Gallery of Wonders (Brought to You by “The Die-Hard Star-Shard Fan Club”)

There’s very little I have to say in this posting. A picture, it is said, is worth a thousand words. One might also say that a poem is worth a thousand pictures. If that’s true, then you’re getting a 1,007,000-word value here — one amazing poem and seven amazing pictures. (That’s as mathematical as this blog will ever get: it took me about five minutes and a calculator to figure that out. . . . Don’t even ask me about going to St. Ives!)

These extraordinary works by fans of “The Star Shard” are used with the permission of the young artists and their parents. My deepest gratitude goes to all of them — both for creating these images and for allowing me to post them here.

Oh! — all right, you do have to wade through some news from me first. I finished the latest round of revisions to The Star Shard (novel version). It grew from about 53,000 words to almost exactly 55,000. My agent gave it a very careful read-through and made extensive notes for me on some concerns he had. He pointed out 72 separate things he wanted me to re-examine, ranging from cutting or changing a word or two to rewriting entire sections. He emphasized, of course, that his suggestions were merely that — ideas for me to evaluate and make up my own mind on. I only disagreed with him on 5 of them. I left those done my way, and I convinced him to withdraw a 6th point (as being not a concern); so that means I took his advice on 66 of his 72 suggestions. (This posting is just determined to get mathematical, isn’t it?) So his time was well spent, and I am extremely grateful to him — the book is much stronger as a result of his attention. He has a great critical eye and knows his business. So now let’s keep our fingers crossed that our interested editor will be as excited about the new draft as we are, and that he’ll be able to persuade the powers-that-be to turn The Star Shard into a book!

One final note: I’m quoting here from a letter by “Star Shard Luver,” written February 12, 2009 and posted in the “This Issue” section of the Chatterbox in Cricket Country on the Cricket Web site:

“Yes, you should read it! The story is so awesome, and you can read any parts you’ve missed on Cricket‘s site. I read all the time and I have been reading Cricket for years, and it is the best story EVER! From the point where Loric and Cymbril talk for the first time the story just flies, and I never want it to end!” (On the site, Cricket also asked readers how they think “The Star Shard” will end — alas, the end is coming with the April issue — and speculations are running wild!)

Okay! On to the main event! Soli Deo gloria, and thanks to The Die-Hard Star-Shard Fan Club!

Loric -- Crossing the Groag Swamp, by Ethan, age 11

Loric -- Crossing the Groag Swamp, by Ethan, age 11

Look at those fantastic boots stitched of leaves! I love the sword and sheath, those great stunted swamp trees, and the shading around Loric’s eyes! (And also the luminous quality of his eyes!)

The Rake's Cats, by Aria, age 4

The Rake's Cats, by Aria, age 4

I love the colors and the poses of the cats! And did you note the differences in their expressions? The tom is serious, probably worried about Cymbril out on that high ledge; Miwa has her enigmatic, knowing smile. She’s the Mona Lisa of cats!

Loric, by Andrew, age 15

Loric, by Andrew, age 15

Isn’t this an excellent costume design? I’m impressed by the deliberately asymmetrical cut of the shirt, and by the wrinkles/folds in the trousers. And again, superb face quality!

Sidhe Cymbril, by Andrew, age 15

Sidhe Cymbril, by Andrew, age 15

I just love the hem of the dress, and also that beautiful, dreamy facial expression! Notice the delicate collar bones that real girls have. And the leaves on the dress — a very Sidhe design!

Cymbril, by Andrew, age 15

Cymbril, by Andrew, age 15

I totally admire the use of color, pose, and motion here! We’re looking at a living instant frozen in time. Andrew, you’d better become a professional artist! Maybe a manga artist. . . .?

