Sunday Inspiration: The Work of Christmas

When the song of the angels is stilled,
When the star in the sky is gone,
When the kings and princes are home,
When the shepherds are back with their flock,

The work of Christmas begins:
To find the lost,
To heal the broken,
To feed the hungry,
To release the prisoner,
To rebuild the nations,
To bring peace among people,
To make music in the heart.
—Howard Thurman

Sunday Inspiration: Tears

“You tried to give us the slip once before and failed, Frodo,” [Pippin] said. “This time you have nearly succeeded, but you have failed again. It was not Sam, though, that gave you away this time, but Gandalf himself!”

“Yes,” said Gandalf; “for it will be better to ride back three together than one alone. Well, here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-Earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears are an evil.”
—J. R. R. Tolkien

Have Yourself a Ghostly Little Christmas

Did you know that telling ghost stories on Christmas Eve is a long-standing English tradition?

“Whenever five or six English-speaking people meet round a fire on Christmas Eve, they start telling each other ghost stories,” wrote British humorist Jerome K. Jerome as part of his introduction to an anthology of Christmas ghost stories titled “Told After Supper“ in 1891. “Nothing satisfies us on Christmas Eve but to hear each other tell authentic anecdotes about specters.”

The practice of gathering around the fire on Christmas Eve to tell ghost stories was as much a part of Christmas for the Victorian English as Santa Claus is for us.

Oak, Ash, and Thorn Is LIVE!

OAT_coverOak, Ash, and Thorn is now available through Amazon in both paperback and Kindle versions! My beta team worked extra hard on this one, and my design guy worked even harder not only to beat my self-imposed February 2 deadline but to smash it to smithereens! Thanks, everybody!

For now, the paperback is available for $8.99. After Christmas, I’m going to experiment with opening up additional distribution channels, which will necessarily (and unfortunately) boost the price a few dollars. I think the price will still be reasonable, but if you know you want a hard copy, let me suggest you get it now at a better price than you’ll find next month.

The Sídhe in Fantasy

Excellent post today from Leo Elijah Cristea about the nobles of the Gaelic supernatural realm, the sídhe.

If you’re not convinced you’re about to see the fae make a slow and distinguished comeback, think about elves: everyone said they were dead. Well, the elf is dead; long live the elf. I raise you Dwenda, Shict, and Chris Evans’ revamped “Iron Elves”. If we really want to split hairs, I raise you the elves from the Dragon Age games, where the once-regal race has been given a bit of a different approach.

But, we’re not here to talk about elves: we’re here to talk about my other love. Yes, I happen to love fae. The potential with fae is nearly infinite: such an underdone, unsung, untouched race, one brimming with potential and plenty of fresh ground to dig your heels into.

Of course, the daoine sídhe figure quite prominently in my Into the Wonder Series (Book 1, Book 2, Book 3), which you are of course at liberty to check out for yourselves. 🙂

The Yule Lads

Iceland’s Yule Lads get the VIP treatment in an excellent article over at Atlas Obscura introducing a new book on the subject:

Not every beloved holiday tradition escapes its native land. “Unless you are lucky enough to have been born an Icelander, or have lived in Iceland through a Christmas season, you probably won’t have heard of the Yule Lads,” reads The 13 Yule Lads of Iceland, a children’s book by Brian Plinkington, presumably for non-Icelandic kids to learn about the holiday myth.

Here’s something I wrote about the Yule Lads, complete with a video.

Oak, Ash, and Thorn Available This Week!

The paperback version will be available through Amazon in another day or two, with digital versions coming shortly after that! Merry Christmas!

This novel, third in the Into the Wonder series, will also give readers their first bird’s-eye view of the faery geography in which most of the action takes place, thanks to my awesome design guy, Dave Jones: