Saturday, August 30, 2014

Snippets of August



Below are some snippets from my current secret project:


     William shook his head, mumbling to himself.  He was not sure what he had expected from his father’s return, but this boisterous man before him was not it. 

***
     “Prince William?” Peter called, lifting his torch to see his master.  “So God has seen fit to bring you both back to us in one piece, eh?”
***
     ...And William awoke in a sweat.  He drew a shaky breath, silently cursing his father for ruining his dreams with his return.  Then he raised his head from the pillow and looked about him, hoping that the sight of reality would drive his dream into oblivion.
***
     The prince raised his hand, pointing an angry finger toward Decellus.  “You think you have beaten me, but I will outsmart you yet!” he threatened.
     Decellus smiled, his eyes crinkling up in amusement.  “Good,” he said.  “You do that.”
***
      “I always thought it was care for the people and support of her husband that were a queen’s first duties,” she argued, hating to think ill of Leramay’s queen that had died ten years before.
***
      She reached the bottom of the stairs and ran across the atrium. Yanking the door open, she cast one last spiteful glance up at the prince. “You are a dead man, William of Leramay,” she hissed.
***
     But superstitious minds fanned the sparks of impossibilities into a roaring flame of certainty.
***
     “You know I don’t believe that for an instant,” Taralia said.  “Others may be fooled but not I.  I know exactly what your cruel father has done, and we both know exactly how to reverse it.”
***
     William held his breath as he walked into the room.  After what he had done, he was sure to get a furious scolding, but Decellus only looked up and smiled.  It was the smile that surprised William.  It looked so contented and encouraging, and William was completely unprepared for it.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Secret Project Update

19,687 words

 
     Last night, I finished my first draft of my secret project.  Do you know how delicious that feels?  I lean back in my chair and sigh.  My arms hang limp as though I have exhausted myself in some incredible athletic feat, my heart pounds with relief, and a warm contented feeling spreads over me.  My mind tries to temper any wild excitement with reminders of how much work is yet ahead of me.  The editing process looms, not letting me say that I am "all the way" done.  But another part of me hushes this logic, wanting to enjoy the feeling of completion, if but for a moment.  A hen could not crow more triumphantly over her egg than I can, at this minute, crow over mine.  I feel completely spent but happy.  I am done!  My first draft is done!  What a delicious feeling!
 
     Stay tuned.  In a couple days, I will post some snippets from my first draft.  In the meantime, rejoice with me!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Reminders: Half-Baked and Plenilune


      Just a quick reminder that Anne-girl's new blog, Half-Baked, is starting next Monday on September 1st.  Check it out.  :)


And, after that, we will have:
     Jenny's cover reveal for her upcoming book, Plenilune, on October 6th.  You can always see more about Jenny and Plenilune on her blog: http://thepenslayer.blogspot.com/

Monday, August 25, 2014

A Blogger's Challenge: Picture Story


     Hello, all!  I have a bit of a challenge for you, if you will accept it.  I challenge you to write the beginning of a story based on the picture of your choosing.  This is purely meant to be an exercise in spontaneous writing and in building a good "hook" into your scene.  So, here is the rules:

1. Find a picture (pinterest, the internet, your own files, or somewhere else)

2. Write a scene, inspired by that picture.  It can be an opening scene or a scene anywhere in the book.

3. Post your picture and scene on your blog.

4. Leave a link to your post in my comments below.

5. Check back and see what others wrote.

     Easy enough, right?  And it should be lots of fun.  I can't wait to see what you guys write!


 









Friday, August 22, 2014

Some Blogs I Follow

Baby Ducks Fall in Line by Blue Eyes and Bluebonnets on Flickr. "Baby ducks heading for the pond. We had to stop traffic both ways on a busy street so they could cross to the pond."
FOLLOWING
Cute baby ducks
(via Pinterest)
          Today seemed like a good day to talk about some of the blogs that I follow.  I don't have a lot of time so I am not going to be wordy about it, but I wanted to share these with you.  Enjoy!

Here are some of the blogs that I follow:



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Rachel Heffington @ theinkpenauthoress (http://inkpenauthoress.blogspot.com/)
Some words to describe: wit, charm, banter, Brits, vintage, occasional nonsense.



The Penslayer
Jenny Freitag @ The Penslayer (http://thepenslayer.blogspot.com/)
Some words to describe: deep, powerful, dedicated, passionate, fearless, occasionally dark.


Anne-girl @ Scribblings of My Pen Tappings of My Keyboard (http://scribblingskeyboard.blogspot.com/)
Some words to describe: adventure, courage, wisdom, challenging, action, showing.



Joy @ Fullness of Joy (http://joy-live4jesus.blogspot.com/)
Some words to describe: sweet, beautiful, encouraging, inspiring, homey.


Aino @ Dancing with God (http://all-that-is-gold-does-not-glitter.blogspot.com/)
Some words to describe: I just love the way she writes, the way her brain works, and the way she is not afraid to speak out.


