Tag Archives: fiction

Carry On: WIPpet Wednesday and ROW80 Update

Nothing new from any other WIP to share yet, so I wrote a bit more of last week’s story for you, since people responded so positively. If you don’t have time for a longer snippet and have to go, that’s OK. For anyone who wants to see what happened with that dragon, here you go. It’s 28 (mostly short) paragraphs for the 28th.

I’m thinking about making the protagonist a little older (because I can do that with my god-like powers), but we’ll wait and see on that. Rough draft again, sorry. I’l try to be more on the ball next time. 🙂

I fought to control the shaking in my hands as I held out my basket. “Y-you can have them back,” I stammered. “I didn’t know they were yours.” 

The dragon— and there was no doubt as to what it was, impossible though it seemed— lifted its head to sniff at the breeze, then moved toward me, serpentine body emerging slowly from the underbrush, curving around the clearing until the tip of its tail appeared. It wasn’t as large as the dragons in drawings and movies I’d seen, but was more than big enough to make a meal of me if it wanted to. “How generous of you,” it said. “But what of the ones you’ve eaten? However shall I retrieve those?” It raised its emerald head until we stood face to face, and the nostril slits widened as it sniffed at my mouth.

A hissing noise ripped through the forest’s silence, and the dragon let out a long, death-scented groan. Its eyes widened and rolled to the side as claws reached to grasp the wooden shaft that had appeared in its armpit. Another hiss, and a second arrow was embedded in the creature’s golden eye. The dragon slumped in a graceful wave of scaled body, then lay twitching at my feet.

I gagged at the smell and backed into the woods as quickly as I could, not wanting to wait around to see what other fairy tales were about to come to life. But which way to run? I didn’t know where the stream was, or even how far I’d come. Calm down. Think.

I needed to get higher, but most of the trees around me were spruces with branches that weretoo dense for climbing. That strange pink tree, though, had looked sturdy, and the branches started low. I crept back toward the clearing, but paused when I saw the hunter.

A girl dressed in brown pants and a stained, cream-coloured shirt stood beside the still form of the dragon. She braced a foot against the skull and pulled at her arrow, which came out with a wet squishing sound. The other arrow broke when she tried to remove it. She snarled and tossed the shaft into the woods, then pulled out a knife and sawed into the flesh at the bottom of the dragon’s ear.

She looked up as I stepped into the clearing, taking in my clothing and the now-empty basket I still held onto so tightly that splinters dug into my fingers. She held up one finger, indicating that I should wait, and went back to the ear. I suddenly felt dizzy, and sat down before my legs had a chance to fail me.

The girl, who looked to be about sixteen years old, tucked the dragon’s ear safely at the bottom of the canvas shoulder bag she carried, then offered me a blood-stained hand to help me up. “Are you hurt?”

“No, I don’t think so. Thank you.”

She shrugged. “I should thank you. My family needs the reward money.” She pulled a cloth out of her bag and cleaned her knife. “You’re new?”

“Sorry? I mean, I’m visiting my grandmother in Brightdale, if that’s what you mean.”

The girl narrowed her eyes and looked me over from my braided hair to my steel-toed hiking boots. “Not exactly, but that will do. Where did you cross?”

“Cross what, the stream?”

“Come on.”

Without any further explanation the girl led the way back into the berry patch, confidently retracing my path. When I followed her gaze, I saw signs of my earlier passage that I’d missed before in my panic: twisted branches, a patch of moss scraped off of a rock by my boot. Soon we were back at the stream.

“Thank you,” I said. I wanted to rush across the water and back home, but I had to ask. “About that dragon…”

She smiled. She was pretty, if somewhat rough-looking. A faint scar crossed her left cheek from nose to jaw, and her blond hair looked like it hadn’t been brushed in a month. “Don’t see those too often where you come from?”

“Not exactly. What—” I hesitated. I didn’t even know what to ask. There were too many questions.

She crouched to rinse her hands in the water. “You probably won’t get back,” she said, and looked back at me over her shoulder. “You can try. I’ll wait. You can come home with me.”

“I should be able to find my way back from here.”

“Good luck.”

