The Wayward Son, the new book in the Tower of Bones series

The process of writing Valley of Sorrows spawned a spin-off book: The Wayward Son. That book is in the final stages of formatting and is set to be published in September 2016. It is a companion book that takes place concurrently with Forbidden Road and details some, but not all, of the events that occurred in Aeoven during Edwin’s absence.

The way I ended up writing a companion book is that the original manuscript of Valley of Sorrows was really two separate stories. I didn’t want John’s thread to take away from Edwin, Freidr, and Zan’s story, but his background is intriguing–so I took him back to the day he returns to Aeoven, the same day Forbidden Road opens.

While the two stories dovetail in some places, and familiar characters appear in their usual roles, this book is not so much about the action as it is about a man learning to live again, despite his battle related PTSD.

The Wayward Son Front Cover Cathedral Ruins 2 copyThe Wayward Son tells the story of John Farmer, Edwin’s father, and takes place concurrently with Forbidden Road. This book was far easier to write than many others, as it explores combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), a condition I am all too familiar with, as a bystander.

John’s story opens with an incident that changes his life. Twenty-five years later, John must return to Aeoven and face the past, and somehow learn to live with himself.

We writers all use our knowledge of the world around us to draw on when we are creating a scene or a character, even if we are not aware of having done so. I have deliberately drawn on observations made during my childhood and young adult years to create John’s gut-reactions and to show how his life was colored by his experiences.

My father was a veteran of WWII, and a man who’d intended to make the military his career. Dad was a staff sergeant in charge of a communications outfit and was always just behind the actual battlefront, always passing through the aftermath. He never discussed it, but the enemy knew how important these communications outfits were, so they must have been important targets. I do know he’d survived several aerial attacks and lost several close companions to enemy bombs, men who were there one minute and gone in a pile of wreckage the next.

The (non-combat related) loss of his left leg changed his career path. He never could wear the prosthetic leg they gave him, but became a draftsman and made a very good living. Other than being inconvenienced by having only one leg, everything seemed on the surface to go on normally.

My dad and my uncles never really got over the war, and they all suffered from survivor’s guilt to a certain degree. They came home and settled back into society, and began building the American Dream. When he was sober, all Dad ever really said about the war was that the good guys had won. When he’d been drinking, he might say more, but not much.

Dad was an avid gardener, a musician, a brewer, and a winemaker. He was passionate about his interests, a renaissance man who insisted we read (and discuss) all manner of books from the classics to comic books, be athletic, and learn to play a musical instrument.

But Dad was also a volatile man who drank too much every weekend and partied as hard as he worked. He was often angry and would say harsh things. Years after my father’s death, my late Uncle Wesley explained some of what dad had experienced and during our conversation, many things that had puzzled me fell together.  Uncle Wes put it very bluntly: Dad drank to forget.

Until recently, soldiers suffering “battle fatigue” (what we now refer to as combat-related Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) were sent home and told to forget about what they had experienced. They were often psychologically abused by the very doctors who should have been treating them,  who basically told them to man up and just get on with life.

I wrote this book out of respect and love for all our veterans. It is a story about soldiers, set in a fantasy world, but dealing with life after the war.

The Wayward Son:

Deeds done in the heat of battle cast long shadows.

The most famous man in the history of the Temple, retired Commander John Farmer, has left the militia behind. War looms and John must answer the call to serve, but his terrible secret could destroy everything. A broken mage trying to rebuild his shattered life, he must somehow regain his abilities, or everyone and everything he loves will be lost.

John must face the crimes of the past to become the hero he never was.

The Wayward Son will launch on September 15. Pre orders are available at Amazon by clicking on this link: Pre-Orders for the Wayward Son

A Costumer’s Life, by Gypsy Madden

Gypsy as Harry Potter
Gypsy as Harry Potter

Each weekend I make plans to work on writing or editing, yet each weekend I find myself hunkered over my sewing machine or prowling around malls with a scavenger list of costuming supplies. In a month I have Comic Con Honolulu where I’m planning to wear 6 outfits to a 2 day convention and then one month beyond that is Dragon con which is a 4 day event (5 if you count Registration Thursday), which I right now have 12 outfits planned for and I’m not certain they’ll all fit into my two large luggage bags.


