Monday, May 2, 2016

Ariel and Abaddon have a Heart Bond


???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????
Lukus paused to listen to the rain of clicks and squawks from the oilbirds in the countless chinks and ledges throughout the gargantuan vault of cave ceiling over Gerddi Teg, kept daylight bright by glow lichens. He threw his panniers across Starfire's rump, checked Shimmer's girth and went back inside the cottage he and Soraya had spent the summer in.
"Your bags ready?" he said, hefting Soraya's tightly packed panniers."
"Tied tight and buckled," she said from the next room.
"I guess I'm asking if we're forgetting anything," he said.
"We can't be," she said, walking in. "We're still here, and nothing's ever forgot until you get down the road and remember."
"Yea. like one of the kids, or something."
"No worry then," she said with her serious face. "Grandfather would send us right back."
"And not wait for us to catch up again."
"Nope!" she said, erupting with laughter. "Not after we forget our own babaĆ­."
"You are the most gorgeous thing I've ever seen when you laugh," he said, scooping her into a sound hug. "And you've been mighty sober lately."
"Yea," she said, standing arm in arm with him as they looked out the open door. "It's kind of hard to leave a peaceful place after what we've been through. And the thought of being out in the open with Daniel and Ariel makes me feel, well, exposed."
Heart of the Staff Complete Series Box (1)

Lukus watched Abaddon in the yard, playing dragon and giving rides to Daniel and Ariel. "You know, they could really get hurt," he said.
"From piggyback rides?" she said. "His piggyback rides? He is the gentlest boy I ever saw play with little kids, especially with Ariel."
"They could still get hurt."
"What is this?" she said. "The worst that would happen from some unlikely stupidity of his would be nothing more than a scrape or a knot on the head of one of them. And you're not stupid, so why is this bothering you?"
"I know he has been good with them, but he is Spitemorta's son..."
"And King James's. And I've not heard you say anything but good about James."
"And Abaddon is very magically gifted. He's been good all summer, but what if he surprises us and turns out like the rest of his line back through Demonica? That's a dark lineage."
"Daniel and Ariel trust him..."
"So what?" he said, as he quietly pushed the door most of the way closed. "Children don't have the experience and judgment to keep from being taken in by some..."
"Human children. And ours are half Elf, actually better than half, since you have Elf behind you..."
"But lately he finds a way to be here every single day. For a boy his age, isn't that...?"
Soraya put her finger to his lips, kissed him on the cheek and closed the door. "I just became certain of something this very day," she said, turning back to him.
"My word, what?"
"Ariel and Abaddon have a heart bond."
"Fates! What if he's evil?"
"I suppose it's possible, but I've never ever heard of a heart bond between Elf and an evil..."
"When did it happen? Are you certain?"
"No one knows when a heart bond actually begins, Lukus," she said as she took his hand. "I mean, when did ours begin? But it is completely out of anyone's control, as you well know. And I'm so very sorry you're troubled by this. I think Abaddon's simply wonderful and I can't imagine that he would ever harm either one of them."
"I hope you are right. Because if he ever does, I swear I'll fix him."
"And with my help, dear," she said.
"There goes Arwr," said Lukus.
Abaddon shot to his feet at once, whistling and waving his arms.
Arwr came to a springy halt some distance away and jogged back.
Abaddon wheeled about and scooped Ariel off the ground, giving her a grand giggly hug before setting her back down. "Bye Ariel!" he cried before dashing through the gate. "Bye Daniel!"
"Abaddon!" cried Ariel, trotting to the gate.
Abaddon stopped and turned back. "We'll be together before the day's over!" he hollered with a wave.
"See you!" she cried with a great bounce of her curls as he dashed away and sprang astride Arwr. She stood waving until Abaddon and Arwr had vanished between the cottages across the common.
Soraya squeezed Lukus's arm as she put her head against his shoulder.
The Reaper Witch 1280x2000








Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Sad Fate of a Book Character


