Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Writing Share Wednesday: 4

Whoever wishes to take on this weekly challenge is welcome to grab the banner and use it on their blog. It is a testament to stay in the constant writing mode, no matter what setbacks jump in your way. Writing is a healing process for me today and it began as such. Anyone who uses it as a similar tool, I invite you on this journey.

* * *

This week's excerpt is a throwback to my first manuscript, Bond of Darkness, whose opening I recently revamped.

A twist of a gray-black clouds spitting a poisonous rainfall pecked the land. Neither helped Valence. He sprinted, harsh burning breaths swelling his throat shut. Ten of his men pulled up his rear, dodging the strikes of the ulitick ambush that had found their group. He tried not to look back, but as the bloodcurdling screams shortened to seconds apart, he slid to a stop and pushed his men past him. The dark wasteland landscape gave speed to the giant bugs on their heels. More shadow than shape, they knew how to move while the Lunata were mice to their python grace. Creatures forbidden to see daylight, they wallowed amid the wastelands for a traveler to step through their traps. He heard the click-click, shuffle-shuffle of the uliticks advancing on him as he saw his men to safety. He glanced back and they began scrambling up a rocky rise. A vent spewing toxic brown gas topped the hill, and all else was in darkness past that.

Another scream. It was an arrow through his head, how painful it was. The last of his men passed him, flushed and tired, and he saw the ulitick pounce on the poor soul it had captured. Valence slung his sword from the scabbard and ran for the young man. His white hair tangled over his pallor face. He had managed to crawl away slightly, but there was a sickening crunch and the boy rolled onto his side, wriggling. His legs were gone at the knees.

Valence stopped at the sight and drew back a few steps. His stomach turned and the boy was taken away. A meaty claw layered with prickly hairs reached out from the black mass. It dragged him into their death cloud, screaming, a last crunch silenced him. Red mist dyed the black cloud and the bugs finally from the it. Smoke lingered from their four gangly arms, pincers stretching off them like shears.

He took one glance at their daunting, armor-plated faces. Slime poured from the gaps in their jaws like undigested gruel, putrid from even the farthest distance. Two, beady eyes scoped him out, but blind it seemed, the ulitick went back to its meal.

“Valence, c’mon!”

He turned to a solider waiting for him. His long hair was barely its snowy Lunata white, for all the grime and muck of the wasteland slicked their bodies. Valence stared at the boils the poison rain had created on his skin. He gawked back in horror. Two more clouds crept in from either side and it was on soldier before he could speak. An ulitick jumped out of the cloud, a full lunge spreading its wide claws. It bore into the solider, pinned him and the feast began there on the hill. The clouds continued down the rise for the other men.

A hurtling cry came at his left and Valence brought his sword around. He saw the ulitick leaping for him, its grimy pincers saliva-stained and lingering with fresh meat particles. He slipped below the attack, but drew his sword in a fine arc that took the head off the creature. It bobbled away to the rocky abyss and its squirming body cuddled next to his legs. He turned for the rise, but was barreled over. His back slapped the hard, wet ground. When he rolled up to meet the next attacker, fire tore across his chest. A deep burn well beneath his flesh surged and he couldn’t rise. He looked down to bits of his flesh dangling from its rightful place. A gash went from his collarbone to mid-chest, a dark-green goo seeping from it.

The uliticks came at him. He yelled, summoning all his will to lift the sword, but it did not so much as budge. His arm was paralyzed. The gray-black swirl overhead split open and a curling lance of white spiraled down at the creatures. It struck them all, the source unknown as he looked for it, but the power attacked him next. All the black subsided to a swift white curtain.

Friday, December 24, 2010

A Christmas Note from In My Write Mind

December 24th is here and this will be my first Christmas away from my family. From here to anywhere, just remember that there are always those less fortunate than you and I. While I might be away from my family, I'm so glad that I get to spend it in the one place that shows the magic all year around. I'll make families love each other, blush, feel genuinely embarrassed by pointing out their bad sweaters, or use my famous line: " Don't look do happy. You're in Disney. Smiles are free here." That always turns a frown to a smile.

Yes, being miles apart from my family will hurt tomorrow (on the one day I really look forward to it), but I'm doing my part to others.

Have a Merry Christmas all and a joyous healthy New Year. To 2011 and "Letting The Memories Begin."

Peace and Christmas Love,


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Writing Share Wednesday: 3

Whoever wishes to take on this weekly challenge is welcome to grab the banner and use it on their blog. It is a testament to stay in the constant writing mode, no matter what setbacks jump in your way. Writing is a healing process for me today and it began as such. Anyone who uses it as a similar tool, I invite you on this journey.

* * *

The warrior looked to the ground briefly, its hands to its head. It looked back to him and Valence gasped. Its hallow eyes seemed more like a deep tunnel. It was acting as a vessel to something more foreign than the infection.

"Can't stay in there forever," said a new voice. It was not of the snake, but a dark creation of the thing holding dominion in its body. It was distinguished, a long echo like a bell and pronouncing each word.


"We are two, perpetually spinning in time. Without one, the balance of all connected to us is altered. I’m your shadow, boy.”

Valence held his response, deft. "Children of Light and Shadow, but it seems we're both hiding from each our true purpose.”

“Not true. For my destiny was set many ages ago, I have prepared too long. But, I cannot put my acceptance in those who are blind to my duty.”

“You’re threatening families. Children.”

“There are reasons for my decision. So many reasons.” The warrior paced the shield, scraping a finger along the outside. “It could have been Irien, and it would have ended then, but the Light jumped to your body. I did not foresee the complication.”

“I hope you’re ready for our meeting.” Valence pressed his hand to the protection of the shield and met Mithrus’ dark, blank eyes. There was no emotion or motivation to the warlord’s words. Only certainty. He countered it, his response bitter. “I’m going to cut the infection out of you.”

“Hard words, Valence. You pretend you know how to bring the Light out and stop my infection.” The Trapos stopped suddenly and put his hand on top of Valence’s, matching his fingers perfectly. He stared at him for a second before curling his fingertips to the shield.

A force smacked Valence through his shield and the entire structure of his aura trembled. The dome wavered, the silver streaks barely a soft glimmer of its power. He dug his heels in, twisted his feet and held both hands to the barrier again. Whatever Mithrus was casting on him through the Trapos vessel, it was ages stronger than he knew how to counter. A series of memories crashed at him, anchoring behind his eyes and flashing sequences of visions. He dug in more as the shield closed around him. It stole his breathing space. Panic filled his lungs like water, the memories heavy and drowning.

Children’s laughter, suddenly punished by screams reverberated in his ears. A city rimmed in sunlight was ablaze by fire falling from the sky. It looked similar to Ismer’s vision of Olinerh. It pulled him through the city and he stopped at the long, ascending stairs of a temple.

The warrior pulled his hand back quickly. Valence lurched forward, his face flat against the aura. The snake’s tongue slipped out from its lips and curled into the smile of a war-maddened man. “I, however, have had time to know my role. I am ancient and wise, and the Shadow of the Universe will plunder this world of its freedom. If they cannot accept my assistance, then they will lay under my foot when I am their god.”

The aura shield squeezed tighter, a sensation like a warm cloth on his skin. A whisper ran through his head with the continuing memories. He thought first it was Mefist and the grainy touch of his voice returning. He hugged the shield closer and his waist pressed flat to it. The Pearls juggled to life inside the scallop pouch. The lip of the pouch flipped open and the five stones rose out.

It was not Mefist, but the strange whispers coming from the Pearls. The warrior drew back farther, reeling its arms in as if attached to a heavy force.

