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.