Friday, November 20, 2020


Looking into the world from Beyond the Veil and the folklore that surrounds it.
Part 10. 
To my dearest friends and followers,

This is the final week of my 10 week series of analyzing my young adult fantasy novel, The Story of Hollyhocks (Tales from Beyond the Veil book 1)!! For anyone who might be new here, you can find part 1 by clicking here, From Beyond the Veil (if you are using the desktop version). Or, if you are using a mobile device, you can begin with the article published on September 3rd by clicking here.

Chapter 36 picks up mid-dialogue that began in the previous chapter. Hollyhocks has just learned that Jack died, and wonders how it is that he is still "alive". We learn a little about his past life and what it is that made him who he is now. This character was extremely fun to write, even though he really only appears in the last 5 chapters of the book. He was influenced by one of my favorite characters ever written, Peter Pan. He is youthful, frozen in time, and arrogant and charming all at once.
The stories of Jack Frost go way back, where he actually originated as two different beings: Nordic gods, or giants. One was named Jokul (Icicle) and the other was named Frosti (Frost). Somehow the names became meshed together, and then translated into English as Jack Frost. In time, he was thought to be an evil entity, bringing darkness and the bitter cold in the world.
My research as led me to believe that it was in the book, The Weather Fairies by Marion St. John Webb (published 1927) which first depicted Jack Frost as a sprite. She (the author) writes about him as being a childlike, mischievous, and evil character.
In 2012, the DreamWorks film, Rise of the Guardians, came out, painting a fresh view of the character, depicting him as a young carefree teenager who was once a normal human boy. In my mind, he was the ice version of Peter Pan. I always love characters like this, including Jet from Avatar: The Last Aribender.
If you are familiar with one or all of these characters, you might see similarities with them and the character from my book, though I take the story in a much different direction as well.
Towards the end of the chapter, Jack says that his soul is joyful - something that Hollyhocks and other characters have longed for the entirety of the book.

Chapter 37 is interesting, in that we learn that Hollyhocks's parents are "privy to her adventures in the human world," so we now know that they know about Edward, who has been absent since chapter 30.
I think the biggest thing in this chapter is that, even though we know that the law was set in the Ancient World saying that no sprite should leave the Forest for the rest of time, Hollyhocks's parents decide to allow her to leave the Forest when she likes, since they know they could not really ever prevent her from going. We are told this in the space of a single paragraph, and it is never really brought back up. This is because Hollyhocks, at the time, was still very upset about Edward, and we are told that because of this, "her parents leniency meant little to her." I think it's safe to say that, though she will take action on this at a later time, it's never openly discussed with her parents again.

Chapter 39 picks up months later, in the spring to be exact, which is exactly one year later from when the story began (excluding the 1st chapter). Jack seemingly succeeds in his endeavor to bring Hollyhocks out of her darkness, as we are told that her world "grew brighter". One thing about Jack, is he looks for the little things that make life worthwhile, appreciating the beauty of the Forest, and living joyfully, believing that life itself is an adventure. 
The beliefs of Jack are what I came to believe myself - or what I am always striving for, at least. I used to feel like I was always waiting for "one day" to arrive - like I wasn't really living in the time that I was in, always waiting for something better to come along. I always loved books with beautiful details. I loved the infinite moments, the moments that the characters felt most alive. I wanted that. I wanted to notice the world in the way the poets talked about. I think Jack was born out of that desire, so to speak. He notices things that others do not. He has reached what the others desire: joy.
Hollyhocks believes that one day she will feel joy, though she never really achieves it in this book, which is honestly a bit sad. Still though, she is with her friends and glad to be home, content to live her own adventure in the midst of the Forest with those she cares about.

Thank you so much for reading!!

Yours truly,

Check out the novel, The Story of Hollyhocks (Tales from Beyond the Veil book 1). A new revised version will be available for purchase in December 2020!!

Friday, November 13, 2020

Beginning To See The Light.

 Looking into the world from Beyond the Veil and the folklore that surrounds it.
Part 9.
To my dearest friends and followers,

Today is the ninth week that I will be discussing and analyzing my novel, The Story of Hollyhocks (Tales from Beyond the Veil book 1). In case anyone has not read the previous 8 posts, you can do so my clicking on the Archive on the right panel of the blog if you are viewing from the desktop version, or by clicking here if you are using a mobile device, and beginning with the article published on September 3rd, 2020.

Today I will be going over chapters 32-35. Next week, I will be finishing this series with chapters 36-39!!

Chapters 32 and 33 both focus on the state of depression that Hollyhocks enters (a result of the events told in chapters 30 and 31). She, JuJuBee, and Shaylee journey back from London, traveling through familiar places, such as Stony Stratford (where the characters lodged in chapter 15), and Northampton (see also chapter 15). The end of chapter 33 sees the characters arriving back at the Forest. Hollyhocks is hesitant to return home as she struggles to feel like she belongs anywhere, after experiencing an adventure beyond anything she could ever have imagined.
Shaylee is a pillywiggin (a flower fairy) and hibernates during the colder seasons. We learn that summer is nearly over, and autumn is approaching fast, giving way to the bitter cold winter that is sure to come. While Shaylee grows more and more sleepy, JuJuBee really steps up and becomes the good friend that I think we've been wanting her to be. She comforts Hollyhocks and offers wisdom in this dark time. The chapter ends with JuJuBee accompanying Hollyhocks as she is about to return to her parents after having been away for so long.

