Le Shorts

Glimmer Tears

Something I wrote back in high school. It’s inspired by a song from Loreena McKennett


The golden sunlight reflected like a strip of gossamer across the evergreen trees. Thick clusters of needle leaves shuffled in the soft breeze. A cool mist wove finger-like through the boughs. The air was warm but damp. A chill made seventeen year old Jane’s skin prick. Her sandy brown hair shimmered, and her skin glowed in the passing light.

Summer was ending. She could almost taste autumn on the air.

She had been watching the woods for seven evenings. She couldn’t explain what she was looking for, but she had been waiting all her life for this moment. Even as a child, she knew there was something magical about those woods. When she entered high school, she thought she had put all this fantasy behind her, but something beckoned her to continue dreaming. Now she would finally know what she was waiting for.

The first night had been an accident. It had been a long day at work, and she was taking a walk to clear her head. She had only paused for a moment, watching the fog drift among the everwoods, when strange lights flickered into place. They bobbed and moved through the trees. But once darkness settled, she had not been able to see the lights anymore.

Each night, the lights became brighter, more clear. Last night she had seen torches, but more surprisingly, ghosts. Images wavered, appeared, then faded from view. Tonight – she was sure – something would happen.

Jane drew in a breath and held it as the lights flickered into view one by one. They came slowly at first, few and far between, but then arriving in clusters. They lit up the trees and dispelled the fog. They moved in a line going from east to west, passing right by her without seeming to notice.

Sunset turned to twilight and the air became abruptly cooler, raising the gooseflesh on Jane’s skin until she shivered.

Slowly, patiently, ghostly figures began to emerge from the mist, taking shape and form, becoming tangible figures with details so refined that Jane could have painted them from memory with just a glance. She dared not blink – the figures might disappear entirely just as they had done last night. She wanted to step towards them, but she feared disturbing the fantastic mirage.

There was magic in the air, she could feel it. A tingling on her skin, a warming in the air. Even while the sunlight faded and the world became dark, the figures in the trees seemed to glow with their own light – sparkling almost.

I can see them, she gasped silently. I’m not dreaming. They’re…they’re actually real.

Elves. Mystical beings. Myth straight out of the story books, the stuff of legends. Not twenty feet away, the elegant creatures glided by, soft as whispers and subtle as roes, with glimmering capes of spider silk and evening dew and raven hair braided with forget-me-nots and violets. Every detail was delicate and intricate.

Jane found she couldn’t believe her eyes – not really. Elves did not exist in reality so the past week surely must have been a series of dreams. Yes, perhaps this was all a dream. If that were the case, then it explained why this evening felt like a goodbye.

She watched the procession with a keen gaze, taking in everything and letting nothing escape her eye. But she wasn’t the only one staring. There was a man standing perfectly still, and he was watching her closely.

She caught her breath. Could he see her? Who was he? Should she be afraid? No one else in the procession paid him any mind – or her, for that matter. Yet he continued to stare.

Just then, he started forward. Jane stumbled back a step, then froze. He weaved around his brothers and sisters without disrupting their solemn walk. He was coming closer. She couldn’t move – could hardly breathe.

He passed out of the woods and hesitated, casting his gaze around the open field as if seeing it for the first time. Jane could see him more clearly now—he seemed both young and old at the same time. His features were smooth and refined, though still chiseled with youth. His eyes told a different story, a story about a world lived over many, many seasons. 

Stopping just a few paces away from her, he stood very still, gazing at her openly with starlit blue eyes. It was a strange combination:  raven black hair with crystal blue eyes.

Jane very carefully, very hesitantly, lifted her hand to wave. She didn’t know what else to do, but the staring spell had to be broken. He raised his hand as well, holding it up without waving.

Now what?

“Hi,” she said, swallowing to clear the lump in her throat.

“Well met, friend,” he greeted.

Jane took a deep breath and let it out slowly. This is real. I’m not dreaming. He’s tall and slender with pointy ears and robes of royalty over silk clothes. This is not a dream.

“I am Runal Eytheranea,” the elf said, gesturing to himself, then fell silent and waited for her.

Say something, you dork, she scolded herself. “I’m Jane. Jane Carter.”

“You are human,” he noted.

She nodded her head.

“And yet you opened the doors to Lorienne,” he said.

He glanced back at the trees where his fellows had disappeared. They were alone. The air was still and quiet as if time had stood still. Only crickets sounded like a chorus of tiny voices to fill the silence.

“Are you…” Jane felt stupid to be asking this question, but since she had started, she had no choice but to continue. “Are you real?”

Instead of answering, he held out his hand to her, palm up. For a moment, she felt a twinge of fear. She shook it off. Stepping closer, she reached out to lay her hand in his. His skin was cool to the touch because of the night air, but it quickly warmed in her hand. The touch of flesh was real, and his gentle clasp eased away the sense that he might fade away.

Runal was gazing down at her hand when he spoke. “I feel as if I know you from long ago,” he murmured.

“I’ve never seen you before,” Jane said.

He looked up. “No. From a long-forgotten memory. Or a dream,” he added.

