Not Monday, But Lundy

Thunor's Fight with the GiantsBefore I wrote Perilous Chance, I hadn’t needed to know the names for the days of the week in my North-lands. It just hadn’t come up!

But one of the scenes in Perilous Chance features a conversation between 11-year-old Clary and her mother. They are discussing the mundane chores that need to be done and when. Clary’s mother is confused about what day of the week it is. So I needed to give the matter some thought.

In our own world, the days of the week are derived from the names of old gods. We’ve got Tiwesdaeg, meaning Tiw’s Day. Tiw was the Norse god of single combat, victory, and heroic glory. Tiwesdaeg became Tewesday and, eventually, Tuesday.

We’ve also got Thunor’s Day to Thuresday to Thursday. And Day of Wodanaz (or Odin Allfather, ruler of Asgard) rendered from Wodnesdaeg to Wednesdei to Wednesday.

OdinMy North-lands possess many similarities to our world, and I knew that the days of its week – like those in our world – derived from its mythologies. With the difference that pieces of North-lands mythologies remain current beliefs in places such as Silmaren (the setting in Troll-magic).

The major religions of the North-lands stem from the idea of Sias as the mother goddess and her nine handmaidens. Many of the month names originate from the names of the handmaidens. The same is true of the day names.

In Auberon, where Perilous Chance takes place, Sias is spoken of as Essey. The Auberonese no longer worship Sias as their primary deity. Their devotion moved long ago to her handmaiden Thiya, the embodiment of intellect and science. Over the centuries, Thiya’s identity changed from handmaiden to offspring to son, and the pronunciation of the name drifted as well, eventually becoming Teyo.

Teyo was given his own day: Teysdy.

But Sias – Essey – had received hers long before: Esstey. Esstey continued through to “modern” times as the holy day of the week.

Flora by Evelyn De MorganLike us, the North-landers also have a day named for the moon: Luna’s Day or Lundy.

Fallon the Wanderer gave them Wanderer’s Day or Wandy.

Bree, the handmaiden of Strength, also became male in Auberon and was called Barris. Barris’ Day rapidly became the more pronounceable Barrsdy.

Sabel, the handmaiden of gifts, was known as Belaine in Auberon. Further linguistic drift rendered Belaine’s Day as Beldaine and then Beldy.

The Auberonese have one anomalous day. A lady of their nobility is known as a fanish, and the ladies have their own day of honor: Fanishday.

Here’s a list of the days in order:


They feel right to me in my role as a writer and world maker. And it pleases me that their sound on the ear bears some resemblance to our own Sunday, Monday, etc.

Say them: Esstey, Lundy, Teysdy, Wandy, Barrsdy, Fanishday, Beldy. Yes! 😀

For more about Perilous Chance:
Justice in Auberon
Clary’s Cottage
Notes on Chance
Cover Creation: Perilous Chance



Justice in Auberon

Balance ScalesPerilous Chance will soon release in paperback! I’m excited about it and have all-things-perilous-and-chancy on my mind, so I’m going to share a series of blog posts relating to my story. The first is this one about the justice system used in Auberon, where Perilous Chance takes place.

For those of you who haven’t read Perilous Chance, Clary – an 11-year-old girl – is its protagonist, and she encounters the legal system in the course of her adventure.

* * *

Clary’s uncle, Arteme ni Calcinides, serves as Justicar of the Peace for his lething. (A lething is a subdivision of a worthing. A worthing is similar to a county. Auberon possesses eighteen worthing.)

Being Justicar means Arteme presides over his Court Justicarate when issues such as petty theft, disorderly conduct, or trespass arise. And dispenses summary justice, without formality, for smaller offenses: wearing inappropriate bathing costume, grazing your cow on your neighbor’s land, moving a road sign, and the like.

Arteme passes no judgment on more serious crimes. Burglary, arson, and assault and battery all get referred to the next higher court, the Quintary Sessions, held five times a year and presided over by three Lord Justicars.

The worst breaches go higher still.

Murder and kidnapping must be tried at the Courts of Assidere, convened as necessary.

And treason goes all the way to the Morofane’s Bench.

The structure of Auberon’s judicial courts looks like this:

The Rofanes’ Council
(highest court in Auberon)
The Morofane’s Bench
(royal decrees may be challenged, treason tried)
Court of Appeals
(hears appeals from lower courts)
Courts of Assidere
(hears cases referred by the Quintary Sessions)
Quintary Sessions
(tries felonies and hears civil cases)
Courts Justicarate
(tries misdemeanors and infractions, refers felonies)
(Areteme’s court is a Court Justicarate)

A Chancery Court – apart from the criminal justice establishment –
handles mercantile law, land law, and trusts.

Thus, when Clary and her family arrive at Arteme’s manor house, reporting their witnessing of a violent death, the Rofane must go investigate.

