I’ve always been intrigued by the ancient myths of the Greeks, Vikings, and Romans. So, in honor of some recent reading I’ve been doing, I wrote a short myth! Myths, in folklore and the like, are supposed to represent the “science” behind some natural occurrence or force. With that said, I hope you enjoy the story:
War and Famine
by Benjamin J. Law
It was on the tenth day of the two-hundredth year of the world that Ares, god of war, cast his wanting gaze upon Demeter, the goddess of agriculture. The people of Demeter’s land had been at war with themselves, wrought by a famine that was taking lives still. Her brother Poseidon offered no storm, and her brother Hades offered no mercy to the hungry and sick. Demeter, tearful and heavy-hearted, was watching her subjects when Ares approached the goddess, his helmet set firmly upon his skull.
“What is it that troubles you?” Ares bellowed through his steely mask, hiding beneath it what had never been seen hold by his mother, Hera, on the day he was born. Demeter straightened her back and dried her eyes in an instant, not to show a sign of weakness in front of the god who had toppled entire civilizations.
“It’s not of your concern,” Demeter answered. She turned to face Ares’ metallic gaze then and believed that, somewhere inside his horned armor, he smiled.
“I can smell the blood spilled on your rotting land, Demeter,” he said after a moment beside her, and he breathed deeply. “It wreaks of delight, for my part, but you seem…displeased.”
“My land does not rot,” Demeter spat. “It toils at the farmers who strike their brethren with the same tools that they plant their seeds. Land sowed with blood will reap only death.”
“I can provide you a solution,” Ares answered heroically, resting his hand on the hilt of his sword. “That is, if you’d wish to have it.” Demeter remained silent. “Very well. This is what I offer you, lovely Demeter: I shall halt the war in your lands and allow your subjects a chance to return to their glory. In time, I will empower them to expand and take more land when they are ready. I shall provide them kingdoms, stacked with wood and resources and weapons, and I will see them craft ships and take command of Poseidon’s seas. I will expand your reach and power beyond all that you have dreamt, and all this for only your hand in marriage.”
Demeter had been listening all the while, and she felt flowers budding in her heart and crops sprouting in her mind. And the feeling of bliss at the idea of such prosperity was shattered at the god’s last proclamation, his condition for such prosperity. She looked back now to her people, working, fighting, and dying below. “What use would you have in me as a wife?” Demeter muttered.
Ares circled to Demeter’s other side and looked at her longingly. “There is one thing in this world that takes more life than war, and that is the land.” Ares stopped there, assuming he’d said enough, and he had. For all his power came from such blood being spilled, and Demeter knew that all too well, knowing that Ares was behind Zeus’ recent disappearance from Olympus. With one glance more at her subjects, she agreed to the god of war’s terms…
Not a month had passed before the gods had been wed. Demeter had hoped only for her people’s salvation, but what she had not considered long enough or hard enough was the propensity for dishonesty and the greed of a god who only survived on the souls of those killed in war. Ares had, at some point, intended to uphold his end of the bargain, but when at last his wedding to Demeter came, her people were lining up to slaughter each other and lay claim to what land might still produce crop. The nagging at the base of his neck, the tingling that made his armor shiver at the brink of such a battle was enough to off-balance his steady gait.
Demeter begged that night for him to free her people as he’d said he would, but looking down on them then as his new wife pleaded, he was moved only by bloodlust. And Demeter’s subjects went to battle one last time. She was desperate then, and a desperate goddess if something that Ares should have known to fear with Hera as his mother. Demeter, taking advantage of Ares’ lustful distraction, writhed his own sword from its sheath.
The events that followed were spoken of throughout Olympus, for it was the first and only time another besides Ares himself had wielded his all-powerful blade. He lurched for it, but Demeter denied his grasp. Instead, she swung the blade with the same vengeance of her own, hungry subjects, and she slugged Ares’ helmet clean off his head. Lightning struck the sky as the horns of the helmet touched the blue emptiness, and some say that Zeus himself returned to the land of gods in the moment. It was in that same instant that from the neck of Ares’ armor there erupted a cloud so dark that it could devour even the sun, for no face hid beneath Ares’ mask—only the black soul of a warmonger.
