Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Knights of MicroFiction

The Knights of MicroFiction is a bloghop - hosted by Jess at Write. Skate. Dream. and Kathy of Imagine Today – that runs on the last Monday of every month.
They reveal the prompts on Monday and give until the end of Tuesday to post a reply. On Wednesday, they choose two winners to be featured on their blogs.
Visit either link to read more flash fiction from others.
Today's prompt is: Write a Micro-Fiction/Flash Fiction of 250 words or less beginning with these words: "After all this time, there it was..."


I chose a piece from my WiP Anubis' Handmaiden and altered to fit the prompt. It's 250 words exactly. ^_^

After all this time, there it was. She’d seen drawings, had held many replicas, but this was the real deal. The only one of its kind to be found. It called to her more deeply than anything ever had. Standing before it, she’d still no idea why.

Polished beads, engraved with hieroglyphs, glittered in the wan light of her torch. June lifted it from the display. The beads rolled under her gloved fingers, smooth enough to have been machine rendered. One of the many mysteries surrounding this small piece of jewellery.

Records said it’d been discovered on the body of a woman no more than fifteen years old. While others in the tomb wore the Eye of Horus, she’d had this. Experts were unanimous that the place had been sealed for several millennia. And yet ....

Why had the nameless woman’s sarcophagus been the only one left open? Why, when all the other gods were represented, leave out Anubis? Why had a smashed amulet, similar to those worn by the others, been found on the floor? Archaeologists still searched for the answers.

Unable to resist, June placed the necklace over her head and slipped it under her shirt. The cool stone beads seemed to pulse as they rolled against her skin. The heavy amulet slid down to nestle in her cleavage as if it belonged, carrying with it the icy touch of metal that had long forgotten the caress of warm flesh.

The amulet of Anubis. At long last, hers again.

Friday, 24 February 2012

What would YOU want?

Firstly, on a writerly note: Dark One’s Mistress has clambered to the 20k mark. ^_^ On the other hand, I’ve a sneaky suspicion it won’t reach 50k in the first draft. Ah, there’s always the edit for bringing more words into the work.


On the 22nd (two days ago for me now) my birthday snuck by. That means, officially, I’ve now been writing for fifteen years. To show for it, I’ve ten stories in various written stages. ^_^
The day passed with little note. There was no cake, no party, no prezzies (unless you count the book I bought for myself). In fact, it was your average, hectic food-shopping day. I barely got any well-wishes. Even my godmother forgot.
It was lovely and, relatively, quiet. At least it wasn't a repeat of my 21st. That one was forgotten in the rush to the hospital after a car accident that wrecked my 4x4. Fortunately I was unscathed for I was also six months pregnant.
My inbox was a different story. It became inundated with automated messages wishing me a “happy birthday”. Most of them from forums I've long abandoned and deleted without a second glance.
See I’m a birthday grump. The “what do you want?” question bugs me. I don't mind it around Christmas, but hearing it when it's for my birthday annoys me. I’ve everything I require bar some of the more expensive/elusive books. Both wait while I read the books I own and, eventually, opportunity shuffles them my way.
I know I’m a terrible person to get gifts for, so I tell my family get “gift cards” or “a little money’ll do”. But they refuse. It’s cause they just know if they take that option, I’ll spend whatever they give me on my daughter instead. It’s not unfounded either. This year, for my birthday, I got my daughter two DVDs.
But is that a bad thing? Honestly?

Do you get hounded by the “what do you want?” question around your birthday? How do you answer?

Thursday, 23 February 2012

Introducing ...

Name: Sharmain Vale
Story: Aelfah
Status: Sister

Ah, the more outgoing sister to whom everything seems to happen. Or so she thinks.
If I’d a sister, they probably would’ve been a Sharmain. And that would’ve fine by me, as long as she let me tag along once in a while to watch the chaos. ^_^ She sort of reminds me of an old friend of mine, though I’m not sure which would be considered the more outgoing there. Unfortunately, her status is rather low-key compared to her nature.
As with most minor characters, I’m tempted to add more of them, but ... story dictates what’s necessary.

I entered this image, based off an even earlier version, into the monthly freebie contest over at the DAZ forum. It didn’t get anywhere, but I liked it so much more than the original that I’ve only given it minor tweaks over the years.

Monday, 20 February 2012

Getting Green for a Bloghop

Mark Koopman is hosting his first bloghop ever and he wants to know what St. Patrick's Day means to you (yes, you).
Simple as. Bound to be a bundle of fun. ^_^
Sign up is between the 12th and the 16th of March.
Come and join in.