Go Teen Writers
Go Teen Writers (http://goteenwriters.blogspot.com/)
Each post has advice, encouragement, and challenges for writers for every stage of writing (from your first concept through writing and editing, marketing and publishing, and on).

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Broken Clouds

via Pinterest

     "It will be good.  It will be normal, and, heaven knows, you need a bit of normalcy."  The words echoed in my mind as I stared out the window and waited for the plane to leave the tarmac.  My madre adottiva had spoken them 2 weeks before I left.  I could still see her frizzled blonde hair sticking out at odd angles as she stopped and ran her finger along my chin.  Always busy, she was.  Always rushing around to take care of the 9 children in her care, but she stopped for me...for that one moment.  Her eyebrows rose toward each other worriedly, and her lopsided smile showed that she pitied me for my hard life.
     Was my life hard?  I shifted in my seat, and the window showed me my reflection.  With my ash blonde hair tied back in a bun, you could see my facial features clearly.  My eyes were big and green, my nose very straight, and my chin small and pointed.  I tried to study my eyes to see what sort of person I was.  I have always found that you could tell a lot about a person through their eyes.  But, maybe, it doesn't work in a mirror.  The eyes in the window only stared back at me curiously as though they were trying to see who I was.
     "Is this seat taken?"
     I looked up to see a smiling man with a briefcase.  He looked to be in his late 30s, and he wore a gray suit.  For a moment, our eyes met and held each other's gaze.  There was something in his deep brown eyes that I didn't like.  Something possessive.  Like he thought he owned some part of me.  Cheeky -- since I had never seen him before in my life.
     I clinched my jaw and scooted closer to the window -- an unnecessary maneuver since the seats were separated by arm rests -- but I felt that I wanted to be as far away from him as possible.  I pretended to stare out of the window again, but all of my senses were trained on the newcomer.  He stuffed his briefcase into an overhead compartment, smoothed the front of his suit coat, and settled into the seat next to me.  Then he coughed and propped his right ankle on his left knee.
    "First time flying by yourself?" he asked.
     I turned and gave him a withering glance that was meant to communicate that 13-year-old girls like me found 30-year-old men like him both annoying and boring.  If I had my ear buds with me, I would have put them in to solidify my silent argument.
     "Scared?" he asked, as though I had freely admitted that, yes, this was my first time flying by myself.
     Scared?  Yeah, I was scared of a lot of things, but flying was not one of them and I only wished I could be more by myself than I was at that moment.
     "My name is Robert," he went on.
     "Oh, please go away," I thought.
     "I presume your name is Kelsey?" he said.
     Startled, my eyes shifted quickly from the window to his face.  This guy was creepy.  How did he know my name?
     He was smiling again, and indicated my sleeve with a flick of his hand.  I glanced down and saw my nametag, announcing my identity to the world.  A flood of red rushed into my cheeks and ears, and I quickly ripped the name from my sleeve.  Never mind that my madre adottiva had strictly instructed me to keep it visible and to not let it get wet.  I couldn't stand the thought that complete strangers had access to my personal information.
      The Robert-person chuckled.  "Don't worry," he said, softly.  "I won't tell."
     The nerve of that man!  What gave him the right to pretend like he was on friendly terms with me?  I lifted my chin defiantly.  "I like my name," I told him.  "And I don't care who you tell."
     He flicked a white fuzz from his gray suit and then turned to me with a searching gaze.  "Is there another name you like better?" he asked.
     My heart skipped a beat, and I felt the color rush to my face again.  Surely, he did not know...And, yet, there was a depth to his gaze that carried more than friendly banter.  I felt a thin blade of fear slide into my core as I searched his face.  But his face was as impenetrable as my own reflection had been.
      "No," I said finally.  My mouth felt dry.
     His lips pursed in an attempt to cover up his amusement, and his eyes held the smirk of a conqueror after a small victory.
      I turned away from him and pulled my long-sleeve shrug closer around myself.  The window shades were closing as the plane prepared for take-off, but still I stared at them as though I saw the world outside.  Inside, my mind was reeling, trying to explain away the man's behavior. 
      A tap on my shoulder startled me, and my hand flew up to block at the same time that I sucked my breath in with a gasp. 
     It was only Robert...again.
     "Sorry to startle you," he said, softly.  His tone was serious.  "If you need anything, I want you to know that you can always call me."  He held out a scrap of paper with his name and a phone number scrawled across it.  Reflexively, I took the paper from him.
      "Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to find a new seat before the stewardess locks us in for the flight," he finished, shoving himself to his feet and digging his briefcase out of the overhead compartment.
     As he moved away, I dropped the paper like a hot coal and wiped my fingers on my jeans.  I sincerely hoped I would never see the man again.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Announcement: Annegirl to Start a New Blog: Half-Baked


     Most of you have heard me mention Anne-girl before.  I follow her blog (http://scribblingskeyboard.blogspot.com/).  She is one of the bloggers whom I feel has helped me to improve my writing, and, since I like her writing style, I trust her advice when it is given.
     I am pleased to announce that she is starting a new blog, especially designed to help aspiring authors to write better stories.  Here is what she says about it:

"Half Baked is a blog dedicated to the art of writing and exploring what goes into a solid story. The blog operates on the principal that most stories are like cake, delicious and scrumptious and all the other cake words that are out there. But just like cake, a story can come out gooey and shaky in the middle, half baked. This blog is meant to help turn awesome ideas into solid, fully baked novels. Stop by ahalfbakedplot.blogspot.com on September first to join in the release party. There will be contests and a giveaway and of course virtual cake."

     I am particularly excited about this and have high hopes for the things I may learn.  I hope you join me in checking it out when it opens on September 1st!

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Mixing Personal Life and Business

     I happen to like James Herriot's books.  It has multiple elements that attract me: animals, medicine, veterinarians, country life, Great Britain, humor, life, death, joy, sorrow, and so much more.
      But one thing that makes them special -- a combination that I think not even Herriot realized would help make his books successful -- is the portion of his own life that is incorporated in the books.  It not only listed the amazing cases that he saw, and it not only gave a peek into the lives of the dale farmers, but it also followed James through his own life changes (new job, courtship, marriage, family, and so on).
     Which leads me to make two points:
1. Put yourself into your books.  Don't be afraid to share pieces from your own life.  Don't be afraid to be included in the story -- people care more than you think they might.
2. Your hero -- the person that your readers are following through the tale -- needs to speak to them in a way that makes them care about him.  They need to want to see what happens to him next.  They need to feel like they know him.

     Are you doing this in your stories?  Leave a comment and tell me about it! 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

InkpenAuthoress Giveaway has started!


     Hello, all!  If you live in the United States, you can enter this givaway hosted by Rachel Heffington at http://inkpenauthoress.blogspot.com/.  She is giving away 3 books to the winner: Fly Away Home, Five Glass Slippers, and Eats Shoots & Leaves.  So go to the post: The Half-Dozen Giveaway Begins and check it out.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Liebster Award from Jessie

     So, Jessie from Barefoot in the Snow, nominated me for the Liebster Award via a comment she left on my blog the other day.  I had no idea what she was talking about.  But, thankfully, I then went to HER blog and found a post about it.
     Its name makes no sense -- I do not know why it is called "Liebster" or "Award".  Essentially, it is an opportunity to answer someone else's questions for you and then, in turn, to ask questions of other people.  You can see it done properly on Jessie's post here (<--click on the word "here").
     So here are the questions that Jessie asked me and my answers to them:

#1: If you could travel anywhere in the world, where is the first place you'd go?  Why?
     First of all, you have to understand that my answer to this question changes constantly.  I have so many places that I would like to go -- I am really not sure where I would go first!
    But if I was picking one spot this very instant, I would like to return to the Grand Caverns, but this time, I would like freedom to explore.  Last time I went, I had to stay with our guide on the designated path.  But we could hear running water near us, and she said the exploration team had not found the source yet.

#2:  If you could travel anywhere in any universe (fictional or otherwise), what specific place would you visit first?  Why? 
     I am not sure if heaven is "in the universe" or not.  If it is, that is definitely where I would go.  Other than that, if there was a safe and convenient way to visit some of the planets (and it wouldn't take me a million years to get there), then that would be my destination. 

#3: Do you have a favorite Bible story/character/verse?  Who/what is it?
     I have never been able to answer this question.  It's like asking if I like my father or my mother best!  Everybody's different, and I'm not much into picking favorites.  In the Old Testament, I like the stories of the kings and the judges and the prophets.  I like David and his men, especially their earlier adventures.  I like the love stories -- Rebekah, Rachel, Ruth, Hannah, Esther, Leah, and so forth.  And I like Daniel and his friends.  In the New Testament, I really like the stories from Acts as well as the stories in the four Gospels.  And in Philemon, I like the implied story of the escaped servant who came to Paul and served him.
     There are way too many Bible verses that have impacted me to list only one or two.  But here is a cool idea that I will share with you: my family took my journal and wrote a Bible verse at the top or bottom of pages.  Not every page has a Bible verse, but a lot of them do and they are all different verses.  So as I write, I come across these verses and they are such an en-courage-ment.

#4: Would you ever consider eating octopus ink pasta with squid?  (I'm a bit obsessed with this question right now...) 
     Yes, I have noticed this question coming up often -- and it is a good question.  You are pretty much guaranteed to get a reaction of some sort with it.  :)
     The Bible has some instructions on which things were meant to be eaten for food by the Jewish people...and octopus ink pasta with squid was not one of them.  But the New Testament talks about Christians eating whatever is set before you with thanksgiving.  Sooooo...if you have octopus ink pasta with squid for me, I would eat it.  :)


#5: Have you read The Book Thief?  What is your opinion on it?  Favorite quote/scene?
     No, I haven't read it.

#6: If you suddenly found yourself in a do-or-die situation, what would it be?  What single item would you want to have with you?
     Usually, I think of myself in do-and-maybe-die situations (like taking a stand or saving others in spite of the fact that I put myself in danger).  Hmmm...do-OR-die?  Maybe jumping out of a doomed plane...in which case I would want a parachute.  A leatherman would be handy, too.