Gypsy Star Trek
Gypsy Star Trek

Just like reading, costuming can put you into the character’s shoes (slightly more literally) and you can imagine you’re within that world. My favorite convention and fandom moments are the times when fantasy and reality have blurred and I’ve crossed the line into a different world. Imagine my friend and I dressed as Cedric Diggory and Harry Potter while taking pictures at the Dole Plantation hedge maze. It was a grey and lightly drizzling day with a chill in the  air, just as if we were in England. And in the distance I could hear the whistle of the Pineapple Express, the mini-train tour ride to the further reaches of the plantation, which sounded exactly like what I imagined the Hogwarts Express to sound like. It was a moment like that I could easily imagine I was in the Goblet of Fire movie, starring as Harry Potter in a place where magic was real.


Gy[sy Journey to the Center of the Earth
Gypsy Journey to the Center of the Earth
I’ve been on a pirate ship while dressed as Captain Jack Sparrow, tracked dinosaurs while dressed as Dr. Alan Grant from Jurassic Park, walked through the ruins of Atlantis (from Journey to the Center of the Earth 2), came to the rescue of various charity organizations with my fabulous crew of fellow superheroes, explored alien landscapes while in a Star Fleet uniform, and even graced a dance floor in a ball gown with a feathered mask (and on my way home, slightly before midnight I passed by Cinderella’s carriage – I kid you not, around Christmas they have horse-drawn carriage rides through the city with the carriage decorated with twinkling Christmas lights).


I have no idea where the next book or costume might take me, but adventure always awaits.


Gypsy, Godzilla Footprints
Gypsy, Godzilla Footprints

My favorite #vegan macaroni salad

Summer is salad time, and from my way of thinking, nothing says summer like a wonderful macaroni salad. If I have all the ingredients listed below on hand, I use them all–it makes an amazing salad. The one thing that never changes is the extraordinarily simple dressing, as it defines the Southwest flavor. The finely diced smoked tofu absorbs the flavors of the dressing and other ingredients, adding the protein in small, flavorful bites, so delicious that most carnivores won’t even know they’re enjoying tofu. (Do warn people there is soy in the salad dressing even if you don’t go with the tofu, as some people are sensitive to it and we don’t want to cause them to have an allergic reaction.)

pasta saladVegan Pasta Salad with South-of-the-Border Dressing


  • 1 pound (16 oz package) colorful vegan pasta, macaroni, spirals, or smaller sized pasta

Add ins:

  • 1 cup sliced olives, your favorite kind
  • 1 cup baked, smoked tofu, diced in tiny cubes
  • 1 cup frozen corn (whole kernel)—I love Trader Joe’s Fire-Roasted Corn
  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups vegan cheese, grated (I like Daiya Jalapeno Harvarti)
  • 1/2 cup chopped yellow and red bell peppers
  • 1 cup halved cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup grated carrots
  • 1 cup frozen edamame or peas
  • 1 cup sliced scallions (or onions if you are daring)
  • 1 cup sliced radishes
  • 1 can rinsed black beans


  • 3/4 cup Veganaise (or other vegan mayo)
  • 3/4 cup Salsa (your favorite brand)


Cook a whole package of pasta according to package directions. Drain and allow to cool before using. Once your pasta is cool, stir in the add-ins, dump the mayo and salsa on top and stir it all together. Allow to sit in the fridge for at least 1/2 to 1 hour to allow the flavors to meld and serve. (Add a little more mayo and salsa in equal parts if the pasta has soaked up the dressing and is too dry for your taste.)

Shaun Allan comes to Canada!

Shaun Allan, one of Myrddin’s masters of dark fantasy, and who is also a Wattpad Featured Author, is being flown to Toronto, to  tour Wattpad HQ as part of the Wattpad Stars program. Once he arrives in Toronto, Shaun will be wined and dined as he deserves! We couldn’t be more proud of his accomplishments.

To follow Shaun on Wattpad, and to read his amazing, scary work go to

If you love horror, we recommend you check put his new Wattpad serial, “Red Queen,” an exploration of the darker side of Alice in Wonderland. We will soon see “Red Queen” published in book form as part of the Myrddin line-up.

red queen, shaun allan wattpad

Milking the Dragon

Dragon_rearing_up_to_reach_medieval_knight_on_ledgeToday is the day I’m supposed to write a blog post for Myrddin Publishing. I stare at the blank page, wondering what to blog about. I guess I could talk about writing…just set the fingers on the keyboard and let the words flow… Writing is a way of life for me, one that require the ability to become immersed in the story and….

