Category Archives: original fiction

Boggling

There can’t be a better name for this post right now.

I meant to post yesterday, regaling all of you with tales for my birthday weekend and a Trans-Siberian Orchestra concert. Or how I finished reading the Darkover novel after pushing myself to do so (it’s currently looking for a new home if anyone wants it?).

Or tell you about this new book that I finally got around to reading called One for the Money by Janet Evonovich.

But I was tired from my weekend, so I went to sleep instead.

I’m glad now I did, because I have SO much better news to share.

Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award put out the list of the Quarter-Finalists today. Both myself and my friend E.M. Verhalen made it through again. Neither she nor I are completely sure of how this happened, seeing as how both of us really threw stuff together at the last minute and decided to enter.   But made it we did.

This was judged on the excerpt of your novel that you provided at entry, the first 3,000 – 5,000 words. If there is any inclination, I’ll happily post that excerpt here for anyone who wants to read it.  I’ll also post the reviews I supposedly got during this section of the contest but have yet to see.

 

So…yeah.  Give me until tomorrow to get the brain back in order and I’ll do a proper review of One For the Money aside from “it’s good, go read it!”

Off to go be boggled now…

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Um…oops?

So…yeah.  I raelly seemed to suck at this writing twice a week thing the past month.  I could offer excuses, like how Battery Pack made it to Round Two of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award Contest, or that it’s in actual book form on my shelf now (more like my floor for this picture, but it exists!)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I can also say that I’ve been doing a lot of reading in the last month.  For example, I plowed through American Gods by Neil Gaiman for the first time.  Reading the book form of Howl’s Moving Castle (so different from the movie!), and a few books from the local Little Free Libraries.  Add in a Darkover novel or two as I try to make myself like them–so far, it’s not happening–and my weird hour job… There’s been some planning of a new writing project with my friend E.M. Verhalen (also in the second round of ABNA) and going to acupuncture for stress and health and having it work (whoo!).  And some good old fashioned D&D with friends on the weekends, it’s little wonder that I’ve been busy.

But in reality?  I’m just lazy. And the longer it got between times that I wrote, the more guilty I felt, and the more I didn’t want to write because of guilt.  It was a vicious cycle that I kicked in the ass today, and bit the bullet in an attempt get back into this thing.

 

Update on Mists of Avalon: Finished Second Two, the High Queen.  Like Lady of Magic, it focused on the character the section title named, in this case, Gwen.  It’s mainly regarding her impact with Arthur now that Morgaine and Avalon is out of Camelot and off who knows where (we discover later she is with the elves on accident).  Here is where we first see Christianity having a big impact on the life of Arthur rather than the “pagan ways” of Avalon, and him casting aside the banner of the Pendragon to carry the Cross into battle that Gwen made for him.  She thinks that because Arthur isn’t Christian, that is why she can’t have kids.  At the end, she and Lance get together with Arthur’s knowledge and blessing…  Nothing good can come of this.  As soon as I finish one of the books I’m currently reading, I’ll dive back into this one.

The biggest thing I have noted about Mist of Avalon is how hard it can be to slough through at some points.  I mean, we’re dealing with some pretty heavy stuff.  Religious type of heavy, and the “killing” of old ways to make room for the “new” (at least in the eyes of Avalon). But some of the thoughts are beat upside the head so many times that the hose is beyond dead.  It is a paste along the side of the road that one one can identify.   Yes, the amount of research shows through, but at the same time, I got the point when you mentioned it for the 4th time three pages ago.

Gwen is, sadly, very one dimensional, at least in her section.  Which is a shame, as it is “hers”.  She is so very focused on the Christianity aspect of life, that she seems to become little more than a representation of what she is believing in rather than a person.  It is only towards the end when she and Arthur have their conversation about Lancelot and Gwen is given the go ahead to be with the Knight of her Dreams that she begins to develop a personality aside from a Fundie (if you’ll excuse the phrase).