“Give me my Pearls,” Mithrus said, the snake slobbering the words.

“They’re yours no longer,” Valence yelled. He clenched his eyes, infusing every bit of his will to combat the force holding him. His arms budged first, followed by his chest. The Pearls leaned closer toward the warrior, nearly out of his control.

The Trapos lunged to snatch the Pearls, and in last few seconds when the stones were on equal ground, Valence tore himself free of the bind and grabbed them up. The Pearl magic instantly took him over and the aura shield shattered outward. The warrior staggered away from the silver energy. Before it could stand upright, the night swathed Valence. All the darkness of the forest and surrounding midnight became like a cloak over his body and he left the ground. The silver energy soared up with him and he crested over the treetops and toward the sunrise. With stars in his eyes, he hugged the magic close and let it carry him away.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Blogfest Canceled

I AM CANCELING THE AWKWARD WRITING BLOGFEST, which was scheduled for January 8. I realized I might not be around that day and I was also being very restricting the entries. Worry not, cohorts. I'll come back with another blogfest idea in 2011 sometime, probably for a follower milestone or some other event.

So, again, the blogfest is canceled.

For now, please see the below links to sign up for other cool blogfests going down in early 2011.

January 1-31: 100 Words for $100 Blogfest, hosted by Elena Solodow. Join this super awesome blogger for a one sentence blogfest.

January 3: "Show Me Yours" Blogfest, hosted by Summer Frey. Stop by this blogfest to share a 500 word excerpt from your NaNoWriMo 2010 project.

January 15-17: Show vs Tell Blogfest, hosted by Misty Waters. Join this blogfest to write a story around an image of your choice.

Peace and Writing Love,


Friday, December 17, 2010


In a further attempt to show off my artwork, I will upload sketches to my blog as I produce them.

This is a sketch of my protagonist, Valence, as he begins to learn his way around a new type of magic.


Peace and Writing Love,


Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Writing Share Wednesday: 2

Whoever wishes to take on this weekly challenge is welcome to grab the banner and use it on their blog. It is a testament to stay in the constant writing mode, no matter what setbacks jump in your way. Writing is a healing process for me today and it began as such. Anyone who uses it as a similar tool, I invite you on this journey.

* * *

“The age of the Elves in this ancient forest is coming to an end,” said another male. “Our tribes are more united than they. When the war comes, we will crush them.”

Valence swallowed back his next response and gawked on the court of Trapos. “You cannot be planning an assault on their city. What is your reason?”

“We of the Mookla Clan have been given proof that the Elves are no more protected from the infection than any.” It was an older female who spoke now. Her arms were long and thin. She kept them folded and rest her head on her fingers.

Valence took his eyes off her, realizing her breasts hung in the open in a proud display of her matronly power.

“When it corrupts them, they will expand and you can be certain it will not be our land they take.”

“You are putting your people in a very bad position,” he said, but the old woman spat at his words almost immediately. “Instead of readying your men and women for war against your neighbors, you should be seeking diplomacy in their ranks before the infection can reach either of your sides.”

“A demon who speaks on its master’s behalf can be given no reconciliation,” said another lord. “But, we wise-thinking Gunroe offer a proposition.”

His Trapos captor wheeled around at those words and marched to the dais. He went to the ground, his four arms spread to the stairs, before looking at the leaders.

“Lord Do’nak, you cannot be so level headed. Not now.” The warrior pointed back at Valence, all of his certain judgement that he was a demon in the firm set on his finger. “He is not a Moonwalker, but he wears the skin.” Those words seethed on the snake’s lips as he turned back. “Such rationality will bring the demon souls to our own people and it is they who will walk among us corrupted. They will bring their knives behind their backs, we thinking they are friend, and we will trust their masks. Please, reconsider.”

Do’nak reclined back a moment and leaned in his throne to speak with the Trapos matron that had also accused Valence. He saw her nod, her hanging breasts jiggling with her adornments. She, too, leaned to the next chair seating the A'opei Lord, as Do’nak spread his word to the far end of the dais. It continued for a long moment, each passing hiss a bead of sweat tumbling on his forehead. A drop passed down his eye and caught his lip. When the word had traveled through the ten leaders, Do’nak sat up and gave his attention to the leader sitting to his right.

The leader did not speak so Valence could understand, but rather put out a response made from a series of hisses and clicks on his tongue. The next leader also responded, and the next until the Mookla matron and the A’opei Lord stood up.

“He will be tested,” said the lord.

Valence released a breath that he had held for seconds too long. The pressure that tingled along his face spread out and relief washed over him.

The matron took the stairs down, her breasts wiggling as she sinuously moved toward him with careful side steps. A large curved knife appeared in her hand.

“Your hands, demon,” she said. The warrior was at her back, an empty sheath on his belt showing where the blade had come from. The slits in his eyes were the girth of a coin set on its edge. They didn’t care to see him set free, nor alive.

“My name’s Valence,” he said quickly, “if you care enough to stop calling me that.” He looked on her, but the set of her eyes declined that offer. As she reached out with the knife, the tanglelock moved more as one force, reaching higher up his legs and near his waist. She spat quick vicious words, and the weeds crawled back down until his boots were free from their hold. The matron returned the blade and the warrior spun it back into his sheath after a last, careful look on Valence.

“So, what’s this test?” he asked, rubbing his wrists.

“We’ve come to the sanctuary for a reason,” the matron said. “It is very protected. The spirits of our deceased shield the arena and the surrounding grounds.”

“What are they protecting?”

“From our own people,” she said after a moment of thought. “The kind we think you to be. Corrupt, infected, evil: whatever the word is this day. Something has changed them and they are more deadly now than we know how to deal with.”

The A’opei Lord joined the matron at her side, arriving in sheer silence that made Valence quiver. He had not seen him leave the dais.

“They are holding a group of our people at the grounds we once occupied.” He turned Valence to face the thicket of trees a that twisted into a cage of bark and branches. “Those grounds are not a day’s walk from the sanctuary. There was a dozen unaccounted for, but we do not know how many they have killed.”

“Going by myself, am I?”

“That is the test,” the lord said. “If you can break the hold of the demons living in our people, we will consider your freedom.”

“Consider? Nothing more than that?”

“Unfortunately not.”

Are you hearing this, he thought to Mefist, but the Demi was not a quick to respond as normal. Nothing came, not even an itch on his head. He glanced down at his waist to the empty spot where his sword should have been hanging.

“I’ll need my sword,” he said, and then remembered the Pearls, “and anything else you took off me.”

The lord snapped his fingers and a warrior bearing a bundle of his cloak, scabbard and other belongings came to him. His possessions were given back, the sword the last piece for a measure of their own safety. When they had given the blade to him, two other warriors were at his back, spears targeting him. He ignored it this time and finished the straps along the scabbard.

“You leave tonight,” the matron said. “Gather your wits, boy. You’ll need them.”

Valence breathed and walked off, naturally avoiding the mess of weeds at his feet. The spear-bearing warriors followed him.

“Valence,” came the lord’s voice.

He turned back, taking both the scrutiny of the A’opei Lord and Mookla matron in one lethal dose. The other leaders had convened around their equals in the short moment, also silent in their approach.

“Don’t think of running off into the forest. I’ll have an arrow in your back quicker than you can blink.”

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Query Letter Blogfest

Today is the throw down for Jodi's very unique Query Letter Blogfest! Find all of the participants and her re-hash of the rules of play for the fest back at her page. 

The idea was to post your query for commentary to your dream agent. You need to critique at least ten queries. It's a guideline.

Here is my query to my dream agent. I have two who I would really love to work with.

