Month: October 2016

October Highlights

Greetings, my fellow Pilgrims. How have you been treating life this month? Stumbled over any adventures recently? Found any moments to relax calmly with a book? One can wish, right. And hey, I’ve found some time to read this month, though not as much as I’d like. Apparently life and time do not approve of the fullness of my scheduled.

My Life

Let’s see… *frowns* *rubs forehead* How can one be so busy, and yet when it comes time to document what has happened they go blank.

There’s been school, of course. Not for me, but I’ve been teaching two of my brothers how to write papers. You can imagine how thrilled they are about that, but hey…it’s something everyone should know how to do. Another brother, who’s taken an fiction, is learning how to write a novel this year so I’ve been trying to explain how to structure a plot, how conflict works, the need for some reason to win, etc. It’s been…interesting. *bites lip*

Another piece of life keeping me busy is NaNo…or the preparation there of. For one, I’ve been outlining my project or, to be more exact, stressing because I can’t seem to outline it. You’ll get more details of what exactly I’ll be writing in next week’s newsletter. Otherwise you’ll have to wait until my grand reveal part way through November. *smirks* Go on, you can sign up to my newsletter if you want.

Ok, self-promotion over. Hey, I have to do it sometime, right? Anyway, as some of you might know, I help out with a great site for young Christian writers called Kingdom Pen. If you’ve not heard of them, you should seriously check them out. It’s quite cool. But we are putting together a series of NaNo email, one for each day of November, with quotes, inspiration, a day by day countdown and word goal count-up. So I’ve been putting together templates, organizing graphics, helping get blog posts together and write out emails… Like I said, busy. But I think the emails are going to be fun, and if you want to check them out and sign up yourself, you can do that over here.

Oh yes, and no picture is complete without a few pictures. Here’s two photos I took of an agate slice I decorated with the wire outline of the King’s Sign from Fidelyon.

One final ‘life’ note is that I’m going to a writer’s conference in Anderson Indiana today! I’m very excited about that…you’ll get more information in a special post in a week or two. If I have time, of course.

From the mouths of others

I like to scribble down funny lines I hear others say. And with eight younger siblings, I pick up a random assortment of logic and thoughts. Here are some of my favorite ‘quotes’ of the past few months from my four-year-old sister and youngest sibling:

Sister climbing on tire swing with me:

Me: But who is going to push us?

Her: You can push me.

Her, looking at all the freckles on my arms:

“Where are the polka dots on your arms from?”

After telling Grace to sit down with a snack:

“I always do, sometimes.”

A fire lighter is a fire snap


Death according to my four-year-old sister:

“Blood, then dirt on top of you.”

Writing

Ehh, yes, so I’ve been doing that like normal.

Wips

  • I’ve changed the title of my Hansel and Gretel retelling from Forest of Darkness to Shadows of the Harsweald. Also, it is now progressing splendidly in that it is now readable. I’ll probably have it ready for beta readers sometime in latish November.
  • I’m going over Fidelyon, implementing beta reader feedback and shortening the novel. It was nearly 9000 words over the 140,000 word limit (which is the maximum word count Enclave Publishing will accept, and since I’d like to try to get the novel traditionally published there, I need to shave it down some.) At first I was in despair…how can one clip two chapter’s worth of material? But then I realized if I only shortened each chapter by 100 words through tightening here and there, I’d cut the novel down by 5500 just like that. And since I’ve been able to take around 200 words off each chapter so far, I’ve high hopes of landing beneath the word count when I’m finished with this round of polishing.
  • Scarlet Rose is coming along, kind of. I set up a deadline for it to be readable by the end of the year, then abandoned said deadline within a week because I’m really trying to work on priorities (meaning three main projects is maybe enough…)
  • Planning for my NaNo project. My NaNo name is Hope Ann.

Other Writing

Other

  • Oh, one other thing, I’m putting together an email list of anyone who wants to receive alerts when I have something ready to beta read. If you’re interested, you can sign up here.

Cliche Benders

The dystopian dictator who wants a rebellion so he doesn’t have to rule. A rebellion which wants to set up a worse government than that already in place. A futuristic society with a lenient government.