 

So…yeah.  expect me to try to kick my ass into gear more on posting here.  Maybe on Wednesday I’ll do something with this new game that has consumed me.  I suck at it, but I enjoy the story. Which is the best part of any game, in my opinion.


Batteries, Heidelberg, and Amazon

I had issues coming up with what to write about today, I will admit. I’m also sounding like Yoda, which is never a good start for my mental process. Or a good sign.

So rather than try to write something insightful about writing, I thought I would share a snippet of 2011’s NaNoWriMo with you and share a contest that I do believe a good portion of people would be interested in.  First, the novel…

It’s from the novel entitled Battery Pack and takes place in our modern world, in Germany.  Heidelberg, to be exact.  The idea for this tale came about two days before November 1st, but I knew it was one that I wanted to set in Heidelberg.  Having spent 6 months living there, it was a city I felt I could portray well in a book.   Not only were landmarks an important part to get correct, but also small nuances, like how people react to non-Germans, or how shop-keepers respond to customers.  Even tourists play a part in the overarching feeling of a city.

These are all things to get right in a book that takes place in a real world time period and place, or people will get the feeling that something is off, even if they aren’t sure what.  This excerpt shows, I hope, a little insight into what Heidelberg is like.

After a stop off at the apothecary museum within the castle walls itself and a purchase of utterly pointless but amusing “Smile Pills” (Guaranteed to make you smile!), I headed out of Heidelberg Castle.  Taking the roadway this time, I  came across a park that had a slide that went from one level of switchbacks to the other.  With a grin and a shout of glee at the discovery, I took a trip down it, and nearly fell flat to my arse at the end. After climbing a complicated rigging of walkways, ropes and ladders three more times, I grew serious again, trying to figure out what was going on after catching the top of the Heiligenberg at the edges of my vision.

Guiltily, I started back down the mountain, the going easier than I had expected, though it was still hard to keep an even gait at some points. I came to Hauptstrasse at one of the large open areas and I paused for a moment, looking at what had once been a marketplace.  The Church of the Holy Ghost had stalls all around it, though they were selling souvenirs rather than grain, fruits, or fish. The City Hall was still where it had been centuries ago, even if the building wasn’t that old itself.

Heidelberg was a town of living history.

I wondered how people could live in a place full of constant reminders of the past and not only recognize them, but celebrate them as well.  There were so many times that I would want to change something that had happened, my choices regarding Beelzebub being but one. “Maybe” and “what if” was a word that haunted me, and something that I tried to hold off through the day until the last second before I went to sleep when it tried to consume me.

I bought an ice cream for eighty cents to distract me from my macabre thoughts and wandered until I eventually made my way back to the student cafeteria almost directly on the river.  Jim was seated on a picnic table outside, sipping a glass bottle of soda through a straw.  “Find out anything?” I asked him as I took a seat across from him.

Everything that relates to Heidelberg in those paragraphs are true, but none of them are clearly spelled out.  There are no clear cut, spoon-fed instances of what exactly something looks like, but it’s enough to give a feeling of what it might be. The nuances, I think, are what make it though.   A glass soda bottle, something not often found here in the states.  A church’s name and souvenir stalls, but no time taken to describe what they look like.  A quick nod to city hall, missing steps going down a mountain…  they all speak of landscapes and people without coming out and saying it.

I guess my setting in this tale is more that of experiences patched together to create a quilt than pictures cut up out of a magazine to make a collage.

 

For my news, Amazon is putting on their yearly contest: the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award.  There are two categories in which you can enter your over 50,000 word novel, and a winner comes from each.  The winner gets 15,000 and a publishing contract with Penguin books, a pretty nice deal if I say so.  I tried it last year, but didn’t make it past the first round. But you do get a letter (okay…email) if you don’t make it past, which basically equates to a rejection letter.  And everyone knows that you can be a real author after you start getting rejection letters!

Entries start being accepted on January 23rd, so start editing and polishing them now!  If you want to read rules, regulations, and what makes up an entry, take a click here: https://www.createspace.com/abna?ref=478921&utm_id=5957


It is Done!