* * *

Dear Jennifer Jackson (or) Matthew Bialer,

A magical aberration called the Darkness has manifested across Villis-Idun and only the Light of the Universe can suppress it. Valence is a needle in the prophecized haystack, or so it seems when he learns he is the Light. Charged with fighting an infection that drives its victims to madness, he does not know where to start the journey.

While the infection readies itself to bring the last war of man, Valence learns there is a second enemy, one on his level: the Shadow of the Universe. Balter Mithrus is returning to finish his proclaimed duty to his people. With that including destroying Villis-Idun through the Darkness, Valence cannot allow it to happen.

Valence accepts the mantle as the Light of the Universe and brings along trusted allies on the road. The deeper they go, he learns the infection is older than most people know. Its birth dates back to the age of the Seentirulian, the first race and literal children of the gods. He cannot help but wonder what he has been pulled into, for if the Seentirulian played a hand in the creation of the Darkness, all hope the people have will be lost.

BOND OF DARKNESS is an epic fantasy, complete at 103,000 words.

Thank you for your consideration.


Justin W. Parente
Writing as J.W. Parente

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Blogfest Rundown

Here's a quick rundown of fests I'll be joining. Come along for the fun.

Query Letter Blogfest: tomorrow (12), runs until December 18. This fest is a unique style as it's shared in the form of query letters addressed to our dream agents. Hosted by Jodi Henry.

"Show Me Yours" Blogfest: January 3. This fest asks you to share a 500 word excerpt from your NaNoWriMo 2010 project. Host by Summer Fray.

100 Words For $100 Blogfest: January 1, runs until January 31. This fest asks you to share a single, 100 word sentence with a 5 word leeway (meaning 95 or 105 is acceptable). Share it on social sites, too. Sign up and post a comment on the Linky page to have your chance at the prize money. Hosted by Elena Solodow.

Awkward Writing Blogfest: January 8. This is my second blogfest which is revisiting the Awkward Writing series a few months back. Badge to come in a separate post. Hosted here!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Writing Share Wednesday: 1

Whoever wishes to take on this weekly challenge is welcome to grab the banner and use it on their blog. It is a testament to stay in the constant writing mode, no matter what setbacks jump in your way. Writing is a healing process for me today and it began as such. Anyone who uses it as a similar tool, I invite you on this journey.

* * *

Valence went into the forest with the Trapos, eyes tied by a cloth and hands bound. Every so often, he jounced over the ground, slipping on some rock or root, and felt the closeness of a spear near his face. They were taking all precautions that he did not slip away from their capture. He thought of the demon that came after Mefist and he through the ley, and what it could have been. The manner that it hissed and struck made him panic, and neither of them wanted to stay around long enough to see what else it was capable of. Stepping away from one threat and into the arms of another, he thought. At least this one isn’t trying to cut me in half yet.

Specks of light moved over the bind covering his eyes, and the beams grew strong and soft with the gentle kiss of wind on his nape. They stopped for a moment and he felt forward with his foot. It was a sudden halt and nothing about it sat comfortable with him. He reached his toe forward, but the ground appeared to drop away suddenly just inches ahead. His stomach sank and a
knot tangled in his throat.

His captors waited a moment more, exchanging words in their language, before he was tugged forcibly left by the bonds. His whole body lurched in the chosen direction and hands instantly went to his shoulders to hold him straight.

“Don’t fight,” one of the Trapos demanded.

“Does it look like I’m fighting?” he asked.

“Demons know trickery like they know how to breathe.”

“Demon? You think I’m a demon? Look at my hair, scaly.”

A more firm grip, like two large fingers closing around his shoulder joint in a pinch, was the Trapos’ response.

Valence winced and settled himself in the discomfort as naturally as possible, but the hold on his shoulder along made him want to scream. He felt the cry rising in him. The snake had him by a vulnerable point, which was made twice as worse as his sword arm. Another short walk later, after the ground had gone from a decline to a flattened area, his bonds were cut and a hand bushed down on his back. His head snapped to the earth and the cover on his eyes was ripped off. He looked on the strangest species of weed. It covered his boots to the ankle, although it made no sound as he stepped onto it. Tiny spores, soft like cotton to his eyes, ran along the twisting stems of the weeds. He examined them closer and saw barbs rise off the spores, hidden beneath their fuzzy appearance. He tried to replant his foot as the weeds strung around the flat of his boot, but they held him down. The spores transfered in the process, clinging to his ankles.

“You will not want to struggle to much.” The Trapos that had sliced the ley gate sat on a stump a few yards ahead of him. “Tanglelock is a nasty weed. Carnivorous if you put your fingers too close. Lucky for you we’re justing putting your feet in.”

“I feel better already. Thanks for sparing me.”

“We will see how long that lasts.”

Valence glanced over the area. The Trapos sanctuary was both beautiful and devastating in ruins at the same time. The ground beneath them, outside the growth of tanglelock, was finished stone, but walls were around him in mishmash of fallen blocks and discarded piles of ancient brick. Weeds had claimed the piles, also. There was a hint of the sanctuary having been covered over at one time, for the remains of a ceiling was evident through from earth, stone and root. An unknown source of water trickled down the walls and vanished into the grooves worn into the perfect floor. He stared ahead past the Trapos male, to a court of more fierce looking snakes. They sat in a fine row, each in a chair molded from the room. He thought he saw amusement on their faces, and more on their flicking tongues.

Monday, November 29, 2010


HECK YES! First NaNoWriMo Win! My year long happy dance begins now.

Peace and Writing Love,


Sunday, November 28, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day Twenty-Eight

So close. This is the last excerpt before the win, which I am expecting a day early (ie: tomorrow). Enjoy and I wish all my other NaNo cohorts a good finish in their dash for the 30th.

Peace and Writing Love,


* * *

The Shattered Darkness
Chapter 15 excerpt

The boat inched forward as if caught on a wake. Something was pushing them. They rocked for a moment and the bow shifted left slightly.

“Keep it straight, Sen.” Issy’s hand tightened around Senic’s. She scooted closer to him and lay her head against his.

The boat drifted on, the front taking its course now. The cavern opened to a wide chamber, the canal feeding into a vast lake. Knolls of grass existed on various islands that sprouted from the lake, the flowers from the other plain growing here as well. Gerad looked to the cavern ceiling as they drifted through the water. He could not keep his mind away from what Melana would have thought of this journey. After a short ride in silence, each of them looking to different areas of the lake, a larger wake rocked their starboard side. It was a minor splash at fist, followed up by a series of larger, more violent shoves. The green water sloshed onto their feet and boat bottom, drying as it had on Kyona’s hand. The wakes came from all directions, thrusting their boat unnavigable as Senic and Issy toppled over on each other.

“What’s happening?” Kyona asked.

“I feel something ahead,” Issy said. “It’s really strong.” She leaned away from the bow as the water continued to spray over the sides. She whined and put her head on her brother’s shoulder. “It hurts.”

“What do you feel?” Aroth asked.

“I can’t think right,” she cried. Senic also cried out, putting his hands out ahead, trying to hold off their pain.

“Something is pushing on me. A bad headache.”

“It is the domain’s defenses,” Aroth said. “Hang on, this is about to get rough.”

The water began to bubble and froth. Their boat spun in the foam and quickly took off across the lake, speeding by the small land dots and missing them barely. Giant upsurges of water stabbed into the air around them as they passed, as if siege engines were bombarding fire around their vessel. The green rain sprinkled down and they entered another cavern, the lake thinning off into a river again. The stinging water spat at them from the bow as they tore across the surface, and the children ducked low to the bench, gripping it.

