The Elysian Chronicles Poisonwood Trees Are Real

When the tour guide at the Queen Elizabeth Botanical Gardens told us that the manchineel tree‘s sapm was so toxic it would burn anyone standing under it when it rained, most people backed away. My thought: I am so putting this in my novel… And thus, the Elysian Chronicles poisonwood tree was born.

That’s what we writers do. We steal. We steal ideas from nature, from watching human behavior, from science… If the idea sparks something creative inside us, chances are it will end up in a novel or a short story somewhere.

In this case, I needed to create a more dangerous environment for my hero, Davian, and his fellow soldiers. If you know me, you know I’m a fan of JRR Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. I especially love the idea of Mirkwood and the river that ran through that cast a sleep spell on anyone who touched its water. When I heard about this “tree of death” as some call it, I pounced. It gave me something better than Mirkwood and it’s river of almost eternal sleep. I got to create a forest of trees my characters couldn’t even touch. Trees whose sap leaked into a river of acid. And, better yet, trees whose wood could make lethal, excruciating arrows because that’s how I roll.

If you’re a writer, artist, or any other type of creator, your best ideas will often come from life experiences. Maybe a couple talking will inspire a romance story. It might be a story about missing hikers that gives the horror writer his muse. It might be a pair of blue overalls and old man wears that inspire a mystery story. You never know where ideas come from, but when they strike, use them. Write them down; store them. In my case, paying attention to a guide in a garden led to an entire forest of acidic trees… (That sounded better in my head.)

How about you? What has inspired some of your greatest ideas?


Do you have M. B. Weston’s Elysian Chronicles on your Kindle yet? Get them now for only $2.99–less than the cost of a Starbucks Latte! (Click here for A Prophecy Forgotten on Kindle and Out of the Shadows on Kindle.)

Be sure to check out M. B. Weston’s YouTube Channel (!

Fantasy, steampunk, pulp, and paranormal novelist M. B. Weston is the author of The Elysian Chronicles, a fantasy series about guardian angel warfare and treason. For more information on M. B. Weston, visit To receive notification of M. B. Weston’s book releases click here to subscribe to Dark Oak Press & Media’s e-newsletter.

Click here for a full listing of M. B. Weston’s published books, and be sure to check out her ever-growing list of published short stories here.

About M. B. Weston

M. B. Weston is an award-winning fantasy, pulp, young adult, steampunk, and paranormal author. Her attention to procedure and detail gives her works an authentic gritty, military feel that takes an adventure tale to the level of a true page-turner. Weston’s writing attracts both fantasy and non-fantasy readers, and her audience ranges from upper-elementary students to adults. A gifted orator, Weston has been invited as a guest speaker to numerous writing and science fiction/fantasy panels at conventions across the US, including DragonCon, BabelCon, NecronomiCon, and Alabama Phoenix Festival. She has served on panels with such authors as Sherrilyn Kenyon, J. F. Lewis, Todd McCaffrey, and Jonathan Maberry. Weston has spoken to thousands of students and adults about the craft of writing and has been invited as the keynote speaker at youth camps and at several schools throughout the US.
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