Changelings on Tour: John W. Howell


John W. Howell

John W. Howell of Fiction Favorites is playing host to the Changelings blog tour on this, the seventh day of its march across the interwebs.

Like so many of the wonderful people on this tour, I met John at the beginning of my blogging journey, and got to know him better through the Community Storyboard. He is bursting with talent. If you haven’t already, you should definitely check out his thriller, My GRL (buy it!). John has a way with dialogue that is brilliant in its simplicity.

While John blogs about a variety of topics – and is a wonderful promoter of other authors – there are three cornerstones to his site. All of them are unique, and really quite wonderful. Mondays set us off with a Top 10 what-not-to-do; Wednesday is story day, while John saves Friday for a poetic interlude, the TGIF Haiku (or Johnku as it is known in some circles). And, on the occasional Saturday, he treats us to a stream-of-consciousness story.

The Top 10 is both amusing and cautionary, while the story almost always features an amazing twist (usually with that irascible card, Frank, as the hapless protagonist). The Haiku is a brilliant short-form poem that sums up the week – and the hope for the weekend – beautifully.

John is one of those marvelously gifted individuals who is there supporting you, 100%, and his quiet appreciation does wonders for the soul. At the same time, his sly wit does wonders for the funny bone (you should see/read him match wits with D, as he has on this blog a few times – it is marvelous!). I have been blessed with John’s friendship and wisdom and it is a real treat to be featured on his site. Thank you for your support, John – it is most appreciated!

John’s Favorites

Top 10 Monday: 10 Things Not To Do When the Weather Turns Cold

Story Day Wednesday: Feelings

Haiku Friday: November 14 – Paradise Lost

Stream of Consciousness Saturday: Element

On Sale Now!

On Sale Now!

Random prompt

A: Hey, D, look – a new prompt at the Community Storyboard.
D: Prompt? Is it prompting you need, woman?
A: What? You don’t want me to tell the story about the first time you were whisked through time and impersonated a god?
D: Oh, well . . . when you put it *that* way. . .
A: (Eye roll) Thanks, D – check out “the first time” prompt, everyone – and have fun with it!

Weekly Prompt for November 17, 2013

A: Check it out, D.

D: It’s a spider web.

A: It’s a prompt picture at the Community Storyboard.

D: It’s a beautiful spider web.

A: (Eye-roll) Better. Take a gander at this picture, everyone and submit your prose, short-story, essay or poem!

D: Hey, look – there’s leaves too.

A: Nothing escapes your eagle eyes, does it?

D: Nope. I’m highly trained for this sort of thing.

A: Good to know, D. Good to know.

Bodacious bard bandies ballads

By Green Embers

By Green Embers

D: Bodacious?

A: You have a problem with bodacious?

D: No, but didn’t it go out of style sometime in the late twentieth century?

A: The time-traveler is worried about going out of style?

D: Well, yes – I’d like to fit in.

A: Fit in? You wear a cloak and carry a big sword and staff for crying out loud.

D: Yes, in your head – but when I was a man-about-town, I always tried to keep abreast of what was fashionable.

A: Dandy.

D: What was that?

A: You heard me. Popinjay.

D: Is it my fault I cut a fine figure?

A: (Eye roll) No – so are you going to bandy ballads or what, you bodacious bard?

D: You are incorrigible.

A: Indeed – take it away, D!

D: If you read this blog, chances are you’re either A) crazy, B) a fan of the written word, or C) a writer yourself—

A: Do they have to be just one of those things?

D: . . . No – likely they’re all three.

A: Likely.

D: In that case, everyone who reads this should be as excited as you and I are to be a part of the Legends of Windemere Blog Tour and Cover Reveal blitz starting November 25. If you would like to feature that truly bodacious scribe, Charles Yallowitz’ third tale in the series, Allure of the Gypsies, head on over to his blog, Legends of Windemere and sign up!

A: Sarah M. Cradit, of . . . And then there was Sarah is also doing a cover reveal for her third book in the House of Crimson and Clover series, The Illusions of Eventide. The reveal is on November 16, so contact Sarah today if you would like to participate.

