Showing posts from October, 2011

#Halloween Story for the Day: Seamhair Cake

The Seamhair Cake                 Autumn soon came and with it came all the gaieties of Seamhair. The Frewyn holiday commemorating and immortalizing the dead was celebrated by the kingdom through the usual avenues of brewing mulled apple cider, of guising and carousing about the town in quest of treats, of attending Church services if only to enjoy the feast of spiced bread and sugared apple dumplings, and of ornamenting the square and homes with all the supernumerary decorations that would require more exertion to take down than had been employed in putting them up. Though all of these traditions promised merriment for the day, the one that many enjoyed best was the baking and eating of the large spiced cake usually prepared and consumed on the morning of the holiday. By the time Seamhair morning had arrived in all its festive triumph, smoke billowed from chimneys and brought with it the dulcet scents of cinnamon and nutmeg, the powers of which casting a glow of happy ardor over the f…

#Halloween Story for the Day: A Perfect Welcome

The legend of Cillian and Gilean is famous in Frewyn, much like the Scarlet Pimpernel or Robin Hood is for us. Many people in Frewyn dress up as the outlaw and his lady for Seamhair, their All Hallow's Eve. Happy Halloween! 
A Perfect Welcome                  Teague bounded up the steps to his home with all the felicity his eager spirits could command. He was in an ecstasy to have seen the amber glow of candlelight through their bedroom window and was even more in raptures to see the shadows of Qwynlin and his siblings dancing along the far wall of the main room. He had a momentary scheme of climbing the lattice and surprising them by peering over the bedroom sill window and crawling into the main room without their notice, but his hearted governed him into prudence, and he was already ascending the steps before his designs had taken full form. He thought to knock, but he wished to have some sense of surprise while he could and decided to quietly unlock the door himself in the hopes…

Reading the Classics: Review of T.H. White's "The Ill-Made Knight"

I did a review of "Once and Future King" by T.H. White earlier in the week, but because the third book in the series, "The Ill-Made Knight", is my favourite one of the five, I felt a separate review was necessary.

We all know the story of Lancelot: King Arthur's most intimate friend, one of the greatest knights of the round table, handsome, skillful, clever, fell in love with Gwynevere, etc. Malory's Morte D'Arthur shows us the gallant and prepossessing side of the famous knight,. but T.H. White's depiction gives us a new and possibly more realistic view of what it may have been like to be Arthur's champion and friend.

Galahad Lancelot Dulac was born a hideous child. Learning to be ashamed of himself at an early age, he is determined to prove his worth to the world. Abused and alone, Lancelot is shown kindness from Arthur at an early age, and once he is asked if she should like to become a valiant knight of the Round Table one day, Lance, as Art…

#NaNoWriMo Challenge

NaNoWriMo, or National Novel Writing Month, is a writing challenge that asks writers to fashion 50,000 words in one month, preferably in one genre, and turn them into something that resemble a novel.

For those who don't know, the Haanta Series began as a NaNoWriMo dare, back in the days when I struggled to crank out 500 words a day. Well, over the past two years, 30 novels and 5 short story collections have been written for the series, averaging about 50,000 words written in one week. I love doing writing challenges with others because it gets people enthused with their own sense of creativity. Many are intimidated by the word count I produce and therefore think they won't win the challenge, but really NaNoWriMo is not about word count. It's about writing something when one would have otherwise written nothing at all.

Hence, I issue a public challenge to all my fellow writer friends: if you would like to go for the mega Haanta Series writing challenge and write 50,000 word…

Reading the Classics: Review of Jane Austen's "Mansfield Park"

When had I first read Mansfield Park a few years ago, I was unable to finish it. I felt it began well and had all the powers of intellectual stimulation that Jane's novels usually afford, but then the matter of the play always stifled my enjoyment. For those who have never read it, the characters contrive to put on a play called "Lovers' Vows", which is supposed to foreshadow all the romantic horror that happens in the third volume, and though the play has its purpose, I -for some unknown reason- disliked it so much that I either didn't finish the book, as happened the first time, or skipped over it entirely, as happened the second time. The third time I read the book, something in my little brain clicked and Mansfield Park became one of my favourite Jane Austen novels.

It tells the story of Fanny Price, a young woman who has the unfortunate business of being born in a large, poor, middle class family. She is adopted by the Bertrams, her family of cousins occupyi…

Story for the Day: A Legacy Left Pt.5

Morning came, and with it bore the general arousal of the islands. Hymns thrummed from the temple, the collective emerged from their homes, general pleasantries of the morning were paid with civil decorum, stations at workplaces and workbenches were claimed, and the island capital was roused with the bustle of morning animation once again. The small family of mice stirred from their burrow beneath the pelts and awakened just in time to receive their first meal of the day. One Sindhaas should be enough between them to furnish their stomachs for their daily exertion, and after they had ate and listened to the morning hymns, they were prepared to venture to the wheat fields to begin their task.                 Sifting and sorting in general was of little difficulty to those whose hands fidgeted and twitched all day long, but the assessment and constant reexamination of each grain was taxing to a mind that had been so much used to worrying about more pressing matters. The fatigue and suff…