#7: Quotes are lovely things.  I've got an entire blog devoted to them.  Post a favorite or three (for me to use).
"These that have turned the world upside down are come hither also!"
                                                                     ~certain men in Thessolonica
 "Why should this dead dog curse my lord the king? let me go over, I pray thee, and take off his head."                                               ~Abishai, son of Zeruiah 
"No doubt but ye are the people, and wisdom shall die with you."  ~Job (the sarcasm makes me laugh)
 "All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth. Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost: Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. Amen."
~Jesus

#8: What is your favorite type of blog post to read? 
     I like a variety.  Too much of one thing is boring to me.  But I am a writer, looking to improve herself.  That means that I love posts that help me be a better writer.  And if it is well done, I like to read nearly any of the types you listed.
     Two things that I especially love:
1. writing tips (or publishing, editing, and other writing-related tips)
2. scenes from a story

#9: What's the first thing you do in the morning after you wake up and actually get out of bed?
     Walk my dogs -- usually they are the reason I have to drag myself out of bed in the first place.

#10: What's the worst book you've ever read?
     I read a book in a series by an author I enjoyed.  The book started off creepy and demonic and kept getting worse.  For some reason, I kept reading, thinking "it has to get better...in a page or two, a great storyline will emerge and I will forget all about this bad scene."  But it didn't get better.  I finished the book, wishing I had burned it before I started reading.
     Moral of the story: if it's no good, don't keep reading.

#11: Can you swim?  Ocean, lake, creek, pool?
     Meh...depends on your definition of swim.  I can get from point A to B, providing I am not fighting a strong current, but I haven't quite figured out how to breathe along the way.  [Yeah, that probably means I can't swim by most definitions.]  The ocean was fun -- it flipped me like a pair of jeans in a washing machine -- and I could put my feet on the bottom and stand up whenever the wave was gone.  The pool was fun, too -- I was braver in the pool to try different swimming techniques.  I haven't tried a lake or a creek yet, but they sound fun, too.


OKAY, so the second part of the Liebster Award is that I am supposed to nominate 11 other bloggers to answer new questions posted by me.  Here I will deviate from the standard protocol (I hope I offend not) and post my own variation.  Here is how it goes:
I will post 11 new questions.  If you are interested in answering my questions (and I hope you are!), then you can post a link to your blog in my comments below.  Or, if you have no public blog, you can post your answers in my comments.

Here are the questions:
#1: Do you think you will have any career other than writing?  Do you know what it might be?  (You don't have to tell me what it is - only whether or not you know)

#2: Have you always wanted to write stories?

#3: What is something you value in a hero? [This doesn't have to be a heroic hero but just an admirable character, whether real or fiction.]

#4: What is something that you have seen people do that annoys you?

#5: Have you ever tasted an unusual dish or an unusual type of meat?  If so, what was it?

#6: What is something that you believe in strongly?

#7:  Have you ever hiked up a mountain and looked out across a grand vista?

#8: Do people see you as an introvert or an extrovert?

#9: Do you speak more than one language?  If so, what?  If not, is there a language you wish you could speak?

#10: Have you ever written a story (a complete story of any length that was not specifically a school assignment) that someone else in your family has read?  That someone outside of your family has read?

#11:  Did you know Someone loved you so much that He gave His life for you?

Monday, August 11, 2014

Happy Colors


(This has nothing to do with writing, but I saw this online and wanted to share it. 
It makes me smile.)

Ever make mistakes in life?

Let's make them birds...

...yeah, they're birds now.

J

Saturday, August 9, 2014

BB Villain posts

La Fin


     Hi, everyone!  I hope you enjoyed the BB Villain posts.  If you missed any, here is the collection:

Villain Scenes:
The World He Was Born Into
Gossip After His Birth
A Little Boy
Confession Letters
The Forgotten Prince
Attack the Weak
Coronation
Lost Without You
The First Rat
The Cloak of War
Anything Alton Can Have, I Can Have
A Prince is Born
The Reaping Years
Catalyst

     Basically, in summary, I felt the need to explore my BB villain's backstory -- how did he become a villain?  I didn't want to write a whole book about a villain, but he really didn't want to be ignored either.
     And so I wrote this series of posts to help me see where Newel, Duke of Northumber, came from.  The last one,"Catalyst," takes place shortly before the beginning of my BB book. 
     If you want to know what happened to Newel after "Catalyst", then you will have to read BB (after I finish writing it).  But these 14 scenes that I have posted are all that I intend to post about the Duke's backstory at this time.
     Enjoy!



Other posts about him include:
The Villain Takes Over (an explanation of the coming BB Villain posts)
Interview with Bound and Freed (this is on Anne-girl's blog, where I filled out her interview questions for my villain)
Plot Bunny synopsis (I wrote a back cover blurb for this story if it were to become a book)
Plot Bunny First Scene (I reworked "The World He Was Born Into" as if it were a first scene in a book)

Friday, August 8, 2014

Beautiful People: August

Beautiful People is back.  Skye has posted the August questions.  I am answering the questions for 3 characters from my Secret Project.  Here it goes:

"If your horse says no, you either asked the wrong question, or asked the question wrong."  ~Pat Parelli
HERO From Secret Project:
1) What does your character regret the most in their life?
     The years he spent mourning for and hating his father.
2) What is your character's happiest memory? Most sorrowful memory?
     Happiest: horseback riding with his father
     Most sorrowful: his father leaving him 
3) What majorly gets on your character’s nerves?
     Tedious rambling from other people
     Nosy people
     Bossy people
4) Do they act differently when they're around people as opposed to being alone? If so, how?
     Alone he is quiet and, if something has triggered a memory of his father, then he is tormented by all the same questions that tormented him when his father left.  He tries to occupy his mind on other things.
     Alone with his horse, he is content.  He is firm in his demands, but gentle and understanding, too.  And, especially with Dimino, he is focused on the excitement at hand.
     With a trusted servant, he is almost comradly.  He has never quite accepted the love shown to him by the servants (and so believes himself unloved), but he permits the swordmaster and old Peter at the stables to speak to him more freely.
     With the public, he is mostly charming.
5) What are their beliefs and superstitions? (Examples: their religion or lack of one, conspiracy theories, throwing salt, fear of black cats.)
     He has almost come to believe that love does not exist and that the displays of "love" are merely persuasive tools to get one's way.
6) What are their catchphrases, or things they say frequently?
     (I don't know this about him, yet)
7) Would they be more prone to facing fears or running from them?
     First of all, you must understand that danger is not a fear.  So he does not run from danger.
     His true fears are hearing the truth from his father.  It is something he inwardly runs from, but he has also reached a point when he is almost ready to stop running.  So he flirts with the confrontation in this story.
8) Do they have a good self image?
     This is a funny question to answer.  He is well aware that he is incredibly desirable as a catch for any girl and that  every man seeking power will pursue a relationship with him.  In this sense, he has a very high opinion of himself.
     But, on the flip side, he knows (or believes) that all of those people are only after him for his good looks, power, and wealth.  None of them, as far as he can see, actually care about HIM.  There's no love lost.  And because he doesn't believe anyone actually cares about HIM, he does not have a good self-image.
     Make sense?
9) Do they turn to people when they're upset, or do they isolate themselves?
     He turns to his horse and they ride over speeds and obstacles that would frighten any other pair.
10) If they were standing next to you would it make you laugh or cry?
     Honestly, I would be so shocked I would do neither.  And then I would probably introduce myself (leaving off the part that I am his author).

Red roses - transplanted from my friend's garden. Planted along the back yard side fence and a couple in the moss rock gardens.  Total: 6.
HEROINE from Secret Project:
1) What does your character regret the most in their life?
     That she couldn't stop Lord Ives.
2) What is your character's happiest memory? Most sorrowful memory?
      Happiest: her life has been a series of happy memories, all of them revolving around the garden and books and her father
     Most sorrowful: seeing the dogkeeper die and his family leave
3) What majorly gets on your character’s nerves?
     People who have no consideration for other people.  No matter what your station in life, you can reach out to help others.
4) Do they act differently when they're around people as opposed to being alone? If so, how?
     She tends to be quiet when she first meets someone so she can observe them.  But other than that, she is just herself. 
     As a note, she is faced with a few situations in the book where she meets new people but has not the luxury of observation before speaking.
5) What are their beliefs and superstitions? (Examples: their religion or lack of one, conspiracy theories, throwing salt, fear of black cats.)
     She believes in God and what He has done for us.
     She believes in her father's love.
     She believes that everybody should give and receive love.
6) What are their catchphrases, or things they say frequently?
     (I don't know this about her, yet)
7) Would they be more prone to facing fears or running from them?
     Oh, she would much rather run from them, but sometimes her love for others forces her to face her fears.
8) Do they have a good self image?
     Yes, she does.  She is very comfortable in her father's love for her, and her small world includes other servants on Lord Ives' estate who also love her.
     She is extremely beautiful, sweet, good, and caring, but that does not make up her self-image as much as does the fact that she is loved.
9) Do they turn to people when they're upset, or do they isolate themselves?
     She turns to people.  Her father has always been there for her (until this story), so she is used to turning to him with all her problems.
10) If they were standing next to you would it make you laugh or cry?
     I would probably laugh for joy, introduce myself (again, leaving out the fact that I am the author), and then we would talk and be friends.


DECELLUS from my Secret Project:
1) What does your character regret the most in their life?
      He wishes the war in his country had gone differently.  Maybe if he had done something a little bit differently, he would still be home with his family and friends.  Now, he doesn't think about it so much, but that regret was present with him for many years.
2) What is your character's happiest memory? Most sorrowful memory?
     There was a girl he liked when he was a boy.  He still remembers one day when the two of them wandered around the cliffs overlooking the sea and talked about their plans for their future.  That was before the war and his happiest memory, although it is a little bittersweet to him now.
     As for the most sorrowful, it was after the last battle of the war.  Decellus was still a very young man.  I will show it to you:
     "How many men have we lost?" Captain Gallus asked wearily, sinking onto the bench by the map table.  Decellus raised his head to study the captain's face, admiring the heroic self-sacrifice he saw there.
     No one seemed eager to answer the captain's question, and Decellus looked out through the tent flap, watching wounded men staggering under the weight of worse-wounded men, carrying them to the relative safety of the camp.
     A shadow fell over the tent opening, and the flap was quickly pulled back to admit Darias, Decellus' uncle.  His bulky frame filled the tent door, blocking any hopeful rays of sunlight, and Decellus instinctively drew back.
     "It's over," Darias said, his voice full of bitterness and defeat. 
     Those two words hung heavily in the air, and one-by-one the leaders in the tent dropped their eyes.
     "We will fight again," Decellus interrupted, standing to his feet.  He looked from his uncle to the captain, angered by the dispair he saw on their faces.  "In the end, we will win."
     "This is the end," Darias said, his tone irritable, stalking into the room and standing over the map table with a gloomy air.
     "You are young," Captain Gallus said, gently.  "Heaven bless you for the persistence of youth...but we have nothing left to fight with.  Your uncle is right.  It's over."
     A quick step outside drew their attention to the door, and they all looked up in time to see the tent flap yanked open.  Sunlight flooded in, harsh and glaring, as a panicked youth ran into their midst. 
     "The rebels are on their way!  We have to get out of here!" the boy announced, his breath coming in quick ragged gasps.  "They have sworn to hunt every last one of us down and make an example of us!"
     Captain Gallus was on his feet in an instant.  "We'll have to scatter.  In a matter of minutes, it will be 'every man for himself,'" he said.  Quickly, he pulled the map from the table, rolling it with a practiced hand.
      Decellus turned to his uncle, but Darias stared emptily into space.  His eyes were wide with fear, as though he could no longer see the tent walls but gazed instead into a horrifying future.
     "Uncle?" Decellus asked.
     "Our dynasty -- collapsed.  Our homes -- gone.  Our name -- dragged into the dust," he murmured.  He stirred himself, looking up at Decellus.  "You will have to run, boy.  Run far!  Or die."  He pushed away from the table and plodded wearily into the back room of the tent.
     "Wrap my map in oilskin, Decellus," Captain Gallus ordered.  "Tie it onto my horse for me.  Then you should get as far away from here as you can.  I will speak to the men."
     Decellus did as the captain ordered.  Soon the remnant of their army would be disbanded, fleeing in every direction.  It was almost inconceivable.  Three years before, they had set out on a simple mission to crush a band of rebels.  Now the tables were turned.  They themselves had been crushed.
     Decellus could hear bits and pieces of the captain's speech to the men as Decellus tied the map onto his captain's horse.  Then he ducked back inside the tent to say fairwell to his uncle.
     A low gutteral groan and the thump of a heavy weight hitting dirt reached his ears as his eyes adjusted to the darkness.  Decellus' heart leaped into his throat and then sank to his stomach.  He ran across the room, knocking over the map table in his haste, and dashed into the back room, afraid of what he would find there.
      Darias lay on the floor, both hands clutching a dagger.  The other end of the dagger was embedded deep in center of his stomach, surrounded by a rapidly expanding circle of red.  Decellus dove across the room, landing on his knees by his uncle's side.  But it was too late...already his uncle's eyes had glazed over with the look of death. 
     The war truly was over.  If not because their force was inferior then because their force had lost hope.  There was nothing left to do but run.
3) What majorly gets on your character’s nerves?
     It's hard to say.  He has grown so skilled at hiding his irritation, that people rarely see what gets on his nerves.
4) Do they act differently when they're around people as opposed to being alone? If so, how?
     No.
5) What are their beliefs and superstitions? (Examples: their religion or lack of one, conspiracy theories, throwing salt, fear of black cats.)
     Decellus believes that he owes his life to the one who saved it and redeemed it.
6) What are their catchphrases, or things they say frequently?
     (I don't know this about him, yet)
7) Would they be more prone to facing fears or running from them?
     You be the judge: he is fearless in battle and fearless in Leramay, but he has never gone back to his home country.
8) Do they have a good self image?
     He thinks it best not to think too much about self-image.  Seems pointless.  Anyone, spending enough time looking at themselves will find things to like and to dislike.
      He knows that he is capable, knowledgeable, and a good fighter.  If he lost everything he has, it would not put him in a panic.  He would just start over.  But he also knows he would be dead now if it had not been for the king of Leramay. 
9) Do they turn to people when they're upset, or do they isolate themselves?
     Isolate.
10) If they were standing next to you would it make you laugh or cry?
     I think I would be a little bit in awe of him.  Every now and again, he says something that makes me chuckle.  But mostly I would just be really glad to meet him (and only speak to him if he spoke to me).

