Fantasy Art Friday

Get inspired with this week’s Fantasy Art Friday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.


This place has seen better days. There is part of a tower or castle looming in the background, but everything around it seems to be falling apart, including this entrance with gaping holes in the roof. It isn’t abandoned though–there is a guard on watch. Is that a gallows behind him on the other side of the wall? It adds to the sense of foreboding in this picture, along with the fog, the dead trees, and the crumbling structures.

Who lives in that castle? Is it a tyrant living lavishly on the backs of his or her subjects, while dishing out cruel punishments for any minor infraction? Or is this city part of of a kingdom that has fallen on hard times and is barely surviving? Maybe there’s a completely different twist to this story that only you can tell…

Keeping Watch over ruin

 

 

Fantasy Art Friday

Get inspired with this week’s Fantasy Art Friday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.


The existence of this pool seems nothing short of miraculous. Aside from rain, what could be feeding it so high up on that tower of rock? I imagine this would be a place of pilgrimage, where the waters of this hard-to-reach place are surrounded by speculation and myth. Perhaps they heal, or impart hidden knowledge. They could be transformative, changing one substance, or being, into another. Could it be that in the pool’s reflective surface you can see things beyond normal human sight? Or the water might serve as a hidden gateway from one realm to another. Maybe it’s not really water at all. There are so many possibilities, limited only by the bounds of your imagination…

Titans Grail by Jameswolf

“Titans Grail” by James Wolf

Fantasy Art Friday

Get inspired with this week’s Fantasy Art Friday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.


It has been a long, exhausting day of walking through harsh mountain terrain. You’re cold, hungry, your muscles are aching, and the sun is about to set. Suddenly you come upon this place, nestled onto the top of a nearby peak. The windows are lit up with a friendly glow, and there is smoke rising from the chimney. The musk of burning wood that carries on the wind makes you long for warm, dry clothes, and a hot meal. But this is a strange place to live, remote and barren, with no good place to grow food, keep livestock, or even hunt for game. Who lives there, and how do they survive in this harsh climate?

This image made me think of my short story about Delevan, a young man whose village was destroyed by wyverns during the Era of Desolation in my world’s extensive history. Salvaged from the wreckage was an important tome, and Delevan was entrusted to deliver it to a monastery in the mountains for safekeeping. The journey was not a simple one, and he met an unexpected foe on the way… But that is only one possible story. What’s yours?

House in Mountains

(Artist Juan C. Barquet)

 

Fantasy Art Friday

Get inspired with this week’s Fantasy Art Friday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.


There’s got to be a good story behind this striking image. What is that horrible creature lurking below the water’s surface? Its tentacles wrap around the doomed ship, but also seem to be holding up the chest filled with gold. Did those on board try to appease it with wealth, only to anger it instead?

The second boat is trying to make a hard turn away from the creature. With prayer and luck it just might get away, or else it will share the same fate as its sister ship. Should any of these sailors survive, their tales will no doubt spark legends, many of which will grow over time to have a life of their own. It’s no wonder sailors are such a superstitious lot!

What does such a creature want with gold anyway? Does it collect wrecks as a dragon hoards treasure, or is there perhaps someone waiting on the ocean floor to receive it? Someone who is using the beast to hunt, much like hawks can be trained and released to bring back game.

But these are only some of the possibilities. What do you see?

by Nicholas Ferrand

Artwork by Nicholas Ferrand

Fantasy Art Friday

Get inspired with this week’s Fantasy Art Friday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.


Here’s a sight to stop your heart…a dragon’s head in the morning mist, rising above the tree tops. The swordsman looking up at it seems so tiny by comparison–this monster could easily eat him whole and use his sword as a toothpick afterwards. The headstone on the ground is not an especially good omen either. But heroes are made, not born, and legends are full of defeated dragons, so perhaps this brave warrior has some tricks up his sleeve.

