Creatures of Astarkand: The Fleuder


Fleuder: a brittle-haired (fictional) creature with six stubby legs commonly found in Astarkand, which looks somewhat like this.

Reposted from May 21, 2013:

I was rummaging through my hard-drive looking for old, random files to delete when I came across this photo my friend, Heidi Kortman, was fortunate enough to take a while back of a fleuder.

If you have read my books, then you are already aware of the odd little creatures named fleuders.

Here are a few facts about fleuders that you might find interesting:

Bjorn has never seen a fleuder anywhere else except in Astarkand.

Fleuder anatomy is highly unusual, consisting of six stubby legs supporting a lump of a body about the size of a round loaf of bread, covered in brittle hairs. A fleuder’s mouth is located centrally on its belly. No one so far has been able to find its eyes or nose. It appears to understand its world primarily through its senses of taste and touch.

Fleuders make several variations on an odd, grumbly-grindy noise, mostly heard as expressions of alarm or disgust.

They eat leaf detritus, and are often seen scrabbling about under the decaying leaves of the northern cabbage palm, but they aren’t particularly picky. While they do quite well in captivity, most folk agree that the only almost-interesting thing a fleuder does is scrabble about in the dirt. Most pet fleuders end up living in their owners’ gardens under a convenient bush…

Rumor has it that fleuders weren’t an original part of creation, but were created from other sources by the black sorceress Gunhild. They might have been one of her earlier efforts; a mad sort of combination of sea urchin, star fish (for the extra legs), and guinea pig.

Whether or not they were created by the sorceress, fleuders appear to be wholly harmless aside from their tendency to breed like rabbits.

Fleuder terms:

1 fleuder
2 fleuderkind
fleuderma (female)
fleuderpa (male)
fleuderlings (baby fleuders)
an ingratitude = a group of fleuders
an exodus = a significantly sized group of fleuders bent on crawling or falling into moving water, especially the sea.

Adventures With Crutches

Reposted from May 17, 2013:

I’m not a very big fan of loud noises, bright lights, or a big crowd. This is a good thing, because I have chemical sensitivities, and tend to have negative medical reactions to the toxic chemical concoctions people wear on their hair and bodies, and wash their clothes with these days…and I should probably not mention cigarette smoke…

But my life is FAR from boring!

Take last night, for instance…

What was supposed to be a quick break between stacks of homework for my daughter (and a break for me from writing and other tasks), for a picnic in the park with a small group of family and friends turned into a trip to the emergency room complete with x-rays and the need to find a pair of crutches!

It could have been worse. I expected the waiting room to be full, but it was empty. I expected we would be sitting there until the wee hours of the morning, but we were in and out by her bedtime (a personal record at that particular ER), although logistics at home still pushed lights out to later than I would have liked.

Life’s just like that when you have kids! It’s impossible to keep them out of trouble. It doesn’t matter what you’re doing; if there is a disaster to be found, they will find it! Parents try to keep their kids safe and healthy (and in one piece), but we also know that too much coddling is unhealthy. Besides, if we don’t let them learn where they’re likely to get into trouble, our kids don’t add to their experience or learn the need for taking care when our backs are turned.

I expect my daughter to eventually grow out of this stage of being so disaster-prone.

Meanwhile, I have said she has to pick her climbing trees a little more carefully from here on out. And yes, fishing would have probably been a much better idea. (but with our luck, we might have still wound up in the ER on account of a fish-hook).

And somewhere, somehow, I am going to write my daughter’s many escapades into one of my books…

Writing Assignment

Reposted from May 13, 2013:

A cicada shell makes a great metaphor for a car–

My daughter sent me a creative writing assignment to print (her computer and the printer don’t like each other). This little story was so good, that I thought I would share it with you.

First comes the hesitant entering of the giant’s rusty square mouth. You can see the giant’s drool spurting upward as the bug that contains you shyly creeps into the awaiting jaws. The bug is suddenly jerked forward, and the metal lips jam shut behind you. The bug stops in the semi-darkness. The bug’s glass eyes are cold to the touch.

Something before you starts moving. Spittle washes over the metal exterior of your bug, and you scream. Then, a tongue with long, thin, rubbery tentacles slaps the eyes and body of your bug. Everything stops. The bug, still alive, crawls forward, carefully, inch by inch. An opening appears ahead, flooding the darkness with light. The bug quickens its pace, and is instantly blasted with warm air. The bug leaps for the opening, jolting you inside it. It shakes off the spit and scurries away, frightened as much as you. Another adventure, another day ended.

Wasn’t that fantastic writing? If you like it, please leave a comment. Thanks!

Waiting on God’s Provision

Brooch low-res copy

The cloak pin Bjorn’s sister, Melora gave him.

Re-posted from May 9, 2013:

My current word count has broken 77,000 words.

When I was in great difficulty several years ago, it seemed that God didn’t hear my prayers. Yet all the time, He was listening and providing, and when I reached that darkest hour where I had nowhere left to turn, He was there for me.

So, tonight, when I was working on fleshing out some important scenes in Eiathan’s Heir, God’s Provision came to mind. I think you will enjoy discovering how God provides in the story. For instance, tonight there was a dust storm, trees dancing and breaking, and…was that honking?

Here’s an excerpt from the scene:

Didn’t I tell you I would provide? the still small voice asked him.

“You did,” he answered aloud. He caught Lady Maeve giving him an odd look, and grinned. “I said God had provided, didn’t I, and that he would provide even more?”

Her look grew even odder. “How did you know?” she asked. “How could you have been so certain?”

Bjorn shrugged and considered the recent series of unexpected events. “As my prayers to Him have increased in number, so too has my confidence in Him increased. And–it would appear that He is now talking to me.”

“I heard no voice,” she said, eyes widening under her dusty veil.

“Neither did I–with my ears,” he said. “It would seem that God would rather speak directly to my heart.” He pondered that a moment, and then shrugged. “Perhaps because ears are so inclined to hear what they wish to, and not what He would impart?”


Last night’s major scene revolved around a diabolical black squirrel and a very ugly-tempered big boar assisted by a sounder of wild pigs. Who do you think will win out in that confrontation?

Staying Accountable

Eiathan's Heir 2nd Edition ebook Cover low-resReposted from May 5, 2013:

Excerpted from my (then) current WIP (Eiathan’s Heir):

“I beg your pardon, your Highness,” the castle steward puffed, coming up at a run as Bjorn exited the alley between a long, low shed and the physician’s quarters. “If someone had informed me you was going to inspect the grounds, I’d have made myself available sooner!”

Bjorn grinned. “You’ll have to forgive me. I’m new to the whole royal routine, you see, and I didn’t realize I had to inform anyone.”

“Oh, no no no, of course not,” the steward gabbled, looked quite harried. “You’re king and can do what you like. Only, well, if you have questions, who better than me to answer them, your Highness?”

When I first wrote these words, several years ago, the friends who critiqued this section, said Bjorn was so busy, he wore them out! Oh dear!

When I first wrote this post, I had broken the 75,000 word threshold on Eiathan’s Heir, and was aiming for 90,000 words, which is a respectable side for a book, if not as long as A Shadow on The Land.

I was working on fleshing out a few more scenes and improving the flow.

And I also wrote this:

I should probably write at least one scene in somewhere near this particular quote that shows Bjorn stepping back and letting others take on some of his intense activity. But I already have a couple of those, so then again, I might not. Bjorn is quite energetic; he can handle all of this activity! If he can’t, what is he doing taking on this particular job description (i.e., king)?

Eiathan’s Heir is out now, and available on Amazon, Smashwords, and a number of other major websites for sale.