Friday, 30 March 2012

Blogfest Updates - the old and the new


Firstly, my story about an evil willow and earth-sympathising Folk has been chosen as one of the top five. I’m totally bowled by this as I didn’t think I’d get that far, and again thank the lot at Unicorn Bell for choosing me to sit alongside the other four.
People have until 7pm Saturday (US EST) to vote, so pop over to the Unicorn Bell and pick your favourite.

The end of March is fast drawing to a close, and that means a whole new month of blogfests (remember, my goal is to participate in at least one a month).
I won’t be doing the A to Z challenge, but I strongly suggest you hop on over there and see who is.

On the 17th, when the letter P arrives for all those to the above blofest, I’ll be joining Madeleine Maddocks at Scribble and Edit in her Plotting blogfest. Don’t let the image scare you away.
I'll be answering one simple question: How do I Plot my novels.
You can still sign up for this one. So be sure to check it out.

The 27th, Jaycee DeLorenzo and Victoria Smith shall be doing the Oh, My Hero! bloghop. I’ll be posting a picture of one of my heroes and giving them at least five questions to answer.
Given the strange (and sometime elusive) nature of my characters, we’ll see how that goes. I'm tempted to use my borderline villain for this, but I'll be good and pick a proper hero.
You can still join in this one too.


And in May I shall be participating in Theresa Paolo's Dust if Off blogfest and torturing you all with the first version (last touched in 2008) of The Rogue King. The blogfest goes as follows:
On the 3rd shall be my 1-2 sentence pitch. This should be interesting. I suck at pitches.
The 5th is when I will post my favourite excerpt. Expect it to be bad. Expect me to cringe. And I fully expect you to laugh.
And, finally, I shall relieve the torture by revealing what I learnt from this mistake I've since revamped numerous times.

Thursday, 29 March 2012

Introducing ...

Name: Jo'el
Story: The Rogue King Saga - The Shadow Prince
Status: Captain of the Predonian Gate Guards

Jo'el started out as some guard. It wasn't until the last rewrite that he gained depth, a family and reasoning behind his actions. All mostly revealed through the eyes of two other characters. How that happened, I've no idea. He's just a minor character, though an important obstacle in a couple of scenes. I won’t say with what. Let's just say rule number two for him is: let no harm come to children. Don't ask about rule number one though. He might show you. O_O

Woo, how does he fly with them wings and that armour? It's mezan-made, that's how. ^_^
What you've never heard of intelligent amphibians magically producing metal that’s strong, light and faintly resistant to corrosion? For shame.

Tuesday, 27 March 2012

Knights of MicroFiction

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It’s Knights of MicroFiction time. ^_^
To those who don't know, this is a bloghop – hosted by Jess at Write. Skate. Dream. and Kathy of Imagine Today – that runs on the last Monday of every month. Visit either link to read more flash fiction from other participants.

This time, the prompt is:
Use at least one of the following adjectives: delicate, repulsive, hostile,
and at least two of the following nouns: New York City, my 16th birthday, and kilts
Write a MicroFiction/flash fiction piece of 250 words or less.

Cause I wanted to use all the prompts and one was in 1st person, I appear to have written both in a pov I don’t usually write in - certainly gave it my best shot - and a situation I wouldn't normally put my characters in. But that's the point behind a challenge, right? ^_^ Also, according to Word, the hyphenated word is classified as one, making this piece 250 words exactly.