Has he happened upon this dragon by chance? Or has he come prepared for the challenge? It’s up to you to decide his fate…

Dragon in the Woods_large

“Dragon in the Woods” by Simon Fetscher

 

Mystery, Magic, and Faith

Are you signed up yet to get my bi-monthly newsletter? It features insights into my writing, author updates, giveaways, lots of FREE book promotions and more. When you subscribe, you also get the second book in the Wind Rider Chronicles free. Below I’ve shared a section from my first January newsletter–check it out! Click to see the entire newsletter and browse this month’s free and discounted books.

In Journey to Aviad, Elowyn carries a little satchel with her initial on it that Morganne had made for her—it’s full of herbs meant to ward off evil. This was a common thing to do in the Middle Ages, as certain plants were thought to fend off everything from demons and witches, to just plain bad luck. Medieval people lived in a world full of danger and mystery, which was very often explained with superstitions.

The pervasive thought was that there were two kinds of magic. Black magic was demonic, and therefore harmful. Magic of this sort was feared and avoided, and was used to explain accidents, unknown illnesses, and other tragedies. White magic was supposedly based on the power of nature (God’s Creation). Using charms, talismans, and spells, performing sunrise rituals while sowing crops, or reciting incantations while weaving fabric, are just a few examples of white magic. The study of astrology and alchemy fell into this category as well.

The Church disapproved of them all, but pre-Christian paganism was still very much embedded in Medieval culture and had intertwined itself with Christianity. Folk-beliefs, like the belief in fairies for example, was everyday common sense in places like the British Isles—and had been for hundreds of years. Local priests could not convince people otherwise and eventually gave up trying, despite sharp pressure from the Catholic Church.

It’s easy to see how the medieval period lends itself so well to fantasy literature, which often relies on various forms of magic to add intrigue and to move the story. I have included some of these elements in my series for the sake of flavor and authenticity, like Elowyn’s little bag of herbs and the superstitions held by the people of Minhaven. But since I am writing Christian fiction, I have been very careful about the way I handle magic so that there is a true distinction between what is demonic, what is divine, and what is merely misguided belief. Hopefully my readers noticed that when Elowyn gave away her little bag of herbs, she did not seek to replace it with another. It was a small milestone on her journey to spiritual maturity, as she replaced her belief in the empty “magic” it contained, with a much stronger faith in Aviad and His ability to protect her.

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Elowyn was convinced that by removing the coin so soon after the man’s brutal death, she had somehow interfered with his ascension into the afterlife, causing his spirit to appear before her in the night. How else could she explain it? He had sought her out from beyond the dead, and pointed directly at the pouch that held the coin. It was quite obviously an object not meant for her to keep, and it had to be returned at the proper time of day.

Elowyn knew very little about the workings of magic, but it was common knowledge that the rites of good magic were most effective at sunrise. That was usually when cures were tried, when newly planted crops were blessed, and when pilgrims to the shrines petitioned their most desperate prayers. Nearly any ritual of importance, even the harvesting of garden herbs, was best performed at sunrise. If she did not make it before then, she would have to wait another day, and perhaps risk another terrifying vision in the night.

~ from Chapter 2, Journey to Aviad

Fantasy Art Friday

Get inspired with this week’s Fantasy Art Friday, where fun fantasy artwork is combined with a writing prompt to get your creative juices flowing.


Beautiful, yet forlorn, this place is slowly succumbing to the ravages of time. The lonely figure walking this crumbling corridor is determined to remain its companion to the very end. It was a glorious place once, built by a wealth and power that has long ebbed away. But when this structure was new, and whole, it gave the lives of those within it meaning and purpose. This robed figure has not forgotten, even though its noble arches are now draped in vine, and the crows brazenly come and go as they please. There is writing etched deep into the stones beneath the pillars. Each word is a plea from the past; a silent but unyielding voice that demands a place in the present. The robed figure knows what they say. Do you?

Crows’ Abbey