I hopped across the stones, just as I had before, and turned confidently to go back down the hill to where I hoped Gran wasn’t still waiting for me.

Something wasn’t right. There was another one of those strange trees, and I was sure I hadn’t passed that on the way up. A bird trilled overhead, then flitted closer to investigate. Iridescent sapphire feathers glistened on its back, and bright red flashed as it spread its wings to fly away. I wasn’t much of a birdwatcher, but I was fairly certain that this wasn’t any species native to Newfoundland. Still, I pushed on down the hill.

I gasped as I emerged from the forest onto a stone outcropping that looked just like the one that had shaded me and Gran while we ate our lunch. The view had changed completely. Instead of low hills, a winding road and the village of Brightdale nestled in the valley, I was faced with a range of round-topped mountains that I had never seen before. I sank to my knees, shaking, finally understanding what the girl had meant when she asked where I crossed.

A hand settled on my shoulder. “I’m sorry,” the girl said as she sat beside me. “I had to let you try. You never know, right?” She pulled a clean cloth from her bag and offered it to me, then turned away as I wiped my eyes and blew my nose.

When I’d calmed down enough to speak, there was only one question on my mind.

“Where am I?”

Hmm… A couple of you might know the answer to that one.

Care to join in the fun? Read the other WIPpeteers’ entries at this link, and join in if you’d like! Post a snippet of a work in progress that relates in some way to today’s date (page number, chapter, etc) and add your link. Thanks to KL Schwengel for hosting this hootenanny every week!

seanbeanwippet

I did. True story.

All right, Wednesday also means I owe an update for ROW80.

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And the big news is… Nothing has changed. I might as well say “see Sunday’s post.” Are you all impressed? I hope so.

No, seriously, that’s it. That’s all I have to say. You’re welcome. 🙂

If you’d like to see what everyone else is up to, though, try clicking here.

 

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*headdesk*

Know what sucks? Yes, besides a Hoover. Very funny. What I was going to say was that re-naming characters sucks. Hard. And not in a good way.

I knew this was coming. I’ve even mentioned it here, trying to mentally prepare myself. But it really has to be done now, both in revisions for my first book and for the character re-appearing in the second. And it’s not the character I thought it would be.

I was going to change Cassia’s name, and let Kai keep his. His name means “ocean,” he’s a watery sort of guy, and then name seemed to me to have the sort of fun-yet-laid-back vibe that he gives off. I was attached to Cassia’s name, too (I adore it, and it means “cinnamon,” which is pretty much the colour of her skin), but I thought she could survive the change. I couldn’t leave them both, not with love interests in a very popular YA series being named Cassia and Ky. My brother and sister pair would not stand for it.

So Kai’s name was going to stay. And then a friend named her dog Kai, and told me that her kids had named him after a Lego Ninjago character. Lovely. And reviews of another book that I need to read say that there’s a female character named Kai. And the name has come up a few times in reviews of other books I’ve seen recently, all male characters. Point is, it’s popular, and I don’t like that. Didn’t want to give my kids popular names, don’t want to do it for my characters. I don’t need them to be speshul-snowflake unique (or Uneeq, for that matter), but I really don’t like name trends.

But there’s also no other perfect name with a similar meaning. All evidence to the contrary, I don’t usually choose names based on what they mean; I’ve almost rejected names that gave away too much. But most of my mer folk do have water-related names. Nguh. I’ve narrowed it down a bit… I just hope this doesn’t take up as much of my day as blog renovations did yesterday. O.o

EDIT: Ugh. I liked the name Caius (it’s similar!), but I just found out that there’s one in the Twilight saga. So that’s probably a “no.”


WIPpet Wednesday: Consequences

Last week’s WIPpet snippet was short. Of COURSE I’m going to give you something massive this week. I won’t be offended if you skip it. 🙂

This is from chapter… probably three. I’m not too clear on chapter divisions yet. This is extremely rough, please excuse the everything. Set up: things haven’t been going well since the end of Bound (so much for happily ever after, right?). So SPOILER ALERT I guess, if you don’t want to know whether people survive that one.

Still with me? Good. Rowan has convinced Aren to take a walk with her on the beach, saying she wanted to search for treasure. He doubted they’d find any, but went along anyway. He doesn’t get to spend much time alone with her these days. :/

12 + 6 paragraphs for 12/6  (plus one line so it makes sense)

Rowan seemed to be trying to get her bearings on the beach, running back and forth, looking down, when she suddenly dropped to her knees to rake her fingers through the pebbles. I jogged toward her, holding tightly to the cloth-wrapped item in my pocket. She stood and held her hand out to me. “Told you there was treasure.”

Glass. Two pieces, one green and one brown, the edges smoothed and the surface dulled by the rocks and water. “That’s it? This is what you were looking for?”

“Mm-hmm. I didn’t think you’d come with me if I told you.”

“What, that we were looking for old garbage?” She looked at me expectantly, and I sighed. “No, I still would have come along.” I fell in beside her as she walked closer to the water.

“It’s not old garbage.”

“It’s broken glass that somebody threw away, or that floated off of a shipwreck. It is the very definition of garbage.”

She stopped to pick up a few more pieces, and motioned for me to hold out my hand. “No,” she said. “This is garbage.” Clear glass this time, and new, probably tossed over the cliff recently. I closed my fingers around it, and the point of the triangle bit into my skin. When I opened my hand, blood welled up from a tiny puncture. Rowan frowned. “I wish you wouldn’t do that. I can’t heal it, you know.”

“It’ll go away on its own soon enough.”

She shook her head, and a sudden breeze off of the ocean blew her hair around her head until she caught it and tied it back with the ribbon she kept in her coat. “This, however,” she continued, “is treasure.” Clear glass again, but turned white by its pitted surface. It was perfectly smooth, and aside from its colour was indistinguishable from the round pebbles that littered the shore. “I suppose it was garbage once, but after a while it becomes beautiful. Don’t you see it?”

As she added to her collection, I started to see. No one would ever mistake the glass for gemstones, but they were beautiful in the same way that someone like Rowan thought beach rocks were beautiful, or a mossy forest, or the swirling patterns in driftwood. I didn’t notice those things the way she did, but I was learning. It reminded me of her; if the women I’d known in Luid were diamonds and sapphires, she was the amethyst-coloured glass she handed to me, which seemed to glow in the fading sunlight and became more interesting the longer I looked at it. She was a strange person, but in ways that I liked very much. I thought again of leaving, and felt ill. I didn’t know how to bring it up.

A dull flash of green caught my eye. “What about this one?” I asked.

She turned the glass over in her hands. “Almost there. See how this edge is clear? It probably broke off of something not too long ago, and the ocean has to work on it a bit more. It’s a shame; the colour’s good.”

I sat on a weathered log that had landed above the tide line, and Rowan followed. “You’re leaving, aren’t you?” she asked.

“It’s time,” I said. She was silent for a few moments, then smiled, sadly.

“What, just when things are going so well here?”

I took her hand. It was so small in mine. “I would stay if I thought it would help you, but I think I’m just in the way right now. I’m not doing any good here. I’m tired of being unwanted and useless. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing now, but it’s not this.”

Rowan squeezed my fingers. “It’s not getting any better, is it?”

“Did I ever tell you what Mariana and Arnav said to me at the Grotto?” She shook her head and sat beside me. “They said that it was admirable that I wanted to renounce my past, but that I needed to learn what I was living for. Right now I have nothing but you. I think I could spend the rest of my life living for you, but-”

“…but that’s not fair to either of us. I know.”

Life is hard, kids, stay in school and don’t fall in love too quickly. Quality advice from Auntie Kate, right there. I have a big problem with stories where people fall in love too quickly and then that’s it.  I will NOT have codependent characters. *end rant*

And yeah, I know, it’s wordy and needs editing. I’ll get back to it. 😉

Want to join in the WIPpet Wedesday fun? Head on over to our host’s blog (KL Schwengel at My Random Muse), click on the linkie and share the love with the other WIPpeteers, and add your own link to a bit of your work in progress that relates to today’s date in some way (12 lines, 12 words… 12+6 letters, something from chapter or page 12… whatever).

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Treasure ahoy!