“Ahem.” A knight in shining armor stands at my elbow, looking over my shoulder and tapping his foot.

Pardon me, dear reader. I know it’s rude to interrupt my blog post just when we were getting started, but I have to deal with this—-it’s Hero, the main character from my current work in progress. Characters are like cell phones: they always choose the worst times to communicate their problems.

“Ahem,” he clears his throat again. “You there. Are you the person plotting this book?”

Surprised, I nod my head, wondering where this is going. Usually, my heroes just leave me to the task of writing, and don’t really feel compelled to harass me beyond the occasional ‘Hey, Doofus! You forgot Lord Anselm lost his leg four chapters back, so he’s not going to be able to dance the night away, right?’ So I say to Hero, “I am your author and creator. How may I help you?”

“Well, the Dragon is dead, did you notice?”

Again I nod my head. “Yes, I wrote that scene, and if I do say so myself, you were magnificent.” Heroes require obscene amounts of kudos, or they turn sour.

“Thank you,” he replies, attempting to appear modest and failing. “Well, the thing is, Lady Penelope has thrown herself into wedding preparations.”

“Yes, I did know that.” I smile encouragingly. “I am helping her with designing the dress.”

“Well, I’ve been booted outside. Kicked to the curb. No one needs the groom, apparently until the big day so, heh-heh, here I am… Bored… Looking for something to do…” He glares at me. “Well, really, what sort of author are you? Here we are 32,527 words into your novel, and you’ve already shot the big guns! You wasted the big scene! I mean really, unless this romantic comedy is a novella, you just blew it big time.”

I am shocked that this man who owes his very existence to my creative genius should talk to me thusly. “What are you talking about? I have lots of adventures and deeds of daring-do just waiting to leap off the page, and occupy your idle hands.” See? I can give a dirty look too!

“We-e-ell?” he drawls. “You have 50,000 or so words left, and I hope to heck that you do not intend to spend them on wedding preparations!” He looks at me expectantly. “I have nothing to do! Find me a Quest!”

By golly the man is right. I have timed my big finale rather poorly, and now I have to come up with something new for the man to do. Hmm…maybe trolls … no, too reminiscent of Tolkien. I know – elves! No, still too Tolkienesque. I glare at him. “Well, I can’t work with you staring over my shoulder, so find something to do for a few minutes.”

Good Lord. I should have made him less impatient and given him a few more social graces. “Look, why don’t you sit here, and play a little ‘Dragon Age’ for a while?” I park him in front of the TV and give him the controller.

“What the hell is this?” He looks first at me and then at the controller in his hand. “I am sure this odd-looking thing is quite entertaining, but I don’t find it amusing.”

Sighing, I show him how to turn the thing on, and help him set up a character file. For some reason, he wants to play as a dwarf mage. That takes an hour.

Go figure.

Finally, I can sit down and invent a few more terrifying plot twists to keep this bad boy busy. The trouble is, all I can think of is dragons, but he has already fought one and killed it. Of course, that means he has acquired a certain amount of skill in dragon molesting… heh-heh… but what good is that sort of ability?


I look up, and see Lady Penelope’s mother, Duchess Evillia, standing at my elbow. “Yes?”

“Well, I am sorry to bother you, but we are in desperate need of a certain magical ingredient for my special anti-aging cream.” She looks at me expectantly. “Despite the fact she is intent on marrying that unemployed waster in the tin suit, my daughter’s wedding is a Very Big Deal.”

OMG, she’s capitalizing her words for emphasis. And she’s still staring at me.

“I simply MUST have my beauty cream.”

“And that ingredient is…?” I hope it not a complicated thing because now I have two bored characters nagging the hell out me.

She smiles and says, “Dragon’s Milk.”

How odd, that I never realized until this moment just how malevolent Penelope’s mother looks when she smiles like that. “I’m sure that our dear Hero can get me some since he’s just sitting around pretending to be a dwarf.”

This woman is very likely to be his worst nightmare, and Hero intends to share a castle with her? I suppose he has no choice, now that I think about it, as he has no castle of his own, and Penelope’s father, Duke Benedict, has made him his heir.

