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How to Start a Fire Using Friction

How to Start a Fire without matches by Friction

by Raina Reardon

Hello everyone! I’m Raina Reardon, and I hail from the village of Brunswillow in the realm of Wendael. For those of you who are unfamiliar with me or my realm, you can read of me and my adventures in The Wendael Series. I’m currently visiting our scribe, M.J. Natali in her world and she asked me to post a guest blog. There are so many wondrous things in your world not found in mine.

I’d like to share one of the life skills each person in my realm learns how to do at a young age: starting a fire. No matter where you live, a fire is essential to survival. You may find yourself in a situation where you need a fire and do not have your world’s traditional method of matches or a lighter.

If you learn this method, you will gain an important life skill which you can share with others. You never know when this will help save a life.

To start a fire, you need heat and friction. This is where Tinder comes into play. Tinder is used to easily convert the friction’s heat into a spark which ignites the kindling and then the firewood.

As Ravens, each of us carries twine in our gear. I suggest starting a list of essential items to store in a pouch for survival. I feel it’s important to have an essential supply kit similar to us Ravens. Tailor this list to where you live and what you might need for essential items and put twine and a knife on it.

Finding the tools you need

Instead of writing out a very boring detailed list for what you need to gather, here’s a video for what you need, and more importantly, what to look for.

Here’s how you do it

Now that you’ve removed the twine and knife from your pouch and searched your immediate surroundings for the items you need, let’s start that fire!

I can’t tell you how many times a camp fire helped me on missions. Since we’re out in the elements, a campfire not only provides a way to warm our chilled bodies, it cooks our food and lights our surroundings in the forest.

Safety Tips

Always make sure you clear the earthen floor of debris which may cause the fire to spread. Choose an open, level location away from heavy fuels such as logs, brush or decaying leaves.


Someday I’ll share a story of how Lanai and I started a small forest fire because we failed to take this into consideration. Thank the Goddess Marcus was nearby to put it out.

Take wind, and its direction, into account when choosing the site. Choose a spot that’s protected from gusts.

Prepare a pit. We dig a pit about a foot deep and surround it by rocks.

Once you’re done with the fire, it’s time to extinguish it. Pour lots of water on the fire. Drown ALL embers, not just the red ones. Pour until hissing sound stops. If you do not have water, stir dirt or sand into the embers with a shovel to bury the fire. We use Marcus when he’s with us. That Elemental Gift of his sure comes in handy!

Shaping your Campfire

Best for cooking

  • Teepee: Lay the kindling over the tinder like you’re building a tent.
  • Lean-to: Drive a long piece of kindling into the ground at an angle over the tinder. Lean smaller pieces of kindling against the longer piece.

Best for long-lasting campfires

  • Cross: Crisscross the kindling over the tinder.
  • Log Cabin: Surround your pile of tinder with kindling, stacking pieces at right angles. Top the “cabin” with the smallest kindling.


There you have it!  The next time I visit your realm, I’ll share another method we use in our Realm. What’s your method of starting a fire without matches or a lighter? I’d love to learn how the people in your world do it.

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Official Review – To Be a Raven

The official review for To Be a Raven is in!  Red City Review rates it 4/5 stars.  Read what they have to say below.

To Be a Raven by M. J. Natali

four stars

ravenContinuing where The Stone of Acumen: Raina’s Vow left off, book two opens with the sudden disappearance of Helga. Master Horas includes Raina in the search and rescue, since her powerful gifts and the Raven team are needed to locate Helga. The team heads out soon after Lanai and Charles’ wedding. As romance blossoms between Raina and Mark, jealously weasels its way into their relationship when Marcus enters the picture. Yet amid romantic tension and Raven training, the team discovers a package with Helga’s clothing–certainly not an encouraging sign. Unfortunately, that is just the beginning of a stream of disturbing news, especially when the team learns of a madman who is more deadly than Amerdan.

Natali pens another riveting read in the second book of The Wendael Ravens series. Fans who found themselves caught up following the ventures of the courageous trio (Raina, Lanai, and Charles) in Raina’s Vow will certainly be interested in their latest mission to conquer evil as they join forces with fellow Ravens—Master Horas, Raina’s childhood friend Marcus, and of course Mark, Raina’s boyfriend. Natali follows the same alternating-first-person-narrative pattern that she used in Raina’s Vow. But instead of shifting scenes between Raina, Lanai, and Charles, Natali replaces Charles with Helga. Another consistency is Natali’s inclusion of romance. This time the scenes are more intense and intimate. Those new to the series may find themselves totally lost if they begin with the series’ second read since the plot offers no backstories. That said, it is highly recommended to begin with book one. Overall, Natali’s storyline is fascinating and her well-defined characters, appealing. The book closes on a great cliffhanger—the type that will make audiences anxiously awaiting the next installment in the series.

