This is my blog. When I want to take a break from writing my fantasy series, StarDust, I come here and throw some random thoughts on the page just to see what sticks. Writers need to do that now and then, clear out the cogs, because no matter how much you love the current work-in-progress, there are always other pesky ideas clamoring to get out. But you won’t see my series, StarDust, among the blog stories because until it gets published, it’s under wraps. If you want to know more about the Stardust saga or what DrakaenWood is, then you have to click on the STARDUST link. See it? Right there on the side of the page, below HOME.

This blog is also a place for us, you and I, to chat. Your thoughts are always welcome, maybe you have some cogs you want to clear out, too. In my opinion, listening is just as important as telling, and any writer worth their salt knows that.

Thanks for stopping by, and come back often. There's always some new thing mugging for attention, and your visits quiet the squawkers so I can get some real work done. ;)

Magic Eyes

by D. D. Falvo on March 29, 2012 | @ddfalvo

My cousin has come to spend the night. We are two little girls subject to the curfews of solicitous parents. It’s hard to sleep. The warm summer night calls from the open window and stirs my restless soul. Hours spent with my favorite cousin are limited and much too precious to spend asleep. She is obedient and closes her eyes. I am deserted. I reach for the ever present book on my nightstand and flip the pages.

She is intrigued. “What are you doing?”

I smile to myself. I have her attention.


“What? You can’t read in the dark.”

“I can.”

“Nobody can read in the dark.” She rolls to her side, her back a wall of dismissal.

A few minutes pass. I turn another page.

“Are you still pretending to read?”

“I’m not pretending, I am reading.”

She sits up. “Let me see that.” She inspects the book, you can almost feel the hope. She wants to believe it’s possible. Magic is always possible when you are nine-years-old.

“I can’t see anything,” she says, and hands it back.

“You have to use your magic eyes.”

“There’s no such thing.”

My magic eyes tell me she is making a face. “Is, too.”

“Prove it.” Bed sheets rustle as she jumps up. She grabs a random novel from my bookshelf, then plops back onto the bed. The mattress springs squeal abuse. “What’s the title of this book?”

She thrusts it in my hands. I turn the hardcover face up, and lean forward. After a moment, I reply, “The Time Thief.”

She makes a strangled noise. “Read it.”

I am up for the challenge, but the words do not come from the pages. The book is a prop, an instrument from which my imagination is released.

“I think he wants us to let him go,” Kimber says to Tom. She hovers near a small dragon. The creature is shackled to a giant perch; he shifts from foot to foot, looking hopeful. Flashes of purple reflect from his glossy, black body, and he smells like grape Kool-aid.  He is an unexpected find, but not out of place in the secret attic study.

The room’s contents suggest the owner, a local teacher, might indeed be a wizard. Bookcases line the walls. Shelves are filled with musty books of muted colors; exotic artifacts and more curious objects are locked behind glass doors. A life-like skeleton, suspended from the ceiling, grins and jiggles though no breeze disturbs the heavy humidity of the day. The dragon dips and nudges Kimber’s hand, the one that is curled into a  protective fist.

Tom stops rifling through the wizard’s desk long enough to give his younger sister a hard glare. “Don’t do it,” he says, “You’ll get us caught.” He lifts a large stack of loose pages from a drawer—the sheets are aged and covered with lines of calligraphy, the ink is faded. He places them on the blotter. Kimber’s eyes widen. One page, near the bottom, wiggles as though trying to escape the weight of its brethren. Tom doesn’t appear to notice—he is on a mission. He bends low, shifting items that clink as he searches the deep interior. 

Kimber turns back to the dragon. “But he’s just a baby,” she replies. The creature straightens at once and ruffles his wings. His mouth opens wide, displaying a double-row of sharp teeth. He pulls back, arching his neck, then thrusts forward, intent, and . . . hiccups. A wisp of pink smoke rises between them. Kimber laughs. The dragon slumps. He withdraws into the folds of his black wings and disappears. Only the shackle on his leg remains visible; it slides, upright, down the perch with a life of its own.

“Don’t be embarrassed,” Kimber says. She opens her palm and fingers the odd-shaped bit of metal within, frowning at the tiny, heart-shaped box with an open bottom. Gripping the flat, scrolled handle, she pushes the bulky end into the lock. It fits. The dragon reappears, peeking out from his leather cocoon. He and the girl are inches apart; his eyes whirl with rainbow colors. Kimber gasps and swallows, but does not move away.

“I’ll save you,” she whispers, and turns the key. The lock gives a click; the chain rattles to the floor. The dragon spreads his wings and lifts off, circling through the room. His wingspan is too wide for the enclosed space. “Rawk!” he cries, sideswiping the crowded shelves. Books tumble and thunk on the wooden floor. He veers and strikes a lamp, it tips into the skeleton; the bones break and scatter, then magically reassemble. The dragon skids to a stop across a low table, carving racing stripes into the polished surface. He teeters and continues fanning the air.

