I’m not very good at drawing people. Ask anyone who has asked me for art and they’ll tell you… So this is your official disclaimer that this is merely my labor of love, by no means my crowning glory. Ha! But I needed to see Prince Ferryl and Elizabeth. I needed to bring them to life. So, my friends, I give you to you my OCs, in this piece I’m lovingly calling Dreamers.

P.S.: Did you know that “chalam” is Hebrew for dream? Yes, that’s a chalam tree behind them. They shared a chalam… they shared a dream, after all. *sigh*

All images © Morgan G Farris. All rights reserved.

So…. music inspires me, in case you can’t tell. And when I was writing The Promised One, that truth found no exception. Somewhere deep in the bowels of the singer/songwriter section of Apple Music, I found RHODES.

And my life was never the same.

His voice… like butter, baby. Like butter. (And he kind of reminds me of Ferryl a little bit. What do you think? Honestly, I love that in this video RHODES looks like Ferryl and Birdy looks like Elizabeth. It’s serendipity, I’m telling you.)

So needless to say about 93.37% of his songs became anthems for scenes in the book(s). This one, Let It All Go, being quite possibly my favorite. It’s no surprise, then, that some of the imagery in this GORGEOUS video inspired one of my favorite scenes in book two (and also the Færytale Castle art piece).

“I’ve always known I need you, Elizabeth. From the time we were young, I’ve known that I not only wanted you by my side, but I needed you, too. I need that clever mind of yours. That wit. That determination. Maybe I’m a piece of dandelion fluff dancing on the wind, but you, Elizabeth—you’re an oak. A tree planted by raging waters. Immovable. Immutable. And Providence help me, I’ve always known I need that. I need you.

“But when I walked away, when I turned my back on you for what I thought was the last time, it hit me. I finally understood it, Elizabeth. Maybe I need you, yes. But maybe… Maybe you need me, too.”

~The Purloined Prophecy, Chapter LII

Oh, Ferryl. Keep fighting for Elizabeth. You’ll never lose a woman you pursue with your whole heart. ❤

So check it out, and sound off in the comments. What do you think? Does RHODES look like Ferryl? (The answer is yes, yes he does. 😂)

Last week, Twitter blew up with the hashtag #MisandryInPublishing. Apparently some poor, hapless (male) soul posted that he believed it to be a real problem and women. went. nuts.

Oh man, the hate on Twitter. It’s mind-blowing how nasty people can be sometimes. But I digress…

The poor soul was obliterated by one cat-scratch after another—women on the man hate rant about how the entire concept of misandry in publishing is laughable at best.

I read through the banter. I wondered as to the fate of humanity for a moment. And then I stated my peace and moved on.

Yes, I am a female author. And yes, I believe misandry in literature is a real thing today.

It’s everywhere. Almost every modern novel I’ve read of late is chock full of man hate in one form or another. Oh no, it’s usually not blatant hatred. It’s subtle and clever. It’s portraying men like they are slaves to their instincts. Like wolves on the prowl. It’s portraying men like chest-beating Neanderthals who roam about looking for a broodmare. It’s portraying men like video game obsessed, Cheeto-slamming drunks with smoking hot wives who run the household. It’s portraying men like hapless, hopeless fools when a woman leaves them.

It’s misandry, and that’s all there is to it.

I’ve blogged about this sort of thing before (there’s one article on this site that I wrote years ago and it still gets several hits a day. It blows my mind.). Back then, I wrote about how men needed to step up to their roles as husbands and fathers. I saw an epidemic of man-boys who couldn’t bring themselves to put down their video game controllers long enough to run the household. I confess, I see things a little differently now. Yes, those men exist. And yes, ladies, Neanderthals exist, too. I’m not disagreeing. But I’m beginning to see that it’s not so much that the world is riddled with sex-crazed man-boys as it is that we women have decided it is. In our perhaps good intentions of vying for equality, we’ve lost sight of what the word means to begin with. And we’ve decided men are to blame for our problems.

