Sunday, August 26, 2012

Monday Musings: The Butterfly Fields - A Summary

I have never been beyond the road's end. I know not what it is that lies over the horizon. Elder Morton has traveled many lands throughout the world over and tells many tales. These are the things I must know; I must understand.

My fingers have turned the pages of near ev'ry book upon the shelves in the library of Johnsport. It is the Great Library of Alnae which holds all that my heart desires. All the most learned men and women of the world have studied at Alnae. I too wish to attend the College of Alnae, yet I have ne'er been beyond the road's end. It would be the most wonderous occasion of my entire life to see this magnificent city of Alnae with all the treasures it keeps. Mhathair must let me go.

My dear sister, Annalicia, has created such a beauteous land of imagination and wonder just beyond the manor gates that lead to the canyons. Many happy days have been spent among the butterflies and creatures of the meadow. Princess Aria and Annalicia the Lovely have escaped near ev'ry scoundrel and bandit to ever dare embark on such an endeavor as to plunder The Butterfly Fields. Nay, not one has e'er conquered these fields of butterflies; no darkness has ever creeped within the boundaries. Nay, not even the men of science have laid eyes upon our land. It is here we escape the atrocities of Johnsport. It is here we find freedom, safety, and sanity.

It is said in the worship house of Johnsport that He Who Created All Things is a great and wondrous God. But of this God, I have seen no miraclous deeds of mercy, or compassion; only misery and death. There is naught in Johnsport that evidences the concern of He Who Created All Things. The men of science have left their marks upon the children without regard to the will of He Who Created All Things. I, myself, bear these markings, and it is only a matter of time before they come for Annalicia. She shall be safe in The Butterfly Fields. They know not where to find these fields of butterflies. They shall ne'er know. They shall seek until the end of days, yet the entrance they shall ne'er find. 

It is just there beyond the road's end where He must be found. If He is not to be found there then He is not to be found at all. With Annalicia safely hidden in The Butterfly Fields, I must travel this road alone. I shall make search of He Who Created All Things and save us both; perhaps Johnsport itself. Mhathair and Seanmhathair must release me of the family obligations that I might make journey to the College of Alnae. A library with holdings as such the travelers have told tales must be magnificent. In this library of all the world, the answer is surely to be found. He Who Created All Things is surely to be there among the books. I shall return for Annalicia only when I have found that which we have searched for our entire lives. The very thing which shall save us both. 


I hope you have enjoyed this week's preview into The Butterfly Fields. 

The cover design for The Butterfly Fields is finished. I'm pretty excited about that. I have to make the final finishing touches to the manuscript before publishing. Until then, I will continue to publish teasers here to satisfy your curiosity. These are not actual exerpts from the series. They are summaries.

The Chrysalis Series is a triology. Book One: The Butterfly Fields; Book Two: Torn Wings; and Book Three: Monarch.

After the departure of the former muse known as Cowboy Bob, the titles of the books were reconsidered and changed as appropriate. :)

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Monday Musings: Reading, Listening, and Writing

One of my traits as an introvert seems to be that I know a lot of stuff. I know trivial things to minute details about the state of the world. I can usually hold intelligent conversations with just about anyone...usually. I am often asked how it is that I know so much about various topics.

Today, I am going to talk about this in relation to how it has improved my writing. There are two things in this world that are important on many different levels. The first is reading, and the second is listening.


I have read since I was old enough to sound out the words in the Dick and Jane books in the first grade. I loved to read then, and I love to read now. There is nothing more pleasing in the world to me than the feel of the pages between my fingers.

I enjoy reading fiction to a certain degree. However, books aren't the only source of my reading. I read blogs - I'm world class blog stalker - I read various websites, professional journals, newspapers, etc.

I don't limit what I read to simply the things I enjoy. I read the news coming out of Afghanistan and I certainly don't enjoy it. Yet, it is a necessary act to know what is going on in the world in which I live. I also read the financial pages (you would think I would be a better money manager...). It's a quirk of mine to abhor the insane acquisiton of money to the point of greed. I view the financial pages as a study in human behavior. Just how far will people go to acquire wealth, what do they do with it once they get it, and in some cases how long will it last? I read to know the details of life as we know it.

If I am writing, I read a great deal about the subject; before and during the process. In the process of The Butterfly Fields, I have had to read many different things about the subjects of religion, culture, and finding one's place in the midst of it all. I will be the first to admit, I had no idea what the Augsburg Confession is, let alone the important role it plays in the history of religion in the world. In fact, the important role in the religion I have chosen as my personal path. I found the Book of Concord (the hardcover) fascinating. What an interesting time in the world. Another important book that I have had to read is the Bible itself. I'm still working on this one. I truly believe a person could study the Bible for an entire lifetime and still not know all that it says. Or, maybe I just started too late. I have also had to read a lot of information about the Dark Ages. I have another quirk about things being as historically accurate as possible. This includes dialogue, descriptions, and the way people really were, not how we seem to romanticize this era in our history. It was called the Dark Ages for more reasons than the religious discord in the world. Writing is a process. It is not something that can be typed out in a few sittings and offered to the world with any expectation of respect in the industry.


Many times when we are sitting together in a room as a group, or just two people having a conversation, we fall into the poor listening skills area. Instead of truly listening to what the other person is saying as an active and engaged listener, we start planning what we are going to say next. There are even times when we let our minds wander into what's for dinner tonight or how am I going to pay a bill, and so on. Lastly, we do the ultimate act of poor listening, we cut the person off in mid-sentence assuming we already know what they are going to say. Personally, when someone does this to me enough times, I will just get up and walk away in the middle of the conversation. One it is without manners to interrupt someone when they are speaking, and two assumption is the mother of all miscommunication. We all exercise poor listening on some level, every day.

