March Vlog

March Vlog

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Extra post today, but here is my March vlog! It is also part of the Very Awesome Vlog Challenge. And… YouTube picked a weird picture for my thumbnail, but I didn’t feel like finding a new one so… Enjoy. 😉

Oh, and random question. Are any of you going to the Best of the British Bible and Science Conference at the Creation Museum? I’ll be there with some friends in May and I’d love to know if you were there too!

As always, if you have any questions for me just comment below and I’ll answer them next month.

Beyond the Parchment: Part 7

Here we are. 🙂 Welcome to my serial story, Beyond the Parchment

So far we learned that a dysfunctional portal, invented by a weary writer, May Ann, actually begins to work, bringing characters to our world. And herself into their world.

Anyway, you can read the first parts of the story here. You could just read the short blurbs about them, of course, but you’ll probably miss some important details. The blurbs are there for those of you who have read the story and are trying to keep track of all the names, more than anything else. You’re welcome. *bows*

Part 1: It Just had to be Lord Jerinthreo Kraven Balstin the Second: in which a writer, May Ann, wakes up to find a portal she’d designed in her book has become operational and two brothers, Jerinthreo and Daraton have come through and engaged in a bitter fight.

Part 2: All brothers fight sometimes, right?: May Ann tries to keep the brothers from killing each other. Grabs Jerin and pulls him into a secret passage, only to discover she has Daraton instead (they are identical twins). Break out of the passage into May Ann’s kitchen only to discover Varizan, a villain May Ann created, waiting for them.

Part 3: My kitchen will never be the same: Another fight between Daraton and Varizan breaks out in May Ann’s kitchen and May Ann saves Daraton’s life by shoving them both through the portal (which so happens to be the fridge).

Part 4: I am never doing that again: May Ann and Daraton arrive in Braceaon, Daraton is wounded and Varizan’s soldiers have taken over Daraton’s former home. May Ann helps Daraton away and they find Ethred, a lady both Jerin and Daraton seem to respect, and her daughter, Adella, who happens to be Lord Daraton’s wife.

Part 5: Well, that complicates things:: May Ann confers with Ethred and Adella and discovers they are both wordsmiths, chosen from their generations to record what happens in other realms (with some creative license). With Daraton resting, May Ann finally tries to get some sleep. But her eyes have barely closed when she finds herself wide awake. And captive in her own world.

Part 6: Why can’t this just be a dream: May Ann is a Varizan’s prisoner in this world. She (and he) realize that she is now in both worlds, though only awake in one. Varizan cryptically questions her, wanting to use her power as a wordsmith, then knocks her out.

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Not my preferred mode of travel

My eyes fly open to glimpse Ethred and Adella bending over me. I groan and shove myself upright. “This is not how that portal was supposed to work.”

“Back, are you?” Ethred straightens and flashes a grin at Adella. “I told you she’d be fine. Besides,” she turns her attention to me. “You are the Wordsmith. Of course it would work differently on you.”

I groan, swinging my legs over the edge of the bed and pressing my hand to my forehead. “If by differently you mean being in two places at once and not being able to get a mental wink of sleep, while one body is unconscious and the other has to survive deadly dangers, then yes. I’d say it works differently.”

Adella crouches beside me, her brow furrowing she places two fingers to my neck and feels my wrist. “You’re sure you are fine? You were… you looked dead, almost.”

I force a smile. “Self-diagnosed as not dead.” I shake my hair out of my face and scan the room. What had Varizan said? Ask Ethred about the power of Wordsmiths? And Daraton… Black Shadows? A bit redundant but still, somewhat cool.

“Does Varizan know?” Ethred crosses her arms, standing before me as Adella slips back to where Daraton still sleeps. “About this shifting between realms deal?”

I blink. “Why do you think I woke up so quickly?”

“Fair point. He must be jealous.”

I press my hand to my forehead. Sleep. I need sleep. Except that only means Varizan again… “Daraton? How is he?”

“He hasn’t woken,” Adella replies. “Salendrian poison…” She shakes her head and presses her hand against his forehead. “Varizan knows of the cure. If he were here…” Her jaw tightens and her eyes flash as she lifts her gaze to mine. “Can you get that portal working again?”