Wait a minute…that was against his wife’s wishes, wasn’t it….

Yeah…I guess I could rewrite the original battle scene, just add a bit here, tweak a bit there and subtract the dead dragon part.

Ooh…but he could get singed milking the dragon, and that would probably delay the wedding.

Oh, what the hell—he is a hero isn’t he?

I look over at the Hero, who is now bashing my coffee table with my game controller. Oh, yeah, this boy needs to go outside and play in the fresh air. “HEY!!! Hero, I have a task for you! Take this bucket and get some dragon’s milk. It’s a matter of life and death.”

He looks up, wild-eyed and sweaty. “I will in a minute. I just have to get to a place where I can save… Gah!!! No, no, no! I only have one health potion left!”

Well, kind reader, I had intended to write a blog post today, but that’s out. I won’t have time as I have to get the Hero pried loose from the game console and on his way. He has to go and milk the dragon.
Milking the Dragon © 2016 Connie J. Jasperson, All Rights Reserved


Primroses copyright cjjasp 2016Spring is calling!
The magnolias are blooming, and daffodils shout their amazing yellow to the world.
The long days of winter have passed, and spring has come to stay.

Warmer days lure me to my back porch,
I sit with book in hand…but spring!
Unnoticed (but not unloved) my book rests on the cushion beside me.

The songbirds nesting in my garden, the paper-wasps busy making nests in awkward places…spring is here and I must enjoy it.
Salad for dinner, perhaps on the porch.
A light sweater to wear when evening is near.

My heart is lifted and
I wish I could sing about spring!
Beautiful, long awaited,
Spring © 2016 Connie J. Jasperson and Myrddin Publishing Group

Being Jack Sparrow, by Gypsy Madden

picture credit to Zarli Winn
picture credit to Zarli Winn
Sometime after the third Pirates of the Caribbean movie, one of my fellow cosplay friends was coming to Hawaii for a vacation and she wanted to get pics with her Elizabeth Swan outfit since they filmed part of the movie out here. I was struggling with finding a character, so she suggested I cosplay Will Turner to accompany her. What you have to understand is that I am secure in my sexuality and look at being characters as a tribute to how much I am a fan of the character, so I am secure in cosplaying either female of male without it threatening my own sexuality (so many people will only cosplay their own sex. And if they do the other sex, it’s strictly as a genderbent or rather the character done to obviously look like the other sex). My only worry is if I can pull off the look okay for being a suitable tribute to the character. Suffice to say, I pulled off a passable Will Turner and had fun getting some really awesome pics.

picture credit to Gypsy Madden
picture credit to Gypsy Madden
When commercials for Pirates of the Caribbean 4: On Stranger Tides started playing on TV, it made me wonder if I could pull off the Jack Sparrow look. So, there was me, late on a Saturday night, playing with a tin of black eye shadow, brushing it on in all the places where Jack would have eye shadow, mascara, or facial hair. It looked awesome enough to spur on the idea of creating a full Jack Sparrow costume. Luckily since the movie was coming soon, there were plenty of costume items in the stores like straight off I was able to find all four of his replica rings and Elizabeth’s pirate medallion at Claire’s. I picked up one generic plastic pirate pistol from the local Party City. Admittedly, I had a long search online for the perfect Jack Sparrow wig, but I managed to find a perfect one at along with the Jack Sparrow bandana, wooden pistol, plastic sword, a mustache kit (which I had to majorly trim down since it was adult size and I’m rather small), and an accessory kit which included a plastic version of the compass.

picture credit to Tom Quach
picture credit to Tom Quach
I added some basic black boots and the pants are just pants I picked up from Rosses Dress for Less which I actually bought for, and hemmed Capri-style, for a Hobbit costume I had put together several years earlier. I had to make the shirt from scratch via a Simplicity pattern as well as the vest. I hunted through all of the local stores and online with no luck on finding the right print fabric for the vest, so I ended up having to paint it with copper brown fabric paint to achieve the proper scorpion pattern (which was a headache and a half). And I also couldn’t find the proper fabric for the sash either so I had to make it myself using ribbon to create the lined pattern. The belts are just strips of leather. And I swear by Sculpy/Fimo clay which you just toss into the oven when you want it hardened, which I used for the belt buckles, the intricate twist buckle on the sword belt, the tiny bones on the bandana, and for a large majority of the trade beads.