InkpenAuthoress Giveaway


In honor of the six-month anniversary of her first published novel, Rachel Heffington is hosting a giveaway.  You can check it out on her blog.  It is first mentioned in this post "Half Dozen is a Cozy Term." 

Thursday, August 7, 2014

BB Villain: Catalyst

     The sun was shining, and the world seemed dazzlingly brilliant.  Newel mounted his horse and rode for the castle.  With the news of his expected heir still ringing in his ears, he could not wait to look his brother in the eye, knowing that, at last, Newel had everything he wanted.
     Nothing but the sweet taste of long-awaited triumph filled Newel's mind as he arrived at the castle.  One servant helped him dismount, and another took his horse's reins.
     Newel bounded up the steps and into the castle with the light step of a man coming home after a long absence.  For once, Newel truly felt like he owned the world.
    "The Duke of Northumber," exclaimed a steward, rushing up to assist him with a look of surprise that said he was not expecting the visit.  "Can I help you?"
    "I'm looking for my brother," Newel answered.  He waved the steward away.  "Never mind, I will find him myself."  And Newel strode off, leaving the steward unsure whether he should welcome the Duke or call for the guards.
    Ah, these halls felt like home.  They had always been his home, and he had always expected to be master here.  For a long time, Alton had outdone Newel -- but no longer.  Newel would have a son, just as Alton did.  And Newel's son would become a great man.
    Down another set of steps and through another hall.  Newel continued to survey the castle and search for his brother.  His spirits were high, but something about the familiar walls brought his mother's voice to his head.
     "You will be king, Newel," she whispered, as she had whispered a hundred times before.
     "My son will be king," Newel said aloud.  The words were sweet to his lips.  What a feeling of restitution they gave him!  After all the trauma of his childhood and the buried hopes of his adulthood, his dreams would be fulfilled in his son!  And he would finally feel that he had done what his mother always wanted.
    His mother's face rose in his mind, but, instead of looking pleased as he expected, she looked troubled and distressed.  Newel stared wonderingly at her face.
     "HE is in the way," he heard her voice softly, almost audibly.
     "Who?" Newel asked her.
     But she was gone, and Newel was only staring down an empty hallway.  Newel stopped, feeling hesitant and unsettled.  He turned and looked both ways along the hall as if he expected to see her.  But he saw no one and he only heard a distant sound of swords ringing against each other.
    Like a man lost, he followed the sound of the swords until he stepped out into a courtyard and saw the swordsmen.  It was his nephew and another young man, clearly enjoying their swordplay.  Newel stared at his nephew as if he had not seen him before.
     The prince was a young man of twenty years, strong and handsome.  His expression was focused on the game at hand, lending even greater handsomeness to his features.  And he was clearly winning against his opponent.  His movements were swift and fluid, full of the grace of natural athleticism.  He was everything that Alton had been at that age, and Newel's heart squeezed in fear.
     With a well-timed blow, the prince sent his opponent's sword clattering to the ground.  Both young men bent over, panting and laughing, and high on a balcony above them, a girl's voice rang out with praise.
     "Your father shall be so proud of you," she said, clapping her hands delightedly, her eyes full of admiration.
     Suddenly, in Newel's imagination, he saw his own son there, crouching shyly in the corner as Newel himself had once done, eclipsed by the son as Newel had been eclipsed by the father.  History was repeating itself, and, for a moment, Newel felt powerless again.
      But, no!  He would not let that happen!  And this time, he was not powerless.
      He turned from the scene and stormed away.  "Mother," he murmured.  "You were going to do whatever it took to put me on the throne.  Now I am going to do the same for my son.  He WILL reign!  He WILL be great!  I will make him the most powerful king in history!"
     He turned a corner and trotted up a set of steps.  "I will take my time.  I will invent the perfect revenge.  Alton will pay for everything he has done to me."  A dark, evil laugh was bubbling in his chest over the thought of the reversal of roles his plan would bring about.  But patience reigned him in and held his laugh in check.  He had much to do to prepare.  He would need to call a meeting with his Rats.
     The things he had never been brave enough to do before were now his delight.  His son was his catalyst, and the world would soon be his.  As he strode from the castle and called for his horse, Newel looked darkly at the bright sky.
     "The sun will never again shine on this castle," he silently promised himself.  "From now on, a cloud of thunder will shadow it.  I will be that cloud."
     Fear me, Alton.  Fear me, at last.

    

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Cover Reveal for Plenilune coming soon!

