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J is for – Just another Quiet Night… #FourthWallFriday #AtoZChallenge

j-buttonWelcome to a slight interlude on the A to Z Challenge. J is for Just.. just another night, just another bike ride, just another intrusion of one authors world build into her life. Fourth-Wall Friday, for those who have never read one is one of my favorite things on my blog. Authors are challenged to write themselves into their world-build and characters and introduce you to their work from a unique direction.

Just another quiet night! You’d better get on your bike …

What is curiosity? Is it a beginning or is it an ending? Should you embrace it or do you shut your eyes and pray for the love of whatever god you hold close that it disappears? It is a thing without limitations and restraints, for it carries no conscience, other than what its bearer holds. So I ask, should it be valued or feared? For it begs to be heard and it never, ever, no matter how much you should wish it, offers even the smallest measure of mercies.

For me, it all began with a word, not much on its own I admit, but when you couple it to a tragically grieving young man it becomes the premise for a story. So, it fell to me to write this book and from there, other things followed, in particular chasing every spare minute in every day to fulfill my addiction. God help me! How I love writing.

Summer! This means riding my new bike, which by the way I am besotted with… how I love the pushy and its retro feel, it takes me back to a place where I was happy – childhood. The simple pleasure of peddling clears my head. Sometimes, it helps me to even see what might be on the next page. On with the helmet, I grab my keys shutting the door behind as I head out.

Left, then right and left again, my mind wanders and when I eventually look up I’m riding towards a wall. It has writing on it and as I get closer, the words spring up on the orange bricks and I am able to read what it says – Hmmm how ironic its Friday.

The Fourth Wall appears formidable, solid and I wonder how it got to be in the middle of my road. More importantly, I wonder what’s behind the bugger. It’s a weakness of mine this thing called curiosity, so I chain my bike to a pole, there’s no one around but me. I touch the red bricks and guess what? I felt the bricks shift, I heard the crack and that is how it began. I broke through the Fourth Wall into Tarkeenia.

It is as I thought it would be – bloody wonderful. There was a chill in the air and the night sky as I looked up was full of stars, but what delighted me the most was the moon. This broken rock is the key to high fantasy in Tarkeenia, the Pata Batu and it holds tight the wild magic.

“You’ve got a bloody cheek showing up here like this!” Hands on his hips, Brar bristled with anger.

Oh god! He was the last character I wanted to see and to make matter worse I owed this teddy bear looking fellow an apology. He was furious and I suppose since I murdered his friend he had every right to be. The Jaroona began to change and in that instant, it was as if he had disappeared from sight, in fact, Brar stood in his rooted spot, but had taken the appearance of the world around him. Such was his chameleon nature.

“That’s not fair! I loved him as much as you Brar, but Coal’s death was necessary, without it how else could I have introduced Roedanth to the Halls?”

I felt a little stupid talking to the wind, this was so surreal. He reappeared looking very much like an oversized child’s favourite bear but when he opened his mouth to growl a filthy curse at me, the sharp teeth I had painstakingly boasted of in the book suddenly looked very real.

Brar spat at me. “You could have found another way. It’s always the same with you writers isn’t it? Make us up and cut us down on a whim to put more words on a page. I think you need to move on.”

I was speechless: Brar was not like this in the book. When I looked up to see the Jaroona was gone and in his place, a wind whipped up, a deep cackling laugh brushed past me. Jesus! I knew who that was. I am safe, right? After all, I created Drakite to be a god. I feel as nervous as a virgin on her wedding night. Holy crap!

“You’re not what I expected.”

I knew that voice, I had heard it so many times inside my head, the lazy charm sent a shiver up my spine, I turned and Paganini leant against the bole of a tree looking at me speculatively.

I stared opening at the rugged figure: he was dressed in linen and leathers. Suitably as dangerous as the place I had created.

He laughed and I blushed, “You must have royally pissed him off. Passive, aggressive is usually their game. I thought for a moment you were going to make history you know. The first writer to be cordially ripped apart by her own character, that would be a turn for the books hey!” He laughed at his own joke.

This was starting to piss me off. “Well I’m not a girl to stay where she’s not wanted. I’d best be getting back, not that it hasn’t been nice.” I couldn’t help but show the disappointment on my face. “The wall may shut on me if I don’t hurry.”

“What wall?” He sounded amused.

I turned. What fecking wall – it was gone. How in the hell could I finish writing the series if I was stuck in the very thing I was writing about? Shit! So far, I had met two of my darlings and both were less than cordial.

“We need to move. He knows you’re here because Drakite has touched you, and don’t think for one minute your safe because this is only a story. You made the Dark One a God, not me! You see, oh author of mine, if the Dark Lord knows you’re here then you can bet your last nugget that the filthy traitor Roedanth will have an inkling of our whereabouts.” The man they called the Wolf pushed away from the bole, “Ellen, behind the Fourth Wall, Tarkeenia is real. We’re as real as you are. Trust in that if you can trust anything here.” He frowned: it was an expression that worried me. “We have to go there are Specks about and you know how they love to feed when the sun goes down. In fact, you must know how we can rid ourselves of them completely.” Paganini turned and stared into the dark, he sniffed the air.