D: A, why haven’t you watched Game of Thrones yet?

A: Um, that was a quick shift – never hear of transitions, D?

D: . . .

A: Fine. I don’t have cable, and I’m currently blacklisted at the library . . . again.

D: You need to stop doing that.

A: You’re telling me! So no, I haven’t yet indulged in Game of Thrones – why do you ask?

D: Because one of our favorite people, Helena Hann-Basquiat did a wonderful send-up for the Friday Fictioneers.

A: Ah, so it’s Helena’s distinctive voice and knife-edge humor that drew you in, yes?

D: Um. Yes. That’s right.

A: (Eye-roll) Good to know you’re still a guy, D, despite your years.

D: I’m feeling like I should be offended by that.

A: You probably should, but maybe for the sake of brevity, you should let it slide.

D: All right. Just this once.

A: Cheers, D. In other news, There’s a new prompt at the Community Storyboard – check out Julian Froment’s prompt and prose for “Tomorrow.”

D: And the heavens only know if A will actually manage a response to the prompt (lazy wench) but click away below for those who have lent their creativity and prose to the CSB in response to the prompt.

A: You know, I could – there’s always tomorrow…

D: . . .

A: See what I did there, with the—

D: Yes, A. I see.

A: Kill joy.

Well, that’s all for this evening folks – I’ve been a pretty lazy blogger this week. For more outside-world updates, you can catch D and I at Green Embers’ Recommends – we run our shtick on most Fridays and we have some fun ones planned for this Friday. In the meantime, check out GE Recommend’s entertainment reviews – it’s well worth the click!

Weekly Prompt: Sunday, October 20th, 2013

D: Attention poets, bards, storytellers and all, the Community Storyboard Prompt of the week is “Frost.”

A: Aren’t bards and storytellers the same thing?

D: . . . .

A: Just checking! And all of you should check out the CSB, and submit, too!

Lamenting Warrior seeks lyrically-minded storyteller, details within

D: A . . . A, I don’t quite know what to say.

A: Oh boy, here we go –

D: It’s just that you complained so bitterly. And really you just don’t have a poetic soul. How I ever landed in your mind is a mystery. I mean, sure you’re Irish, but you’re not even maudlin about it. Must be these warm Midwestern summers.

A: Is this you not knowing what to say? Really?

D: The words I’m looking for don’t come easy, A. I’m talking about the poem you wrote for the Community Storyboard, the one for this week’s prompt on angst and longing. I . . . I knew you could do it.

A: You did? Um . . . . Well – thank you, D. Of course, I think you had something to do with it. Angst and longing are rather your department.

D: And here I was trying to be complimentary.

A: And I’m not being disparaging – you have to admit that an epic life comes with some angst. Longing. Pain.

D: All right, you can stop now. I get it.

A: So you really liked it?

D: Don’t fish, woman.

A: Well, it was worth a try. Thanks, D. Stay tuned for Mairead’s version.

D: Mairead?! Wait, A – I don’t think this is such a good idea! I’m not ready!

A: I’m sorry D, I think you’re cutting out. I must be entering a canyon or something – see ya, D!

D: A! We are not on cell phones. I’m right here! A? A? Where’d you go?!

Photo courtesy Google Images

Photo courtesy Google Images

Warrior’s Lament

(Originally posted on The Community Storyboard)

Mists of time creep by

Filling my senses

And dulling my pain.

I hope.

Once you did love me

A promise you gave

For your kiss, I longed.

I dream.

The burden of honor

The call of my clan

Did tear us apart.

I fight.

Brothers surround me

But always alone

Mired in treachery.

I rage.

Though victory was ours

Too few did return

I was lost to you then.

I weep.

I left to wander

To court jealous gods

History, myth and legend.

I live.

One day I’ll return

Old hurts forgotten

I will hold you and whisper,

My love.