In all, Jack Sparrow has to be to date my most intricately detailed costume. Maybe not the most expensive though. That would probably go to the 9 yards of silk-velvet for my Lord of the Rings Arwen dress or the 7 yards of velvet plus 5 yards of satin for my Star Wars Handmaiden dress. In total, it took me about 3 months to fully assemble Jack since I had to budget in my usual full-time job, waiting for things to ship, and using my weekends to chase down odd bits (like I visited at least two bead fairs searching for specific beads, which I finally ended up crafting out of Sculpy instead. Of the odder items going into this, there are several different Chinese and Japanese coins, a feather, and a chopstick. It really made me wonder on the logic/sanity of the costume designers who put together his look.)
gypsy undergoing makeupThe entire outfit takes an hour to put on, I kid you not. The base layer (the shirt, pants, vest, and boots) takes barely a couple of minutes. It’s the making certain all the accessories and belts are in proper placement and then all of the makeup (I use a base layer of bronzer, then add on the beard, goatee, and mustache prosthetics with spirit gum, and then black cream eye liner with a brush from Maybeline to create the portion of the beard that goes all the way up to my cheekbones, and the black eye shadow). Amazing about this outfit is that I’m a rather large-chested female (so large that my size doesn’t exist at Victoria Secrets, which is a wild story for another time. #Imnoangel), but you can’t tell any of that under this outfit. Even good friends can’t tell who I am underneath.

Gypsy as Jack and friend JenI’ve been dressing as Jack Sparrow for about a year and a half where this outfit has been to several charity events, the symphony, a party on a pirate ship, a university basketball game, a tea party (which I modified the outfit to accommodate a Christmas theme), one random stop for gas at a 7-Eleven (where I got a grin from the clerk who waited on me), and even a hiking trail for a photoshoot. The surprising place I haven’t worn this outfit to yet is a convention. I’m used to quick changes at a convention and just don’t have time in my usually hectic schedule to budget in a 1-hour change time. Cosplaying Jack Sparrow has been a wonderful experience. So many children want pics with Jack at the events, to the tourists we delightfully surprised on the hiking trail, to the people at the basketball game who said I looked just like Johnny Depp. I love trying to match Jack’s facial expressions and walk. Personally, I’m way too shy to be as outgoing as Jack Sparrow, but it’s so much fun to try.
Gypsy Madden is the author of the YA paranormal fantasy, Hired by a Demon

The Vegan Discusses Bacon (and other great literature)

MyrddinAnthologyECoverI am a vegan, but I love Bacon–Sir Francis Bacon that is.

I love to read short stories and essays. In my opinion some of the best literature out there is available in the form of the the essay. So, let’s take a look at essays, starting with Sir Francis Bacon, renaissance author, courtier, and father of deductive reasoning. The life and works of this English essayist and statesman had a major impact in his day and still resonate in modern literature. Essayes: Religious Meditations. Places of Perswasion and Disswasion. Seene and Allowed (1597) was his first published book.

The 1999 edition of The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations includes 91 quotations from the Essays. No author gets that many quotes unless his work has struck a chord with centuries of readers.

“Knowledge itself is power.”
“Riches are a good handmaid, but the worst mistress”

Essays offer an author the opportunity to use prose to expound ideas and values. Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592) was the first author to describe his work as essays–by which he meant attempts. He used the term to characterize these short pieces as “attempts” to put his thoughts into writing. Montaigne’s essays grew out of his work that was then known as “commonplacing”: published books that were essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: medical recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Think of them as mini-encyclopedias.

Aldous Huxley’s book Jesting Pilate, an Intellectual Holiday had as its epigraph, “What is Truth? said jesting Pilate; and would not stay for an answer” quoted from Bacon’s essay “Of Truth”. Huxley himself was a brilliant essayist and, according to Wikipedia, he defined essays in this way: “essays belong to a literary species whose extreme variability can be studied most effectively within a three-poled frame of reference”. These three poles (or worlds in which the essay may exist) are:

1. The personal and the autobiographical: The essayists that feel most comfortable in this pole “write fragments of reflective autobiography and look at the world through the keyhole of anecdote and description”.