The cloud filled the skies, stretching out as far in all directions as the eye of even a god could see, and lightning struck again. Thunder trembled the mountaintops and cracked the ground below, drawing a chasm between Demeter’s waring subjects. They fell to their knees and watched as the stormy cloud writhed in the sky until, from its depths, there sprung water like from a fountain. It filled the dried riverbeds and cast them overflowing onto the thirsty land so that farmers found their crops rising as if to praise the heavens.
Demeter, standing now beside vacant armor that toppled heavily to the marble floor at her feet, threw the sword down beside it. The storm and the rain continued throughout the world, blessing those suffering from famine for ages to come. And at every rainfall, lightning struck the skies and thunder rumbled the heavens, for Zeus had returned in Ares’ absence and renewed his lordship. And it was known then and always that Demeter, goddess of agriculture, had faced down war itself and won.
Thanks for giving the tale a read! What’d you think of it? What’s your favorite myth? Comment below, and don’t forget to follow for weekly content!
Want to read more? A while ago I posted a short story called It Comes When It Needs To–read it here. You can also check out the four books I have published here. Have a great weekend!
Weekly Writing Prompt:
A king is naught but a peasant without his queen–this king in particular…
Hey, everyone! I want to take a moment to say thank you to all of my readers and everyone who has supported me and continues to do so. I want to encourage everyone who’s new to the blog, or who has been here a while and hasn’t had a chance to check out my books, to take a look at Mordecai Episode One: Bloodthirsty. The sequel, Episode Two: Imprisoned, is almost complete and will be out this year, so it’s never been a better time to jump into the multiverse.
Now, here’s this week’s blog post, a short poem I wrote recently about childhood and its transition into adulthood:
When We Were Kids
a poem by Benjamin J. Law
When we were kids
We swore on our hearts
That there were so few things
To tempt us.
While waking to days
Which we spent toiling away,
Thinking that we were each chosen
For such greatness.
Wind filled our sails,
Washing us out to sea,
Towing us across such high waves,
To sink us.
When sun did rise,
We knew that the storm
That attacked our dreamt up ship
Traveled in us.
With every single turn,
With each unsteady step taken,
Those who have awakened again, again,
Talk to temptation.
When we were kids,
We acted only as told,
Thinking not that age and edification
Toils against us.
Plot twists have become somewhat of a phenomenon in pop culture, what with stories like Harry Potter changing the way we read (those darn horcruxes) and movies like Christopher Nolan’s Inception and The Prestige (which was originally a novel by Christopher Priest) changing the way many of us look at film–even denying us the ability to trust what we’re being shown. M. Night Shyamalan’s entire career as a scriptwriter hinges on his ability to craft unprecedented plot twists, and Stephen King makes us flinch at the turn of every page. In today’s writing culture, you have to be able to play into society’s need to be surprised, to let them think one thing and show them another, but that doesn’t always mean you have to leave the top spinning at the end of your story to forever torture the internet or heel turn the entire plot in a single moment of fleeting disclosure.
As F. Scott Fitzgerald, author of The Great Gatsby, said, “Character is plot, plot is character.” In other words, you–the writer–can show us any number of extraordinary things, but if they don’t affect the protagonist then, in the end, those things don’t matter. This varies by genre, such as with fantasy and sci-fi needing that extra world-building. But still, world-building is the history of the world your hero, or anti-hero, lives in. All that to say this: a plot twist can be as small as revealing the priest who leads the local AA meetings drinks a six-pack every night or showing your reader that Grandma Gretchen, the sweet old lady down the street, has a severe lying problem. Giving us these insights part way through the story might change things for us. When we find out that Grandma Gretchen has been lying about needing her wheelchair the whole time, we’ll question everything she’s ever said and done, and we might even speculate that she’s the culprit.
