Penny Gnomes Price Drop!

Penny Gnomes CoverIf you’ve been considering picking up an eBook of In The Land Of The Penny Gnomes then this is your lucky weekend! Now through Sunday the eBook is on sale in the Kindle store for only 99 cents!

I’m a bit biased, but this would make a great read for a holiday weekend.

%error% Just as long as you don’t leave us on clearance permanently. %error%

And now the characters are infiltrating my blog. Great.

Live Chat with Banebringer Author, Carol A. Park

Banebringer Cover

Cover Art by Brit K. Caley

Don’t forget to stop by tonight for a live chat with Carol A Park, author of Banebringer. The fun begins at 8:30 PM Eastern Time and the video should embed below 1 once I’ve begun the stream. If this does not happen, you can watch at the Painfully Hopeful Facebook page. Comments and questions are welcome, and they’ll give me an opportunity to play with Ecamm Live’s audience features. So please feel free to make some polite remarks.

See you tonight!

  1. Both myself and WordPress tech support typed “should.” 

Fiction Tuesday – The Legend Lives On

Today’s blog continues my long-neglected satirical fantasy, In The Land of the Penny Gnomes

Will opened his eyes.

He was lying in his bed, wearing the same clothes he’d been wearing the night Bug had woken him up those many months ago. Nothing in his room seemed amiss, which wasn’t what he was expecting.

“Was it just a dream?” he whispered to himself.

The befuddled teen reached for his phone and woke the screen. It read “7:08 AM, Saturday, October 21.”

“That’s right, it was a Friday night when Bug woke me up,” he muttered to himself.

As Will began to ponder the possibility his trip had been the result of an over-active imagination, he heard someone walking around downstairs. Further awakened by these sounds he also took notice of some scents wafting through his room. The aroma of bacon caused his mouth to water. The second he was shocked to find appealing, coffee.

Will slipped out of bed and made his way downstairs. His parent’s bedroom door was still shut, so he doubted the unseen breakfast maker was either his mother or father. They left their door cracked after they woke up. He took gentle steps down the stairs, so as to not broadcast his presence, and then turned the corner to enter the kitchen.

“Well, good morning William,” announced an older gentleman as Will stepped into the room. The man smiled, and a twinkle sparked in his eyes, “Would you like some coffee?”


“Come on in and sit down, son. I’ve got the pancakes made and the bacon is coming.” He then reached for a mug and poured will a cup of coffee the nearby pot, handing it to Will as he climbed on to a stool at the counter.

Will accepted the mug, and the cream and sugar which were slid over to him even before he asked, but the offer confused him. He’d never drank coffee before his trip to The Realm. And as he was becoming certain his trip was nothing more than a dream he wasn’t sure that counted.

“Grandpa, have you ever seen me drink coffee?”

The older man chuckled, “No. No, I can’t say I have.”

“So, why did you offer me a cup?”

Will’s grandfather smiled. “Oh, I just thought you might like a cup this morning.”

There was something about his grandfather’s voice which sparked a memory from his dream trip. Will’s eyes opened wide and his mouth dropped open. His grandfather continued to smile, the twinkle in his eye growing along with Will’s shock shock.

“It was you. You’re the Narrator!”

Grandpa beamed with pride, “Guilty.” He perched himself on a stool of his own. “Did you enjoy your trip?”

“That was real?”

“Well, as real as a real person can travel into imagination.”

“But I was gone for months?”


“And you were talking with me!”

“Well I couldn’t let my grandson go on his adventure alone, now could I? I do have to say I wasn’t certain the gift had been passed to you, I was so happy when Bug arrived to take you to The Realm. Did you know you’re the first Narrator in our history to ever go to The Realm?”

“But… it’s tomorrow!”

Grandpa’s eyes sparkled even brighter. “Time moves different in The Realm, Will. Didn’t Nobody tell you that?”

“Well, yes. But… then I woke up in my bed, and I was wearing the clothes I went to sleep in, and it’s tomorrow. And I was gone for months and you were talking with me the whole time, how could you have been talking with me the whole time if it was really just one night?”

“I was asleep, Will. I followed you in my dreams, and in dreams time doesn’t matter. I saw your whole adventure, and I’m so proud of the difference you made!”

“I really didn’t do anything, Grandpa. Bug and the Professor just drug me along and I went with them.”

“Nonsense,” Grandpa spat out as he stabbed a pancake with a serving fork. “You stopped the Copyright Horde from taking over The Bar, you re-awakened The Realm to the importance of Narrative, and you put the right Sovereign on the throne.”

The older MacGill grinned as he served Will a stack of pancakes. “Sindy is going to be shaking things up, and that will be fun to watch over. You did everything you were called to do.”


“Why you?”

Will nodded. “Yah.”