“I wish.” I bite my lip. I shoved myself to my feet and turn on Ethred. “The power of the wordsmiths, what do you know of it?”

Her brow furrows. “We record, I already told you that. At least, we do our best to record. We don’t have any–”

“That isn’t what Varizan claims.” I advance a step. “There is something he wants. I’m still figuring him out, but he seems confident I can provide it. I’m assuming it is something a wordsmith in one’s own world can’t offer, else he’d have come to you instead of bothering with a portal.” My voice gains confidence. “Words cannot bring back the dead, but they have power. And I suspect you know a bit more about it than I do.”

For the first time, Ethred glances away. Her lips press in a tight line.

Well… that is an answer of some kind, anyway.

“What about the Black Shadows?” I press my advantage.

Both heads snap toward me.

“Black Shadows?” Adella rises to her feet. “Where did you hear that name?”

I roll my eyes. “Varizsan, of course. I didn’t make it up if that is what you are wondering. Well?”

“They were… raiders.” Ethred speaks slowly. “No allegiance. No nationality, though many of them hailed from Salendria. Lord Balstin fought them during the wars. Routed them. Never a single defeat, or so we heard.”

“And Varizan…?” A raider, perhaps? But no, he’d been a villager. A farmer. He had a family; one that died, by his own admission. Black Shadows. Bandit wars. Lord Balstin the Undefeated… pieces shift, twisting into various shapes and possibilities. I shove them all to the side. “Does Varizan have a captain or second in command of some sort nearby?”

Ethred narrows her eyes. “Why?”

I stare back. “I need information on this ambassador if we are to figure out how to stop him. And maybe he’ll know about a cure for Daraton.”

Ethred is already shaking her head. “And you think Thrayton will help you why, exactly?”

I pace to the end of the room and stare out into the night. Night… how can it still be dark? “Depends. Does he care for Varizan or fear him?”

“My dear, there is nothing on this earth Thrayton fears.”

“Well then,” I spin, planting my hands behind me on the windowsill. “How about a deal? Varizan is trapped in a cruel hard world and if Thrayton ever wants to see his…” I searched for a word. Master? Friend? “If he ever wants to see him again, he’s going to help us.”

Adella’s eyes gleam. “Nice. He might even believe you.”

Ethred still frowns. “And… you can reopen the portal?”

I scowl at her her. “Not yet. But I will figure it out.”

“Hmmm. I’m not–”

“I’m going with you.” Adella strides across the room and slings her quiver over her shoulders. “We’ll improvise if something goes wrong.”

I raise my eyebrows. “You mean if it turns out he doesn’t want Varizan back and we twist the story so that Daraton is the only one to can stop him and we need help.”

Adella doesn’t blink. “Something like that. Yes.”

“Adella!” Ethred steps forward, her eyes slipping between us.

“Mother?”

Ethred hesitates, then her knuckles whiten over the back of a chair. “Be careful. And don’t you dare get captured, because I can’t tend to your husband and rescue you at the same time. Understand?”

Adella inclines her head. “I’ll be careful. We should be back by dawn. Unless,” she looks at me, her brow furrowing. “Unless she goes to sleep again.”

I roll my eyes. “I’m not just going to fall asleep.” Does Varizan have a way to wake me up, though? If he does…? Hmm, not sure what would happen. Could be interesting. I’d rather not find out.

I follow Adella from the cottage, back into the cool night. My fingers close about the dagger I’d saved from Daraton’s wound. Maybe Thrayton will recognize it. Whatever the case, I have a weapon of my own now, never mind the fact all my knowledge of how to use one came from a book. It is a knife. How hard can it be? I grimace.

Adella’s steps are firm, quick, retracing my own steps from earlier that evening. I grip her arm, pulling back as lights glint from a manor house. “Where are we going?”

She raises her eyebrows. “Did you think Thrayton was holed up in some cave or camp? All the ambassador’s men lodged in the manor. Thrayton will be running the place by now, or at least keeping some semblance of order.”

Thrayton… I shift through my memory as I fall in pace a step behind Adella. Nothing. I have nothing. Varizan really isn’t as well developed as I thought. Some skills–well, more than some. And… that’s about it. It’s not my fault! I wasn’t done with him yet, or with any of the others for that matter. I scowl.