We’ve all heard that old saying, that the devil’s in the details. Those details are the crumbs that a writer leaves behind, giving the reader the idea that they know what’s going on, that they have a picture of the whole cookie. Using the Grandma Gretchen example again–a character I’ve only just made up and am already in love with–the writer might key the reader in that dear old Gretchen isn’t as sweet and truthful as she portrays when she, early on in our plot, forgets where she was on the night that Little Olly went missing. There’s a few crumbs. But she’s a granny, she can’t be expected to remember. And then the reader has their cookie, but while they think it’s a delicious peanut butter, it’s actually an evil oatmeal raisin cookie. There’s no huge, earth-shattering plot twist there, but rather a small character detail that hugely impacts our scope of the plot.
So, when writing your story, remember to live in the details. Even if you’re writing an intimate character portrait, leave something in the shadows for the reader, to have light shed upon it when, and only when, we need to see it. Essentially, remember the human elements: We all lie and hide aspects of ourselves sometimes, and if you stay true to your characters and their flaws, then those little twists will come naturally. Or, you know, you could leave the top spinning at the end. Grandma Gretchen probably would leave it spinning–because she’s evil.
I hope everyone is having a great March so far. Just a quick update on Mordecai Episode II, I’m still editing it and will share some stuff with you soon! For now you can still check out the first book in the series, Episode One: Bloodthirsty here.
See you next week!
Weekly Writing Prompt:
It wasn’t until her friend smiled that she knew what had happened…
In honor of February, the month of love, my Top Ten this month will be about romance literature! And this will also be my last Top Ten for a while. I enjoy writing them, so if there’s popular demand I’ll bring them back. They take of lot of time, though, and I’m trying to focus on getting some more books finished for the rest of the year. Anyway, enjoy the post!
1. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy, Pride and Prejudice
Image source: NBC News
Jane Austen was born to write romance novels, and Pride and Prejudice is among her finest. Elizabeth Bennet, one of five sisters set to lose their house if their father dies, is an independent, no-nonsense, and somewhat prejudice girl. Mr. Darcy, a wealthy dancing-hater, and his friend Mr. Bingley come to live near Elizabeth, Jane, and the rest of the Bennets. What ensues is a romantic and hard-hitting look at the social structure and societal misgivings of the time. Austen, in writing Mr. Darcy’s famous monologue on his feelings, could have simply shortened it to, “Pride comes before the fall, and Ms. Bennet, I’ve fallen and can’t get up.”
2. Robin Hood and Maid Marian, Robin Hood
Image Source: The Red List
Robin Hood, one of the oldest European folk heroes, wouldn’t be the kindhearted thief he is today if not for the lovely and forcibly chaste Maid Marian—let the woman free! From classic tales of heroism to comedic musical numbers and gritty dramas, Robin Hood and Maid Marian have seen it all together. Even without a consistent story, they’re one of the most recognizable couples in literature.
3. Westley and Buttercup, The Princess Bride
Image Source: Parade
The Princess Bride is as classic as Beethoven. It’s a love story that anyone can enjoy; funny, intriguing, and unconventional. While it was a book first, the movie has reached amazing heights in pop culture and reference potential. I mean, who hasn’t dropped an As you wish on their significant other, but actually meant I love you.
Anne Shirley, an orphan girl adopted by an elderly brother and sister, is the titular character of the Anne of Green Gables series, and she’s fantastic. While Anne and Gilbert’s relationship is not the primary focus of the story (in fact, they don’t even get together for several books), it is one of the things that makes Anne’s adventures in Green Gables so much fun. She’s a smart, fiery redhead who’s eager to make a name for herself, and Gilbert is a rough-around-the-edges schoolboy who—well—let’s say he grows into his emotions. Seeing the two grow together and support each other’s endeavors is enough to make me want to huddle with a bosom friend, as Anne Shirley would say, and read the days away.
