Rose of the Oath and NaNoWriMo

I’m back! Not that it feels like I’ve really been gone since I’ve posted a little on here. But it was relaxing to not have to do the longer posts… Or it would have been if it weren’t for NaNoWriMo.

But I did it! I finished NaNo, with four days to spare!

I actually had my chapters outlined to finish yesterday, but then I got up on Saturday and decided to just get it over with. Nearly 7000 words later, I was done and treated myself to Culver’s onion rings as a reward.

I actually wrote two things for NaNo this year: a novelette and a novella.

The novelette is a prequel to what will be my  new Beauty and the Beast story.

Rose of the Night

Behind every beast, there is a curse. Behind every curse, there is a promise. But hundreds of years before it all, there is a story. A story of a forbidden rose and the smooth voice of a masked stranger. A story of rebellion and sorrow and love. A story of a promise given and of a hope received. This is the story of the Oathkeeper.

The novelette itself is currently in a sad shape. Too wordy in some places (hey, I wasn’t about to work on clipping until after NaNo) and suffering from a lack of emotion and depth. But I’m pleased with the MC’s voice and I can work with the draft… something I’ll be starting to tackle tomorrow.

Then there was my main work, the Beauty and the Beast novella.

Rose of the Oath

With war sweeping Aslaria, Elissa will do anything to save her brother. Being trapped in safety herself was not what she expected the result of her rescue to be. Though, with a mysterious scarred host and the surrounding howls of wolves every night, safe is relative. As one age ends and another begins, Elissa wants nothing more than to return her family. And she is prepared to do almost anything to escape.

I am very happy with how Rose of the Oath turned out. It needs work, mainly because I kept adding things as I wrote, but I’m very excited about it. It will be a bit before even beta readers get to glimpse it though, so here are some rough, unedited clips from the novella to tease *cough* I mean, for you to enjoy. Just forgive any typos, because I’m sure there are some there. My rough drafts can be atrocious.

He stood still, wrapped in the cold shadows before dawn, only the faint twitch of a muscle in his cheek revealing he was more than a statue. A gust of wind tore from the enclosing mountainsides, racing downwards, tearing at his hair and twisting his thick cloak.

He didn’t move.

A wolf howled, the call rising into an eerie pitch before dropping, hurtling downwards. The echo still hovered in the air when another howl replied.

His jaw tensed. His fingers whitened over the hilt of the great sword resting in his hands, the point piercing the turf.

The wind returned, circling around, buffeting him from behind. From the side. Sweeping out before him, then circling around, retreating about a rose which bowed and danced in the center of a sprawling patch of vines.

Roses carpeted the ground, sweeping upward against iron trellises, but his eyes remained focused on the one. No wind brushed its petals, which trembled against the tossing of blossoms and leaves on either side.

His breath slipped between his teeth and he finally lifted his gaze as the wind hurtled off, whistling though the narrow pass which led outwards. Out into the forest. Out into Aslaria.

And he waited.

I choked back a laugh while Eldric fell into a fit of coughs with which he only with difficulty recovered. Moving Helene to his side, he held out both arms, wrapping the around the slim figure. Her arms tightened around his neck as she pressed her cheek against his. After a long moment she pulled back and regarded him with wide eyes as only a seven-year-old can.

“You’ll be home for our birthday?”

“A while nine days? Of course I’ll be back.” Eldric ran one finger down her cheek. “And I can guess what you want for a present. Another of those books, don’t you. Or would you prefer pencils?”

Klara bit her lip, twisting a strand of fair hair about her finger. “I don’t know… They would both be so nice.”

Eldric lifted a helpless gaze to meet my own. “They’ll pauper me, that’s what they’ll do.”

I snorted out a laugh as he rose. “You don’t have to get me anything if that’s a comfort.”

I exhaled shakily, choking back a sudden sob in the back of my throat. “Eldric.” I sprinted for the door the voice had come from. A single light spilled from the torch and bars covered the upper half of a thick door.

“Elissa, what are you doing here?” Eldric demanded, his hands seizing my own as I clutched the bars.