My steps whisper against the grass and my fingers tighten around my dagger. The manor looms before us, dark. Deserted. One man rests on the top step, his arms crossed over one raised knee, his head leaning against the doorframe. Wonderful. A guard. Of course…

Shouts and the tramp of feet drift from the barracks and stables, but here all is surrounded in a pool of silence. Torches lift the night into a gloaming. The man shifts slowly as we approach, not even turning his gaze on us until we are mere paces away. His eyes flit over us and he scowls as he pushes himself to his feet.

“None of the lords are here, nor the ambassador either. I’d suggest you hurry back to the village. The night isn’t safe for such as you, even if you do carry a bow.”

I start. That voice… I’ve heard it before. Daraton and I… the stables. What had he said? Everyone vanishing isn’t natural, even for him. He’ll have got himself in deeper than he meant to this time…

“Thrayton?”

“Obviously.” He crosses his arms as we don’t move. Light and shadows rove back and forth over his face.

Adella glances at me. I glance back at her.

She scowls, then advances a step. “We actually came to speak with you. And unless you are declaring open war on your hosts here at Braceaon, then I call upon your honor to help us.”

“Honor?” He springs forward a step. “Varizan has vanished. With a dozen of his men! On this land. I will do as I please until we get him back. If you have information about his location, then speak. Otherwise,” he flung out a hand, then turned away. “Just leave. I’ve other matters to deal with.”

Adella presses her lips tight, but I hold her back and advance a step. “I’ve seen Varizan.”

“Indeed.” Thrayton snorts then pauses as he glances at me, taking in my clothing. His eyes rest at my belt, freeze, then snap back to my face. “Let me have that!”

“This?” I draw the dagger. “It’s why we are here, actually. We need–”

“Let. Me. Have. That.” Thrayton strides forward and holds out his hand. “How did you come by this?”

I relinquish the weapon with a scowl. “Hurling a knife at someone is not how someone generally tries to keep their daggers safe.”

Thrayton grunts, holding the dagger up to the light. “Someone was wounded.” It is a statement, not a question. His eyes jerk back to me. He sighs. “Varizan poisoned his blades again, didn’t he?”

“And now Lord Daraton is dying,” Adella says. “We need the cure. And we need it quickly.”

A shadow crosses Thrayton’s face. “That is not something you will get unless you speak with Varizan himself.” He watches me closely. “Ah, so you do know where he is then?”

I blink. How had he just…?

“Where is he?”

“There is a portal, or was a portal…” I glance toward the stables. “He’s trapped on the other side.”

“Enjoying himself immensely, I’m sure.” Thrayton scowls. “How do we get over?”

“We don’t,” I say. “Lord Jerinr… Jerin…”

“Jerinthreo,” Adella supplies.

“Right. Anyway, he opened it. I’ll need to speak to him to figure out how to reopen it.”

“And where is he?”

“With Varizan.”

Thrayton throws his arms into the air. “And what use is all this news to me? You know where he is, but you can’t even speak to him or–”

“I can speak to him,” I interrupt.

Trayton pauses.

I shrug and glance at Adella apologetically. “I just need to go to sleep.”

Her jaw tightens, but she nods and pulls several flowers from her pocket. “I suspected as much. These will send you away quick enough.”

Well, then… I take the pale blossoms and sniff at them, then grasp Adella’s shoulders as the ground suddenly spins.

“Not here!” I hear her voice faintly. “What… don’t you know how…? Thrayton, help me, would you?”

Strong arms slip around my knees as they buckle, and another arm catches my shoulders. Blackness, flecked with petals, washes around me…

And I blink away back in my closet. The door is ajar and shouts echo through the house. More drift in faintly from what must be outside.

“Jerin…” my words slur, then jerk to a stop. The ropes are cut. The closet is empty.

The door opens and I lurch upright as a shadow moves between me and the light. Varizan smiles. “How nice to join us again. I hoped you would. And I’m afraid I need your help.” He taps the daggers at his belt. “You see, I’m very worried that Jerinthreo has just succeeded in rescuing himself.”

February Highlights: A Launch Team and the Marines

My Life

One thing I enjoy about being the oldest of nine children is watching my siblings grow up. I watched a brother and sister go to college and get jobs. One of my little brothers is starting to write and has eight books planned. He is thirteen. Another brother is reading everything I give him. I am quite happy to oblige.

