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The teen sorceress who dares stand up to a dictator: SIX SENTENCE SUNDAY

thecrimsonleagueSoon, Six Sentence Sunday posts will start focusing on “The King’s Sons,” Book III in the Herezoth Trilogy set to release on May 31. Today, though, I’m highlighting “The Crimson League,” which will be FREE on tomorrow, April 22, through April 24.

This is the perfect opportunity to download Book I and catch up on what’s happening in the trilogy so you can snag the final installment at release time!

“The Crimson League” tells the story of teen sorceress, Kora Porteg, and her fight against Herezoth’s sorcerer-dictator, Zalski Forzythe. But how, exactly, does Zalski judge the opposition?

The statement caught the younger sorceress off-guard, but she said, “I’m Kora, yes.” With a grimace, Wilhem forced himself to stand straighter.

“Zalski’s done his research on you. He knows you’ll want revenge for your father’s death, for the Foden murders. He fears what you might become, Kora. When he learned you were part of the raid that stole that list, his anger was unimaginable.”

Make sure you catch “The Crimson League” tomorrow, while it’s free. And please, spread the word to your reader friends and fantasy fans who might be interested! Harry Potter was a huge influence on the Herezoth novels, and reviews have compared “The Crimson League” to “The Hunger Games,” so fans of those franchises should really enjoy taking a trip to Herezoth.


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Saturday Snippet: Kora’s Worst Fear

thecrimsonleagueToday’s Saturday Snippet is from “The Crimson League.” Book I in the Herezoth trilogy is on sale through Monday for just 99 cents, so make sure to grab it while you can. In this segment, protagonist Kora has a nasty nightmare the day she joins the resistance movement fighting against sorcerer-dictator Zalski Forzythe.

It took Kora hours to fall asleep. When she finally dozed off she dreamed she sat in a dungeon, her wrists shackled to the wall. The lieutenant who had whipped Sedder that morning walked up to her, his lips curled.

“Are you ready to speak?”

Kora’s voice was only a gargle, so she resorted to shaking her head as definitively as she could.

“I thought you might need some persuasion,” said the lieutenant. He looked over his shoulder and signaled someone to come forward. A masked stranger, also in uniform, stepped from the shadows, dragging Zacry with him, his sword against the boy’s throat. The lieutenant spoke triumphantly. “How’s this for incentive?”

Kora pulled against her shackles. Zacry’s terror-stricken eyes bore into his sister’s.

“Tell what you know about the Crimson League or he dies. You have to the count of three.”

“I’ll talk!” she screamed. “I’ll talk.”

The lieutenant nodded grimly. “Kill him anyway,” he directed.

Kora woke in a cold sweat as Zacry’s blood pooled at her feet. The ground was so hard, she thought for a moment she actually was in a dungeon. Then her panic subsided, her memory came back to her, and she knew she would sleep no more that night. She crept from the chamber and toward the front of the cave. Right away she saw a beam of moonlight, a single thin beam, and knew that someone had removed the top stones that blocked the entrance.

That someone was Lanokas, sitting near the ash pile. He stared into the night, or early morning now, a blanket wrapped about him to fend off autumn’s chill. A few feet away stood the pitcher he had gone to fill from the nearest well after dinner. He waved his hand at it with two swift, steady motions. It rose into the air and flew toward him.

“You’re telekinetic,” Kora whispered.

Lanokas jumped, glancing over his shoulder. He nearly spilled the water. “You’re awake,” he said.

“I didn’t mean to startle you. I just…. I couldn’t sleep.”

“You had a long day.” Lanokas motioned for her to take a seat beside him, near the remnants of the fire. Kora settled herself to the ground while he waved two glasses over from the wall and filled one for her. He offered the blanket as well, but Kora felt feverish, her heart racing as though she had run the distance between the cave and home. Home…. She mustn’t think of that. She used her bandana to wipe her moist forehead.

“Are you a sorcerer?” she asked.

“Not even close. A true sorcerer, who can use incantations…. They’re rare these days. Magic degraded through the centuries.”

“I’d heard that before,” said Kora. “But I’ve never met anyone with powers, powers of any kind.”


reblogging from, well, my blog! big release news:

Creative Writing with the Crimson League

Hey everyone! I’m really stoked to take a brief break today from my normal blogging schedule to announce the release date and reveal the cover of “The King’s Sons,” book 3 in the Herezoth trilogy.