“I came for you, of course.” My eyes roved the door, searching for a lock. There it was. A great big one. “Do you know where the key is?”

“Key?” Eldric stared at me. “You have to get out of here, Elissa. Now!”

I blinked, staring back. “What in all of Alsaria do you mean? I just got here.”

“And now you’re going to leave.” Eldric’s hand tightened over mine. “If you are even able now. You’ve not seen the master of this place. He’s…” his jaw tightened. “I don’t know what he wants, but the girls need you.”

“No, the girls need you.” My eyes fastened on his. “The rebels are advancing.”

Air hissed between Eldric’s teeth. “Still?”

“Yes. And you know I can’t lead them to the safety of the caves by myself.”

“Where are they now?”

“With Mother Karlin. The villagers were leaving this morning. The rebels could be in the village even now…” I closed my eyes, pressing my forehead to the bars. “We need you. And I need a key.” I straightened. “Where is the Master of this place, because I fully intend…” the hair on the back of my neck prickled and Eldric’s jaw tightened as he stared past me.

“Run, Elissa. Run and don’t come back.”

“Never.” My own eyes bore into his, then slowly, my throat tightening until I could barely breath, I turned around.

The figure I’d seen dimly in the vision looked event taller in the confinements of the corridor. A cloak swept about his frame, a hood shading his face. One leg was cocked behind the other as he leaned against the wall, a glinting sword hanging from his fingers. My chest tightened. How long had he been standing there?

My gaze shifted to the door, tracing the smooth grains as they rose upwards, then my breath caught in my throat.

There he was. Staring at me. His arms crossed, his hood veiling his gaze though shards of light reflected off fragments of scars.

“What the blazes?” I stumbled to my knees, snatching up my bow. My fingers fumbled for an arrow, but the smooth wood slipped from my fingers, clattering to the floor.

With a sigh, the man stepped forward, his key twisting in the lock. He yanked the door open and I staggered to my feet, pressing back against the cell wall. The arrow I clutched in my numb fingers.

What did this beast even want? I’d been adamant about Eldric leaving the night before. I still was. He had to get the twins to safety. And he would… assuming the figure standing before me had truly let him go. But what did he want? The danger Eldric was so insistent to protect me from was still present.

I shuddered, my gaze never leaving the man’s face. Where had he got all those scars? And was that blood staining his dark tunic beneath the furs? My throat constricted. But the man stood to the side, inclining his head towards me and held his hand outwards.

I bit my lip, staring at him. “What do you want?”

He straightened, one eyebrow lifting as he watched me. His lips parted, then he grimaced.

“You really can’t talk, can you?”

The man glared at me, but shook his head.

Great. Just my luck. A captor I couldn’t even speak with.

What about you all? How many of you took part in NaNo? What was your final word count?

November Highlights

So this month has been insane. Don’t look at me like that. I know I say that every month, but really…I’m not doing NaNo every month. Writing around 2000 words a day isn’t so hard. Writing 2000 words a day while still trying to keep up on all my other writing and work is another thing. But I survived. Unless my ghost is writing this and I’ve just been too busy to notice the transition.

My Life

NaNo, obviously. But it hasn’t just been NaNo.

I went and saw Doctor Strange! In 3D! 3D is so cool. The depth is worth the slight trouble of keeping the 3D glasses in position. I enjoyed the story and I loved the characters. The costumes! *rubs hands together* Then there was that cape with a personality of it’s own… So cool.

Then, later in the month, Joy, Liberty, and I took a trip to the mall. Well, Joy and I took Liberty there because she hadn’t been there before. The most memorable part was running up a escalator going down, because the up one wasn’t working and we thought it would be more fun than actually going to the real stairs and just walking up them.

And, one evening, I dressed up and Joy took these photos of me.

Yes. Fun stuff.

From the mouths of children:

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.

Me: the sound teeth make when they are chatter is cool
Joy: It’s not cool. It’s your bones clattering against each other.

My eleven-year-old brother at breakfast: Gravity keeps us down so if there were a hole through the middle of the earth, would you fall through or would you fall to the bottom and stop?