I DID IT!!!!!

Started it while working two part time jobs, quit one, the other became full time, got a new job, packed up my belongings for a move on December 2nd AND managed to complete NaNo TWO DAYS before the 30th.

*faints from lack of sleep*

NaNoSprints on Twitter helped me through a lot of the tough times, as did Word Wars with friends who aren’t even in the same time zone as me.

I attended my first Write-In tonight as well, leaving me in a great position when it finished to power through the last 2,000 words to reach a final count of 50,028 words.

 

The sentence that pushed me to Winning: Through all their stories, none of them followed what we had learned in the trainings aside from “The Circle is Bad, don’t say their names” and the “Don’t be an idiot” rule.

 

Clearly, this is also good advice for life.

 

So for all those out there who have yet to reach your 50,000, I say this to you.  I’ll be waiting for you in the Winner’s Circle.  There’s a spot right next to me that needs to be filled by you.

 


Realm of the Gods Part One

“Hey, Migaru!” shouted a teen.

A woman with blonde hair turned to see who was calling after her. She smiled when she saw him. “Heyla Rifoe!”

He shook the dark red hair out of his eyes and grinned at her. “Where you off to?”

“Inferno wants to see me,” she explained.

He made a face. “Have fun with that. When you’re done there, swing by my place? I have a birthing day gift for you.”

“Rif! You didn’t have to do that!”

“Migaru Ficis Inferno,” the teen said sternly, but with a smile, “You’re not a Fireling anymore after today! Twenty three years. If that’s not worthy of a gift, then I don’t know what is!”

She rolled her eyes. “Please. I may not be a Fireling, but I still can’t use fire as well as everyone else here can. Fire’s tongue! I don’t even look like the rest of you!”

“Your attitude fits in perfectly though,” Rifoe muttered darkly. Migaru tried not to laugh, intent on looking angry and stern, but her snort of laughter ruined the effect. “Go on. Get to Inferno before he fries you for being late.”

“And with that vote of confidence…” Migaru sighed out. Rifoe smiled as she turned away and continued her walk up to the start of the Fire Mountains and the main hall Inferno used for big events. There were two of Fire’s Elite Guard outside, but they were there more as decoration than actual use. There had been no need for the guards in Migaru’s lifetime and for several more before. She smiled at the two of them as they pulled the doors to the mountain hall open. They nodded solemnly, but there was a smile in their eyes. “Thanks Fumilt, Reigaf.”

“Our pleasure, lady Ficis.”

“I’m not a lady yet,” she spoke under her breath as she passed into the mountain. Rather than be cooler underground, it was noticeable hotter than outside. It was one of the quirks that the Fire Mountains had. Thankfully, the path to the main hall was short and there were windows inside that left some air into the room. Inferno was already there, sitting in a chair and reading a book from his great library. His red hair was sticking out at odd angles and looked like the flames of the element that he led. His clothes were simple and cool, the same that all of Fire wore. The only thing that set him apart from the rest of Fire were the bracers made from Living Flame. He had tamed the Flames when he became the leader of the element and wore them as a badge of office. “Greetings lord Inferno,” Migaru said, bowing low as protocol demanded.

Inferno smiled and set his book aside on a table of fire that he had called. He rose and the chair that he had been sitting in sunk back into the floor of the mountain as molten rock. “Heyla, Migaru,” he replied, his greeting as informal as possible.

She sighed in relief. She wasn’t going to be expected to maintain proper etiquette during the meeting. “What did you need? Is something wrong?” she asked.

“Can’t a father wish his daughter a Blessed Day of Power?” he asked, holding out his arms. She smiled back at him and hugged him, careful to avoid the bracers. He was careful not to touch them to her skin as well, barely engulfing her in his hug. When she had been smaller and thought herself to be a true Fireling, she had touched the Living Flame bracers as she had seen other Fires do. A healer from Water had been there with her for a month, nursing the huge burns she had received. “I have a gift for you,” he said, looking down at her.