“Don’t lose track, kids,” Aroth yelled to them. “This voyage is still under your control. Think through it.”

“It hurts!” Issy cried. “Make it stop.”

“Focus, Issy,” Kyona said.

She reached over Gerad, sitting on the boat floor with the kids and held them steady.

Gerad glared up ahead where a split in the river appeared. “Quick, Issy. You can do it. Help your sister, Senic.”

Although they continued to whine, the boat trembled, fighting to take both directions. It rocked wildly in the twins’ mental battle to take them down the right path. The river flooded into the boat now, filling too quickly to evaporate.

“Right,” Issy called, her brother repeating it almost on top of her. They rose up on their knees, taking their hands to the bow. The boat struggled for a second longer before they careened to the chosen path.

“Keep at it!” Aroth demanded again.

The children continued to call out the directions as they just came to the multiple paths the river opened at. The skimmed the side of the cavern, riding the wall as one of their choices came too late. The water continued to fill the boat.

“I see land ahead,” Kyona said. “A bit more, kids.”

Their screams became unbearable now, the pressure finally touching Gerad, also. The front of the boat sunk, mere yards from the shore the opened before them. The water weight inside the vessel took over and the bow dove under. The river gushed at them and they each went beneath the surface.

Gerad tossed and spun, blowing air through his mouth and yelling. His eyes bolted open, a green rush in his face and bubbles being thrown at him. He saw Kyona sweep ahead of him and he attempted to grab her, but she had wrapped herself around Issy. Senic was nowhere to be found. He spun over in the torrent, Aroth seemingly unconscious and being dragged at the rear. He heaved in, water entering his throat, but he burst out of the river with his next choking breath. They thudded onto the land with a flood tossing them ashore. He hacked and slammed his hand against his chest to spit up. Kyona rolled onto her side, Issy held in her arms with one hand covering her face. Splinters of wood exploded behind him as the boat found the shore. He wobbled to his feet, staggering to Kyona first. He pulled Issy off her and then took her up. Aroth came from behind, falling to the grass next to him.

Aroth took in an exhausted breath and looked up. He stared around. “Where’s the boy?” he asked. “Where is Senic?”

Gerad scanned the shore and gasped, stepping forward. “Renikarr, no,” he said in a prolonged breath. Senic lay face down in grass not ten steps ahead of them. He did not move.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day Twenty-Five

Happy Thanksgiving to all my cohorts. Extended greetings to my family, who I am away from for the first holiday season ever. And I tell you, it is really hard to be at work today, despite it being Disney and all, and not with my family.

But, regardless, I found a good connection in the cafeteria here on property, so I'll be Skyping with them all very soon. That brightens my day a bit.

Here is my latest excerpt.

Peace and Writing Love, plus Turkey.


* * *

The Shattered Darkness
Chapter 14 excerpt

At the other end of the chamber, cut out of the rug, was a similar patch of floor where Ismer showed that he prayed. He took an interest in the prayer circle once more, kneeling at it with a finger on the line. He had noticed it with Ismer’s circle, but tiny lines formed interior rings. They were spaced not even inches apart, pegs connecting them at various parts.

“That’s not like the other prayer circle,” Mefist said. He kneeled next to Valence and the moment after, a whirlwind force pulled them to the ground. There was a flash of green, terribly bright, and something smacked at his back. He opened his eyes, daring the light’s intensity, but it was gone. They lay on the floor outside the circle.

“This seems too similar,” Valence said to the Demi.

“I think you’re right.” Mefist gathered himself and pulled Valence up. “And, I don’t think that was a prayer circle.” He looked around the new room. It was not the one that gave homage to day and night, but something else entirely. “In fact, I’m sure of it. We were portaled somewhere.”

“I think this is a ley,” Valence said, “but I’ve never seen an active one. I wonder what we did.”

“Who cares.” Mefist took in their new surroundings. “Whichever of the Archons called this tower home had no sense of decor. A chair and work table over there,” he said, pointing to it, “and some candles. Very homy. All the power in the world, messengers of the gods, and they can’t put a carpet down?”

Valence ignored Mefist’s complaints and found the door leading to what was likely the stairs down. He had learned his lesson and did not doubt the glance down would fare him any more solid a stomach than the last. He looked along the walls. The construction of the towers were mostly similar, with differences attributing each keeper’s taste, but what had been left to preservation sent his mind walking. Ismer’s tower and the one before both had the rib-like beams running down the entire length. He had not thought it as anything more than supporting the height of the tower, but he looked more closely at the beams. Tube-like glass was on either side of the beam, running top to bottom. An energy fed off it, obviously unused for some time, but even the oldest trace amounts held to age. It felt Seentirulian in shape and depth, but it was very deep, as if the glass did not end at the floor. It was as if something beneath the ground gave the tower the energy supply.

He came back to Mefist, thinking. The Demi was sitting on the floor just outside the ley gate. “These towers are definitely strange. I think they were used as conductors of some kind. But, I can’t tell for what.”

“Fascinating,” Mefist said. “Does any of this help us, though?” He went to say something more, but was interrupted by the glow of the gate starting up again.

It hummed to them, a force behind the veil of the ley pushing into the empty chamber. It filled the room and a sudden pressure ran along Valence’s back, his instinct’s way of telling him that they were being watched. The green ran through the ley’s patterns and the air shimmered with a flash of prismatic color. He looked at Mefist, whose red eyes and black slits softened with concern. He, too, felt the presence coming at them.

“I don’t like the way this feels,” Mefist said.

“Neither do I,” Valence said. He put out his hand to feel
the wards on the tower. They had been there, but something was
sucking the protection away at a very quick rate. Layers over layers of ancient defenses were being bypassed.

“Damn,” he muttered. “I just remembered the bad thing about ley gates.”

“What’s that?”

“Anyone can use them. We took this gate from the sun and moon tower, but it could lead somewhere else, also.”

No sooner had he spoken, the shimmering air burst apart like shattering glass and a tendril shot out from the gate. It was writing through the air, visible in the space they stood and just not inside the threshold of the ley. It snapped and coiled, grabbing Valence up, but Mefist was already on it. He came down on the tendril with a sai, pinning it to the floor. The slimy arm detached from whatever body fed it, the pierced half wriggling. The cut portion morphed to a thin, deadly needle and slashed back at them.

Valence dodged back, but grabbed at his chest after the swing had passed over. Fine drops of his blood sprinkled across the floor. He took his steps back, Mefist guarding his front, as the tentacle morphed again to a shape bearing claws. Another tendril came from the threshold, also clawed. They reached for them and something larger was coming out of the gate. A thick mass, slick with a moist shell as its body, rolled from the ley, the claws dragging it forward into the chamber. It hissed and spat, minimizing their safe ground, and two eyes pushed down the body to look on them. They flickered to life, the glowing shapes not even blinking. They only stared. The thing hissed again, vicious, and lurched.

The body of the demon went right while the arms came from the other side. Mefist put himself in front of the arms and it fetched a strike that put him to the floor. The Demi fought to rise, but the tendrils slapped down on him and knocked him chest-flat again. Valence leapt over the arms as the body rolled for him, the eyes spinning upward as the body revolved. Its stare never left him.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day Twenty-Three

So I don't normally post my NaNo excerpts a day apart, nor do I normally post twice in a day, but I found my latest excerpt quite tasty. I also passed the 40k mark, so I'm feeling the win coming close.

Short and sweet, here's your next look.