My four-year-old sister after coming in from playing outside in the dark: It is so fun out in the darkness.

My Writing

Did I mention I did NaNo this year? My novelette which prequals my Beauty and the Beast retelling is done, though it needs lots of work. And my Beauty and the Beast novella is almost done. I’m on track for getting it (and NaNo) done by November 30th.

Wips

  • Shadows of the Harsweald is going well. I should have it open for beta reading in a few weeks. If you want to get notifications when it is ready, you can sign up here.
  • I’m going over Fidelyon still, working on beta reader feedback and clipping. It’s going well.
  • Scarlet Rose has been sadly neglected, but I’m hoping to get moving on that more this month

Other Writing

Other

  • Oh, and I’ve started another Fiverr Gig…this one to format ebooks. You can check out the details herehere.

Me

I love these INTJ pictures from Pinterest…

Fandom Corner

Has anyone seen Poldark? I’m really enjoying it, though I detest Ross at this moment.

What have you been up to this month? Did you do NaNo? Have you seen Poldark? Everyone listening to Christmas music by now? Are any of you going Black Friday shopping?

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Fidelyon: ‘H’ 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.

 

I have two friends whose names start with H.

The first is more of an acquaintance since I’ve yet to get to know him better…something I do hope to do one of these days. His name is Haytham and he is one of Elentisa’s oldest councilmen. Don’t for a moment think that ‘oldest’ signifies decrepit in any way. His grip still makes my arm hurt and he claims to be as strong in battle as any younger man. Do I believe him? Yes, I do.

The name of my other friend is Hilith. Originally a guard in the king’s castle, he was one of the first men Ard recruited while assembling a new Kingsguard. Of course, Hilith grumbles about the hours he’s made to stand in the cold or the late nights on guard, but he enjoys the position and always has a ready quip and flashing smile for every occasion.

 

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November Vlog

Hey, it’s Wednesday and I am posting! Well, it is a special post…a vlog post. *grins*

Once again I’m taking part the Very Awesome Vlog Challenge put on by my good friend, Ivy Rose. For more information on that, you can click the cool picture below.

www-lakesidepublications-com_-2-300x300

And now, without more ado because I do have things I need to be attending to…and because I speak for myself in the video below, here is this month’s rambling vlog.

Have any questions for me for next month? Ask away in the comments below!

Writing Conference…Also a Brief Hiatus Announcement

Guys, I went to a writing conference last weekend! It’s a smallish one, down in Anderson Indiana, called the Indiana Faith and Writing Conference. It was also cheaper than your average conference and lasted from Friday around noon until Saturday mid-afternoon.

I enjoyed it quite a bit – not the least because I was there with a fellow author and friend, who also happens to make the covers for my novellas. Of course, we did chat with each other during most of our spare time instead of milling around and connecting with a number of new writers, but I suppose that’s what happens when you put a bunch of introverts together. *smirks* And we did meet and have Friday supper with one girl who recognized me from twitter. That was pretty fun.

As for the conference itself, I learned a number of things (which I’m not going into now because I’ve the feeling I’ll write several blog posts on them over the next few months). I laughed. I cried…well, almost. My excuse is that I was tired, and I’m sticking to it. I stared down a portion of carpet which shadows made look like the Grinch who stole Christmas. I learned I apparently can’t sleep sharing a bed with someone, even if that someone is one of my best friends. I also learned that a bed of pillows on the ground is very comfortable. I had a one-on-one consultation with a marketing coach and took part in a small critique groups…two of whose members were slightly confused by my submission because they don’t read fantasy. I fumbled through my pitch of Fidelyon once to someone who wasn’t even an editor or agent (at least not that I know of) and handed out only one business card (also to someone who was neither agent nor editor). I took some pictures, took more notes, and horrified my friend with my random morbid observations. All in all, I had a great time and hope to go again next year.

And…here. Have a few pictures.

My bed on the floor

Kate and I. Aren’t we cute. XD At least one person thought we were sisters.

Because just… fire

Oh yes, also the hiatus announcement. I’ve been doing NaNo for all of four days and already I’m wondering what I’ve got myself into. It’s not writing 2000 words a day so much…though it takes concentration, it’s not that hard. It’s trying to write 2000 words a day while still correcting Fidelyon and my Hansel and Gretel story, now named Shadows of the Hersweald. Plus there is Kingdom Pen stuff, and blogging, and reading and life in general. And so I came to the earth shattering decision…

I’m taking a partial hiatus from my blog.

And since you do nothing but hang on my every word, you are devastated now, aren’t you. No? *sighs* Figures.

Anyhow, note the word partial. Caption Challenges will still come up on Mondays, and my Friday WIP posts will appear as well. And a vlog. I need to do a vlog sometime this month. but the Wednesday articles, such as the self-publishing one, New Fantasy Times, Christian Convictions…basically the ones I have to think about and slave over, are off until next month. Be thankful you got this months entry of Beyond the Parchment. *smirks*

As for my NaNo project, if you get my newsletter then you know about it already. If you don’t, I’ll be announcing it (with lots of Pinterest pictures and/or a link to the Pinterest board. It depends on how much time I have) this next Friday.

Until then, enjoy yourselves. Don’t kill yourselves (or your families) with NaNo if you taking part in it. Also, to shamelessly switch the topic with no warning, have you ever been to a writer’s conference before? I’m trying to find as many as I can to compare them for next year, so do you have any you’d recommend?

Fidelyon: ‘G’ With Ethaniel

‘G’ 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.

 

Geography! All right, so that’s a bit lame. I guess I’ll get a little more specific and say the Galatea Mountain Range.

The Galatea Mountains are very important, both to Elentisa and Voland, because they run along our borders, effectively dividing one nation from the other.

There is only one main pass through the Galatea Mountains, towards the south of both our lands. In other places, the mountains are well-nigh impassable. There is a lesser known pass to the far north, but with Sobane Swamp closing up on our side, and the originally named Northern Wastes on the Volandum side not many people care to venture near it. Of course, there are secret passes along both sides of the mountains, crossed by rangers or wolf riders. They’re dangerous, or so I’ve heard – I’ve no desire to explore them, though Drexin hopes to someday.

Secret passes aside, where only small groups can pass, the mountains benefit both lands by providing a stone barrier with only one limited place one nation can invade the other.

 

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Beyond the Parchment: Part 3

So, in my serial story, 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. And now, a villain has just step through the fridge which happens to be the portal into May Ann’s house. Read the first parts here:

Part 1: It Just had to be Lord Jerinthreo Kraven Balstin the Second

Part 2: All brothers fight sometimes, right?

My kitchen will never be the same

“Good evening Lord Daraton. My lady.” Varizan inclines his head with a smile, his smooth rolling voice filling the room. Isn’t he even the slightest bit dazed that he’s standing in the middle of broken glass and scattered food?

“Blazes! Has the whole of Braceaon decided to leave their native land?” Daraton demands. His hand tightens about his blade as he advances a step. “And what of Ethred? If you have harmed her…”

There’s that name again. The girl who had the stone. My hand tightens around the piece in my hand.

Varizan raises his hands, palms upwards, with a long-suffering sigh. But his eyes gleam as they light on me and, behind him, soldiers are still stepping from the fridge. There are nearly half a dozen behind my villain now, though most are opening cupboards or testing their blades on the counters. “Must you always think the worst, my Lord Daraton –”

“Don’t.” Daraton grits his teeth as he takes a step forwards. “My father is the Lord of Balstin Hall.”

“Your father is dead.” The words are sharp as daggers, smooth as a polished lash. The undercurrent pleasure of masked by undeniable condolences. My lip curls upwards, then I jerk my expression into a sober mask. Whatever the perfection of Varizan’s voice, this is not the time to indulge it. Especially with Jerin’s crashing footsteps approaching from the rear.

Turning slightly, I lower my voice, angling the stone both Jerin and Daraton place such importance on, upwards so Daraton can see it. “We need to get out of here. Now.”