2. The objective, the factual, and the concrete-particular: The essayists that write from this pole “do not speak directly of themselves, but turn their attention outward to some literary or scientific or political theme. Their art consists on setting forth, passing judgement upon, and drawing general conclusions from the relevant data”.

3. The abstract-universal: In this pole “we find those essayists who do their work in the world of high abstractions”, who are never personal and who seldom mention the particular facts of experience. (end quote)

Essays offer an author the opportunity to use prose to expound ideas and values. Michel de Montaigne (1533–1592) was the first author to describe his work as essays–by which he meant attempts. He used the term to characterize these short pieces as “attempts” to put his thoughts into writing. Montaigne’s essays grew out of his work that was then known as “commonplacing”: published books that were essentially scrapbooks filled with items of every kind: medical recipes, quotes, letters, poems, tables of weights and measures, proverbs, prayers, legal formulas. Think of them as mini-encyclopedias.

As I said, I love to read blog posts, magazine articles, short stories, and essays. Through reading short pieces you gain wide view of the world. And that is also why I write short stories. The short story offers me the chance to explore an idea that may be a strong story, but is one that doesn’t have the ‘legs’ to become a longer piece.

Anthologies offer a great variety of creative works by many authors. I a;ways find at least one story to love, and usually I am intrigued by the entire book.

Essays most frequently appear in magazines, so that is where to look for awesome contemporary work by today’s best-known authors of mainstream fiction–and much of it is sitting around in waiting-rooms the world over. But why wait to go to the doctor just so you can read a magazine piece? Get thee to a magazine stand, and rediscover the joys of short fiction and philosophical pieces.
Connie J. Jasperson is the author of the Tower of Bones series, and Huw the Bard. She is a regular contributor to Edgewise Words Inn, and her work has been been published in numerous anthologies and online magazines.

#ReadMe: Into the Woods, a fantasy anthology

Here we are at the end of the year. We’ve had a great year here at Myrddin Publishing, with several new books and new authors.

And now we are beginning a new year with the launch of our new anthology, Into the Woods. This collection of amazing tales came about almost by accident.

One day last summer I was looking through stock images I’d found for a cover I was designing for another author. I came across a wonderful image of a lonely house set in the woods. I’m not sure why, but suddenly, like the proverbial dog after a squirrel, I was off looking at images of houses in the woods.

Of course, my brain being wired to write stories, I found myself imagining all sorts of scenarios and plots to go with these amazing images. Then, it occurred to me that if I was inspired to write by these images, my fellow authors here at Myrddin Publishing would also be.

I threw out a challenge to the group: Write a short story about a house in the woods. The only caveat was the tale had to fall under the genre of fantasy, and the theme was “a house in the woods.”

And wow! What a response– I received nine wildly different tales, ranging from humor to ghostly, to romantic, to horror. These ten tales are some of the best I have read.

In the first tale, “A Peculiar Symbiosis,” Alison DeLuca gives us the story of a man who discovers he loves his wife–but only after she is dead.

“The Forest House” is my own take on the Tam Lin tale. Tam Lin is a character in a legendary ballad originating from the Scottish Borders as collected by Francis Child in the 19th century, but there are many tales from all over northern Europe featuring variations on his name, and the story will have slight variations. It is also associated with a reel of the same name, also known as Glasgow Reel. I had always wondered if Tam Lin and the Faerie Queen had a child, and if they had, what would have happened to it when Janet rescued Tam?

In “A House in the Woods,” Stephen Swartz takes us back to the 1960s with this dark fantasy. Two boys playing in the woods come across an abandoned house, and discover a true ghost story.

Irene Roth Luvaul takes us deep into the forest in “The Guardian.” A woman discovers her family’s history, and the terrible secret a cabinet once held.

Ross M. Kitson offers up a “A Matter of Faith.” In this dark prequel to Kitson’s epic Prism series, an uptight paladin must find a way to work with a free-thinking druid, if he is to be successful in finding and killing a demon.

In “If I Have to Spell it Out” Marilyn Rucker lightens things up with her hilarious take on two cousins quarreling over the tenancy of their family home, via letters.

“A Haunted Castle” by Lisa Zhang Wharton shows us that a house can can also be a haunted castle in the Bavarian Forest, in her hilarious, hallucinogenic tale of ghosts, rottweilers, and a costume party.

