Thursday, 29 November 2012

It's finally completed. But what is it?

So recently, I've been on about how close I am to completing the first draft of Dark One's Mistress.
Well here's the final post on that. Because ... it's done! ^_^

Sure I didn't do the full 50k over a month like some of you NaNoWriMo participants, but I did write the final 20k in the last three weeks. That's quite a feat for me.
And staying up so late that it became early to write certainly threatened to be the death of me, but when you're staring at the plotline (even if it's just the vague one in your head) and seeing only a small jump to the end, you gotta keep going.
And, man, does it feel good to type THE END. Well, really, I typed THE END months ago, then moved the ending by some 800 or so words. Because that's how I roll. ^_^

But let me break down what that means for Dark One's Mistress.
It's 70,000 words long. For now, anyway. If it's anything like my other works, it'll get bigger in the edits.
There's 23 Chapters. Each scene is one chapter, so that's twenty-three scenes. One (the turnaround scene I needed) coming completely out of nowhere while I was writing. That's about three thousand words per chapter, give or take some.
Overall, the story takes 16 days. The original plot called for a month, but as I went on, I saw it wouldn't be necessary to stretch the timeline so far. Anyway, the last nine chapters covered three days. Three! No wonder I sped through them. Jammed full it is. ^_^
And finally, it's all done in one PoV! This is my biggest achievement yet. Even Golden Dawn, which is half the size of Dark One's Mistress, has a prologue and epilogue in two different points of view. And while my muse would toy with giving Lucias' side of the story through his eyes, I think it would've detracted more than what it gained. So yay me!

Now I'm that much closer to getting the story on the submission track (just gotta do some editing - which I'm already halfway through on the first round - and get some CP eye-balling going on), I'm finding a greater need to know where it "fits" in the shelving world insofar as the age market goes.
I've no problem with this when it came to my previous stories ...
The Rogue King, despite starting when he's twelve, is most certainly Adult.
Golden Dawn, though tamer in the sex department, is definitely Adult.
Even Dragon, which is tamer again, is nevertheless still Adult.

But Dark One's Mistress? *shrug* Ever since I first started writing it, I've been a little fuzzy on where it stands. Some days, I'm convinced it's Adult. Other days ... I wonder if it is, perhaps, New Adult.
I've already eliminated Young Adult from my choices (I was never a young adult, I've accepted this). I could give my Main Character an older age and nothing would change beyond me needing to touch on the point of why she wasn't married. So really, in my mind, if I can do that, it doesn't fit in the YA section.
But let me set down a few facts ... Clara - the Main Character - has just turned seventeen. Despite the main point of her kidnapping being Lucias creating an heir, there is no sex. There is mentions of past encounters (his not hers), but nothing more than you'd hear in the average discussion/gossip. There are, however, some darker moments that I hope will be heart-in-the-mouth reading.

At the moment, this is the query I've got for it (not perfect, I know, just roll with me here) ...
Snatched right off the streets of Everdark, seventeen-year-old Clara seeks her freedom from the moment she is given over to the kingdom's newly-made Lord, Lucias. When she is picked from a group of similarly-stolen women, she discovers that her worse fear is true: their Lord is in need of an heir, its conception to be before the new moon.

Despite Lucias' charm and good-looks, Clara is determined not to become his mistress. Never mind his ultimatum of coming to him willingly or be forced, there's the small matter of him stealing souls. To complicate things further, Lenora of Ne'ermore, an old enemy and ex-prisoner of the kingdom, is sending her pet barbarian to slaughter Lucias and, to ensure there is no chance of an heir, Clara must die as well.

Clara’s need to escape, whether through force or persuasion, grows stronger with each passing day. But then she learns that if Lucias does die without an heir, then the soulless criminals enslaved in his army will be free to terrorise the land. Now Clara is caught in a choice between regaining her freedom or losing it completely for the good of the kingdom. She doesn't have long to decide before death comes to take away everything and escape is no longer an option.
But is it New Adult or Adult? Any thoughts?

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Next Big Thing

Yup, it's The Next Best Thing. This comes to me via Coreena McBurnie from Books & Other Creative Adventures.
For this, I will be answering the same questions she did about my WiP, then I'm meant to tag five other blogs who will post the same questions about their WiP or new release (I'll get back to that).