Me

My reaction when I’ve messed something up.

Fandom Corner

I love Lord of the Ring and Hobbit songs. Here is one of my new favorites I found this month.

What have you been up to this month? What are your favorite Middle Earth songs or versions of said songs? Have you ever seen Megamind? And, the question everyone is asking nowadays, are you taking part in NaNo?

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Posted by Hope Ann in A Writer's Life, 2 comments

Christian Convictions: Assassination in Writing

Assassination in Writing

Death comes in many forms when one is writing a book. Weather, sickness, battle, or personal revenge. In many books, warfare of some kind or another progresses through the story. As writers, sometimes we need to decipher what is acceptable for our characters to do; or at least what they can do in good conscious (Of course, this doesn’t mean they always will behave right, because having a character fail morally and then having to face the results of his failings is a great story-line.)

Christians and assassination

Now I am not a pacifist by any stretch of the imagination. The Bible says do not kill, but it does allow for war. Killing in battle or self-defense is acceptable; murder is not. Pacifism, when one should fight, if one should fight…it’s quite a large topic that I might address sometime else if people show interest. Right now I’m focusing on a narrower topic. Given that fighting and killing is a part of general warfare, how should a Christian (and, by extension your characters) deal with assassination?

In battle, men line up in shield walls, shoot from defended trenches, or swoop above the enemy in planes. The enemy knows they are there…sometimes. There are also ambushes, surprise attacks, night attacks, and dawn attacks were damage is done and then the attackers fade into the night. A killed guard. Sniper shots inside enemy encampment. It is all part of warfare and part of the danger of being in the army.

Assassination moves a little closer to home. This is no random shot fired or a matter of being in the wrong place at the wrong time. This is purposeful. Watching a target, waiting for him, looking through a scope at a real person instead of a nameless soldier. It is pulling the trigger, throwing a knife, or striking up close from an ambushment with a dagger.

So, is assassination in wartime an acceptable course of action?

The answer, I believe, is yes. With some restrictions.

Now don’t get me wrong, just because killing is a part of war doesn’t mean it is desirable. It will be a necessary part of surviving, but war doesn’t mean all rules go and one can kill or assassinate anyone on the opposite side.

I do not believe, even in war, that killing or assassinating the defenseless and civilians is ever right. When it comes to an armed enemy, however, it is another matter. Soldiers die on the field, from sickness, and in surprise attacks or in ambushes. Generals, officers, and leaders may, for practical reasons, stay away from the main conflict, but they are still actively engaged in warfare. As a soldier, they are fighting with the knowledge that they could die. And if it is not possible to kill a target from the battlefield, then I see no problem with a secret attack which gets the job done.

It may not seem the most honorable course of action, but since when is killing honorable? What must be done, must be done. In a pitched battle, in an ambush, or in a surgical strike behind the lines, if a leader of an army needs to be taken out, then there is no moral problem for your characters accomplishing the task.

And an item of note here – this does not mean your characters are ‘playing God’ and deciding who lives and who dies. A soldier in another book, when confronted with the question about how he could kill, especially when he knew those dying probably weren’t Christians, put it very well. I don’t remember the exact quote but it was to the tenor of ‘God is in control, and if He wants someone to be saved, then He will save that person regardless of what I do. But as a soldier for my country, I will do my duty to the best of my ability…even if that means killing’.

When it comes to writing, I do not have a moral problem with a character planning an assassination on the leader or general of an opposing side. Now, just because it might not be a matter of conscience, it does not mean it won’t affect and haunt your character in personal and emotional ways…which is, of course, what you want for them. Your characters shouldn’t plan an assassination for no reason, but if there is a reason then have no hesitation throwing the turmoil and contention of planning and performing (either in success or failure) at them and seeing what happens.