We women yelled for equality in the ‘70s when we burned our bras. We shouted for equality in the ‘80s when we demanded better pay in our jobs. We screamed equality in the ‘90s when we insisted that “it’s a man’s world.” And here we are still crossing our arms and stomping our feet claiming that men have all the fun.

Ladies, when are we going to put on our big girl panties?

I read an article the other day about women (once again on the hate fest we call Twitter) tweeting under the directive “describe yourself as a male author would.” It was sickening, what women think men think of them. It’s embarrassing that we’ve boiled down men into nothing but sexual machines who cannot think past the next breast they’re going to ogle.

Ladies, I don’t know what men you’re surrounded by, but my husband, my father, even my son, are NOTHING like that. They’re men. They’re strong. They’re kind. They’re grounded. They’re gentlemen who open my door. They’re fathers who kiss their babies. They’re men who aren’t afraid to cry. They’re soldiers guarding their own homes.

My husband is the kind of man who is as tender as he is fierce. He is as passionate as he is strong. He is as kind as he is fearsome. He defends his family with valiant passion, loves his God with unwavering devotion, sacrifices for his wife without second thought. That’s a man. That’s masculinity. And any woman who would be threatened by such a thing needs to take a long look in the mirror.

It does not make a man Neolithic that he should be a visual, sexual creature. It does not make a man domineering that he should wish to open a door for a woman. Women scream for gender equality, but if you ask me, what they’re really screaming for is female superiority.

No, thanks.

It’s a big enough deal to me that we figure out this whole gender equality thing, that I wrote an entire book about it. I wanted, for once, to read a love story about people who stick together. I wanted to read a love story about a man and a woman who embrace their inherent gender roles, work together, and face the world arm in arm, not one in front of the other. Gender equality—true gender equality—is about embracing what makes women inherently feminine (and NO, that’s not pink lace and glitter), and what makes men inherently masculine (again, that’s not chest beating and gun toting). Femininity is at its heart, about the inherent empathy of our sex. It’s about embracing our natural instinct to nurture and love. And masculinity, at its heart, is about men embracing their God-given instinct to protect. Both are rooted in love. And neither have anything to do with pink or blue or glitter or camouflage or the length of your hair or the length of your shorts or any of the nonsense we associate with gender.

So ladies, let’s stop pretending like we’re screaming for equality when we call men Neanderthals for being exactly how they were designed to be. Maybe one of these days we’ll finally figure out that gender equality—TRUE equality—is exactly how God intended it. He is, after all, both male and female.

Stick that in your pipe and smoke it.

 

Have you seen the trailer for The Promised One? If you have, then you’ve gotten a taste of an original composition of mine that I lovingly call Ferryl’s Song. It’s a piece I wrote for the trailer to tell the story arc of The Promised One from Ferryl’s perspective—the peace of a lifelong love that is cast into shadow by dark magic, a journey to awaken the truth, and an ending that doesn’t answer everything.

Yes, every stanza of this piece tells that story. Can you hear it?

Check it out!

And yes, in case you’re wondering… there is more to come where this is concerned. *grins maniacally*

The Promised One :: Chapter I

It had been love—deep, abiding, earth-shattering love—the kind about which færytales are written and wars are fought.

So she could think of no logical reason why he could not remember it. Or her. In fact, she could only gape as she watched him ride, the morning sun casting buttery shafts of light across his back and through his unruly golden locks as he galloped away, growing smaller and smaller with each clomp of the horse’s hooves.

She could think of no logical reason why the crown prince did not remember her, at all.

It had been a strange morning, to be sure. Had anyone told Elizabeth that she would wake up and tend to her duties in the stables, only to find that her dearest friend in all the world—a boy she had grown up with on the grounds at Benalle Palace, the man she had fallen in love with over the course of those years—suddenly had no earthly idea who she was, she might have scoffed and said such things only happen in stories. Færytales. Fables.

Not reality.

But here she was, staring off into the golden plains of the Navarian countryside, watching her beloved ride away like a stranger.

