Dragons of Change

Today I am fighting dragons of Change. These dragons are everywhere! Snorting, snarling, breathing in smoke, breathing out fire… “Stay calm inside … remember your secret strength! It’s okay, it’s okay…”
Such is my mantra today. My spirit is low, but I am still on the winning side. I have fought many such dragons and have won. These will be no different. Whenever there is a change in my life, I am thrown off balance for a while. I have chosen a few different weapons that have worked in the past. Prayer, perseverance…these are always weapons of choice for any type of dragon. For dragons of Change, I usually mix a particularly strong elixir of quietness (for reflection on which way to turn and to garner up strength) and activity. I hit the gym again today. Keeping physically strong helps me also keep mentally strong.
A dragon of Fear hit me with a surprise attack around lunchtime. These are particularly sneaky dragons which very often hang out with dragon’s of Change. This is one that screeches, “What if? What if?…” Then, whatever it suggests becomes a poison that infects my brain. I can imagine all kinds of scary things happening. If it is a physical illness that is suggested, I begin to experience symptoms of illness. Today, it was one of these, and to combat it, I confronted it squarely. I called the dragon by its name, which is always a powerful weapon, and it slithered away, hissing its complaint at having been found out.

— From the Journal of Meghan Forrester: “Meghan’s Dragons” by T. M. Wallace (unpublished manuscript)

Here it is!!! “Under a Fairy Moon” Sequel –WINTERGARDEN


Here it is!!! Finally, after what seemed like an eternity of waiting, the Fairy Moon sequel is ready … . Now to start writing book three!

Official “Book Blurb”:

Fifteen-year old Addy Marten must travel to the center of the Garden’s magical labyrinth in order to reach her friend Connor and free him from the witch-queen. Both Connor and Addy must learn to use their own magical abilities to fight the growing evil in the human and fairy realms.

WINTERGARDEN is the sequel to the Award-Winning Fantasy novel:
UNDER A FAIRY MOON, (Gelett Burgess Awards, 2012, Canadian Christian Writing Awards 2012.)

An Interview with MG author Darlene Beck-Jacobson

About the Author:

blog tour photo

I’m proud to introduce to you an amazing writer of middle-grade fiction, Darlene Beck-Jacobson! Darlene is a good writer-friend of mine, part of the critique group “Critique this” who helped me with the birth of my own novel, “Under A Fairy Moon.” I was also privileged to read and comment on the first drafts of her book, “Wheels of Change” and so I am already good friends with it’s main character, Emily Soper. I am pleased to record here an interview with Darlene about the book.


About the Book: 

Racial intolerance, social change, sweeping progress. It is a turbulent time growing up in 1908. For twelve year old EMILY SOPER, life in Papa’s carriage barn is magic. Emily is more at home hearing the symphony of the blacksmith’s hammer, than trying to conform to the proper expectations of females. Many prominent people own Papa’s carriages. He receives an order to make one for President Theodore Roosevelt. Papa’s livelihood becomes threatened by racist neighbors, and horsepower of a different sort. Emily is determined to save Papa’s business even if she has to go all the way to the President.

An Interview with Darlene:

Is this your first book?  It is!

Can you tell us a little about your publishing journey?

During the 1990’s and early 2000’s, I had success publishing short stories in CRICKET, CICADA, ST. ANTHONY MESSENGER, and other magazines.  But, I always wanted to publish a book.  I wrote three novels to see if I could sustain an idea for 200 pages.  Those stories will remain in cobwebbed folders in my file cabinet because they’re awful.  But, for me,  they were necessary practice for perfecting the form.

What lessons do you feel you learned about the publishing industry?

If you have a unique story to tell, it will eventually find a home.  I queried dozens of agents before I found one – Liza Fleissig of the Liza Royce Agency – who loved and believed in WHEELS OF CHANGE from the beginning.  Once the manuscript was sold to CRESTON BOOKS (www.crestonbooks.co), there were still several rounds of revisions to get it “just right”. As a writer, the time line from sale to publication seems an eternity.  But, that slow pace is necessary to bring out the best book possible.

How would you describe yourself?

Someone who is curious to learn new things, hardworking and persistent, and optimistic that things will eventually work out okay.

What three words would you use to describe your book?

Change is coming!

What was the inspiration for your book?

There were two family facts I discovered while researching my family tree. One was that my paternal grandmother’s father was a carriage maker in Washington DC at the turn of the Twentieth Century. The other was that grandma received an invitation to a reception held at the White House by Theodore Roosevelt. She attended that reception and met TR. So, this was the catalyst for Wheels of Change. My “what if” moment.

What was the most surprising thing you learned while writing it?

I was surprised how helpful everyone was during the research for the book. All I had to do was ask and photos were sent, questions answered and books recommended.  People are happy to share their knowledge with anyone who seems genuinely interested. For that, I am grateful. It really made that period of history much more vivid.

What is your favorite part of your book?

I think my favorite part is when Emily realizes it’s up to her to decide which changes in her life are worth fighting for and which ones can be ignored. It’s a lesson everyone faces in his or her own life…whether those changes be big or small.

What do you want readers to take away from your book?

I wanted to show how change affects us all and can bring welcome and unwelcome things into our lives. It’s up to each of us to decide the importance of those changes. We can’t stop change–it still happens all around us. But, if we make it work for us, we can see a better outcome.  If we face change with those we love, it is less frightening than facing it alone.

Darlene, thank you so much for sharing your insights about the book!

Fantasy as Gift

“I am enough of an artist to draw freely upon my imagination. Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” ~ Albert Einstein

I love that Einstein held fantasy and imagination in such high regard. I think its marvelous that a man so versed in science and logic appreciated the immense capacity of the imagination and the power of fantasy to transform everyday life. I especially love that he knows it is a gift, a gift he values even more than knowledge. It seems strange at first, as though Einstein, perhaps the greatest scientist the world has known, would prefer fantasy to fact, the unreal to the real.

Einstein shows us that art is not really so far apart from Science and Math and the other disciplines. It drives them, pushes the boundaries, injects them with new expectation. Perhaps Albert Einstein said it best when he said: “Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life’s coming attractions.” The gift of imagination can allow us to envision miracles and wonders. The power then comes when we believe.

I think of Einstein’s words when I stop to think about the reasons why I write fantasy. Fantasy, and particularly fantasy books offer new perspectives on what is real – the things that are happening below the surface of our thoughts. Fantasy deals with the really “big” questions, like: “why are we here?” Fantasy characters are constantly trying to figure out their world. They are acutely aware of the forces of good and evil and their own part in that spiritual battle. In a good fantasy book, a reader is not limited by the world of the senses … he or she can put on wings and soar through worlds hitherto uncharted. He or she is then free to speak, or think, or dream in the language of poetry – the language of the soul.