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STORIES MAKE US UNCOMFORTABLE. They reveal ‘monsters’ we’d rather keep hidden in the shadows.

THAT’S WHY READING IS a brave thing to do.


TO ME, THE BEST STORIES look squarely at the monsters and say “No, we can do better.” That’s HOPEPUNK. That’s my genre.

I’M WORKING ON a hopepunk fantasy adventure trilogy.
Here are my working premises:


A secret buried in ice. The shattering of long-held beliefs. Sorrow melting to hope. When Greyn, a reindeer herder, isolated and enslaved in a frozen realm, uncovers a betrayal of his family, and the abuse of their unique powers of prediction, he ventures into the lair of his oppressor to find what he thought was lost forever. Facing icequakes, crevasses, volcanoes, dragons, and merciless guards, he confronts brutal truths and bewildering oddities that fracture his illusions about family, enemies, and the very nature of his world.

“Father of Ice and Stone” is Book One of the fantasy adventure series, “Magistry of Dreams”, by Elizabeth Edgett.

If you cringed in “Lord of the Rings” when Frodo and Sam entered the evil land of Mordor, or if you shivered along with Jon Snow on the northern Wall in “A Song of Ice and Fire”, or if the love and sacrifice between Katniss and Peeta in “The Hunger Games” trilogy moved you to tears, you’ll be thrilled to join Greyn on his dangerous mission to gain family loyalty and freedom.




(Supporters of an Unconditional Basic Income may be interested in one of the societies portrayed in my novels which is based on similar egalitarian values.)



Review of “Into the Deep” by Susan McBride Els

This is not a “how to” book about writing. It is a meditation on the creative process of writing. I read this book many years ago and it is still my favorite, full of highlights, underlinings, and marginalia. I was swept away by Els’s deep dive into the feeling experience of writing, the wildness of it, as opposed to the rational thinking process. This book will not teach you the nuts and bolts of craft. It will teach you about creativity, the value of intuitions, vague inspirations, listening and “feeling from the inside”. It is about the heart leading the mind rather than the other way around. It is about writing as a spiritual process, yet it is not a religious book. Instead of teaching you HOW to write, it will teach you WHY to write. It addresses the required tension between knowing where you’re going and letting go into chaos. It acknowledges the disparity between the vision and the actual work, and the inevitable disappointment. “By the time the vision falls to earth, it is nothing like the vision.” Some writers will say it’s dangerous to examine the source of their creativity, that it may dry up under scrutiny. Yet this book is more of an honoring of the source rather than an analysis of it. Think of this book as an oasis in the desert, where a pool of water beckons to you to dive in and FEEL your way into the deep. Then keep it on your bookshelf to turn to whenever you need assurance that at least one person in the world understands what you’re going through.

Into the Deep by Susan McBride Els at Amazon – https://www.amazon.com/Into-Deep-Susan-M-Els/dp/0435088033

The Astrological Dr. Who and the New Moon in Aquarius

posts-astrology-fantasy-fiction There’s a New Moon in Aquarius on February 8th, 2106. The best way to describe this is the Dr. Who effect.  Why Dr. Who? Because Aquarius deals with the future, outer space, and all things “out there”. But it also deals with humanitarian goals, and how one individual can benefit others.

Aquarians care about humanity, as does Dr. Who. He’s always trying to save the earth from total destruction by the Daleks, or whoever else happens to be targeting us for extermination at the time.

What makes Dr. Who Aquarian, as opposed to a more caring sign like Cancer? It’s because he sees humanity as a whole, as an abstract concept, and shies away from getting too close to any one particular human. Dr. Who is not the type to settle down and get comfortable in his armchair. He doesn’t even stay on the planet for any length of time, always flitting off to another time or space at the drop of a hat.

So on February 8th, ask yourself how your own quirky, unconventional self can benefit humanity in some way. Just like Dr. Who!

Slow Fantasy: “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” and “The Goblin Emperor”


It seems to me that there are two general categories of fantasy fiction–those that sweep the reader into a heart-pounding adventure tale, and those that explore and describe a fantasy world in extreme, sometimes excruciating, sometimes enthralling detail.

Two novels that illustrate the latter are Susanna Clarke’s “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” and Katherine Addison’s “The Goblin Emperor”. These two novels both won awards, yet also received criticism from some readers who were disappointed by their lack of action.

Both of these novels include either massive amounts of historical detail about their fictional world, or they indulge in a microscopic focus upon social mannerisms, names, and political relationships (in the tradition of Gormenghast). While these details add interest, they also slow the story trajectory.

What’s missing for the readers who are left unsatisfied?

I believe it is immersion. The focus on detail, language, names, asides, footnotes, etc., while interesting to some readers, can alienate others.

No one will ever call these books “action packed adventures”. They both offer an intense intellectual challenge to the reader, often sacrificing forward action and emotional momentum to (often unnecessary) detail.

So is there a point of commonality between these intellectual fantasy novels and their action/adventure cousins? There is no doubt that good books in both categories can have fully developed fantasy worlds. There is also no doubt that they can both explore their characters’ emotions in great detail.

The reason “Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell” and “The Goblin Emperor” won their awards is because they offered us, not only extreme mental machinations, but intimate emotional heart as well.

It’s only a matter of the reader being willing to sit still long enough to fully explore the delightful contents of these (rather large) treasure troves.

FEBRUARY 27 ~ Writing With The Stars ~ daily astrology for writers

moonclouds_smallAs the Moon moves into Cancer this morning, the energy calms down. Aspects between Juno, Neptune and Venus show us how our own sense of beauty can be all the direction we need. It’s a day for pantsing, writing raw material as inspiration flows, with no forethought involved. Don’t try to tackle that outline or do research today. Write more from the heart. Ideas will arise from nowhere as long as you are there, available, with your fingers poised over the keyboard. All you have to do is get out of your own way today and WRITE!

FEBRUARY 26 ~ Writing With The Stars ~ daily astrology for writers

moonclouds_smallThe Moon moves through Gemini making for a communicative day on many levels. Mercury trine the North Node in Libra puts our thoughts on the future of relationships. It’s an innovative day, with new ideas popping up, but don’t try to get too deep or intimate. This is a day for lots of surface business. It’s a practical day as well. With Saturn trining Mars and Juno, we could see our passions and commitments taking form, especially where it comes to friends and groups. Vesta in Aquarius sextiles Uranus in Aries. It’s the perfect day to plan a writing event!

FEBRUARY 25 ~ Writing With The Stars ~ daily astrology for writers

moonclouds_smallToday is a balancing act between being honest or being nice, following the crowd or being true to yourself. You may have to use some strong and transformational words today that may step on some toes. You will go back and forth wondering whether you should say something or not. Ultimately, the truth will out. Your only decision will be how gentle your words are, in communicating that difficult truth.