Writing The Heart of the Staff series has been a grand adventure, but now that it is over I find myself missing many of the characters from the epic who had become a part of my daily life, my thoughts, and even my dreams, and wondering what of them now? The following is what one obsolete character had to say about that.
shadowpersons big
So you writers think you have it tough? You ought to try living the life of one of the characters you create. I mean, really, how would you like being the figment of some writer's bizarre imagination? If that isn't bad enough all by itself, consider all the things you writers dream up for us characters to do. Not to mention the dangerous situations you get us into, the problems you make us solve and the many humiliating, provocative and sometimes ridiculous predicaments you drag us through! Could you, mere flesh and bone, survive it all? I think not!
And I haven’t even mentioned the fact that we have absolutely no choice in all of this. From the moment of our creation we are forced to live out our entire lives in whatever image you have dreamed up for us. We aren't allowed to choose the way we dress, talk, act or feel! Why, some of us are forced to emerge as villains, monsters, aliens, fairy tale creatures and even some of the undead, just to mention a few of the lives you choose for us.
Take me for example. I was innocently drifting along amongst the synapses in my creator’s (totally demented) brain one moment and rudely thrust into this narrative the next, without so much as the dignity of a name or brief description of my appearance. And for what? My entire existence, now that The Heart of the Staff series is written, has been reduced to simply educate you writers and readers about the fate of a book character. Once that task is completed, my own fate is sealed. I will live as a nameless, faceless character who is only brought to life when someone reads the series or worse,  this blog. I am doomed to repeat the same words over and over, without change, until one magic day when the series is old news and this piece becomes worn out enough that, it, and I, will be deleted.
Sometimes you writers decide one of us hasn't exactly lived up to your expectations, often without really ever giving us a chance to reach our true potential, and you just start making changes out of hand, leaving us to adapt...or not...and we all know what happens if we don’t adapt. Don’t we?
 not all shadow people are the same

By now I’m sure many of you are in denial. You want to point out that book characters have exciting adventures, fantastic quests and memorable romances. To that I say...sometimes. But, it seems to me, a fair share of adventurers and questers end up dead. As for the romance...well the heartache very often off- sets the thrill of it all. No! Don’t point out the sensual delights of a good erotic tale. Have you ever considered being the hero or heroine in one of those? Do you know how stressful that can be? You have to always look your best while performing sexual feats that would often challenge any contortionist. And do all of that while you have an audience of thousands...perhaps millions! I ask you, would you, mere humans, be up to it? (no pun intended)
I will conclude by simply asking that all of you at least consider the fate of the characters you create once in awhile. Maybe you could even wish us well or thank us for helping you on occasion.. After all, if not for us, what stories would ever be told?
Carol Marrs Phipps

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Brown Recluse and the Old Woman Who Knows



2452275_orig
Ten years ago, Carol and I lived in an aging trailer on the Navajo Nation in the sagebrush BrownRecluseSpideroutside Twin Lakes, New Mexico. One evening after a rough day of teaching, I came home to be reminded that Carol would be at a teacher's meeting until dark. Since I had the time, I took a hot shower and found that I had crushed a brown recluse spider in my towel. I didn't have a bite anywhere that I could tell, so I gave a shrug and started to get dressed.
By the time I had my clothes on, I had a fiery pain in my left knee. I dropped my breeches and had a look. I saw no sign of a bite, Exif_JPEG_420but my kneecap itched and felt fevered, and the pain in my knee was quickly becoming hard to bear. I filled the tub with hot water and sat in it for a good long while. When I walked Carol home after her meeting, I was in such pain that the best I could do was hobble. When we got home, I remembered that Microhydrin had completely eliminated the pain and swelling from a bark scorpion sting, so I took six of them.
turquoise02The next day I was greatly improved, but I limped all day. My principal, a Navajo lady who had spent her life Red Rocks NM 11-30-09_1around such spiders, told me to try a poultice of Chee dirt, the reddest dirt to be found in the bluff faces in those parts. "If that doesn't do it," she said, "try the flea market."
red-rock-new-mexico-jemez
indicators-fleaI was much better by the weekend, but my knee joint was still painful to use, and I now had a half ping-pong ball sort of pocket full of fluid, right on the face of my knee cap, so Carol dee8f15d78c08a6e54ac1d55d0cad72aand I went wandering about inquiring at the Saturday morning Gallup flea market. We were quickly directed to "the old woman who knows," who turned out GallupFleaMarketto be an old blind woman sitting at a table, who knew not one word of English. With the help of onlookers to translate, she sold us a bundle of herbs and told us how to make poultices from it to keep wrapped to my knee.
IMG_0165
My dichotomous keys were all back in Illinois, so I was never certain, but I think she may have sold us a generous wad of sage and lavender, which I dutifully applied. By the next weekend, her herbs had indeed done away with the pain, but I still have the pocket of fluid on my knee cap to this day.
SONY DSC
A few months later, I was bitten on the elbow. This time, I immediately commenced taking six Microhydrin every twelve hours for four days and keeping strong magnets wrapped SONY DSCabout the joint with elastic bandage to keep the capillary beds open. It started out every bit as painful as my knee had been. In four days though, there was no trace of anything at all, not even a pocket of fluid.
IMG_5663
So please tell us what adventures you've had with venomous spiders and the like.
 CH04_090m_sheknitteditforme


