Book Review: The Flaming Sword by Heather L. L. Fitzgerald

flaming sword

Heather Fitzgerald has done it again!

“The Flaming Sword,” released November 1, 2016, is the outstanding sequel to “The Tethered World,” which I also reviewed here.

“The Tethered World Chronicles” is a unique, fun and thrilling young adult fantasy series following the adventures of the Larcen family, who have been charged with the safekeeping of the Tethered World, a secret, underground world filled with not-so-mythological creatures.

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The Old Astronomer (To His Pupil) – by Sarah Williams

(This is a hauntingly beautiful poem I came across recently, and I thought I’d share it. I’ve read it multiple times by now and still weep like a little child every time.

In fact, I love it so much I’ve decided to set some of the verses to music. 🙂 Maybe it has something to do with my not-so-secret love for astronomy. 

Reach me down my Tycho Brahé, – I would know him when we meet,
When I share my later science, sitting humbly at his feet;
He may know the law of all things, yet be ignorant of how
We are working to completion, working on from then to now.

Pray remember that I leave you all my theory complete,
Lacking only certain data for your adding, as is meet,
And remember men will scorn it, ‘tis original and true,
And the obloquy of newness may fall bitterly on you.

But, my pupil, as my pupil you have learned the worth of scorn,
You have laughed with me at pity, we have joyed to be forlorn,
What for us are all distractions of men’s fellowship and wiles;
What for us the Goddess Pleasure with her meretricious smiles.

You may tell that German College that their honor comes too late,
But they must not waste repentance on the grizzly savant’s fate.
Though my soul may set in darkness, it will rise in perfect light;
I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night.

What, my boy, you are not weeping? You should save your eyes for sight;
You will need them, mine observer, yet for many another night.
I leave none but you, my pupil, unto whom my plans are known.
You “have none but me,” you murmur, and I “leave you quite alone”?

Well then, kiss me, – since my mother left her blessing on my brow,
There has been a something wanting in my nature until now;
I can dimly comprehend it, – that I might have been more kind,
Might have cherished you more wisely, as the one I leave behind.

I “have never failed in kindness”? No, we lived too high for strife,–
Calmest coldness was the error which has crept into our life;
But your spirit is untainted, I can dedicate you still
To the service of our science: you will further it? you will!

There are certain calculations I should like to make with you,
To be sure that your deductions will be logical and true;
And remember, “Patience, Patience,” is the watchword of a sage,
Not to-day nor yet to-morrow can complete a perfect age.

I have sown, like Tycho Brahé, that a greater man may reap;
But if none should do my reaping, ’twill disturb me in my sleep
So be careful and be faithful, though, like me, you leave no name;
See, my boy, that nothing turn you to the mere pursuit of fame.

I must say Good-bye, my pupil, for I cannot longer speak;
Draw the curtain back for Venus, ere my vision grows too weak:
It is strange the pearly planet should look red as fiery Mars,–
God will mercifully guide me on my way amongst the stars.

(“I have loved the stars too fondly to be fearful of the night” – one of my favorite lines ever!)

Student Quote of the Week: Don’t Eat the Orange Ones

Student: “My friend told me that some ladybugs are actually poisonous.”

Me: “Oh really?”

Student: “Yeah. The red and black ones are okay. But the orange and black ones are poisonous. So you shouldn’t eat those ones.”

Me: “Aw, really? Well, alright…I guess I won’t be eating the orange ones then.”

There go my dinner plans.

Student Quote of the Week (Trauma by Horse)

When a perfectly innocent conversation with your piano student, about THEORY, mind you, suddenly takes a turn into PG-13 level inappropriate subject matter, and you’re left alternating between utter shock and uncontrollable laughter…

Me: “Look! On this page of theory homework you get to write your own song about a Pegasus! That’s cool!”

Student: “I don’t want to write about a Pegasus. I saw a horse once, and it was horrible. I definitely didn’t like it. It was a boy horse, so I saw his (*whispering*) you-know-what….It was so gross!! EW!!! I never want to see a boy again!”

Me: (*through tears of laughter*) “I’m sorry. That does sound awful. You don’t have to write about a Pegasus then.”

Adventures in Harmonia: Music Theory and Dinosaurs (Part 13)

To read previous installments of this series, visit the Adventures in Harmonia page.

I spent the rest of the weekend contemplating “King” Alexander’s odd request. He wanted me to get him back to Harmonia? REALLY? How on earth was I supposed to do that? Even if I discovered what was blocking him from using the portals in the first place and then miraculously figured out how to unblock him, there was still the matter of smuggling him out of a nursing home. Sure, I could take the music box there so he technically wouldn’t even have to leave his room, but still…the nurses were bound to notice his disappearance into thin air sooner or later. Continue reading

Grandpa’s House

My grandfather passed away several years ago to cancer. Recently, my family spent some time down at his house visiting an old friend who lives there. All of my grandfather’s things were still there–dishes, furniture, books, decorations, you name it–in the same places they have been for basically my whole life. There is a familiar, comfortable feeling that always takes over when I walk into that place. It still has that welcoming atmosphere that beckons me to explore and to relive my childhood.

The house is literally in the middle of nowhere, secluded by the wonderfully wild surrounding woods. It’s like entering a fairy tale, and is still one of my favorite places in the whole world. Continue reading

Student Quote of the Week: Invincible

Student: *Plays her major scale with no mistakes* “Yes!! I’m invincible!”

*Starts the chord progression, and plays a wrong chord*

Me: “So, you’re almost invincible.”

Student Quote of the Week: Minor Scales

Our conversation after the student played his five-finger scales:

Me: “So, have you noticed that all your scales so far kind of sound the same?”

Student: “Yeah.”

Me: “Well, that’s because they all use the exact same pattern of steps. That pattern is called ‘major.’ Major scales sound sort of happy, don’t they? But listen to what happens if I play the same position and change just the third note.”

*Plays D minor five-finger scale*

Me: “That’s called ‘minor’ position. It sounds a little different, doesn’t it? What sort of mood do you think minor sounds like?”

Student: “Evil.”

Not exactly what I was going for, but it cracked me up all the same.

Writing Reflections: The Role of Fictional Languages

I have always been fascinated by language. The way certain verbal sounds grouped together can have a universally understood meaning within a society is intriguing to me. Even as a kid I would spend time creating my own words, and occasionally “secret codes” that could only be translated by those possessing the key. Oftentimes, such codes were employed as an effective method of passing notes in class with my friends, which could not be interpreted by unwanted eyes. *Ahem.* I’m not condoning such practices of course, but alas, I admit I did not always put such efforts and talents to their best use in my youth. Continue reading

June WIPjoy: Week 3

Here are my answers to the June #WIPjoy prompts on Twitter and Facebook (and occasionally Instagram), about my current work-in-progress, “The Hall of Memories.” You can also view Week 1 and Week 2 by clicking on the links. Enjoy! Continue reading