I’m particularly excited because–being unemployed and all–I’ve had lots of time to work with the proof copy and am well on my way to concluding final edits. So, I’ll be able to release a lot sooner than my original internal projections, which put me around August or September.



Rexson Phinnean has ruled Herezoth for twenty-five years, mostly in peace. But now a group of powerful sorcerers, snubbed when the king founded the Magic Council ten years before, have joined forces to attack the village of Partsvale and exact revenge. Can the king stop them? Will his spy, the sorcerer Duke of Ingleton, make it out alive? And when sorceress Kora Porteg violates…

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Tuscaloosa Saturday Knights

I am a huge Crimson Tide football fan: that’s why I titled my the first novel in my fantasy trilogy about Herezoth “The Crimson League.” Check out this short story. If you want more info about my novel, click the appropriate link above!

Tuscaloosa Saturday Knights

A short story about Alabama Football by Victoria Grefer


Tilting and horsemanship had two afternoons a week, because they were the most important branches of a gentleman’s education in those days. Merlyn grumbled about athletics, saying that nowadays people seemed to think that you were an educated man if you could knock another man off a horse and that the craze for games was the ruin of scholarship—nobody got scholarships like they used to do when he was a boy, and all the public schools had been forced to lower their standards—but Sir Ector, who was an old tilting blue, said that the Battle of Crécy had been won upon the playing fields of Camelot. This made Merlyn so furious that he gave Sir Ector rheumatism two nights running before he relented.

-T.H. White, The Once and Future King


Some t-shirts speak the truth. At least, that hypothesis could be inferred from the t-shirts worn mainly by the Greek students—Tuscaloosa is a drinking town with a football problem, in the same way that White’s Merlyn considered Gramarye to have a jousting and tournament problem. Since the University of Alabama student body ranks among the Crimson Tide’s most rabid fans, to have open seating in the student section of Bryant-Denny Stadium carries one main disadvantage:  the need to arrive almost two hours before kickoff to snag a spot to the right of the band near the twenty yardline. You could make that two and half hours for important match-ups, or for rivalry games against Tennessee, Auburn, and LSU.

Saturday afternoons are far from moderate, temperature-wise, in mid-September if you study in the Deep South. The humid heat was a second annoyance, and not a mild one. The game this particular Saturday was at two o’clock and considered a sure victory—the opponent was Louisiana-Monroe—so Virginia Bergeron and her friends waited to enter the stadium until 12:30. They had no trouble finding seats. As they slid along the bleachers of row 50, section EE, a gaping hope on their left to mark where the Million Dollar Band would eventually file in, the announcer proclaimed with indecent enthusiasm: “The countdown to kickoff has begun! Ninety minutes until Alabama-Louisiana Monroe!” The scoreboard timers, which had previously been frozen at 90:00, began to tick down. The students cheered. Only ninety more minutes of boredom! (The boredom was another annoyance caused by open seating).

“I ain’t doin’ it today,” Jeremy grumbled. “I ain’t savin’ ‘em seats. My ass ain’t settin’ out here for an hour and a half so that James ‘n his girlfriend can show up at 1:55 and set in front of us. They don’t even call to ax us to save ‘em seats. I’m fixin’ to call ‘im right now….”

Virginia tore her eyes from the group of students in the front row slathered with crimson paint. “So call him,” she said, though he did not.

Virginia had met Jeremy in her fundamentals of engineering class. He was somewhat overweight, thanks to his affinity for biscuits and gravy, fried chicken, and sweet tea, but he was always willing to help Virginia with Calculus II and was a genuinely pleasant person, if not well-spoken. Mark, on Virginia’s other side, pulled out a deck of cards. “Who does LSU play this week?” he asked her. “Florida?”

“My whole family will be glued to the tv.”

Mark let out a low, long whistle. “I bet they will. That’ll be a game….”

“A battle,” Virginia corrected him. She was from New Orleans, strong LSU territory, and a lifelong fan of the LSU Tigers. The decision to come to Alabama had been difficult, but she studied aerospace engineering, and Louisiana State did not offer that program. “I’m glad it’s an evening game, I can catch in the dorm. You should make the trek across the hall and join me.”