1. What is the working title of your book?
Dark One's Mistress. I can't remember when I dropped the 'the' off the beginning.
I like to call it DOM. ^_^

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?
Heh. In a roundabout way, via playing Overlord 2 on the PlayStation 3 (I so wish I could find the first version). Yet the story bears no resemblance to the game except where the Dark One has the ability to take people's souls. And he has minions/servants/whatever, but every Dark Lord needs them.
In a less vague way, it stemmed from one question: What if the bad guy wasn't all that bad? I'm sure I veered away from that somewhere along the line as there's a certain uneasy feeling about Lucias. Maybe that's more the MC's feelings on him coming through there.

3. What genre does your book fall under?
Fantasy. Definitely fantasy. With a touch of romance. Okay, more than a touch. But fantasy nevertheless.
The real question is, is it adult or new adult? The Main Character is seventeen and, despite a longing for adventure, is a little naive on the big, bad world that's beyond her village. I blame the government. Wait, I made the government. Hmm ... does that mean I blame myself?

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Hmm, I'm tempted to put Hugh Jackman as the MC's agonist, the Dark One of the title. I think he'd be a perfect Lucias. Although, Johnny Depp is probably closer. I'm sure either could play a jaded and slightly hot mid-twenties guy who looks about ten years older. ^_^
As for the Main Character, I'm thinking Selena Gomez could play a decent Clara.
Now there's a combination. Is it odd that I waffle over the guy, but with the MC I'm all ... her!

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Ugh. I suck at one-sentence synopses. Actually, I suck at synopses in general. Here goes:
Despite the newly-made Lord's charm, Clara is determined to escape his clutches, whether through force or persuasion, but when she learns that if Lucias dies without an heir and the soulless criminals enslaved in his army will be free to terrorise the land, Clara must choose between regaining her freedom or losing it completely for the good of the kingdom before it's too late.
6. Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I'm hoping to go the agent or publisher route.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Looking through my posts, I apparently began in August 2011. How am I still writing it over a year later?
Let's see ... that's when it went from idea to written word; it wasn't expected so I was still editing Dragon; then my muse was high-jacked by another WiP; I rewrote Golden Dawn; and, finally, I stopped writing DOM at 30,000 words to do an editing run over it.
And I wonder why NaNoWriMo seems impossible to me. ^_^
Now it's at 62,000 words with two and a half chapters still to go (I'm on the final fight scene right now! Ah!). Then I'll be editing and on the lookout for some CPs for it while I write Anubis' Handmaiden.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
Uh ... I am completely out of the loop with what's out there. Seriously, I've so many books to read already that I rarely set foot in bookstores nowadays or buy many eBooks. Trends are gone by the time I hear about them. Thank goodness I write for me and not the fads or I'd be screwed. ^_^

9. Who or What inspired you to write this book?
Apart from the game? Hmm, I've a heavy suspicion that this has been influenced by Beauty and the Beast. Just a touch. Maybe it's the fact she gets imprisoned in the citadel with him. Maybe it's that she sees him as this horrible monster for a long time, then gets a chance to see the real him.

Get your paws off me, you damn dirty ... *ahem*
10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
See, I suck at these questions. I write what I want to read, and I want to read the strangest things. I can pinpoint what I (dis)like in someone else's story, but if it comes to telling someone else what they'd enjoy ... I suffer from a terrible lack of confidence in people not liking my work.
In fact, only a handful of CPs have ever read my stories and, despite me chewing off the collective ears of my family about the stories, none of them have ever read a word of them in their current forms.
So what'll pique a reader's interest? I have no idea. Would you read a romance story that has the agonist/love interest trying to coax the heroine into his bed yet is denied even a single kiss from her? Read this excerpt if you've the time (it's quite long) and then maybe you tell me.

Okay, so tagging ... between limited 'net time over the last week, getting the car fixed and nursing a sore hand ... I never managed to get enough time to find people to tag. -_- In any case, much prefer to have people opt in when it comes to tagging.
So I'm leaving this open. If you want to join in, mention it in the comments and consider yourself tagged. All you gotta do is answer these questions and ... er, hopefully do better than me at the tagging. ^_^

Sunday, 18 November 2012

Review of The Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett

Title: The Thief of Time
Author: Terry Pratchett
Rating: 5/5

This was certainly an interesting one. The Auditors are once again trying to rid the universe of life.
As such, Susan is featured heavily in this one and, as with The Hogfather, I very much enjoyed her "at the end of the day, someone's got to tip the wee out of the shoes" attitude to life. Not sure if I'd have wanted her as my teacher though.
Having loved Small Gods, I was overjoyed to find the history monks are involved, particularly Lu Tze. He was quite the character and had me snickering like a hyena for ages while reading. And I'll certainly remember Rule One as I'm no doubt sure many of Discworld's characters wished they had. Especially the Auditors. And Lobsang. Poor Lobsang, always forgetting Rule One. ^_^
The one blemish in this otherwise excellent read? I wasn't a fan of Jeremy, he was a little too ... odd for my liking and some of the beginning scenes with him are equally out of whack. But then again, Jeremy wasn't a fan of Jeremy either.