5. Ron and Hermione, Harry Potter
Image source: Buzzfeed
This is definitely the most controversial couple to make my list, given the fact that the Harry Potter fan base is split at its very core on whether Hermione should have been with Ron or Harry. Even J.K. Rowling herself has addressed the issue, seeming to express some regret over her final decision. But regardless of all that: I love Ron and Hermione. The balancing act of Hermione’s witty and strong-willed attitude and Ron’s often clumsy but eternally good-heartedness (except for when he’s, you know, under a spell or something) makes for a couple that I jut want to Awh at. And Harry is still very much a part of their relationship because without him, Ron and Hermione might not have ever met! The chemistry is simply magical.
6. Catherine and Heathcliff, Wuthering Heights
Image source: Wikimedia
I touched on Wuthering Heights in my Top Ten Antagonists post as well, saying that Heathcliff was his own worst enemy (which is part of the reason that this couple’s story is so tragically beautiful). The tale of Catherine and Heathcliff is a heart wrenching and intense affair of the emotions, watching two people who love each other but are destined to be apart attempt to find their balance. I don’t want to say more, but it’s a book worth reading. Maybe eat some comfort food with it, though.
Persuasion, another Jane Austen novel, sees Anne Elliot, the daughter of a vain and expensive man, getting into a chance meeting with an old courter of hers: Captain Wentworth. Like many of Austen’s novels, Persuasion deals with themes such as social imbalances, a woman’s role in the world, and the vanity that often comes with a money-focused society. This story in particular also deals with something else that was frowned upon at the time, a broken engagement. Anne, once having been engaged to Captain Wentworth, was convinced by others that he was beneath her in both finances and social class, and she broke off that engagement still loving the man. At its heart, this is a tale of two lovers, now equalized in the way the world makes us, too afraid to speak their emotions to one another and equally frightened to let those feelings go. Despite Persuasion taking place in a time long past, we can still find lessons in it that ring true today.
The Notebook introduces us to two of the most relatable individuals in a romance story, ever. I was that guy who watched the film adaption of The Notebook on my own accord and cried heartily with a bowl of ice cream. I was a weird kid. Noah is an everyman and soldier who’s in love with Allie, a rich woman who also happens to be a terrible decision maker, and despite being torn apart at every turn, they fight for each other. It’s not so much the overarching story that makes this couple so relatable, but the little moments in their story that make us smile or shed a tear at the thought that we have, at some point, also felt the way they do. It’s also one of the few romances that shows a couple growing old together, which is something so important to see.
Literary couples doesn’t necessarily mean romantic couples… Sherlock and Watson are one of the most recognizable duos in literature and film—from movies to TV. Whether solving mysteries or embarking on an adventure of self-discovery, the pair of Sherlock and Watson are always making us question our own moralities and grip our seats in suspense. Their brotherhood and friendship seems to have no bounds, and that’s something to hold on to.
10. Beauty and the Beast, Beauty and the Beast
Image source: Daily Mail
When approaching fiction of any kind, there’s the all-important step of making readers believe in your world. What that means is different for every genre, and every book. Here are some key things that I’ve found that help structure a story’s world in a way your readers will understand and, hopefully, love:
Plan ahead: Before you set in to the thick of the writing, spend some time calculating your world. In my last In Writing post, I talked about how the setting is a conduit for shaping your characters and the story they’re a part of, and worldbuilding is a lot like that but with greater detail. The world isn’t just a place, it’s a history—the characters’ pasts, the religions, the wars, the road that led to the first sentence on the first page. Whether your story takes place in a fictional world or our own, know the characteristics that set your your world’s version of reality apart from the next.
Say just enough: Readers will recognize an idea that’s being pushed too hard. When introducing and explaining the world you’ve crafted, think about your own world—the real one. People don’t randomly explain the happenings and physics of your surroundings in intimate detail, do they? (I mean, unless they’re writers…) That means your characters shouldn’t either! Only give the reader what they need to know to understand what’s going on. In Mordecai Episode Two, I introduce a lot of new things to the lore of the world introduced in Episode One: Bloodthirsty (which, in the spirit of shameless self-promotion, is currently available here), and I’ve found that it’s a real balancing act between over explanation and need-to-know, especially in a series where the readers already feel acquainted with the world. Trust your readers, give them the bare minimum, and let them uncover the rest naturally.