Mark said, “I might be able to.”

Virginia frowned. “Might? What is this ‘might’ I hear?”

“I have a paper due Monday.”

Virginia punched him in the arm. “That’s what Sundays are for. We’re talking LSU-Florida. National Championship implications.”

Mark, most regrettably, had been born a Yankee. In Delaware. He studied English, wanted to focus on linguistics, and chose to attend Alabama as it was a decent school and cheaper than those in New England. His saving grace, as far a true Southerner was concerned, was that he recognized the complete and utter dominance in college football of the Southeastern Conference, or SEC. The sovereignty of the SEC was sacred in the Bible Belt. “You’re right,” he said. “It’s a date. Though I may have to bring my laptop over.”

“I hate LSU,” said Jeremy. “Hate the bastards. Let Florida wipe the floor with ‘em.”

“We agreed we two would not discuss my Tigers,” Virginia reminded him. The topic of the LSU Bayou Bengals seemed to threaten their friendship every time it reared its head.

“I’m gittin’ a hotdog,” said Jeremy. “Y’all want somethin’?”

Mark shuffled the cards. He had already eaten lunch. Virginia gave Jeremy money for nachos and a Coke, and when he got back Mark dealt a round of rummy. The bleachers were still empty enough that the three could play without bothering a soul.

Jeremy won resoundingly. “What’s your paper about?” he asked Mark.

“It’s for an early British lit class. Arthurian legend, Le Morte d’Arthur specifically. I’m actually halfway looking forward to writing it.”

“Arthurian legend,” said Jeremy sagely, “is just as freakin’ awesome as the 2005 Bama defense.”

“It’s violent as hell,” said Virginia.

Mark raised an eyebrow. “You say Arthurian legend is violent and you’re crazy about football? What’s the difference? You have crashes. Flying helmets. Rules of engagement and a strategy that’s almost military. And women still don’t take part.”

Jeremy and Mark high-fived each other, stretching in front of Virginia, who crossed her arms with a scowl.

“Football,” she said, “is violent and interesting. Malory’s book is violent and dull. I had to read that horror in high school. Didn’t get through half of it.”

“Have you tried T. H. White?” Jeremy asked. “The Once and Future King?” Virginia had not. Mark faked a British accent.

“You really should. It’s got much more humanity than Malory, it’s not nearly as dry, I say, what?”

Jeremy choked on his hotdog with a snort. “King Pellinore. Nice.”

“You three are officially the biggest nerds I have ever known. And I mean that with love. Seriously? King Arthur? You’re discussing King Arthur?”

James had arrived much earlier than usual, with Anne, his girlfriend of six months and a close friend of Virginia’s, in tow. Virginia had been the one to introduce them. In addition to a purse, Anne carried five crimson and white shakers that she had grabbed out of habit from one of the boxes near the stadium entrance—the others always walked right past them. She and James settled into row 49.

With a sigh of relief, James took one of the shakers and threw it at Mark. “Thank the Lord. I thought you had lost your mind.”

Jeremy shrugged his shoulders. “Roll tide,” he said, returning to his hotdog. James tossed him a shaker too, and Jeremy dropped his lunch.

Roll tide, if you happen to be unfamiliar with the state of Alabama, is a versatile expression and a safe one to employ on almost any occasion in the Tuscaloosa region. Collectively—that is, culturally—it may punctuate fragments or sentences as an interjection, similar to the way King Pellinore uses “What?” in The Once and Future King. “Roll tide” is a proper way to excuse boorish manners, to shrug off an unfortunate occurrence, or to celebrate a lucky one. For instance, if you are with your roommate in the library to make flashcards to prepare for an upcoming Spanish or French exam, and you realize that you left the apartment without a pencil but that your roommate has two or three pens out, and you take one of the extra pens without asking, and your roommate catches you and sends you a dirty look, you can say, “Roll tide”—or whisper it. You are in the library, after all. Statistics show that in roughly 97.8% percent of cases all would be forgiven. If later you forget to use your flashcards and you fail your test as a result, you friends might tell you “Roll tide” in consolation. Or, on the other hand, if you do remember the flash cards and do quite well, you may pull out your cellphone and text your best friend to say, “I aced my exam!” Here too, “Roll tide” is an appropriate congratulatory response. This may seem contradictory, but the pragmatics of language often are. In Tuscaloosa, “Roll tide” may also be used as both a greeting and dismissal. Just never say “Roll tide” if you go to Auburn, Alabama. If you must go there, and you must say “Roll tide,” try to pronounce the “Roll” like “War” and the “Tide” like “Eagle.” A nasty feud exists between the cities of Tuscaloosa and Auburn. It is not exactly as bloody as the feud between the Orkney faction and Pellinore’s family in T.H. White’s book, but it is still unpleasant and you would do better not to embarrass yourself.

