way it makes me look at things in the real world with new eyes. Reading of the beauty of Lothlórien in The Lord of the Rings only enhances my admiration for the redwood forests of California or the wet woodlands of Scotland. The chilling, dramatic tales of the Wild Hunt throughout various cultures makes me listen more closely to the variety of sounds in awesome storms.

Yet a work does not have to be fantasy in order to accomplish this. Darklight simply shows us some modern mountain bikers riding through landscapes in the Pacific Northwest and Utah at night, illuminated by bright colored lights. In doing just this, with no narrative or dialogue, only the visuals and carefully chosen music, it creates something potent and beautiful. These forests and deserts will be familiar to many, but shot and lit in this way they look alien and magical. But they are our Earth, God’s creation.


DARKLIGHT – 4K Full Film by Sweetgrass Productions from Sweetgrass Productions on Vimeo.

“Mud” – a short story

My story “Mud,” which earned a kind honorable mention from Sørina Higgins as she announced the Week 1 winners of Mythguard Institute’s “Almost an Inkling” flash fiction contest. The prompt was to write a story about portals to another world in a maximum of 333 words. It is posted here for your enjoyment.


“They call you Mud?”


The tiny blue king frowned at the pajamaed boy whose reclining body covered the dry hill. “Who does?”

“People at school.” He shrugged, giant shoulders sending loose dirt and curls of dust down the hillside.

The wind zipped by in a peevish way, annoyed that the ground was still barren. The king ignored this. “Friend,” he said, firmly, reassuring. The boy rolled over, looked at him sadly. “I too am tired of my world.”

Mud was confused. He saw only new wonders: rolling plains leading to a purple sea, flocks of four and six-winged birds singing above white sands, and a city of painted mollusk shells full of tiny blue people. “Why? It looks so much nicer than mine.”

The king waved his scepter over parched hills and plains. “Drought. I miss the soughing of scarletgrass in the westward wind. The bubbling fountains. Sweet lemonade. My city will soon die without fresh water. If we could only fill our reservoir….well, we could make it, then.”

“Wait!” Mud’s excited cry echoed over the plains; the king covered his ears.

Then it happened, in reverse of the way it had happened a few hours earlier. Mud motioned like he was throwing something from off his head….and vanished.


            Back in his bed, Mud threw off the blanket and ran to the kitchen. Soon he sat in his bed again with a large glass of water between his knees, several more within reach. The blanket went up over his head….


            The reservoir gurgled and overflowed, filling aqueducts and pipes leading to the city. Water from other glasses wetted the plains and hills.

“Smell that sweetness, O our hero-friend?” laughed the king.

“What is it?”

“Petrichor. New water on thirsty ground. And your new name here, to be followed by many glorious titles.”

Petrichor smiled. In the painted mollusk-shell city the tiny blue people cheered his new name, and all about him were new shoots of scarletgrass, a-whispering in the wind.


Am I almost an Inkling?

Two weeks ago Mythguard Institute launched a flash fiction contest open to all comers that will last six weeks in total (ending on Halloween). Sorina Higgins, lecturer and Charles Williams blogger, seems to the main representative for it. In Week 1 they asked us to write a maximum of 333 words about a portal to another world, and the results were some fantastically imaginative, original fiction. As stories are submitted, they are posted online, and anyone can vote on their favorites. After voting closes, two winners are chosen: one by the popular vote and another by the judges. Additionally, runners-up are counted, and the prizes involve publication and the opportunity to read one’s story(-ies) at a webinar. Exciting stuff!

A friend of mine and fellow blogger (I’m not sure if they want to be named to the public yet) was chosen as runner-up by the judges, and I must say it was a cracking good tale. My own story got an honorable mention by the same judges, which suggests I did at least something right. I’ve tried again for last week, Week 2, on a topic about hunting dragons.

Voting is still open for Week 2, so why don’t you all head over to the link here, read some fun stories, and cast votes for the ones you like best? You don’t have to read them all, if it seems too daunting (there are 48, after all!), but they’re all short and sweet. Have fun reading!


The Beauty of Rosie Cotton Is in Her Eyes


It’s probably safe to say that not enough is written about Rosie Cotton. I’d never given her much thought before, but I love the insights David Mosley makes in this post.

