Why my stories contain hauflins not halflings

More than two decades ago while researching the races in fantasy novels and in the Dungeons and Dragons game, I came upon the word hauflin. It was, of course, connected with halfling, which was connected with hobbit.

As the story goes, Dungeons and Dragons first used hobbit as a name for a race of small people. Those controlling Tolkien’s literary work didn’t like it, and the makers of D&D were forced to remove the word from their material. Instead, they opted for halfling. While Tolkien’s work occasionally used this word, no fuss was made, and halflings became a mainstay in the game.

During my research, I dug deep into history to learn more of the origins of words and fantastical beings. I wanted to tap into what Tolkien may have when he created his world, so I could perhaps put a new spin on an old idea. This led me to hauflin.

Continue reading “Why my stories contain hauflins not halflings”

What inspired my latest story?

Prefer to listen to this post?

No problem. I’m giving Anchor and Spotify a whirl.

To listen to this blog post recorded by Anchor, click here. If you want to hear it on Spotify, click here. Let me know what you think about it. No, that is not my voice, but he does read very well.

Prefer to read? Here it is…

Inspiration for stories comes from every direction for me. The inspiration for the current fantasy novel I’m writing came from having discussions with others, who, like me, played the original Dungeons and Dragons roll-playing game in the early 1980s. Instead of roaming the streets of our community and possibly getting into trouble on a Friday night when I was a teenager, I gathered with friends at our Boys and Girls Club. There, the director Peter Mortimer played Dungeon Master and sent us on quests and adventures.

From the age of 13 until about 18 or 19, we played every Friday night. Friendships were formed, skills were mastered and we walked away better for the experience.

While my first fantasy novel Shadows in the Stone was inspired by Dungeons and Dragons, it’s firmly set in a fantasy world of its own. The story I’m currently writing straddles both: this world and the fantasy world. It’s something I’ve always thought about doing but never did.

I want to have a blast writing it, and I’m going to share this journey with you. If you’ve ever played Dungeons and Dragons, I hope these posts and the eventual novel rekindles fond memories.

Currently, I have 33,079 words written for my current fantasy novel that will receive a title shortly.

Writing 750 Words a Day Inspires

There have been spans over the past 25 years when I’ve not written a thing. They usually don’t last long. A month or two. For some reason, I lack the inspiration to write. It has nothing to do with the story. It has more to do with the energy surrounding me.

One way I boot that negative energy out of my life is by forcing myself to write 750 words a day regardless of the story. That’s not words for a blog post or an email. That’s of a story. Period. I can’t sink into a blog post like I can a story. There’s always solid ground to find. With a story, however, once I wade far enough into the quicksand, I’m captured, and I can’t escape. That leaves me inspired to write, and I easily reach 750 words, often more.

That’s how I’m feeling right now. While I’ve written a lot of words between January 1st and May, most were not in story form. That changed May 7th when I wrote the first few words to a new novel.

What is this novel about? Adventure. Quests. Magic. Friends. Dragons.

I’ll leave it there. I’ll share more in my next post. Right now, I’ve got to get back to the story. There’s only 31,436 words written, and I’m aiming for 100,000.

To listen to this recorded by Anchor, click here. If you want to hear it on Spotify, click here. This is something new I’m trying. Let me know what you think about it. No, that is not my voice, but he does read very well.

Flight of the Graveyard Fairy

The heat from the grass and forest permeated the still air in the small clearing and when I breathed in, nature’s energy filled my lungs. Closing my eyes, I heard a slight rustling of leaves high in the trees and a distant cry of an unknown bird. Here, far from the city, people and motor vehicles, the earth relaxed, time stood still and the body felt at home.

As I made my way towards the headstones dotting the burial ground, I wondered if I had enough time to capture images of every marker. The kids were eager to get to the blueberry field and didn’t want to linger at yet another graveyard. They followed close behind, asking if that person was related, or what did the little lamb on the stone indicate and how much longer was this going to take?

To be honest, my kids didn’t often complain when visiting cemeteries even after they’d been dragged through several dozen. Something always appeared to entertain them even if it was just a hapless toad hopping across our path.

Continue reading “Flight of the Graveyard Fairy”

The Magical Nathair Tree in Healing Stones

When I first saw a picture of the Giant Ficus Tree (Ficus benjamina) many years ago, I knew that tree grew in my fantasy world. I even knew it would entrap someone within its branches. Fast forward to Healing Stones, book 5 of the Castle Keepers epic fantasy series, and we find this tree growing in the first chapter.

Isla of Maura, McGuigan and Lyneth happen upon it on their way to Moonsface. Here’s the start of the scene. You’ll have to wait to see who is trapped in it.

Continue reading “The Magical Nathair Tree in Healing Stones”

Bronwyn Darrow: the Baby of the Family

Blade of Truth book coverBronwyn’s 18 years old. He wants to be seen as an adult, but as the baby of the family, his family still treats him like a child. Here’s a snippet from Blade of Truth, the short story that exposes Bronwyn’s back story.

Bronwyn’s older sisters, Rhiannon and Loran, sat at the table eating. They worked as apprentices at the nearby dress shop and often talked about opening their own shop one day.

“After today, you won’t have time to play with your silly sword.” Rhiannon winked at Loran.

“You’ll have to work like the rest of us,” said Loran.

“My sword is mighty, not silly.” He frowned. “And I already work. Don’t I, Mum?” Every day, he stocked shelves and ran orders for the family’s shop.

Maisie guided the bacon and eggs from the pan to his plate. “Of course. He is my best helper.”

His sisters giggled.

Worker,” he corrected.

“That’s right, dear.” Maisie eyed her daughters. “He does more work around the shop than you two did. You were too busy ogling boys. You better hurry or you’ll be late. Ole Miss Purdy frowns on tardiness.”

Get your free copy of Blade of Truth for your Kindle here:

Sale runs for February 4th, 5th and 6th.

February is Fantasy Month

Deleted Scene: Eye for an Eye

When writing a novel, I sometimes envision a scene many chapters ahead of where I am. If I feel the scene is good and I’m afraid I might later lose the feel for writing it, I stop and write a quick draft for it.

Sometimes after returning to the novel and writing several thousand more words, I discover the scene in which I thought was so great no longer has a place. This is what happened with the short scene below. Perhaps I can fit it into another book of the series.

Setting the Scene: Two main characters, Alaura and Bronwyn, are trailing Keiron—a man who has kidnapped a child—through the forest. They meet a strange dwarf, much older than Bronwyn, dressed in ragged clothing. They ask him if he’s seen Keiron. After pointing them in the right direction, the stranger begins to share more information:

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Welcome to McGyver’s Realm

Blogging is a way to connect with readers; it’s a way to share information about the worlds in my stories and the occasional side trail I take in my writing. I’m often struck with an idea or a scene or an item I wish to explore further. Through this blog, I’ll share these with you.

I love visiting museums and old places and trying to figure out how life was like back then. Oftentimes, life back then is life in traditional fantasy. This means an author needs to know what a blacksmith does and the name of his tools. They might need to know how to make soap or why their character shouldn’t use matches to light a fire.

Sometimes I become fascinated by what if and ramble into the shadows to explore. What if the power went out…for ever? How would people adapt? What if it didn’t rain for a year? Who would survive? What if the oldest tree could talk? What could it tell us about history?

I hope you enjoy the snippets I post, and I hope they enrich your stories as they have mine.

Welcome aboard.

Diane Lynn McGyver