Peace and Writing Love,


* * *

The Shattered Darkness
Chapter 13 excerpt

She glanced back at Phinella, who was tending to her mare. A patch of sun hung over her, but the brushing of the trees put it out. Eris looked up to the branches, but it was not the drifts putting out away the light. The shadow of something in the crowns moved across the air, stopping where the sunlight was shining through. When the things had blotted all the nearest sunbeams, she saw their faces. The Trapos warriors had followed them to the Crystal Pool, waiting and watching with bows dangling in their arms.

Phinella looked at her, a sweet smile on her and none the wiser of the assault awaiting them from above. The mistress’ expression changed when she next looked at her directly and she gave her a nod. She mouthed, “Do what you must.”

Eris dug her heel into the dirt, gave the snakes a second glance over and sprinted for Phinella. One dropped from the branches between them, its arms stretching for her. She doubled back and spun away from the snake, her hands already ahead of her and yellow aura snapping to life around them. She pushed at the Trapos as it brought its face to her. What should have been ochre eyes, splinters of black in them, were instead pure coal. The warrior flew off his feet, but the other snakes dropped around them before the first could hit the ground.

She motioned for Phinella toward her, yelling “Run!” The mistress slapped her own mare and the she took off for Eris. The pair of horses blitzed off into the forest. Phinella buried herself in her student’s arms and they ran for the Pool. Eris touched the well’s edge first when a thick twang slashed into the air. The mistress stumbled, instant dead weight, and Eris also dropped from the Phinella’s arm grabbing her leg. She spun around, drawing her in, but glared upon a two-foot long arrow driving out just below her shoulder.

Phinella did not so much as whine. She was simply silent. Eris crawled over her body, touching the shaft of the arrow lightly. She yanked her hand back when the mistress moaned and was grateful for it to have not been fatal. She rolled her over as the Trapos closed around them, but she gave the mistress her attention.

“Can you sit up?” she asked.

“Do it, dear,” Phinella said, her words in a mumble. She forced her head at the Trapos and let it drop back against Eris’ chest. She had seen their eyes. “Now.”

The Trapos launched themselves at the women, worse weaponry than bows coming at them. Deadly spears with coiling, tiny teeth were raised above their heads. One pike embedded itself inches from their feet and Phinella scurried back from it. Another soared at them, but Eris was already on her knees with her hands to the trees. An aura shield blazed from the dirt, coursing potent and solid. The spear cracked against the shield and bounced off in two pieces. The useless tosses of their spears did not stop the attack, however. The snakes put their fists to the shield, repelled with each strike and dazed, but they came back with heavier hits and more determined.

Eris leaned back with each hit, the aura snapping her will harshly. Each of their fists put a rebounding tone through her head, an echo that would not quit.

“They’re coming through, Eris,” Phinella said, sliding back further. “Can you hold it?”

She fumbled with her answer. The barrage was sapping everything from her. “I don’t know.” She stuttered off the last word and clenched her lips. “I need to...I need—”

“Don’t speak. Just think.”

“Think what?” Her question was lost under the ravaging hisses of the snakes. They glared at her through the shield, but showed no sign of weakness. A larger one, the first to have spotted them when they had crossed into their territory, flicked its tongue, tasting the aura. It slurped its tongue back in and jumped on top of the shield. A knife was then in its hand, driving down. Eris knew the knife’s point came through the shield, for she was knocked to her end on the rebound. She shook her head and looked up. An inch or two of the steel was stuck, but the warrior did not pulled it back. All four arms went to work where the knife had punctured.

Phinella screamed as another knife came at the shield in front of them, also barely puncturing it. The grounded warriors followed the other’s lead.

“I won’t be able to hold it,” Eris said, her breath escaping her. “They’ll be through soon.”

A sharp splinter cracked down the wall of the shield and Eris glared at it in horror. She looked up to the Trapos warrior, who had his face pressed to the barrier. His coal eyes set a curse on her: that they would not escape their murderous assault. He hissed, his open mouth drawing air and calling the others to him. The grounded Trapos crawled to him, tangling in a dark green ball of arms, heads and black eyes. They slapped at the shield, coming ever closer to them.

Phinella had slipped away, the blood loss taking her to an unconscious sleep. Eris backed against the well and clung a hand to the root dome, trying to maintain any shred of bravery left in her. A thought spun in her mind and she turned herself around, leaving Phinella to lay and looked at the dome. The Trapos were situated just above it.

She kept herself apart from the well, hands open at it and scanning the wards. She would require great power to ignite it and that would force her to pull back the shield’s protection slightly. Phinella grabbed her leg, but did not make a sound, and Eris readied herself. She pulled all the will left in her to her core and spread it down her arms. The channels were bleeding to be released from the incantation she was thinking. She blinked, her spell snapping to life the instant she pulled the protection away from the shield. Fire was in her hands and touched the roots. They were taken up immediately, the barrier no longer protection enough from the heat. She whispered another word, twirling her hands and releasing the full fury of the raging fire. It leapt and spun upward, consuming the Trapos.

The snakes screamed and hissed, jumping from the barrier over the well. Dancing tongues fell from the smoldering scales as they tried to pat it out in the dirt, but unsuccessfully. The fire wrapped around their bodies swift and merciless. Eris pulled the shield back and kept the fire steady on the Trapos. She strained to hold the fire and the rebounding heat made her back away. It was growing heavier by the second, but their dying hisses only fueled a greater passion to hold the torture on them.

When the last Trapos stopped moving, no more than a black charred corpse, Eris broke the link of the incantation and flicked her hands to cool the burn. She returned for Phinella, who sitting half-turned against the well, observing its ruin. She seemed to be teary-eyed, her cheeks red and lost in the emotion of seeing the ancient Pool as no more than wasted space.

“Eris,” Phinella said, weakly, “what have you done?”

“I am sorry, Mistress.” Eris took Phinella against her body and cradled her. “It was the only thing I could do.”

“I know, dear. But, Valence. You have taken away your only chance of finding him.” She paused and took in slow breaths. “I know of no other way to help you.”

“It doesn’t matter,” she said. “Finding him would have meant nothing if I had lost you in the process. You’ve given me so much. You are the teacher who never gave up on me when everyone else did.”

Tuesday Special: How Many of These Books Have Your Read?

Via Merrilee Faber @ Not Enough Words.

Have you read more than 6 of these books? The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.

• Copy this list.
• Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.
• Italicize the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.
• Tag other book nerds.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Harry Potter series – JK Rowling
To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The King James Bible
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Nineteen Eighty Four (1984) – George Orwell
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Little Women – Louisa M Alcott
Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
Complete Works of Shakespeare
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Middlemarch – George Eliot
Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
Emma -Jane Austen
Persuasion – Jane Austen
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
Animal Farm – George Orwell
The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Atonement – Ian McEwan
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Dune – Frank Herbert
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
On The Road – Jack Kerouac
Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
Dracula – Bram Stoker
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
Ulysses – James Joyce
The Inferno – Dante
Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
Germinal – Emile Zola
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
Possession – AS Byatt
Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
Watership Down – Richard Adams
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
Hamlet – William Shakespeare
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
??? (For you observant types, yes the list does appear to be missing book no. 100)

Here's my addition to the list, to fill in missing #100 - Paradise Lost -- John Milton

Too many tags to be made. Take the list if you wish to partake in the challenge.

Peace and Writing Love,


Monday, November 22, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day Twenty-Two

We are nearing the home stretch, people! Eight days to go! Be warned, NaNo's sight is still about an hour behind of the word logging, so if you try to log anything past 11 pm (any time zone), it will roll it over into the next day. Do not crunch!