Tom Phipps

Monday, April 25, 2016

There was no Vowel Shift Separating us from Middle English

Medieval20Town
Back in the monkey days, when I was studying to be a botanist, I became intrigued with Middle English. Here was a version of our own tongue which our civilization just up and quit reading. What a loss. After all of the graduate school I could stomach, I stumbled across a hot-shot English student who gave me a copy of Chaucer's Poetry, an Anthology for the Modern Reader by E. T. Donaldson at Indiana University. I began at once studying it from cover to cover and saw why we moderns no longer had access to the language.
One barrier which had arisen over the centuries since its use was a change in vocabulary. One third of modern English consists of words never heard by people six hundred years ago, and one third of Middle English is vocabulary no longer used at all. When I set about memorizing these obsolete words, another problem appeared. Wanting to get it right, I paid close attention to the rules of pronunciation insisted upon by Professor Donaldson, which assigned completely different sounds to virtually every vowel, long and short, because of the occurrence of what he called a vowel shift (making As sound like Os and Is sound like Es) which turned Middle English into a virtual foreign language.
AN00213673_001_l
I put more effort into getting his pronunciations right than I did at the vocabulary. And the harder I worked, the less satisfactory it all seemed to me. As far as I was concerned, he gave no satisfactory proof for there ever having been any sort of vowel shift at all. He claimed that the way that Chaucer rhymed his verses was proof enough, but he weakened his own argument by also claiming that Chaucer and his contemporaries were sloppy rhymers. I simply could not accept such a thing out of an age of addressing court in rhyming verse.
Meanwhile, Middle English grammar kept reminding me of the Appalachian speech I grew up immersed in. Both Chaucer and the old man hoeing corn across the hedge could talk about "when he come to town." They both would say, "They was all there." But it went further than the grammar. Old timers used to say that they "was out huntin' mushyroons," and Middle English for mushrooms was musserounes. And if there had been a vowel shift, I can't imagine how it would have been possible to hang onto such a pronunciation.
hangleton cottage
In fact, how could any of these ever have existed, had there been a vowel shift? Sowynge was Middle English for sewing. Trustid was Middle English for trusted. In Chaucer's day, a thyng was a thing, just as my little girl used to be called a sweet thaing. Chaucer got fyssh out of a cryke, just like we always got feesh out of a crik. And when we chomped (champed) on these morsels, Chaucer chaumped. Het was Middle English for heated. And indeed, someone furious around home was said to be all het up, just as someone might have gotten six centuries ago over eny goode cawse. Chaucer had blewe for blue, dowte for doubt and reskew for rescue. And I swear that his verses rhyme 'way better with Appalachian vowels than with Donaldson's shifted ones.

Tom Phipps

Friday, April 22, 2016

Who Are Daniel and Ariel?

shutterstock_89916550
Daniel and Ariel are fabled twins of Elven prophesy, the children of Soraya and Lukus, destined to bring down the terrible witches who wield the Heart and Staff to rule the world... if you hold with Elven lore.
Stone_Heart_Cover_for_KindleThe witches certainly do. Empress Spitemorta so fears the very possibility of any Elf ever having children by a human that she has decreed that every living Elf shall be found and slain. And indeed the twins have the lineage, with Soraya an Elven princess and Lukus the descendant of the great First Wizard. Spitemorta's grandmother Demonica destroys the Elven Castle at Oilean Gairdin, sending the Elves fleeing into the wilderness with Soraya and Lukus and the twins for years to come.
DoomIn the midst of their exodus, Ariel forms a heart bond with Abaddon, Spitemorta's very son. Will the Prophesy not come to pass?