A strange morning, indeed.

Unsettling, really. No, not unsettling. Crushing. It was crushing dread that bloomed in the pit of her stomach.

What had happened to him?

Crown Prince Ferryl, heir of Navah, had arrived at the stables like he always had every morning from the time they were children. And he had headed straight for his blood bay stallion, Erel, just as he always had. To ride. To greet the morning with a race, with a trek to the forest, to start his morning off with his Lizybet. Just as he always had. Every morning from the time they were children.

But unlike every other morning in her memory, this morning, Ferryl had not greeted his Lizybet with a cheerful salutation. Or a warm embrace. Or by pulling her into his arms and kissing her soundly—as had become his habit of late.

No, this morning, Ferryl had merely spoken to her as if he had never met her before.

“What’s this, then?” Elizabeth had asked, her back to the prince as she fussed with a bucket of oats in the shadows of the stables, surprised that Ferryl hadn’t already snaked his arms around her, planted his lips at her neck, whispered little sonnets of love and need and desire. A flirt, that’s what he was. He had always been a shameless flirt. “You make me meet you out here at the crack of dawn and don’t even have the decency to greet me with a good morning?”

Yes, Elizabeth had always spoken to the crown prince with a healthy measure nonchalance. And cheek. Such is the nature of the relationship between a prince and a servant who had known each other since they were young children.

“I beg your pardon?” Ferryl had asked.

A puffed laugh and then, “You’re in a silly mood this morning, Ferryl. Addled from lack of sleep, is it?” She grinned, biting back a smile as she kept her back to him. The heavens knew she certainly hadn’t slept much last night, for yesterday had been…like a dream. So she waited…waited for the quip, the punch line that would not come.

“My lady, I’m afraid you must have me confused with someone else. As it is though, I must get my steed saddled. I am expected in the city this morning.”

“The city?” she asked, whirling to finally face him. “But I thought—” It was only then that she had begun to understand. At least as far as she could understand. Something…something was fundamentally different about Ferryl.

His eyes, usually so violently blue as to make a sapphire pale in comparison, were hazy, cloudy. Like a foggy autumn dawn, like the mists settling over the ocean. And in his countenance she did not find the familiarity that a decade and a half of friendship could afford. No, in his countenance she found a stranger.

She swallowed back the barrage of retorts she had thought up and heard herself instead say, “The city. Of course, Ferryl.”

It was then that a grin found his sensuous mouth. And in a gesture so familiar, he pushed his hand through the messy thatch of blonde hair spilling on his brow. For a blessed moment, relief tapped on her soul. Relief at the sight of that effortless smile, that familiar gesture. But that fledgling little bud of relief was short-lived, dying a sudden death when he said, “Do you always address your superiors in such a manner, then?”

She found she had no retort and instead stared with mouth agape as he continued. “Indeed, it would not bother me, but seeing as you are new here, ah, what did you say your name was?”

“Lizy—I mean, Elizabeth,” she stammered. “My name is Elizabeth.”

A smile. A smile that could melt chocolate, damn him. He slipped his hands in his pockets.

“Well then, Mistress Elizabeth, seeing as you are new here, I feel that I should inform you that while it might not bother me to be called by my given name, were you to make such a mistake around my mother, I’m afraid the consequences might not be so pleasant.”

“Of course, Your Highness,” she managed, the title strange, foreign on her tongue. She could not ever remember a time when Ferryl had insisted she use such a formality.

With a tremble in her hands, she made her way to the wall of saddles that she might retrieve Ferryl’s. Never mind that she had never once had to saddle his horse for him considering he had always insisted on doing it himself. Never mind that she couldn’t have lifted said saddle with her scrawny arms if her life depended on it. She made her way to the saddle wall anyway, acting on instinct like…well, like a stable hand. For while she might have been a stable hand in name, she knew no more about the beasts than Ferryl apparently knew about her at the moment.

Ferryl, still a gentleman even when a stranger, noticed her ineptitude and quickly came to her aid.