In other news, I have recently added an Artwork page to my blog in an attempt to get more traffic. I am a freelance illustrator. I range in concept art, story boarding, and I have even taken on covert art projects (although the turnaround time for those are longer). If you are interested in any work, we can discuss it. I know the page is rather bland, but it's just a start. I'll work at the glamour end of it.

Here is your excerpt:

The Shattered Darkness
Chapter 13 excerpt

Sevestra thought of Orin and what she had done. If he had taken her guidance to heart, his army would be at the forest in a few short days. By that time, Balter would be ready to be released from his incubator, the body ready for him to walk in again. She sat waiting for the word, the Tulzo Ank clutched close to her chest. As great as her part was in his return, she dreaded the day, for when he woke, he would be ready to call on the Darkness. It had been his aim: find the way to return to the world and control the infection. At all ends, the plan sounded as if it would fall apart before it could be enacted, but here she sat, waiting.

She held the manuscript down from her body, staring the jacket. He would take her at his side and bring the Darkness back to him, as if summoning a common solider, to give it orders. She looked at the clan mark on her skin and touched the cover. The lock snapped off and she opened it to the first page. In all the time she had played a false role for King Pallanza, with all the power she had obtained and the respect that she had be given, she was certain she was not ready for this day. So mighty a face in the world above, but her, she was a frightened witch about to witness the rebirth of an ancient enemy.

The doors of her chamber opened and a small demon entered for her. Its stomach curled in, the ribs in its chest more prominent than they should been, and two large knobs bulged from its shoulders, arms hanging long and thin. It bowed to her, tucking its gangling arm at its body, and kept its eyes to the floor.

“Is it ready?” she asked.

The demon rose slowly and put a hand out to her. “Come, Mistress Sevestra. He awaits you.”

Sevestra readied herself as much as she would be able and closed the manuscript. She gave a final peer through her chambers and wondered if anything would be the same from this day forth. She gave the demon her hand and together they walked the long corridor leading to his throne, the same she had kept for him. The crystal around the throne shone a sharp violet, his chamber aglow only by its light. Her mind went wandering and she expected something to be waiting for her when she approached. Other demons rose up from the floor, part of the room itself, and bowed as she passed.

The demon that showed her into Balter’s chamber put itself in front of the throne and stared at her, although she would not give it her eyes. The room suffered a quick drop in temperature and while she felt it, the bowing demons showed it as no inconvenience.

“He comes now, Mistress,” the demon said. It went to the floor on both knees, arms stretched to the floor in exultance. “The world awaits you again, Lord Mithrus.”

The opening of a door came from somewhere distant in the chamber and Sevestra looked for it. She knew of no other door, but when he turned next, Balter was approaching her. He was toned, each bare muscle a glistening testament of his long awaited glory. He came to her and she realized then he wore nothing. The coldness seemed to give no consequence to him and she could not help but stare upon his lower region.

He smiled upon her, taking his head back slightly and narrowing his eyes to piece that which had entranced her.

“Marvelous work the resurrection has given my body.” He checked his arms and ran his forefinger down the damp curve of his arm. “Although some things remain unchanged.” Mithrus put a hand under Sevestra’s chin and brought her to look at him.

She rose, not knowing how for she did not will it, but she stood inches from him.

“Are you well, Sevestra?”

“I am, my Lord.” She was weak kneed and grabbed to his arm when her legs gave away. He caught her up and brought her to his body. “Thank you.”

“Your age does not beget your feelings for me, do they?”

“I’m not sure I understand.”

“It’s all right, dear. I need someone at my side you know. The throne will grow cold should someone else not share the rule. Will you be that person to seat it?”

“It would be an honor, but I must earn it. Orin goes on my behalf to the forest. The directive there remains unchanged since we last spoke. Are we ready to bring our war to them?”

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day Seventeen

Day seventeen! Yes, a milestone that felt as good as day fifteen when I was able to pass 25,000 words. I made my 31,000 mark only two days later. Now my NaNo Stats graph can't laugh at me for at least another day.

Here is the latest chosen excerpt.

Enjoy and continued writing success through November.

Peace and Writing Love,


* * *

The Shattered Darkness
Chapter 9 excerpt

Athmore coughed and massaged his neck. “We should get back to them. They get a little strange around this hour. I hate to see how they pass the time now.”

Yinadi smiled a large grin, the man he had shown himself to be—the speaker for the steward—now gone beneath the image of a mischievous Weaver. Athmore’s student dashed off into the shadows of skinny trees along the next hill, the grass short as if trimmed recently. Yinadi led them along a half beaten road side that showed a small farm house in the distance. A few other dwellings, residents of Gundo or not, rose up around the farmland just outside the fence line. Athmore breathed heavy and raspy, his age catching up with him for how swiftly Yinadi was taking them across the up and downs of the land.

Yinadi hid behind a tree, his body fitting its shape almost perfect. He picked up a rock, sized it with a short toss and gave Athmore a nod. He ran off toward the farmhouse, hunched and quick, and released the rock with a well readied arm. Yinadi staggered forward from the follow through and doubled back to their location. The clack of the rock hitting the fence bounced softly back. A moment later, the door opened and a figure strolled out. His whistle was also soft, but as noticeable as Athmore’s. The man twirled a walking staff up and tapped it on the fence’s gate post and returned to the house as commonly as he had come.

Athmore moved from behind his tree and went for the farmhouse first. The man at the fence left the door open, the golden glow of the inside spreading on his advance.

“Come,” Yinadi said. “They’re expecting us.”

Gerad and Kyona tailed Yinadi, hanging in his shadow as they entered the house. A pungent fusty scent hit him in the face. While it seemed to come from all directions, any crack or split floorboard, they approached the house’s attendant. He smiled toothless and pointed his walking stick at the far wall.

Athmore did not speak to the man, but slid his finger down the side of his eyepatch. The man’s toothless grin became a laugh and mumbled words over an old tongue sounding like, “Good to have you back.” Athmore patted the wall and something like a foot thumped behind it. Two sharp lines cracked down the wall on either side of him and continued on through the floorboards. Dust puffed up from the floor and it shifted beneath them.

“The door, Yindai,” Athmore said. “Let our guests down.”

Athmore stepped off where the floorboards showed their separation, Gerad and Kyona backing with him, and Yinadi jammed his fingers into two knots in the wood. The knots fell out, false plugs it seemed, and he hoisted a portion of the floor up and let it rest against the wall.

Gerad glanced down the rickety steps sending them to a level in the house that was beneath the ground. Yinadi went first, Kyona and Athmore after him, leaving only Gerad standing at the top, still examining the sturdiness of the steps. The old man at his back whistled and he turned.

He smiled, shooing him with his hand, and mumbled, “It’s worth it.”

At the bottom, he met Kyona and Yinadi. Athmore was already paces ahead of them in a tunnel leading nowhere. Another wall came to them at the end. Voices were on the opposite side, cheering also mixed with shouts that sounded like wagers being placed on something. When Athmore shoved the at wall with his shoulder, it slid like the solid slab it was, but gave way to a larger room that looked every part of being burrowed from the earth. Roots hung from the clotted dirt ceiling and lined the walls. The occupants slowly turned to them, some seated on tree stumps and others toward the center. Two men floated in the air above the crowd, a wavy field of energy under their backs. They appeared the most surprised by Athmore’s arrival.

“Testing levitation?” Athmore asked. Smiles grew across the gathering. “Who’s the high bidder. I’m in!” Roars and laughter jumped from the men, hands slapping Athmore’s back as he disappeared into the crowd.

Yinadi turned to them, the last hint of the speaker Jarrin disappearing in his grin. “Meet the Steeltongues.”