Carol Marrs Phipps & Tom Phipps

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The Chokewoods and the Peppermint Forest are not the Same

fire_moon
Lukus heaved a large peppermint limb into the fire. "If Ugleeuh doesn't find us right soon," he said, "I'll go back into the woods and see if I can find some nuts and berries for 
supper. I saw some when I was gathering wood."
"Well why didn't you just gather them in the first place? You just made more work for yourself."
"Yea? Maybe, but the last time I ate berries in this forest I nearly strangled to death, so RowanI had to think about it."
"You tried to eat a choke oak fruit? What kind of crazy are you? Doesn't matter, though. Things like that don't grow here anymore. This is the Peppermint Forest and it's different than the Chokewood Forest, or haven't you noticed?"
"I could see that at once. But just what's what, I need some time to sort out. So tell me, did Ugleeuh actually create all of this?" He gave a wide wave.
"She didn't create it so much as change it, though perhaps whether she did or not Scan10067depends on just what a person considers creation to be. But, you're right if you think that all this forest was once identical to the Chokewoods. When Ugleeuh and I first arrived here it was really awful. We battled with the smallies and dorchadas and other awful things almost every day before she was through with all of her wonderful transformations of the 
place."
"Rose and I had the idea that she made this place out of part of the Chokewoods, but I'm surprised to hear about the dorchadas actually attacking you. Rose and I saw the chief 
of the dorchadas and his heathens trembling with fear in front of her."
"You have utterly no clue at all about the kind of sadistic wrath that Ugleeuh is capable of," Scan30001said Hubba Hubba, breaking into his first laughter of the outing. "The smallies are so terrified of her now that they'll tramp each other to death, trying to hide if they see her. Same thing with the dorchadas. Hoo-wee! She taught them. Nasty, nasty old lady!"
"So, why were you so worried that the smallies might get you, if I left you to go for help?"
"Do I really look like Ugleeuh to you? Had she ever worked you over once, you'd never confuse us. Besides, if the smallies got me, there'd be no trace. No feathers. No nothing. They'd have a free bit of revenge on her and she wouldn't be able to prove it at all."
"You got that right, Birdo. Rose and I saw them take down a deer. It just vanished before our eyes. It gave out a good dying snort, and the next moment it was gone without any sign that it had ever been."
"Yes, yes. I've seen it. It's been years, but I've seen it." he said with a shudder. "Let's build up the fire some more, Lukus, just to be sure Ugleeuh doesn't miss it. Let me come with8138228_7122_1024x2000 you for the wood. I hope that hearing the mint owl doesn't mean that the smallies are in this neighborhood."
"Yea," said Lukus, glancing about. "I think it might be good to stoke the fire a bit, at that, but I'll hunt for fuel where you can see me from here. You stay off that foot unless we have no other choice but to move on." And with that, he went to picking up sticks.
Hubba Hubba's head spun as he trembled and inched closer to the fire, hoping that whatever might be in the forest would fear the crackling flames.
The_Collector_Witch_Cover_for_Kindle








Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps

Monday, April 18, 2016

Big Bang Fantasy

Big Bang Cosmos Explosion

Albert Einstein's mathematics profoundly changed physics. No one questions this. He is universally recognized as a mathematical titan, and though he might well have been an epochal physicist, it might be a mistake to call him a scientist.
Science is a body of knowledge acquired through observation. Einstein used his math to express his profound imagination, but instead of setting up experiments in order to observe his discoveries at work in the real world as would an empirical scientist, he chose instead to test his ideas with his well documented "thought experiments." The reason no one noticed this is probably the day and time that it was. Great minds in physics were all a-fever, trying to pry open the atom. What was inside? Waves? Particles?
cobedmr
In 1927, Niels Bohr came up with an "uncertainty principle" which said that the infinitesimally teensy atom was fundamentally unknowable from observation and could only be understood in terms of mathematics. Perhaps. Maybe this is the best we can ever do inside the atom, but what is derailed here is the observing of the need for palpable evidence in order to establish scientific discoveries. Meanwhile, since everything is made up of atoms, people found it easy to accept math in place of verifiable observations for a growing range of things needing an explanation.
So nobody questioned Einstein until NASA found his math to be worthless for sending instrument packages to the moon and to Mars and had to fall back on the four hundred year old math of Isaac Newton to get them there. And Newton was an actual scientist who went to observe the real world for verification. Remember the apple that thumped him on the head?
explosion2
The Big Bang is not only the profound math which it happens to be, it is also magic. There may well be a whole football field's space surrounding the golf ball which represents the nucleus of a hydrogen atom, but the entire universe was never the size of the head of a pin. There never was a Big Bang and the universe is not expanding.
In all the years since Einstein's math created it, the only substantial evidence for an expanding universe is the red shift in the spectrum of light, the supposed Doppler effect from everything in the universe speeding away from us. Yeap. Red shift in all directions, which puts us in the exact center of the universe, for one thing, which is most suspicious in a universe so endlessly vast as ours. The other problem is that the Doppler effect is not the only possible way for light from the furthest reaches of space to arrive here, redder than it should be.
bigbang1
When light passes through anything such as glass, higher frequency shorter wavelengths get converted into longer wavelengths from collisions with atoms, causing a shift to the red end of the spectrum. Ultraviolet light coming into a greenhouse becomes heat. So, what do you suppose happens to light passing through all those zillions of miles of space from the most distant objects which we are able to see? Space is full of dust and stray atoms for light to collide with over its vast distances. Light will arrive redder than it started out, simply because of all the distance that it had to travel, without any need for everything we see in the heavens to be racing away from us.
So the Big Bang is nothing but Einstein's magic, is all I'm saying. And I ought to know, because Carol and I write about magic all the time.Magician wand

Tom Phipps

Friday, April 15, 2016

As if You can Hear the Trees Scream

6a00e554d7b8278833013485e6499b970c-500wi
They arrived at the edge of Chokewoods just after sunset, feeling relief and dread at the sight of the looming trees. Everyone hesitated, not wanting to enter. Lukus slid off Spark, grabbing his head with a grimace when he lit. Rose dismounted and stood by his side, Sinornithosaurus_magsaying nothing. Lukus turned wide eyes to meet Rose's barely perceptible nod. This was like it was the first time they arrived, in spite of it being a different part of the woods and a different time of day. "Well," she said, jostling everyone by speaking. "Let's get on with it, shall we?" She gave Lukus an abrupt shove and followed him through an opening in the tangle of brush and matted vines. Fuzz, Spark, and Lipperella came immediately behind.
In they went, straining from side to side in hopes of spying some sort of clearing or cave for a place to camp. "If you listen, it's almost as if you can hear the trees scream," said 
Lipperella, in a whisper tinged with awe.
"We thought so the first time," said Lukus. "It's so eerie."
images 2"Indeed," said Fuzz, "But the trees are in fact not screaming, and when their trunks look so grotesque, one's imagination would understandably be thrall to suggestibility."
"So you don't hear anything then?" said Spark.
"I didn't say that, "said Fuzz. "It sounds like far away moans and murmurs in some giant hall, but that must be the wind 'way up in the trees, rather than the trees themselves."2004_1024chapel0005
"Are you sure?" said Spark. "I'm not."
"Well no, but it's the simplest explanation, isn't it?"
"Perhaps, but 'simple' doesn't take Razzorbauch's perversion of the place into account."
"Good point," said Fuzz, as everyone fell into a nervous silence.
"Hey," said Lipperella. "Look up ahead. That could be a clearing." It was. They made a hasty camp by doing little more than spreading out their blankets and deciding how 
they would keep watch. Rose heard no owls at all, only the ghostly murmur and sighs 
echoing from unimaginable reaches off in the timber.
The_Collector_Witch_Cover_for_Kindle








Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps