Tag Archives: writing

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.”


Gearing Up One Last Time

This is it. You have less than 24 hours in which to finish planning your novel.

There are a few things left to do if you haven’t already done them. First: make sure you are signed up for NaNoWriMo. It’s really simple to do. Just go to nanowrimo.com and click sign up. Then fill out your author profile and you’ll be on your way!

Two: set up your region on NaNo as well. It’ll make is possible to go to writing events that people will be having around your area. Writing with people is always more fun than writing alone.

Finally, don’t be afraid to change everything you have planned so far, or throw it out the window. Sometimes characters have their own ideas on what they want to happen, or you come up with a brilliant idea that just HAS TO BE TOLD NOW. November is your chance to do that. Leap on that chance and make it yours.

And remember: if you need to up your word count, always always ALWAYS remember that the Traveling Shovel of Death is ready and waiting to help you kill off everyone.


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.


Gearing Up: Week Four

Plot? Check

Characters? Check

Setting? Check

Time to write? Uhhh….

This last one is going to be your most difficult as you start work on your National Novel Writing Month Novel. Things will distract you and you will get busy and you will think “I’ll just work on this tomorrow instead of today”.

Now, you can do this if you really want. But if your goal is to meet the 50,000 word “winner’s circle”, then the more days you postpone any writing at all is a day that you’re going to need to add more writing to at the end.

1667 words a day will get you to 50,000 in 30 days. Remember that. Those are your magic numbers.

So, what can you do to make sure you write?

First off, write every day. Force yourself to write if you have to, even if it’s just a few hundred words. Once the words get flowing though, don’t be surprised to find yourself writing more than what you had originally planned for in that time. It tends to happen that way a lot.

Another way is to work with other NaNoers. Word Wars is always my preferred method of getting writing done. Set a time limit and write as much as you can within that time and compare who has more at the end. It turns on our competitive streak as humans, and you would be surprised at the amount of times I have gotten something amazing from 15 minute Word Wars with Liz.

Carve out a chunk of your life to write if you have to. 5 minutes on lunch here, 10 minutes after dinner there. It doesn’t need to be all at one go and indeed, it can be even better if you don’t as it gives you time to figure out scenes in your novel.

The best think about NaNo is that is prepares you to become a writer if that is what you truly want to be. As far as I know, there will never be a deadline of 50,000 words in a month, but you might have “a novel in a year” as a deadline. And the tricks and habits picked up here of writing every day and thinking about your writing even when you are not will serve you well in years down the road.

I used last year’s NaNo as a test run for my undergraduate thesis. I knew that if I could do 50,000 in a month, I could do 20 pages in 3.

So write, write, write, whenever you can. You have a week left to plan. Best of luck!


Gearing Up: Week Three

You have characters.

You have setting.

….do you have a plot?

In creating your setting, I’m near positive all sorts of ideas occurred to you on what you could do with your characters in this world. Now is the time to gather up those thoughts and put them all on paper.

Perhaps you have a simple plot in which girl meets boy, they go out, they get married, the end. Or maybe there’s complexities involved, such as girl meets boy, girl kills boy, boy is now a zombie…and, well, you get the picture.

Here is where you can have fun and really begin to figure out what your story is.

There are four simple steps to creating a plot that you can follow during your NaNo month (or really, at any time).

One: Figure out your starting point. With a start point, you know how the characters meet, what is going to happen to get them together and what them getting together might entail. It’s an introduction of everyone involved and might take anywhere from a few paragraphs to a few chapters, depending on what you all have planned.

Two: What is your climax of the novel? This is your Point B if we look at step one as Point A. The characters must get here eventually. Will the climax be a nail biting magical duel or a fight between two lovers. Maybe it’s a gun fight and one of your main characters is currently in a hospital bed fighting for their life. (Aside: never be afraid to kill off your main characters if that is what the story calls for. Be a literary murderer!) This is what every one of your readers has been waiting for, so whatever it is, make sure it has been worth the build up to this moment.

Three: The Ending. I don’t mean writing the words “the end” when you have finally finished it all, but that is a fun thing to do, I’ll admit. Here is where you tie up loose ends and slowly wind your reader down from the high that they hopefully experienced during the climax. A great video explaining why this is so important in anything can be found at Penny Arcade and I highly suggest checking it out: http://penny-arcade.com/patv/episode/episode-07-pacing

Four: Fill in the spaces.  You have three points now: A, B and C. This is now when the fun part of plotting can happen. Sub-plots, interactions, laying of clues, everything indirectly related to the climax is now put into place along your chart of points. Give a word or two of detail at each new point. Examples can be “meets Samantha” or “learns about dragons”. This will make sure your story is paced well and that you won’t forget anything that you had planned.

Of course, like all good plans, this will likely fall apart at the first sign on battle (in this case, the second day of NaNo), so don’t be worried! You can either us this roadmap you have created here to get you back on track or just go off and let the story take you where it will!


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.


Book Review Nine: Fox and Phoenix by Beth Bernobich

One of my favorite things in the world to do is to read a new book, doubly so when it’s from a new author.  Or at least an author that I haven’t heard of before, as Beth Bernobich certainly isn’t new to the world of writing.

And it shows in her first YA novel Fox and Phoenix, coming out October 13th.

Fox and Phoenix takes place in a world like China, only with more magic, less giant walls, and spirit animals accompanying those who live there. Add in a dash of fairy tale, romance, some court intrigue, a dying King and a missing Princess, and you have the beginnings of a story that grabs you from the first sentence and doesn’t let go until the end.

It starts off introducing the characters Kai, Mami, and Yun, first seen in a short story Bernobich wrote as a prelude to this novel.  Mami owns a magic shop in Long City (which, as an aside, means “Dragon City”.  I knew those lessons in Chinese would come in handy some time!), and recieves words that the King has fallen ill.  When the court tries to get a hold of the Princess, currently studying at the university in the neighboring Phoenix kingdom, they receive no answer time and again.

As things go more out of control, Kai finds himself taking a cross country journey to the Phoenix Kingdom with just a cranky, re-animated Griffon and his friend Yun as companions.  Of course, it never goes easily, and the trio find themselves fending off assassin attacks, missing magic, and missing spirit animals that had been with them since birth.

And when they get to Phoenix City, their troubles are just beginning.

While this book is billed for those in 6th grade and above there is cursing in it, but nothing stronger than the occasional “damn” when Kai is feeling exceptionally emotional and overwhelmed.  My knee-jerk reaction on reading it was to not let my younger sister who is in 6th grade read it.  And then I remembered what I was reading at her age and decided I was likely being over protective, especially since I would recommend it to anyone else.

My one complaint is that the ending seems to tie up all the loose ends in quick succession, making it somewhat hard to see what had happened the first time I read it.  I feel as though a bit more time at the ending and explaining what had happened would not have gone amiss and would have made the book better all in all.

It is clear that Bernobich has done her research into Chinese culture enough to integrate it into this world of hers, which makes it come more alive with every passing phrase.  Words in Chinese that might not clearly be known by readers (such as the Griffon’s name) are explained within the story itself, really immersing the reader in a fully fleshed out world.

I highly, highly suggest you read this book when it comes out.

Pre-order and buy it here:  http://www.amazon.com/Fox-Phoenix-Beth-Bernobich/dp/0670012785/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1318222498&sr=1-1

Visit the Author here:  http://www.beth-bernobich.com/

Interesting addendum not really pertaining to the book, but still a cool thing I wanted to share:  Apparently Beth Bernobich attended the Universität Heidelberg in Germany. I will fully admit to a squee when I read that and I wonder if she and I had any of the same professors from when I was there in 2010.  Some of them looked to have been around since the end of WWII…