Unraveling the Veil, Book One: Liars and Thieves – Review, Q&A, and Book Release With D. Wallace Peach

Waaaay back in my infanblogcy, I stumbled upon D. Wallace Peach. Maybe I followed a trail of adoring fans; maybe I read an entry she did for Carrot Ranch; or maybe her reputation guided my searchings. I still recall the very first blog post I read: a snippet from a book she wrote about a girl witnessing an execution and feeling emotions where she was not supposed to. The idea was that people did not feel and the girl was an aberration.

At that point, I vowed I would purchase and read one of Diana’s books. This year, I did so. In fact, I did so twice because she released a brand-new series: Unraveling the Veil.

Liars and Thieves (Unraveling the Veil Book 1) by [D. Wallace Peach]
Buy it from Amazon!

When I asked D. Wallace about my doing a review and Q&A after reading the first book, she agreed! D. is one of the most genuine and nicest people I’ve ever corresponded with; the sort I know would invite me in with a smile and an invitation to dinner if I e-mailed her that I happened to be near her secret writing room.

Liars and Thieves, the first book in this trilogy, begins with an omniscient POV of one Kalann il Drakk, First of Chaos, who is launching psionic canons or somesuch in order to break something called The Veil. His attack is rebuffed and his damages repaired, buuuuut his efforts cause energy lapses in the lands beyond The Veil.

We’re then thrown into the perspective of a goblin -a half-goblin, actually- named Naj’ar, then that of Elanalue Windthorn the elf, then that of a changeling who mostly goes by Talin Raska.

Yep; this is a fantasy novel.

The story unfolds through these three different characters and the parts where their adventures intersect and intertwine. Each represents and reveals the good and bad of their distinct, interesting races. Each has personal powers, personalities, and flaws. Each is intriguing to read.

After I finished reading the book, Diana agreed to answer a few questions:

1. Where did your initial inspiration for the races in your world come from?

First, thanks so much for inviting me to your blog, Chelsea. And for the great questions. I love chatting about books and writing.

The inspiration for Liars and Thieves had its origin in US politics where blaming, racial bullying, and blatant lies had crept from the shadows and become unabashedly mainstream. Rather than deal honestly with the nation’s challenges, children and families became targets, sacrificed in order to instill fear and amass power.

I started thinking… what would happen if this situation occurred in a fantasy world where a god (the First of Chaos) was responsible for an inciting event—the disappearance of a group of people? And instead of working together to determine the truth and find a solution, the different races began blaming each other. And what if all this unjustified blame started magnifying existing challenges and creating new ones that subsequently grew out of control?

Now, this is a work of fantasy, so like most fiction, it developed a life of its own. The races are elves, goblins, and changelings. There are monsters and gods, and plenty of magical talents. No one is innocent, and together they almost destroy their world… all because it was easier to assign blame than take responsibility, work together, and learn the truth—which was that none of them were at fault in the first place.

2. Some fantasy authors invent languages; but, with the exception of the mountain peoples (goblins) speaking in the royal we, you’ve kept them at a universal lingo. Why?

My book Sunwielder has a made-up language. But not much of it. I love designing languages, but it’s something I do sparingly, because, quite literally, no one can read it! Sentences of “fake words” end up being skimmed, and an author needs to decide why those skimmed words are so important to the story. The author also has to take the time to translate without awkwardness and without bogging down the prose.

I think different languages can be implied through dialect, a sprinkling of made-up words, more formal dialog, or stumbling “second language” speech. Even these approaches have to be carefully applied, since too much tweaking can draw the reader’s attention to the writing and away from the story. In this series, the goblins are a collective society so they use “we” instead of “I,” and “us” instead of “me.” They also don’t use contractions in dialog. That seemed like plenty to establish that goblins had a different way of speaking.