“What?”

“Come, I’ll show you.”

Migaru stayed close to her adoptive father as they went deep into the mountain. She hadn’t ever gone this deep alone before, and had no wish to get lost. The room they came to was just as large as the main hall, but was circular instead of the normal angular room that the main hall was. A hole that led directly to the sky and the door they had come through were the only places not wreathed in flames. “This is the Hall of Living Flame. I gift to you a bit of it for you to do with as you please.”

She looked at Inferno in disbelief. “But…but dad! You know what happened last time I tried to touch this!”

He nodded. “But you were untrained. And though your fire powers are not as strong as mine, they are still there.” His mouth twitched in a smile. “To be fair, not many have powers as strong as mine though.” Inferno cleared his throat and moved from his place beside her and into the center of the Living Flame. The flames curled around him when he lifted a hand and created a sphere around him. He continued talking as he manipulated it, making it near translucent. “I have trained you in what other aspects of magic I know. But I am a Fire, after all. I am not suited to using the others. Lady Ficis, you are more than just Fire. You have all aspects within you, body and soul. I cannot train them all.”

“Why not?” she demanded to know.

The flames in the room flared with his anger. “Because I am unable to! Do not question me on such matters, girl.” Migaru shrank back from the heat as it, and Inferno, slowly cooled. “To…to not train all aspects is dangerous,” he said slowly. “But no matter what people say, you will always be Fire to me. And as such, you will need something to remind you of that.” He held out his hand and a tube from molten stone and fire slowly formed in it. Soon, he stepped out of the fire and handed it to her. It was made out of obsidian, one of the most revered and sought after jewels of Fire. It was dark, but when she looked close at it, she could see some of the Living Flames within. “This is my gift to you. Use it well.”

She bowed to lord Inferno, still gripping the obsidian. “Thank you, lord Inferno, ruler of Fire.”

“And so, Migaru, you pass from Fireling to a full Fire. Welcome to the mountain.”


Realm of the Gods Part One

In celebration of NaNoWriMo starting on Tuesday, the next Writing Serial for Fridays will be last year’s Winning NaNo.  It gives me an excuse to finally polish it up, and to read over it again before I start on the next book on November First.

So I give to you Realm of the Gods: Earth.

PROLOGUE

“Lord, Lady, I greet thee,” said the man.  Clothed in green, his shoulder length brown hair was tied up to be out of his face. It was the only thing that set him apart from the dark green of the Forest far below.

“And we greet you in return, lord Talesin,” They replied. They were in white, though Their black hair seemed to capture the starlight above and turn it into the radiance that surrounded them.  Though They had many names, they were best known as the
Lord and the Lady, or the God and Goddess.

“What willst thou have of me?” asked the lord of Music.

“You know of this world and of its people,” began the Lady. Talesin nodded.  “Then you know as well of those who would seek to destroy or enslave this place.”

“Of course.  Mages of times long past for one.”

“And those of today’s time as well,” added the Lord.

“I had heard of that, but was unaware that such rumors had a base to them.”

The two nodded in near unison.  “They are all too true.  Not long ago, one tried again.  He was struck down before he succeeded, however.”

“Blessed be the Lord and Lady,” he muttered, forgetting who he was standing before for a moment.

“Twas not our doing,” the Lady said with a smile and a shake of her head.  “Your thanks, lord of Music, go to a witch from Otherside.”

There was shock written on his face.  “From the mortal realm?”

“Yes.  But the mage she defeated was from Otherside as well.  And as much as We did not wish to do so, We have barred access to this world from Otherside.  Until those who seek to control us are gone or have forgotten our existence,” explained the Lord.

“But, that’s good,” Talesin protested.  “No more mages will attempt to control us and this world!”

“Perhaps.  But no access means those of power who would do good with it can also not reach us except for in deep meditation.  And even then, it would be but a bare shadow of this place.”

“How it must be, shall be.”

