Archive for fantasy

Random Poem of the Day – XIX

Posted in Writing with tags , , on May 1, 2014 by reddragonpub

Dragon Song

by Michael Ball

Wings of gold, heart so bold,
Flying through the air.
A dragon swoops, and flies in loops,
To find a maiden fair.

Hidden in a forest green, captive of a wicked queen,
The maid awaits her hero brave.
The search by magic guided, finds the maid well hided,
Held within a deep, dank cave.

He vents his ire, with dragon’s fire,
And soundly smites the queen.
Reunited, wife and rider, they mount their golden flyer,
And soar into the sunset scene.

Random Poem of the Day – XVII

Posted in Writing with tags , , on April 17, 2014 by reddragonpub

jenna fairy

Spring Fairy

by Michael Ball

Flitter here,
flutter there.
Did I just see a sprite
with wild chestnut hair?

She was dancing on a flower,
with a smile and a spin.
Did you see that sprite
with the silly little grin?

Dancing bloom to bloom,
disturbing naught but dew drops.
Did I really see a sprite
dancing on the flower tops?

A Very Cool App

Posted in Geek, Writing with tags , , , on April 14, 2014 by reddragonpub

While looking for ways to promote my book, I found a really cool new reading app called Publisher Free.  It’s available for both android and IOS.  It lets readers check out the first part (or bite) of a book for free and then purchase additional “bites” of the story if they like what they’ve read.  My book, The Stone Men, and the first couple of chapters of a new story that I’m working on, Fire and Ice: A Winter Tale, are both up and available on the Publisher Free service.  I am also planning on submitting additional works and possibly an anthology of my poetry as well.  If you’re looking for some engaging reading, I suggest checking this app out at

Analysis of Jabberwocky

Posted in Writing with tags , , on November 13, 2013 by reddragonpub

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

“Beware the Jabberwock, my son
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!”

He took his vorpal sword in hand;
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.

And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!

One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.

“And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!”
He chortled in his joy.

‘Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe;
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.

~Lewis Carroll


Fairy Tale Lite: Sometimes Less is More

by Michael Ball

Lewis Carroll’s “Jabberwocky” is often considered to be one the most recognizable and most quoted works of nonsense verse in the English language.  The first stanza of the poem first appeared in Mischmasch, a periodical that Carroll wrote and illustrated himself for the amusement of his family.  The entire poem was featured as a part of his novel Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There.  I first encountered “Jabberwocky” when reading Through the Looking-Glass in 7th grade and it struck me as wonderfully odd, even more so than the rest of the book.  In reading it now, however, I’ve realized that it isn’t just nonsense verse.  It is also an excellent representation of the classic fairy tale, boiled down to its barest essentials.

What are the components that make up a classic fairy tale?  Reduced to the simplest terms, all that a fairy tale requires is a Hero, a Quest with dangers to overcome and an Evil to be destroyed.  And most importantly, it must take place in a strange land where magic is possible.  With the opening stanza, Carroll establishes the needed other-worldly scene with “the slithy toves” that “gyre and gimble in the wabe” (1.1.1-2).  It serves as his “Once upon a time, in a land far, far away;” that mandatory fairy tale preface that lets the reader know he isn’t in Kansas anymore.

In the next stanza, the father acts as the quest-giver, telling his son, “Beware the Jabberwock” (1.2.5) and warning him of other dangers that may be encountered in the forms of the Jubjub bird and the Bandersnatch.  The Jabberwock with “the jaws that bite, the claws that catch” (1.2.6) is the Evil that must be destroyed to complete the quest.  By accepting the quest, the un-named young man in the verse assumes the mantle of the hero.  The lack of a name is not unusual in fairy tale heroes.  There have been many that were nameless or only referred to with a descriptive archetype; such as the Huntsman, the Knight, or the Man with No Name.

The last piece needed to complete the fairy tale requirements is magic.  This is supplied in small part by the strange monsters “with eyes of flame” populating the “tulgey wood” (1.4.14-15).  However, the weapon wielded by the hero is the main source of magic in this story.  Only an enchanted blade can kill a monster in four strokes, “One, two! One, two! And through and through, the vorpal blade went snicker-snack” (1.5.17-18).  His quest complete, the hero returns home with his trophy to glory and celebration, “O frabjous day!  Callooh!  Callay” (1.6.23)

As I’ve shown, Jabberwocky passes the fairy tale test, having all of the necessary archetypes.  It tells the story with a minimalist economy, leaving off the frills and window dressing, but it still achieves a surprising depth using just the bare framework of a man, his quest and a monster to kill.  Whether or not Carroll intended for it to be interpreted this way is open for debate.  I find it interesting that in later works and when asked directly in interviews, Carroll provided plausible definitions for his supposed nonsense words in Jabberwocky, leading one to think that he was hiding a story behind the Tumtum trees as he amused us with his whimsy.

Works Cited

Negri, Paul.  “Lewis Carroll – Jabberwocky.”  English Victorian poetry:  an anthology.  Mineola,
N.Y.: Dover Publications, 1999.  160-161.  Print.


The Platypus – No, not the animal.

Posted in Writing with tags , , on May 12, 2009 by reddragonpub

The Kent State Ashtabula English Society has published the first issue of their journal, The Platypus.  It is a compliation of literary and artistic work by students from the Kent State Ashtabula campus.  Being of a literary bent myself, I submitted a short story which has actually become the opening scene for my next book.  The folks from the English Society were kind enough to include my story in their excellent journal and I would like to say “Thank You!” to all the folks involved.

The name of the short story is Winds of Evil.  And you can read it for yourself HERE.  This story has become sort of a prologue for the main story of the book I’m currently working on, which will probably end up being called Winds of Evil as well.  This story revisits the land and characters that I created in my first book, The Stone Men.

First Official Post = Shameless Plug for Own Book!

Posted in Writing with tags , , on April 30, 2009 by reddragonpub

Well, I think I’ve got all the basic setup for this blog finished, so I will proceed to honk my own horn a little.

2 things –

First, only 15 days left until I finally walk with my Bachelor’s Degree – it’s been a long road!!!

Second – I’ve published my first book!  The title is The Stone Men.  It’s a classic fairy tale/fantasy written with a modern twist for young adults.  Check out my publisher’s web site for more info –

Here’s the cover art –

written by Michael Ball, Illustrated by Christopher Bort

written by Michael Ball, Illustrated by Christopher Bort

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