3. Do you feel it’s important to have rules and limits to magic, and how have you applied that to your races? 

Absolutely! Some of the best magic systems I’ve read are those created by fantasy author Brandon Sanderson (Mistborn, Elantris). Sanderson distinguishes between “soft magic” and “hard magic” and suggests that they lie on a continuum. Soft magic is full of wonder and has few rules. The magic users have mysterious abilities and can do whatever they wish with little limitation.

Hard magic lies on the other end of the spectrum, and here is where the rules come into play. In the case of hard magic, it becomes an integral plot device in the story. Two critical requirements of hard magic are 1) strict limitations and 2) flaws or costs to the user. 

In most of my books, magic is centered around one magical item (a book or an amulet) or one ability (the power to manipulate emotions or swallow souls). 

In the Unraveling the Veil series, the magic system is based on the manipulation of energy, and it’s much broader, with each race possessing different kinetic talents.

  • Goblins are terrakinetic and can manipulate earth-matter.
  • Changelings are biokinetic and can alter their biological patterns.
  • Elves have various kinetic abilities, singularly or in combination: photokinetic (light), pyrokinetic (fire), and hydrokinetic (water), to name a few.

As I designed the magic system, it became apparent that changelings had the most powerful talent, and therefore they needed the most challenges when using it. I imposed these limitations/costs: 

  • Shifting is physically agonizing
  • Shifting leaves the user temporarily weak and vulnerable
  • Too long in a foreign shape makes the shift permanent
  • And a significant change in mass requires the absorption or release of energy. This generates temperature changes in the atmosphere, which, at worst, can start disastrous fires. In other words, don’t shift from a man into a bug in the middle of the forest!

4. What is the best dessert ever invented?

Oooh. This is the hardest question of all!  Lol. Can I pick 3?  In summer, I love strawberry shortcake. In winter, I want warm berry cobbler with vanilla ice cream. And I won’t turn down a creamy cheesecake any time of year! They all have to be sugar-free and low-calorie though. 

Thanks again for the invite, Chelsea. This was great fun. Happy Reading!

Author Bio:

D. Wallace Peach started writing later in life after the kids were grown and a move left her with hours to fill. Years of working in business surrendered to a full-time indulgence in the imaginative world of books, and when she started writing, she was instantly hooked. Diana lives in a log cabin amongst the tall evergreens and emerald moss of Oregon’s rainforest with her husband, two owls, a horde of bats, and the occasional family of coyotes.

Author Links:

Website/Blog: http://mythsofthemirror.com

Website/Books: http://dwallacepeachbooks.com

Amazon Author’s Page: https://www.amazon.com/D.-Wallace-Peach/e/B00CLKLXP8

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Myths-of-the-Mirror/187264861398982

Twitter: https://twitter.com/Dwallacepeach

©2020 Chel Owens. Responses ©2020 D. Wallace Peach

As a side note, this book is clean enough that I promptly handed it to my twelve-year-old to read. He’s burned through all my fantasy series and needed a wonderful, new book to read.
-This is also why I couldn’t flip through the book to remember specific character names and references.

Time Lost, and Found

His gnarled, brusque, tannin hands caressed the watch band. He’d found it and its watch face along Lake Superior; brushed it from forgotten memories and dormant agate stones. Now, warmed in his fingers, the band changed. He saw it new, cut, fresh, oiled; attached to his grandfather’s timepiece for his son’s eighth birthday.

A long time later for one as rough as he, the old leatherworker released a breath. Rising, he set the wind-worn watch on his curio shelf near a faded photograph and a curling crayon picture. Tears in eyes, he shuffled out to put the kettle on.

©2020 Chel Owens

In response to Carrot Ranch‘s prompt:

November 5, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about lost time. You can write a realistic scenario or something speculative. How does lost time impact the character of your story? Bonus points if you include a 1982 brown rubber watch Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by November 10, 2020. Use the comment section [on the site] to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

The A Mused Poetry Contest 11/07 – 11/13/2020

Laughter is the best medicine, right after an appropriate prescription from a licensed physician. Most of us are freelance writers, so we’ll take what we can get.