One thing I didn’t expect to be doing for some years yet was watching a brother join the military. Yet it has happened. My oldest ‘little’ brother, Josiah, signed up for the Marines last week. He’s not officially in quite yet…he has to get a waiver for his feet (something we are hoping he’ll get this next week). If he gets the waiver (and it is likely he will) he will head off to boot camp in June. If not, he’ll be leaving next year.

marine

It is a bit startling to suddenly realize that one’s siblings are as old as the young men leading armies and rescuing nations in my own stories. And that they are leaving on their own. Though Josiah is the first, I’ve feeling he won’t be the last of my brothers to join up as the years pass.

Writing

WIPs:

  • Scarlet Rose – correcting/rewriting: 16,068 words/part 1 finished
  • Fidelyon: Outline finished. 16,111 words/5 1/2 chapters rewritten
  • Mercy of Fate: Written; awaiting corrections
  • Shadows of the Hersweald: Finished
  • Song of the Sword: Edited (finishing today)
  • Rose of the Night: Second round of corrections finished
  • Rose of the Oath: Working on second round of corrections

Google Searches:

  • How did they make rope in medieval times?
  • How long do rebellions last? Why do I expect there to be an answer for this?
  • The Russian Revolution Which lasted only a few months. Well, a few days, then most of year, then there was another revolution. Great for some ideas I needed…
  • Counter-Revolutions
  • Causes of a permanent limp hint: you don’t have to break your leg to get a limp
  • How far is it from South Bend to Chicago?
  • Drugs to fake death Ok, it’s just in scifi? Well, good thing I’m writing fiction
  • What does a dead body look like after being in water? You probably don’t want to know
  • How long does it take someone to die from a stab wound to the chest? Yes, Google, I know that is an extremely specific search. No, I didn’t murder anyone. And you seem to have a surprising amount of answers for the question…

Other Writing:

Me

 

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True, this

 

Finally, you can join my launch team for Shadows of the Hersweald. Check it out here, because it’s going to be fun and I’m looking forward to working with you and besides, quite frankly, launching a book is not something one can do on their own.

What have you been up to recently? How many writing projects do you work on at a time? Has spring appeared yet? Feel free to chat below or ask me questions. 🙂

 

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Updates: Shadows of the Hersweald Launch Team

So, I announced that I was building a Launch Team for Shadows of the Hersweald last week. You can find out details about the novella in that post (oooh, look, I even have a link *smirks*). Today I have what I didn’t have then. Details. Always a nice thing to know – for you, I suppose, but also for me.

shadows-of-the-herswealdlaunch-team

I’ll contact everyone in my launch team during the first full week of March. I will be setting up a closed Facebook group too, and will contact you all either through there or through email (depending on how many people are actually on Facebook.)

For those of you who signed up for review copies of Shadows of the Hersweald, I’ll send out ebook copies of the novella that first week as well.

The next week I’ll have one or two tasks involving a short story I wrote that happens before Shadows of the Hersweald and that will be free to everyone who signs up to my newsletter. I’ll also send out blog tour stuff for everyone has signed up for that.

The last week before the launch will involve sharing about the book as well as a countdown. Then, of course, there will be the first week of the launch itself where anyone interested (be they part of the launch team or not) can share about Shadows of the Hersweald, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera.

To be clear, however, you can pick and choose what you would like to do. You aren’t obligated to do everything. Now, there will be a point system. Everyone who reaches 50 points will receive several bookmarks in the mail. Or a Shadows of the Hersweald bookmark and maybe a magnet or…never mind me. I just got an idea this morning and I need to look into seeing how it will work. Moving on, the person who gets the most points will receive a dagger and a leatherbound journal (there is a vague possibility this last prize will change, but I doubt it). I also have a second dagger. I’ll draw lots to see who gets that one. And… I don’t have pictures yet. But they are pretty cool. 😉

One final note… those who want to help but don’t have a blog and aren’t on social media. There are a few things you can do if you really want to help.

  • Sign up to read and review the novella on Amazon
  • Tell friends and penpals about the novella, along with information on where to get it (just mentioning my site, or that it can be found on Amazon)
  • Send Shadows of the Hersweald bookmarks to penpals; only ones who you think would be interested, of course. 😉

If you can do this, feel free to signup for the for the Launch Team.