Little Thrush of the Iron Cage, by Irisa, age 17

Little Thrush of the Iron Cage, by Irisa, age 17


“Little Thrush of the Iron Cage”




Little Thrush gently singing

A dreamer’s song of a wide bright sky

Caged by fate

You dance in the day

Yet in the night you cry

Tears shining with lost hopes

Drift away, little bird

To the distant clouds

Spread your wings

Know that the rain

Cannot reach the sun

As long as your heart still sings

Hope is eternal, little bird

Believe once more in her quiet power

Even though the bars

Of this cage are cold

The warmth of inner light

Can shine out and melt the deepest fog

Showing a tomorrow where you can

Sing your truest song


I held off my comment until after the poem, because the poem and picture go together. Isn’t this breathtaking work? What strikes me so deeply about the picture is its use of symbol. Cymbril doesn’t really have wings, but by depicting her that way, the artist is drawing the parallel to the “caged bird” motif. I love the colors, lines, and pose here, too, as if she’s just floating there, an angel in the air. And the poem — such exquisite use of language! And such a message of hope!

Loric, by Maya, age 12: "Patience has limits, collars have to come off."

Loric, by Maya, age 12: "Patience has limits, collars have to come off."

Look at the way the artist has used her pencil in evoking the hair, the shirt, and the chain! The chain looks hard and cold, and everything around it looks flowing and soft. How do such young people know so much about art already? What will they be doing when they’re old and gray and 20? I can’t wait to see what they produce!

Haven’t we just seen and read some wonderful things? This blog is greatly honored by these young artists and poet. May they continue to create their work and develop their skills for their ongoing part in the Great Song!


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6 Responses to “Gallery of Wonders (Brought to You by “The Die-Hard Star-Shard Fan Club”)”

  1. I played with Constanza Says:

    This is addressed to any of the “Die Hard Star Shard” club that might stumble upon this blog:
    I have been friends with Fred since we were in the 2nd grade, way back in 1974, and I have never seen him as blown away as he is by your love for The Star Shard.
    Thank you all for sharing your artwork with us! All of it is incredible.
    For Irisa: what a lovely poem! “Know that the rain cannot reach the sun as long as your heart still sings” — wow! beautiful!

    For Fred: How blessed you are, my friend, to have touched so many lives with joy and wonder! I sense your humble pride from afar …

  2. Daylily Says:

    Thanks for sharing the good news on the progress of _The Star Shard_, novel version! And thanks to The Die-Hard Star-Shard Fan Club for the pictures and poem; they are created with sensitivity, attention to detail, and artistry. I enjoyed seeing all these fine works and reading your commentary on them. “Know that the rain Cannot reach the sun” is a good motto for any day!

  3. Chris Says:

    I seem to recall a young man whose living room walls were covered with small sheets of paper tacked crudely up, covered with illustrations of the Orca, TIE Fighters, and ultimately LotR illustrations.

    Apparently you have come full circle. Now the illustrator becomes the illustrated.

  4. A Star Shard Mom Says:

    Yes, The Star Shard Fan Club are definitely stumbling across this post! I wanted to say thanks both to Fred for doing such a great job turning their art work into a Gallery of Wonders, and also to all of you who have left comments. The kids have truly loved reading what you have written about their art, thanks for your encouragement.

    I was happy to hear the story Constanza shared about how blown away Fred is by the love the fan club has for “The Star Shard”… not since the second grade, is some serious blowing away! The wonderful thing about all of this is that the kids are JUST as thrilled to be a part of all of this. Can you even imagine for a _minute_ having the access to a favorite author like these kids have had? If you had drawn a picture from one of your favorite stories when you were a child and the author not only saw it but then wrote you back, and THEN put it up on his blog??? Yeah, the blowing away is a wonderfully mutual experience here! 🙂

    I also love the art/poem that each of the artists have done. I haven’t discussed the ideas they had when they drew their pictures or wrote the poem, but I can easily see the part of the story they are illustrating or describing. Great job Die-Hard Star-Shard Fan Club!

    Thanks Fred for making this great post of Wonders!!!

  5. Mike Says:

    Just passing by.Btw, your website have great content!

    Making Money $150 An Hour

  6. mileposter Says:

    Thanks for sharing this magical artwork; my two key Mileposters enjoyed it very much!

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