Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Welcome Helen Henderson

“Tour Guide to worlds of imagination”
Guest Post - Helen B. Henderson

There is an old saying that you cannot dip a toe into the same river twice. And for me 2013 is turning into its own version of a raging river with new stories and changing publishers surging to the forefront. The work that became Imprisoned in Stone was originally written during a break between the first and second volumes of the Windmaster series. At the time I wanted a stand-alone story that I could work on as needed and at some future point use as a filler release. However I had forgotten that magic makes its own rules and when the world changed for me, Imprisoned jumped up, saying “” I will say that publishing it has been a unique experience.

In some ways, Imprisoned in Stone is different from a number of my other works. The most noticable is that it does not have the dragon from the short story, Hatchling’s Guardian or those that fill the skies in the novels of the Dragshi Chronicles. However, the sword and sorcery story is not bereft of magical creatures. Among those who fill the pages is a strong-willed stallion named Rascal.

Like my other shorts and novels, sometimes I pull on various experiences obtained from a myriad of different lives and careers to bring my characters to life. In my bio, I mention I was a correspondent in a past life. Among the topics I wrote about were history (including military history), antiques, and military weapons. People who see me in a suit giving a lecture on how to create a novel notebook would not recognize me holding a reporter’s pad and a press badge hung low on my fatigues, or walking through a re-enactor camp in hoop skirt and wide-brimmed hat carrying a camera and recorder hidden in my basket. Recalling shooting arrows on my family farm and discussions with a retired sailor on life at sea melded with the military to produce the blend of action and romance in Imprisoned in Stone.

Speaking of action and romance, for the one I credit Louis L’Amore with my interest in and the other? When I started writing, I never thought of writing in the genre until met multi-published author Carol McPhee who encouraged romance to take its place alongside adventure. Today my works still cross the lines, at home in both. Carol’s newest release is Natural Obsession from Wings-press.

Although different research and background go into each book, some things don’t change. My approach remains what is currently referred to as an exploration. I work with an outline. Not the old Roman numeral hierarchy of cascading levels. Items in any one outline can vary from three or four bullets or a sentence to a fully-developed scene complete with dialog. In many ways, what I call a storyboard is equivalent to a first draft. For me the approach allows me to use structure to get started without losing the freshness when the characters take over the telling of their story.

Using an outline or forms as writer’s tools is one thing I recommend to new writers. Even if it is nothing but a yellow pad with a few columns so that they can capture thoughts and keep a running list of character names, their spellings, and whatever major events have happened in their lives. An alphabetized list of character names can help prevent a story with a preponderance of too similar names.

An additional issue with names is coming up with them in the first place. Some characters tell me their names right away. Others play coy and make me hunt them among the lists of Gaelic (or whatever nationality and culture the story is about) name or appropriate dictionaries. And although it is customary for fiction to state “any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental” may not be totally true. One author I read works her children’s birthdates into a story such making it the number part of a street address. For myself, I’ve reached the stage in life where my caregiving responsibilities can be for up to four generations. To help engender the love of reading in the younger ones, I’ve taken their names and modified them, either by translation into another language or modifying the spelling then incorporate them into a story. This does cause a problem, not with the named, but their parents. Not everyone can appear in every book and they keep coming. The newest just made his appearance a scant few weeks ago while this post was being written.

Music is an important part of my writing life. Since, I can’t go to Scotland in person, I travel to the fantasy worlds the land inspires with celtic music, especially the lilt of the flute. When writing Imprisoned in Stone, "Ireland's Call" by Celtic Thunder provided the baseline for duty and honor. Unlike the playlists for my other books, more contemporary instrumentals motivated the pen. One of them was the theme from Twelve O'Clock High, a television series from years gone by.

The piano solo played at the end of each episode of The Incredible Hulk. The “Lonely Man Theme" by Joe Harnell conveys the sense of hopelessness of loss characterized by Dylan, as he tries to escape from his eternal prison of stone. And becomes even more haunting when he has to decide the fate of another.