And… that is pretty much it. *grins* You can sign up HERE if you are interested, and I will be seeing you all next week!

Oh, one last thing. What are your thoughts on a Facebook party? I’ve seen writers doing them, and I’ve taken part in some, but have never tried to host one myself. Is it something you would be interested in? Let me know in the comments below!

Vlog…

A Vlog…

So, this was supposed to part of the Very Awesome Vlog Challenge. Except I pretty much messed up the whole thing. Not only did I forget to answer the questions from December (I’ll get to them in a few weeks, I promise) I actually answered the last challenge’s questions instead of the February-April questions. No wonder they seemed slightly familiar. The answers might be different, though… In any case, I filmed it, so you guys get to watch it. 😉 I’ll film another one in about two weeks and answer all the right questions this time.

So, there you are. If you have any questions, comment below and I will go through all of them and try to answer everyone in the next vlog.

Caption Challenge: February #3

First the winners from the last challenge:

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Caption Challenge winner is: Rebecca

She laughed, a broken sound that was full of hidden sorrows. “And what would I tell them? They cannot know, cannot understand, what it means to gamble an entire kingdom-and lose. I will never reveal to them our betrayal, nor burden them with a legacy of shadows.”

Six-Word-Story: Corissa Maiden of Praise

“A child’s ears aren’t easily deceived.”

Congratulations, guys! And now for this week’s collage.

 

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All pictures from Pinterest

Anyone can enter this caption challenge; the only requirement is that you keep your entries clean.🙂 You’ve two entries (you can pick one, or two both). One entry is a caption, the other is a six-word-story (which needs to tell a story, not just be a six word caption). On Saturday I’ll pick a winning caption and I’ll post it next Monday along with the name of the winner and the next caption challenge!

 

I’m Building a Launch Team!

Hello, my fellow pilgrims! I’m doing something new today. I am building a launch team for Shadows of the Hersweald! It’s only a month and a half until the third novella of Legends of Light is released. Signups and details for the launch team are included below, but first… a few details about the novella itself in case you aren’t familiar with it.

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A battered soldier from a defeated army, Haydn knows the only end to the arrival of the Prince’s governor is chains, followed by punishment and possible execution. Except he hasn’t counted on the Prince himself. Or the pardon which his recent foe has declared to acquit all those who fought against him.

A pardon Haydn detests.

A pardon that refuses to punish the rebels now threatening his own village. And his sister.

Guilt-ridden from his own actions during the war, Haydn knows there are others who have no conscience at all. Others who are using the freedom of the pardon to forward their own desperate schemes.

With enemies closing in on all sides, a pardon that refuses punishment, and nightmares of murder and fire haunting his every thought, will Haydn recognize the truth or will his fear condemn everything he loves to destruction?

So… the launch team.

*grins* *rubs hands together*

I’m really excited about this. I’ve never had a launch team before, but I’ve been part of a few, so hopefully I’ve some idea of what I am doing.

shadows-of-the-herswealdlaunch-team

I have a form below where you can sign up to join me in launching Shadows of the Hersweald. You can get an advance reader copy for review. You can join the blog tour. You can take parts in various countdowns as well as share posts around the launch date. How much you do is up to you, but I’ll assign points for tasks, with a grand prize for the person with the most points and a drawing for a second prize among the others who have helped. I’m also considering having ‘goal’ prizes, such as having third drawing if I sell fifty ebooks the first week, a fourth drawing if I can sell one hundred ebooks, etc.

More details about prizes will be forthcoming. There are a few items I’m considering, such as a cool dagger, but I’m waiting to see it and make sure of the quality before I announce it. There might even be some physical swag, like cool bookmarks, for anyone who reaches a certain number of points.

Once you join the launch team, I’ll share information via an email list and a facebook group. If you want to be part of the blog tour or review a copy of Shadows of the Hersweald without all the rest of the launch team stuff, you do have that option as well.

And, without more ado, click here is the form to sign up!