Note: I do not claim to know everything about the various topics I’ll be discussing in these Christian Conviction articles. What I write is what I believe after reading the Bible and holding conversations with friends and parents, but that does not mean I’m not interested in Bible evidence for another point of view. If the topics interest you, I encourage you to study them on your own as well. Friendly discussion in the comments is encouraged if you have points you’d like to bring up, but this is not the place for a full-scale debate. : )

Posted by Hope Ann in Christian Convictions, Writer's Corner, writing articles, writing tips, 8 comments

Fidelyon: ‘F’ with Ethaniel

‘F’ with Ethaniel:

Ethaniel, the main character in my novel, Fidelyon, has taken it upon himself to introduce you to his world by going through an alphabet of terms and names.

This is the letter you’ve all been waiting for, isn’t it? Admit it, you want to know what Fidelyon means. And if you don’t, then I’m going to tell you anyway. Well, as much of it as I know anyway, which frankly isn’t as much as I’d like to know.

Fidelyon is the word emblazoned on the Shield of the Prince. Gold letters on green in the ancient language…it looks pretty cool. As for its meaning, as far as I can understand, it stands for ‘a faith that gives all’. That seems clear enough, but I’ve a feeling there’s something more, or that the word ‘fidelyon’ is part of a clue.

You see, in the prophecy about the shield and the spear and the clash, there’s a line that talks about discovering the riddle of the nameless shield. Since it bears the word ‘fidelyon’, I’m assuming that ‘fidelyon’ has something to do with the riddle…whatever the riddle exactly it. I guess that’s why it’s a riddle, because if I knew it then there wouldn’t be much glory in solving it. Still, the shield could give me some help.

For now I’m waiting, hoping that something will happen to reveal the meaning. Until then, let us all keep the faith with fidelyon.

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Posted by Hope Ann in A-Z with Ethaniel, fantasy, Fidelyon, WIP, 5 comments

New Fantasy Times: Mentors for Hire

Mentors for Hire

Mentorship used to be relegated to those who had nowhere else to go. The former experts who outlived their glory. Older men, frequenting alehouses to pick fights or brooding in the dark corners of their bare cottages until some stripling, in desperate need of training, brightened their life and pulled them out of apathy. Perhaps the reason most retiring soldiers avoided mentorship was the high mortality rate once the apprentice learned almost everything they needed to know. But for you experts out there in need of a job, I have good news. Mentorship is now becoming respectable again. Its ranks have opened for many kinds of trainers and you are more likely to survive nowadays than you ever would have in the past.

There is really only one requirement for mentorship…a thorough knowledge of the topic to be studied. I’ve seen younger men teaching professional soldiers how to shoot bows. I’ve seen girls train retired rangers in the art of writing. I’ve seen old women teaching boys camouflage, stealth, and mending, while mere children give pointers on tracking, weather, or living on the street. Princes teach peasants and farmer’s wives train kings.

Of course, those who are older do tend to know topics better, but this isn’t always the case. A twenty-year-old who’s been practicing survival to keep alive for half his life will have more expertise than a ranger who knows the facts but has only been on the field for a few years. And really, a thorough knowledge isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. No one knows everything, and as long as a mentor can admit that, learning from his apprentice even as he teaches him all he knows, things will be fine. Probably. Frankly, some of the most flourishing mentorships I’ve known is when both parties play the part of both mentor and apprentice in different topics.

Another point of note is that an apprentice can have more than one mentor, while a mentor might have several apprentices. This doesn’t happen all the time, of course, but such interweaving does tend to make the best use of resources.

As for the mentors themselves, rest assured you won’t turn gloomy and grim if you take the job. That’s not to say some frustration and pain won’t be involved. Unless you have an ideal apprentice, it won’t be easy…but there’s nothing to say you can’t face it with your own spirit and character. Jokes, pranks, teasing, reading while your apprentice practices their postures, surprises, dryness…each mentor has their own way of teaching and their own way of keeping up spirits, which is a vital task no matter your temperament.

Of course, while your apprentice will likely pick up on some of your quirks, they will be much quicker on picking up on your flaws. A sharp tongue. Brooding silence. A perchance for too much food or comfort… they will see it all. And they will use it as an excuse for their own behavior. So beware. If you think you’re not flaws, then take an apprentice and you’ll recognize your mistake very quickly.