Looking at Anne, Virginia remembered that she and Mark were in the same English class. “Your paper’s done,” Virginia guessed. She caught a shaker from James with one hand as he left to get something to drink.

“Not quite done,” Anne admitted. “The first draft’s finished, but I’m not really happy with it. I need to work with it more.”

“You got somethin’ to turn in, if worst comes to worst,” Jeremy told her.

“That I do. I guess I do,” Anne added as an afterthought. Jeremy was always saying Anne took classes too seriously, which made Virginia shake her head, as Jeremy spent quite a bit of quality time holed up with his physics book. Physics did not come as easily to him as calculus. He was better with pure math.

Virginia and Anne made lunch plans for Monday, and then James came back with a Coke in a souvenir cup. The student section was just over half full now; there were people enough, at any rate, to make a resounding “boo” as Louisiana-Monroe’s players trotted out of the visitors’ locker room to warm up on the field. Had the year been 2000, or 2001, the band members lined up along the edge of that same gridiron would have begun to play “Rock and Roll #2,” also called the “Hey!” song, and the students would have chanted:

Hey Monroe! Hey Monroe! Hey Monroe—we’re gonna beat the hell outta you! Rammer Jammer, Yellowhammer, give ‘em hell Alabama!

This cheer is well-known among the Bama faithful, so well known that when Warren St. John wrote a book about what Merlyn repeatedly calls “games mania” and the forms it takes in the twenty-first century, using Crimson Tide fans as an example of some of the most far-gone fans you can find, he titled the work “Rammer Jammer.” The yellowhammer of the chant is a reference to Alabama’s state bird.

Unfortunately, the year was 2006, not 2000, and the university had officially banned pre-game usage of the Rammer Jammer. The high-ups in administration considered it embarrassing and unsporting. The students could only maintain the tradition post-game, after victories, when “We’re gonna beat the hell outta you” becomes “We just beat the hell outta you.” The tragedy of the change is that the post-game line is not always accurate. Many games of American football are hard-fought battles with a close score all the way; they come down to the final minutes, even seconds, of a full hour of playing time. Sometimes a team plays with greater pluck and grit than its opponent but still manages to score fewer points. When this happens, no one gets the hell beat out of them, technically speaking. But the Rammer Jammer must be sung.

Alabama, interestingly enough, would go on to lose that game against Louisiana-Monroe, and lose it badly. The match should have been a certain victory. The fans of the Crimson Tide were confused, and angry, and sad, all at once, rather like Guenever and Arthur after Lancelot returned from the quest for the Grail to recount his numerous defeats, he who had always before known only triumph. The king and queen tried to excuse the fall that Lancelot’s son had given his father. Arthur assumed that Galahad had launched a surprise attack and reasoned that “Naturally you would not want to beat your son.” Arthur thought that Lancelot had not really tried to win. Guenever asserted, “Everyone has to be unlucky sometimes.” Human nature seems to be drawn to sport, to the thrill of triumph, and for centuries has used the concepts of fate, punishment, or bad fortune to explain great failures. In athletics, defeat is always a possibility. Luck, as Guenever notes, is always a variable, and an uncontrollable one, in any competition and on any college football Saturday. Perhaps it is this variable that makes old Merlyn’s loathed “games mania” as powerful a force as it always has been: the passion arises from the certain knowledge that victory never is certain. In any case, Virginia was so disgusted by the Tide’s lackluster performance that her heart was not in the LSU game that night. Mark was in such a temper that he did make it across the hall to watch the match with her after all.