Story for the Day: A Legacy Left Pt.4

Once the sniffles family were well settled with their newfound Mivaala, the matter of their residence had come into question. They were given comfortable room near the basking fires of the inner sanctuary and were given a choice of any of the zhaarazta skins they might like to furnish their home, but another suggestion was soon presented them that made them consider having a dwelling beyond the protection of the temple: a small daarani tree that uprooted during the last rains season had been recently replanted. It was in tolerable condition with only a few boughs missing to recommend the tumult it had undergone, but the trunk had been so cracked and thrashed about that it was on the point of being cloven entirely. With some machination and contrivance, it could be hollowed out and furnished into a suitable home for the new arrivals. The only question of concern was that the tree must be planted near the shore to gain its nourishment and so far a distance was the mill to the coast that…

Story for the Day: A Legacy Left Pt.3

Khantara and Leraa swiftly went to the shore, where Kai Linaa was engaged with feeding the small mice a few jhanbhel seeds from the nearby flowers. They had refreshed and cleaned themselves, making one another presentable for a most esteemed meeting, and though they were too timid to eat, especially the smallest one, they would d so if only to appease Kai Linaa's innocent kindness. Janir bowed low when the two giants returned and gave his due honourables to Leraa with a graceful Lucentian inclination, one hand behind his back and one foot behind the other. "Khodhanaas, Ghaandhari," Leraa said with a hearty smile. He pointed to the mice. "Did you bring the hastaa hastaa zaratsaa?" Janir assumed Leraa’s meaning and said, "I did," with a look at Khantara, who nodded to confirm his suspicions. Leraa fawned over the mice, his amber eyes twinkling with joy, and bowed to them in welcome. The mice, having ate their seeds as tolerably as they could, hopped to the e…

Story for the Day: A Legacy Left Pt.2

Presently, the ship left the Lucentia capital harbour, and as the winds were fair, the weather was kind and the seas were calm, the ship arrived at the trade port of Sanhedhran early the following morning. Janir gave his due documents to the Ghaandhari awaiting him at the docks to be assessed, ordered his crew to bring the consignment to the Haanta traders, said his hellos and gave his reports to Ghodhina, who was standing at the edge of the pier and preparing to make his requisite visit to Frewyn, and said his good mornings to Kai Linaa, who was walking with Khantara toward the shore for their daily lesson. "I have a letter from your brother," he said, handing a small envelope from his pocket to her. And then, taking a larger envelope from his outer hip pocket added smilingly, "And one from your father." Kai Linaa laughed and shook her head. "I only returned from Lucentia two days ago." "Ambesari who care for their Mivaari always have many things to sa…

Reading the Classics: Review of T.H. White's "Once and Future King"

Many are aware of this book without realizing it. If you know Disney's "The Sword in the Stone" then you know T.H. White's "Once and Future King", and while many are acquainted with the first book in this series, not many have read all five. The Sword in the Stone was re-edited and re-written when the books were collected the first time, The Book of Merlyn was only discovered among T.H. White's effects and published posthumously, and though many people would peg this as just another Arthurian retelling, it certainly stands out as the best in my mind. Every detail of the legends is recaptured, but what makes this retelling different is- at last- Arthur is depicted as the king who never wanted to rule, surrounded by knights who have personal issues, supported by a teacher who is tormented due to his knowing everything that must happen to Arthur and is powerless to shield him from all ill-will. 

I missed out on this book when I was younger and have only rec…

Story for the Day: A Legacy Left Pt.1

As I am finishing the last of the edits for Khantara, my mind wandered into this story. I am debating whether I should make it another novella. It's already about three chapters long and could very well become another five-part tale. Twisk is already making art for it, as seen below, but I think I'll leave the decision up to you. If you want this story and all its chapters to be a new novella, leave a comment or click the Tweet button below to share the story with others
A Legacy Left: Part 1 It was generally conceived that only those who were disposed to require a creed sought conversion on the islands. Many believed that animals, creatures who would follow their own sense of self-governance and counsel of bestial regulation,could never wish to be a part of a greater collective than the one to which they had already belonged, but when the rains season on the islands was at last over, a few passengers on a small trade frigate conveying spices from Lucentia to Sanhedhran had pr…

Story for the day: Singing

The moment that the sun arose, the regiments of the Frewyn armed forces roused from their bunks in the barracks and began preparations for their journeys home. Some would stay for the celebration planned for the grand hall, but those who had not seen their families since last Ailineighdaeth felt their attention owed to those they left in the west. They said their parting goodbyes, gave their salutes to their commanders, and had gone before the sun gained any power over the snow-threatening skies. The garrison and adjoining barracks were now tolerably empty: Connors and Nerri had left to prepare the patrol schedule for the Den Asaan’s perusal, Teague was conferring with Alasdair before the short session at court, Mureadh was giving instructions to the stablemaster at the capital gate to inform him of his family’s arrival, and as there was no training to be done for the eve of the holiday, the barracks were at liberty to welcome anyone seeking solitude and retreat from the bustle preval…

A Halloween Story from Frewyn: A Festive Return

Seamhair (Sheh-mir) is Frewyn Halloween. It's the day that Frewyn honours family and heroes passed. In honour of halloween at the end of the month, here is a moment from book 10 that describes the Frewyn holiday and some of its customs. 

A Festive Return                  Being in Gallei for the chief of the season meant that the royal party had missed the harvest festivities entirely. The children had enjoyed the apple picking, squash gathering, games and hay rides, but business in the west of the Southern Continent had kept all of the adults from joining their high revel. Their return, however, saw the beginning of Seamhair, the last day of autumn on the Frewyn calendar, celebrated with guising, feasting and merriment in honour of those who had come before and passed on, bringing with it usual accoutrements of sweets and chocolate and all the requisite tooth aches and sore stomach such a dulcet commemoration could merit. The party returned to the Frewyn capital to discover Diras in…