And I think…oh yes, there is that final important matter of terminating the mentorship without dying. It’s quite easy, really. Leave before your apprentice faces whatever challenge he’s been trying to overcome. Let him fight his own battles and don’t throw yourself in front of a spear or sword or arrow, no matter how emotionally attached you’ve become during mentorship.

What? You don’t like the idea of abandonment or ditching self-sacrifice? I should have known better…though I might point out that some mentors teach solely for money and have no problems leaving him be. Moving on, there are alternatives to death and dishonor.

For one, you (probably) have a life too. Send your apprentice off to finish a task on his or her own while you turn to more personal matters. Sometimes life gives you a way out by throwing circumstances at you which force your apprentice to operate alone. Maybe you are wounded, are captured, are out spying, or are dealing with some other life and death matter of your own. Maybe you have another apprentice you are teaching, or a mentor of your own to save. Or maybe you just happen to be relaxing in some secluded valley during a peaceful lull, and can’t be reached in time for the main fight.

Perhaps you even stand by your apprentice’s side during the whole fight but be warned, there will come a time that he will need to rise up on his own. You may be there to see him do it, or you may have to leave if he is too dependent on you. But, mentally, each apprentice will need to come into his own and claim the prize you’ve been teaching him to acquire.

And really, besides the late nights, hard work, meager payment (like glory…which one can’t eat), emotional trauma, danger, and some likelihood of death (I said death was lessening, not that it was gone), there is no duty so rewarding as a mentorship. Assuming your apprentice doesn’t turn against you in the end, but that is a topic for another day. For now, if you have knowledge and love to teach, then at least consider the mentorship path. You won’t regret it.

Hopefully.

 

Have any questions, legends, or trending cliches you’d like Kirin Quillblade (or Elena) to address? Please comment below; he promises to at least read what you have to say between his realm leaper’s missions, even if he holds the rights to choose what to write about and what to ignore.

 

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Posted by Hope Ann in fantasy, My Writing, New Fantasy Times, Writer's Corner, writing tips, 3 comments

Book Review: A Time To Rise

If you follow a number of blogs, you’ve probably already seen others raving over the Out of Time Trilogy. Today is what, the last day of the blog tour for A Time to Rise? But that’s just how it worked out; it doesn’t mean I love the book any less than all those who reviewed it at the first chance.

Parvin Blackwater is dead.

At least…that’s what the Council—and the world—thinks. But her sacrifice tore down part of the Wall long enough to stir up hope and rebellion in the people. Now she will rise again. Strong, free, and fearless.

Parvin and Solomon must uncover the mysterious clues that Jude left behind in order to destroy the projected Wall once and for all. Meanwhile, the Council schemes to new levels of technology in its attempts to keep the people contained. Can a one-handed Radical and a scarred ex-Enforcer really bring shalom to the world?

Book review of A Time to Rise

Nadine Brandes didn’t disappoint in this exciting conclusion to her Out of Time series. Perhaps now her poor characters will be able to have a well deserved rest. *pulls them all close*

Like the first two books, I loved the interweaving of Christian truths and personal struggles with an exciting story line. These books don’t only entertain, they make one think. And Parvin’s struggles are so real and human that I relate to her closely despite our differences.

Filled with surprises and twists, A Time to Rise is thrilling conclusion to this Christian dystopian trilogy.

If you want to order A Time to Rise, you can do so here:

A Time to Rise

AmazonBN-iconlogo goodreads icon

Posted by Hope Ann in Book Reivews, 0 comments

Social Media: What Does an Author Really Need?

There are so many social media sites, but does an author really need to be on all of them? Is one or more of them indispensable to the serious author or do they just clutter and waste time? And the answer is… *draws deep breath* everyone has different views. What a surprise.

From what I’ve seen, focused work on most platforms can bring in revenue if you know what you’re doing. At least there are courses on how to grow and make money on Twitter, or using Pinterest, or with Facebook ads, from people who have used these sites themselves. That being said, an author only has so much time, so you want to spend it on what works and not just throw out information and hope it draws some people in. This involves trial and error (or buying a course), analytics, figuring out where your target audience congregates…and is beyond the scope of this article today.