Monday, November 15, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day Fifteen

Welcome to the halfway point of NaNoWriMo 2010. While I was not able to write much yesterday, I'll be past the 25k point later in the day. On that note, I'd like to congratulate Dawn Embers for reaching a whopping 50,000 words. She has another fifteen days to reach her goal of 100,000 words. Keep up the fantastic work, Dawn!

Here's your excerpt for the day. Enjoy and I wish continued success to you all through November.
Peace and Writing Love,


* * *

The Shattered Darkness
Chapter 7 excerpt

“So, why is it called the Crystal Pool?”

“Do not reach for the water in the well. It will tease you with beautiful things that seem so near, but it is only a vision.”

Eris mulled all of Phinella’s warnings about the Pool and would wait for the next sun. She turned to the mistress, who was already examining her as she thought. “Can you teach me before sunrise?”


Eris rolled in her bed that night, the sheets twisting around her legs and body. She kept her arms up, folded beneath the pillow and aching.

Her eyes were hot and heavy, begging to close after the hours of quick and hard training Phinella had given her. The mistress said she had not taught a student in years and hoped she had done it right. While Eris had all her faith in Phinella, such confidence did not keep her awake. Weariness folded over her eyes and she was taken to sleep.

At mid sun the next day, she arrived at the Crystal Pool, whose surrounding grounds seemed strangely attended. Phinella was true as to the Pool’s beauty and all of Eris’ rapture of being given yet another way to locate Valence forced her to run to it. She leaned over the well. Roots along its lip raised like a dome over it. The stones forming the well were a soft gray, more pristine in appearance than the welcoming grounds. All around the inside of the dome, brass bowls had been fastened to it, each bearing a small flame cuddled in the Elf brand embers.

She held her hand over the water and a ripple went across it a moment later. The ring began at the center and pushed out, an image forming over the soft wakes as they moved. Valence appeared on the surface, sending looks left and right as if watching for something. The scene surrounding him focused next, familiar buildings and hatched roofs at his back. He stood under a bare tree with nearly no color. Eris waited for him steadfast, before he looked directly at her. She turned around, sure he might have been looking around her, but when she turned back, he nodded and smiled.


He mouthed words, but there was no voice to them. She waited before he seemed to repeat himself. “Where are you,” he was saying.

“I’m with the Elves,” she said aloud. “I’ve been looking for you. I need you.”

He mouthed, “Come home.”

“I can’t, I—” She paused and looked around. “I’m a week away.”

“Please,” he said. The water rippled again, now more violent. It sloshed against the well walls and splashed onto the edge.

“What’s wrong? Are you okay?”

“It’s mom and dad.”

Eris reeled back, Valence’s face contorted as something pulled him away from the water. A shadow dashed in front of the Pool and a bullet of water shot up from it. It drenched the roots and stone, but Eris sat a foot away, reclining on her arms and watching it. It was not long before she scrambled up, all of Phinella’s warnings forgotten in her greed. She crawled for the
Pool and put her head through the water, allowing her body to fall in after. She twirled, legs over body, before the wash and push of the water spit he out onto hard ground of dirt and pebbles. A woman screamed in the distance and she pulled her chin up to glance level at the ground. She breathed at the dirt and watched feet scamper by her eyes.

She was yanked to stand by a two-handed grip on her cloak and thrown into a choke. The arm beneath her throat was black-skinned, minute prickly hairs lining its arm like razors.

“Pretend to be dead, girl?” the thing at her back asked. It growled hunger and hissed in her ear. A worm-like tongue slid down her lobe and she shied away from it.

Eris thrashed, a well-placed heel to the creature’s leg and the thing released her. She spun around, the creature whirling back to face her just as her saber met its neck. Its head plopped off and bobbled across the ground. After the creature’s body dropped, she looked at the head. Its face was pulled up in a snout, the nose two swine-like slits for breathing. Beady dark eyes sat above high boned cheeks, almost hidden, and they gleamed like obsidian in death.

Friday, November 12, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day Twelve

This post was meant for yesterday, but seeing as a ten hour work day took priority, I got essentially no writing done. Here's to playing catch-up! Hope all of your projects are still chugging along. We'll be breaching week the start of week three very soon.

Here is your excerpt. It's safe to say that I've really been waiting to write this scene. Enjoy and continued writing success through November.

Peace and Writing Love,


* * *

The Shattered Darkness
Chapter 6 excerpt

Monday, November 8, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day Eight


So we're one week past the beginning of NaNoWriMo 2010. I hope everyone's project is moving along. My current count as of 12:00 noon EST today is 13,000. I hope to be at 15,000 by the end of the day.

Here comes your daily excerpt. Enjoy and continued writing success through November.

* * *

The Shattered Darkness
Chapter 5 excerpt

“Valence, wait!” Eris cried, though she doubted he heard it. The young teen lashed the reins and forced her horse next to his. “Please, where are you going?” She wanted to reach for his sleeve, but he did not so much as look at her. Her brother kept his eyes and expression firm ahead. If she did chance grabbing onto him, her fourteen-year-old, thin body would be pulled from the saddle. She sucked quick breaths, formed a plan and kicked at the horse. The black mare snorted and thrust a pace or two ahead of Valence.

She finally drew his attention as she looked back and he sneered. His horse dodged left and right to his pulls, but she kept her speed and matched his advance to pass her. She flicked the reins again to bring her mare a few paces ahead, and yanked the bridle harshly to spin. The sable horse reared and Valence spun off course, his mare frightened to collide. His mare tumbled, a painful neigh pushing from her as she landed awkwardly.

Valence scrambled on his knees and held Timat by the neck.

“What are you doing, Eris? Stupid girl!”

She hopped off her horse and doubled over next to Timat, recovering breaths as she placed a hand on its twisted fetlock. Harsh winds growled at them and Timat whinnied like a weak colt.

“Why are you following me?”

“Why are you walking away from your family again?”

“There is no again.” He shoved Eris aside with his body and tended to Timat’s injury. “I obviously was not welcome back to start. I was an idiot for thinking otherwise.”

“Dad is confused, Valence,” she said. “He has been told many things by the Consulate and those other advisors that he can’t think straight.”

“He seemed to be thinking just fine when he confronted me like that.”

“He hasn’t been sleeping is all. Please believe me, he wants you back and he’s said he doesn’t care about the incident. He would rather hear it from you than be told what to think about his own son.” She was crying now and smudging her tears away with her arm. “No one’s perfect and he’s ready to accept that.”

Valence finished wrapping Timat’s fetlock as best he could and pulled the mare up slowly. He moved his bags from where they hung to the saddle. “You are.”

Eris did not say a word and the tears returned.

“You don’t think you’re perfect?” He tightened the last strap and wrapped it through the supporting ties.


“I’m learning to control it.”

“Not as quickly as the Consulate’s asked, right? So why is your judgment on having powers too great for your age is not on the same standard. If anything we ever learned in school was remotely true, you should be the one walking away. But no.” He shoved her away again and pushed the sable mare aside. “You’re just Eris. They say, ‘If Valence could kill a Lunata brother, maybe they could prevent you from becoming like me.’”

“It’s not like that.” She grabbed onto his arm one last time, hoping he might have a shred of respect left for himself. “You can walk away from them. Fine. They might not believe you, but you would walk away from me? I have told them what you wanted me to tell, but not because I was scared. It’s because I believe something bad really did happen at Thenar. Something made you—” She choked on the last part of her words.

“Kill Irien,” Valence said.


He pulled Timat gently and waited for her to test the strength of the injury. The mare hobbled for the first steps, the hoof barely touching the ground, and then managed to walk on it.