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July 3, and All’s Well

“July 3, and All’s Well”

Half-gallon of skim milk, frozen waffles, five pounds of sugar…that last would have to go in a different bag, Casey knew. She checked her watch: 3:10. Had she really only been at work an hour? She was stuck here until nine.

Bagging groceries was bad enough on a normal day in New Orleans, but on July 3 the number of people who came to Jackson Food Center was boggling. And almost all of them bought the exact same things.

Casey glanced at the conveyor belt, where a middle-aged couple was loading— yes, she knew it—ground beef, hot dogs, sausage links, and buns. Potato chips and a watermelon were likely to follow. God, could Americans be any more predictable?

Did anyone do something besides barbeque on the Fourth of July? Yes, Casey told herself. They drank. She had bagged so many bottles that day…. In New Orleans, liquor was sold in the grocery stores along wine and beer, and every time an order with lots of bottles came through, Casey had to leave to fetch a winebox, with slots to keep the bottles separated, so the glass wouldn’t break.

Every register in the store was open, and there were still lines four or five people deep by all of them. Casey was bagging at Danielle’s register. Danielle had just graduated from Casey’s high school, while Casey was set to start her senior year come August, but they never talked much. In fact, Casey hated bagging for Danielle, as Danielle was a grade A brat whose voice was extremely annoying when she complained. Which she did all the time. Today, though, it wouldn’t make much difference whom Casey bagged for; the store would be packed until closing, no time to do anything but work.

The worst part about lines this long was not the ceaseless stream of bagging without a break. It was the way customers got annoyed about having to wait to check out and took their anger out on the peon employees

Casey placed the last bag of food (Jackson Food Center only used paper) in the cart that her current customers pushed forward. The woman walked up as her husband ran his debit card through the machine.

“Oh,” she said, staring at her grocery cart. “I wanted everything double-bagged.”

Casey wanted to say, “Then tell me that before I finish bagging all your stuff, you twit. Do you actually think I’m going to rebag your order when five people are waiting behind you?” What she actually said was, “I’m sorry, ma’am. Usually we’re supposed to offer to rebag everything, but the store is so busy today I don’t think that’s a good idea…”

The middle-aged woman huffed. “I see.”

“Next time tell me right away that you want it double-bagged, and I’ll be more than happy to do it.”

“My milk is going to break that bag.”

“I promise you, it won’t. People take full gallons of milk in our bags all the time.”

The woman didn’t say another word. With what was horribly close to a sneer distorting her face, she wheeled her grocery cart out the door.

Casey sighed as the first items of the next order came flying down to her. People are damn inconsiderate, that’s the problem with the world. She’d been working at Jackson’s for a month and already six people had asked her to unpack all their groceries and put them in double bags.

Casey worked for the next half-hour without a break, but without any problems coming up. Then came a woman with a basket full of groceries wearing heels, pearls, and an Ann Taylor dress.

“I want my cold things bagged together,” she said. “Otherwise they melt before I get home.”

“That’s fine,” said Casey. “I put cold things together as a general rule.”

“And don’t put anything else with them, just the cold things.”

“All right,” said Casey. The first few items came to her: cookies, chips, bread. She put them in their own bag in the cart’s baby seat so they wouldn’t get smushed. Then came two-liter drinks, canned goods, and Herbal Essences shampoo, followed by….

“Here come the cold items,” said the woman. “Bag them together.” Casey gritted her teeth. Generally, someone who’d been living for seventeen years knew that milk, cheese, and popsicles were cold. People weren’t stupid because she worked in a grocery store. In Casey’s case, her chances of going to college on a scholarship were actually pretty decent.

After the woman paid she walked up to Casey. “Did you put the cold things together?”

“I did,” said Casey. The woman left the store, and Casey’s cheeks turned red. She muttered, “Condescending bitch.”

At 5:00 she got half an hour for dinner, and took her customary ham sandwich to the break room. Her friend James was there; he worked in the meat department. He glanced up when Casey pulled a seat from his table.

“Thank God for cell phones,” he said.


“I locked myself in the meat freezer today.”

Casey laughed. “You didn’t!”

“Oh, but I did. It wasn’t really my fault, the door swung closed behind me. I called the front of the store to send someone to let me out. My first near-death experience.”

“You couldn’t have been there longer than five minutes.”

