Monthly Archives: January 2016

Sunday Snippet January 31, 2016

Last excerpt from Book One of the Academy of the Accord series; I’ll be moving on to Book Two next month.  This is from the epilog.  Vinadi has just been granted his Master’s robes and he and Marsden are getting settled into a suite of rooms at the wizard’s guild hall.   Marsden speaks first.

It’s long, but it serves as a bit of a set up to Book Two (and for the rest of the series).

 

“What is the plan for when we leave here?”

“We’re going treasure hunting.”

“Treasure hunting?”

Vinadi took a deep breath.  “I…” He sighed and sank into a chair.  “Before you officially sign your life away I should probably tell you…”

“Tell me what?”  Marsden sat down in the chair opposite him, watching him intently. 

“I… I have this dream…” Vinadi glanced up at him and then looked down again.  Everyone thought it was pure lunacy and he didn’t want to lose Marsden, but he had to know before things went any further, although Vinadi sensed that it was already too late for either of them to walk away from the other.

“Vinadi?”

He looked up at the concern in Marsden’s voice and managed a smile.  “It’s not easy to talk about.  I – I’ve only told a couple other people about it, people that I trusted, that I thought were friends, and they both thought that I was a lunatic and now they mock me every time they see me… And I don’t know if I can handle…”

“Vinadi.”  Marsden’s voice was firm and drew the wizard’s eyes back to him.  “I am yours. Nothing will change that.”

Vinadi smiled in spite of himself.

“Now, tell me what we’re going to be doing and where we’re going.”  Marsden leaned back in his chair and prepared to listen.

Vinadi took a deep breath.  “Eventually, the goal is the Academy of the Accord.”

Marsden frowned. “The Academy of the Accord?  I don’t believe I’m familiar with it.”

“That’s because it doesn’t exist yet.” 

Marsden tilted his head and Vinadi took a deep breath.  “I… You’re familiar with the Fortress and Tower and Arcane Academy?”

Marsden nodded.  The Fortress –  more appropriately The Fortress and Tower –  was the oldest wizard school in existence, having been formed at the end of the Wizard Wars.  Arcane Academy had been formed a generation or so later, and was considered to be the best of the best for wizards. 

“I’ve escorted wizards and known warriors from both schools.”

“Then you know their philosophies,” Vinadi said. “At the Fortress, the focus is primarily on the warriors. Oh, the wizards get an above average education,” he added, “but the warriors take precedence in terms of policy.  And at Arcane, it’s the opposite.  The wizards are the focus there and the warriors are treated as nothing more than hirelings.”

Marsden nodded again; the Fortress turned out warriors who thought wizards were not to be trusted, were nearly enemies, and Arcane turned out wizards who thought warriors were little more than thugs. 

“And I think that you know me well enough to know how I feel about that.”

“And I think,” Marsden said slowly, “that you know me well enough to know how I feel about it as well.”

Vinadi looked up at him, a faint glimmer of hope growing in him.  Maybe it would be all right…

“I – I want to start my own school, one where the cadets and apprentices are treated as equals, where they learn to respect each other, to work together, to be partners.”

Marsden nodded and Vinadi, encouraged, pushed on.  “I also want the cadets to be in classes with the apprentices.  Not magic classes, but general classes – I want them to learn to read and write, and to learn at least basic mathematics, and to learn about geography and history…  They will all be students together; will get to know each other as people.”

Marsden smiled.  “And where will this school be located?”

“I don’t know yet,” Vinadi admitted.  “That’s part of the reason that I’m traveling – I’m trying to find a place.” 

“But first we need funds.”

Vinadi nodded, then looked up, startled, his eyes wide with hope. “We? You – You’re willing to go along with this?”

“Of course.”  Marsden shrugged.  “You’re my wizard.  Where you go, I go.”