Growing up, I learned the fine art of listening due to the generally observed rule of children should be seen and not heard. I would also watch with great interest the interactions of the elders in the family and how they conducted themselves. They were far from perfect, but they had some things that always seemed to be engaged in the moment. An elder was always allowed to finish speaking, no matter how long it took, before anyone said anything. Many times a silent pause would follow what was said while the listeners processed the information that had been shared. I learned to think before I speak. Some people today don't grasp the concept that I don't like to give an immediate answer until I have taken under consideration what had been said. It makes it very difficult for some of us introverts to be actively engaged in meetings filled with extroverted people.

Listening to others plays a significant role in the trust factor of relationships. If you are a natural people watcher like me, listening coupled with picking up on body language, you understand how much of the story is never tranferred in the spoken word. We naturally learn a lot about and make judgments of other people based on these two things, more than any conversation we will ever have with them. This helps in character development in the story. I have a tendency to build characters based on the mannerisms of people rather than what they say.

I find listening more interesting and comfortable than talking. I learn a lot more when listening than when being fully engaged in the conversation. I view this as a strength. Through active and engaged listening I can make better decisions even if it takes a bit longer.

While working on The Butterfly Fields, I have had to do a lot of listening in addition to reading. Sometimes I didn't necessarily enjoy what I was hearing. However, I feel through this listening process, The Butterfly Fields, and The Chrysalis Series as a whole, is a stronger story. Also through listening, I have gained some personal skills in regards to who I am and where I am heading.
Reading and listening play an important role in writing. If you want a strong story with lots of detail and interesting characters, you have to know your subject. I will always read and listen for the rest of my life, otherwise the world will be very flat; very flat indeed.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Simply Saturday: A Chapter Summary of The Butterfly Fields

Alone in the fortress, the dampness of the stones seep into the bones. The whole of the world lies just beyond the window ledge, yet my flesh cannot carry the bones away from this dreadful place.

The whole of the world. The very thing which has brought me asunder into this dwelling of darkness. Oh that I had not followed that which was not mine to have. Oh that all the times and occasions of life had not lead me down this trecherous path. Yet, here am I...alone.

The world carries on as though there were no gardens of regret planted on every hill and in every dale along the roadside. It carries on as though the Baal fires had never once burned upon the though the frenzied dances had never occured. How is it the world knows not of the misfortune lying in wait for those who have traveled this road into the abyss of nothingness?

Sleep shall not come to those who have traveled to the road's end. There is naught in the world but a endless writhing in pain and anguish...dreaming in the wake of a light that shines in the far off distance. This light with neither source nor end. Oh had I only stayed as she had begged with me all those years ago. Had my heart not been consumed with selfish desires, the Butterfly Fields would not lie in ruin. She would not be held captive in the arms of he who has imprisoned her in that which is not love, but deceit.

Her tender flesh would not be encased in the iciness of the longing for that which has not been seen in the lowlands for many a year. A longing for that which has not been seen since I had taken my leave, nay, since my abandonment. She reigns her lands with a heart of stone, as is common in the lowlands. She reigns without compassion...without mercy. Her loyal subjects, such as they are, carry out her wishes without question. They fear he who has captured her heart, and rules her mind.

What is this I have done? Is there naught that I can do to turn back the hands of time to the place where my journey had begun? If only the creek which leads to home would flow with laughter as it had when games and adventure were afoot. If only the Great River would feed the fields of grain as it had in the days of Seanmhathair's youth. If only the canyons would release the wild game which once roamed upon the rocky hills. If only...if only the Butterfly Fields were once again filled with the light and laughter of our days as children. What? What is this thing I have wrought upon the land, the village of my clan? Can they ever forgive me? Can I ever forgive myself? Nay, there is no forgiveness...from them, or from me.

As I have done, so too has been done unto me. My family has abandoned me. Left me to wander alone in the darkness, no longer welcome at the fires of longer welcome in the circle. My clan has turned their faces away. They no longer recognize my visage. They no longer desire to engage in my conversation. They rightfully lay the blame for all that has been wrought upon them at the feet of the betrayer; at my feet.

The only hope for redemption lies in the center of the village, within the walls of the Daoine Realta. There is no way to find the path which leads to redemption. There is no one to lead the way through the wilderness. My only comfort comes from he who has stood by me from the beginning of this journey, the one who bears the wisdom to see that which cannot be seen. His daily knock upon my fortress door brings a comfort I have ne'er known. He speaks words of wisdom as though somehow he has discerned the very wisdom of the Daoine Realta; as though he has entered the walls and reaped all there is to glean from such a place.

I know not how this can be. There has ne'er been a single na hÉirean allowed beyond the gates of the Daoine Realta walls. He has not even the slightest likeness to that of a na hÉirean. When has it been he would have had chance for such an oppotunity. Nay, he is but a learned man with much wisdom and nothing more than this. How could it be more? There is naught in this world that has not been destined to occur. I have ne'er seen such a contenance such as his within the village. Yet, he bears a familiarity. Something or someone I should recall. There is naught to be done now, but to wither into the nothingness which I have become, only with the comforting words of one such as he. At the end of it all for me, there is naught to anticipate but the earth which shall cover the flesh and bones of this shell, the soul long departed.