I am posting this for Jenny:

BB Villain: The Reaping Years

Miraz2
Actor: Castellito
I think he would be able to play Newel
     The next 20 years were relatively stable ones.  Nothing dramatic happened to change the courses of Alton's and Newel's families.
     Alton and Newel worked out a relationship of polite distrust.  Always proper in appearances, always saying appropriate things with their lips, always watching the other for a misstep.  Each were convinced of the other's hatred.  Alton believed Newel was seeking his first opportunity to cause harm to the royal family in some way.  Newel believed that Alton was ever ready to humiliate or destroy him.  But they lacked either the proof or the power that would allow them to openly denounce the other.  And so they smiled at each other while their eyes warned, "one wrong move from you and I will barely let you live long enough to regret it."
     Newel's Rats were his fondest project.  He continued to develop its members, taking whatever talents suited him.  The Rats came from every station in life -- some were outcasts of the lowest caste, others were sons of noblemen.  Among them, he had fighters, spies, inventors, hunters, and more.  Brilliance and brawn were drawn to him in every despicable form.
     Newel was secretly becoming a very powerful man.  He had wealth, force, and some measure of intrigue on his side.  Newel found some of the fulfillment he sought in amassing this power in the shadows, under Alton's nose.
     The only drawback to Newel's happiness was that his wife was not all that he expected her to be.  She tried to be all that he wanted her to be, but she was unhappy.  It irked him.  It irked him almost as much as it irked him that Alton had a son while Newel had no heir.
     But, then, came the news that made Newel feel that he had finally reaped the good things that were due him.  His wife was with child. 
     With power, wealth, and a child on the way, Newel felt that at last he could look Alton in the face and say, "Ha!  You think you are great, but you are not.  I have everything that you have."
     And with that in mind, Newel stepped out into the sunshine and called for his horse.

Monday, August 4, 2014

Beautiful People: Heroine from Secret Project


     I used July's Beautiful People for Willie from BB, but I am going to use it again for a character from my secret project.
     She is the daughter of a gardener, and she has lived her whole life on the estate of Lord Ives.

1) What’s their favourite food? (Bonus: favourite flavor of chocolate!)
She loves broccoli -- not cooked but raw.  And her father makes a cheesy buttermilk sauce to dip the florets into.  It's absolutely delicious, and he won't tell her how he makes it...not even now, when she is old enough to do the cooking.
2) What do they absolutely hate?
She hates to see people wronged.  She hates the way Lord Ives runs his estate.  She hates to see pain come to people she loves. 
3) What do they enjoy learning about?
She loves to read -- especially fictional stories.
And she loves to learn about plants from her father.
4) Who is the most influential person in their life?
Her father, of course.  Her world revolves around him.
5) What is their childhood fear?
Lord Ives.  She has seen him since she was a little girl, and has always been secretly terrified of him.  Now that she is older, she can face him with some degree of composure and politeness, but, inside, she is still afraid of him.
6) What is something they have always secretly dreamed of doing, but thought impossible?
Being a fine lady, with access to the libraries in the homes of the rich.
7) What is something he is impractically afraid of?
I don't think she thinks of this, but she would be lost without her father.  Of course, there is no reason why she would ever be without him -- he's always been there for her -- but such a thing would be scary.
8) Are they a night owl or morning person?
She is a morning person.  Next to books, the gardens are her delight.  So she is up with the sun!
9) Do they say everything that pops into their head, or leave a lot unsaid?
With her father, she can say almost anything.  But she is much more reserved around others.
10) What are their nervous habits?
Making a clicky sound with her fingernails.  Swinging her foot.  Crossing her arms.  Not saying anything.

Saturday, August 2, 2014

Mood Music

Day 5: Favorite disney Hero: Robin Hood! I've always liked the Robin Hood tale, and I love the Disney version 1,000 times better. Plus,he's a fox. And the British accents. Love the accents.

I was working on a scene about my BB villain (you can see the scene in the post here). 
Naturally, I had to concentrate to delve into the mood of the scene.
This is usually not too hard for me, but this time is was next to impossible
because my sister was whistling this tune from the cartoon Robin Hood:





Needless to say, I needed one of these on my ears to finish the scene:
Ear protection for homeschooling peace. Yes! We do this, too.
J

Friday, August 1, 2014

Talk to Me: Colors

Jessie is hosting her monthly event: Talk to Me.  This month is "colors" and I am inviting my heroine from my secret project to talk on here.


Dear Readers,

     My name is…a secret, at the moment.  But I can tell you other things about myself.  I am the gardener’s daughter.  I have lived all my life on Lord Ives estate, wandering about the gardens with my father.

     Perhaps this is why I was chosen to write about colors today.  How I love them!  The goldenrods, sunny susans, pink ladyslocks, gladiolas of every color, red roses, purple asters, blue speedwell, peonies and petunias, orange firehocks, burgundy pansies, violets, and every other flower under my father’s care have filled my life with color.

     The color and sunshine go together.  Every shade of every color is that much more vibrant in the sunlight.  No wonder some of the flowers close up at night.  I feel the same way.

     Not all colors are the same, however.  The colors of the flowers in the garden make me feel safe and happy, but the red and gray of Lord Ives and his men are a different matter entirely.  As much as my father tried to protect me, I have seen the things done by our evil lord.  I have seen men beaten and whipped.  I saw one man killed.  His gray face and his red blood blended with the gray and red of Lord Ives robe.  I hate those colors.

     But the red roses and the gray stones of my father’s garden are good colors.  Here, I am perfectly happy in my father’s love.  Here, I am safe.  And I only wish all the world could see the colors as I see them.