Friday, November 30, 2012

The Last Time I Ever Saw Dad

Dad had Alzheimer's. We never figured this out until well after he stunned us all by selling the farm. A few years after he did that, he came across the yard to my back door. "Do I have my clothes on?" he said as he stepped inside.
"Well yes," I said.
"People get awfully upset if you don't," he said. Then he warned me to be on my toes so that no one would come and take the farm away.
Mom looked after him with endless patience. When we all went out to eat Sunday dinner together, Dad grinned, drew a great breath and let out a noise like a steam engine whistle, reducing the entire restaurant to dead silence. "Harry!" she gasped. "Mercy sakes!"
At three 'o clock one morning, Mom gave me a ring and sent me out to look for him. I found him in his pajamas, barefoot in the snow. As I led him back to the house by his gnarled old hand, I remembered him tirelessly holding me by the overall straps, ploughing whilst I slept on the running-board. Soon he was making a game of eluding us by hiding in the woods. He was becoming difficult to find.
The last time I ever saw him, I went to the rest home with my banjo to keep him company. He would no longer open his eyes, but they had him dressed and sitting in the common room. I played Camptown RacesOld Joe ClarkSilver BellTurkey in the Straw and King'sHead. Dad nodded and tapped his foot in perfect time. Old withered folks shuffled in with walkers to join us. Wheelchairs parked between the davenports. Here and there, frail old voices were beginning to sing.
A minister appeared, pacing about in agitation before coming up to me. "It's time for my delivery," he said, shaking his head. "I'm afraid you'll have to quit."
I put away my banjo. "I'll be back in a day or two, Dad."
He squeezed his eyes tight and nodded. 

Tom Phipps

Monday, November 12, 2012

Live What You Write

Back when I was an aspiring botany major, a heavyweight English student I knew showed up at my flat with a fifth of Jack Daniels to live the life of a writer, as he put it. He mentioned Faulkner. He made Hemingway watching a bullfight in Spain or sitting outdoors in a cafe along the Seine River, sipping wine with a crowd of angry young writers sound like a good thing. I don't know what became of him. I turned out to be a writer. Maybe he's counting tree rings.

If he understood what he was telling me, he did have a point. You do need to be familiar enough with what you are discussing in order to do a good job of writing about it. One would think that your words will be best chosen when you are discussing elephants if you have ridden one. And it is much easier to make walking across freshly ploughed ground in your bare feet amongst the scattered blackbirds come to life for your readers if you've actually done it.

So how do you do such a thing if you are writing fantasy? How do you make unicorns, Elves and dragons come to life? Well, unicorns are very much like horses, except for the narwhal-like horn, so we can talk about them in terms of the horses which we've ridden. We can talk about their horn waving about above their feed boxes as they nibble up the last of their oats. We can talk about the Elf with his insides shaken to a jelly of soreness, from an afternoon's frantic ride. And we can talk about a mob of dragons settling onto a sandbar in the dusk, as each one pauses to sort through the feathers of his wings before giving himself a thorough shake, if we have walked along a river's sands at sunset and have indeed spent an afternoon in the desert mountains, watching a flock of buzzards come circling in to land on their customary rocks.

Just how would you make an imaginary creature come to life for the readers you are trying to engage and entertain? Wouldn't you need to draw upon similar things which you've actually seen? What do you think? We'd like to know.

Tom Phipps  

Sunday, November 11, 2012

ElF KILLERS, Epic Fantasy Adventure: Just $2.99 to Download

It is the very worst time to be in the woods.

Oisin’s plan is to come with his bow to help Aedan and Doona lead a party of children into the forest to gather the maidenhair seedlings his people would take across the sea as they flee the trolls who hunt them as prey. Maybe he can be back in time for supper. And if he only dares to dream, he might also be back in time to speak with Doona alone.

Dyr's plan is an early evening head smash for the foolish Elves who think they can steal away to the sands of the endless eye sting water and build their strange float huts. They will make a glorious feast.

But on the way, Dyr's brutes stumble across Oisin's gathering party and attack, leaving Aedan mortally wounded and scattering Doona and the children to flee in terror into the dark mountain woods, only to be run down and captured by the bloodthirsty trolls.
Can Oisin find the bonfires of the trolls and rescue them before it’s too late? And what then? Will any of them live long enough to reach safety?

What They're Saying:

"The world that the authors created is a fascinating place. The creatures that inhabit the pages of this book are brilliant." Robyn

"Elf Killers is a fast-paced, descriptive ride of emotional turmoil and flight or fight drama right from the get go." Melissa Chesley

"This debut novel, from the husband and wife team of Carol Marrs Phipps and Tom Phipps, is a fantasy delight" Rae

"There is something very brave about this book. First the attempt to create a half-language that the reader can still absorb and understand, yet completely imprints another culture. That would be brave enough on its own - but second, there is a sense of these two authors showing real courage in breaking taboos. They do not stint on the violence and some may find that harsh, but it's a harsh world they have allowed us to glimpse. They show a world in which no-one is safe, including children, and don't step back with false sentiment to protect the reader. Their world is not our world, but it's as real as it can get." KV

"Truly enjoy the twists and turns of imagination that these two authors are able to spin. I would highly recommend these authors to anyone who is a fan of fantasy stories." Lana C

"This book opened my eyes to a whole new different world..took the trolls and elves up to the next level...The fantasy and thrill that shook my mind and senses all those running, journeys to save the other elves from killer trolls was indeed a fantastic adventure! Truly epic!" Kimyunalesca

Sunday, November 4, 2012

The Winner Is:

Congratulations Angela Hartness! You won the author-signed copy of The Collector Witch.

We wish to thank all those who participated in this giveaway. We will be posting another giveaway soon...   

Carol & tom