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Wendael Series book 3: Of Beasts and Raven status

Hi everyone!  I had a good weekend writing book 3 of the Wendael Series: Of Beasts and Raven. I wrote almost 2 full chapters, and getting closer to being half way through the first draft.

I felt exhilarated to get past my writers stump. Once I found my flow, I couldn’t stop writing. I know I wrote that I hoped to finish and publish by the end of September, and if I keep up this awesome momentum, I just might reach it! Ahem, I am writing, really. I even wrote 175 words before heading out to the office.

I’m at a turning point for our main character: Raina. Like every hero, she’s reached a point where things are heading downhill and there’s no turning back. Things look very dim for her. Don’t worry, she’s still growing and discovering who she wants to be. She’s discovering her voice and learning to stand up for herself, by herself. Oops… a little spoiler there.

Unlike my other two novels in the series, this one is mostly her and I’ve included some back story points from books 1 and 2.

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Train like a Raven

Listen up Raven!  Today you’ll  train like a Raven. These are the basics you’ll need to know before moving onto advanced lessons. I’m Elder Master Horas, but you can leave off the honorifics of Elder. Our scribe, MJ Natali brought you to the Realm of Wendael to train. In your world, it’s similar to what you call Martial Arts, but vastly different. The purpose is to get you started.

Do you have what it takes to Be a Raven?


Nine Knife Drills

Fifteen Knife Throwing Lessons

Nine Knife Defense Lessons



Ten Traditional Archery basics

Improve your aim


Stop String Slap

Raven Training

Walking Silently

100 Ninjutso / Raven lessons

Elemental Magic

What is your Elemental Gift?

Are you an intuitive?

Training Exercises








30 Meditation Lessons


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The Culture of the Realm of Wendael

Wendael Series To Be a Raven

The Culture of the Realm of Wendael

Hello fellow Ravens! The fourth of July is coming up for this scribe, and when I sat down with Raina to describe why we have this holiday in the United States, it inspired me to describe how the Culture of the Realm of Wendael is set up. I’ll provide a brief synopsis of the culture in Wendael.

For those of you who are not familiar with Raina, she’s the main character in my fantasy novels, The Wendael Series.

Dreaming up a new world and society is thrilling for any Fantasy writer because there are no limits except for our own imagination.

I wanted the realm to be something we can relate to, yet still discover new and exciting things about it. Raina’s world is similar to ours, yet Earth Magic is real.


The inhabitants of the realm get from one place to another by walking,  boats/ships, horse, beasts, or horse and carriage. Most villagers of Wendael refrain from using beasts, but in the remote villages you will find some use large beasts which are better maneuvering over the terrain than horses.

Some may have charms, necklaces or old incantations which allow them to move from one place to another, or one time period to another.

Maven has a necklace charm he received from his mother, allowing him to travel forward or backward in time. The user focuses on ‘when’ he wants to be and arrives at the specific date and time he/she wishes.  Unfortunately for  him, this charm was one of the lower class items and can be used only once. The higher class the item, the more times you can use it. These are rare and if you are lucky to find one, use it wisely.

Magic and Science

Science will always be learned and practiced in any world and planet. Wendael is no different. Since Earth Magic is tangible in Wendael, unlike our Fiction, the villagers use it daily and think nothing of it. As a matter of fact, it’s as common as breathing.

Earth Magic falls into these main categories. I’ve color coded the names to what color the crystal in the Raven’s choker change to when it finds the wearers dominant Elemental Magic.

  • Earth Magic – ability to manipulate earth and rocks
  • Water Magic – ability to manipulate water and ice.
  • Fire Magic – ability to manipulate fire and heat
  • Air Magic – crystal color is white. Ability to manipulate air and movement.
  • Flora Magic – ability to manipulate flora, plants, trees etc.
  • Healer  Magic – ability to heal another. This is taxing on practitioners stamina. The more stamina, the better the healing. Newbies need to train daily in order to build up their stamina. No person with this Elemental Gift can bring back the dead, although those who are the strongest, can use it on someone dieing. This allows them to keep the person alive enough to recover from their injury to a point when they don’t need help. This is only used on very important residents because it’s extremely taxing on the villager using the gift.
  • Intuitive Magic – ability to see/know things. It’s similar to ESP but there are variants. Villagers with this gift have the ability to see what’s into people s hearts, to know others intent (lie detector of sorts), and see into the future.
  • Warrior  Magic – those who have too small amount of any of the above Elemental gifts. All the warriors crystals have a small trace of one of the above mixed in with the gray.