“Well, maybe you’d better ask, ‘Why us?’”

“Yah,” Will nodded. “Why could you see me in your dreams?”

Grandpa handed the bewildered teen a plate of pancakes and bacon, and then began preparing his own serving as he responded. “You and I, Will, inherited a gift. We see The Realm of Imagination in ways no one else can.”

Will shook his head as he poured syrup over his breakfast. “I don’t understand.”

“Will, where do good ideas come from?”

The teen shrugged, “I dunno. People just think them up, I guess.”

“Yes, they do. And they do the same thing with stories, and family tales, and even with home improvement. Do you think your dad’s love of duct tape came out of nowhere?”

“I just thought he picked it up from other people.”

Grandpa smiled, “Exactly! All these things come from our imagination. And the good idea, the really good ones like the wonders of duct tape, get shared far and wide.”

Will shrugged, “OK?”

“And did you ever wonder where imagination comes from?”

Will gnawed down a strip of bacon as he pondered his grandfather’s question, when he had a sudden epiphany.

“Wait, you mean our imagination really comes from The Realm?”

Grandpa reached over and slapped Will’s back. “Yes! Well, we perceive it as The Realm, anyway. Who knows what it really is.”

“But… why can we see it?”

“Ahh,” Grandpa breathed as he thrust a single finger into the air. “That is the question, isn’t it? Over the generations our family has had this awareness. We know when it’s doing well, and we know when it’s struggling. Sometimes we even see it in our dreams, and when we do we’ve guided it in ways which would help keep it healthy.”

“So the Narrators who spoke to the prophets came from our family?”

Grandpa nodded with a grin, “Yes. Except for you, of course. You’re both Narrator and prophet, that’s something unique!”

“But… why? What’s the point?”

“Will, imagine a world where The Realm was desolate, controlled, or divided. Where would the energy for our new ideas come from? What would happen to our stories, and our shared memories?”

“You mean the Professor was right? If The Horde had won the war, or if the Penny Ore would have been detonated…”

“…our culture would have died. Yes, but not right away. Most people wouldn’t even have noticed the problem for a very long time. But we would have faded, as sure as if we’d been hit with an injunction round.”

“So… what are we?”

“We’re the caretakers, Will. We watch over The Realm and try to keep it healthy so imagination keeps flowing from that world into ours. And we’re not the only ones, there are other realms of imagination out there. They all have their own caretakers.”

“They do?”

“Of course! Every language and culture has their own Realm of Imagination, and they have to be nurtured every bit as much as our own. I’ve met some of the other Narrators, too. And now, I’ll introduce you to them.”

Will sipped his coffee. “I guess I’ll look forward to that.”

“You’d better!” Grandpa blurted out as he chewed a fork-full of pancake.

“But… Grandpa?” Will’s voice expressed a bit more pleading than he’d intended, but the unspoken question was communicated loud and clear.

Will’s grandfather placed his fork back on his place and sighed.

“You want to know if you’ll ever go back?”

Will nodded, and his grandfather smiled. “I don’t know, Will. You’re something new, after all. So, maybe. If Bug needs you, or if Professor Nobody gets a new idea he needs to test out, maybe you’ll go back — but I doubt it. I do know this. From now on you’ll always be able to see The Realm. And one day you might have to speak your own voice into it.”

Will sighed. If he was honest with himself his grandfather’s answer had been what he was expecting. Even as he travelled back to Great Roll he’d felt himself detaching from The Realm, as if the land it self was expelling his presence. The teen and his grandfather finished their breakfasts in silence, pondering all that had been said and all Will had experienced.

As he sipped the last of his coffee, Will found himself looking forward to sleep that night. He wanted to look in on Sindy’s reign as Sovereign, and see how Nobody’s snack business was developing. Most of all he wanted to search for Bug, and find out how his friend’s life was going. And, as he pondered the window his slumber would open, Will had an idea..

— The End —

Fiction Tuesday – Rolling On

Today’s blog continues my long-neglected satirical fantasy, In The Land of the Penny Gnomes

The train ride back to No Entry was a stark contrast to his previous train ride weeks before. The citizens of The Realm were streaming back to their homes, and Will witnessed many windows being freed from their plywood prison-bars as he passed. Towns were also coming to life again, and the young prophet was happy to see stores and shops opening up throughout their ride.

Still, reminders of the war remained. Some homes showed the damage of battle or occupation, and one town located on the junction of the University City Expressway and No Entry Way 1 showed signs of significant devastation.

“A scout force for the Horde holed up here and delayed the Southern troops meant for Isme’s advance. It got pretty bad,” was all Bug would say in response to Will’s inquiries.