 A Explains the Tale

In writing the draft of Book 1, I “discovered” that there was a very old ballad (or rather, a lyrical oral story) that told the story of a warrior prince and his lost-love. It’s referenced throughout the last half and parts of it are even recited (although, at the moment it looks more like “put pretty words here”). Essentially, “The Ballad of Dubhshíth and Mairead” is a hand-me-down historical clue to D’s life.

Since I have no idea how to write a ballad, let alone compose lyrically-pleasing prose in Irish/Pict/Scot oral storytelling form, I was concerned. Concerned, but really determined to twist my brain around something resembling poetry. I did a small amount of research – more of which is needed – but really, the “Angst and Longing” prompt at the CSB came at the perfect moment.

My brain, and maybe a bit of D’s heart, tossed enough words on the page to make four poems that will make up a compendium of sources for the ballad.The ballad itself will tell the tale of D’s first life – his very own historical record. Realistically, I only need a few lines lifted from the ballad itself and the tone of “Mairead’s Song” (debuting later this week . . . maybe) to make Book 1 work, but I want it all. I want it to function almost as though it were one of the many research books I keep on my desk. I like to think of it as another way to gain insight into a temperament and personality that, 9 times out of 10, remains a mystery to me.

D: So you admit that you don’t give me my due.

A: I didn’t say—

D: Admit it.

A: No.

D: A!

A: Fine. I’ll admit it, if you admit that my head isn’t an empty wasteland compared to what Your Magnificence has come to expect.

D: So we’re agreeing to disagree then, hm? All right. I can work with that.

A: (Sigh). Cheers, D.

Weekly Prompt – Autumn

A: Check out this week’s prompt at the Community Storyboard: Autumn!

D: Well, that should make you happy, Miss I-Want-it-to-be-October.

A: Yes, it does make me happy. Very very happy. You could take a lesson from Autumn, D.

D: How’s that.

A: It never manages to overstay its welcome!

D: Ooh, ouch! Touche, A. Touche.

The CSB Chainstory is now complete!

Squirrels, This Time It’s Personal is complete! Many thanks to Green Embers for completing the multi-part Community Storyboard chain-story extravaganza! And, even better, it’s now an ebook!! Wonderful job everyone!

Tale Telling

d as imaged by Green Embers

By Green Embers

Have I told you? My name is D.

Go on. Click on the link. Read that masterpiece I inspired A to write. It’s posted on the wePoets Show It community blog, and you are going to love it. I do.

A says she’s going to write a rejoinder, but nothing can be as awesome as “My Name is D.”

As is our habit of late, this will be brief. I simply wanted to showcase what our dear friends and acquaintances are up to on the blogosphere. One day, A will do things, I know it. Don’t tell her I said so – it might go to her head – but I have high hopes for her. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have spent all this time knocking around her imagination. It’s not like I didn’t have options. I am a great and powerful druid, after all.

A: You know, D, Oz was a fake.

D: I wasn’t –

A: You were.

D: But you—

A: You interrupt me all the time.

D: Pay no attention to that woman behind the curtain! I have a tale to tell.

Publishing Bliss

Not only was creator of worlds, scribe of Windemere, Charles Yallowitz, interviewed by Indie Author News, he’s also concluding a insightful Women of Windemere series with illustrations, poems, excerpts and videos. The series starts with Headmistress and ex-mercenary, Selenia Hamilton.

Did you enjoy my chats with Billy the Kid? Well, the author behind Billy’s genius, Briana Vedsted, has a delightful tale to tell with A Girl Named Cord, which is on sale this weekend for .99. If you haven’t had a chance, pick up your copy.

Anne Rice’s assistant, Becket, has likened a Ms. Sarah M Cradit to Anne herself. I couldn’t agree more. Read more about Sarah’s second book in the Crimson and Clover Serise, The Storm and the Darkness on the Girls Heart Books Tour.

Sarah also has a new novelette, Beyond Dusk: Anne. A hasn’t had a chance to read it (surprise, surprise), however there is every indication that it will be as powerful as Sarah’s other works. Can A and I just say (yes, we do agree at times), Sarah’s works are on our list of most-anticipated. We wouldn’t mention her here if we didn’t want to read.