The wind tore at his back, but Eris watched him go.

“I’m sorry.” Valence met her eyes a last time, and said, “but your sympathy alone is not enough for me anymore.”

Peace and Writing Love,


Saturday, November 6, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day Six

Good day, NaNo writers. I hope all of your projects are moving along smoothly. I'm astounded that some buddies I've been looking up are on 15-25k words only six days in. As sickening as that is for me to look at, good for them.

As I try my best to not write verbal vomit, I'm taking a tip from Jodi Henry @ Turning the Page and posting a few passages per post, considering people may need a break from their own writing for however brief a time. As I planned to post every Monday for my update (and being my day off), I'll be making it twice a week.

For your enjoyment and brief NaNo rest:

The Shattered Darkness
Chapter 3 excerpt

* * *

An organ’s tune went around Orin’s hallow chamber like a carousel. A creature with a grimly hunched back leaned over the keys and played. Always played, despite the bony fingers sore with each note. Not a demon, but a Human at one time.

Orin glanced at the organ player, who at the same time turned to him. While some color of his Human side still showed, black veins spread from his chin and up his face. Large veins pumped around his neck and fed over his body. The commander sat with a pen in hand by candle light and regarded the non-Human with little more than a curled lip.

“It hurts to play, does it not?” Orin asked him.

The subject nodded with a sigh, but said, “If my Master wishes my continued service at the keys, I will do so. But yes, my fingers ache.”
“I speak for your Master in this room, and he wishes for a new tune.” He turned back to his chair, to his more-than-rotting mahogany table, and the subject turned back to his tortured playing. He scribbled something along the papers as new music echoed from the pipes with painful coughs. The subject held the note long, drawing Orin’s eyes away from his work once more, and then flew into a piece that was made for his room. Each key struck, heavy and dull, could have been one more soul dropping into the Nether.

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo: Day One

This morning started off with a bang. While I have been scrounging to finish the first half of my chapter outline for this project, I got maybe five chapters in before calling it quits last evening. That said, I rose at 8:30 and immediately went to work, a half hour break for breakfast and a second break now for blogging.

Current time and count: 11:30 AM EST, 1900 words.

First Write-In tonight at 7:00 PM. 

Word goal by 10:00 PM EST: = or > 5000 words.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Slap Me Silly! We're 15 Hours Away!

Hello All Hallow's Eve hooligans!

Tis I, the invader of your creative mind. Here at In My Write Mind, and around other countless blogs, the countdown for November 1 is ticking away at mere hours. Throughout November, should time and sleep permit, I'll be posting every few days (short posts, and likely every monday), to keep my progress known outside of my author page.

The epic fail of NaNo is so finely drawn against succeeding for me for one reason: I work five days (Wednesday through Sunday) with the strangest hours at times, but luckily, two local write-in sessions here in Orlando fall on my only two days off. Score for me!

Fifteen hours away and I still have to shed off a final outline for my progress.

See you all very soon!

Have a safe and Merry Halloween, and sleep during the day! For come November 1, the zombie apocalypse of aspiring writers and novelists will be upon us once more.

Peace and Writing Love,


Thursday, October 28, 2010

Flyby Extras and Updates

So much work still needs to be done to prep before November 1. However, the biggest new decision I've made in the last few days was to switch my project. On October 25, I finished my manuscript, Bond of Darkness, and had planned to switch tracks for the month. I felt as if I needed to write something new. So I've been brewing the thought on a companion novel for a while and saw that as my solution.

Since then, I felt I was going to be sentencing myself to certain failure come the end of the month. I then made the bold decision to make my new project the second manuscript of the series, The Shattered Darkness. This way, I felt I was getting something doubly as productive complete, or attempting to, at least. I have to now pound out a new chapter outline for the project/manuscript (or essentially re-write what I had put on paper), and guide myself into the new story for the month.

Here is the cover art I slapped together with Photoshop.



(Thanks for teaching me this emoticon, Brenda.)

In other news, with the finishing of Bond of Darkness, I also slapped together an epilogue which was never in the original planning. Unlike prologues (which have that nasty cursed tendency to info. dump all over my face), the epilogue is a satisfactory way to bring additional ends of any story to a cliffhanger or close. In my case, I created a secondary protagonist who was featured five times through the manuscript. The epilogue is my way of cliffhanging her story. No one quite knows what any of this means, but I'm posting it just for fun. Reading for leisure. Double Horrah!

* * *

Epilogue — The Pearls of Mithrus

Howls of nocturnal creatures sang over the walls of Exaltus. Clouds over the northern plain stirred unsavorily as they prepared to deluge. The swift, undeviating rain came and thrashed the bridges in the city. Lush weeds and ancient tree roots dug up from the earth and spread across the ground.

Eris sat alone inside the Registrar. Candle light flickered dimly and she pulled roll after roll of parchment aside. Her research of the last two days amounted to untidy piles that loosely hung off the tables, threatening to tumble into an incomprehensible mess. 
“May I remove these for you, dear?” The keeper arrived at the table side and hefted her collection into his arms. He leaned over her, staring but she did not offer him a look. “You need more light, darling. You’ll ruin your beautiful eyes.”
“Please, no,” she said at last, “but you can put those out.” She pointed to a thick root tangling across the ceiling. A cobwebbed fixture bearing three lit candles hung above her, while two additional candles sat before the collection of parchment. “I need less light.”
“Why ever would you need to read in less light?”
“I’m not asking for an interrogation,” she said, avoiding the niceties the keeper had expected. “You can re-file those if you’d like, but less light.”
“As you wish, dear.” The keeper pulled a snuffer from under a second, more organized pile, and put out the three wicks. He slipped into an aisle, mumbling.
Smoke wafted to her nose and she leaned closer to the roll spread in front of her. She lifted the candles and placed them carefully on top of the parchment. A slow drip of wax plopped from stick. She cupped her hands around each small tongue to dull the light further and whispered two words before snatching the flames entirely. She slapped her hands onto the roll and a primrose shade spread from her palms.
Eris slid her hands over the roll, the primrose outlining into the words with additional ink-like strokes. The pale lines darkened to true ink form, new words arranging themselves.
It read: And He Who Watches holds above all those uniformity to which there is no greater choice. She skimmed along the passages, having read the words of the Remembrance Scriptures many times over, save for the anything after verse forty-seven. In a damaged portion, those few passages had been lost. At an earlier time, when she had just been memorizing the verses, she thought nothing of it. After Valence had left their city, something about the missing portions arose in her mind. 
The hearts of the devil takes disparate designs, for designs of those wretched in essence and soul will be lost without reclamation. Son Un of the First Generation, black eyes of coal, loosed the greater devil of creation into the world, but tarried in his credence of command over it.
Her incantation colored the lost words, slowly pulling age and destruction from the parchment. The missing passages glowed and Eris read on. 
Heretofore, the First Generation compelled no protection, for their artistry of the gods was ample safeguard of their practices. Bound of nameless magics, born of death shamans and warlocks cloaked away, oppressed for their fraught trials of the dark, Son Un witnessed a capacity in the greater devil that could bring him saving. Of a King’s Blade, told they to Un, of banished brother god’s blood, told they, and of crystal fury to bind all power, told they.
She slid away from the table, darkness falling over her table as the primrose words vanished to blank parchment. What he was seeking eluded her to this point, and did still, but one fact remained. He had taken her pearls, her dearest keepsake. She wanted them back, whether such power of this Seentirulian Son Un was hers to keep or not. 

Until NaNoWriMo!

Peace and Writing Love,


P.S. Buddy me: sirfrodo13