After putting together this week's blog, I went to choir rehearsal, where our director gave us copies of a hot-off-international-email music, written by the UK's John Rutter, one of the world's best-known composer of religious music. (For example, he wrote music for most of the British royal weddings!) He has posted his latest composition, "A Ukrainian Prayer," to YouTube, along with his heart-felt comments. This Sunday, our choir of 15 voices, after one rehearsal, is going to attempt to perform what you will hear sung by 300 if you click on the link below. I highly recommend it - a truly moving moment.
To hear "A Ukrainian Prayer," click here.
I am happy to report that our small choir managed "A Ukrainian Prayer" amazingly well. And the congregation was seemed truly appreciative of the moment.
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After the Citrus Singers sang the National Anthem at an Orlando City soccer match, three of the girls got a hug from the mascot.
Riley was trying on prom gowns this week—that's a tan lining under there, not skin!—and Mom couldn't resist taking a photo. Since the dress was $600, there was no chance of it getting Riley banned at the door. (She has ordered a lovely, much more conservative gown for the occasion.)
The following is a photo from the Orlando Sentinel. And no, it's not photo-shopped. The Orlando area was known for growing celery long before Disney made us the resort capital of the world. The celery in the photo was grown in Oviedo, the town just east of Longwood, where I live (c. 15 miles north of Orlando).
PREQUEL - THE CRUCIBLE KINGDOM
Over the past two weeks I have discovered The Crucible Kingdom is longer than I thought it was, meaning its debut will be delayed until April. I also discovered that despite its length, I still had more to add. Sigh. It also occurred to me that since I was using very ancient concepts—sorcery and a curse—in a story set a thousand or so years in the future, it might be fun to write a Prequel in the style of storytellers of old.
But, Oh horrors!
Romance authors will instantly understand my exclamation. From our first days of writing, we are told: SHOW, DON'T TELL! A rule that's become so much a part of my writing that I must have revised the three pages of the Prequel ten times before it began to have the right feel (which is Tell, tell, tell!).
Grace note: I freely admit "Show, don't Tell" is a rule I occasionally ignore. Many of my books, from The Sometime Bride to The Crucible Kingdom, have paragraphs of Author Point of View ("Tell" mode). But the wise romance author is still advised to keep those passages to a minimum.
So here it is—the Prequel to The Crucible Kingdom. Your comments are invited.
Picture a starry night, a glowing campfire, a circle of listeners, and in a tradition as old as humanity, a storyteller keeping ancient history alive . . .
Once upon a time on a planet at the outermost edge of a quadrant in the Milky Way Galaxy, there lived a great but evil sorcerer called Yllyak. His skin was as blue as a summer sky, his eyes the blue-green of a shallow sea. Skinny as a sapling, he towered well over two meters tall. But even in his own time, Yllyak was shunned. Sorcery was all well and good, the Tryll people reasoned, a benefit to the tribe if performed in the proper way, but Yllyak had a dark side, noticeable almost from birth. And as he grew older and his tendencies toward black magic fully unfurled, the Tryll shook their heads. Fear seized their hearts.
And then one day, the intruders came. The threat of Yllyak was forgotten as a great clap of thunder rent the sky and a speck appeared, growing larger and larger until it became a shining object bigger than an entire village. Until it screamed above their heads like a giant bird of prey. Until it plunged into a meadow, grinding, sliding, coming to a halt just short of a dense forest.
And thus, Lord Viktor Jubilan, his wife, children, and a host of others from the star system Caroli escaped the Regulon Empire. And in their eagerness to create a new home for themselves, they took over the planet the Tryll had called their own. They claimed control of the land, the oceans, the lakes, rivers, and mineral wealth. The lives of the Tryll.
All this Yllyak watched. He brooded. Seethed. And began to scheme, to experiment, grimly fighting his way through failure after failure, seeking some way to stop the flood of pale-skinned invaders from far, far away. But as the years passed, all he managed was vengeance. His mind, already dark from practicing the black arts, became so twisted, he was oblivious to the fact that any spell he cast against the refugees from Caroli would affect his own people as well. Or perhaps, some would later suggest, he had lost so much of the better side of himself that he no longer cared.
On the night of the summer solstice in the six and twentieth year after the invasion, Yllyak sat cross-legged on the floor of his cave, ready to cast the final spell. His tools were in place—not easy tasks for a man who’d had to cover great distances on foot, cadging occasional rides on a farmer’s cart. Closer to home, the traps, the mystical beasts were also poised and waiting. There remained only the final incantation, the lowering of the last piece into place.
Yllyak eyed the glowing shape in front of him, the small pool of water just behind. His lips stretched in a rictus of a smile. He began to chant—a long intricate string of words, casting a spell it had taken him years to devise. His voice whispered, sang, rose to a shout, dropped back to an anguished plea. It must work, had to work. The air around him filled with sound—the spell was singing back to him, promising him a curse that would outlast all the invaders’ puny efforts to undo it. Who and what were they, compared to Yllyak of the Tryll?
Sudden silence. The chant was over, the spell cast. Nothing left to do but . . .
A wave of Yllyak’s hand and the glowing red square floated out over a bubbling spring of water in the center of the cave floor. A final quick spell gave the square the weight of lead. Another wave of his hand, and the object plummeted, splashing water over the lip of the spring, over Yllyak himself as it plunged to the rocky bottom far below.
At first, the former citizens of Caroli thought they were merely being afflicted by a spate of bad weather. But four moon cycles seemed excessive. As odd as the violent weather’s sudden end, followed by twelve cycles of normal weather—enough to lull everyone into believing those four cycles of extreme weather were a one-time phenomenon.
Until in a sudden burst of violence, it happened again. Questions were asked, some not so nicely. Yet it was not until shortly after the end of the second four cycles of destruction that the questions were answered. One morning, as King Viktor was listening to petitions from his subjects, a swirl of blue smoke appeared directly in front of his throne. Out of the smoke rose a tall, gaunt blue-skinned Tryll with masses of white hair hanging down to his waist. His face set in a mocking grimace, his slanted eyes gleaming with the conviction of a madman, he stood proudly before the king and told him of the curse. Then, after a brief, scornful survey of king and court, he vanished, once again enveloped in blue smoke, and never to be seen again.
The immigrants from Caroli set their best scientists to studying the problem. They turned to Tryll shamen for help. Many succumbed to a mysticism they’d scorned in the past, burning effigies of Yllyak in every village, town, and city square. But decade after decade, no matter what they tried, nothing could touch the curse Yllyak had devised—twelve cycles of normal weather followed by four cycles of unrelenting earthquakes, violent thunderstorms, hail, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, blizzards, tsunamis, and wildfires.
Until, that is, two hundred years later . . .
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|A tale of Sorcery, Adventure, and Romance.|
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Thanks for stopping by,