However, over time, I have developed opinions on what platforms an author should have and their uses. Everyone has their own favorite sites and keep in mind that some of this is personal opinion, but hopefully it will give you some place to start if you are trying to figure out where you should devote your online time.

Website or Blog

These two terms are often used interchangeably, and they might be mingled together in reality as well, but there is a subtle difference. A website has information about you, pages leading to your books, contact information, etc. A blog is where you can post articles, pictures, stories, and updates on your life.

Every author ought to have a website of some kind. This is your central hub, the place you can send everyone to find out more about you and your work. This is where people can sign up to your newsletter and follow your life. A blog of some kind, either linked or as part of the site, is also handy. You don’t have to post every week or even regularly, just so long as you have a place your fans can find out the latest information about you and your work.

There are many free sites for both websites and blogs. I’ve tried Weebly, Blogger, and WordPress. WordPress is by far my favorite site for blogging, while I use Weebly for my main website (though some authors, including me, use two different places and domain names for their website and blog, it’s quite easy to just have your blog be part of your website under one domain name.)

Facebook

Facebook is a great place to connect with other people. You can create an author page for people to follow you, and this is useful for small updates on your life and work, but the main use I’ve found using Facebook is the ability to connect with other writers and readers. There are writing groups. There are promotional events and Facebook parties. You can message other authors and follow them easier. Though not necessary, I do think Facebook is a useful tool for authors to have.

Instagram

Instagram is a social media site where one posts pictures. If you like taking pictures of your life, then it can be quite fun. You can connect with fans to some degree as well, though not as much as if you were on a site like Facebook. Depending on what type of blog you have, you can also link your Instagram account to the sidebar of your blog so the changing pictures will keep fresh information on your web page even when you are too busy to post to your blog yourself.

Twitter

Some people love Twitter. Some are hardly on there. I’m one of the latter because I simply don’t have the time it would take to keep up with a Twitter account, but if you have the time to check it often, it can be a good place to connect with readers. If you just want to post several times a day, you can use an app called Hootsuite. You can schedule posts to a number of social media sites with Hootsuite, including Twitter, allowing one to sit down for an hour and schedule daily tweets for a whole month. Then you can forget about it (and yet still have some semblance of a presence there), only checking it once or twice a day.

Pinterest

I do make Pinterest friendly pins of my blog posts and post them to drive traffic to my blog. But, besides that, the main reason I use Pinterest is to find pictures of my characters and create storyboards. Pinterest is a very cool tool for any author to use. You’re not going to connect directly to fans through there, but marketing is a possibility if you have learned how to use it (I haven’t though I’ve seen courses on using Pinterest to sell your product) and you should be able to drive traffic to your blog or newsletter as well.

Email List

This isn’t really a site, but it is the most important marketing platform. And this isn’t my opinion…this is what every expert I listen to says. If you want to be able to sell well, build an email list. I’ll probably have an article about how to create an email list and what one can use it for next month, but there are places like Mail Chimp that let you create quite a sizable list before you have to start paying for the service.

In the end, having a website or blog is essential to providing a foundation for yourself and your work. Social media sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are most useful when it comes to one on one contacting of fans and other writers. Most authors tend to pick and spend most of their social media times one one of these sites. An email list is your largest marketing weapon, so spend the time needed to build it up. Pinterest is fun as well as useful, especially for those who write fiction.

What social media sites do you enjoy? Do you have any tips about marketing or connecting with readers on various sites? Is there a social media site which you love that I’ve missed? I’d love to hear your comments below.

Posted by Hope Ann in Self-publishing, Writer's Corner, writing articles, writing tips, 19 comments

Another Vlog!!!

Another Vlog!!!

So I decided to make this a monthly thing because these are fun to make. In this vlog, I’ve managed to show you where I work, what I do, and answer the questions from the last vlog.

And…that’s that. I need to work on my openings. Perhaps I’ll focus on that next time. *smirks* Anyhow, now is the time for questions…If you have any you’d like me to answer next month, ask away below!

Posted by Hope Ann in A Writer's Life, 10 comments

Fidelyon: ‘E’ with Ethaniel

Ethaniel, the main character in my novel, Fidelyon, has taken it upon himself to introduce you to his world by going through an alphabet of terms and names.

