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January 19th, 2018

09:15 pm: Book Signing tomorrow (Saturday, January 20th)

John and I will be signing books tomorrow at 1pm at:

Booktrader of Hamilton
2421 Nottingham Way
Hamilton, NJ 08619

Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

January 18th, 2018

10:52 pm: Effie’s World

Once upon a time, a friend wrote up some game notes in amusing detail–particularly because the character's view was…quite different from that of everyone else involved. That amount of effort deserves to be shared. The reports get funnier as they go along, but they don't make much sense out of context, so I starting early on. 

A tiny bit of background: This takes place on the world of Merry-Go-Round, which is in Siderea, the greater universe in which Roanoke Academy for the Sorcerous Arts exist. Shimmerbolt is the name of the main city. The Velvet Oyster is a popular tavern, run by a nymph.  Blackhawk [played by John C. Wright] is another name for Vseslav Morozovich Volshevnic Romanov, an ex-pirate who would like to conquor something, but currently only controls four people: himself, Effie, and their other teammates, who are: Asger Ichigo Kurohaku (known as Ichigo), an unemployed Einherjar, and Lady Trilby Moth, a young woman from under the sea who was telepathic and could conjure. However, she was only telepathic with rodents and she could only conjure rodents.

 


Effie  — (best as I can tell, this lovely painting is called Fire Dancer.)

Hodos ano kato, "the way up and the way down"

If one stands at the bottom of a hole it a long way up but if one stands at the top it is a long way down.

Understanding that the thing and its opposite exist in all things in a state harmony is not always easy to see or grasp, especially when you are at the bottom of the hole looking up.

So starts my story when my world both ended and began.

The only family I had known had taken me to Shimmerbolt and set me out on my own. I was heart broken, angry, lost, and confused.

I had just been attacked by a man for no reason and accused by his lady of using magics to entrance him to these actions. My family listened to me and believed me I am sure of it but the next day they said I had to go on my own.

To make things even more confusing I had a dream the night before where a mystical and wise armadillo named Ankle told me to seek out people I had met before and to save the world.

With little more than the clothing on my back, which if you know me is not much at all, I walked crying into the Velvet Oyster.

I was so upset that I did not notice at first that three of the people from my drea were there in the tavern.

Trilby, who I had not seen for a bit, saw me and tried to comfort me but I was too upset.

Mid sob I was suddenly swept off my feet and found my self over the shoulder of Asger Ichigo Kurokakui, which did little for my crying. He carried not in the most dignified manner, tossed over his shoulder so much like a sack of potatoes or your prototypical damsel, I still managed to look good while doing so.

There I was bottoms up when the voice of another old acquaintance, Vseslav Morozovich, Volshevnic Romanov aka Vasil the Seer, Vasil the Son of Winter, Vasil the Falconer, aka the Black Hawk greeted me and said I was looking good.

Ichigo put me down and Black Hawk tried to also comfort me by telling me how horrible life is and eventually offered me some Russian medicine, voka. It was foul tasting but I did feel a little better after a bit.

We learned the 4 of us had the same dream and Black Hawk, who spoke with such authority, said it was fate.

Realizing we had nothing, I started to cry again, but Black Hawk said we would go to the board outside and take a job to earn some money.

We decided that we would try to tackle a local villain by the name of Bad Horse, who turned out to be in fact a bad horse.

Black Hawk used his impressive powers to scry the location of this Bad Horse and called to him 40 black hawks, not related, to fan out and find this villain.

Black Hawk then told Trilby to use her amazing ability to read the minds of mice to help find him too.

After a bit following the mice and hawks, we traveled outside of town and spied a horse and 3 cowboys down in a chasm in a camp. Trilby said she was sure that was Bad Horse from the picture and as Black Hawk and I talked about if we could save this bad horse and what the plan was Ichigo in an amazing and scary display of skill and ferocity leaped down the 50 foot chasm. Ichigo, who clearly must like tea because he had been carrying a teapot all this time, tossed his teapot in the air, split Bad Horse in two from nose to belly, and caught the teapot on its way down without spilling a drop!

Black Hawk decided to stop figuring out a plan at that point and tried to get the girls to get behind a rock for protection as he sent his 40 Black Hawks after the cowboys who took off running.

Ichigo said there were ghost of murdered people at this camp and we agreed to return some of the items we found to the families. The remaining treasure we found was split 4 ways. Trilby got 2 nice dueling pistols and the other 3 of us got 100 Berries each. I also go a nice leather satchel which was good because my outfit was not practical at all for the life of adventuring.