The stack of spells lift from the desk, swirling into an upward funnel before overflowing and fluttering to the ground. One page snaps upright. The bottom left corner pushes forward, and then the right; it shuffles back and forth, moving towards the open window. The other pages squeak like broken bike horns from where they lay, while the runaway slides up the wall and then curling over the sash, slips from sight.

Still focused inside the drawer, Tom gives happy crow of victory. “Score! I found it.” He lifts his head and views the mess. “Kimber, what did you do?” He pockets his prize, then pauses, listening. The sudden onset of footsteps, climbing the attic stairs, resound. The children exchange panicked looks–it is the slow, ponderous clump of an older man, most likely the wizard. “Never mind. We gotta go.” Tom climbs through the window, onto a near branch, then pokes his head back inside.  “Hurry, Kimber!” The dragon circles the ceiling, then dives; Kimber ducks as he swoops out after Tom. The swish of his long, scaly tail upends the monstrous, ivy creeper sunning before the paned glass.

Outside the study door, the footfalls stop and the doorknob turns. 

Kimber straddles the sash, reaching for her brother’s outstretched hands. He clasps her arms, guiding her. The ivy shudders; long shoots snake along the floorboards with lightening speed and coil around her ankle, holding her fast. She slips and falls headlong off the ledge.

“Tommy!” she screams.

Tom tightens his grip. Kimber sways, stretched between the tree and the house. She looks down and gulps at the thirty-foot drop. Tom pulls hard, and the vine pulls back, engaging a tug of war. The dragon settles on a high branch and hisses. Hinges creak as the study door swings wide, and a deep, angry voice calls, “Show yourself, Thief!”

I pause. My cousin gives a sharp intake of breath, then sighs—the soft sound of surrender. “I know you’re making that up, but don’t stop. I want to know what happens next.”

I tell the story into the night, stealing moments of time . . .



Why I Write

by D. D. Falvo on March 27, 2012 | @ddfalvo

I freely admit that I’m a literary junkie. I live on stories the way a car needs fuel to run. It’s not so much an intellectual pursuit as it is a compulsion. When facing a dry well, I will, like any proper addict, succumb to read anything. The back of a cereal box works just fine for a quick fix.

It’s not my fault. This lifelong habit of loving books was fostered before I was old enough to know better. The resulting hunger always draws me back, for there is power in those ink-filled pages. The better the story, the more potent the spell. It is the ultimate magic trickI appear curled up in a quiet corner, but that is an illusion, for I am actually lost in another place or time. Of course, the imaginary world is never a replacement for the real one where I am happily entrenched as a wife, and busy mother of two daughters, but finding the time to feed that hunger is an eternal conflict. I resolve it the best way I know how. I burn the candle at both ends.

Putting a good book down is not in my nature. Armed with that knowledge, new adventures in print are kept at bay, waiting for the quiet moment where I might indulge for an undisturbed length of time. That would be ten o’clock at night, otherwise known as bedtime. One by one, my family members will kiss me goodnight. I will acknowledge their presence, briefly, while sinking deeper and deeper into my novel. My husband will enter the room (I think), sigh heavily, then leave with the admonishment, “Don’t stay up too late, honey, you need your sleep.” My response is always to assure him that I won’t.

I lie.

I don’t mean to, but as an addict, once possessed, I am lost. I even lie to myself, repeatedly, throughout the night—telling my weary body at midnight that I’ll stop once I’ve reached a certain point; appeasing my aching back at 1AM by shifting to new positions on the sofa—just one more chapter; deceiving my eyes at half past two—just one more page. My eyes balk, and the war of the orbs begins: they blur, I conquer and divide, offering each a brief respite for taking turns. They retaliate, inducing the slow burn and setting sails at half-mast. I enlist the aid of my fingers, propping my lids open by force. I promise myself that I will stop after the next bathroom break, then delay as my bladder screams abuse. I reprimand and cajole my body into giving me a little more time, a few more details, until the small hours of the night fade to an early dawn. By now I am done with the novel, but not with my deceit.

I know the running water as I brush my teeth will wake my husband. He might rear his head to check the late hour and, perhaps, scold me as I sneak into bed. His bedside clock is a nark, the dull red numbers glow like evil eyes: 4:30 AM. As a creature of some cunning, I cast a washcloth over it, avoiding the chastisement I so richly deserve, then submerge into the soft sheets. Five minutes later, the 6AM alarm screams and I must, painfully, begin a new day.

It’s absolutely worth it.

There are seasons in life when free time is a stranger, when even an extended evening can’t be spared. Commitments and priorities conspire, vying for time that I give willingly because the living are my most precious blessing and most vital need, but my desire for adventure does not wait patiently. Suffering from withdrawal, I seek to fill the void, spinning tales in my head for amusement and for my sanity. It is not enough. The ideas bounce around my brain, crying out for posterity, so I write them down and discover there is a world within me.