So, I didn’t want to do this…there are plenty of things in this world which begin with ‘E’, like my home country of Elentisa, divided as it is into twelve provinces, or Erathrane Forest, with its dark legends of an Archeress who guards its depth’s with a silver bow, but no… *sighs* Hope says I should talk about myself, Ethaniel.

So here I am. *bows*

How they get these…photos, they call them, I’m not sure. But I guess it’s a good enough likeness if my friends are to be believed.

Don’t ask about the clothes in these pictures. They are…I’ve never seen them before.

And that…that is a picture that is not only colored but it moving. Hope says you like that sort of thing.

What, pictures aren’t enough? I’m supposed to talk about myself?

If you insist.

My home is Outpost 7, where Ard is Captain. Seeing as he’s the one who rescued me when I was only three from a Volandum raid, and raised me when no one knew who my family was, it was only natural that I should become a messenger. But I enjoy the work, for the most part. Three leagues in two hours; life could be worse. And with no family, this occupation is a good one. Still, I’m 19 now and may one day join a border outpost or even become a ranger. I’ve not spoken to it with Ard yet, but I think he suspects. I suppose we shall see.

And no, Hope, I’m not telling them about the dreams and nightmares; why would they care about that?

Anyway, I guess…Oh yes, there’s this personality typing thing that Hope likes. I don’t understand it, but these pictures she’s found do describe me, so enjoy them, if they interest you at all for some reason.

And…that’s it. I’m done. If you really want to know about me more for some reason, you can read Fidelyon whenever Hope gets that account done.

Sign up to my newsletter to get regular updates on my writing and secret stories about the realm-leapers and fantasy time travelers, Kirin and Elena, each month. Join the Legend Seekers here.

Posted by Hope Ann in A-Z with Ethaniel, Fidelyon, WIP, 8 comments

Beyond the Parchment: Part 2

In the first installment of Beyond the Parchment, we learned that a dysfunctional portal, invented by a weary writer, May Ann, actually begins to work, bringing characters to our world. A pair of brothers, actually, who are currently engaged in mortal combat.

All Brothers Fight Sometimes, Right?

I do what any girl would do when two men plunge into a duel to the death in her bedchamber. I step behind a pair of bookshelves and get dressed. Thirty seconds is all it takes to throw on a skirt and shirt. Another half a minute to pull on my socks and shoes. For all their faults, Daraton and Jerin are two of the most expert swordsmen I’ve written. My only characters who can fight until exhaustion with neither one drawing blood…to their everlasting irritation and my own amusement.

Except it’s not amusing now. My ears ring with tinkling glass, crashes, and thuds. Long swords and small rooms don’t mix well. And with little room comes daggers. And with daggers…

With daggers, one brother is very much superior to the other and, in their current rage, neither one will pull back on a fatal blow if an opening reveals itself.

They’re too good for that. Relax.

You’re telling me to relax? Do you know what will happen if one of the brothers dies?

Universal apocalypse? Which is why you’re taking the time to get dressed?

Something like that. And do you expect me to leave here in a nightgown? Don’t give me that look. I’m not like Jerin. I finish tying my shoe as I fire off the last thought to my own inner voice, then throw my body against the bookshelf as something heavy thuds against it. A wave of books jolt from their perch above my head, tumbling down around my shoulders. I wince, peering around the wood, then jerking back as a blade flashes near my head.

“Botheration.” I mutter the exclamation as a figure rolls to avoid a descending blade, then twists back to his feet. Not good. Not good at all. I’ve got to get Jerin out of here before he kills his brother. As it is, I can hardly tell which twin is which. The lights won’t help, even if I could reach them without losing an arm. I’m certain each bulb is shattered by now. But Jerin is the one with the cloak, isn’t he and Daraton…his cloak is darker? Since when do they wear anything remotely similar?

That feast last night, remember? You forced Jerin to dress down and Daraton to dress up.

Right. That. In which case the story isn’t very advanced at all. That is it. I have to get Jerin out of here.