Sunday, 19 February 2012

Review of Hogfather by Terry Pratchett

Title: Hogfather
Author: Terry Pratchett
Rating: 5/5

I’ve watched The Hogfather so many times. It’s practically becoming a Christmas tradition for me. Naturally, I’ve been both aching and dreading to read the book. I just knew I’d end up comparing them to each other.
So I was pleasantly surprised that they hadn’t altered the story too much for TV. Of course, there are extra scenes/characters that didn’t make it onto the screen, which makes the book more enjoyable.
Mr Teatime is well ... he’s weird in the movie. In the book, he’s downright creepy. Even with knowing what’s going to happen in the end, I’m just waiting for him to jump out and do something unexpected.
Death is as enjoyable as ever. Though his inability to get the mixed ideals behind Hogswatch is a bittersweet thing, I’m sure he instilled a heavy dose of belief while out and about as the Hogfather. At least, a heavy dose of something. ^_^ Belief is an important factor in this book nevertheless.
And then there’s Susan ... I wasn’t sure about this character the last time I’d a book with her in it (Soul Music). But she’s much better in this. A good person to have in dealing with Oh Gods, childish old wizards and an insane assassin bent on taking over the world with teeth.

Friday, 17 February 2012

Review of Feet of Clay by Terry Pratchett

Title: Feet of Clay
Author: Terry Pratchett
Rating: 4/5

Heraldry, Clay and Murders abound in this story. Trust me, they’re all connected.
The golems were an interesting bunch, certainly when it comes to Dolhf, and I love the transformation Cheery went through over the course of the story.
Of course, with murders come clues and they were ... well, to be fair, some were a little odd at first. Vague enough to actually have me wondering how they got to where they got to from such information (yes, I peeked at the end and was puzzled until I reached where they’d solved it all).

Though I enjoyed it, I’ve two niggles about this one. Firstly there’s the descriptions of the heralds themselves. I got all muddled in having three (or was it four?) being described one after the other. Maybe it was due to the late night I read that particular piece. Even so, thank goodness there’s a page in the front with the pictures.
Secondly it’s Angua. More precisely her insistence that something must eventually go wrong with her relationship and she’ll have to leave. So she always seemed all geared up to go. I never feel settled enough in the character to fully enjoy reading some her scenes. She just rubs me the wrong way.

Random Fact: Not sure if it’s a quirk of my issue or across all of the versions, but at least two places have ‘d’ spelt ‘cl’ and there’s one ‘aĆ­ter’.

Thursday, 16 February 2012

Introducing ...

Name: Qucin
Story: The Rogue King Saga - The Shadow Prince
Status: Student of the Draconic Estate Academy

Qucin, along with another, was originally made on the fly for one scene and liked her so much that I took her into another scene.
See, I required a way to insert one specific rule to the shifting magic of this world: it is denied to hybrids. To negate a long (and boring) speech or much narration, I chose a different route and ... well ... showed how they treated hybrids. It gave me a nice way to break up the knowledge into smaller doses of dialogue and narration without going lengthy on either.

Note to self: No more albino lizard/snakes. They’re a pain to get right. I’m still not happy with her hue. It’s annoying, especially when I can see how she should look so clearly.
Guess that’s why I took to writing instead of drawing. ^_^

Tuesday, 14 February 2012

Is it getting HOT in here?

Today’s bloghop is courtesy of Cassie and Hope.
Please share one of your favourite kissing scenes from a book you've read, from your own WiP, make one up, or write about one of your own memorable kisses.  Then hop around to feel how sweet, romantic, or downright steamy other characters are getting smooched!

Took me a while to decide which scene to use for this one. I’ve never realised how many kissing scenes I had until then. Honestly, they turn up in every story I write, the only exception is my short story.
 Anyhow, I finally settled on Dragon. 300 words, two kisses. ^_^

Maay pressed her cheek against his chest, bare save for the half-cloak vest he favoured. He felt so warm and his arms ... she’d been right about there being more strength in them than their appearance gave credit for. If he held her any tighter, she was surely going to break.
“I thought I’d never find you,” he whispered, his breath tickling her ear.
Maay looked up at him. His face bore fresh scratches, but those blue-grey eyes of his no longer looked so icy. He had come after her. He’d discovered she was here and had still come for her.
Chest feeling as if it would burst, she cupped one side of his jaw. Tiny hairs, downy to the touch, brushed against her fingertips as they slid up to rest against the lobe of his ear.
His eyes closed. She could feel her belly, still pressed against his, growing hotter. Maay tipped forward onto her toes, pressing their lips together.
Jaimin’s whole body stiffened under her arms. He jerked his head back, eyes wide and mouth dropping open.
“I’m sorry,” she mumbled, her face growing almost as warm as her stomach had. She’d never kissed anyone before. What was she doing being so forward? “I didn’t mean to –”
He silenced her with a single finger on her lips. The shock had vanished from his face, replaced by an almost shy, lopsided smile. He placed his hand under her chin. “I believe it is done like this,” he murmured, tilting her head as he bent his.
Their lips met again. The heat against her belly flared to life once more, dancing on the edge of unbearable as he pulled her closer. She leant against him, draping her arms over his shoulders, unsure if her legs would keep her upright.

