Saturday, September 13, 2014

"Twice Upon A Time," a fairytale anthology, coming soon!

I am so excited about the upcoming release of Twice Upon a Time, the first release for The Bearded Scribe Press. The collection of stories, from what I can tell, promises to be quite dark and strange.

Joshua was gracious enough to accept my story, "The Bone Harp," for the collection, and I'm flattered. This little bit of macabre fiction first appeared in Realms, a now defunct publication by Black Matrix, in 2010. And it remains one of my favorites. I simply loved writing this story. I hope you'll enjoy reading it -- when it comes out. So close now. If I had specific dates for the release, I would pass them on, but for now, we're hoping for November.

As for the promo image, I'm not sure it conveys the sinister aspect of the tale. That's one vengeful swan, though it might just be swooping in for a hug. Anyway ...

Credits for the artwork:

girl by faestock
swan by LubelleCreativeSpark
background by kreatiques-x
pixie dust by rL-Brushes
fog by BBs-Brushes

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Road Trip: Mt. Elbert, Colorado

Two years in a row, my husband and I have driven to Leadville, Colorado, to be part of the race crew for a friend who was riding in the Leadville 100 Mountain Bike Race. We rented the same cabin above Twin Lakes again this year, because the view is unbeatable. Surreal, really. 

Sunrise view from cabin, Twin Lakes.

Sunset view from cabin, Twin Lakes.

This year, we chose to undergo the arduous hike up Mount Elbert, Colorado's highest peak. I just thought I had been exercising enough. But the trail is so steep that by the time we had reached the 12,600 mark--well above treeline, thank you--my legs finally rebelled and stopped pulling me up another step. I sat among some rocks, sheltered from the wind, while the rest of my party climbed on. A chipmunk kept me company. I fed him some bread off my peanut butter sandwich, but I didn't like the way he was having to smack on the bread, so I switched to almonds. I hate almonds, and my trail mix was full of them, so I stacked some on the rocks, and this greedy, grateful little guy stuffed as many as he could into his cheeks, then dashed off to stash them in his hidey-holes. 

Now, I'm kicking myself for not getting pics of the little guy. All I took was video of him snatching the bread. Ah, well. He kept me entertained while I waited for word from my party. A long while later, my husband sent me a text saying they had reached the summit. It took them another 45 minutes to hike back down to me. By then I was well rested, but they were in pain. We all wanted off that mountain, so we started down immediately. It took us (them) four hours to reach the top and two more to hike back down. I have never been so sore in all my life. Every muscle from my hips to my ankles is letting me know that they didn't appreciate the abuse. 

But we've made it home again, and my work-out regimen is about to kick up a few notches. The mountain defeated me ... this time.

Mt. Elbert. Above the clouds by 8 a.m.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Small Distractions: Introducing Leonidas

So I've complained all year that there seems to be less and less time to write. But this week, if all goes well, will be the first week in months that I will actually have 4 days out of 7 that I can devote to writing. Amazing! Since when did I go and get myself a social life? I mean, really!

Today, however, it isn't my social life that has me distracted from writing. It's a little guy named Leonidas who doesn't have nearly as many muscles as this Leonidas:

My Leonidas showed up in the neighborhood a couple weeks ago, nearly dead from starvation and dehydration, not because he'd been attacked by Persians -- or Persian cats, for that matter. And who's the biggest sucker in the neighborhood? Yep, me. Just as we were getting him fattened up again, he developed a terrible infection and I was sure he would have to be put down. But the vets were determined to save him, and save him they did. Now, Leonidas is running wild all over my house, and my other cats still aren't sure what to make of him.

This is Leonidas telling me that the old draft of Fury of the Falcon really stinks. But, he says, the paper tastes great.

This is Leonidas being caught in the act of trying to tell this story his way.

He wanted me to post that he was fighting off a thousand Persian cats in the alleyway and is the lone survivor who must tell the tale. And he says the white stripe over his right eye is really hiding the scar he earned from battling the ferocious wolf-chihuahua of Suburbia Pass. ... Why am I not sure I believe him?

So I blame my being distracted from writing this morning on Leo's escapades and using me for a jungle gym. And since it's been a while since I've updated my blog, I thought it appropriate to gave a hint about why I've been, well, distracted.

