We love our readers SO MUCH we wanted to send out a special Valentine treat to you all in the form of this Gryphon Chronicles short story, entitled "When Dani Met Jake."
Now you can BE THERE for the first time Dani O'Dell ever encountered the wild, wondrous world of Jake "Reed". As Gryphon buffs know, from this moment forward, Dani's life (and Teddy's!) will never be the same. Hope you enjoy this peek into the carrot-head's rough rookery existence with her slightly-scary family and Jake's pre-magical days as a pickpocket. From the moment their paths cross, it's practically destiny!!!
Happy Valentine's Day from Eric & Gael ~ Enjoy!
When Dani Met Jake by E.G. Foley
In the frantic bustle of a cold, dark, workaday evening, hordes of fleeing adults poured out of factories and shops, offices and dockyards; they piled into double-decker omnibuses drawn by teams of heavy horses that went clip-clopping up and down the lamplit streets, trundling them on to Victoria Station. There, they thronged aboard steam-trains that chugged away from London, gathering speed, to be flung out far away in the snowy English countryside—only to repeat the whole mad ritual tomorrow.
Amidst all this busy back-and-forthing, nobody paid much mind to a small girl of seven in a rough woolen coat, her hands in fingerless gloves reddened with cold and hard work as she gripped the handles of the wheelbarrow she was pushing up the side of the street, leaving Covent Garden Market.
The wheelbarrow had started out full, but now it was empty—except for its passenger: the scruffy little brown dog standing proudly in its painted metal basin.
The wee Norwich terrier braced his forepaws on the front brim of the barrow, his snout pointing forward like he fancied himself the figurehead on the bow of a pirate ship. His stump tail wagged a friendly hello to everyone they passed. Some smiled but most ignored him and the little girl.
His name was Teddy, and his owner, Dani O’Dell, was among those making her way slowly homeward at the end of another long day.
She was wishing that it weren’t so dark out already.
It made the walk home to the rookery a bit scary, but there was nothing to be done for it. Come December, it was like midnight by five in the afternoon.
Her breath clouding around her in the chill, Dani paused to wipe her runny nose on the back of her sleeve.
Then she grasped the handles again and trudged on, her satchel with a book in it over one shoulder, Teddy’s leash looped around her wrist.
Whew, she’d been on the go since the city roosters crowed. First chores, taking care of her family, then school, then work hawking oranges.
She’d yelled her singsong about the stupid fruits until she was hoarse: “Orrrranges! Who’ll buy my oranges? Winter special, aaaall the way from sunny Spain!”
The rare tropical fruits were a great delicacy at this time of year, and people would buy them for Christmas.
Unfortunately, all her efforts had paid off with a sore throat. Probably catch me death, I will. Ah, well. At least she had Teddy. Her little friend made her lowly life bearable.
Da had given him to her as a tiny pup after Ma died a year and a half ago, and Dani had failed to cheer up after a few months.
Teddy always made her laugh.
“Why don’t you push me for once?” she asked the dog pertly.
The terrier glanced back at her, panting and wearing a big doggy smile. Then he looked forward again, alert to every sound and motion.
Dani was glad he was with her as she approached the entrance to the rookery. It was a dicey place, her neighborhood.
Not that any of the people there would dare to bother her.
Nobody who’d ever heard of her five elder brothers would risk such a thing.
No, Dani’s loathing of the place stemmed from something deeper. Colder. More vague. A trapped sort of terror that she would never get out of this place.
The wintry darkness seemed to thicken as she approached the opening to the street where she lived. They didn’t bother putting streetlamps in this part of London. The locals would’ve only snuffed them out at once to hide their activities. The bobbies generally stayed away.
Dani paused across the street from her intersection and let out a sigh...
(Click "Read More" below for the rest of the story.)
Bright New Beginnings
New Year, New Decade, New Stories To Tell...
January is all about new beginnings, so it seems like the perfect time to share a little about the very first step in our creative process when it's time to begin a new book!
Ideas are a dime a dozen; it's what you do with them that counts, and that means lots of brainstorming. Now, the best brainstorming method for fiction that we've ever come across is called (aptly enough for this time of year!) the Snowflake Method.
It was devised by author Randy Ingermanson, an actual ex-rocket scientist! (so yeah, he's pretty smart, lol). He called it the Snowflake Method because it's based on fractals.
A fractal is defined as: "a curve or geometric figure, each part of which has the same statistical character as the whole. Fractals are useful in modeling structures (such as eroded coastlines or snowflakes) in which similar patterns recur at progressively smaller scales, and in describing partly random or chaotic phenomena such as crystal growth, fluid turbulence, and galaxy formation." (Thank you, Google.)
Fractals abound in Nature. Some think of them as God's fingerprints on Creation. :) I figure, if anyone knows how to go about creating good things, it's probably Him! Anyway, when something is a fractal (like the curl of a conch shell, or the leaf of a plant, or a snowflake!) it means that whether you're looking at something on the tiniest scale or the hugest scale (like the spiral of a galaxy), the pattern of the shape is the same.
You wouldn't think you could apply a mathematical concept like this to an art like fiction writing, but you can! Doing so allows you to create a story that is a harmonious whole, without odd bits or random chunks of plot being tacked on that don't really belong.
As complicated as it might sound, though, it's actually very simple. The way Ingermanson suggests we apply this to writing is simply to start any small fragment of an idea you have for a story.
Just one short sentence of about 15 words or less will become the seed for an entire novel. Depending on how you word it, or what the emphasis is within that sentence, it can alter the whole shape of the eventual novel.
This is the tiniest level of the book, so it's important to get it right. From there, the next step, the second design level up, is to spend time brainstorming "3 disasters and an ending."
The disasters eventually become the pivotal moments or plot twists at the end of each act (say, about every 100 pages or so), and then the climax at nearly the end of the book. Voila!
The Snowflake Method is a great way to structure your brainstorming time so that it's efficient rather than wandering all over the place. We love it, and we're so glad Randy Ingermanson thought of it!
If you enjoy writing and want to learn more, investigate the Snowflake Method here.
Until next month, guys ~ and Happy New Year! :)
A Gift for You! Especially for those who love "A Christmas Carol" and savor the joys and traditions of a Victorian Christmas. From now until this coming Monday (12/16), we are giving away the eBook version of JAKE & THE GINGERBREAD WARS over at Amazon. This is our mid-length novel connected to The Gryphon Chronicles series, but written as a stand-alone. It can easily be enjoyed without having read the rest of the series. Help yourself to a FREE eBook copy from us. You are more than welcome to share this announcement with family and friends who you think might be interested. This book will make you feel like a kid again. :)
A very special thank you to all of our wonderful readers for your patience and support on this long journey. We are so happy to share these adventures with you. We love each and every one of you and appreciate you so much!
Here's a little Gryphon Chronicles-themed fun to help celebrate our new release. Find out whether you're destined to be a Guardian, Empath, Witch/Wizard, or Medium. Enjoy!
Ta-daaa!!! Below is a sneak peek of THE BLACK FORTRESS. Oh, are we excited for you to sink your teeth into this book. It's been a long time in the making and now we are only a few short weeks away from the BIG release on November 1st!!!
We wanted to let you know that all 3 editions will be available at Amazon on release day: eBook, paperback, and hardcover. In-fact, if you like, you can CLICK HERE to pre-order the eBook and it will automatically be delivered to your kindle on the 1st. And for you audiophiles, we are expecting the audiobook to be ready early next year.
Anyway, we hope you enjoy this 2 chapter sample. Just a short sneak peek as we gear up for the big day. Happy reading!