Here are the rules for this week:

  1. In light of our lucky end date of Friday the 13th, the Theme is Bad Luck.
  2. Length: 113 words or fewer.
  3. Rhyming is optional, but recommended.
  4. There’s not much risqué about superstition, so keep the Rating at PG.
  5. The goal is LAUGHTER. Make black cats funny, Karma amusing, and ill-timed fate hilarious.

You have till 10:00 a.m. MST next Friday (November 13) to submit a poem.

Use the form, below, to chance anonymity for a week.

Otherwise, include your poem or a link to it in the comments. Leave me a comment if your link-back doesn’t show up by midnight of the day you create it.

—–

Best of luck to you!

Photo by David Bartus on Pexels.com

—–

©2020 Chel Owens

WINNER of the A Mused Poetry Contest 11/6/2020

“Are we there yet?” You might have wished you were if your vacation turned disastrous -and so wrote the poets of this week’s contest. Of all the mishaps they managed, only one passed for funniest, and that was:

Untitled, by Deb Whittam
Travelling around the countryside,
Ask the Whittams, Ask the Whittams,
Travelling around the countryside
Ask the Whittam Family.

Dear Whittam Family,
What do you do when your nut comes off, dear Whittams, dear Whittams?
What do you do when your nut comes off, dear Whittams, your nut?
Call for a tow truck, dear viewer, dear viewer?
Call for a tow truck dear viewer, a tow truck?
But I have no reception dear Whittams, dear Whittam?
But I have no reception dear Whittams, no reception at all?
In that case dear viewer, dear viewer,
In that case dear viewer, you are kind of f*****

Travelling around the countryside,
Ask the Whittams, Ask the Whittams,
Travelling around the countryside
Ask the Whittam Family.

Congratulations, Deb! You are the funniest poet for the week!

Admittedly, I had a REALLY difficult time choosing only one winner. These were hilarious, especially the ones that were true! Debbie won for a clever parody of an old favorite and for an appropriately funny cuss.

…On a side note, I actually read when this happened to poor Deb…

For a better laugh than the time these poor poets had, read on:

Untitled, by Sara
(This is a TRUE STORY! Only, it was my parents dealing with my little sister.)
There’s that smell

I can tell

She threw up, again

Will this ever end?

We pull over

To clean the car

We’re not nearly there

Our destination is far

As we scrub the floor mat

And her little car seat

Little did we know

We were in for a treat

Parked alongside a lovely, vast field

Ignorantly assuming a safe place to yield

Off our gal trotted, right into it

And here’s the ironic, “humorous?” bit

Two seconds later, we hear a sharp cry

It blew back the grass and tousled the sky

Baby girl was stuck

My, oh my

Our vomit-covered darling

Had stepped in a cow pie

Best holiday ever, by Hobbo
(Full version at Hobbo’s site)
We should never have chosen off peak
It was raining, the car sprang a leak
David squashed granny’s best hat
Baby Alfie was sick on the cat.

On the moors, dad ran over a ram
An hour later, we’re stuck in a jam
We got there too late for the ferry
Mum found the bar and got merry.

We arrived there to find we’d left gran
At the caff, with a man from Japan
Our five star was under construct
And all of the rooms double booked.

The food gave young Lucy the trots
And Christopher broke out in spots
German measles, our french doctor said
And confined him to ten days in bed.

Going home, despite begging and pleading
Dad got a ticket for speeding
When the copper told dad he could start
Our tyres were as flat as a fart.

Once home, track-traced for Covid 19
So then, yes you’ve guessed, quarantine
And because we are now isolating
This vacation gets zero star rating.

Basil and Mabel, by Geoff LePard
(You’ll have to disqualify me because it’s too many words, but I hadn’t the heart to cut back on Basil and Mabel…)
Basil and Mabel went to Spain
Again and again and again.

He drove from Dover
And to remain sober
He’d refrain, refrain, refrain.

One day on the Costa
He thought he’d lost her
The pain, the pain, the pain.

To dull the fear
He ordered sangria
Again and again and again.