“You’ve got to be shitting me? Specks here? Where in the hell are we?” Questions flew about and he laughed, just as I knew he would. “Doesn’t anything frighten you Paganini?” This was the first time I had seen the ice in his eyes. That was his Calling, manipulating water into ice and it reflected from inside those dark, beautiful eyes.

He looked away, into a spot that was lit by the moon. The forest Fey stepped out and a moonbeam bathed her in a rose light. She was very beautiful, just as I had imagined. She swayed as she walked, leather trousers and a cotton shirt clinging to her soft curves. Around her waist hung a belt of leather and chain, from which dangled a brace of beautifully crafted knives. Each bore the sigil of a weeping lily, each deathly sharp. Her blue boots matched the turquoise binding that held her dark hair in a twirling knot. She was strikingly magnificent for a wood elf, repelling but still undeniably alluring.

Paganini watched her hips: the ice in his eyes gave way to a smoldering glaze. So, that’s the way of things then! Note to self don’t forget what you’ve just seen. He’s in love with the Wood Elf. Who would have thought and shit why didn’t I see this coming? After all, I’m the creator and author of The Unseen Promise.

“Wolf! Stop chewing her ear and let’s be about it. You might find this experience an amusing dalliance, but I certainly don’t wish to be out in the woods any longer than I have to. Murrdocks on one side and those dwarves …” Litila rolled her eyes. “Greedy little capitalists! If it wasn’t for their talent in shaping glass I wouldn’t waste my time.”

She smiled and winked at me, cheekily lifting her chin in a I told you so gesture, and I understood why he felt the way he did. She might have been bluff and air but the Forest Fey delighted in teasing, she knew very well that the Machobe dwarves lived for the shaping of gold and metal, silver and gems. She touched the emerald resting on her throat.

Clack … Pop … Clack

Surely not! They were only nightmares born from my imaginings, meant only to add excitement to The Unseen Promise, but Paganini has assured me that this Tarkeenia was very real.

“Specks?” My whispering brought a hiss from Litila.

The Wolf nodded and the Fey produced a long blade and with it a grin that lit up her beautiful face. I was pushed rather than guided, tripping over my own feet.

“What the ….”

“Get down. Now!” Yelled Paganini and I was shoved aside.

I looked up and watched as Wolf crouched beside me. His mouth moved in silent speech, and one hand began to twitch in what I can only imagine as a – better get ready move.

From my left Specks bounded on all fours, dodging trees and salivating as they raced to be the first. Oh my god! Just look at them. Even in the dark, I could see their alabaster bodies, skeletal frames and bloated bellies. Will I die in this world, a place of my own imaginings? I thought about covering my eyes with a fistful of fingers Coward!

Litila jumped, right over the top on an incoming devil. Her feet danced briefly across its fleeting back and I heard her laugh, a light sounding of tinkling bells as she pushed her blade into the back of its neck. It dropped dead. Wolf threw out his twitching hand and ice covered the ground before us. Litila whooped as she dropped another and then another.

I was watching a performance, a murderous dance just as I had imagined it to be. I was glad that I hadn’t covered my eyes. I felt like clapping.

Paganini raised his hand and the rest of the specks – I could see their rusty stained teeth and blood soaked pink hair – froze in their tracks.

“This was too easy.” Litila wiped her blade on the grass, wrinkling that perfect nose as she did so. “We’ve got to go and now.”

I stood, a little more than shaken. This was my first close up with a Speck. I know I created them but to see them as solid creatures was exhilarating. Wolf dragged at my arm.

“Come on Ellen. If you think a Speck entertainment,” and he kicked it in the head. “Just wait till you meet a dwarf.” He laughed and the sound of it raised the hairs on the back of my neck. “Now move.”

I hate running! I mean I really hate it and this was no time for me to raise objections on any reasonable grounds. Get eaten by one of your nightmarish characters and having to run felt like the same thing. I tried to fake it, puffing out my chest and all that, but who was I kidding. The grumblings of my companions as I tried to keep up didn’t help and as I bent over heaving, cursing myself for writing this bloody story I heard a voice call out.

“Can I eat it.”

Jesus I’m fecked now. A young girl roughly my height stood in the dim shadows, sunrise was on its way. I suppose there are small blessings along the way if you really look. Specks don’t’ venture out in daylight. Then who was this?

A sneering second voice overlaid the first, “Of course you can’t Kitty. Where would we be if I allowed you to eat our author? No, there is someone else who would owe me a favour if I was to deliver her to him.” His dark hair and black eyes was how I imagined him, and the arrogance he wore like a badge of honour suited his role as a Dark God’s son.