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Here I was, on the eve of my 16th birthday, and somehow I’d found myself attending Paul’s party. Sure, he was my cousin and he’d just flown in and I hadn’t seen him for a long time, but the place had become packed. Everyone forced to bump about as one repulsive, sweaty mass.
This had to be practically all of his old mates. How had he stayed in touch with so many? Probably here for the free beer. I take a sip of soda. Lucky them.
“Wha-hey!”
Heads turned as the cry went out. Hopping from foot to foot, I strain to see over the guys before me. Some twit whistles. More catcalls strike up. The crowd part to reveal my cousin and older brother.
Oh my god. Were they wearing kilts? I eye the garish tartans, with their hairy and not-so-delicate legs sticking out from below, and shudder.
Daintily kicking their heels, they prance over to my side. “Aw sis,” Kevin said, his grin as lopsided as the kilt. “Don’t look so hostile.”
I frown at Kevin, then turn my stare on Paul. “You two better not pull this tomorrow.” My teeth clench at the thought. Bad enough I couldn’t spend summer in America.
Kevin shakes his head. “Nah, just a dare.” He gives me wink. “Besides, no one gonna see you for a while, are they?”
“Huh?” He knew the trip had been cancelled. “You mean –”
“Yee-ah! New York City here we come!”
Yes! Wait. What? We?

Monday, 26 March 2012

A Picture Paints 1000 Words - Bloghop

As the picture says, this is a blogfest about ... well, pictures.The hosts for this are the bunch at Unicorn Bell. They will each pick a favourite story and those four will then be voted on for a winner.
For this, participants were to choose a picture from a collection of ten and write (you guessed it) a thousand words. Cause, you know, a picture can tell a thousand words.
I actually bounced between four pictures for a while (I'm an automatic fantasy-style gal, so half of the images called out to me) before going with the one in the banner. And here, the picture did tell 1000 words, precisely.

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Click for better detail

The oar dipped into the lake, disturbing its calm veneer with the faintest of splashes. Pitched back and forth, she shuffled on her seat. Her shoulders ached at the strain of being bound. If only they would loosen the ropes. What would she do? Jump into the water? It wasn’t as if she could swim. What if I fall overboard? Her stomach flipped at the thought. No, they wouldn’t let that happen.
Biting her lip, she fastened her gaze on the castle before them. Trees and bushes screened off bits of the structure, leaving its tower as the only properly defined formation. She wouldn’t have cared if the land held nothing more than tents. Its purpose would serve well enough as bare land.
Land. How she longed to once again set foot on it. To be surrounded by the gentle sigh of the forest and the murmur of the life it bore. No such luck here. Trees there may have been, but they stood surrounded by brick and mortar. The wild hemmed in their idea of civilisation. And water.
The boat rocked like a wind chime in the breeze. Wavelets lapped at the sides with sickening slaps like raw meat on a cold pan. She shuddered. No way to forget they headed towards an island. The Gilded Cage they called it. A perfect prison. The savages. Ever mocking what they didn’t understand. Even here, at the heart of their empire.
The prow bumped against the landing with a hollow thunk. Deft hands swung the boat around, slamming the side up against the weathered planks. The pier creaked, its wood, both dead and alive in the fresh water, left to scream in its submerged agony. She cringed at the cry. Did they not hear the torment they inflicted? How could they be so deaf?
Strong hands grasped her arms and hauled her to her feet. She staggered across the short platform, her steps growing stronger as the earth neared. Behind her, in a flash of blue, the boat slid back out into the water. Did they think she’d only now attempt an escape? As if she would even consider returning to that empty shell they dared to call a vessel. She’d prefer to slip under the lake’s green surface to never emerge again than endure that.
Her foot hit the ancient stone stairs. Vigour returned anew, seeping through the worked slabs. Up the flight of steps they took her and through the archway looming over them. The path beyond lay shadowed by trees. She could feel the bushes shivering, their branches bending towards them in her wake. Her presence noted and passed on.
Up the gravel path they went. Her guards hurried her onwards, their unease a fine musk. She smiled. Better if they’d the foresight to strip this place of all life. Although, legend said that even in the most barren of lands, the soil alone could, for a time, lend its strength to one in need.
High above, a tree creaked its mournful greeting. Caution, they warned. Others had come before her to this place and had been broken. Their souls, both the strong and the weak, shattering against the cold slab of the empire’s will. Why had the elders allowed another to be given over to the Silence?
“Them trees,” one mumbled, “what they’re doing?”
“It’swat they always do around the Folk.” A meaty finger prodded her back, arching her spine and sending a fresh wave of pain through her shoulders. “Make’em stop.”
Teeth clenched, she continued her measured pace in the waiting quiet. No point trying to explain to these oafs that she had no control over what the trees did. Be simpler trying to rule the earth and its seasons than to get a single tree to obey any sort of command. Even in the artificial forests they built to span the hole in their souls, the trees held more sway than any mere creature could hope to attain.
The castle loomed above her. A hideous monster of brick and glass. The open maw of a doorway beckoned them forth. She was strong. One of the High Circle. The most revered among the clans for leagues. She’d show those earth-deaf heathens that they could not break them all.
She stepped into the courtyard to be greeted by a call she hadn’t noticed had been lingering on the edge of her senses the whole time. Its cry subtle, yet piercing to the soul. She sunk to her knees. Tears streamed down her face in sympathetic resonance. How? They were deaf. Blind. How could this be possible?
But there it was. Despite all rationale, it sat hunched in the centre of the yard like an old man. She peered through the leaves, long tendrils that brushed the cobblestoned ground, ends twirling in the breeze. Beyond branches bent in their eternal grief to the trunk they cruelly twisted and bound in the iron they dared to call a fence.
They had tamed a willow.
She shivered. Unlike the trees at her back, living in what wild this island could claim, there was no such whisper from the willow. An echo did sit where there should have been that natural zest. It sucked at the world, yearning to fill the hole these savages had ripped in its core.
Just as keenly as its kin, it felt her presence. The leaves shook a vigorous welcome. Too long did they keep it cooped. No company. Little room to grow. Nothing from which to feed.
Jumping to her feet, she spun to flee through the archway. Hands grabbed her. She struggled against their grip. They dragged her back, drawing near the tree.
“Come now, missy, don’t you Folk like trees?”
Like the crack of a whip, something hit her mind. She threw up a shield. Too late. It coiled about her mind, severing her ties to the earth. Shutting her off from the world she knew.
Leaving naught but Silence in its wake.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Introducing ...