Trust your instincts, and your characters: Finally, believe in your own understanding of the world: If it sounds like too much information to you, then it will sound like too much to the reader. Trust your characters with the exposition by letting it flow through them. The world they live in and know has shaped them (and your story), so a lot of what we can learn from you telling us as the writer, we can also learn by observing the characters.
Next week is Valentines Day already!? Got any plans for yourself or your loved ones? (It’s okay to buy yourself chocolate.)
This week, you get to read one of the poems included in my short story, poem, and essay collection, We Are Humans.
Wind Blows (Even Jesus Wept)
by Benjamin J. Law
Lately, I’ve been contemplating
The thought of life’s great meaning,
The thought behind purpose.
As the creator goes on creating
All that lives and dies, spirits and souls,
The very grass that’s green yet browning,
From such thoughts might I propose
That life isn’t as a linear wind blows—
But instead, life shapes and morphs,
And flows and breaks, and mends
Even the greatest story ever told,
Which tells of Christian salvation,
Is also filled with tales of hardships.
It tells of servants left out in the cold,
And beggars left only for starvation.
The blind see at Jesus’ fingertips,
But even Jesus must face the bold
Temptation of the Devil’s quips.
What is this Devil? A shadow
From below the earth and seas?
Or is it the very hand that
We hold? What kindness we show,
Before turning to ancient ways of Greece—
Allowing blood and tears, not to bat
A single eye. Rights given to all, or kept
For those with the driest eyes to know?
Where is our God now?
We are shot and killed like pesky gnats—
But…even Jesus wept.
So is this our meaning?
Forgive me for repeating,
But now, somehow, suppose
That we are upon the wind’s blow,
Blown straight from the lips of God!
A gentle push, cause for leaning,
In the way humanity goes.
This struggle, and violence, we owe
To only ourselves. Despite wind, we nod
Our own way; we dawn our own day.
By God’s grace alone do we grow,
Both in spirit and in soul.
If you enjoyed that and want more, you can order your own eBook or paperback verision of We Are Humans Collection by clicking here.
Don’t forget to like, share, and follow for more! You can find me on Facebook as well, and also on Twitter and Instagram @BJLBooks.
Weekly Writing Prompt
Write a poem about what you see outside your window.
This week’s Top Ten is none other than a Top Nine! And it’s about folk heroes from around the world. Folklore and folktales are some of my favorite reading because they’re stories that aren’t afraid to be themselves. I’m still taking college classes (only until I finish at the end of the year, God be willing), and this week, one of my classes is looking closer at folk heroes, albeit mostly American ones. I was inspired reading about Pecos Bill and decided to look into the stories and legends revolving around some folk heroes I haven’t heard about for years. These are the briefly told, often comic or tragic stories about my nine favorite folk heroes (purposely excluding Davy Crockett because, well, he’s not one of my favorites…).
Pecos Bill is the wildest cowboy in the west (or, technically, in the southwest). He was thrown from his family wagon as a young boy, and was subsequently raised by coyotes. When a cowboy found Bill and pointed out that he had no tail, Pecos Bill became a cowboy who could ride anything and used a snake as a lasso, because why not? Eventually, Bill settles down with an equally skilled wife, Sue, and they run a farm together. That is, until Sue tries to ride Widow Maker, Pecos Bill’s horse, and ends up getting kicked to the moon, where Bill and her now live with a big rowdy family. Like all folktales and the heroes within, Pecos Bill holds a greater meaning for the territory where his story was based: Texas, New Mexico, and Arizona. He’s a symbol of the culture—i.e. fearless horse riders and relentless farmers. At one point in his history, Bill even lassoed and rode a tornado when the land was in a drought, bringing rainwater to the people and creatures and solidifying him as a wild west hero.