If the events prove to be death by misadventure, the case need go no further. But if murder is suspected, Arteme must refer the case to the Quintary Sessions along with a suspect and all the evidence pointing to that suspect. The Rofane has quite a job cut out for him!

Luckily, he has help.

In the distant past, his help would have consisted of the knights under his rule and their squires. But in these “modern” times, the Royal Judiciary appoints and funds a secretary – to handle records – as well as twenty stave-men – to make arrests – and five warders – to supervise the stave-men and handle especially challenging criminal situations.

However, these twenty-five men on active duty must secure the entire lething. As Arteme departs to investigate the scene of the death, he has only four of them at hand.

* * *

For more about Perilous Chance:
Clary’s Cottage
Not Monday, But Lundy
Notes on Chance
Cover Creation: Perilous Chance



Notes on Chance

It started with a vivid snippet: the vision of an old, abandoned quarry overgrown by brambles and the certainty that a troll was involved.

Next came the entrance of Clary, an eleven-year-old girl, and her sister Elspeth. For a while I thought Elspeth was named after her great grandmother Jennifry nish Roanmothe. But she wasn’t. She was Elspeth, no question.

The troll seemed to be both good and evil, which was confusing until I understood there were two trolls. Aha! And then I discovered that kinship existed between the little girls and the trolls. Time to draw a family tree. I needed to know just what that kinship was.

Calcinides Roanmothe family tree

Before I received my revelation about the troll sisters, another intense vision swept through my mind’s eye: the shabby, disordered front room of Clary’s cottage. Her parents were weary, so weary they were neglectful. What made them so? I didn’t know, but I jotted notes for what would become an early scene in my story: dining table cluttered with last night’s supper, cloth hanging askew.

There I stopped for two weeks, letting the story lie fallow while I devoted myself to publisher tasks. I believe I worked on the print edition for Troll-magic.

When I returned to Perilous Chance, the image of a pegasus took me by storm; it was coal-black and shining, and bursting from the egg. With wings, are pegasi born from eggs? Or, with equine bodies, are they birthed live from their mothers? The answer still awaits me, because Clary’s encounter with a fabulous beast does not feature a pegasus after all. The scene from a future story had arrived, not to be incorporated into this one, but to spark a necessary idea.

No, Clary’s creature was not a pegasus, but I knew what it might be. I did some research: king of the beasts, king of the birds, powerful and majestic, symbol of divine power, and guardian of the divine. Yes! (But I’m not telling here. Too much of a spoiler!)

Once I had these pieces – two girls, enervated parents, two trolls, and a miracle-bearing beast – my story fell into place. I made a rough outline and started writing.

In three places I faltered.

The first was the simplest. How did Clary’s father make a living? He did not possess inherited wealth. He worked with his hands, but he was more than a simple craftsman. He didn’t fashion “bramble furniture” as I’d initially believed. Nor was he a businessman, supplying city households with the products of craftsmen under his organization. What did he do? He worked with his hands, but made decent money from it and received considerable respect.

If I ask myself a question with enough variations, I usually get an answer. It turned out that Tiber was a sculptor, and a renowned one at that. He designed the fountain in the main square of Auberon’s capital city and sculpted the horses cavorting under its play of water. He regularly receives commissions from the Morofane himself.

That settled, I wrote on. And reached a point of resolution. Was this the end? Events were resolved, but it didn’t feel like the end. I sought a first reader’s opinion. Was it finished? No, it was not. But no wonder I wanted it to be. In order to write the proper denouement, I needed to comprehend the judicial system of Auberon better than I did.

I set to work, researching a bit, brainstorming more. And I figured out enough to go forward. The current Rofane ni Calcinides is Justicar of the Peace. Local disputes and crimes are handled under his purview. Several wardens and a secretary, appointed by the royal judiciary, work under his leadership.

Writing the validation was easy after that. I knew where to place emphasis – Clary’s experience – and where to glide lightly – the visit to Arteme’s manor. And then I was done.

Excepting one problem: my opening wasn’t quite right.

I studied the openings written by my favorite authors. Why were they so effective? What was their underlying structure?

All About Emily by Connie Willis supplied me with the structure that would work for Perilous Chance. In Emily, Willis begins with a paragraph describing the protagonist’s predicament from much later in the story. That was what I wanted! And I knew exactly what piece I would use. Now my tale truly was complete.


cover image for Perilous ChanceShe was eleven, and she was hurt. Her leg lay under her, knee throbbing. Her arm ached, the broken bone within sickening in its pain. But worst of all, worst of all, a vast shadow loomed above her, dark wings spanning distances too great for the grotto enclosing them, razor-sharp talons sparking with the spitting blue fire of a strange power.

“No, please, no,” she whispered.

How had it come to this? Her day had started so ordinarily, getting breakfast for herself and her sister, because Mama could not. She cast her thoughts desperately back to the morning. I’m there. Not here. I’m there.