“Danger approaches, lord Talesin,” the Lady told him.  “Even now with access denied.  There is another who will attack.  The Fates have foreseen it.  And in their viewings, they have seen only one who might stop it.”

“Who, Lady?”

“One from Otherside.”

“But if the way is closed—“

“We know, Talesin,” the Lord stated sharply.

“She is already here,” She said softly, her voice in sharp contrast with that of Her consort.  “She is only a baby, but Inferno has agreed to raise her with the Fires.”

“The lord of the Fire Elementals? Begging pardon, but, Lord, Lady, I don’t really think that is the best of ideas.”

“He has promised to raise her as one of his own.  And We trust him”

Talesin looked doubtful, but allowed it to pass.   “Then we are back to the beginning.  I ask again, what willst thou have me do?” There was a large part of Talesin that rebelled against such formal speech, but he knew it was needed in situations such as these.

“When the time comes, We ask that you take the girl about the world. Take her to us here upon the Mountain so that we might meet with her.”

“How will I know, Lady, Lord?”

“You will know, Talesin.”

Talesin chewed on his lip for a moment, unsure that he would know as They said he would.  Still, if They said it, it would have to be true.  One way or another, it would happen, even if it came in the form of a letter from someone with the words “it is time” written in it.  He bowed to the God and Goddess.  “Very well.”

“Our Love go with thee, lord of Music.”

He smiled at them and bowed graciously once more before turning and exiting the room on the top of the Mountain that They called their home.  The journey down the Mountain, the highest in all of his world, was one of the easiest.  Especially when he had his Aspect of Spirit to aid him.  The Mountain was at the far end of the Fire Mountains, but the waterfall going down it belonged to Water, the clouds about its top were Air and the great oak trees at the base were maintained by Earth.  Every element owned a part of Spirit Mountain, just as everyone was a part of Spirit itself.

Talesin was one of the Gods who populated the world.  Unlike some of the others, he wandered about the world, giving help where needed and entertaining in other places.  He truly was the bard that his title, lord of Music, named him as.  Until the Lord and Lady had asked for his help, he had been quite happy spending his time in the Forest of Spirit in his small cottage by the river.  But now…Now he was going to need to move closer to Inferno’s territory: the Fire Mountains.  From there, he could keep an eye on the girl.

He didn’t trust Fire.  Their kind was so volatile, so quick to anger.  Water would have been a better choice for her.  But he knew why They hadn’t placed her there.  Water spent too much time in meditation and in dreams.  There was too great of a chance that she might go into a dream and be unable to find her way back here if she wandered into Otherside. And that wouldn’t do at all if she was supposed to be the one that was going to rescue them from Mage.

At the edge of the Forest, he found a tributary of the river that ran by his own home.  Talesin knelt down at the banks and scooped up a handful of the earth there.  Pebbles, water, sand and dirt ran through his fingers as he looked for a good place for his new home.  Finding one, he reached for his reed pipe on his side with his other hand, put it to his lips, and began playing.  He tossed the earth into the air and a lively jig echoed around him. The magic came easily and flowed in and around the stones.  Within moments, his home was before him once again.  A flourish at the end of his song anchored the cottage in place so that it would not move along with the tides of magic. There was a smile on his face as he ended the song, and he tucked the pipe back into his belt and walked inside.


Rhiannon of Air

One of my favorite topics to write about is mythology, and how it might affect us if the stories were true.  Especially in terms of Elves.  This is a short story I wrote two years ago on a plot idea from S, and it remains one of my favorites. I’m currently working on editing Lover’s Requiem, so it might be a while until a new serial shows up.

RHIANNON OF AIR

He heard the noise from the basement again.  Thinking that it was one of the cats that had gotten trapped down there again—that had been happening a lot lately—he rose from his bed and made his way to the stairs that lead down.  Others in his family were somewhat afraid of the basement.  It was made when the old farmhouse had been constructed, and was little more than a space under the house that was there to hold up said house with a few wood beams here and there and walls made out of field stone.  There was only one light down there, and it hung from its wire at the end of the wooden stairs that were crooked, deep, and threatening to fall apart every time someone went down them.

