EKCoP Assembly, and My First Performance

On Saturday, I did a thing. For me, it was one of the bravest I’ve ever done.

As I’ve mentioned previously, I joined the SCA in the fall, and became interested in Bardic recitation and performance. I did a very short story on Novice Day in front of a giant crowd of…three?..Four?.. It might have well been a hundred, for I was terrified. But I did it and I was hooked.

Saturday was an event for bards called the East Kingdom College of Performers Assembly and University. I not only taught a class on story structure (which I’ve done before at libraries so I wasn’t that worried) but I got up on stage and did two separate performances. Both were original pieces. I’ll post them below.

This is the first one that I did. I swear that I was trembling inside, and hoped that I wasn’t trembling on the outside too.  

This was the second one that I did. I felt a little more comfortable, but still nervous.

 

So why is this such a big deal for me? After all, I teach. I get up in front of kids all the time and talk away. I’ve even taught adults.

When I was a kid, I was impossible to understand. My voice was so garbled that no one knew what I was saying until aged 4 or 5. I had years and years of speech therapy and orthodontics (head gear, lip bumper, retainer, braces, the whole thing), to fix my crooked, chaotic mouth. Even then, my voice was still whiny and the target of many a bully.  (I still get mocked for my voice by students. It’s a very sore spot for me). Add in that I once literally froze while giving an oral report in college, and I have all sorts of anxiety problems.

This was a big freaking deal, and I’ve proven to myself that I’m not the unintelligible child that I was. I killed that monster that’s been hounding me as long as I can remember. Yes, my voice is still weird, but it was much, much worse.

I’m looking forward to more of this. I have many stories in my head that need to come out.

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The Fox and The Grapes

Okay everyone. Here’s another fractured fable for you. I bet that you know the original…This one’s a little different 😉 Like the others, they’re slated for a companion book to the Watchmage Chronicles (Book 1: The Watchmage of Old New York, is only 99 cents. Get hooked on the series now, so you can snark about how you discovered it first)

Once, but not so long ago, there was a great vineyard surrounded by great hills and cliffs. All animals loved the grapes for they were sweet and tasty, each flavor slightly different, a paradise for those that partook.

All the animals were happy, except for the foxes. The foxes had heard that somewhere in the vineyard were the legendary Alabaster Grapes, a plant that produced the perfect flavor. For the foxes, only this perfection would do.

Two fox brothers searched the vineyard for the Alabaster Grapes. They sampled from every plant they could find–some plump and purple, other a green approaching the alabaster they were searching for. Though they were all delicious, they were not the grapes that the foxes were looking for.

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While the second fox became despondent, but decided to settle on the bunch of grapes that he liked best, the first fox became filled with anger.

“How can you settle!?” Demanded the first fox. “Nothing else will do. Only the Alabaster Grapes are worthy.”

“The Alabaster Grapes are just a legend, my brother,” said the second fox. “We must make do with what we have, for there is no perfection, but things that approach it.”

“No! I hate all these grapes. I will never back down, and these grapes are standing in my way. They are now my enemy.”

“But they’re delicious.”

The first fox was so enraged by his brother’s wisdom and pragmatism that he decided to teach him a lesson. The fox grabbed a branch from Mankind’s famed Red Flower, the one that brought light and heat.

The fox set his brother’s grapes aflame with the Red Flower. “This will teach you for settling. You deserve this!” And his brother’s weeping enraged the first fox even more. He set every plant in the vineyard on fire, watching with glee as they burned.

But the Red Flower is insidious and burns all its path. The flames spread red across the land. All the animals except those living high in the hills were burned to death or fled far from the vineyard. Even the second fox died in the flames, and the first fox felt no guilt for his brother’s gruesome death.

From high on a hill facing outside of his burrow, the first fox watched the carnage. “Those grapes were sour anyway,” he said. He curled up in his burrow, satisfied with all that he had done.

Now, years later, the vineyard began to recover, and delicious, plump grapes reached harvesting time. And the fox began his quest for the Alabaster Grapes again. And the Red Flower was already between his jaws…

The moral: Just because something isn’t perfect, doesn’t mean you should destroy it. You never know the consequences.

Like this story? Than you’ll love my historical fantasy series, The Watchmage Chronicles. The first book is only 99 cents and free with Kindle Unlimited.

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The Frog and the Hen: Another Fractured Fable

Once again, I am adding another fable to my collection. I will probably add this one to an anthology I’m working on about stories, fables, and fairytales from the Watchmage Chronicles’ world. Now that The Watchmage of Old New York and Cold Iron are both out, I can work on both these and the third book, The Fiddler’s Bow.

Oh, and if you’d like to jump in on The Watchmage Chronicles, the first book, The Watchmage of Old New York, is only 99 cents. Both books are free if you have Kindle Unlimited.