Signups will end on March 3rd and I’ll see you all then. In the meantime, have a great day! 😀

January Highlights: Writing, Reading, and Outlining

I give up. I don’t know what normal weather here in the midwest is anymore. We had a few good snow falls earlier in the winter, but part way through this month all the snow melted. Which generally happens sometime each winter, except this year it kept getting warmer. We had a few days was it was in the 50s and 60s! I went out shopping with no coat! And we saw the sun. That was a nice treat.

A few days before the day it was sunny, my brother mentioned how the weather was supposed to be cloudy for the next week and a half. Mom made a comment about ‘no sun’ and I blinked. The sun? Right. I forgot about the sun… And then I wished they’d not mentioned it because I started missing it, despite the drama of mist and gray weather.

My Life

Home life is busy. My sister and I used to split a number of tasks, but now she is either at college or work six days out of seven so I have a little more to do. Though with a brother who helps make bread now, and Mom and I splitting laundry days, it isn’t too bad.

My own job of knitting hats is easing up. I’m only making ten a week now and generally go to the shop three days a week for an hour or hour and a half.

I’ve also started trying my hand at calligraphy (read: I got the markers out and doodled with them one night when I couldn’t think about writing anymore.) And I’m trying to find time for painting. Kind of. Watercolor is very fun, but it’s not high on my list of things to do; not with all the writing I’ve been doing.

Writing

Every month I seem to try and do more…

WIPs

 

  • Shadows of the Hersweald is going well. After working through beta reader corrections and some polishing of my own, it is now in the hands of an editor.
  • I outlined Scarlet Rose this month. First the book, then the trilogy and overall character arcs. When I decided to write a trilogy, I didn’t realize how more than one book complicated a story arc. But I am pleased with the results of my brainstorming. I’ve the main plot points of each book worked out and am working an hour a day on Scarlet Rose itself.
  • Fidelyon… *insane laugh* I have, umm, reoutlined this novel. I knew something was missing and finally realized the first half of the main character’s arc was missing and there was no definite midpoint to the story. So I’m plunging into another rewrite. Well, I say rewrite… some parts will stay the same, with just minor changes. Other parts, especially in the first few chapters and pretty much the whole last quarter, are up for a major overhaul. I’m excited about it, even if I do wish I could just GET THIS NOVEL DONE!

Other Writing

Writer’s Confessions

  • Sometimes I run a search on my own blog to find past articles
  • I schedule posts a month in advance but don’t add content until about a week before they are due to be posted. So if I ever die vanish into another world, you guys are going to get a bunch of blank posts… *smirks*
  • I can’t brainstorm on lined paper. I can outline with lines, but I need blank paper to let my ideas flow right
  • When I do use lined paper for notes, I write super small, fitting two lines in the space of one line. Still not sure why I do that…
  • I have been writing for years, but grammar remains a mystery and sometimes even spellcheck doesn’t recognize my words
  • I use the effort of brainstorming a project or the triumph of finishing an outline or manuscript as an excuse to go get onion rings at Culvers

Me

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Yep, you never really know. Same if I am humming under my breath. I might be happy, or I might be trying to keep frustration or stress contained…

Oh, one final bit of news. I was on Kingdom Pen‘s first Live Panel Writers Discussion last week, talking about writing for a full hour! I was supposed to be one of three writers, but due to technical difficulties, I was the only one who ended up getting on. So it was just the moderator and I. But it still went well and I think all involved had fun.

So, what about you? Have you seen the sun much this winter? Have you ever outlined a book series before? What is your favorite treat to reward yourself with during or after your writing?

Join the Legend Seekers for monthly newsletters, a free set of Song of the Sword wallpaper, and insider information on my life. Click here to sign up

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Caption Challenge: January #2

First the caption challenge winners…oh, wait. Last week was the month-long challenge, so we don’t have a winner this week. So I’ll guess I’ll just go ahead with the prompt.

fantasy

Picture from Pinterest

Anyone can enter this caption challenge; the only requirement is that you keep your entries clean.🙂 You’ve two entries (you can pick one, or two both). One entry is a caption, the other is a six-word-story.

IMPORTANT NOTE: Make sure your six-word-story tells a story, instead of just being a six-word caption. It needs to go with the picture, but it needs to stand alone as a story as well. Somewhere, they’ve turned into short captions, and I want to get them back to stories.

On Saturday I’ll pick a winning caption and I’ll post it next Monday along with the name of the winner and the next caption challenge!