Plans for the Blog 2017

It is snowing. Not just here on my blog, but for real outside my window.

And that makes me happy.

But the beautiful, sparkly flakes of snow flurrying outside my window are neither here nor there, really. Wherever you are, I hope the view through your window thrills your heart as much as my current view does mine.

I hopped online today to pose a question, dear Reader. I really need your help.

I’ve been blogging about my writing journey for over 6 years now. I don’t tend to have a blog-o-versary type celebration usually, mostly because I used to do this at a different blog, and when I moved over to this new platform I brought all my old content with me, so I tend to have a hard time remembering exactly when this blog began (I looked it up, my first post here was Dec. 4, 2012… so… happy rather belated 4th birthday, little blog!)

And while I have seen a steady increase in traffic and readers and commenters, I still feel as though I am a bit at a loss about what things people really want to read when they come over here. So, would you mind telling me which kinds of posts you most enjoy reading over here in my little corner of cyberspace? Last year was kind of a banner year for me on the blog front, but it ebbed and flowed as any other year. This year, I would like to do a bit more concentrating on my actual writing of books, and not so much on the blog… which means I want to be a bit more efficient with my efforts – especially with a baby coming in April!

Don’t worry, I’m going to help you out with some multiple-choice style options! (Sorry, can’t quite shake my teacher-tendencies) I am probably not going to do a lot of “posting every day” style blogging this year, so my first question is the easy one:

Which day(s) of the week you would prefer me to post on?

a) Monday

b) Tuesday

c) Wednesday

d) Thursday

e) Friday

Now for the harder question, feel free to pick multiple options… maybe rank them in order of preference?

What kinds of posts here do you enjoy the most?

a) Henry Fairchild Writing Wrongs adventures

b) Book reviews

c) Movie reviews

d) Ishness updates

e) Anytime I participate in a blog challenge or tag (such as Beautiful Books, etc)

f) Bring back the Nightstand Books meme!

g) Snippets from your Works-in-Progress

h) Updates on how writing is going

i) helpful advice about the stages and process of writing/self-publishing

j) InterFiction Gazette interviews with characters from other books

k) Inspiring Images – where you post an image and talk about story ideas it brings to mind

l) February is Fantasy Month

m) the Silmarillion Awards

n) occasional inspirational or funny or interesting quotes

o) information about sales/giveaways

p) more short story challenges like the Spooky Stories one

q) other (please explain/specify… for my more sarcastic/snarky readers… I love your sense of humor, but please, don’t just say “other” without any helpful additions. I’m sure there are things I’ve left off this list that I could post about or have posted about and forgotten… but this list is getting a bit long!)

 

Thank you in advance for your help!

~ jenelle

Writing Wrongs: The Capitol Caper

Henry Fairchild

It took several trips into the story of my choosing before I felt ready to make the adjustments I deemed necessary. I shuffled around in the background, avoiding the narrative, which is a lot easier in a story being told from a singular first-person perspective. All I had to do was avoid the main character. But I snuck around the areas and the other characters I might need to interact with, watching, studying, gauging how best to make the adjustments required. I even interacted with a few of them, tentatively testing the waters. I plotted and schemed, coming up with a dozen different ideas and ultimately rejecting them all.

When I finally made my move, I knew what I had to do. I had put the pieces in place, but there still remained the simple question: could it be done? The theory appeared sound. Over a decade ago, one Clorinda Eaves had managed to enter the timeline of a story before the published narrative. She had filed a brief report about her experience but was fired from the Gazette for breaking their rules. I had read her report but had yet to make an attempt myself. If I could manage, I would be able to pull off my plan without anyone noticing until it was far too late.

But now, the planning is over. The day has arrived. The book in question sits open on my coffee table, awaiting my presence. Dressed in an absolutely ridiculous raiment of colors, I hold up my InterFiction badge and concentrate on the exact location and time I am aiming for within the story. The world blurs and shifts, and then I find myself standing inside the opulent foyer of the President’s mansion.

“Excuse me,” I say to a woman sitting at a desk in the entryway. “I am here to see President Snow.”

She looks up at me in confusion, her hands twitching as if she is searching for a pen or a calendar. “Do you have an appointment?”

“Yes.”

She peers down at the desk and then looks up with a faint line marring the smooth perfection of her forehead. “There is nothing on the schedule about an appointment, Mister…?”

“Fairchild. Henry Fairchild,” I reach out and shake her hand, despite her not offering it. “And of course there isn’t, this is a private appointment, Capitol security. You can never be too careful, am I right?”

“I suppose…” she hesitates.

“Trust me, you do not want to find out what happened to the last secretary that asked too many questions about the President’s top secret meetings.” I pluck a flower out of the vase sitting on her desk and casually use my thumb to pop the head off the stem. The clerk’s face turns a deathly pale and she stands, her eyes wide. 

“Right this way, Mr. Fairchild,” she gasps, leading the way to a door that is grotesquely ornate. She pushes the door open and squeaks, “Your eleven o’clock security meeting, President Snow.”

I glide through the door before she has time to utter another word and pull the heavy wooden monster closed behind me. President Snow looks up from where he is lounging on a white-cushioned chaise, his glass of wine halfway to his lips, and his eyes — which are languidly lifeless — widen in surprise.