Mabel was worried,
Around she hurried
The fool, the fool, the fool.

It began to concern her
When inside the taverna,
On a stool, a stool a stool

Basil was slumped.
‘Oh you old chump’
Dabbing the drool, the drool, the drool.

She left the bar
And found the car
Near the pool, the pool, the pool.

‘Where to, Bas?’
‘Let’s try La Paz’
‘It’s cool, it’s cool, it’s cool.’

They took to the road;
She drove like Toad
Too fast, too fast, too fast.

On a blind bend
Tipping end over end
They met their last, their last, their last

The moral of the fable
Of Basil and Mabel
Is you always lose
When full of booze
So try and abstain
When in Spain, in Spain, in Spain.

That Holiday Air, by Obbverse
(Certain hotels should have had their names changed to protect their guilt. But what the hell. And pushing the PG13 rating? Ah, what the hell.))
We breezed into Kingman, wafted up up to our pre-booked room,
‘Twas a romantic cute boutique newly tarted-up hideaway hotel,
Even in this modern times, foolish dreamers, do not presume
That an Arizonan night of heavenly pleasure can’t go all to hell.

The owners had been penny wise when fitting out the Brunswick,
True to its history they’d turned to every possible cheap trick,
An attempt to retain all original features, all part of the plan,
So, creaky bedsprings and no air-con except the ol’ ceiling fan.

Outside a high desert wind buffeted the shuttered window pane,
Inside, an ill wind blew no good, thanks to a lousy hotel’s buffet,
Dawn saw the leaving of two wretches that guest house won’t see again,
Now neither of us dare speak of, much less wish to repeat that sorry day.

Four gormless teenage lads on the road, by Doug Jacquier
Dora Dora has a single building
bereft of any sort of modern gilding;
pub and general store all rolled into one;
no exotic idyll baking in the sun.

Entering we see a bar
that you might see in Lilliput afar;
we become an instant crowd
eight feet sounding too loud.

Behind the bar, in a top hat,
sits a man with a newspaper and a scabby cat.
‘Corn flakes and milk?’ we enquire
‘Not in the bar, take three steps to the side.’

Groceries obtained, we ordered beers for four
and he nodded to where we’d been before.
Shuffling left, he pulled four ales,
fixing us with eyes like bloodshot snails.

Enough was enough and we re-join the track,
thinking it was never like this for Jack Kerouac.
And we realise somethin’ very disturbin’.
We’re not sub-culture, we’re just plain suburban.

—–

Photo by Nubia Navarro (nubikini) on Pexels.com

Thank you, thank you to all who entered! Come back at 10 a.m. tomorrow for next week’s prompt.

Deb, here’s a badge for you to use on your site. Congratulations!

©2020 The poets, and their respective works

Saint John City, Part 4

Continued from Part 3

Ida’s thoughts circled her head while she walked, buzzing too close for comfort but not near enough to swat away. Looking back at the store, she saw Bob and Sue; both waved and she returned the friendly gesture. Thoughts of Bob joined the swarm. Did he suspect her and should she suspect him? After all, Bob was not the sort to miss a person walking into his store and disappearing.

She sighed. This was all her mother’s fault. Ida could hear the lecture now: “You gotta do good in the world, Ida Ann. Nobody’s worth nothing if he thinks about himself all the time!” Her mother lived it, too. Ida couldn’t recall how many times she’d come home from school to find a note saying Mom was out at so-and-so’s house. Their family hardly enjoyed a meal or a batch of cookies without first sharing it with others.

Yes, her mother set the bug in Ida’s conscience to do good in the world. Yes, there was a need for good in a world with bad people. And, yes, she suspected that Petey might be one of those bad people.

A curling, yellow leaf drifted across her vision, drawing her attention to God’s beautiful autumn around her. She stopped. Maple Street glowed in reds and yellows while the gentle wind brushed leaves from branches to dance downward like soft rain.