Name: Calin
Story: The Unborn Trilogy - Crimson Night
Status: Inn Owner

Aw, come on. There has to be an inn. Where else are the people gonna get sozzled?
And every inn needs an owner. Why can’t it be an old guy? He was young once right? Maybe he’s got a good nature. Maybe he’s really good at diffusing situations.
To be honest, he got there purely because I needed an owner for the inn. I wanted someone ... more experienced in the world, someone who would’ve heard the old tales straight from his grandpa and not second/third-hand like some others. Voila! Calin.

I’ve mixed feelings about the image. On one hand, I'm happy about the background. On the other, something about him doesn’t look right.

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Lucky 7 Meme

You all know about the lucky 7 meme by now, right? It’s been spreading like crazy through the blogs and goes something like this:
Go to page 77 of your current MS. Go to line 7. Copy down the next 7 lines as they're written-- no cheating! Tag 7 other writers and let them know!
Now I'm not going to tag anyone but if, like me, you haven't done this and want to join in on the fun. Go for it!
I had a wee bit of mull over what story to use and finally settled on my current WiP. So here’s a piece from Dark One’s Mistress. Since I haven’t got 77 pages yet, this comes from chapter seven instead.

It wasn’t moonless sky dark, which at least had a lighter edge to the skyline. This was the sort of blackness the night could only dream of being. The kind where you weren’t quite sure if the hand you knew you’d just waved before your face was really there. This was a place where you were wise to bring a reliable lantern and a dozen or so matches to boot.
Above came the mournful groan of the main gate opening.
Of course, she’d turned right at the previous junction. Putting her back to the wall, she marched off into the dark, steadily counting her steps as she went. Up the second flight of stairs she came to, another left at the top and onwards until her last barrier to freedom stood before her. Naught but a simple, wooden door.
Clara peered through a knothole. People with torches hustled about their business. Not far now. She pushed open the door, hinges giving a tiny peep of protest. The sound all too easily lost in the clatter outside. Little shivers of glee tickled down her spine. Too easy to catch, was she? The entrance was to her left now. Likely still open.
She slipped out into the courtyard, pressing one shoulder to the wall. Keep to the shadows, she chanted. Walk like you belong. No one ever bothered anyone who looked like they belonged there.
In the middle of yard stood a carriage. A hideous boxy thing, bound with metal in too many places to be carrying anything nice. An iron wagon. She’d never seen one before, but she’d heard of them a great many times. Be good or face the iron wagon. She shivered.
The doors open, the carriage rattling as they swung freely. Clara paused, unable to tear her gaze from the dark shapes within. Criminals. The law said if you weren’t good, then you must be bad. And all bad men met their end here.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Gone Green ...