“No.  Marsden, I…”  He closed his eyes.  How could he put into words the feelings that gripped him?  He needed Marsden to join with him, not just out of a sense of loyalty but because he also embraced the dream. It was, he knew, an unrealistic expectation, but he hoped… 

“You’re not a lunatic, Vinadi,” Marsden said, his voice calm and quiet. “And your dream… it’s a good one.”

“Then… Then would you be willing to be a part of it?  To found it with me?”

“I would be honored.”

 

Later that night as they were preparing for sleep Marsden began unloading his pack, cleaning it out and checking to see what might need to be repaired or replaced before they set out again. 

He pulled out a rolled up piece of parchment and spread it out, puzzled, then smiled.

“Vinadi!” he called quietly and the wizard stepped into his room. 

“What is it?”

“I never did get around to giving this to you,” he said, holding it out to him.

Vinadi unrolled it, a smile spreading over his lips as he read the original contract that Marsden had been given when he had set out to rescue him.  “What do you want to do with this? Burn it? Bury it?”

“I think we should keep it safe,” Marsden replied, taking it from him and rolling it up again before returning it to his pack.  “And when we find a place for our school, hang it in the entrance hall.”

For a moment their eyes met, and Vinadi smiled, savoring the promise he saw in Marsden’s brown eyes.

 

 

 

Want to read more snippets from some really great authors?
Check out Sunday Snippets on Face Book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

11 Comments

Filed under writing

Rainbow Snippet for 1-30-2016

rainbow logo 1

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, bloggers, and readers to gather once a week and share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).   Check out all the other awesome snippets by clicking on the picture above.

Continuing from Disturbed Magic (until or unless a better title comes along) and picking up with the aftermath from last week’s post, in which a group of half a dozen guards from a merchant caravan were harassing a woman in an alley and somewhat recklessly challenged Kel to make them stop.

 

Dispassionately, Kel wiped the blade clean before sliding the sword back into its scabbard, glancing briefly at the woman the men had been attacking.  She was still on the ground, crouching, frightened, large dark eyes watching warily.  Her dress was in disarray but did not seem to be torn, and her hair had worked itself loose.    

“I’m not going to hurt you.” Kel’s voice was gentle, quiet.  “Get your dagger and straighten yourself up and I’ll escort you to your home.” 

Turning away to give her some privacy Kel relieved the corpses of their coins and any jewelry, only to find the woman still watching intently when she had finished with the bodies.

“It’s all right. I promise. I will not harm you.”

“Who – what – are you?”

“My name’s Kel, and I’m just a warrior.”

 

10 Comments

Filed under writing

Editing Whine

I hate editing.

Well, no, that’s not entirely true.  I don’t really mind editing – it’s making the changes in Word that gets to me.

I’m still slogging through the changes to Book One of The Academy of the Accord and Book Two is waiting to have its changes entered and Book Three’s hard copy is being edited so it’s going to be waiting to be changed in Word soon too.

Somehow making changes on paper seems to go faster than entering said changes in Word.

And that’s a large part of the problem.  I should probably slow down (once I catch up to myself) and enter changes as I go.  That way they would still be fresh in my mind and I wouldn’t have to struggle so hard to read my handwriting.

But on the other hand, I’m working on continuity (or trying to) so having the whole thing with me so I can check back on stuff makes sense.  (Eventually I’m going to have to binge read/edit the whole thing over the course of a day or two for a continuity check.)

And the worst thing is that I’m second guessing myself.  I was working on Book One before work yesterday and had a bit of an “ah-hah!” moment that let me salvage a fair amount of stuff that I had been going to cut but kind of wanted and needed to keep.  But now I’m not sure if what I kept is still valid because I’m thinking that I might have made a change earlier that makes this scene not possible.  But I can’t find any mention of that change so maybe I dreamed it or thought about it or toyed with the idea, or…

Yeah.

I hate editing.

I would stop and start over at this point — or maybe finish it and print it again and start over with a fresh copy of the current round of changes — but I’m going to be doing another round anyhow and there’s a beta reader waiting so I may as well wait until she’s given me her suggestions and then do it all at once.

