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2 days ago

Dragonhorse Rising

The long and the short of it is this, THANK YOU to everybody who has liked our page, and followed our posts, and visited our website. We appreciate you! We've grown a lot ... technically grown a lot ... one of us doesn't need to, and the other one kind of quit growing along about fifth grade.

Thank you for accompanying us on our journey. We hope you will continue to follow along with us. We invite you to visit our website, check out the materials there, read the novels and gather background for CONSCIENCE OF THE KING, which should be out in June, just in time for a beach read.

Ahimsa, we wish thee peace, and a blessed Easter. SST and JTH.
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1 week ago

Dragonhorse Rising

Moving is hard. You begin to realize how precious are friends and surroundings - familiar sights and sounds. Things you take for granted suddenly have weight. You begin asking questions like, "What if I never get to do this again, hear this again, see her again?" When I was younger, moving was an adventure, and I spent my time looking forward rather than back. Now, I rely more on routine and familiarity to keep me stabilized. Moving from Yakima to the Olympic Peninsula was tough - leaving my precious friends and students - leaving farming country, and that's where I really wanted to go back to, but it was not to be. Bill's home is Pennsylvania. Moving from the Olympic Peninsula to Pennsylvania puts me back in farming country, and into the arms of friends and family, but it is largely an unknown. New things, new places, new mores, new routines.

I'm especially glad to have our house already bought back there, because I have some notion of what will fit and what won't - what I need more of, and less. One of the things that will not be making the trip is the beautiful dining room table and chairs I got from my father-in-law decades ago. He had bought us a trailer to live in while we were building our first house, and when I sold the trailer and he got his money back, he bought me the dining room set. I have used it and enjoyed it. My mother-in-law used it for several years and enjoyed it. Now I have it again, and it needs to go. It is large. It is formal, and I have not been able to sell it.

I was lying in bed thinking about that when I thought about Sarge's Place here in Forks. They take care of veterans in need and they do good work. Dad was a vet. He spent WWII, or part of it, on a destroyer in the South Pacific, and he was never the same. This bright light came on in my head and I saw a perfect fit - donate the table and chairs to Sarge's Place in Dad's honor. They can sell it, and help other vets. There was that moment of perfect release, when the puzzle pieces fit, and I knew that's what we should do. I hope it blesses those who buy it, and that the money blesses those who need it. I know it has blessed me. Thanks, Dad. I miss you.
Ahimsa, I Wish Thee Peace. SST
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2 weeks ago

Dragonhorse Rising

Since the first of the Dragonhorse books to come out in print form is due in a couple months, I thought I'd remind all of you that there is much to be gained in insight by visiting the Dragonhorse website and reading through the journals and other entries, including the first two novels. They will expand your knowledge of the Equi way of life, and enrich the book for you. I thought I'd give you a taste of that information by posting one of Criollo's journals, which he did as a class assignment for Master Breton, to celebrate the rising of the Thirteenth Dragonhorse - who turns out to be Criollo's uncle. Criollo is in his next-to-last year of final form. He is the son of Master of Horse Teal, who is Ardenai's best friend, and Ah'din, who is Ardenai's sister. You can find all of his journals on the website, along with Ah'din's and Wren's. Enjoy! Ahimsa, I wish thee peace. SST

Criollo’s Journals ~ Entry Number 12

Today I am going to tell you about the seven chevrons of the Firstlord. This is one of our most ancient symbols, and goes back over ten thousand years to the time of the Equi Awakening. They adorn the banner of the Dragonhorse, which is only displayed for the one hundred and fifty years or so that he is in office. For that one hundred and fifty years, all official communications have the seven chevrons.

The rest of the time, official communications from the Eloi, the High Priestess herself, and the Great Council, along with communications from the various guilds and so on, have only six chevrons.
The six chevrons form the foundation. They are stacked and interlocked, representing our dependence upon one another, and the upward growth that is possible when all of us work together in harmony. Each of the six chevrons has engravings on it. The bottom row has three chevrons. The first depicts serpents, to represent the serpent physicians of Achernar, and sunflowers, to represent beauty, food and oil. The second represents wilderness and cultivation. The third has sunflowers again, this time to represent the sun, with the ancient symbol for creation at the top, and a thurible, which represents the Eloi, the priestesses, on the right.

The first chevron in the next row up, is adorned with horses. The one in the center has trees to represent orcharding and forest preservation, and at the top it has open books to represent our ongoing dedication to education as our most important tool. The chevron to the left is covered with ordered rows of grain, which represent plenty, as well as the cornerstone of our diet.
When the Dragonhorse rises, the seventh chevron is added to the top, above all the others. It depicts the scales of justice, balanced with wisdom, and represents the secular judgment of the Firstlord.