As soon as he falls asleep, I will sneak in a few paragraphs of a new chapter.

(Side note: the page of text in that middle picture is crap. Don't read it, at all cost. Your eyeballs might melt. Not one word is being kept and used in the new draft.)

(Side side note: I am not a kitty rescue service. Please don't send me any more cats. I have all I can handle.)

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

National Poetry Month: The Everyday

Only a few days left to celebrate. On the 24th, our poetry moderator provided us with the following prompt:

* Write a poem about a mundane, everyday activity.

Well, I've been watching the history series Nazi Hunters recently, and so my psyche is filled with accounts of human carnage. Let that preface my little poem about gardening:

"Pulling Weeds"

Is it worth raw fingers,
bleeding scrapes,
mud caked under fingernails
to pluck up roots, overturn 
cities of underground highways, 
to iron out the ugliness, trim and mold and 
beautify to my liking,
to change the world one blade at a time?

It takes a certain sense of false
supremacy to say 
this beetle’s abode
is worthless.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Road Trips: Mountain Corridors

My husband had training this week in Denver, and it's times like this that it pays to be a writer. I get to pack up my laptop and my notes and travel with him. Writing in hotels, where there are no distractions, is one of my chief pleasures. Hiking in the mountains with friends is another. Once training was over, we kidnapped our friends and they took us to the South Platte Corridor. It's a gorgeous hike up a pine-clad mountain that overlooks the tumbling river. The voices of rushing water below and wind in the pines above sound almost identical.

We came up over a ridge and were faced with the devastating results of a forest fire. The sight of the barren landscape took my breath away. This particular fire had happened a decade or more ago, but the land still had not recovered. My inquisitive mind, however, was fascinated by the lay of the land, as it looks underneath all the trees. It felt like getting to glimpse a secret.

This rocky peek that jutted up from the burned slopes inspired all kinds of fantastical stories in my head.

And bleached tangles of old roots always provide lovely specimens to admire.

We snacked and refueled at an abandoned mine, then hiked back down the mountain. On the 11-hour drive home, we raced a snowstorm. Made it just in time. 

Looks like our next trip will be in August, when we'll head back up the mountain for the Leadville mountain bike race. Until then, I have ogres to slay.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

National Poetry Month Returns!

I love April because National Poetry Month comes round again. Check out for more info on what this celebration is all about, and even find a link to 30 ways to celebrate the art of poetry.

At LegendFire, the moderator of our poetry forum has put together another month's worth of poetry prompts and inspiration. It's a great time to practice.

I wasn't home yesterday, so I missed the grand opening of LF's activities, but I got to dive in this morning. One of the prompts she provides today is: "Write a poem about one or more elements/forces of the weather. For example, rain, sleet, hail, tornadoes, clouds, wind, etc."

Now, I dread the coming of spring. In tornado alley, spring is the season to be watchful. This year might be the year, I say. Our town, our house, might lie in the path this time. And since today we are having our first threat of severe weather I chose to write about tornadoes and my first experience of running to a neighbor's storm shelter, which I blogged about last June.

So here I am, inflicting some really bad poetry on the readers of my blog. But it's for a good cause, right?

Prompt: Tornado
Style: haiku series

black afternoon sky
eyes raised to watch boiling clouds
a wail of sirens

running rabbit-like
a burrow deep underground
hail knocking on doors

morning in the sun
a palace where dreams are stored
strewn trash by nightfall

May 31, 2013. From our iPhone.
Copyright 2013 Court Ellyn

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Jack Tales: The Art Lover

Last month, I introduced Jack, my new writing buddy, who also happens to be the orneriest cat on the block.

Yesterday evening, as I was rolling towels and socks from the laundry basket, Jack decided to make himself at home among the piles of clean laundry. Cats, he once told me, only like clean laundry. They refuse to lay among dirty laundry, because later, when they bathe, they will be licking human toe funk, which, believe it or not, doesn't taste as nice as tuna fish.

In a short while I looked over and saw him hiding under a towel. Luckily this towel is not used in my kitchen. So instead of scolding him, I asked him, "Jack, what in the world are you doing?"

He said, "Can't you tell? I'm reenacting La Primavera, and I'm quite good at it, thank you very much."

Jack as La Primavera

La Primavera, by Sandro Botticelli, 1481-82, detail.