The platforms were also filled with people, both refugees making their way home now the roads were open and friends and family eager to be reunited with their loved ones. Soldiers were also on the rails. Three stops before their train reached No Entry a group of uniformed gnomes boarded the train, and as they did the teen could heard applause breaking out in the car they had entered. Soon after the train had begun moving again will spied a number of these soldiers peeking into his compartment. Bug got so annoyed with the onlookers he shooed them away and pulled down their window shade.

Will grinned, “I guess it’s not every day people get to see the husband of the Sovereign in the flesh.”

“Kid, are you serious?” Bug snapped back. “They’re looking at you. You’re the prophet, remember?”


“Well I thought they were looking at me,” Nobody insisted. “On account of the sack I’m wearing over my head 2.”

“That could be it, Professor.” Bug agreed.

The train pulled into No Entry without incident and the three friends were permitted to disembark before any of the other passengers. The Harbor was more crowded than Will remembered, as it was still filled with many of the refugees who’d made it into the open port before the gnomes closed the doors. The teen supposed they were skittish about the prospect of leaving a safe place, even with the war over. He did notice something other than over-crowding in the Harbor, however, which he found interesting. There were more gnomes interspersed with the wizards, dwarves, elves, and centaurs than he’d witnessed in his previous passage. He wasn’t sure what that meant, but Will hoped it was a sign the gnomish fear of outsiders was beginning to wane 3.

And then he saw the customs gate. It’s uninviting chain-link fence stretched all the way up to the caverns ceiling, adorned with the words, “Gnomes Only From This Point.” Will found it depressing.

The lines which snaked out of the passage into Gnomedom proper were long, but Bug elbowed his way through to the front with only a few dirty looks. When they arrived a sour-looking guard spoke without so much as glancing up from his paperwork which covered his desk.

“No entry, gnomes only. The wizard will have to turn back.”

Bug grinned, but Nobody spoke before he could breath out a threat.

“Oh, Michael. It’s so good to see you! You know, Sindy was just speaking about you for some reason, so I was hoping to bump into you because it’s been years, but I can’t remember why your name came up. Bug, do you know why Sindy was so excited to have Michael working at customs now?”

Bug’s grin widened, “I think it might have something to do with this letter, Professor. Sindy was pretty insistent Mike get it.”

The guard’s face flushed white as he recognized who was standing in front of his desk.

“Uncle Nobody? Bug? What are you doing there? I though you were at The Throne!”

“Well, we were, but now we have to get back to Great Roll so Will here can go home. And you’re going to let us in so we can do that, aren’t you Mike?”

“But, Bug,” Mike pleaded. “It’s against the rules.”

That’s IT!!

All eyes turned to the professor, whose words were now echoing down the corridor.

“What’s ‘it?’ Professor?”

“That’s why Sindy was so pleased Michael was working here now, intimidation! I believe she wrote you a strong-worded letter, Michael, which will cause you to cower and then step aside so Will can pass though. Isn’t that wonderful?”

What little color was left in Mike’s face had now drained away. Stammering he whispered, “Does she…. yell?”

“Oh, she does more than yell, Mike. She promises a visit if you don’t let young Will, here, though.”

“Uhh, then I suppose I can make an exception. Just this once,” Mike replied as he stepped aside and wave the trio though.

“Don’t you want your letter?” Nobody asked his nephew as he passed.”

No! I mean, ‘no, thank you 4.’”

“Great. Will, Prof, we gotta move. I wanna be on the 7:30 to Great Roll.”

With a shove from Bug Will stepped through the customs barrier and began the last leg of his journey.

  1. Many travelers miss that exit, for some reason. 
  2. Somewhere along the way Nobody had gotten the idea he was now famous, and would therefore be followed by people wanting interviews. His solution to this problem was to conceal his identity by wearing a large potato sack over his head. It did prevent people from speaking with him. But also provoked a great deal of staring, which pleased the academic a great deal. 
  3. It was. The gnomes returning from the war didn’t understand what was so special about Gnomedom, that they couldn’t invite their friends from the army to come visit. Two years after Will returned home non-gnomes were permitted entry into the Fifty-Peaks Mountains for the first time in four centuries. 
  4. It’s a shame Mike didn’t want his letter. Bug’s description aside, the bulk of the letter was spent asking about his children. It was touching, really. 

Fiction Tuesday – All Aboard!

Today’s blog continues my long-neglected satirical fantasy, In The Land of the Penny Gnomes

Will left The Throne the next morning, accompanied by Bug and Nobody. Sindy had wanted to join them, but she was still adjusting to her office and wanted to remain in the capital so she could look over Mr. Purple’s shoulder 1. She did, however, meet with him in the train station as they prepared to board.

“Here, Will. Take this,” she held out her hand and offered the teen a sealed envelope.

“What’s this?”