Friday, 16 November 2012

Bouncing upwards to 55k & Pinning it

I've always held in awe those people who can churn out a book in a month. I began writing as a loose pantser, typing when the muse struck with a faint goal in mind. It took me a number of years before The Rogue King's first person draft was complete. Years more before I scraped it and rewrote in third person.

So I'm amazed it's been only a week to find myself 5,000 words further along into Dark One's Mistress and a mere five chapters before the end. Not sure how long I can keep this pace up. Especially with the intense level that's been going on. And, man, I'd so much trouble with one piece of the chapter where the couple were dancing.
I've written all sorts of scenes, even a few other dance scenes. No idea why this was such a pain to get right, maybe because the moves weren't, stand there and jig to the beat, but precise and a little flashy (it's known as the Dance of the Peacock, for goodness sake). And how to get that across without getting complicated, while they talked ... no wonder I spent so much time waving my arms about to focus on the beats and movements. Must've looked like a very lazy bee had invaded the room.
Of course, all that hasn't been without me typing well into the night and finally slinking off to bed at 12, 1 and even 2 in the morning. You see, much of the time, I'm writing out in the dining room if not the bedroom and must wait for the family to ... bugger off. Then I type furiously before either someone creeps out to tell me the time (as if I didn't have a clock) or I nearly fall asleep at the computer (that's only happened a few times, I swear ^_^).

On another note: I finally signed up to Pinterest. And I've 100 pins on it already! Granted they're mostly from this site (along with a few that are up and coming), just all in the one spot. But now I've finally got a neat little place to store my playlists alongside my images. I'd no idea that I could pin videos, nor did it occur to me until I starting pinning them how a certain bunch of singers/bands tend to pop up.

Friday, 9 November 2012

Sliding into 50k

Whoo, been looking at the last time I gave a writing update on ... er, anything really. Just a little over a month. Yeah ... last month has been hectic. After my daughter got her teeth out, she ended up having a reaction to some sunscreen.
Yes, sunscreen. Kids sunscreen. Just what was put on her face, thankfully. Apparently it's common with that brand. O_o (Seriously, that was the expression I pulled when I heard.) But some medicine, a few non-sunscreen but still sun-smart days and it was clearing up.
Note the use of 'was'.
Last Saturday, while I was at a cat show, she went to her school's fair with daddy dearest and, on top of getting soaked ... got her face painted. *face palm* I'm not sure who I want to slap the most, her father for letting her get her face painted, or the people who did the painting because she still had obvious signs of a receding rash on her face.
It was an interesting pattern though. All dots and swirls from where the blue/purple was. Must've had a certain artificial, blue food colouring in the paint. -_-

Anyway, to find that Dark One's Mistress has hit 50,000 words makes me feel extra productive. ^_^
And it's not done yet. I've another 20k and seven more chapters to go before the end (basically the fun parts where my characters go through hell while I sit and giggle like some insane evil genius). Heh, at this rate, I might have it finished before my birthday in February.
No, let's see if December can see me announcing the completion of yet another novel's first draft. Hmm?

I'm sexy, and I know it. ^_^
Oh, and for those who were wondering, FizzyWhip, my sweet black and white sop of a cat got his mummy one first, three seconds and two fourths at the show. That adds up to some expensive catfood and a few ribbons.
Let's hear it for the rescue cats! ^_^

Monday, 5 November 2012

Seven years - not long enough

A somewhat younger me and Ticket

This is the twelfth year since I lost my dear horse, Ticket to Ride.

Ticket came to us via a friend who wouldn't sell him to anyone else. As a horse who'd been around the block a few times, he was feared by most in the local horse community. The general opinion was that he would be "a nice pet but unrideable".

He cost us $200 and I can recall being able to stand under his neck without bending. With him barely reaching 15 hands high and me around eight at the time, I'm not surprised.

Ticket had not had an easy life before we got him. He'd been in several rodeos as a youngster, could darn near barrel-race and cut cattle with his eyes shut. He came out of it with a chunk missing from his left shoulder in the shape of a bull's horn (in the photo, you can just make out a dent under the chest strap). It left him with a slight limp that was occasionally mistaken as him being lame. I've no idea how long he'd had it, but it never bothered him.