Chapter 34 picks up several months later, with winter already upon them. We see a glimpse of what the autumn was like while also seeing for the first time how the sprite's magic works while they painted their world in the colors of fall. Hollyhocks's negative energy affects how the leaves turn out, causing them to die, rather than painting them in vibrant hues.
We then see a flashback of when Hollyhocks and JuJuBee first arrived back at Hollyhocks's home. Her parents welcome her, telling her though they missed her, they were not worried about her, for the unicorn (Anlon) had told them she would return.
We are then taken back to the present day (winter with snow upon the ground). Hollyhocks is alone in the Forest and views the world as dull and gray, which greatly contrasts her views in the first 29 chapters of the book. At last she is met by Anlon. She feels that he is empathetic toward her and hears the word hope in the wind, much in the same way that Edward heard the name Anlon in chapter 17. She follows him as he runs deeper into the Forest, convinced that the unicorn has more to tell her, but loses track of him several times through the snow falling. Hours have passed and she is tired, but before she can turn back, she collides with someone.

In the 35th chapter, we meet the cocky, yet charming Jack Frost. The two realize they have met before (see chapter 3). Jack Frost acts as a light for Hollyhocks, with the narrator telling us, Despite his pompous demeanor, his smile was oddly attractive and she found it contagious. How strange it felt to smile again. Jack is very observant and while Hollyhocks tells him briefly why she is sad, he quickly fills in the blanks, narrowing down exactly how she feels. She is alarmed by this, but continues to answer his probing questions. The chapter ends with Jack revealing a great secret about himself...

Thank you so much for reading!!

Yours truly,

(A new revised version will be available for purchase in December 2020).

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Friday, November 6, 2020

Murdered or Survived?

 Looking into the world from Beyond the Veil and the folklore that surrounds it.
Part 8.
To my dearest friends and followers,

Over the course of the last 2 months, I have been analyzing my novel, The Story of Hollyhocks (Tales from Beyond the Veil book 1), and talking about the historical elements and folklore that I put in to the story. If you would like to read through the previous 7 posts in this series, please check out the Archive on the right panel of this page and begin with the post From Beyond the Veil in September.

Today I will be going through chapters 28-31.
Chapter 28 tells of Richard of Shrewsbury, the Duke of York, arriving at the Tower of London to stay with his older brother, Edward V. In chapters 16 and 19, we saw the two boys in Ludlow, playing a game together which we are told they did often (or when their schedules permitted them to do so. Chapter 28 expands over several days, in which it is implied that the boys were delighted to be reunited with one another again. We then learn from the narrator that they spent much of their playing together at the Tower.
History tells us that, while Edward resided in Ludlow and was raised by his maternal uncle, Lord Anthony Woodville, 2nd Earl Rivers, Richard of Shrewsbury was raised primarily by his mother, Elizabeth Woodville. This meant that Richard would have spent much of his time in London, and that the two brothers would have hardly seen each other during their childhood. Elizabeth Woodville was said to have been in sanctuary in Westminster Abbey in London, when her son was taken from her and brought to the Tower on the 16th of June (Edward was brought to his lodgings in the Tower on the 19th of May).
I changed these historical facts for the purpose of having Richard there for Edward in chapters 16-19. It created fond memories in the flashbacks, while also allowing the two boys to have discussions that lead up to Edward finding the Forest in the first place.

Chapter 30 is quite extreme, which greatly contrasts with chapter 29, which is, if I may say so, a beautiful chapter filled with rich dialogue between Hollyhocks and Edward. The two touch on many topics: dreaming of flying and the freeing nature of it, exploring the idea of joy and wishing they could feel it forever, and talking about the possibilities of living in a fairy ring. Chapter 30, however, tells of the fate of Edward V and his brother, Richard.
Historically, the princes in the tower "disappeared" in late September, 1483. Things get extremely interesting here. In 1518, Thomas More wrote that Richard III had the princes murdered by being smothered with their own pillows while they were sleeping. In 1593, William Shakespeare also wrote that the princes were smothered by pillows in his play, Richard III. There are theories that Edward V and his brother were murdered not by their uncle, Richard III, but by Henry Tudor (who would later become Henry VII). There is also evidence in the writings of Sir Thomas More and the painting of his family, Sir Thomas More and Family (Painted by Hans Holbein) supporting the idea that the princes were never murdered, but went on to live secret lives. Who knows what really happened...

Chapter 31 shows the final moments between Hollyhocks and Edward before they are separated from one another. Hollyhocks grieves of his absence, and ends the chapter with a final goodbye, before she, JuJuBee, and Shaylee begin to take their leave from London.

Thank you so much for reading!!
Check out my Twitter for daily updates about my progress with NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month)!!

Yours truly,

Holbein Artworks: Sir Thomas More and Family.