The Magic of Xanth

X is for Xanth

X is for Xanth

The Xanth books (The Magic of Xanth series) hold a special place in my heart for a number of reasons – among them, that the world was my first foray into grown-up fantasy.

I say it that way because I was seven years old and had read through apparently everything of interest in the young adult fantasy section at my library at the time, and had thus wandered off into the adult fantasy section. The Xanth books often tend towards brightly colourful covers, and one caught my attention quickly. I took it back to my mother, told her where I’d found it, and after a bit of deliberation, it was approved to be taken home.

I would say I never looked back, from that first jaunt into the adult fantasy section, but that would be a lie – I often read YA fantasy even now. It is certainly true that Xanth only deepened my love for fantasy, however, and did so in the form of a book that introduced me to a world with so many more books and stories to discover. It was probably one of the best things from the adult fantasy section that my wee self could have chosen that day, years and years ago.
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P is for Pierce, Tamora

PI picked up my first Tamora Pierce novel when I was 12 years old, solely because of her last name. An author named “Pierce” who wrote fantasy? Yes, please!

The first quartet of hers I read was the Circle of Magic, which was coming out while I was 12-13 and thus of a perfect age to read it. However, it was when I was 15 that I discovered Tortall. This fantasy world of hers captured my imagination like no other, with its magic and romance and amazingly kickass heroines. I had liked the Circle series, but I loved Tortall.

I’ve not read many of Pierce’s newer books set in Tortall, but her first three series there will always hold a special place in my heart.

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J.R.R. Tolkien – A Bit of Gratitude

J is for J.R.R. Tolkien...

J is for J.R.R. Tolkien…

Dear Mr. Tolkien,

I bet, when you first wrote down whatever words it was that would turn into what we know today as Middle-earth, that you didn’t know you were changing the world.

Not just fiction, but the world.

There’s been a lot of controversy over your stories, especially with the movies they’ve made. For a long time, no one thought movies of Middle-earth were possible.

The stories and world where too big, the ubiquitous they said. There’s no way it can be edited down to the length of a movie and still make sense, and there’s no way we can film those settings.

Then they realized that if the story was good enough, if it stayed true enough to the original material, the length of the film wasn’t the problem. And so movies they became.

There was controversy – there’s still controversy. But I, personally, am grateful.

The adaptations aren’t perfect, but they never are.

But if it hadn’t been for the hype about the movies, I don’t know if I ever would have gotten around to reading The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, or even The Silmarillion.

And if I hadn’t read those stories, I would have never become who I am today.

Because you see, when I read those stories, I realized that there might actually be people who wanted to read the types of stories I made up in my head.

If I hadn’t read your books, Mr. Tolkien, I never would have hunted down a website called the Lord of the Rings Fanatics Plaza, where I found the courage to share stories for the first time, and learned to receive my first constructive criticism.

If I hadn’t joined The Plaza, I don’t know when or where I would have learned about National Novel Writing Month.

And if I hadn’t found NaNoWriMo… I never would have met the other Ferrets.

And that would have been a terrible, terrible tragedy.

So, dear Mr. Tolkien, thank you.

Thank you for creating Middle-earth. Because by creating Middle-earth, you gave me a place where I could not only escape some of the darkest times of my life, but you also brightened my life and actually made it more bearable.

Just with a story.

I can’t wait to stroll through Heaven with you one day, and talk about stories.

Sincerely, and with deepest gratitude,
Rebekah
By Berluchonabj (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

By Berluchonabj (Own work) CC-BY-SA-3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Patrick Rothfuss Quotes on World Building

If you’re a fantasy fan, or simply appreciate a well-crafted story, you should know the name Patrick Rothfuss.

Nice man. Great beard.

Ferrets in an elevator with Patrick Rothfuss

The Ferrets and I had the good fortune to meet him in person at the OWFI conference this year.

I followed my personal writing credo: Ask interesting people crazy questions. You never know what will happen.

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Final Ferret: Serena!

Perching Serena

I like to perch on anything climbable.

Name: Serena Saint-Marceaux

Meyers-Briggs: INTP

Favourite Beverage: Hot tea (. . .don’t make me pick one, please?)

Favourite Genres to Read: Fantasy, Paranormal, Serious/Dark Humour, Romance

Favourite Place to Read: . . .anywhere? In a tucked-away corner somewhere outside (at a height, if possible), or curled up warm on my couch.

Things to do when you’re not writing: I read a lot, unsurprisingly. I enjoy cooking, particularly baking, often experimenting/reworking recipes. I’m a musician as well as a dancer – mostly I play percussion. I knit (not as often as I’d like) and make bead-and-wire jewellery.

Favourite Genres to Write: Fantasy (in a number of forms), Supernatural, Science fiction, Steampunk, Romance. . . Honestly I jump genres a lot – and somehow an element of romance seems to find its way into (almost) everything eventually.

Writing Tool You Couldn’t Live Without: Honestly, I can’t imagine anything stopping me writing, but . . . er, my laptop? Carmellon is my darling, and I write much more easily typing on him. (Yes, he is named in Sindarin.)

Random Ferret Question:
Jess asked: If you were an assassin, what would be your five favourite methods to kill targets, and one method you would never utilise?

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A Wild Ferret Appears! Michelle

Ferret Michelle claps gleefully upon realizing she will get to smash coins on a train track.

This is pretty much me in a nutshell.

Name: Michelle

Myers-Briggs: ISFJ (Guardian/Protector)

Favorite beverage: Tea, wine, or beer. Tied with Eris as the alcoholic of the group.

Favorite genres to read: Romance, fantasy, and science fiction.

Favorite place to read: Curled up on the couch under a fleece blanket with a mug of tea and my cat.

Things you do when you’re not writing: Working out (especially yoga), reading (obviously), baking or cooking, watching movies, reviewing both books and movies, playing video games, cursing CSS and/or PHP.

Favorite genres to write: Fantasy.

Writing tool you can’t live without: My giant HP laptop decorated with Doctor Who stickers. This baby is also big enough to handle all my development needs. I call her Vera.

Random question:

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