The societal structure of the Realm of Wendael has no formal elected government. In their history, they did have royal rulers, but when the last King passed away from old age with no heirs, the Council was formed. The Council is made of former Ravens who are at the strongest in their Elemental Gift of earth magic. This group rules, are police and judge/jury for the entire realm. Only those who can take on any opponent and win are considered for this position.

In the non-human races, they have Chiefs and a council of Elders, similar to the tribes we know of.  The Elders are the wisest of their tribes and most often than not are of advanced age. Since these races live longer than mankind, the Elders have extensive experience and knowledge for their Chief. The Eiflin in the Wendael Series live for several centuries, and the average age upon death is in their late 300’s.

The Council handles matters on a larger scale. At the village level, there are no Mayors, but within each is a retired Raven which acts in the same manner as a Mayor. This Village Elder handles all possible tasks for their villagers such as marriage, disputes, and criminal activity. The purpose is to handle all possible needs at their level to prevent them from having to address the Council.


Homes in Wendael are by far and wide the most creative. There are stone houses, caves, wooden cabins, and wood plank houses. When building a house, the villagers use the materials around them. By using what they have to work with, the cost of a dwelling is cheep, allowing the villagers to put what small amount of money they have into things such as building a business and food.

Lights are made from oil and wicks, and the oil varies region from region, depending on what’s available in each Village.

Money and Employment

Like any culture, Wendael has supply and demand. The money exchanged are coins in various amounts called Sprits. Sprits are made of copper, gold, silver, and brass. The lower the value of natural mineral, the smaller the amount. A villager can buy a meal and draft at their local tavern for 3  brass Sprits. Monthly taxes need to be the equivalent of four silver Sprits.

Each villager donates the same amount of coins to the Village Elder, who then sends 3/4 of it to the Council. The Council uses this income to purchase what they need for daily survival.

The barter system is used whenever possible, so each villager can ensure they have the coins for their monthly taxes, travel expenses, and where shops don’t allow barter.

Lets say a villager named Thomas needs some meat but can’t afford to buy some at the local butcher. This person’s neighbor, John might be an excellent hunter. Thomas and John will come to an agreement where John hunts for meat in exchange Thomas gives John some of the vegetables and grain from his farm.

Each villager uses their skills to earn coins. Take Thomas and John above. Thomas grows grain and vegetables to sell at market, earning coins. John hunts and sells his meat to the butcher and what’s left at market for coins. Lanai’s mother makes and sells tarts at the market, and in our society, she’d be working at a bake shop.


Each villager learns to read and write at home from their parents. During the day they help their parents with chores around the house, while reading and writing are done after the evening meal. They learn physical talents such as archery, knife throwing, and self-defense starting at age ten. At the same age, they start to learn how to use their Elemental Gifts. It’s at the age of sixteen when the Village Elder determines how strong their Gift is. If the Gift is strong enough, they are required to travel to the Council. If a person’s gift is too weak, the Village Elder will keep them in the village.


The clothing worn by the Villagers are made of spun cotton, linen and wool. The weave isn’t as tight as we have since it’s done by a loom. Also, leather aprons are made at the local tanner and a crude chain mail is made at the smithy. Not many villagers wear chain mail since the last King passed away, but there will always be a traveler who may want one.

The woman can wear either dresses, or a tunic and leggings. The men wear tunics and leggings. Footwear is leather boots which have long straps that wrap around the legs and tie under the knee.


All healing and medicine is made of poultices, and various herbs mixed with water. Those with the Healing Elemental Magic also use their gifts to heal, but with one person for an entire village, they use natural herbs whenever possible. Science has no part in medicine and is used for tactical warfare, designing structures, and items not directly connected with a Villager’s body.

Maven found a way to combine Medicine, Science, and Earth Magic to use on Humans and non-humans to create his Beasts. These Beasts had their DNA combined with animals. I won’t go into detail on how he found this because you learn about it in book three of this series.

This is my view on the kingdom of Wendael. It’s society is simple yet not crude. It has possibilities for future growth on many levels.

What would your dream world and society be like? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

Book 1 Wendael Series. Get your copy today.
Book 2 Wendael Series. Get your copy today