I yank a photo off the wall and jerk down on a sort chain. A groan echoes through the room as a portion of wall slides away and, for the fraction of a second, the fighting pauses long enough for me to hear more boots downstairs. Jerin’s back is to the bookshelf and I grab his arm, ignoring his glare as I hold up the silver petalled stone I still hold. “Come with me now!”

“Where did you…” his voice trails as his sword flashes, deflecting a spinning gleam with a clang. Seizing my wrist, he dives for the opening in the wall, dragging me with him as another dagger thuds into the bookshelf.

A dagger?

My gaze picks out second figure in the room, a figure whose eyes are now blazing with anger as they stab through me. More boots are pounding up the stairs and I duck, punching a button as another dagger hurtles through the air, clattering against the inside wall moments before the door shuts.

Flaming flames! Or whatever it is they say in Braceaon. Daraton must have been practicing recently. It isn’t right for one man to have so many skills.

“Jerin…” my voice trails off as I spin to face the figure in the dim but growing automatic lights of the concealed corridor.

“Jerin?” The man’s eyebrows lift up. They are so alike, and yet so different. More firm. More determined. And yet with the same tense sorrow I’d seen earlier. “My brother lets you call him Jerin?”

Daraton. My breath sticks in my throat.

No wonder the other figure threw daggers so well.

And now Jerin is left facing Daraton’s men. I only hope he doesn’t kill them all. That would really put the brothers on bad terms.

Daraton sweeps up his brother’s dagger from the floor and slips it in his belt, his face dark. “What dealings do you have with Jerinthreo?”

“I don’t…I’m not…” Why can I scold Jerin and yet find myself wordless when faced with his brother. Their hair. Their build. Their nose and jaw. It is the same. And yet Daraton’s eyes are different. Hard, wary… He scowls.

“Whatever the reason she sent you with that stone, it better have been worth interrupting the judgment of an avenger of blood.” Daraton’s eyes sparked, his hand tightening over his sword’s hilt. “How did you even get over here? I gave stern orders to the contrary. Ethred wouldn’t let anyone over unless it were a matter of life and death.”

“Do you think she doesn’t have her ways?” The words spill out before I can stop them, even as my mind spins. She? The stone? It was an heirloom of their house; no single person claimed ownership of it and certainly not a girl. Not that I ought to complain, the story is sadly lacking in female characters. But what is Daraton…

A sword stabs through the drywall of the entrance, almost grazing my cheek.

The blade Andrith. Apparently the wall is far from innocent because the blade withdraws, then carves another gash into the wall.

“He’s getting quicker.” Daraton mutters, his hand closing about my wrist. “Well, which way is out? Unless you’re going to let me finish the fight this time?”

“Not a chance.” I pull my hand from his grasp. “This way.”

I always told you it was a good idea for us have a secret passage.

Yes, and maybe it still would be if the doors actually kept out intruders, I counter as I dash around a corner. As it is, it will work well enough as an escape route. And, once we are outside there are dozens of places to hide in the surrounding forest or fields. Assuming we can get out of the house.

Because that’s another downside of this passage. It leads to the kitchen pantry. Though Jerin can’t know that, so we should be safe. The crashing behinds us ends with the sound of crumpling wall and I shove open the door to and spring into the shadows of the wide pantry.

My fingers close over the handle and I yank the door open then freeze, drawing a sharp breath. The kitchen glows in a faint light. Dishes, food, and glass lie in shambles over the floor and the door to my fridge hangs open at a rakish angle. Even as I watch, a soldier steps from the inside, almost slipping on the tile floor. But my brain doesn’t even comprehend the ridiculousness of the portal’s exit as my gaze fastens on a pair of pale blue eyes meeting my own, then travels outwards, to his clipped black hair. His dark face. His red and gold clothing. The black belts crossing his chest and the silver blade flicking between his fingers.

Varizan, dark lord of someplacethatneedsaname and a character who isn’t even supposed to be in Braceaon yet.

This…

This is not good.

So, what do you think? Any favorite characters? Any guesses at to what will come next?

Posted by Hope Ann in A Writer's Life, Beyond the Parchment, fantasy, My Writing, Reader's Corner, serial story, 17 comments