William Tell (sometimes called Willhelm Tell) is a hero from Switzerland folklore who has become a symbol of freedom. Tell was a peasant, as the legend goes, who didn’t play to the rules of his Austrian overlords. As a result, he was forced to shoot an apple of the head of his own child; luckily, Tell was the best crossbow marksman in the land. He shot the apple clean off before getting dragged off to prison as a result of him turning his sights on the Austrian governor. As it happened, he saved the same governor’s life and, in the end, killed that very same governor in an ambush. Sounds crazy? William Tell me about it (bad pun is bad). William Tell’s existence is highly questioned, but he represents something that is now so precious to the people of Switzerland: their freedom to choose and their bravery in the face of opposition. Switzerland is currently considered the third freest country in the world.
Johnny Appleseed (John Chapman by birth) was, in reality, a vigilant nurseryman born in 1774, and he’s held responsible for populating the midwest of the US with apple trees. What’s a nurseryman you ask (well, unless you know already)? A nurseryman is someone who works in the tree industry, obviously! Good ol’ Johnny planted apple seeds for money, of course, but his legend tells a different story: Johnny Appleseed sowed seeds from the goodness of his heart, searching for new lands and giving them the gift that keeps the doctor away. Johnny Appleseed represents something that was very important to North American colonists, and that is the thrill at the heart of the frontier.
4. Qutb Shah
The highest quality image I could find relating to Shah. Image source: Wikipedia.com
Qutb Shah (don’t ask me how to pronounce it, not even Google revealed that secret to me) is a folk hero that reigns from both India and Afghanistan. He was, according to a story that was thought true before later being disproved, a ruler from Herat, Afghanistan in 960 AD that moved into India, taking wives and land and all that was under the sun. His wives birthed many children, who ran his land and descended into tribes that would later fall under British Indian rule. Apparently, these tribes—Punjabi Tribes, according to Kiddle, an encyclopedia for children—told the British colonials the tall tale of Qutb Shah to impress, or scare, them. Qutb Shah is an important folk hero for a lot of reasons, but mainly, he was a symbol for Indian citizens to hold onto when India was under foreign rule in the 18th century.
Who is this Paul Bunyan that we’ve all heard of? Well, duh, he’s a gigantic lumberjack fantasy who travels with an equally gigantic blue ox named Babe, who was a completely normal birthday gift. What, you’ve never received an ox for your birthday? What were your parents even doing? Paul Bunyan, according to his tale, was born too large and grew too big, and as a result, he and Babe the Blue Ox traveled about Minnesota and the surrounding states, together stomping holes into the ground that would become the Great Lakes and accidentally creating the Grand Canyon by dragging a hatchet behind them. Where did this legend come from? Where else but from a 1916 ad campaign by Red River Lumber Company. With a beard that could rival even the hippest of hipster’s, this lumberjack was way ahead of his time.
John Henry is almost certainly one of the greatest American folk heroes, and he’s also by far the most popular African American folk hero. John Henry worked on the railroad, according to the story that originates from the 1800’s, where he was a large, strong-armed steeldriver. Steeldrivers were often known to die because it was unimaginably hard work in horrible conditions, and in answer to both this and the slow pace of the man labor, train companies began developing “steam drills” that did the work faster and with fewer workers. Henry, seeing this would put them out of work, challenged the steam drill operator, saying that he could bust a hole through the mountain faster than the machine—and so, he did. John Henry beat the steam drill, but in the end, the work and conditions took his life. There are so, so many reasons this folktale is important, but mainly, it depicts how much African Americans—even freed slaves such as Henry—were devalued and underestimated and how little major companies cared for their manual laborers. John Henry isn’t confirmed to have been a real person, but whether he was or not, he’s representative of a real struggle and an often harsh American history.