Grabbing a flashlight from the counter on his way past it, he carefully went down the stairs and into the basement.  He pulled the chain attached to the light bulb when he reached the dirt floor of the basement and waiting for it to flicker to life before venturing further.  It flickered once, twice, and then flared brightly before going completely dark.  With a sigh, he gripped the flashlight and flipped the switch to turn it on.  A yellowish light crept over the basement as he ventured forward, intent on finding the cat and shooing it back upstairs.

He rounded the stairs and immediately had to blink away the tears that had formed in his eyes away.  Something was causing an awful lot of light down here.  What he wasn’t sure of was the source of said light.  Was it a fire?  A light from outside that somehow managed to get past the dirty windows?  Or perhaps a burglar with a flashlight of his own?

His flashlight was heavy enough for a weapon if it was a burglar, he thought as he hefted it in his hands.  He grabbed hold of it with both hands and ran forward into the light, ready to hit anything that he found there.

And he ran straight into a meadow that he was quite sure hadn’t been there earlier in the day.

He wasn’t sure where he was.  On the bright side, he no longer needed his flashlight, as the sun was very nicely lighting up the meadow the sky and the line of trees he could see that were standing there at the horizon.  He flicked the switch with his thumb again and turned off the light that couldn’t be seen in day anyways.  Adjusting his glasses with his left hand, and then running that same hand through his hair, he set off towards the horizon and the trees.

“Who are you?” a voice called out to him as he was walking.  He stopped and turned around in a circle, trying to see where it was coming from.  It sounded female for sure, but there was nothing around him save air.  “Who are you?” he was asked again?  The voice sounded closer this time, though still soft and almost sparkling.  It reminded him of silver bells.

“Um…my family calls me Kev.”

“Kev,” the voice said softly, enunciating every part of it.  It was almost as if she was trying to learn how to say it.  “No,” she continued on.  “That is not who you are.” She sounded very thoughtful.

“Who are you?”  Kev paused.  “Where are you, I think is the better question.”

“I am all around you.  I am called Rhiannon of Air.”

Kev knew that name well from all of his readings.  Rhiannon was one of the Elven ladies of the Seelie, connected most with air, hence her name.  She might as well have been called one of the princesses.  “My lady Rhiannon,” he said, bowing low.”

There was a dainty laugh. “There is no reason to bow here, mortal.  Only those worthy of the Elven blood in their veins are able to even enter the realm of the Fey in this time of disbelief.  You were found worthy and have been welcomed back to the Seelie court, if you would have this position.”

His eyes grew wide. “My lady, I don’t quite know what to say to such a wonderful gift.”

The air around him swirled until it drew up dirt and began to take the form of a woman in a flowing gown.  Her hair was dark brown and her robes were of a light yellow color and moved around her as they would in wind, only there was no more wind once she appeared before him.  Her face was flawless, as all of the Seelie court were.  “Speak from your heart, young one.  What does it desire?”

“To stay here,” he responded immediately.

“Then drop your mortal items and join me in court.”

The flashlight dropped to the ground and he stepped forward with the lady Rhiannon of Air.

“You shall need a better name than Kev for me to introduce you to King Auberon and Queen Titania.”

“Do you have a suggestion, lady?”

“What about…Kell?”

The newest member of the Seelie court, Kell nodded.  “It suits.”

The rest of their conversation grew dim as they walked into the forest.

~~~

There was grief in the home of Kev the next morning.  It seemed he had gone downstairs during the night to do something.  The flashlight had been turned off somehow, the family decided, and he tripped over something on the ground—likely the cat he had been trying to find—and fell to hit his head on the field stone wall.

Only his younger sister was not completely struck with grief.  She had grabbed the leaf made out of gold and emerald that had lain next to his body before anyone else could see it.  She envied her brother, being taken in by the Seelie court.   Oh, how she hoped that Kev might come for her one day as well.