Something wondrous this way comes!
Amazon I B&N I iTunes I Kobo I Smashwords

For more about the stories behind my stories, see:
Dreaming the Star-drake
Writing Sarvet
Behind Troll-magic

For more about Perilous Chance:
Justice in Auberon
Clary’s Cottage
Not Monday, But Lundy
Cover Creation: Perilous Chance



Cover Creation: Perilous Chance

Clary is the great grand-daughter of a rofane of Auberon, and her papa is a renowned sculptor. The family could live more ostentatiously than they do, but their values are bohemian rather than those of status. Their cottage is merely roomy and comfortable. In my mind’s eye, I envision it looking a little like the photo below.

photo of thatched cottage


I found images that reminded me a little of Clary and her sister Elspeth, and I initially envisioned creating a cover featuring the girls and their home. (If the girl in the garden were Clary, her hair would need to be worn loose, and she’d soften her still “posing for a portrait” stance. But Elspeth’s double is very like her.)

vintage photo of flower girl

vintage postcard of little girl

Intuition counseled me to try a different tack. The magnificent and dangerous creature that is the heart of Perilous Chance summoned my focus, and I searched for images of fierce, winged, fantastical beasts.


The Dreamstime web site of stock photography features some amazing art (drawings and photos) available for very reasonable prices. I’ve used them to supply works for many of my covers, and they came through again this time.

Bas relief gryphon with background

I’d love to know the location where “Griffon 01” by Henner Damke was photographed. Is it beside the formidable gate to a medieval castle? Or gracing the edge of a Renaissance fresco? Damke does not say, and I can only guess. It’s described as a “reconstructed relief” and listed under the category of arts & architecture.


For my cover, I clipped the gryphon out from its plain backdrop.


Then I thought about suitable backgrounds. Roiling water? Stormy sky? Hmmm. What about a flower-strewn tapestry? The people of Auberon in my North-lands use tapestries The hunt of the unicorn, tapestry #6extensively in the interiors of their homes. Something resembling the real world Hunt of the Unicorn would be perfect. I found something very nice, although I cannot place here the exact image I selected, because I did not (in the end) buy it and use it. Instead I’ll feature the Hunt of the Unicorn, which is similar.


As I hoped, the bas relief gryphon looked very nice against the dark tapestry. I flipped the image to follow the natural path of the human eye from left to right. After experimenting with title placement, I extended the gryphon’s top wing feather. And I turned the beast gold. Looking good!


I placed translucent shadows at the very top and bottom of the art to spotlight the gryphon and serve as a dark ground for the cover text elements. Then I typed in my title, the title tag line (something wondrous this way comes), my byline, and the author tag line. I liked it. But, but, but. Something wasn’t quite right. The cover was beautiful and evoked the right feeling, but it implied that the story was historical fiction, not fantasy. Perilous Chance is fantasy, and I needed a cover that read as fantasy.


Maybe white water would be more suitable. Or . . . no! My winged beast is a creature of the sky. The middle part of my brainstorming had generated the right choice. photo of orange cloudsTime to go sky-hunting! A lightning bolt slicing orange clouds caught my attention, and I tried it. (Again, I can’t show you the cover with that precise image, but I can depict something very similar.)


Chance_cover_lrg_webBut – yet again! – but, but, but!

That still was not right. Back to the search for the right image. This time I found it: lightning sizzling through a cobalt sky. Perfect! Especially since the cobalt-white streak of electrical energy mirrors the magical powers wielded by my fabulous creature. I hope you agree!

For readers whose interest was piqued by this sneak preview of Clary, Elspeth, and the magnificent creature they confront, Perilous Chance is available in electronic bookstores.

Amazon I B&N I Diesel I iTunes
Kobo I Smashwords

More posts about book covers:
Cover Copy Primer
Building Star-drake’s Cover
Choosing a Tagline Font

More about Perilous Chance:
Justice in Auberon
Clary’s Cottage
Notes on Chance
Not Monday, But Lundy



New Release! Perilous Chance

cover image for Perilous ChanceIf only Mama were well. If only Papa were . . . not like this.

Clary needs a miracle, but wonders rarely step forth to solve life’s problems.

While her mama lies wearily abed and her papa spends the day . . . elsewhere, Clary struggles to look after her younger sister and their baby brother. And longs for more than making do. If only.

Then, one spring morning, Clary and Elspeth visit the old bramble-grown quarry to pick wild cabbage leaves. Hidden within the rock’s cleft, Clary’s miracle awaits. But this miracle sports razor-sharp talons, world-shaking power, ravenous hunger, and a troll-witch to guard its sleep. When it cracks the egg, will Clary survive?

Something wondrous this way comes!

Perilous Chance is available in electronic bookstores.
Amazon I B&N I Diesel I iTunes I Kobo I Smashwords