I guess I owe a #ROW80 update, too, especially since I missed Sunday’s check-in. JuNoWriMo is putting the pressure on, but I’m behind. I need a few good days with no distractions to get caught up. 2,000 words a day is just not happening right now. I’ve given up on reading Fallen (see here if you really want to know why) and have started Matched, which I thought sounded very not me, but I’ve enjoyed the first few chapters. Housework is going well, too, even if I refuse to acknowledge that as an official goal.


WIPpet Wednesday: Bite Night

Welcome to WIPpet Wednesday, where we share a snippet of a work in progress that in some way relates to the day’s date, hosted by the scrumdiddlyumptious K.L. Schwengel.

In keeping with last week, when I showed you a first draft (of a first scene) on the first, I’m going to give you something else from the same story for the 8th. Not an 8th draft, but the last 8 paragraphs of a scene I had a lot of fun writing.

To set the scene: Shivva has gone to the club, yadda yadda, it’s feeding time! She’s chosen a first-timer, taken him to a dark alcove, and tried to make him comfortable; the human’s emotions at the time of feeding will affect her, and she’s nervous enough about the assignment without him adding to it.

Content warning: much groping of bodies and nomming of necks.

Enjoy.

He pulls me closer with one arm while his other hand continues to explore, now pulling in frustration at my jeans, now slipping under my shirt. His skilled groping is a little distracting, but it sends delightful tingling sensations to places I don’t have much use for these days, and I let it continue as I press harder against him, kissing his neck down to his collarbone, nibbling a little, teasing myself. I could have had him by now, but it’s so much more fun to make it last.

His rapid breathing indicates that he’s enjoying himself already, but I trail my hand down over his chest, over the hard muscles of his stomach, lower, just to make sure. Hey, there. I laugh softy into his ear. “You like that?”

He whimpers in response, and I spin around, straddling his legs, grinding my hips into him. He groans. I can only imagine what anyone listening outside would think, but it’s no worse than what’s happening in whatever sound-proofed room Trixie has disappeared into. My lips are on his neck again, drawn to its heat and to that thing that goes beyond physical senses and calls to something deeper inside of me.

My body shudders. His hands are so warm; the chill of my skin doesn’t seem to bother him. Perhaps it excites him, as it does so many others. He pulls me closer still and moves his body beneath me, and I wonder whether perhaps feeding couldn’t wait just a little longer.

Then he moves his head to catch my lips with his own. The shock of it freezes him, but only for a moment. It’s our saliva that poisons them, that sends them out of their bodies with the overwhelming pleasure that keeps them coming back. He’s just had the tiniest taste of it, and he wants more. His tongue pushes into my mouth, any skill he’s acquired with his fragile human girlfriends forgotten in his desperation to be closer to me.

My left canine scrapes the delicate skin of his mouth. He gasps at the pain, but doesn’t pull back. The taste of blood nearly drives me mad. It is life. It is existence. It is everything.

I pull away before I can bite his tongue off. He twists his fingers into my hair to hold onto me, but his strength is nothing compared with mine. He’ll get what he wants, though. I lower my mouth to his neck again and sink my fangs into his skin, savoring the resistance of that thin barrier. He cries out. Yes, it hurts them, every time. And then my mouth is sealed over the twin wounds, drawing the blood from him, and the sounds he makes turn to soft gasps of wonder and disbelief as my poison overcomes everything else that’s in him. His pulse is strong and his blood hot, and it flows easily down my throat. The melancholy that plagued me earlier in the evening and the uncertainty I felt in Miranda’s office are gone. I am real, I am present, I am powerful, and there is nothing outside of this moment that matters.

It’s going to be hard to stop.

WIPpet Wednesday is growing all the time! Click here to visit the linkamajig and take a peek at everyone else’s contributions and share the love. If you’d like to join in, add your own link. You know you want to. All the cool kids are doing it.


WIPpet Wednesday: The First, You Say?

Confession: I was going to give you one word, but I already gave you my best word yesterday.

That word, of course, is “Hmrflphmrmbn.”