7. Robin Hood
Russell Crowe portrayed Robin Hood in a 2010 film about the legend. Image source: Universal Studios
Everyone knows about Robin Hood, the beloved outlaw who robs the rich and gives his take to the poor. In English folklore, Robin Hood is as major an icon as Johnny Appleseed or Paul Bunyan are to Americans. Robin Hood was largely popularized in the United States via cinema, where we’ve seen comedies, action dramas, and Disney cartoons, but much of his story isn’t set in stone. Some tales tell of his encounters with Guy of Gisbourne, another skilled archer wearing the skin of a bear, while others show his loving relationship with Friar Tuck and Little John. The only common thread through all of his narratives is the Sheriff of Nottingham villain, keeping at the core of Robin Hood folklore the idea that the government isn’t always acting in our best interest and that, sometimes, it’s up to us to make a difference (cough relevant cough).
Joan of Arc, a folk hero from France, was a badass lady who led an army to victory in the 1400’s, and she’s one of only a few on this list to be a real person! As her story goes, she was told by God that she could lead the French to victory against the British in the Hundred Years’ War. Taking on this God-bestowed duty, she vowed chastity, refused an arranged marriage, and gained a following of believers who truly thought she was to be France’s savior. As the virgin warrior, Joan wore white armor and rode a white horse, and she led a victorious assault on the British—multiple times. In response to her victories, Joan of Arc became a name known far and wide. However, in a sad and horribly ironic twist, Joan’s last battle ended in her capture by the Burgundians, who showed her off like a war trophy before publicly burning her alive on charges of witchcraft and war crimes. Joan of Arc is important because she was a female warrior like something no one had ever imagined at the time, and she was so incredible at what she did that, when it came down to how exactly she managed it, it was concluded that she must be a witch. I think we can all agree, though, that if payback is a bad witch, then Joan of Arc is the baddest.
What might a year hold if we let it live up to its potential?
This year, 2018, arrived surprisingly smoothly after a tumultuous 2017, and there’s no better time to look ahead than in January, when the year is a road yet to be mapped. This post exists to keep you involved in the planning, so it’s mostly oriented around things to come! Here are some of the big things you can expect from me this year:
A lot of tweets about Marvel movies and Doctor Who (I’m watching through the series right now and, needless to say, I love it.) Follow me @BJLBooks to stay updated on all that–and more of course!
I’ll have more time than ever to read, and more time than ever to write about what I read! Prepare to know my thoughts on some great (or, I suppose, not great) books.
Mordecai Episode Two: Imprisoned will be releasing later this year. It sees the continuation of the story that kicked off with Episode One: Bloodthirsty. More information is being given every now and again on my blog, Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. Sometime over the next month or two, I’ll post a full synopsis for Imprisoned and give a release window, so stay tuned! My Contact page here on my website has all of my social media accounts with links, so it’s only a click away to follow me on all of them.
I’m also working on a collection of short stories, unnamed as of yet, that will include a variety of stories from encounters with the great beyond to everyday human victories and struggles. One or two of the stories currently available for free on my blog may be included (edited to slightly different standards), but it will mostly be new content. Keep an eye out for more information, but you can expect it closer to Fall/Winter 2018.
My books have been getting more exposure than ever, but I’m hoping to expand on that this year. Social media engagement and a continuously improving blog will be at the heart of my plan. However, this really comes down to you, my readers. The more you share my books or posts, the more time I can devote to writing and getting my words to the world. There are readers with my books all the way from my local area, Portland, Oregon, to Asia, and I would love to see that audience continue to grow. I’ll be looking at any other formats or marketplaces that I can utilize, and together we can achieve this goal.
And finally, this is the year I marry my beautiful fiancé: the loveliest flower in the field, the brightest star in the sky, the most precious jewel in my world.
Those are my primary goals for 2018! Every year, each one of us is provided an opportunity. Don’t let yours pass you by. What will you do with this year?
Don’t forget to follow my social media accounts! You can find them all on my Contact page.
Follow the blog as well to stay tuned for more information on the Mordecai series and so much more! I recently created a website dedicated to Mordecai here, which is still a rough draft of what I want it to be. If you want to know more now, though, you can find out a little about what the first book, Episode One: Bloodthirsty, is and even get a sneak peak at it.
Have great weekend!