Ugh, I intended to do a full and proper post for Mark’s “Got Green?” Blog Hop, but after the major production of the previous seven days followed by trying to force-feed worming tablets to five cats ... I’m too wiped.
Honestly, I completely forgot when St. Patrick's Day was and it's like today and what did I do? Bleh, I've still a cat to do. Big 6kg boy who doesn't like taking his medicine.
So instead of kicking about here, go to his blog and cruise the other sites. ^_^

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Introducing ...

Name: Lanera
Story: Witch of Morthin
Status: Lady of Mirrormist

Cousin to the younger Sarna – the Main Character – she, as many of the characters in this particular story, sort of just ... happened. She started off as a bit of a joke (her brother couldn’t pronounce a certain letter properly, I forget which one, most likely R or L). The idea was short-lived, but the person remained, transforming her into a skilled magic-wielder ... at least, compared to her cousin.

I actually quite like this image. The background’s been revamped a few times, but I really like how I captured her.

March, why you gotta be a hater?

And I thought that week in December was a bad month. 2012, I swear, you better start being good.

Last Friday, I was treated with a new computer (still getting used to a normal keyboard after years of typing on a laptop. For some reason I’m hitting fullstop when I want comma. I blame the longer shift key >_>). It’s got a lovely big screen and I no longer need to worry about it overheating in summer. But ...
You note, I said last Friday? That’s practically a week ago. I’ve had no net since then. None. Nada! The last gasp of decent net action was Friday evening on the laptop.
Here’s a rundown of my week.

Friday: Get computer home. Non-recognition between d-link and new computer (setup worked with laptop). Still no wireless linkup by the way, I’m on dial-up with no future landline broadband for eight years. Bleh. I feel so bottom-of-the-world when I hear that. -_-
Saturday: Back and forth between the shop and a friend’s house. No luck with the old d-link despite their techie saying he’s updated the software. New d-link bought. Now runs like a charm. I’d no idea I get so many emails over 24 hours. Seriously.
Sunday: Massive, and I mean MASSIVE, lagging with windows updates and fighting the on-again/off-again connection. Of the 250MB there was to do, got through 90MB.
Monday: More updates. Total left 71MB.
Tuesday: A whole day trying to get 34MBs to download. Succeed and start on 37MB overnighter.
Wednesday: Get home and sick hubby has lovingly finished the last of the updates. *Glee* Now all there is left is to load a fresh version of Java so we (note: he) can have Runescape. I was happy just to get email up and running again.
Wednesday night: Phone line goes dead. We’ve three into the house, one for the house and two for computers, so that’s two cables. And my connection is, naturally, in the second cable. Check other lines. Rant.
Thursday: Discover there’s a half-broken branch lying against the still-strung lines. Go down bank with ladder. Put ladder against tree. Ladder and self not tall enough to free branch from lines. Cut bottom off branch anyway whilst swearing under breath (My right hand is bandaged. Guess which hand I needed to use). As of now, I’ve filched the other computer line, but that’ll not be an option come 8pm. My line should be up by then.
In the meantime, I’ve so many posts to catch up on. -_-

On the bright side: My Blue Mountains Pottery collection is dust free for the first time, some of the shelves aren’t cluttered with just plain old stuff and I’ve gotten so much typing done. I may even get Dragon over the 70k mark come next week. So far I’ve added another 4k to it. That’s another 182 words per chapter and I’ve still five chapters to go for the final edit.
Here's me hoping the line can be easily repaired.