“Three on the nose.”

“James, that isn’t really a near-death experience.”

“Why would you say that to me?”

“Because it’s true. At least your day was interesting, though. I’ve only been yelled at and treated like a five-year-old.”

“That sucks.”

And I get to do it for four more hours.”

James said, “When we graduate next year, I’m gonna work for my dad’s construction company. I think I’ll like that a lot more.”

Casey grinned. “The near-death experiences should be different there, if nothing else. Scaffolding to fall from, planks of wood and metal…”

James looked at his watch. “Damn, I’m late! I gotta get back. Enjoy your break.” He hurried off, leaving Casey alone with her sandwich.

Casey’s first customer when she returned to work was an older man, with a full head of pearly white hair.

“Can you double bag my order?” he asked. Danielle slid the first of his groceries, a box of Cheerios, to the bagging area of the register.

“No problem,” said Casey. Finally, she thought, someone with sense.

“My wife likes the double bags, don’t ask me why. I just do what she tells me. It’s best that way. I figure if it’s worked for forty years, why change the system? Living with a woman that’s FBI, it isn’t easy.”

Casey looked up from her bags. “Your wife’s FBI?”

“Yep,” said the man. “Full-blooded Italian.” And he winked. Casey laughed. When she had finished with his order and he’d paid, he told her to enjoy her holiday.

“You too,” she said, and he left the store.Casey’s next customer was a woman with a little boy. He was sitting in the pull-down child seat in the buggy with a sippy cup. His mother looked to be thirty, maybe thirty-five judging by a laugh line near her mouth. Toward the end of her order, Danielle sent two bags of M&M’s down to Casey.

“Do you want these for your purse?” Casey asked.

“Those are for you two,” she said. “One bag for you and one for the cashier. This place is crazy today, you need to keep your energy up.”

“That’s really nice of you,” said Casey, “thanks.”

“Thanks a bunch,” added Danielle. “You know, no one’s ever done that for us before.”

“It’s nothing,” said the M&M lady. “I hope you have a great Fourth of July. You aren’t working tomorrow, are you?”

“I’m off tomorrow,” said Casey. Danielle said she worked until eleven a.m., when the store would close early. The M&M lady left, and as good a turn as the day had taken, Casey almost groaned audibly when she saw the next person in line.

It wasn’t the person that bugged her—she was an old woman who didn’t look particularly senile. Her cart, however, was almost overflowing with food. On such a busy day the order seemed never-ending, but finally Casey bagged the last container of ground beef.

The woman’s voice was scratchy. “You need to help me to my car,” she told Casey. Casey just stared at her. Loading groceries into vehicles was part of her job, but the way the old woman demanded it threw her completely off guard. “Of course,” she said a moment later, and giving Danielle a heads-up—Danielle didn’t look pleased, as she would have to bag as well as run the register for a while—Casey followed the woman out the front doors.

Casey felt like she was sweating the moment she stepped outside of the air-conditioning. “It must be a hundred degrees,” she thought.

The old woman barked, “My car’s over here,” and popped the trunk of an ancient brown Oldsmobile. And that was as much as she did to help Casey with the groceries: pop the trunk. She turned the engine on and sat in the driver’s seat as Casey placed every single bag into her car. Casey knew better than to expect a tip, though most people who asked her to help them to the car gave at least a couple bucks. The woman didn’t even tell her thank you. She drove away without any sign of acknowledgement.

Casey muttered, “I hope your eggs all break, you old crone.” She headed back into the store, but stopped when she felt a rustling in her pocket. It was her bag of M&M’s, and she tore it open.

“What are you smiling about?” asked Danielle. “This place sucks.”

Casey dumped out a handful of chocolate. “It could be worse.”

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My Sonnets


A sonnet appears in “The Crimson League,” one written by a supposed classic poet of Herezoth named Trenzelag. The novel gives no information about Trenzelag, because it’s simply too far outside the scope of the story, but I imagine the poet as a young sorcerer warrior during the time of the ancients (when names in Herezoth were even weirder than they are at the time of “The Crimson League.”) He had a noble-born lady love who spurned him. As a master of both arms and letters, Trenzelag would be a really fascinating guy! Anyways, here’s that sonnet.

