Brittany Jean and the Bates-Ford Talent Search


Brittany Guitar

Hello, dear Reader! Today I have a special update/announcement for you. My sister, the talented singer/songwriter, Brittany Jean got to drive from Washington State down to Nashville back in May as part of the Bates-Ford Talent Search. She was one of 20 contestants and got to perform Garth Brooks’ “The Dance” live on national radio. She was chosen as one of twelve singers to advance to the final round.

TODAY, June 25th, she is back in Nashville for the final round of the competition. Two winners will be chosen and one will get to open for Darryl Worley and the other will get to open for The Oakridge Boys later this same summer!!

If you are interested in listening in, you can catch the entire competition HERE from 1pm-3pm CDT TODAY.

Each contestant will be performing a cover song as well as one of their own original pieces. I hear that Brittany will be performing Willie Nelson’s “Always On My Mind” as well as one of her own original songs off her “Leavin’ Home” album.

Brittany was the last singer in the previous competition, and we have reason to believe she will be the last performer today, as well – but don’t quote me on that!

Even if you can’t listen in, prayers for my sister would be greatly appreciated. For health, for nerves, and just that she would have an absolute blast being back down in Nashville and getting this opportunity!

~ jenelle

Writing Wrongs with Henry Fairchild: The Fellowship Caper, Part 1

Henry Fairchild

As I scrambled through the woods, branches ripping at my clothes, panting, sweat dripping down my forehead, I tried to figure out when exactly I had gone insane.

I’m not a warrior. I’m not even particularly adventurous. I’m a software engineer. I certainly enjoy a good hike and being outside, but that’s a far cry from racing through the woods straight towards a band of ravening Orcs. Particularly when one is wearing nothing but a t-shirt, flannel pants, and extremely well-worn slippers.

But perhaps I should start at the beginning.

When I saw the ad in the InterFiction Gazette that said they were hiring reporters, I applied on a whim. I enjoy their articles, of course, but that’s as far as it goes. Mostly, I liked the humor of it: the idea that reporters could go inside books and talk to the characters directly. I didn’t think the reporters actually interviewed characters. I believed the articles were as fictional as the novels I read.

For that matter, I thought the novels I read were fictional.

I suppose they still are.

Perhaps it’s just my definition of fiction that’s faulty.

Either way, I’m not so sure I have any idea where the line between fiction and reality is anymore. Which is why I’m out here racing through a fictional forest in one of my all-time favorite books.

It’s a moot point, anyway, because I don’t have time to tell you all the details. Suffice to say, I got the job and the badge, and was given my first assignment: to interview Gimli from Lord of the Rings. That sounded fun. I went home from new employee orientation and started flipping through Fellowship of the Ring to get ideas for my article. I sat at my desk for a while and started typing up an amusing piece of fiction in which Gimli first accused me of being an elven spy, and then later came around to liking me so much he said it was a pity I wasn’t a dwarf. I didn’t finish the piece, as it was getting late… but I was enjoying the creative outlet.

I thought the assignment was a creative writing piece!

I never expected to be woken up in the early hours of morning by a strange glow emanating from the badge I had carelessly tossed on my nightstand. 

I sat up as the glow woke me out of a very restful slumber. I was upright and had my feet in my slippers before I realized it wasn’t the sunlight peeking in through my window that had disturbed my sleep. I picked the badge up, staring at it through sleep-blurred eyes. It was blinking a steady blue beat. I turned it over, confused, trying to figure out how it worked and how to shut it off.

Then the world collapsed. Nothing made sense. It was horribly unpleasant. All my senses were turned inside out. And when it stopped, I found myself flat on the grassy ground. A great roaring filled my ears, and at first I thought it had something to do with my sudden transportation, but then I sat up and glimpsed the huge river through the trees. I rubbed my eyes in the early sunlight and stared around.

Could it be possible? It wasn’t possible. I must be dreaming. This was a strange dream brought on my a late supper and reading Lord of the Rings right before falling asleep. And yet… entering the clearing was a very small person, draped in a cloak of strange grayish-green coloring. His shoulders were bowed and his steps were uncertain and weary. He sat in the clearing and closed his eyes.

It was Frodo.

And that’s where we’ll leave Henry for now. Make sure to swing by next week to find out how his first adventure in the Realm of Fiction turns out!

