Up first: The winner of the signed ARC of THE FUTURE OF US by Jay Asher and Carolyn Mackler is: Riv Re!
Congrats! Please email me at elanajohnson(at)gmail(dot)com with your mailing address and I'll get this bad boy in the mail.
And there's more amazingness to come! Today, I welcome Danyelle Leafty, author of the serialized novle, THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA. She's here to give us a little insight on character, from one of her characters. Take it away, Danyelle! (Or should I say Myles...)
Life and magic are both very messy arts. A great deal of precision is needed for both of them, but the results, no matter how carefully you measure and mix the ingredients, don’t always turn out the way you want them to.
That’s where mistakes come in.
To most people, mistakes are blots on their credibility. Stains on their very best suits they wear on formal occasions— every day. (There has been some argument, but I maintain that living is a very formal occasion. You’re required to appear in only your finest, carefully primped and polished to hide the freckles and frizzy hair beneath all the fine layers of veneer Society deems necessary.)
To me, a carefully brushed suit that looks like new is worse than an old smock so full of stains you can’t tell the original color. Those stains are badges of honor, because they mean you made mistakes.
And making mistakes means you tried your hand at something.
In my eighteen years, I’ve made a great many mistakes. The ostrich legs, for instance. I’d meant to magik my sister so she would be quick on her feet and wouldn’t want for any attention. Unfortunately, instead of turning into a social butterfly, she turned into a girl with ostrich legs. Technically, she was very quick on her feet and was certainly the center of attention, but not in the way I meant. She still hasn’t forgiven me.
And then there were the birds.
I had come to the king’s city to cram some more magical theory into my repertoire in hopes of being accepted as an apprentice on the council of mages. I had holed myself up in a corner, determined to learn Demetrius’s Silver Swallows’ Song. It was long and complicated, with a number of rare ingredients, and most of the words in the spell had at least five syllables. If I could pull it off, my apprenticeship would be secured.
So was it my fault the Grand Duchess of Baronsfeld, sister to the king, and general tyrant at court, made a habit of sticking her very long nose in every corner she came across? Was it my fault she demanded an explanation for the powders spilling out of my satchel, staining the carpet? And was it my fault, after I managed to magik up a single silver swallow, that she demanded I perform the spell at her afternoon tea the next day?
But that’s the thing with mistakes. A great many of them fall in a pile together, and when you add magic, the results tend to be . . . interesting. My mistake was practicing magic outside my study and for not turning her into the rabbit she resembles. Her mistake was poking around where she wasn’t wanted and then assuming that if a person could conjure up one silver swallow, they could probably conjure up a whole flock. During teatime, with only the very finest Immaculate Suits in attendance.
Another thing about mistakes is that once one—in this case, a great many—has been made, most people immediately try to pin the blame on someone else. (In my defense, I had no idea the birds would be driven mad at the sight of all the shiny things the Immaculate Suits wore. And I never would have guessed the flock would have attacked the grand duchess’s guests in an effort to secure the shiny pretty things.)
But that’s the thing—how can a person learn without making mistakes? They can’t. And by virtue of not making mistakes, they continue in the same path as always, never deviating from it.
A world without mistakes would be a very safe, dull, flat world without any color or life. What would be the point? Now, I’m not advocating running through the streets after a rainstorm in an effort to secure as many stains and spots on yourself as possible. To make mistakes for the sole purpose of making mistakes, or to keep making the same mistakes over and over again is the height of folly.
A mistake is worth nothing if nothing is learned from it.
So, today, I ask you to embrace your mistakes. Don’t hide them in the deepest cupboard you have. Brush of the dust and the shame and the fear of them, and savor the feeling that you attempted to do something greater than simply exist. Mistakes are the very fabric from which our world is woven. There can be great success from simply making enough mistakes to narrow down the field until all you’re left with is the right answer.
Mistakes tell stories, and stories tell people. Let yourself live and breathe and try and fail and try again. You never know when you’ll stumble across a mistake that will change the very reality of your world.
~Myles van Reuthvan of Greenshaven
Danyelle Leafty writes MG and YA fantasy. In her spare time, she collects dragons, talking frogs, and fairy godmothers. She can be found discussing the art of turning one's characters into various animals, painting with words, and the best ways to avoid getting eaten by dragons on her blog. Her serial novel THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA can be found here. You can contact her here.
About THE FAIRY GODMOTHER DILEMMA: Sixteen-year-old Breena never thought anything could be worse than being forced to leave the faerie realm. Then she got stuck with a fairy godmother. But if she has to choose between the two, she’d leave the Faerie Realm over getting bossed about by a faerie with a pointed stick any day. Unfortunately, her attempt to evade her fairy godmother gives her growing pains in the form of fur, whiskers, and a tail.
Turning into a cat is the least of her worries, though. The potion wasn’t meant to bring out her inner feline, it was meant to put her to sleep. Forever. If Breena wants to make it to her Happily Ever After, she’ll have to accept that sometimes a fairy godmother really does come in handy, after all.
Click here to see the full blog tour.
Thanks, Danyelle! As an extra bonus, Danyelle is giving away one ebook subscription to a random commentor. Just leave a comment on this post by 10 PM Mountain time, and I'll announce the winner--when I will have yet ANOTHER giveaway in a rare Saturday post!