A vile and cruel master Love has proved;

Sweet lies he speaks whene’er he opes his lips.

False hope he gives, anxieties to soothe,

As lines of fair deceit with skill he quips.

My heart into surrender Love cajoled,

Entreating me to lower fast-held sword.

Convinced, upon my blade I loosed my hold,

And now am but Love’s captive, he my lord.

For sake of hope my heart I sacrificed;

For sake of dreams Love’s slave I did become.

But hope is false, and dreams be but a guise,

For, love’s accomplice both, they reason numbed.

Betrayed, my thought impaired, I shan’t break free,

But slave must I remain to treach’rous three.

As a bonus, I also have a couple of sonnets that Neslan Dormenor, the League’s scholar and literature buff, supposedly wrote in imitation of Trenzelag, who happens to be his favorite poet. They didn’t make the final cut because the novel was too long and the extra poems just did not seem relevant, but I’ll put them here, cause Neslan’s a cool guy and want them out there. (I won’t mention the lovely lady he’s writing to, for spoiler purposes.)


Whene’er you speak, your words do reach my heart,

And I present a brave but false façade;

Although my soul speaks words of different sort,

I answer you with confidence, with nod.

You do not think I mean more than I say,

So expertly constructed is my mask;

For buried deep my love of you I lay;

In light of day I must not let it bask.

Nor do you know your words do pierce my soul

Until it bleeds from all the wounds received;

I feel within myself a gaping hole—

The sharpness of such pain I ne’er conceived.

You love, but love not I; ‘twill be my bane;

Thus stands my love, thus so shall it remain.


I know not if my love she does not see,

Or rather, seeing, chooses to ignore;

Baited, lost, bemused I find I be,

With spirit sick and heart supremely sore.

Is she so blind that she cannot see love

In how I look at her, in what I say?

Does not she know, by stars that shine above,

For her would I now give my life away?

I cannot think her so insensitive

That, should she feel my love, it moves her not;

Yet still I fear that, long as she may live,

She shall ignore me, leave my soul to rot.

Which explanation should I deem the worse?

Whiche’er be truth, I fear my love is cursed.

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The Most Cliche Thing I Ever Wrote (On Purpose!)

In a creative writing class back in college (Roll Tide!), we had the assignment to write something as horribly cliché as possible. I had completely forgotten about this until I found it on my hard drive. I was laughing out loud reading it again! Thought you guys might as well. It’s so bad (purposefully) that I actually am kind of proud of it!


Jackie raised her sharp blue eyes to Michael’s eyes of hazel, folding her arms across her chest. Her flip flop had fallen off her foot, and her toes curled around blades of tall green grass. It was a beautiful afternoon in the park while they ate a picnic lunch of fried chicken.

“You have to understand,” she said, “I can never marry you.”

“But I love you!” Michael cried. “What is there to stop us?”

Jackie looked at him incredulously.

“My father owns the local Pep Boys. Your father manages Advanced Auto Parts. You know we can never be together.”

“All I know is that we deserve each other.”

“Our families are like oil and washer fluid,” said Jackie. “They just don’t mix.”

“I need you,” Michael told her. “When I’m not with you I feel all twisted inside. Everything that’s on my mind melts together. Jackie, I’m like an engine running without oil.”

“Then don’t run at all,” said Jackie.

“What does that mean?”

(The wind was blowing her hair so fetchingly that Michael could hardly think.)

“Michael, I’ve been seeing someone else. Horace Tayner.”

“The son of the man who owns the Chevy dealership!”

“He understands me.”

“Jackie, how could you?”

“He gives my family twenty percent off sticker price.”

“I could give you twenty percent off wiper blades.”

“Don’t you understand, Michael? I don’t need wiper blades. I can get them from Pep Boys.”

“But Jackie, we went through so much to hide our relationship. We sacrificed. For each other. Does that mean nothing?”

“Of course it means something. But that’s the problem: you see, I can’t hide anymore. I can’t keep pretending, and I can’t go on lying. It would come out somehow. My love for you is like the roaring of a motor. Someone would have to hear it.”

“So we’re through?” he said. “You’re willing to tow our relationship to the junkyard?”

“And set a dog to make sure it never starts again. Goodbye, Michael!”

“Goodbye, my love,” he murmured as she walked away.