“It’s a letter of passage from the Sovereign of The Realm. If the border guards at No Entry give you any grief this will get you through customs.”

“OK, thanks.” Given the Gnomish paranoia of allowing outsiders into their territory, Will had been wondering how Bug was going get him through the gates at No Entry. “But, why do you think this will work? Bug said the Gnomes are still demanding full border control.”

Sindy smirked and pointed to the envelope. “That’s addressed to my cousin, Mike. He’s in command of the guards and it says if he doesn’t let you pass I’ll come up there and yell at him.”

“And that will work?”

“Oh yes,” Nobody declared. “Mike has been terrified of Sindy since they were children.” The professor angled his head in reflection. “Come to think of it, I’ve always felt bad about that.”

“Well, he shouldn’t have scribbled all over my drawing. A little fear is good for a gnome.”

“Sindy,” Bug waded into the conversation. “He was four years old.”

Steam puffed from the Sovereign’s ears. “He knew what he was doing.”

“Yes, well. I did feel bad about it, but now all those years of fear are coming in handy. Isn’t that nice?”

With that, Nobody kissed his daughter on the cheek and boarded the train. Sindy, whose face had been growing red as more steam began to puff it’s way from her nostrils, cooled off as her father ascended into the train car.

“Uh, Bug….?”

“Yes, dear. I’ll tell him causing your family members to live in abject fear of wrath is not good and he shouldn’t get any ideas.”

He wife sighed in relief. “Thank you, who knows what he would come up with that insight once he gets to his lab.”

Bug nodded. “I was thinking along the same lines. But, you know, about it not being good…”

Sindy’s eyes narrow, joined by an incongruent grin, “Husbands don’t count. Now get on the train before my father decides to pull on the emergency break again 2.

“Yes dear,” Bug smiled leaning in to kiss his wife on the lips. As he leaned back his gaze lingered on Sindy for a moment.

“What do you want, you daft gnome?”

“I miss the beard 3.”

Sindy pointed. “Get on the train, Bug. Now.”

“Yes dear,” her husband replied with a grin. He turned and climbed up steps into the car.

The Sovereign of The Realm then turned to Will and smiled. “And as for you, young man, I expect you to stay out of trouble. At least until you get home, that is.”

“Yes, ma’am.” Will blurted out, not knowing what else to say.

Tears rolled down Sindy’s cheeks as she pulled Will down to his knees and embraced him.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

“You’re welcome,” Will managed to croak out through his own tears.

The teen then stood and made to board the train himself when Sill’s voice called out.


He turned to his right and caught sight of the IBI agent standing in front of the press pool, flanked by Grimby and Fineflin. The trio approached as Will turned and each shook his hand in turn.

Grimby was the first to speak. “I wish we could have gone with you, kid, but we’ve been reassigned to Sovereign Security.”

“You’re protecting her from the Press?”

Fineflin snorted, “Well, look how they’re dressed. I’ve been tasked with creating new guidelines for those covering The Sovereign. Some of them are wearing suits and ties and it’s 90 degrees out here.” The elf then spun and shouted to the reporter pool, “At least go fashionably open collar! Use your imaginations!”

Sills shook her head, “As you can see, we’re still working out the details.” She then smiled. “We just wanted to say goodbye, Will.”

“Yah kid,” added Grimby, patting the teen on the back so hard he had to step forward to keep his balance. “It’s been an adventure.”

“Just, please do something about your wardrobe. Honestly,” Fineflin concluded as he waved at Will’s outfit. For his journey home the teen had returned to wearing a plain tee-shirt, jeans, and sneakers. Fineflin felt it was an outfit beneath someone with his celebrity status.

Will grinned. “I’ll keep that in mind, thanks.”

The train whistle sounded and Sills waved him off.

“OK, get going. And don’t forget us!”

“I won’t,” he promised as he boarded the train. He turned and waved at his friends, blinded by the number of flashes firing from the assembled press 4. Then he entered the car and watched as The Throne passed by and out of his life.

  1. This was not a metaphor. Sindy was determined to attend every meeting chaired by Mr. Purple and look over his shoulder from the Throne. His margin-doodle rate would later decline to record lows. 
  2. Nobody had been given a lifetime ban from riding the rails after the twentieth time he pulled the emergency break on a cross-Realm trip. He was only reinstated when the IBI insisted he be given clearance for the war effort. When asked why he kept pulling the break his answer was, “I wanted to see what would happen.” 
  3. Sindy hadn’t been wearing her fake beard since their departure from Boarsblemish, saying it was “too much of a hassle to keep clean.” Her refusal to wear the fake beard would be taken up by a Gnomish feminist group, changing societal norms and bankrupting several companies. 
  4. The headline in the next day’s paper would read, “Teenage prophet embraces his celebrity during tearful farewell.”