Also, don’t forget to go nominate your favorite characters for the Inaugural Silmarillion Awards! All the nomination categories are now open! Find out more HERE

~ jenelle

Silmarillion Awards 2016


Welcome to the first ever Silmarillion Awards!

The Silmarillion Awards have been created by DJ Edwardson and Jenelle Schmidt as a way to honor J.R.R. Tolkien as the Father of Modern Fantasy, open up a discussion about some of our other favorite fantasy works, and to have a ton of fun this summer.

When we started thinking about creating a sort of “Fantasy Oscars,” we found it difficult to fathom any award that wouldn’t be won by a character or item from The Lord of the Rings… so, to make things a bit more interesting, we decided to call them “The Silmarillion Awards” and have characters from LOTR and The Hobbit present the awards as examples of the ultimate standard for each award. Hopefully that will even the playing field a bit.

Joining our team are eight other bloggers and authors who will each be hosting one of these awards, called Silmarils, on their blogs towards the end of July.

But before we get there, we need YOUR help! Starting today, June 20th and proceeding through July 1st, the nomination period for each award will be open. Please visit the participating bloggers (found in the list below), read the descriptions of the awards and make your nominations!

Nominate characters in the comments of each blog post. If someone has already nominated the character you would have nominated, you may either second that nomination, open a new nomination, or do both. We will be picking the 5 characters with the most “seconds” for the final voting period that will take place between July 4th – 13th, so you may also “third,” “fourth,” “fifth,” etc any nominations you particularly like.

Fine print:

Please do not nominate anything from one of your OWN books!

You may nominate a character AND second, third, fourth a character… but please only vote once per character. (i.e. You cannot nominate a character and then also second that same character)

Please share about the Silmarillion Awards on social media to spread the excitement far and wide across Middle Earth. Use the hashtag: #silmawards2016 wherever possible!

Don’t nominate a Tolkien character/weapon/mount/riddle for the awards, as the characters presenting the awards are already the standard for each award – otherwise LOTR would win every award, so that is why they are considered the Ultimate Standard for each of these awards and characters from LOTR will be Presenting the awards come July!

Don’t stress if a character you nominate doesn’t win this year. We are hoping to make this an annual tradition, and these awards are LIFETIME AWARDS, meaning that they cannot be won by the same character more than once!


Phase 1 – June 20-July 1: Award nominations open

Phase 2 – July 4: the final nominees will be announced and voting will open and last through July 14th

Phase 3 – July 16-28: Presentation of the awards, 1 per day, each award will be hosted on a different blog each day

Phase 4 – Celebration! July 29th was the official publication date of the Lord of the Rings back in 1954. We invite you all to celebrate with us the 62nd birthday of this masterpiece of Fantasy Fiction. Congratulate the winners, take and post a photo of yourselves with LOTR paraphernalia, write a blog post about your favorite LOTR moment, scene, character, quote, or memory… get creative and have fun!

Participating Bloggers:

DJ Edwardson Hosting the Best Friend Silmaril

Jenelle Schmidt Hosting the Most Heart Wrenching Death Scene Silmaril

Deborah O’Carroll Hosting the Strangest Character Silmaril

Abbey Hosting the Most Nefarious Villain Silmaril

JL Mbewe Hosting the Best Redemption Story Silmaril

Tracey Hosting the Riddling and Poetry Silmaril

Jack Lewis Baillot Hosting the Best Fantasy Mount Silmaril

Madeline J. Rose Hosting the Most Epic Hero Silmaril

Zachary Totah Hosting the Wisest Counsellor Silmaril

Rawls E. Fantasy Hosting the Best Fantasy Weapon Silmaril

As you can see, I will be hosting the Most Heart Wrenching Death Scene Silmaril here on my own blog. Below are the criteria for the sort of character who ought to be nominated for such an award. Keeping in mind that LOTR characters will be presenting these awards as the ultimate standard of Fantasy Fiction

The winner of the Most Heart Wrenching Death Scene Silmaril should go to a character whose death absolutely rips the heart of its reader to shreds. This cannot just be a character whose death is disappointing or unexpected, but should turn its readers into a soggy mess, unable to read the pages because they’ve gone all blurry every time they read the story…. or sometimes even when they’re just thinking about the story.

This award will be presented to the character YOU vote for by a noble individual who is known most for his courage and determination and sky blue hood with a silver tassel… as well as for his final words of apology to one Burglar, which definitely brings tears to MY eyes every time I read it.

SilmAward2016Infographic (1)

~ jenelle