His nearness was simultaneously unsettling and so achingly familiar that she had to close her eyes for a moment just to breathe. She had loved him for so long, so many years, that now, this unfamiliarity was…well, it was gut-wrenching, to say the least. She had half a mind to just grab him by his jerkin and kiss the sense back into—

“Are you alright, Mistress Elizabeth?” he asked. It was only then that she realized she was standing before the saddles. Eyes closed. Just…breathing. Awkward behavior for a stable hand, to be sure.

“Uh, yes. I’m fine. I—”

“Here,” he said, making to retrieve his own saddle, his solid arms pulling taut his gauzy white shirtsleeve. She found she could not tear her eyes from him, not even as his deft hands strapped the heavy leather onto the back of the sleek stallion, not even when he finally met her eyes again.

“I’ll be off, then. It was a pleasure to meet you, Elizabeth.”

She couldn’t remember what a proper response should be. Couldn’t think past the desire to yell, to cry What in all the realms of Sheol is wrong with you?

Oblivious to her inner turmoil, Ferryl mounted Erel and turned that he might ride out of the stables and into the sunrise with nothing more than a nod of his head and a lingering chuckle on his mouth.

And then he was gone, leaving nothing but a thousand screaming questions in his wake.

 

Hey guys! It’s release day!! Hooray!! The Promised One is officially available for purchase wherever books are sold. Oh man, I am FREAKING OUT!!! I wanted to share with you an article from Ampersand Write, a writing community I am a part of. It was so much fun to answer these questions and I am thrilled to share with you just a little insight into the making of The Promised One.

Enjoy!

~Morgan

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Original article by Kristen Aitken, Ampersand Write

Every once in a while, a story comes along that grabs you by the shirt collar and sweeps you off your feet until the last page turns. One such book for me is The Promised One by Morgan G. Farris. Having known Morgan for many years, I could not wait to get my hands on a copy of what she had poured her heart and soul into creating… And, of course, to pick her brain about it for your benefit! Following is a behind-the-scenes look at what became this beautiful, charming, magical tale that is available now for purchase.

Tell us about your book!

Wow, okay doesn’t every author hate having to sum up their story into a few sentences? Ha! My book is called The Promised One and it is the first book in a series I’ve lovingly (and painstakingly) named The Chalam Færytales. (Chalam is the Hebrew transliteration for dream. In the book, you learn of the chalam tree, which has the legend that when two people share of its fruits, they share of the same destiny.) The book follows the stories of Elizabeth and Ferryl, my two main characters, and their journey of finding their way back to each other after being separated by magic, a wicked queen, and a destiny they don’t know that awaits them. They’ve known each other their whole lives, and fallen in love over those years, so that when the story kicks off, you’re not watching a couple fall in love, you’re watching a couple who is already in love figure out what went wrong. It’s a fantasy, so there are mythical creatures and spells and curses and all that jazz. But at the end of the day, I wanted to tell a little bit different kind of love story—the story of what happens after that first kiss.

What gave you the idea for your work?

I think there is one glaring way that art fails to adequately reflect life: love stories. In books and movies, most of the time the best part of the relationship revolves around that first kiss—or that first time the couple finally admits their feelings to one another (however that pans out). But in life, I think we forget that the kiss is only the beginning, and that love is something that is forged over time, not discovered in a moment of passion. I really wanted to read a book about that, but they’re few and far between. Like the adage says, write a book you want to read. So I did. And somewhere in the churning and mulling over of these ideas of love, these characters, this world, and this concept was born. And because I’m a nerd, of course that concept was a fantasy.

What is your favorite character in your work and why?

My favorite character in my book is probably Commander Titus. He’s not a huge part of the story in the beginning, but I introduced him in book one because in books two and three, he becomes paramount to the story (and he doesn’t even know it). But you’ll see even in book one that Titus is a conflicted man. He doesn’t know what he wants, he doesn’t really even know where he stands. He’s fiercely loyal, even to his own detriment, but his main flaw is that he cannot see the good within himself. I love him because I think Titus is a little bit of all of us. He is darkness and he is light and some days he gives in to one of those more than the other. But he wants to be good. He wants to do right. He just can’t quite figure out how in his circumstances.