While I didn’t need to lift a finger the level of carnage created by Ichigo combined with his ferocity somehow raised my spirits.

We then walked back to Shimmerbolt with Ichigo carrying / wearing the corpse of Bad Horse which was simultaneously horrifying and impressive. This attracted a rather large crowd as we took his corpse back to the port authority for payment.

Black Hawk gave an impressive speech and then told us all to leave but when I turned to leave he told me to stay.

The port authority paid us 25 Berries each for Bad Horse. We went from being broke to being well off really quickly.

We followed Ichigo as he went, covered in the gore of battle and smelling as bad as he looked, to some random houses that he said ghost told him to go to and gave some of the stuff to the people in the houses.

We then went on a shopping spree, which was a lot of fun, where I purchased some new clothes and a pair of old and unreliable boots of flying.

Black Hawk used some of his money to rent us a haunted house for a month and sent his birds out to bring us back some game. I volunteered to prepare a meal for my new found family as we settled into our new home.

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

January 15th, 2018

07:21 am: Mercury! A new anthology

New from Superversive Press: 

Ever wonder how Erasmus Prospero came to be on a first name basis with the Swift God? The answer is in a short story appearing in:

Planetary: Mercury

MERCURY!

Innermost of worlds, blasted by the sun by day and frozen by night, Mercury remains an enigma. Mythical Mercury was also the messenger and trickster, and known for blazing speed and wit. Here are thirteen tales of science-fiction and the fantastic featuring Mercury.

Throughout history, the planets of our solar system have meant many things to many people; Planetary Fiction explores the themes associated with these heavenly bodies as well as their astronomical, mythological, and in some cases even alchemical significance.

Included in this volume are 

In the Palace of Promised Immortality by John C. Wright 
Schubert to Rachmaninoff by Benjamin Wheeler 
The Element of Transformation by L. Jagi Lamplighter 
In Tower of the Luminious Sages by Corey McCleery 
The Haunted Mines of Mercury by Joshua M. Young 
Quicksilver by J.D. Beckwith 
Ancestors Answer by Bokerah Brumley 
Last Call by Lou Antonelli 
Deceptive Appearances by Declan Finn 
mDNA by Misha Burnett 
The Star of Mercury by A.M. Freeman 
Cucurbita Mercurias by Dawn Witzke 
The Wanderer by David Hallquist

 

And if you have not read the Prospero Children's series yet, you can find the first one here:

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Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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January 14th, 2018

07:19 am: Morality and the Seventh Commandment

For those just joining us: I have been pondering the following two comments by Mary Baker Eddy: 

To cure a bodily ailment, every broken moral law should be taken into account and the error be rebuked. (Science and Health 3921:4-5)

  and

It is error to suffer for aught but your own sins. Christ, or Truth, will destroy all other supposed suffering, and real suffering for your own sins will cease in proportion as the sin ceases. (Science and Health 391:13)

Reading them led me to think: what might we think is okay today that would have been considered a sin 150 years ago, when these lines were first written. As part of this inquiry, I have been examining each of the Ten Commandments. Here is my examination of the Seventh Commandment: Thou shalt not commit adultery.

The Seventh Commandment:

“It doesn't, this marvelous Promiscuity, does not make you happy.”*

When I was young, I was taught that you should not have sex unless you loved the other person. I was also taught that it was a good idea to know someone very well for two years before getting married, and that it would be wise to live with them first, to check them out and make sure that you really know them.

Why was I taught this particular standard?

My mother is a moral person with a good heart, but she was trying to protect her daughter from the mistakes she had seen others make in her youth. She had several friends who married very young—Mom thought this was because they were eager for more physical intimacy—and some of those marriages had gone very badly.

So she figured it would be better to get the physical part of the relationship out of the way, than to make a stupid decision that might affect a person’s entire life.

Second, she had dated my father for two years, but she did not discover until after she married him that he had a terrible, explosive temper. This temper made life with this otherwise very fine man a difficult endeavor.

It was with the idea that I might be protected from such a last minute discovery that she advised that it would be wise to live together before marriage.

I grew up in a time of opening horizons for women. We were on the cutting edge female equality. The idea that science might solve all problems, that a new better way to live might be found, that living together first—checking each other out—all seemed entirely reasonable.

Maybe, we reasoned, it would lead to happier marriages.

The standard “you must love each other to have sex” is much less stringent than “you must be married first,” and yet, it was much more of a standard than was held by many women I grew up with. I hear things are even worse now. At least in my youth, most adults thought sleeping around was wrong and told us so. Now, many girls never even hear this idea.