Jane let out a trembling sigh. “I knew it. This is just a dream.”

A deeply sorrowful expression entered Runal’s eyes as he withdrew his hand. “The ships are calling,” he said softly.

It’s not real…

“I must leave you now.”

She nodded, maintaining control over her expression. “I know.”

“They’ll not be returning to this land,” he explained, backing up.

Jane nodded again and raised her hand to wave.


Sunlight broke over the land with just a fraction of rosy light at first, steadily growing as the day began. Jane was still standing before the trees with hand raised in a good bye. It did not feel as if she had been standing out all night. She could almost still see the Elvin man’s retreating figure as he pulled the silver hood over his head and followed his brothers and sisters.

“It’s just not fair,” she said as a tear trickled down her face and sparkled in the sunlight.


“Suddenly I knew that you’d have to go

Your world was not mine, your eyes told me so

Yet it was there I felt the crossroads of time

And I wondered why.

“The thundering waves are calling me home, home to you

The pounding sea is calling me home, home to you.”

 –The Old Ways (by Loreena McKennett).

30 Days to Publishing

30 Days to Publishing (5.2)

Presuming you are in the Writing part of this lesson or the Editing part, we’re going to take a step back and explore a subject deeper. Yes, this is procrastination, but of the educational sort.

Character 2.0

In this digital age, many exceptional artists have been known to record their art sessions and display them for fans to see the full creation. It is usually sped up, giving you an amazing presentation in a matter of minutes instead of hours and hours and hours. I’ve seen these and they blow my mind every time. It’s like a magic trick; you know how it’s done, but you could never recreate it so it would forever be amazing to you.

Today, I thought I would create something of the like for you to experience the depth of character growth–even when half of the information never even reaches the page.

Clockwork Dreams

In my novel, Clockwork Dreams, I created a race of characters known as ‘witches’. Because I write fantasy, these are not the people going around with voodoo dolls and newts in their stew. In fact, they are not human at all.

According to history, witches are born out of volcanos. They are quite literally magma creatures formed from limestone and breathing sulfur. Belonging to the infamous Unseelie Court of magic and mythology, witches are predominantly known to be evil or at least malignant creatures.

They present themselves in a human form, always female, because like the queen ant of a colony, they follow only one leader–a male warlock. Witches tend to be tall and thin, although there are the occasional rotund versions running around. Because their core is made up of magma, they are literally burning up inside. The more powerful the witch, the hotter the flame, so the skinnier they appear.

Appearance–Notable Qualities
Hair color. Similar to stars and fire which burn different colors according to heat, a witch’s hair will denote power. Most low level witches have ashen or black hair color, however, there are three high power types–known as ‘Mothers’–to be aware of.  A witch with red hair is a low level Mother, born from a cool or dormant volcano, while a yellow haired or blond witch burns hotter and is noticeably more powerful. At the top, of course, is the white haired Mother witch. She comes from an active volcano, is unnaturally tall and extremely slender, as if stretched. They do not have the bony, anorexic look that humans get when we are deprived of sustenance. On the contrary, witches are being fed generously by their blazing internal flames, and so are healthier the hotter they burn.

Witches speak the lost language of magic. Their powers are magic-based shadow, fire, and Black Magic elements. notably:
Fire blasts
Lightning strikes
Smoke screens
‘Cold’ fire–a trickery of flames which feel cold but will burn a human all the same
Shadow manipulation
Flight (without broomsticks, mind you)
Dream manipulation–an ancient art of invading someone’s dreams to uncover secrets. Think “Inception” or “The Last Witch Hunter”.

Abilities/Powers–Notable Qualities
Particularly strong power–or Mother–witches have access to the Underworld and can, at times, call on the evil spirits of old, ones that are still permitted to roam free on Earth.

Witches are incredibly vain, which makes sense, because their powers make them blaze beautifully; therefore, the stronger the power, the greater the beauty. They are also stuck up snobs, being stronger and superior to many races.

They hate humans, which are considered to be ‘mud men’–born of dust and the Breath of God. Also, because of the opposition against their Underworld king and master–a warlock. Not only this, however, there has been a rivalry between witches and humans since the Fall of Man and the Great Battle of the Heavens.

Their greatest goal has always been in the search of the next warlock. Warlocks are incredibly rare and only one exists at any given time. If no warlock is present on the Earth, they return to their volcanos–but the search is never off.


I raised up a few main characters as witches in the story, but I won’t spoil any surprise here. This is just to show you how much thought and consideration went into developing the characters to create a more believable world. I enjoy working with and using nature to grow elements of my stories. It is all well and good to say a witch is a ‘creature’ that has ‘dark magic’ and ‘fights humans’, but what does that tell the reader? Not much, I’m afraid. The more you can develop the foundation of your world, the stronger it will be.

But remember, not all of this needs to go into the story. If you as a writer knows the character, you will subconsciously portray the character with the right tools. Give the readers the facts they need, not a lot of superfluous information. The reader may not see everything, but they will believe it’s there if you do your homework right.