***

Despite the surprise on his face, President Snow’s voice is even as he takes a sip of his wine and then places it back on the small table before him with neat precision. Without sparing another glance my way he asks, “Who are you, and what makes you think you can barge into my private home without an appointment and live to tell about it?”

“I am here to save your legacy,” I reply. I am a bit startled by his appearance. He is not as old as I expected, probably only in his sixties, closer to my age than I would have guessed from reading the books.

My flippant remark catches his attention and he glances my way. “Is that a threat?” The words sound as though they should be coming out in a snarl, but they are calm, expressionless.

“No, sir. I am here to warn you that the threat is already out there, though you are unaware of it. You will remain unaware of it until it is too late, and then your empire will crumble and you will find yourself dethroned and disgraced.”

He licks his lips slowly. “Am I to presume that you have an idea of how to set me on an alternate course?”

“You are.”

He settles himself back into his chair. “I am listening.”

“You will not like my suggestion.”

“I promise to listen to it.”

That is all I can hope for. “You must not hold the Hunger Games this year. In fact, you must stop them altogether.”

A mirthless chuckle escapes from Snow’s throat. “As simple as that? Stop the one thing that maintains a fierce control over the Districts and my legacy is secure? My empire will not crumble? This is a hilarious joke. Who put you up to this? I must congratulate them on their ingenuity and creativity.”

“The Districts are ripe for rebellion. It will not take much to push them over the edge. One Tribute who defies you and lives, and your reign is over.”

“Nobody who defies me lives.” Snow waves a hand negligently and takes another sip from his goblet.

“Yet.”

He peers at me, my tone causing him to pause. I can see in his eyes that he is considering my words. “Explain yourself. If this is a joke, it is at least an amusing one. I have not been so amused in a very long time.”

“The Districts are poor. The people scrabble to survive. No hope of anything better survives out there. One act of defiance is all that it will take to present a glimmer of hope into their bleak existence and light the fires of rebellion.”

“Rebellions are easy to quell.”

“Perhaps, but if a rebellion begins, District Thirteen will swoop in and take advantage of every distraction. They would play you for a fool, and while your eyes were on a single defiant child… the true enemy would casually step in over your carcass.”

“How do you know about District Thirteen?” Snow demands, the amusement gone from his eyes.

“I know much.”

“So what do you propose I do about it? Why would stopping the Hunger Games prevent this future you are so confident will occur?”

“I believe that if the spark of hope came directly from the Capitol… came from you, rather than from one of their own… then everything would end differently. There would be no reason to rebel. In fact, it may even be easier to stabilize what you do control and increase prosperity for all… even those living in the Districts.”

He gazes at me, his fingers drumming the table before him. The idea appears to intrigue him. “Do you know who will light this spark?”

“I do.”

“Then why not just kill that individual? Wouldn’t it be simpler?”

“I considered that, but it is impossible to predict who else may rise up, and eventually, someone will. If this spark does not have the chance to fly, another will. Believe me, I have planned out many different scenarios… but they all end much the same way. I even considered going to the leader of District Thirteen… but in the end, I believe you are the more reasonable individual. The only plan that has a chance of working is for you to declare an end to the Hunger Games.”

“And then what?”

“You may have to find a different way of ruling. Perhaps extend a carrot instead of a stick.”

His face twists. At first I think he is rejecting my idea in disgust, but after a long moment the wrinkles smooth, and I realize he was giving serious thought to my words.

“End the Hunger Games,” he mused. “I had thought perhaps we had grown past the need for them. I was going to announce their end at the Quarter Quell… a much more auspicious time…”

I interrupt, “By then it will be too late. The sparks for the rebellion begin in the 74th Hunger Games. You cannot wait that long.”

He peers at me through narrowed lids. “Just who did you say you were?”

“Henry Fairchild, InterFiction Gazette.”

“Never heard of it.”

“You wouldn’t have.”

At length he nods. “I don’t know why, but I believe you. Truth rings in your words, and I am very good at perceiving when someone is lying to me. Very well, it shall be as you say. There will be no more Hunger Games.”

I nod deeply, once. “You will not regret that decision.”

President Snow chuckles again. “I do not have long to regret it or enjoy its fruits, either way.”

“And that is why I knew you would see reason. Good day, sir.” 

I turn and exit the room. I grin at the cowering clerk on my way out and then press the buttons on my badge. The gaudy world of Capitol fades away and I find myself again in my living room. I glance down. The book that lay open on my coffee table has vanished completely… as if it never existed.

I cannot help but smile as I go to my bookshelf and pull down another tome, this one simply for pleasure. 

“Interesting. Not quite the outcome I had anticipated, but not an unwelcome one,” I mutter.

~ jenelle

Ultimate Winner

My first blog post of 2017. It’s just a short one to let you all know who won the Ultimate Stormcave Prize Bundle.

We had many entries. I heard beautiful tales of Christmas kindness. Read some very fun short stories and enjoyed seeing how some people got creative with the use of the word “Stormcave,” and in general it was very fun to see how excited everyone was about the prize. But, like all good things, the giveaway has come to its end, and alas, there could only be one winner.

Congratulations to CLARA! Your prizes will be put in the mail this week.

To everyone else, thank you for participating. We shall have to do something like this again someday. I hope you all had a lovely Christmas and a very Happy New Year.

Blessings!

~ jenelle