Someone, we believe a man since he was so wary of men in general, had also abused Ticket at some point. This left marks just behind his ears and at his throat where he'd been tied up with wire. He would suffer no whip and, at first, refused to go on a lunge rope.

He was such a firecracker that you'd never have guessed he was nearing thirty until you looked closer. Then you'd see the sway in his back and the grey peppering his otherwise chestnut face. If he let you get close enough, you found he had no top teeth in the front.

That didn't stop him from being a cheeky sod. In fact, he'd often stick out his tongue at people when they weren't looking.

We were first confined to riding in an arena, but once out on the road, he would pull all sorts of tricks to get home sooner. None of it involved bolting. His favourite was to whip the reins from my hands with such force that they'd fly over his head. He would then pick them up and trot off home with me on his back.

He also tried whipping me off by running under a branch. It didn't work. In one of the few times he did manage to dump me, by pure accident, I believe, I startled the heck out of him by arriving at the house before him (I cut through the back paddocks, while he took the long way). Hard to stay angry at horse who is looking at you then behind him at the driveway.

Of course, there were times when the weather conspired against the weekend and confined him to the paddocks. Then, he got so excited that he'd take off up the driveway without me. I swear he looked more than a little sheepish when I called out and he came back.

I took Ticket to both english and western clubs, eventually growing as bored as he with the former. Jumping wasn't our forte (he did it, it just wasn't beautiful) and, though he would do a passable dressage, his shoulder was forever a bone of contention. When cantering in a circle, he always led with the right leg, which meant being marked down every time.

But the games ... we'd no way of knowing for sure as he wasn't branded, but we guessed he was part quarterhorse (crossed with a tank) as he'd quite the powerful hindquarters. Nothing local could beat the bugger in anything involving bending, he even broke free during one game to do the barrel-race ... solo. A flat gallop. And the opposing team wondered why I hadn't saddled him up to compete in it. I was riding english at the time. Short of strapping myself top his back, how the heck would I have stayed on?

That wasn't the last time he got loose at pony club. He'd mastered untying all the quick slip knots and I swear he enjoyed trying to figure out ways to leave for home (I rode there every Sunday, he knew the way). Then he learnt of peanut slabs. Untying to escape became untying to go to the snack stall and pick out one of those chunky bars of chocolate and nuts wrapped in plastic. I never discovered how he managed to open them with bugger all teeth.

Even the western club could not divert his cheekiness, although, unlike the pony club grounds which had the handy access of a river, he could not escape the western grounds. But, like I said, he was an ex-rodeo horse and I swear he rolled his eyes when the instructors tried to teach me. I know he used to sigh a lot. Most of the time, he would not do as instructed, unless in competition. Dressage was the same. The arena had a mirror. Ticket, the vain sod, would stop and preen every time.

For all the difficult and downright annoying things he did, he was never a vindictive horse. One summer, I must've been fourteen by then, I took him out bareback and, while he was grazing on a bank, a duck gave him a fright. He leapt sideways onto the road. Now the bank dropped into a gravel slope. Ticket hit the road. I landed on my back on the gravel slope. As I lay there, unable to breathe, Ticket came to my side. He nudge me, snuffle over my face, then he grabbed my shirt collar and started dragging me home.

He was a jealous sod too. I'm certain he believed me to be his human and not my horse. Though we were uncertain towards his true age, I knew he wasn't young and tried to retire him. Several times in fact. But I was unable to ride any of our other horses without Ticket attacking them afterwards. One horse, a sweet dope of an appy we called Pompom, would even start misbehaving if I took him out and Ticket was visible. Once we were out of sight, Pompom became his normal compliant self. And Ticket seemed to have an instant dislike for, Ricky, a full quarterhorse I'd gotten to train as Ticket's replacement. Both horses were given up.

But old age and sickness took my dear boy in the end. At the age of fifteen, I came home from high school one November day to find him laying on the ground in obvious discomfort. He'd been unwell in the previous month growing thinner despite our efforts. We'd finally gotten him to a state where he was regaining both his strength and his weight. It was a shock to find him so as we had gone for a small, sedate ride the day before.

My family called the vet and - I say this with tears in my eyes - they had me make 'the decision'. Though I wanted him to stay, I knew couldn't let him suffer. I was there when the needle went in. I held his head as he died. I watched as they buried him ...

He was the most special horse I've ever owned and those seven years we had together, though far too short a time, will never be forgotten.