Weekly Writing Prompt:
How does he do it? How does he survive such impossible feats? Only one person knows…
This week’s blog post is a poem about artistry, desire, and determination:
Hey, everyone! If you enjoyed that poem (or, I suppose, even if you didn’t) you should follow me on Instagram to stay connected with me. You can also follow me on Twitter and Like my page on Facebook, too, if you’d like. Here’s a recent post from my Instagram to entice you:
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Weekly Writing Prompt:
He rose from the flame, the others following close behind…
Today, millions of books are published yearly. In this stormy climate, what does it mean to be a writer?
Near the end of the 18th Century (1700 B.C.-1800 B.C., roughly), history was in full swing. The Enlightenment (a shift in thinking on religion, nature, science, and more) was underway and the world was growing tired of the way culture was done. It was during this time, to fight back against Classicism and the Enlightenment, that Romanticism was born. Romanticism affected many artforms, but it’s particular effect on literature is of special interest because it took focus off the more formal way of writing and instead focused on emotion, heroism, and the darker themes of life and the supernatural. Romanticism would change the way literature is written and perceived forever.
Today I opened up a Grimm’s Fairy Tales collection, which I got several years ago in a storage auction. It was the first time I’ve looked at the book with any attention to detail. I read the tale of Rumpelstiltskin, a story which was published for the first time in 1812, during the Romantic Era. But it wasn’t necessarily the story that inspired me to talk about this collection, but rather what was handwritten in the front cover. It reads, “To Emily, who I hope uses this book as an introduction to all the adventure and knowledge found in reading.” The inscription isn’t dated, but the book’s print date is 1971. These words, written for someone named Emily, an anonymous reader of books, struck me because whoever wrote this inscription captured not only what the primary goal of Romanticism was but also what the primary goal of almost every writer is: to give adventure and impart some fragment of knowledge or an idea onto the reader.
“A little talent is a good thing to have if you want to be a writer. But the only real requirement is the ability to remember every scar.” – Stephen King
Photograph of Stephen King (Source: The Independant)
Let’s admit it: Not every writer is a Tolkien, a Rowling, or a King, but every writer has something to say, something of such importance that he or she is brave enough to write about it. Writing isn’t of great monetary value, at least not at first, but the writer firstly does it for qualitative purposes, because she or he feels they must, whether to address something in their own life or to make commentary on something else. When I was nine years old and drafting my first novel (which, unsurprisingly, was dreadful), it wasn’t because I wanted to get something from it, but rather because I wanted to give something from it. I didn’t know what I was destined to impart yet, but I knew that, as Romantic poet William Wordsworth once said, I needed to “Fill [my] paper with the breathings of [my] heart.” These stories were clawing their way out, and if I didn’t write them, I dreamt them vividly–with an entire village of giants, elves, and biker zombies lurking just behind my sleepy eyes (yeah, weird dreams).
Being a writer means doing what you love, not because you’ll always get a paycheck for it (though, that’s always nice), but because it’s what you love. Like King said, anyone with a memory of their past is capable of writing a story–even if it’s their own life put in words. Indulge in your emotions and thoughts, let them flow and populate the page, and create a habitat for more of those ideas to run wild. The big ideas will overtake the lesser ones, if your ecosystem is running freely, and while you may not succeed or love what you’ve written at first, just try, try, try again. I may have been nine when I started working on my first novel, but it was eight years and a bunch of drafts later that I published it. Being a writer, first and foremost, means writing. So get to it.
I’ll close with one more quote that I appreciate, this one from Roald Dahl, author of Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, The BFG, James and the Giant Peach, and more:
“A person is a fool to become a writer. His only compensation is absolute freedom. He has no master except his own soul, and that, I am sure, is why he does it.”
Thanks for reading! How’s 2018 treating you so far? The start of the New Year is always a precipice overlooking dozens of opportunities. One of those opportunities this year will be the release of Mordecai – Episode Two, if all goes as planned,so it’s never been a better time to get a copy of Episode One: Bloodthirsty. You can order it here!