And as a final note as to what music has been inspiring. Besides Imprisoned in Stone, a short story, Hatchling’s Guardian, was released in August to answer the call to fly while the Dragshi Chronicles are being re-published. Sorry, although it features the ability to take on dragon form, Hatchling’s Guardian is not part of the chronicles.


A spell kept secret for generations.
A brotherhood thirsting for power.
Demands that can’t be met.
A woman who stands to lose everything.

For the crime of disobedience, the Brethren imprisoned Dylan’s soul in stone. After centuries, he felt the touch of another’s mind and hope for escape from his eternal prison soars. However, his potential savor’s is unaware of her latent magic--and her only knowledge of him comes from an eerie message on the wall and nightmarish dreams.

Cuhlwch, the current head of the Brethren plans to control any and all who have magic... and will do anything to achieve his goals. Displeased with his son, Colwynn, who has healed without payment, Cuhlwch wants a successor of his choosing, one who will follow his traditions. And he means to have one, including using magic to enforce his will. Only Colwynn wants to chose his own mate--an unknown woman whose magic calls him from afar.

All paths cross in one woman’s destiny.
And her name is--Maerva.

Genre fantasy / romance

Buy links: Find Imprisoned in Stone on Amazon

The latest distribution and information on additional formats can be found at


Movement at the tree line sharpened Dylan’s focus. His signal sent the pair of young dogs at his side slinking to the ground. Almost before they were fully weaned, Eth and Lon, puppies born in the first litter on the island from the wave-delivered dogs, had taken to following him around. Finally he admitted he liked their companionship and accepted their presence. They lay, heads pointing to where a large deer hesitantly emerged from the woods.

Dylan slowly rose to one knee, reached back and notched an arrow in his bow. His aim tracked the animal out into the middle of the meadow. Thoughts of venison roast tonight, and enough meat to fill the soup pot for a week contrasted with the concern of a kill so close to home. He had not set out that morning in anticipation of such a find.

A tingling at his senses forced him to change his mind. Colwynn was trying to contact him. “Maybe, next time,” he called to the stag. The animal flicked its tail and bounded into the brush. Standing quiet, Dylan sent his magic outward. Using his powers still required concentration, but each casting a spell required less effort. Finally, he felt he was overcoming his eons of imprisonment. The fact that Gareth was physically strong, even if his magic wasn’t, made things easier.

Dylan reached out for Colwynn. The other mage was occupied, his mind locked behind a hard shell. Dylan pursued his efforts. An image formed in his mind--a ship. Racing across the grass, he halted at the top of the bluff and searched the coastline. Now, he no longer needed magic to see the vessel anchored two coves down. He could not hear the commands, but soon a small boat was lowered. Kneeling behind the rocks, he stayed out of sight of the groups of men being rapidly rowed to shore. Once on the beach the brown-robed monks spread out.

Dylan’s pulse sped faster. The newcomers were Brethren--the time of reckoning was close.

Author Bio:

A former feature-story writer and correspondent, Henderson has also written fiction as long as she could remember. Her heritage reflects the contrasts of her Gemini sign. She is a descendent of a coal-miner's daughter and an aviation flight engineer. This dichotomy shows in her writing which crosses genres from historical adventures and westerns to science fiction and fantasy. In the world of romantic fantasy she is the author of two series: Windmaster and the Dragshi Chronicles.



Decadent Kane said...

The cover is beautiful. Most the time Characters will tell me their names right away. I've used outlines several times. Great post.
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Helen Henderson said...

Dawn,thanks for having me as a guest. Helen

Helen Henderson said...

DK, thanks for stopping by. Glad you enjoyed the post. Helen

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Helen,

A very interesting post. You're doing varied types of writing which I believe is best. I love the cover art. Best wishes for your success.

Helen Henderson said...

Jacqueline, thanks for the compliment. Coming from you it means a lot. Helen

Cover Reveal and Giveaway~ The Guardian by Sarah Fine