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Throw Them in the Dungeon!

"Throw them in the dungeon!"

Every queen needs a dungeon. There are always disrespectful subjects to be tortured or imprisoned. Errant government ministers on the outs with their liege must be put somewhere. And any number of enemy spies must be housed until their execution. (The occasion at which the other famous royal decree is used: "Off with their heads!")

Webster's dictionary defines a dungeon as "a dark, usually underground prison or vault". The simple definition adds the phrase "in a castle", which at least adds some romance to the prospect of being locked away in a dark-some hole full of worms, bugs, and the usual rodents. British royalty has had a dungeon for centuries. They call theirs the Tower of London. Pictured above is Kenilworth Castle in England. I had the privilege of visiting there a few years ago. Even in its ruined state it was magnificent and contained several underground rooms that would have served well as dungeons and most likely did.

If you've been reading my Willow Brown book series, you know that she lives in a large stone house deep in a forest. Not a castle exactly, but close enough for the American Midwest. No one who's part of Willow's household has any doubt about who's in charge, which includes over twenty fairies in hiding waiting for new places to live and even more guards to keep undesirables out of the considerable estate grounds. Willow's husband, Noah, knows too. In the latest (and last) installment of Willow's story (which I've just started writing), she has need of her dungeon on several occasions. Only problem is that her guard commander can't seem to find it anywhere. The Big House, as her home is called, has a big basement, but it's mostly occupied by Noah's darkroom, the laundry room, and a large mushroom farm. There's the secret cave beneath the property, but since it's the final resting place of Willow's parents, that doesn't seem appropriate at all. And the guard quarters are filled beyond capacity. What's a fairy to do?

I know I'm the one writing the book, but at this point I haven't the foggiest idea how Willow's going to deal with her prisoners. That's part of the irritation of writing a 100,000 word novel. Even I don't know quite how it's going to end, though I have a vague notion. (I haven't worked out who's going to die yet, either. Need to work on that.) The worst part of writing is when the characters take over and start writing for themselves. This has happened to me and I'm here to tell you it's quite upsetting for an author. Cheeky characters who think they know better how the story should unfold are a writer's nightmare.

But in the end, it is my book. And so when all is said and done, I hold more power in my right pinky than any queen. It's called the DELETE key. More potent than any mere queen's words, and better even than a dungeon.