Friday, 9 March 2012

The Rogue King Movie

Probably a bit early for the WiP: The Movie bloghop, hosted by Kyra and Rachel, but to forgo missing joining in at all ... here I am!

Although, this was fun and torturous at once. I’ve over two hundred characters and though I’ve an idea of what they look like, who could portray them in a movie is a whole other vein of ugly.
I’m going to cheat here and go on voices alone as anyone who took on the mighty epic that is The Rogue King for a story will be in need of Weta Works magic (and if you don’t know about them by now, you should. Let’s just say they assisted in a few minor movies like, to name two, LotR and Avatar ^_^).


For Veng, the Rogue King himself and the oldest of all my characters, I’d likely give him Hugh Jackman for a voice. Yeah, can you imagine him as an eight-foot-tall lizardman? I can.
For the record, I can also picture him as the angonist to Dark One's Mistress.


As the voice of Lasil, his love interest, I’d give her the voice of Keisha Castle-Hughes (I'm probably influenced by The Almighty Johnsons here). Still she’s a sweet voice, that carries a hint of a bite and that’s my Lasil to a tee.


Now, the songs ...

When young Koral learns he's no choice but to be Veng, I can't help but think of an old favourite of mine ...
Then, when he falls for his beloved Lasil ...
And, finally, at the end ... ah, I'll leave that one for all of you to guess. ^_^

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Introducing ...

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

Joina was, along with Qucin, made on the fly for one scene. She, being the more amenable of the two, is the one who actually instigates the conversation with the other two characters. I've little on her. Very little. Like "not pure-blooded, not nobility" little.
So what with her being a wealthy merchant's hybrid child at best or some noble's secret at worst, I like to think she might be a bit of both.

Honestly, this is now all I can think of when I imagine her. Likely because it's so old. Though the satchel is unlikely, I sort of think it's cute. ^_^

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

WiP: The Movie - A Bloghop

Not much time left for this one (I blame my poor, bandaged wrist for not doing this sooner).

But still ... spare the time and pop on over to either Kyra’s or Rachel’s blog and sign up for the WiP: The Movie Bloghop for March the 9th.
Even if you don’t join in, save a spot for the day and check out which actor/actress writers would prefer to play the characters in their WiP if it were made into a movie, and the soundtrack they think encapulates the story or a character(s).

Saturday, 3 March 2012

Review of Jingo by Terry Pratchett

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


A story where Klatch and Ankh-Morepork fight over a there-again-gone-again island.

Wasn’t quite sure how it all tied in at first. I actually read the whole thing cover to cover, not once peeking at the back. Not an easy feat for me since there was the puzzling 71-hour Ahmed (I was most pleased on my assumption of him), the odd dis-organizer who gave predictions for Vimes (just not of his universe). And of course, I wanted to know who won, even if it is on penalties.
Along with the usual characters that I thoroughly enjoy, I got a chance to like a few others I’d misgivings about such as Poor, poor Nobby. Can’t believe I actually feel sorry for the er ... alleged human. I couldn’t get the image of him wearing harem pants outta my head for days. Hehe. ^_^
And there was Angua ... the catalyst of sorts ... I’ve a problem with fully immersing in her pov. But she’s pretty decent in this book, the best she’d been so far actually. Probably due to the lack of her thinking of fleeing. With that absent, I can finally enjoy all the Watchmen.

Finally, there’s the patrician. There’s only one thing I can say about him ...
Veni, Vici, Vetinari.

^_^

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Introducing ...

Name: Eveline
Story: The Unborn Trilogy - Crimson Night & Silver Moon
Status: Old Woman

I know, she should probably have a better status. But what can I say, there’s something about it that kind of makes me want double-check I’m not “up to something”. Maybe it’s having been half raised by my grandparents that has me thinking of the elderly as more of a force to be reckoned with before anything else. Especially old women.
As they say, it don’t matter if you’re not her grandchild ... you don’t mess with nanny. ^_^

I really have no idea what was going through my head when I did this image, in the scenes of her, she goes near a kitchen just the once. Ah well, it seemed like good at the time and I still like it.