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.

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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.”

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February is Fantasy Month

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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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