A young man and woman stood in the morning light. Both were very much at ease. Paganini’s doubling back found me staring and he couldn’t help it but lift his voice into a howl. The young woman’s smile with her pointed teeth accepted his challenge.

“You go too far you traitorous piece of shit.” Growled Litila and she stepped into our little group.

“I haven’t gone far enough woodling. In fact, ask the writer she’ll tell you, I have a long way to go, so shut that rude mouth of yours or else you’ll force me to do it for you.” His eyes changed from black to red.

This was getting out of hand, not that it was surprising after all, I wrote these characters and they were only acting out with the personalities I had deemed fit for the roles they had to play. I didn’t know what I was going to do but being on the end of a magic mish-mash was not my idea of a quiet night out. Taking a deep breath, I thought I had better throw caution to the wind and lecture them all on the future of this book.

A child’s giggle turned every head, I sighed in relief. I didn’t care which character thought it wise to impose themselves upon this mess but I was glad for the reprieve.

“You know I could leave you to the blundering of those fools yonder.”

I looked from the golden haired child with a smearing of strawberry jam on her face to the spot where I had been but moments before. The stand off between my characters was a frozen scene, I giggled myself and the small child nodded. She pointed.

“The Wall! Did you do that?”

She giggled and nodded. You had best be gone for after I count to five I am going to let them go.”

I didn’t want to hear anymore. For the time being, I had seen enough and the Fourth Wall was looking pretty-good. I didn’t stop to probe a way through, I rushed at the orange bricks and miraculously they gave way. In Australia, we have a saying – On your bike. So I unchained my beloved and peddled home, back to my laptop and the fantasies I love to live.

About Ellen Mae Franklin

J is for - Just another Quiet Night... #FourthWallFriday #AtoZChallenge

Born in Adelaide, South Australia, this mother of three is following her passion for Fantasy writing. She published The Unseen Promise in 2013, after revitalizing the urge to complete the first book in the Tarkeenia Sagas. She is currently working on its sequel: It’s not the Bite, which kills you.

Working closely with UK author, Peter Emmerson they have published the first book in the Un-named Chronicles titled, Forthright and Clement. Together they are working on the sequel, Armitage and Envy.

She is involved in various writing and creative communities and writes stories for various online groups

  • Terra Australis is an Australian group of writers producing Australian themed anthologies.
  • An online Blog where twelve writers short stories of various genres called Out of Print.
  • Australian Short Stories is a group of energetic writers keen on exploring short stories based on the Australian timeline.

Ellen Mae Franklin writes for an Australian Magazine - TakeABreakReads.

Pen TO Paper is a Blog that not only dedicates creative writing to its host, Ellen Mae Franklin, but it supports the work of featured authors in interviews, articles, short stories and more -
She writes under the pseudonym of her children’s middle names - Ellen Mae Franklin.


J is for – Just another Quiet Night… #FourthWallFriday #AtoZChallengeThe Unseen Promise
by Ellen Mae Franklin
Pages: 546
on 2013-10-06
Genres: Fantasy
Amazon • • Goodreads •

This story marks the struggle between God and Man, magic and indefinable evil. Monsters walk the shadows and the tip of balance between dark and light, good and evil. Even on a good day, living is tenuous.

Strangers become friends, out of necessity more than compatibility for survival takes on the order of the day. Uneasy alliances are tainted by betrayal and self gain, and unlikely heroes emerge to salvage what they can from a world on the brink of chaos.

Flesh eating specks turn the living to dust. Murrdocks and Dwarves, Benzines and Magi all strive to make do in a world bubbling with wild magic. Will Tarkeenia survive the tug and pull of the spoilt and very wicked? Will those lost to the dark find a way back to the light? Is it possible to forget or forgive and start again?

All these questions and more are answered in this first book as the reader walks Tarkeenia’s many paths.

Ever wonder what happens if you were to break into your world build and sit down and have a beer with your main characters? I think I would love to have tea with Jane Eyre, or discuss the best way to take care of vampires with Jane Yellowstone…maybe having Susie Shotgun take me out for some Angels Tears…

I hope everyone (authors and readers alike) takes time peruse the archives and find out just what other authors have done and enjoy a lot of amazing world builds! Or check out the PINTEREST board with every Fourth-Wall Friday pinned!
Follow Kriss Morton – Cabin Goddess’s board Fourth Wall Friday – Art in Words on Pinterest.

FWF-300-BUTTAllow yourself as an author to open up a new avenue of sharing your AUTHOR PERSONA & WORLD BUILD in a unique and creative fashion.. Just take a chance, write fluidly and from within that “place” you hangout at with your muse. Or perhaps walk in the door, tuck into a corner & watch your characters get into trouble before you take a chance and talk to them…

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