The chevrons exist for the most part as document stamps and flag adornments, but the originals, pounded from silver and gold, hold a place of honor within the huge library in the Great House of Equus. They are massive – over forty-eight hands tall and nearly twice that in width. People come from all over our planet, and from all over the Seventh Galactic Alliance to marvel at them, and the bottoms of the bottom row are worn smooth from generations of parents lifting their children up to touch their heritage.

Thanks to that dearest of friends and consummate artist, Edwin Marshall Pinson, for the gorgeous artwork which adorns the Dragonhorse books.
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3 weeks ago

Dragonhorse Rising

I missed you last week! We were in Northwest Pennsylvania, working on the "new" house. As in new-to-us. Interesting, and not entirely wonderful. For the last forty years I have designed our homes and my husband has built them. This house is at the other extreme. I'd never seen it except on Zillow, but Bill liked it, so we bought it. It has had good care. It is fairly new - about sixteen years old. Fabulous heating system with a big wood-fired boiler and nice even heat to all three floors. Good basement. From there the story goes in all directions, with things needing to be done to a greater or smaller degree in all sorts of places - some to suit my taste, some my age or stature.

Writing is like that. There is the story you tell yourself, the things you'd like to see happen for one reason or another, in some cases there may even be an outcome that early. I usually explore my writing along the way and see where it takes me. To that end I have notes. I have half a dozen composition books devoted to one series or the other - occasionally both. I have post-it notes, notes on the backs of envelopes and loan documents, notes on scraps of store receipts. Notes everywhere. Some of them I make on trips, and I bring them home in a wad and either plug them in where they belong or stash them in one of several places to be installed properly "When I have time."

Getting ready to move across the United States ... makes it time. I've been packing steadily for about a month and still haven't come to any of the stuff I actually use, which comes with its own dialogue, but my study - which looks like a wasteland - is instead a treasure trove, and I'm dreading the need to examine every last scrap on both sides to figure out whether or not it has been properly ensconced in its setting. The only way to do that? Find the page in that particular book ... one of eight or ten books currently sitting on the cloud ... and check. Maybe it won't even fit. Maybe it's the pivot point of the book.

Meantime, we are - as close as I can figure - on track to release CONSCIENCE OF THE KING in late May or early June, in time for a good beach, hammock, deck or lakeside read. Here is a quote from Lebonathi Princess Eridi in Chapter One. "You do not understand. While it may not be my desire, it is my destiny. It is what I was born to do and what I was raised to do." If you haven't explored the backstory on the Dragonhorse website, this is the time to do it! Ahimsa, I wish thee peace. SST
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1 month ago

Dragonhorse Rising

I had the opportunity last week to meet with a young lady who wants to be a writer. A friend of mine with whom I had taught for several years asked me to sit for a bit with her and impart some wisdom. Lucky for me I don't think she phrased it that way, exactly. Our visit consisted mostly of me telling her in various ways about the mistakes I've made, and encouraging her not to make the same ones, at least not more than once. I think in the course of things, I gained some clarity, as trying to teach a skill often does.

I asked her why she wrote. Did she write because she wanted to make money, because it brought her joy, because it allowed her to escape, because it worked her brain, or because she just couldn't help herself. I told her to think about that, because it would determine the direction in which she would ultimately go.

I asked her if she had a space in which to write - a sacred space that no one invaded, because I find that essential in honing my own craft. My space is a rat's nest, and I know if it were three times the size it would just be a bigger rat's nest. The piles would be lower and more spread out, maybe, but they'd be there. It is my space. Where I sew, where I sketch and draw and paint - all messy most of the time.

I asked her if she wanted to share her stories with other people, or if she was creating her own, personal alternate reality in which to escape. For many years that is what I did. I fought publishing for decades because I was possessive in the extreme of my worlds and their denizens. There is nothing wrong with having that as a goal, but if you know it isn't your goal and you do it anyway, it erodes your joy. It eroded mine.

I did not offer to read her work, because between publicizing the Peter Aarons book, preparing CONSCIENCE OF THE KING for publication, and trying to get ready to move across the country, I knew I wouldn't have the time to do her justice. I did tell her to find somebody smarter than she was, somebody who was a good writer, to help her hone her craft. I warned her about writer's groups where everybody is a bad writer and they just muddle around with each other's bad work. I told her - ten times or more - to get into a class at the local community college and practice the technical aspects of writing. Learn to tell good writing from bad writing - hers as well as others'. Learn to control her writing and to discover the rhythm that is to be had in good prose. Mostly, I told her not to give up. Not to let anybody steal her joy. Never to settle for a story. Always hone. Always fiddle. Always love what you do. Ahimsa, I wish thee peace. SST
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