Far from being told that they should be chaste and wise in their dealings with men, many young women are now often told quite the opposite: that sex without strings is the norm. That they are judgmental if they think otherwise. That they should be open to havinge sex with anyone: boys, girls, girls who take medicine to turn themselves into boys, etc.

Or even robots. Or animals. Robot brothels are a thing in Asia now, and brothels that cater to sex with animals have been opening in Germany.

For anyone who is an animal lover…there are no words.

Recently I read the blog of a girl who had declared herself asexual. She was 21 or 22. She said that she had tried all the types of sex that were expected. It wasn’t for her.

No one had told her even so simple an idea as: “Wait until you find someone you really like, much less: “Wait until you fall in love”, or, God forbid: “Wait until you meet someone so important that you want to share your whole life with him.”

Returning to the purpose of our inquiry: What were things like a hundred and fifty years ago?

Was all this unimaginable to them? Well, not exactly. The rights of women were under discussion, and the Free Love movement was all over the papers. Many of the things we see today polite society did not even talk about, but others they did talk about—particularly when they discussed what would happen if marriage did not recover from its “slippery footing.”

In fact, they warned that many of these very things would come to pass

A hundred years ago, marriage was still the social norm. This means that if you betrayed it, society would be against you, and if you were betrayed, you could count on your community to support you.

Now? 
Not to long ago, a friend of mine was eagerly preparing to start having children. She was not pregnant yet, but they were getting ready to try. Eager to be a mom, she was taking prenatal vitamins and picking out items for her nursery.

My friend had married her childhood sweetheart. They had dated for seven years, and then they had been married for seven more. Now was the time to take the next step.

Then, suddenly he announced that he did no love her any more and would like a separation—to give him some time to think. She was devastated, but friends and family supported her in this time of need.

Then…

She found out about a month later that he was involved with one of her friends. She was, as any sane person would expect, triply devastated.

But not so society.

All those “supportive” friends and family members? They lost all sympathy.

“Hey, he’s moved on,” they said. “You should, too.”

14 years of her life, and because of our modern outlook—where no one supports and cherishes marriage—she is suppose to just smile and walk away.

My friend has not had a good year since then, but her experience is nothing compared to that of Mercedes Grabowski.

Mercedes Grabowski was a young Canadian woman who worked in the porn industry under the name August Ames. She appeared on film performing acts of sex with both men and women, so she had established that she was not adverse to gays. However, when asked to appear on film with a man who had performed in man on man porn, she said no—because he had not used protection, and there was a danger of illness.

When she tweeted about this, she was attacked. She received messages like this one:

On December 5th, 2017, she killed herself.

She was 23.

This young woman was hounded to death by the public—not for lack of chastity, not for breaking her marriage vows—but for not wanting to have sex on camera, for money, with a man who has sex with other men, on camera, for money.

Is chastity so terrible? Is self-restraint so abhorrent that we want our children to live like this? Or, in this case, to die like this?

We seem to have forgotten about the Seventh Commandment entirely. Maybe it is time to reexamine whether, just maybe, it still matters.

As to my own life—Just a few weeks ago, I was discussing this subject with my mother. She was explaining some of her thinking on how she had used her best wisdom at the time to advise me.

For the first time, I thought to ask her a question I had not asked all those years ago. “Mom, if you had known about Dad’s temper, would you have married him anyway?”

My mom looked utterly surprised at the question, “Of course! There was no one else like your father!”

 

* — with apologies to Molly Grue of The Last Unicorn.

***

This is a Last Crusade article. If you are not familiar with the Last Crusade, you can find the articles here and here. It is a new movement devoted to Christ, Constitution, Chivalry.

Previous articles in the Morality and the Ten Commandments series in order:

The Importance of Virtue:Introduction to an Examination of Our Modern World in Light of the Ten Commandments

Morality and the Tenth Commandment

Morality and the Tenth Commandment, Part 2-A

Morality and the Tenth Commandment, Part 2-B

The Nineth Commandment: Bearing False Labels

Morality and the Ninth Commandment Part Two–Spiritual Thoughts

The Nineth Commandment: Tear Off Those Labels

Morality and the Eighth Commandment: Thou Canst Not Steal

 

Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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January 9th, 2018

03:59 am: Fantastic Schools and Where to Find Them

Hello, All! I am involved in a new blog called Fantastic Schools and Where to Find Them. The blog is maintained by myself, indie author and homeschooler Cedar Sanderson, and top-selling indie author Christopher G. Nuttall.

Here is the opening post:

Welcome to Fantastic Schools and Where To Find Them, a discussion of all things scholarly and magical. Many people mistakenly believe that the magical school experience begins and ends with Harry Potter. Stick around, and we will introduce you to whole new universes of the scholarly fantastic.