Another author with a flair for the Southern Gothic is… Jessica Bell. Helena Hann-Basquiat, you have created–I mean found an incredible treasure-trove in Jessica. Read the latest installment in the Bayou Bonhomme Serial.


Looking for a prompt? Check out Dean’z Wordz at the Community Storyboard. The 30-Day challenge may have ended (Pity A didn’t have the chops to do all 30 days. Watch it, Druid. I control the passwords for the blog. Right. Sorry. Ish.). This week is the cheeky meerkat.

The Community Storyboard also has a new Twitter account. That’s truly splendid.

A: Whatever happened to Twitter being “pointless ridiculousness

D: I said your twittering tweets were pointless and ridiculous. Calling the entire Twitterverse pointless and ridiculous is a bit like throwing the baby out with the bathwater, don’t you think?

A: Who does that? Who would throw a baby out with the bathwater? Who throws out bathwater, anyway? And who is this baby? Why haven’t social services been called? What—

D: A.

A: Sorry.

D: Finally, the hard-not-to-adore Rarasaur joined forces with the Community Storyboard to bring you a wonderful series of poems. They are all wonderful, but A has a soft spot for the first, “To the Guardian of My Muses.”

Dread things

The Query Letter. A tells me it’s a hideous thing, worthy of sleepless nights, mania, fits, and all sorts of other things that would have piqued the interest of ancient demonologists interested in one for all the wrong reasons.

Luckily, Ionia at Readful Things says A is wrong.

Well, maybe not. But at the very least, she breaks the query letter down into manageable increments for those who are like A. Oh. That’s all of you? Well, then what are you waiting for? Read Ionia’s post!

Good luck

Helen Midgley, contributing author at the Community Storyboard has entered herself into some contests. Helen writes with a keen eye, feel, ear, and touch (and maybe even smell) for atmosphere. A and I know she’ll have a better chance than she thinks! Good luck, Helen.

Good luck . . . and good night!

A note from A: I love you all. I am desperately behind in my reading of blogs and interacting. I’m not sorry. See first statement: I love you all.

I set a goal to complete Book 1 in the Dubh Súile Series by this weekend, the symbolic end of summer. I’m doing my d*mndest to make that happen. Expect a rousing post on Tuesday. Or a ridiculously morose one. Either way, I’ll be back! For the Americans, have a great and safe Labor Day weekend. For everyone else, try to fit as much fun into 2 days as we Americans do in 3! 

The Druid tells the tale

no eyes2Who says A has to be here all the time?

(Um, D, it says so right in the title of the blog.)

(Go back to your writing, woman. You are woefully behind in your word count if you have any intention of completing 50k words by July 31.)

A has been remiss the last few days and has not allowed me the use of this forum to tell the tale, as befitting a Druid of my stature.

What stature is that, you ask?

(Don’t you dare, D. – that is seven years of boring right there. You trained for seven years in lore, genealogy and magic in order to become Arch-Druid of the Grove and you gave it up to be a bard at your lady-love’s hearth).

Well, someone is bitter. Regardless, I feel the need to tell the tale and since she is busy, I get to do it without interference.

I’d tell you to gather round, but what I really wish you to do is visit. Please, visit Pamela of the Year ‘Round Thanksgiving Project and if you have any interest in the fashion world, support a young designer in New York City during New York Fashion Week.

I also want you to pay a call on Briana Vested – she is the Spotlight Blogger at the Legends of Windemere today, and another worthy individual I cannot name.

Furthermore, I beg you – cast your eyes upon this dog’s life. If you haven’t noticed, I have a soft spot for hounds, whether they be baying war dogs or simple pups with a tale to tell.

Finally, stop by the Community Storyboard and enjoy “Self-Portrait” as told by the Electric Purple Prompt winner, Busy Mind Thinking. I found it beautiful and inspiring.

With that, my tale is done. See, it’s not me that makes A long-winded.

Good night!

~ D