Originally posted on Letters from the Edge of Elfland:

David Russell Mosley


5 May 2015
On the Edge of Elfland
Hudson, New Hampshire

Dear Friends and Family,

I just finished my annual reread of The Lord of the Rings, and I was struck by something I’ve never noticed before. In the penultimate chapter, ‘The Scouring of the Shire’, we meet Sam’s sweetheart, Rosie Cotton. The film version of sweet Rosie introduces her to us at the beginning, making her a barmaid at The Green Dragon Inn, perhaps even landlady the way she sees all the customers out. Book Rosie is certainly different. We don’t learn about her existence until The Return of the King, she certainly isn’t a barmaid or landlady, or at least we’re given no indication that she is. All we really know about her is that Sam seems to have loved her for some time and she is one of the many…

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Short Film: “Cloudrise”

Yeah, I know, as a blogger I’m becoming sort of like that uncle you used to like and spend a lot of time with, but who now is never around except when he pops in randomly with a treat or something and is always promising to continue taking you on awesome adventures just like you used to in what is fast becoming “the old days.” But seriously, this short film is cool enough that you should forgive me anyway. It’s got airships, and hang-gliding pirates, and love. Why don’t more films feature these things? Is it because they’re afraid of joy?

Cloudrise from Denver Jackson on Vimeo.

“Breathtaking. One of the best short films I have ever seen.”
– Kazu Kibuishi, Author of New York Times Best-Seller Amulet

Cloudrise is a short animated film directed and animated by Denver Jackson.
It was created in the span of four months from conception to completion.

Set in a fantasy world above the clouds, Cloudrise follows a pivotal moment in the lives of two lovers as they face a great challenge. Watch as Miko and Tenku fight to survive an attack on their new airship and take the necessary measures to help each other. Hold on to your seat as you witness how far someone is willing to go to rescue the one they love. This is an action-packed short film that ties together various fantasy/science fiction influences.


Constellations, spells, symbolic plants and strange objects: Questions from Jubilare

Back in June, the excellent Jubilare posted a few questions for her readers which were designed to spark creative thought about worldbuilding in fiction. They are excellent questions, but in my unfortunate and unintentional habit, I promised to answer them and then got distracted by life things and forgot. Until, quite recently, she reminded me, and I agreed that it was time to do my duty! Which, it has to be said, is a rather fun duty in this case. After all, it’s not every survey where you’re specifically asked to make up the answers!

  1. Make up a constellation and a brief story for it.

In some night skies can be seen the Racing Timepiece. It’s a constellation of a great circle, with several stars within the circle forming two straight lines of varying length, and they both emanate from the same point in the center, not dissimilar to the hands of a clock. Even more remarkable, as the year turns, so do the “hands,” swinging about in very clocklike fashion. Yet they swing at a peculiar rate which fails to match any other passage of time known to our astronomers and horologists…except for the Star Racers, itself an unreliable phenomena. Every few decades, but never on the dot, these seven bright comets streak across the sky, often coming from a different direction than the last time they were observed. Legend has it that they are the sons of the King of Galaxies, all born at the same time, and they race their fiery chariots across the universe to determine which will succeed their father. For ages they have raced, and will for ages more, as the King still lives, and the Timepiece alone tracks their progress by measurements unknown to us.

  1. What is your favorite holiday (excluding Christmas, Halloween, Thanksgiving and Easter) and why?

Back in the school years my choice would be any of the days that got me an extra day off. But now I suppose I’m down to two choices: July 4, because I love my country and believe it is a good thing to reflect upon the positive elements of our founding, and Talk Like a Pirate Day, because YARR, O’COURSE IT BE A ‘OLIDAY, MATEY!!!

  1. Name an object you would like to see featured in a story.

A singing sword-cane.

  1. Make up a name for a spell and tell me what it does.

Implere tributum! It does my taxes.

  1. Choose a plant and make up a symbolic meaning for it.

Wisteria symbolizes that bittersweet emotion of sadness at the passing of a good thing, but gratitude for that thing’s existence.

  1. What is your favorite ghost/folk/scary story (can be humorous or not)?

Hmm. Is A Christmas Carol scary? It’s a ghost story, and it’s one of my favorites. The book is fantastic on its own, but my favorite version is the 1951 film starring Alastair Sim as Scrooge. My family watches it every year and I never fail to be moved by it. For more traditionally “horror”-type stories, I do kind of like Stephen King’s “N” and H.P. Lovecraft’s “The Call of Cthulhu.”

At last I’ve answered! And now I can go read Jubilare’s own responses to her own questions, which she asked her readers not to read until after they’d presented their own. What about you folks? Did you answer these questions for Jubilare when she posted them? If not, might you now, for me?