An Ancient Tome

I wrote a paper on JRR Tolkien for an independent study while in school in London thirty years ago. Time is beating the crap out of me, no doubt. So I wanted to travel to Oxford to have look at a few original sources kept in the University libraries.

One of my professors proudly supplied me with a pass. However, I did not realize there were limitations to the pass. Much to the horror of the librarians, I was drawn to a restricted section full of ancient tomes. Most were locked behind glass. That should have been a hint.

There was, among those moldy old books, one left unintended written in a script and language I could not decipher. On impulse, I picked it up thus earning my lifetime banishment from that library.

It was totally worth it, despite the possible apocalyptic horror it might have unleashed. Oopsie.

In the  moment I touched that book, I felt a surge of energy pulse through me. Possibly  brought on by the horror of the ruddy security guard sputtering at me. I prefer to believe that electrified pulse came from the book itself, the book wanting to impart its contents to someone, anyone.

All books are magic. I have no clue what was in the book I came across, be it spells of a lost power or possibly a transcription of some church records. I never could find out. My escort, the one that unceremoniously threw me out of the library into the rain, only lectured me on how rude Americans could be and would hear no excuses from me.

I only had my imagination to go by. I think the script was Gaelic of some kind. It possibly came from a monastary but I don’t even know how old the book might have been. I did not have enough time to examine the vellum. Might it have been crafted of human skin? There was a time… but such parchment would not hold ink for so long. Well, unless there was some evil enchantment at work. Definitely a possibility.

My imagination crafted that old restricted book into a grimoire, a spell book for the darkest of sorcerers. And so filled my nights with horrors for years after, some demon force chasing me across time and space.

Now, I seek a way to defeat the dark magic unleashed on me by that ancient tome, to tame or banish the demons that rose with its powers. Sadly, books of miracles, are so rare. Well, I never could find one equal to the demons that haunt me so I decided I would write one, an Idyll. I am running out of time. I can’t hold off those demons  much longer.

I do apologize if my jaunt into the restricted section of the library ultimately leads to a zombie apocalypse. Awkward.

2019 – Year of King of Wands

img_1433For Christmas, my daughter gave me a bar set to fix a most excellent Old Fashioned and a deck of tarot cards.

Naturally, the bottle of bitters ended up shattered on my floor after a few tries of making my own old-fashioneds so I turned my attention to the tarot deck. I had to reaquaint myself with the cards again.

In my university years, I played quite a bit with the tarot deck. I loved the beautifully painted cards so my daughter gave me a wonderful gift.  I did worry I might accidentally summon some kind of mischievous or demonic spirit considering the fate of the bitters. And maybe I did. I decided I would reflect on the coming year so I shuffled the card and did a thirteen card spread. One card to signify the entire year and each of the others for each month. I figure each is worth a blog post.

The King of Wands signifies long-term success in its upright position. There is more but this is the aspect I will concentrate on this year.  It will be a lot of work, but hope springs eternal.

An Ancient Tome

I wrote a paper on JRR Tolkien for an independent study while in school in London, this thirty years ago. Time is beating the crap out of me, no doubt. So I wanted to travel to Oxford to have look at a few original sources kept in the University libraries.  I am big on original sources.

One of my professors proudly supplied me with a pass. However, I did not realize there were limitations to the pass. Much to the horror of the librarians, I was drawn to a restricted section full of ancient tomes. Most were locked behind glass. That should have been a hint.

There was, among those moldy old books, one left unintended written in a script and language I could not decipher. On impulse, I picked it up thus earning my lifetime banishment from that library.

It was totally worth it, despite the possible apocalyptic horror it might have unleashed. Oopsie.

In the  moment I touched that book, I felt a surge of energy pulse through me. Possibly  brought on by the horror of the ruddy security guard sputtering at me, but I rather believe that electrified pulse came from the book itself, the book wanting to impart its contents to someone, anyone. Or possibly it unleashed the apocalypse, given current events.

All books are magic. I have no clue what was in the book I came across, be it spells of a lost power or possibly a transcription of some church records. I never could find out. My escort, the one that unceremoniously threw me out of the library into the rain, only lectured me on how rude Americans could be and would hear no excuses from me.

I only had my imagination to go by. I think the script was Gaelic of some kind. It possibly came from a monastary but I don’t even know how old the book might have been. I did not have enough time to examine the vellum. Might it have been crafted of human skin? There was a time… but such parchment would not hold ink for so long. Well, unless there was some evil enchantment at work. Definitely a possibility.

Yes, all books are magic and so, some are quite dangerous. Magic and truth in equal measure all in black and white. Most people avoid both of these more vehemently than they do root canal.

My imagination crafted that old restricted book into a grimoire, a spell book for the darkest of sorcerers. And so filled my nights with horrors for years after, some demon force chasing me across time and space.

Now, I seek a way to defeat the dark magic unleashed on me by that ancient tome, to tame or banish the demons that rose with its powers. Sadly, books of miracles, are so rare. Well, I never could find one equal to the demons that haunt me so I decided I would write one, an Idyll. I am running out of time. I can’t hold off those demons  much longer.

I do apologize if my jaunt into the restricted section of the library ultimately leads to a zombie apocalypse. Awkward.

Cups of Coffee and City of Lies by Sam Hawke

img_1189Nothing goes so well with a cup of coffee or a spot of tea than a good book. I have been nursing a mighty good one called City of Lies by Sam Hawke, a fellow Reider*.

And it is glorious. Great characters, great world-building with a touch of classic forensics. It is about  food-tasters – someone who checks for poison in a head of state’s dishes, a rather dangerous profession to be sure. This involves a brother and sister whose family are tasked with protecting their Chancellor (the head cheese of their country) from assassination, especially poison.

When their Uncle Etan fails and dies along with one Chancellor, the brother and sister must work together to keep the new Chancellor from their enemies. The sister, Kalina, was to be trained initially, but as a sickly child, she lacked the constitution.  The duty then passed to her brother, Jovan, who seems to have a kind of autism similar to Asperger’s. This makes it tough for him to deal with stressful situations, like attempted assassinations on his chancellor, Tain, who as it happens, is his dearest friend. Both siblings have strengths and weaknesses that make this story ring so true despite the fantastical setting.

img_1054-1The opening is simply sublime. If you are a fan of epic fantasy, this is one to buy and keep forever.  I recommend this book with all my heart and soul. Even if there are no dragons. Well, a dragon will guard this book on my special book shelf once I am done enjoying the book fully. I am now a big fan of Sam’s. I think you will be too.

*Reiders are writers, both published and working toward publication, who are under the tutelage of the Queen Of the Known Universe, Janet Reid, agent extraordinaire and shark of many teeth.

Cups of Coffee for Cursing Revision

CreativeWriterIt is getting late. Work was long today. I am tired and yet here I pour over what I hope is a final block revision of my latest book. There will still be a line edit, and probably another set of eyes will have to look it over for good measure. But some day this damn book will be finished and ready to go seeking a place out in the world. I have a cup for that.

And yes, this is the very last freaking draft…really…

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