Monday, 13 February 2012

Origins Blogfest

Tell us all where your writing dreams began. It could be anything from how you started making up stories as a child, or writing for the school newspaper, or even what prompted you to start a blog. How about stories about the first time somebody took an interest in your writing, or the teacher/mentor that helped nudge you along and mould your passion, or maybe the singular moment when you first started calling yourself a writer. It all started somewhere and we want you to tell us your own, unique, beginnings.

I always used to write as a kid. Sounds so commonplace, don’t it?
Yeah, there I was: scribbling little things as a child, making up stories and stuff about ponies, but nothing that could be coherent (or original) when written down. At age ten/eleven, I drew a lump of a fortress in a desert. Almost a mountain really. Something akin to Uluru, only filled with tunnels and pockmarked by windows and balconies. The desert and its people grew from there. Then it got walls and a monster of reason for those walls. Let’s just say it wasn’t a PG world.
Back then, I wasn’t 100% certain what was beyond those walls, even when my doodling ended up with a rough map. Undeterred, I called the world Thardrandia (did I make you look up? ^_^) and fluffed about trying to find a used for it.
I formed a few half-baked stories. Seriously bad ones. I think they might still be kicking round somewhere in hopes I’ll redo them someday. Then I began RPGing on it with a friend I’ve since lost contact with. I suppose that could be called my first foray into world-building as we sort of made it up as we went along, she with her world, me with mine. It was fun. It let the seed of an idea quietly germinate.
It was when I tried to write a backstory for the characters I was using that I got seriously bit by the writing bug. I kept the idea, tore the story to pieces, redid it (several times) and have since moved on to all the stories you can find on the My Stories page.

That's it. That is my writing origin. Go here and discover how others got where that are.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

I'm Hearing Emotional Voices

Ah, the last of the I’m Hearing Voices Blogfest challenges: Emotion Flash Fiction.
Emotion is the engine of a story. Pick an emotion and in a flash fiction piece of 250 words MAKE us feel it! We want to connect with your character. This will be a challenge in 250 words.

I was going to go back to Kael for this one, but I couldn’t get the scene to stay under 250 words. So I’m giving the last challenge to Dragon, as seen through Maayin’s less knowing eyes after she’s been imprisoned.
I’ll leave you to decide what emotion I chose. ^_^

The smooth shell under her fingers bulged as the dragon inside tapped against her hand. The clammy skin underneath slid against her palm. “Hush little one,” she breathed, hoping it could hear her. Would it break free on its own? Did she dare try to help?
It rocked harder, shoving against her and rolling off into the darkness. Swearing softly, she moved to stand when she heard a soft crack. Maay froze, her hand hovering over her skirts as she paused in wiping the slime off. There was movement to her left, something small and pallid hovering on the edge of her vision. She spun round to face the figure, finding naught but more darkness. “Hello?”
Her heart leapt as the silence was broken by a crunch and the unmistakeable scrape of claws on stone. Maay swung back to where she’d seen the egg disappear into shadow. She took a step towards the darkness, sure she could make out something huddled in its depths. “Little one?”
The words bounced back at her unanswered. Even the scrabbling had stopped and the pale lump before her was unmoving. Yet, she felt the uneasy prickling sensation of being watched. Measured. Did dragons hatch hungry? How steady, how lethal, could a newly-hatched dragon be?
She backed away from the lump, smothering a scream as the hatchling lurched forward. It uttered its own piercing shriek, colliding into her in a flash of white fur and with a sickening crunch.

Thursday, 9 February 2012

Them Voices. They yakkety yak all night long ...

Time for Dialogue Introduction: Have two characters introduce each other using only dialogue—no back-story, no internalization, just dialogue between the two. Max 250 words.
This was quite a challenge for me, I went through around four/five versions deciding who to do. I tend to lean towards having a lot of internalization and action interspersed with my dialogue.

So here are the rival males from Dragon. Please, be nice to each other boys. Just for a little bit.