So now what am I supposed to do? For those of you just joining us (and by the way, welcome!), WIPpet Wednesday is a fantastic weekly event hosted by K.L. Schwengel where we share a bit of a work in progress that somehow relates to the day’s date. Today is 5/1/13… let me see what I can dig up.

So many possibilities! A first kiss? First dance? First anything else? Perhaps. Paragraph one of chapter five? Nope, already did that. Something that’s in first-draft stage? I wouldn’t do that to you.

Wait, yes I would! We WIPpeteers are all about exposing ourselves, aren’t we? Wait… that’s not right. You know what I mean.

First of May, first draft. First pass at the first scene of a new series of… eh, short stories, novellas, who am I to say? Set in our own world, just to shake things up a bit, no connection with previous WIPpet posts (lest you all think I’m a less-than-impressive, amateur, one-trick pony). It’s a long one; feel free to skip if you’re not fond of questionable language,  or the undead talking about sex and religion. For reals, I’d rather have you give this one a pass than offend anyone.

(And yes, I know, flogging a dead horse, but it’s fun!)

(untitled)

Easter Sunday, early evening.

The faithful file into the little white church, oblivious to the dark shape huddled on a rooftop across the road. It’s always cold here in the spring, especially near the water; their breath puffs out in clouds, like the wood smoke that rises from the chimney beside me. I force my diaphragm to expand, pulling air into my lungs and forcing my leather jacket tight against my breasts, but the exhalation that follows isn’t at all visually impressive. One needs body heat for a trick like that.

The river of the congregants slows, but the music continues. If you can call it that; the pre-recorded clanging coming from the speakers on the steeple is dreadful, but it serves its purpose. No one in town could possibly be unaware of the fact that there’s a service about to begin. O Come All Ye Faithful and all that. Wait. No, that’s Christmas. I should remember, but it’s been so long since I stepped into a church that it has become muddled. A minivan pulls into the full church parking lot, circles around, then winds its way through the rows of cars to a spot at the school next door. A harried-looking mother drags a crying toddler from the back while the father lifts a little blonde girl in a flowered dress to the ground. It would be a perfect picture if not for the fact that the dress isn’t nearly warm enough, and the parents hurry the girl into the church when all she wants to do is pause on the steps and twirl to make her skirt flare out. Her father drags her inside, and the door closes again.

“You bastard,” I whisper, and wish I had a cigarette in hand so I could flick the ash for emphasis.

She lands silently on the roof, out of sight, but I feel her coming. “Hey, babe,” she whispers, rousing me from my pensive state. She’s supposed to be my mentor, having been at this five years longer than me, but Trixie has always taken a casual approach. She slides down the slope of the roof and drops to sit beside me. “What’s happening?”

“Easter.”

“Jesus Christ.”

I’m not sure whether she’s cursing or making conversation. “Exactly. I feel a certain affinity for him this time of year. Death. Coming back. Unbelievers.”

“Fluffy bunnies and chocolate.”

“That, too.” I remove my sunglasses and squint at the cross on top of the steeple. So much more tasteful than the full crucifix displayed at the Catholic church down the road, though when I think about it, both seem odd. I was killed with a gun; if I had followers, I wouldn’t want them wearing pistols around their necks.

Trixie watches me, apparently finding the situation amusing. “Poor little child, stuck in the past.” She tilts her head to one side, flipping one of her electric blue pigtails forward over her shoulder. “Did you go, before?”

“I did.”

“Do you miss it?”

“Nah.” We’re not supposed to dwell on our lives. Regret is pointless, and nothing can be changed, in life or in death.

“Of course she doesn’t.” I didn’t hear Daniel coming, or feel him. I don’t spend as much time with our field trainer as I do with Trixie, and I’m not attuned to him. It’s an ability that’s been slow in coming to me, and it makes training difficult. “Shivva thinks of nothing but the future, her role in the maintenance of this miserable land’s supernatural resources, the enforcement of… what?”

Trixie is grinning at him.“Shivva’s got a girlie hard-on for church bells.”

“Oh, that’s fine. I was worried she was thinking about sampling from this holy buffet.”

Trixie giggles. “Smorgasbord of the righteous!

I glare at them and put my sunglasses back on. It’s not summer yet, but the light is already getting to me on clear days.