Except I feel like it’s still full of plot holes and inconsistencies and shouldn’t go to a beta reader until they’re fixed, but…

But I’m already thinking that a release date of January of next year is looking rather unrealistic.  I’m still going to try, though.

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under writing

Wednesday Words #57 (1/27/16)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

a priest
a pirate
a hairy beast

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under writing

Keeping Track

So, I was getting ready for my day this morning, planning on some quality editing time, but then I suddenly realized that it was Monday and I didn’t have a blog post written.

In fact, I didn’t even have an idea for a blog post.

And with that realization came the thought that I really need to get on the ball and get my planners set up.

And light bulb!

Let me back up a minute.

I’ve recently become somewhat addicted to planners.  There is a whole world of planner stuff out there and more different kinds than you shake a fountain pen at, and people just don’t write appointments in them, they decorate them and use them to track goals and do all kinds of other fun creative stuff.

So, since I’m planning to use a planner, I’ve kind of quit using my daily to do list that I would write thing on like, “Write blog post.”

The lesson learned?  Until the planners are in use, keep with what was working.

Yes, I said “planners.”  Plural.

I’d been reading so much about all the different kinds that I couldn’t decide which I wanted so I am trying out several.

Happy Planners are a cool concept but don’t really work for me because the weekly page layouts start on Monday with Saturday and Sunday at the end that’s just not going to work well for my life – I’m a nurse. I don’t have a Monday through Friday, 9 – 5, weekends and holidays off kind of job.  Plus, my pay week starts on Sunday, and so does the published schedule at work. And Saturday and Sunday are shaded in a different color so I can’t even just rename the days.  (Well, I could, but the shading would bug me.)  I do like a lot of things about them, though, and one of them, however (yes, I bought more than one, not realizing the issue with the weeks) will be great as a decluttering journal.  I’m not sure what I’m going to do with the other two yet, but I’m sure I’ll think of something.

(The decluttering one is important, considering that my keyboard was just buried under an avalanche of papers that got jarred loose from where they are jammed under the screen of my monitor.)

Then there’s the Passion Planner and the Goal Planner.  I like both of them.  Both are designed to help you set goals and focus on accomplishing them. I got blank ones so I can fill in the dates myself.  The problem is that I need to actually write in them and use them.

(I’m working on it.  I just have so many things being juggled.  And a sick rat. And an upcoming gallbladder removal – the recovery time for which will at least give me time to get caught up.  I hope.)

And then there’s the Bullet Journal (BuJo) which is really more of a system than a planner, and it’s not too much different than what I was already doing, just a bit more organized and permanent.  I’m setting up a notebook for that, and actually (gasp!) using one of my long neglected journals from my office supply stash.

But I’m still haven’t found “planner peace” – none of these books or systems is exactly what I want, although BuJo comes really close.

So I’m working on creating my own system (because, you know, I’m not juggling enough projects as it is) that takes what I like from each and combines them into one hopefully functional mess.

But that’s a long range goal.  First I need to use what I’ve got so I learn what works and what doesn’t.

So my planner journey is still in its rough draft stages.  I’ll edit as I go along.

But meanwhile, I think I might have to go back to what works.

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under writing

Sunday Snippet January 24, 2016

Picking up where I left off last week with Book One of the Academy of the Accord series.

 

Marsden swore as he crossed the room and knelt next to the wizard, gently lifting him to a sitting position, bowing his head in relief as he felt him breathing.  “It’s all right,” he soothed. “You are safe.”

Vinadi rested against the warrior’s broad chest, nearly sobbing in relief at the sense of security and protection that surrounded him. A Warder! The warrior who had come for him was a Warder.

“It’s all right,” Marsden said again as his breathing grew ragged. “I’m going to get you out of here.”  He rose, lifting the wizard and carrying him out to the main loft, which was almost cool in comparison to the room they had been in.