Here you will find articles on enchantment, schooling, and other topics of interest–plus reviews, signal boosts, and others news about series and shows that contains schools of magic.

Regular posts will be by your hosts, Christopher G. Nuttall, Cedar Sanderson, and L. Jagi Lamplighter, with guest posts by other luminaries in the YA fantasy and related fields.

Welcome one, welcome all, to Fantastic Schools and Where to Find Them, the new home of magic!

Visit Fantastic Schools and Where to Find Them!

Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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December 25th, 2017

03:25 pm: Merry Christmas!

Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

11:31 am: Merry Christmas!

Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

December 24th, 2017

08:47 pm: Yule Eve at Gryphon Park

 

Yule Eve brought their yearly journey into the forest behind Gryphon Park Manor to find next year’s Yule Log. This was followed by smearing butter on the outer lintels for the returning sun to melt—so the sun would have the sustenance it needed to burn more brightly again—and the moonlit Yule Buck procession, as Rachel and the other children from Gryphon-on-Dart paraded from house to house carrying the last wheat stalk of the harvest. They sang songs that honored the returning sun and the god Thor; while the houses they visited rewarded them with candied fruit and mulled cider.

 Upon coming home, the duke and duchess threw three burning coals into a barrel of water, and nobles and servants alike washed hands and feet there. Then, they all donned new garments, never before worn—ensuring that neither troll or trow would trouble them during the year to follow. And, of course, they played snapdragon and, as always, Rachel singed her fingers trying to steal raisins from the blue flames of the burning brandy. She recalled Gaius scoffing that no one ever burnt their fingers at snapdragon and smiled sadly.

Then deep into the night came Candle Dark, when every light in the mansion must be extinguished. This period of darkness was one of Rachel’s favorite times all year. After the hour of Candle Dark, the winter lamps were lit and placed in windows, where they would keep burning until the spring equinox. Candle Dark was the one hour all year when the Vestal Virgins extinguished their fires.

Read continue reading in The Awful Truth About Forgetting

Originally posted to Welcome to Arhyalon. (link)

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December 19th, 2017

10:42 am: Free! December 19th to 21st — The First Book of Unexpected Enlightenment!

 

What if there were another school of magic…

Nestled amidst the beauty of New York’s Hudson Highlands and hidden from the eyes of the Unwary, Roanoke Academy is a place of magic and wonder. It offers everything a young sorceress could desire—enchantments, flying brooms, and the promise of new friendships.

On her first day of school, Rachel Griffin discovers her perfect memory gives her an unexpected advantage. With it, she can see through the spell sorcerers use to hide their secrets. Very soon, she discovers that there is a far-vaster secret world hiding from the Wise, precisely the same way that the magical folk hide from the mundane folk.

When someone tries to kill a fellow student, she investigates. Rushing forward where others fear to tread, Rachel bravely faces wraiths, embarrassing magical pranks, mysterious older boys, a Raven that brings the doom of worlds, and at least one fire-breathing teacher.

Described by fans as: "Lovecraft meets Narnia at Hogwarts", The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin is a tale of wonder and danger, romance and heartbreak, and, most of all, of magic and of a girl who refuses to be daunted.

Curiosity may kill a cat, but nothing stops Rachel Griffin! 

"Lamplighter introduces many imaginative elements in her world that will delight…" VOYA
 

The Unexpected Enlightenment of Rachel Griffin on Amazon

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December 13th, 2017

09:58 am: The Last Closet — the truth about Marion Zimmer Bradley and her Child-Molesting Husband

This book was written by a friend. Even the excerpts have been painful to read. I am definitely buying it to support her. Whether I will have the strength to actually read it, I don't know.

How very brave of her to write it.

 

Marion Zimmer Bradley was a bestselling science fiction author, a feminist icon, and was awarded the World Fantasy Award for lifetime achievement. She was best known for the Arthurian fiction novel THE MISTS OF AVALON and for her very popular Darkover series.

 

She was also a monster.

THE LAST CLOSET: The Dark Side of Avalon is a brutal tale of a harrowing childhood. It is the true story of predatory adults preying on the innocence of children without shame, guilt, or remorse. It is an eyewitness account of how high-minded utopian intellectuals, unchecked by law, tradition, religion, or morality, can create a literal Hell on Earth.

THE LAST CLOSET is also an inspiring story of survival. It is a powerful testimony to courage, to hope, and to faith. It is the story of Moira Greyland, the only daughter of Marion Zimmer Bradley and convicted child molester Walter Breen, told in her own words.

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