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Once upon a time, though it happens every day, there lived a frog named Bud. He lived in a swampy pond, not far from a chicken coop. He slept all day and spent all night drinking fly-flavored beer (Coors Flight: “the Buzzy Bullet”) and croaking as loud as he could with his frog buddies, Err and Weis. The croaking was so loud that it kept the chickens awake, and sometimes Weis would play his banjo, making the party even louder.

One day, Henrietta the Hen made a racket, clucking away as loud as she could. Annoyed, (because how dare someone keep him awake) Bud hopped over to the chicken coop.

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Gary the Gingerbread Man

Once upon a time, there was a town full of live baked goods. There was Bill the Breadpudding, Terry the Tiramisu, Christine the Cookie, and far, far more. There was also Gary the Gingerbread Man, and he was one far different.

You see, Gary the Gingerbread Man never agreed with anyone. He wanted things his own way. If Bill the Breadpudding said water was wet, Gary the Gingerbread Man said it was dry. If Terry the Tiramisu said the sun was hot, Gary the Gingerbread Man said it was cold. And Gary the Gingerbread Man never changed his mind, even when he knew he was wrong.  Gary the Gingerbread Man knew that changing your mind is weakness. Gary the Gingerbread Man was inflexible and brittle, so he pretended to be hard.

Gary the Gingerbread Man decided that he was finished with such small-minded fools. They were all sheep, he thought. I know the Truth, though I am freshly baked. Admitting wrong is weakness.

Gary the Gingerbread Man ran away, into the deep woods away from the town. And when Bill the Breadpudding, Terry the Tiramisu, and Christine the Cookie went after him to bring him home, Gary the Gingerbread Man said “run, run, as fast as you can, I know the Truth, I’m the Gingerbread Man. And when Bill the Breadpudding went after him, Gary the Gingerbread Man said “run, run, as fast as you can, you’re just a sheep, I’m the Gingerbread Man.

And on and on he ran, refusing to see things any other way, for Gary the Gingerbread Man was inflexible and brittle, so he pretended to be hard.

And on and on he ran, until he was alone with his thoughts. But he was not alone with himself. Frankie the Fox found him until a Poplar tree. Frankie he Fox said “I like the way you think, Gary the Gingerbread Man. You are right, they are wrong. Everything they say is a lie, but you know the Truth.” And Gary the Gingerbread Man believed him, for what is a gingerbread man without frosting to sweeten him?

Gary the Gingerbread Man and all the foxes became friends. They said “I like the way you think, Gary the Gingerbread Man. You are right, they are wrong. Everything they say is a lie, but you know the Truth.” And Gary the Gingerbread Man believed them, because he believed himself.

Gary the Gingerbread Man told his fox friends about the town of baked goods. They pretended not to lick their lips and told him that they are wrong. They must be shown the Truth. Lead us to them, Gary the Gingerbread Man, and we will help you show them the Truth. And Gary the Gingerbread Man believed them, for what is a gingerbread man without frosting to sweeten him?

They all returned to the town of baked goods. When Gary the Gingerbread Man tried to tell him that he found others that knew the Truth, the foxes rushed forward and ate all the baked goods. They ate Bill the Breadpudding. They ate Terry the Tiramisu. They ate Christine the Cookie. They ate all of the villagers. And Gary the Gingerbread Man was happy, because they were sheep and deserved to be eaten by those that knew the Truth.

And then Gary the Gingerbread Man was alone. And then the foxes turned on Gary the Gingerbread Man. They said “thank you for the meal.” They circled Gary the Gingerbread Man. They said, “we are not finished. You must feed the Truth.”

The foxes ate Gary the Gingerbread Man. And as they bit off his legs and arms, Gary the Gingerbread Man was happy. He was feeding the Truth. He would die for the Truth. He was not inflexible and brittle, he was a hero.

Gary the Gingerbread Man didn’t care about Bill the Breadpudding. He only cared about himself. He never knew the Truth. He knew a Belief, and refused to listen to anything else.

Gary the Gingerbread Man died a fool, and everyone in the town of baked goods died because of him. Because Gary the Gingerbread Man was inflexible and brittle. And Gary the Gingerbread Man was wrong.

Gary the Gingerbread Man was always wrong.

Hey, did you like this story? Check out my historical fantasy, The Watchmage of Old New York. It’s only 99 cents for the holiday season, and available in paperback too! Books make great gifts, and ebooks are great (cyber) stocking stuffers.

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Wired

I went for an echocardiogram yesterday for my heart issues. They also hooked me up with an 24 hour take home ekg machine. I hate this thing, the wires keep snagging, and I can’t shower 😦

But there’s a bright side. I looked in the mirror this morning and saw all the wires and electrodes attached to me. The first thing I thought was “this looks awful.” The second thing:

This look would make a great story character.

Boom.

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BTW: In honor of summer and summertime reading, I have lowered the price of The Watchmage of Old New York to 99 cents. This is only until July first, so hop on the watchtrain (there is no actual watchtrain, but it’s still a purdy damn book. Awards and shit.

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Happy Friday. Get your wiggle on.

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