Marsden gently lowered him to the floor, propping him up against the hay. 

Vinadi closed his eyes against the glare as the blindfold was removed.  A moment later strong hands were pulling the cloth from his mouth and he coughed, his breath rattling as he tried to draw air deeply into his lungs, an action which only brought more coughing accompanied by intense pain from his battered ribs.

“Easy, now.”  The warrior’s voice was soothing and Vinadi relaxed into the sound.  Something pressed against his lips and then something was trickling into his mouth and throat and he swallowed: water, warm and tasting like the leather skin it came from, but more pure and sweet and wonderful than anything he had ever known.

 

Want to read more snippets from some really great authors?
Check out Sunday Snippets on Face Book.

 

 

 

 

 

 

9 Comments

Filed under writing

Rainbow Snippet for 1-23-2016

rainbow logo 1

Rainbow Snippets is a group for LGBTQ+ authors, bloggers, and readers to gather once a week and share six sentences from a work of fiction–a WIP or a finished work or even a 6-sentence book recommendation (no spoilers please!).   Check out all the other awesome snippets by clicking on the picture above.

Continuing from Disturbed Magic (until or unless a better title comes along) and picking up from last week’s post, in which a group of half a dozen guards from a merchant caravan were harassing a woman in an alley and somewhat recklessly challenged Kel to make them stop.

 

There was no reply, but suddenly there was a sword balanced vertically on the palm of Kel’s hand; a quick flick of the wrist and the sword leapt into the air only to be snatched into a hand that obviously knew how to use it.  “I am.” With a practiced twirl of the blade Kel settled into a fighting position. “Any other questions?”

The leader thrust the woman away from him and she stumbled and fell, but Kel had no time to worry about her as all six men drew their swords and the battle was joined.

And ended almost before it had begun. The men were trained fighters, but they had never faced anyone like Kel, who whirled and spun, sword flashing and singing as it cut through the air and their flesh. A few minutes later the alley was littered with bodies and Kel instinctively glanced back toward the entrance, but the fight had not seemed to have drawn any more attention than their attack on the woman had. 

 

9 Comments

Filed under writing

Re-Railing

My writing and editing goals (along with others) seem to have gotten derailed.

Badly derailed.

But I’m trying to get back on track and moving again.

I have so much I want to do this year that it’s kind of overwhelming, so I’m going to try to focus on smaller pictures rather than the big one.

The big one, of course, is to get The Academy of the Accord edited, beta read, and revised so that I can start releasing the books in January of 2017.

That’s a lot and it’s overwhelming to think about, so I’m focusing on smaller goals.

Like getting the changes to Book 1 entered into Word so I can send it to my patiently nagging beta reader before the end of this month.  I have roughly 150 pages to go to finish it and then a quick once-over and then off to Danielle. I figure if I can do ten pages a day on work days and more on my days off I should be able to get it to her before the 31st.

Then it will be on to entering the changes to Book 2 while I finish the first round paper edits of Book 3. (I’m roughly a third of the way through it.)

And so on.

April is Camp NaNoWriMo (yes, I am thinking that far ahead) so I need to have as much done as possible before then because everything else will get put on hold for it and NaPoWriMo.

And again in July for the second Camp Session and then in November for the regular NaNoWrimo.

And somewhere in there I need to finish the revisions for Onyx Sun and get it released. And finish Hedge House.  And Book Two of The Other Mages.

But I’m getting ahead of myself, which is how I got derailed in the first place.  I need to focus on just one thing right now.  Well, three things.  Finishing the changes to Book One, finishing the first round edits of Book Three, and finishing the first draft of Book Six.  Then I’ll think about the next steps.

 

 

6 Comments

Filed under writing

Wednesday Words #56 (1/20/16)

Welcome to Wednesday Words!  Every Wednesday I will post some sort of prompt for a flash fiction piece.  The prompt will go live just after midnight Eastern time.

The prompt might be a picture, or it might be a list of things to include in a story, or maybe a phrase or a question or something from a “news of the weird” type thing, or a… who knows?

After that, it’s up to you.  But if you do use the prompt to write a bit of flash fiction (say, 500 words or so) I’d love to see what you came up with, so comment below with a link to where it is on your blog (or on WattPad or wherever).

(And a pingback to the post here where you found the prompt would be appreciated but isn’t necessary.)

Oh, and this isn’t a contest or anything.  It’s just a (hopefully) fun thing for all concerned.

And, hey, if it inspires more than 500 or so words, run with it!

This week’s prompt:

 

ww 1-20

(Click for larger image.)

(Image found on Face Book.)

And, as always, I’d love to see what you come up with!

 

Leave a comment

Filed under writing

Realism in Magic

So, I wasn’t sure what to write for today’s blog post, and then I had a conversation on FaceBook that started with a comment on yesterday’s Sunday Snippet post.  (Don’t you just love how one thing leads to something totally different?  Inspiration and ideas come from so many sources.)

Anyhow, I was asked what sources I used for researching wizards.  My response was, “Research? I was supposed to research?  Most of it comes from just general knowledge from having read a lot of fantasy novels, playing D&D, etc, as well as my own experience with magic.”  I then invited the questioner to hit me up on FB if he had any other questions.

It turned out that he didn’t have any specific questions, just that he’d been watching “a lot of crazy shit” on TV and wanted to know how they got their material, so when he read my post he wondered where I got mine.

And that’s a really good question and it got me thinking about how much I struggle with magic in my novels.

Practitioners of magic in the real world aren’t nearly as exciting as what you see on television or in movies or even read about in most books.  We don’t shoot lightning bolts from our fingertips or wave a wand and have the house clean itself. (Although if anyone knows how to make those things happen, please let me know.  Especially the house thing.)

So, yeah, real magic isn’t really exciting enough for a fictional world.

But on the other hand, I have a hard time making magic be as powerful and spectacular as it needs to be for fiction, so I find myself constantly working to balance the two.

So, how do you limit magic?  Coming from a background in D&D (and later an addiction to Materia Magica) one of the things that I do is put a “cost” on magic.

I’m going to pull some examples from The Academy of the Accord, since it’s my main focus at the moment.

In the series I establish that there is a “cost” for magic. Using it drains the user.  The more powerful the spell in relation to the experience of the wizard, the greater the drain.

For instance, a wizard who has just learned to use invisibility can use the spell on him/herself, but attempting to wrap the spell around another as well will exhaust said wizard.  An older wizard with more experience will have no difficulty managing to use an invisibility spell on other people.

And even experienced wizards can be exhausted from a spell – even one that they use frequently – if there is something blocking it. For instance, in one of the books, Caristen, who is very, very good with truth spells, tries to use one to reveal the writer of a letter. There were heavy wards in place around the person who wrote it and he couldn’t push through for more than a glimpse before the parchment turned to ash and he slumped onto the couch, drained, exhausted, and nearly unconscious – scaring his Warder and friends out of several years of life.

In the Other Mages trilogy, magic is even more understated.

And in The Trilogy That Still Doesn’t Have a Name magic is… not used very much, despite one of the main characters being a wizard.  Magic just isn’t the focus of the story.

I also tend to limit magic through society. In The Academy of the Accord, wizards are met with suspicion in a lot of places, due to the Wizard Wars, which happened a long time before any living person can remember them, but the effects of which are still being felt.

In The Other Mages, the Mage Guild is losing power and it’s best not to flaunt what you are.

In The Trilogy That Still Doesn’t Have a Name wizards are accepted some places and hunted in others.

And now I want to write something in which magic is the norm and those who don’t have it are viewed with suspicion.  Thanks, plot bunnies.

“(Don’t you just love how one thing leads to something totally different?  Inspiration and ideas come from so many sources.)”

Sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t…

 

6 Comments

Filed under writing