Jaimin & Teero
“Introducing myself am I? Certainly can’t really trust the present company to get it right. I’m Elder Teero, born of Mountain Hall, protector of Kalon’s northern border and sire of many. Though I now reside in the caverns at Hroff with my mate due to a certain upstart dragon.”
“You tried to kill me. Twice.”
“In a fight to the death granted by the council. What did you expect?”
“And the other?”
“You attacked me.”
“It was provoked, ghost.”
“Oh ho, who’s doing the provoking now? Look, I’m attempting to be civil here, you could at least reciprocate.”
“You? Civil? That would be a first. And when are we going to get round to introducing me? After all, I outrank you.”
“Outrank? Since when did a midling outrank an elder?”
“I’m clan leader. Level, by right, with the ancients.”
“Leader? Oh yes, I’m sure everyone trembles at the thought of Jaimin, Leader of the H’lon Clan. Has a nice ring to it, granted. So long as you forget to mention you’re also the last of your clan.”
See this mark? I know you can. It's on my face. You can’t miss it. It made me leader of my clan as soon as they killed my sire.
The suicidal twit deserved it. Everyone knows attempting the wastelands is a death sentence.”
“Do not speak ill of the dead. What happened to being civil, ghost?”
“You tell me, hatchling. Care to be handed your spine yet?”
“You wouldn’t dare.”
“Try me. Please.”

Ah, should’ve known better.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Characters on the Couch - I'm Hearing Voices Blogfest

Yes, it’s true. I’m still hearing voices.
But now it’s time for characters on the couch. I must say, it is tough to pick just one character out of two hundred, much less keep the answer within 200 words (not including the questions). I was going to pick Vengeance, one of my oldest characters and a Main Character of The Rogue King.
But no, I thought I should ask these questions of another Main Character from the same novel that I often find myself overlooking ... Kael Ro'is, alleged orphan of a nomadic trader (don't worry, he knows different).

Klif & Kael
What is your biggest vulnerability?
My father aside, it would be Klif. Or, more specifically, the link I have with him. Without him ... I don’t really want to contemplate what’ll happen. They say a Shadow Speaker who loses a bond mate goes insane. Or become empty ....

Riiight. Moving on ... who knows about this vulnerability? Or is it a secret?
Practically everyone knows I’m a Speaker. Not sure if they make the connection. It’s the sort of thing you need to read up on these days. It’s certainly not something I tell people.

What do people believe about you that is false?
That being a Speaker automatically means I’m a monster. I’m not, you know. I’m probably more normal than some of the nobles round here but they can only see this ... creature.

What would your best friend say is your fatal flaw and why?
Well, Frisk would say it’s me not being quite so “out there” and Carine would certainly think it a flaw that I don’t lord it over people what with my bloodline. But I’ve never been the outgoing type and, honestly, I’m more likely to get beaten up than obeyed. It’s more-or-less a Speaker trait to blend into the background anyway.

I note you carefully left out Talsin.
I-I ... ah. Heh ... I don’t think she believes I have a flaw.

Okay then, what would the same friend say is your one redeeming quality and why?
Oh, all three would probably say I’m reliable. What with being what I am, I already have enough trouble getting people to accept me without adding a bad reputation. I’ve really no desire to see the dungeons.

I’m sure. So what do you want most and what will you do to get it?
To be normal. Or, at least, have people look at me and see me for who I am and not what I am. If I knew how to get that, I’d have it by now.

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Introducing ...

Name: Victor
Story: The Unborn Trilogy - Crimson Night & Silver Moon
Status: Blacksmith

There was always going to be a blacksmith. Don’t know what it is about them, but whenever I read a story with one in it, they tend to be well ... honest. Not always nice, or even friendly. Just honest. I tried to put some of that rugged frankness into Victor.
Personally, anyone who can routinely swing a heavy hammer can act how they want. O_O

Yeah, I couldn’t resist doing this one. I suppose, realistically, he should be wearing something on the top half, but where’s the fun in that? ^_^

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Review of Maskerade by Terry Pratchett

Title: Maskerade
Author: Terry Pratchett
Rating: 5/5

I adore Greebo. He reminds me of several cats we’ve had over the years. Mostly one little ball of fluff affectionately named ‘Slash’. It’s the descriptions of him that I love the most. My favourite one so far: “Greebo could, in fact, commit sexual harassment simply by sitting very quietly in the next room.” Now that is animal magnetism to its fullest!
Of course, with Greebo comes Nanny and with Nanny comes Granny. This time, the pair are for Ankh-Morepork. Where there’s a Phantom – I mean Ghost – “haunting” the city’s opera theatre. Bettering the singers, destroying scenery, killing people ... or is he? It’s a guy in a white mask anyhow, and a guy in a white mask is the Ghost.
Which is where we come across Perdita X Dream – I mean, Perdita X Nitt ... uh, darn it, I mean Agnes Nitt – a young woman with an amazing voice and a wonderful personality.
I do love how I got drawn into the mystery of this one. I still couldn’t help peeking at the end, several times, but even that didn’t detract from the story here.