BEA'S BOOK NOOK "I can't imagine a man really enjoying a book and reading it only once." C. S. Lewis “If one cannot enjoy reading a book over and over again, there is no use in reading it at all.” ― Oscar Wilde

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Guest Post - The Story Behind Two Empty Thrones by C.H. Maclean

Welcome to my stop on MacLean's virtual tour. I have a guest post and excerpt for you today so make yourself comy, and enjoy!

To young C. H. MacLean, books were everything: mind-food, friends, and fun. They gave the shy middle child’s life color and energy. Amazingly, not everyone saw them that way. Seeing a laundry hamper full of books approach her, the librarian scolded C. H. for trying to check them all out. “You’ll never read that many before they expire!” C. H. was surprised, having shown great restraint only by keeping a list of books to check out next time. Thoroughly abashed, C. H. waited three whole days after finishing that lot before going back for more.

With an internal world more vivid than the real one, C. H. was chastised for reading in the library instead of going to class. “Neurotic, needs medical help,” the teacher diagnosed. C. H.’s father, a psychologist, just laughed when he heard. “She’s just upset because those books are more challenging than her class.” C. H. realized making up stories was just as fun as reading, and harder to get caught doing. So for a while, C. H. crafted stories and characters out of wisps and trinkets, with every toy growing an elaborate personality.

But toys were not mature, and stories weren’t respectable for a family of doctors. So C. H. grew up and learned to read serious books and study hard, shelving foolish fantasies for serious work.

Years passed in a black and white blur. Then, unpredictably falling in love all the way to a magical marriage rattled C. H.’s orderly world. A crazy idea slipped in a resulting crack and wouldn’t leave. “Write the book you want to read,” it said. “Write? As in, a fantasy novel? But I’m not creative,” C. H. protested. The idea, and C. H.’s spouse, rolled their eyes.

So one day, C. H. started writing. Just to try it, not that it would go anywhere. Big mistake. Decades of pent-up passion started pouring out, making a mess of an orderly life. It only got worse. Soon, stories popped up everywhere- in dreams, while exercising, or out of spite, in the middle of a work meeting. “But it’s not important work,” C. H. pleaded weakly. “They are not food, or friends, or…” But it was too late. C. H. had re-discovered that, like books, life should be fun too. Now, writing is a compulsion, and a calling.

C. H. lives in a Pacific Northwest forest with five cats, two kids, one spouse, and absolutely no dragons or elves, faeries, or demons… that are willing to be named, at least.

His latest book is the YA fantasy, Two Empty Thrones.

Find C.H. Online:



The Story Behind Two Empty Thrones by C.H. Maclean

Like most of my others, this story came to me, all at once, like turning a light on in a dance club. All the characters, whirling around, caught in the act. I grabbed as many images as I could, scribbling notes like mad.

I had no idea how much it held. I just started writing. Pretty quickly, I realized the story would never fit in one book. Each book is somewhat independent, but the full scene needs enough room for Haylwen, Cadarn and their friends to move (and their enemies to plot behind their backs). Trying to cram them in less would have made no sense. The whole story, like many similar, just wouldn't fit in one book.

I didn't worry too much. I've read many a series in three and four. I know a couple of series set up to run thirteen books or longer.

Why five? I didn't plan that either. At the very beginning, I would've bet on three. From a mystical perspective, three would match the dragon-elemental theme. But, of course, as much as I love dragons, they aren't the story. Now that the scene is settling on the page, I can see why five really harmonizes with the real themes.

Dragons and old grid mystics are three: fire, earth, and water; head, body and tail, for example. Old views of humans tried to make us match three such as the Sphinx's youth, adult, and aged; and others I'm sure you can think of.

But humanity is really five. Five limbs, five fingers, five toes, five senses. Our minds work in fives, such as the five stages of change, (grief, for example) and the five stages of sleep. A modern human's life (infant, child, adolescent, adult, elder) has five stages, too. Moreover, as we grow and understand this new millennium, I see the new grid as five, such as an appreciation of the five elements (fire, earth, water, air, spirit) and other coincidences, such as universal five pointed star and the power of the pentagram I won't get into. Not last or least, I also feel the story's connection of five to the symbolism of the circle around the five, inclusive of the east/west and ancient/modern cycle, for example, traditional Chinese medicine and the actualization of feminist equality.

But I'm not trying to make sense of all of that, or suggest that's the story's intent. Makes my head spin. I surely didn't plan on putting any of that in. True, I do hope the stories inspire you to look for the coincidences and connections to bigger things. But those things need to be yours. I'm just trying to tell an exciting story, show you what happened when one girl stood up to her fears and decided to make her own destiny.

A great story is fun, and that's more than enough for me.


With her powers growing every day, fourteen-year-old Haylwen Rightad thinks she’s safe in the magical forest. And now that she finally has the friends she always wanted, what is there to be afraid of?
But she’s not out of the woods yet. Old enemies rip through her beloved forest, threatening to haul Haylwen and her newfound friends away. Their safety shattered, Haylwen and her friends are suddenly at each other’s throats. Is the friendship she worked so hard for already ruined, or is there another, unseen enemy at work?
Haylwen and her brother must unmask this mysterious enemy before they can fight it off. But even if all their enemies are destroyed, the King of the magic users will stop at nothing to ensure he’s still in power when the dragons take over the world. And he’s hidden an enemy where Haylwen would never think to look.
If no one is what they seem, who can she trust?

Publisher: CNH Publishing
Series: Five in Circle #2 
Format: paperback, Kindle
Release Date: July 1, 2014 
Buying Links:  Amazon* | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords*
* affiliate links; the blog receives a small commission from purchases made through these links.

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