“Aww, whatsa matter, Shivva my love?” Daniel asks in his thickest bayman’s accent, which he’s perfected over his years on the island. “Is de sonlight bodderin’ ye?” He laughs at his own stupid pun, and I take my time raising a fist and flipping him the bird with one pink and green-painted fingernail. “Oh, that’s not nice.”

“I’m sorry, is that too intimidating for you?” I unroll my pointer and ring fingers a joint to leave less of the middle digit exposed, and Daniel claps a hand over his heart and falls backward off of the roof.

“That hurt, Shiv,” he calls up from the ground. “That hurt a lot.”

“Come prove me wrong.”

When his pale brown eyes appear over the edge of rooftop gutter, they express more sadness than I believe he’s capable of feeling. “Be good. I shows you when we gets back to town.”

“Oh, yes.” Bullshit teasing is all it is. Maybe I would have found Daniel attractive if we’d both been alive, but it hardly bears thinking about now. Not only is he my trainer, he’s also dead. Not having a pulse wreaks havoc on a guy’s sex life, unless he’s keen on pharmaceuticals.

Trixie leans back on her elbows and watches the sun set as Daniel pulls himself back onto the roof. “We going, or what?”

“Yes, my dears.” Daniel has dropped the accent, but not the dialect. We’re not really his dears. He’s what the locals call “best kind” on days off, but when we’re training it feels more like we’re his soldiers or his slaves. “Vacation is over, and we leave these fine people to their— Oh, what in the name of everything unnatural is this shit?” He’s been interrupted by the church’s speakers, which are now blasting some hymn, broadcasting the congregation’s mixed vocal talents aver the town. He shakes his head. “I remember when church bells meant something, when they sounded good, played on the hour, and didn’t split my head open with the wailings of Mrs McGuillicutty and her Caterwauling Carolers.”

“Carols are for Christmas,” I remind him.

“Don’t care.” He glares at the church, and turns back to us, all business. “We’re needed in town, ladies.” He studies us for a few seconds, frowning as we continue to laze on the cooling shingles. “Though it doesn’t look much to me like either of you is ready for your first assignment.”

We’re on our feet before he finishes the word. “What?” we ask together.

“As I said. I told Miranda you’re ready, and she said to bring you to the club tonight. Get changed, we’re flying home. Oh, and if you disappoint me, your young, dead asses are mine. Understood?”

Trixie grins at me, and I bounce on the toes of my boots as the excitement fills me. Daniel has been telling us we’re not likely to be ready until well into the next century; this news is both thrilling and terrifying. “What is it?” Trixie squeaks.

“Rogues.”

The energy seems to flow out through the soles of my feet, leaving me empty and weak. Trixie and I look at each other, and she chews her lip. “On our first assignment?” she asks, but Darius is gone in a flurry of fog as he transforms into a hulking gargoyle-like shape and flies East.

There’s nothing for us to do but follow.

That’s it. Aren’t first drafts charming? It’ll kill me not to pick at this, screaming “LIKE ME! LIKE MEEEE!” But I won’t. Oh, also first attempt at more than a few paragraphs of present-tense, inspired by this blog post by kiralynblue- but hey, it’s first person! Oh, and their first assignment. Hey, I’ve got this May first thing locked up. 🙂

Don’t forget to check out the rest of the WIPpeteers’ works for this Wednesday and share the love. If you’d like to join the fun, click on that link and add your own work in progress snippet, as per the rules stated above.


Wednesday Bonus

Hey, look up there! No, not your ceiling. Up there, under the title. There’s a new page there, see it? Fiction. And there’s a story there, too! Hooray for truth in advertising!

It’s a story that takes place in the same world as Bound, but the writing style is different from the novel. It’s a bit more adult (but then, so’s the story). I thought that the story would make the most sense to my Beta readers who are familiar with the world, but I’ve had some very positive comments already from people who haven’t read it, and who don’t particularly like Fantasy stories. So no worries there. 🙂

Have a look, comment, whatever you like.

Happy Wednesday!

(for anyone reading this who can’t see the banner and pages above, here’s the link)


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