What is one aspect of your current work that sets it apart from other books/stories?

It was really important to me from the beginning that this story feel real, even though it is set in a fantasy world. I wanted the characters to be relatable, to be people we could see ourselves through. On the other hand, my books are an allegory of the story of the Biblical Messiah. I wanted to convey the magic of that story without preaching and I wanted to paint real people without white-washing them the way Christian literature often does. So the characters are messy. They fail. They have foul mouths (God forbid!). They hurt each other—purposely and accidentally. They hurt themselves. If you’ve ever read the Old Testament, you know there is nothing G-rated about it. I wanted to make sure that my story held true to that. That is why I haven’t marketed it as Christian literature, but also haven’t shied away from saying what it is—a reimagining of the greatest story ever told. It’s a niche genre with an unconventional angle, and from the moment the story began to unfold, I knew I was writing something a bit risky. But I also knew I was supposed to write it, so here we are. I’m genuinely curious to see what people think, to be honest.

Do you recall how old you were and/ or what happened to spark your interest in reading?

I am what you call a victim of the school reading system. In other words: school ruined me for reading. All those AR points turned reading into a burden for me from a young age (a mistake our schools are making that I am quite passionate about, to be honest.) But I did have a few exceptions to that rule that I fell in love with from an early age. Little Women, The Iliad and The Odyssey, and The Chronicles of Narnia, to name a few. But it wasn’t until I was in my early twenties and met my husband that I learned to crave reading and, funny enough, it was his love for Harry Potter that turned me into a bookworm. So yes, I am one of those millions of people who say that Harry Potter ignited their passion for reading. And yes, I was an adult when that happened.

What is your favorite book and why?

I could no sooner pick a favorite book than I could pick a favorite star in the sky. But I do have some go-tos that I can’t seem to quit reading. Foremost, I am a hardcore forever fan of Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers. I have read that book too many times to count and I still ugly cry every time. I am also a super nerd for the Throne of Glass series by Sarah J. Maas. She is just… a stupid brilliant writer and if I could channel even an iota of her voodoo magic, I would.

When did you start writing? And what about that gave you the desire to write?

I started writing when I was nine years old. It manifested in the form of songs for about twenty years and over that time, I’ve written hundreds and hundreds of them. I always loved writing papers in school and in college, but I never considered myself a writer, per se. It wasn’t until the summer of 2014 that I began penning novels. To date, I have written seven novels, but The Promised One is the first one to be published.

What are your main influences (writing-related or otherwise)?

I am heavily influenced by music. I’m a musician, so it’s in my blood. For most of the scenes in my books, I have a song to which I attribute the moment. (For those curious, you can find my Apple Music playlist of those songs here.)

If you could meet one author, living or dead, who would you meet and why? What would you ask them?

C.S. Lewis. Hands down. He and I are kindred spirits in so many ways. He was a skeptic at heart. He never took things at face value, not even his faith. He challenged it, questioned it, and explored it. What he left behind was a legacy of thought-provoking prose that has shaped so much of how I think of God and the world. I’d sit down with a cup of hot tea and ask him to tell me stories the same way Elizabeth (in my book) would ask her father to.

What inspires you to create?

Most definitely my faith. Everything I do is colored by it. I’m not going to preach to you, I’m not going to tell you that you’re wrong and I’m right. But I am going to tell you, in some form of art, no doubt, that an undeniable something has gotten ahold of me, and I’m a better person for it. The Promised One is most definitely a love letter to that faith and a testament to the work of Providence in my own life.

Want to find out more?

The Promised One, the first book in The Chalam Færytales series, is available for purchase now. You can check out this and other works by Morgan (because she does a lot more than write) here. And check out her book trailer below! (She even wrote, arranged, and performed the music for it!)

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Until next time,

~Kristen Aitken, Ampersand Write