Weekly Fantasy Fix Newsletter
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Can Meek Heroes Thwart Unstoppable Villains?

For the Christmas newsletter, I started a story; one that would give a little Christmas gift not only to my readers, but to some of my characters as well. Let's face it, I've put Einar, the Circle, and their families through an awful lot since the start of my series. But let it not be said that I am a heartless writer. I challenge my characters, and test them, even refine them through hardships, just as all of us are challenged, tested, and refined by real life. But I also allow them to feel joy, love, and yes, even moments of great triumph. The villains don't always win, and great wrongs can be righted in surprising ways. Sometimes the most powerful, seemingly unstoppable villains, are thwarted not by the strongest and most powerful of heroes, but by the meek, who glide past unnoticed because they aren't considered important enough to watch. That's real life, too.

I thought I could finish this fun story in two parts, but it has gained some momentum in the writing process and will take more than that. Who knows, I might even expand it in the future, filling in more detail, and adding more twists to the plot. That's part of the fun of writing, at least for me. There are always deeper furrows to plow, and from the seeds planted within them, amazing things grow. They just need the genuine warmth of heart, and a fertile imagination, watered with an unquenchable desire to keep creating, day after day, season upon season.

Hope you enjoy "Letters for the Circle," Part 2. If you missed Part 1, no worries. You can still read from the beginning by following either link.

Keran tucked his head down deep inside his hood and tried to keep his mare walking at a leisurely pace. His heart thumped so loudly he was certain everyone he passed could hear it, including the Port’s Keep night watch. With the Winter Festival just beginning, they were more attentive than usual to the comings and goings of those out after nightfall.

Keran’s mare sensed his anxiety and kept trying to rush forward to outrun it. It took all his strength to keep her reined in. “You’re going to get us noticed,” he hissed, irritated more by his immediate risk than by her behavior. He knew she was only responding to his mood; if he could calm himself, she would settle. Keran took a few deep breaths and tried to focus on nothing but the road directly in front of him. The city gate loomed just ahead—if he was going to get caught, it would be there, by an overly inquisitive guard wondering why a boy would be leaving the protection of the city alone in the dark of night. He sat up straight in the saddle, trying to make the most of his height. He had grown rather tall in the past year. Perhaps they would think he was older, if he kept his head covered and face hidden. It was the only hope he had. (Click to continue...)


Word Wise
Learn interesting words and expressions from the medieval era.
Afarsing: A cooking process that thickens or increases the quantity of a dish so that it serves more feasters than intended by the recipe, while also adding extra nutrition.

Allaying: The opposite of afarsing, this cooking process dilutes a dish, or conversely adds a sharp, sour, or biting flavor (like vinegar) to an already sweet mixture.

Medieval people had a taste for tart flavors that we don't tend to have today. Vinegar, verjuice, and other sharp and sour ingredients were common in medieval recipes.
The Results are Coming In!

At the end of 2016, I created a poll to find out from YOU, the readers, what you enjoy most about my editions of the Fantasy Fix Newsletter, and what you would like to see different for 2017.

Here are some of the results. Do you agree or disagree? I only know what you think if you take the poll--the more responses, the better!

Results to the first question, What are your favorite weekly features from Allison D. Reid:

44% - Medieval Menagerie
67% - Self Editing Tips
67% - Main Article
56% - Fantasy Art Wednesday
33% - Book Announcements
44% - Short Stories

There have been some wonderful comments too, and suggestions that I intend to follow. (An announcement will be coming soon...)

If you haven't taken the poll yet, let your voice be heard!  I promise it is short and won't take long to answer.
Who or Whom?

Choosing which word to use can get confusing...unless you know this simple rule!

Who can always be replaced with "he" or "she" in a sentence, and whom can be replaced by "him" or "her."  

For example:

"Who made this beautiful cake?" (He/She made the cake.)

"Whom did the visitor come to see? (The visitor came to see him/her.)

For the more technical answer, whom refers to the object of a verb or preposition, and who refers to the subject of the sentence.

Want to know if you've got it down? Take this short quiz to find out!
Get inspired by Fantasy Art Wednesday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing!

This image reminded me of my time in Europe, walking along cobbled streets in winter, the old timber framed and stone structures still surviving amidst the modern ones. Touching them always brought about a sense of amazement and wonder.  Hundreds of years later, I could still run my fingers along the grooves and marks made by chisels and axes belonging to someone now forgotten. If only the buildings had a voice, they could tell me who made them, and about all the generations of people who had used them since. Such stories they would be…

Those old buildings had character to be sure, full of oddly shaped rooms and cubbies, narrow hallways, and circular staircases. Ceilings were low, sometimes with uneven slopes. Window glass warped and discolored, thicker at the bottom as time gradually changed its shape. Floors creaked, and doors were smaller–not made for the average height of a modern day person. Sometimes those doors were tiny, or in odd places, or even went nowhere at all–at least not anymore. Surely they had a practical function of some kind in their day. But the sense of mystery was often the greatest inspiration of all. As much as I longed to know what those buildings would say if they could speak, it was the not knowing that fueled my imagination. Since I didn’t, and couldn’t know, the longing pressed me to fill in the details for myself.

The warmth of that door, and the stone around it, contrasts with the cold and gloom of a winter day. It’s clearly not the main entrance to this city–it’s one of those mysterious little back gates, or side doors. Who uses it, and for what purpose? Where does the road beyond it lead? There are no guards on watch, and the wall isn’t overly high. In the background the spires of a church rise above everything else. I can imagine that on the other side of the door I will find a cobbled walkway. It will twist through back alleys and narrow streets, wedged between corbeled buildings pressed too close together, leaning out above everything. Every little crevice and arch I pass by contains layers of history, and mystery too. I’d love to take a stroll through this picture, even if only in my mind, and weave a few tales as I go. Of days, and people long passed into history. What will you find on the other side? Or is it your destiny to emerge from the door, to leave the village behind, and follow the snowy path into winter’s gloom?

Artwork by Edmund Koken

Learn More About the Weekly Fantasy Fix Authors!
Joshua Robertson is a dark fantasy author who enjoys challenging the concept of good and evil.

His bestselling novel, Melkorka, is one of three books currently available in the Thrice Nine Legends saga. 

Click to learn more about Joshua...
Allison D. Reid is a Christian Fantasy author with a fondness for Medieval history.  Her first published series, the Wind Rider Chronicles, embraces traditional fantasy elements but is also infused with deeper spiritual themes. The first book, Journey to Aviad, is now free in ebook format everywhere.

Listen to a live interview with Allison!
Renee Scattergood writes Dark fantasy and is currently publishing a serial called, Shadow Stalker. She is also working on the first novel in her series, A God's Deception. The first novel in the series is due out late 2016 or early 2017.

Read more about Renee.
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