It was the leaves that saved her. Crisp crunching footsteps came from behind, as solid but nervous as those she’d heard behind the hidden door at the back of McClintock’s Mercantile. By the time they stuttered to her side, she’d replaced her frozen expression with her classic, open smile. “Hello, Petey.”

Petey stalled and stopped. “Well! Ida Layton.” His lowered eyebrows and sharp eyes guarded a returning smirk. He kept pace with her as they continued on. “I see you went shopping.”

She’d forgotten the swinging bag of milk and cereal at her side. “Oh! Yes. You know how fast kids go through food!” She laughed, stopping quickly at its nervous tenor.

His laugh sounded natural and at ease. “I’m surprised you got out with just the Lucky Charms. Bob about got my ear last time I went in there.”

“Well,” she stopped. They were at her mailbox. “Now that you mention it, he did tell me all about some kind of juicing machine. He sounds …excited.”

“Ha! Excited isn’t the half of it. You’d think he were getting a horse.” Petey turned his gaze to a distant point in the sky across the street.

“Well,” she said again. He didn’t react. “Guess I’d better go get the kids their food.”

He waited till she was halfway up the front walk before answering. “You gotta take care of those kids.”

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

©2020 Chel Owens

Ohhh Eeee Aaay Vacay!

Ohhhhhhhhhhhhh
The kids just screamed, “I’ve gotta go!”
And
The trailer’s back there, in the snow;
We needed it for food, sleep, clothes
But
Its tires fell off and it won’t go.

Eeeeeeeeeeeeeeee
Cry Mommy, Daddy, kids, baby
‘Cause
Sally poked him; “Bill’s breathing!”
The car’s all out of gasoline
And
No one’s ever changed Baby.

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaay
Dad’s just asked why they vacay
So
Mom’s offered to give him ‘way
Low tire pressure‘s on display
And
When we get to far, far ‘way
Mom and Dad will droop and sway
But
All the kids will want to play;

Says Mom, “Why do we e’er vacay?”

Photo by Ketut Subiyanto on Pexels.com

©2020 Chel Owens

There’s still time to enter YOUR poem for this week’s A Mused Poetry Contest!!

Seamen’s Sacrifice

Ship askew ‘gainst pounding waves
We crew all stand, aghast
Our hearts aren’t nearly in their place
A-beating in our boots.

What foul-steamed beast have we released
By testing ice-tipped lake
What curse by hist-ry’s seamen have we
Raised by braving boats?

A-tempted by the calmer shores
We think to stay a-moored
When cry comes over radio:
A hapless vessel sinks.

“Remember Barb!” reminds the crew
A-bolstered, we set out
Our matron of the sea now scares
Away our shallow fears.

“Remember her!” beat hearts, returned
Whilst sea spray hisses by;
Remember seamen’s sacrifice
To rescue all in need.

©2020 Chel Owens

Inspired by Charli’s prompt to write about life savers on any body of water; in remembrance of her good friend, Barb Koski.

“If we wish to be rational, not now and then, but constantly, we must pray for the gift of Faith, for the power to go on believing not in the teeth of reason but in the teeth of lust and terror and jealousy and boredom and indifference that which reason, authority, or experience, or all three, have once delivered to us for truth.”

-C.S. Lewis, “Religion: Reality or Substitute?

Skarla Skeleton

Skarla pulled her covers up,
A mask over her head.
Her mummy came with steaming cup
And asked, “Why haunt your bed?”

“Oh, Mum! The kids say, ‘SKELETON!’
“They run away in fear.”
Her mummy groaned. “Aww, that’s no fun.
“They just don’t know you, Dear.”

And then, they heard a creepy gong;
Some kids were at their door.
Skar dried her tears; Mum came along,
Bones clunking on the floor.

Skarla’s friends said, “Trick or treat!”
And, “Skar! Where have you been?”
Smiling, Skarla donned a sheet
And went out, with her friends.

Photo by Nick Bondarev on Pexels.com

Written for Susannah Leonard Hill’s Halloweensie Contest.

©2020 Chel Owens