Our own master of horror, Shaun Allan, swings us back to the dark side with a horrifying twist on the Hansel and Gretel tale, with “Rose.” Told with his usual flair for words and style, this is a chilling story of demonic magic. It is definitely not you mam’s Hansel and Gretel!

In “Hidden,” Carlie Cullen takes us deep into the woods, where two young women take shelter from a storm in an abandoned house, with terrible consequences.

For the final tale in this treasury, Lee French presents us with a post-Civil War tale of star-crossed love, in her magical tale, “Forever.” Tara and Marcus share a forbidden love–and only one place is safe for them.

We’re celebrating the launch of this fantastic collection of tales with a launch party on Facebook. You can join us there until January 2nd, 2016. Myrddin Authors will be dropping in and out of the party, offering gifts and prizes, and also sharing their own brand of craziness to help you kick off your New Year with a bang. To join us, click on this link, which will take you to the 2016 Myrddin Facebook New Years Party.

I am continually amazed and awed by the talent of the wonderful authors I am privileged to work with here at Myrddin Publishing. You can purchase this wonderful collection of short stories at Amazon by clicking on the buy button below:

Into the Woods: a fantasy anthology
Amazon Buy Button PNG

Connie J. Jasperson is an editor and a co-founding member of Myrddin Publishing Group. She is the author of the epic fantasy Tower of Bones series, and also the medieval fantasy, Huw the Bard.

Wednesday Blog: Gypsy Madden talks cosplay and cons

Gypsy Madden Con Foto 1My parents think I’m weird. And they are right in the fact that I spend hundreds of dollars to make a yearly excursion to the continental US (normally I’m stranded on a small rock in the middle of the Pacific) to escape reality and journey into experiencing my favorite fandoms while surrounded by hundreds of other fans. And by this, I mean fandom conventions, specifically Dragon Con annually held over Labor Day weekend in Atlanta, Georgia. Mind you, there are differing sorts of fans at the conventions, not just the typical crazy obsessed geeky fan that normally pops to mind. There are venders, and stars, and the speakers presenting various topics (yes, including bloggers and podcasters), as well as the fans experiencing the con, the photographers trying to catch all of the fascinating moments, and the cosplayers. I, admittedly, fall into the last category.

Gypsy Madden Con Foto 3Being a writer, I should tell you that conventions are a wonderful way to promote yourself by getting a table or passing out business cards. Dragon con even has a table where there is a group of writers all trying to help market each other. But, I keep forgetting my cards, and a table has to be reserved several years inadvance, so I have only experienced the conventions as an attendee and a cosplayer.

I could give you an entire journal entry on cosplay, but suffice to say, I do it because I love creating costuming, learning new techniques and showing them off (this year I tackled embroidery without a hoop, worked with plenty of leather, and learned how to link chainmail). But first and foremost, I love being a part of a group, being with others who feel the same way I do about shows and movies, and seeing my favorite movies and characters spring to life in front of my eyes, and to feel like I belong within those imaginary worlds. This year’s Dragon con had me running around dressed as Alan Grant from Jurassic Park, to Carol from The Walking Dead, to Susan from the Narnia books, to Harry Potter to name a few.

Gypsy Madden Con Foto 2Every con has its ups and downs. For me there was getting extremely little sleep because we had someone snoring in our room which no amount of ear plugs was able to drown out and the five hour delay on one of my flights where I started to feel like Tom Hanks in The Terminal, though in this version my prison airport was LAX rather than JFK. But the ups are the unforgettable moments where I managed to suspend reality for a few moments, like the moment where I was standing by the elevators listening to a group who were dressed as characters from the latest Mad Max movie singing “What’s Up” by 4 Non Blondes led by the wife with the goggles and a war boy with a guitar. There was also the moment when I was getting a slushie at Dairy Queen when the Halloween movie theme suddenly surrounded me. That’s never a good sign. I looked around in time to see Michael Meyers shuffling slowly toward me. The coward that I am decided to put enough other people between him and me. Imagine my surprise when he followed me around another two times that evening. And there was another moment where, as Susan, I took my little sister Lucy and her friend Mr. Tumnus in search of a lamppost. But then, anyone can have experiences like that at the larger conventions where robots and dinosaurs roam the hallways and there are superheroes around every corner.
Gypsy Madden is the author of “Hired By A Demon”