“Where to, my lady?” Varizan’s voice slips through my veins.

Botheration. How could I forget I’d given him excellent hearing? And a sure aim with a love of daggers like the one he is flipping between his fingers again. Oh, and let’s not forget the loyalty he can command with just a handful of words nor the dozen soldiers now ranged between us and the door. What the blazes had I been thinking?

“Lord Varizan.” Daraton’s voice is cold as ice. Behind us, Jerin’s steps turn into a flurry of clashing metal. It’s about time Daraton’s men caught up with Jerin. A whole extra minute for us to escape Varizan. How wonderful.

“Why are you here?” Daraton’s voice is low. Measured.

“I am a guest, remember?”

“Courtesies to ambassadors of Salendria do not extend to secret portals no one is supposed to know the existence of.” Daraton glares at the soldiers behind Varizan as I clap a hand to my mouth. Salendria! So, the someplacethatneedsaname is actually already named. Perhaps, if I can merely step into Braceaon, I can figure out the rest of my plot holes without any headache. Well, besides the very real danger of being killed or trapped. “I asked you once, I’ll not ask it again. What of Ethred?”

“I swear to you, I never saw her. Just the portal itself, pulsing and flaring…”

“And so you decide to step through with a dozen soldiers,” I comment dryly. Perhaps not the best idea. Both men’s eyes fasten on me and Daraton’s gaze hardens.

“What do you know of this matter?”

I catch myself before I can say ‘everything’, then bite my tongue before I say ‘nothing’. “Enough.” There, that sounds smooth enough. Except the word breaks into a sudden silence as the clash of blades behind us ceases.

A small smile flits across Varizan’s lips.

“You are right, my lord.” He raises his hand, flicking his wrist. Daraton swings his blade and I jump as a dagger embeds itself in the wall beside me. Daraton’s eyes widen as he inhales sharply between his teeth.

“I came for the wordsmith, of course.” Varizan’s eyes shift to me. “Jerinthreo and you can battle it out as you please but –”

Daraton charges with a shout.

The good news is that, whatever their earlier position, the dagger flying his way must have convinced Daraton that Varizan means no good.

The bad news?

Varizan still has eleven knives left. And he is even better at throwing than Jerin. What on earth possessed me to give him such a lethal skill? Daraton staggers with a gasp as a gleaming projectile smashes between his ribs, but he keeps on, closing the distance before Varizan can hurl another one. Varizan’s soldiers aren’t much help to their leader. Between the island counter and the fridge, there isn’t room for a soldier beside Varizan in any case. For the first time in my life, I am grateful for the narrow kitchen. Then again, Varizan doesn’t seem like he needs any help.

Something dark hurls over my head and I can’t suppress a yelp as I duck, spinning to the side as Jerin himself crashes through the door.

His gaze spins between the fight ensuing between his brother and Varizan, then slips down to me and darkens. I stagger to my feet, stumbling backward before his piercing gaze.

“So you were working with Daraton. And Ethred…did you steal the stone from her too?”

Ethred? Who was Ethred? And why are both brothers so protective of her? Maybe she can talk some sense into them. Provided the two brothers don’t kill each other, which of course assumes Varizan fails in his own quest.

“I stole nothing.” I finally find my voice. “But you both are acting like fools when the real fault lies elsewhere.”

It’s too late. Jerin’s eyes are hardened. He’s not listening anymore if he even registers what I’m saying. I glance wildly back, my gaze flying over where Daraton is now barely keeping Varizan at bay while the strobing blue lights from my poor fridge casts an eerie glow over the chaos that once was my kitchen.

I grit my teeth. I’m going to so regret this, I know. I also know I regret not doing it even more…besides the fact that I’ll be dead and the world I’ve created will probably implode with the death of several of its changing characters.

I leap forward, my hand closing about Daraton’s arm even as he stumbles. Varizan’s blade slashes downwards, but I jerk Daraton out of the way, toward the fridge. The light surrounds me…surrounds both of us, drawing us closer, faster, swifter. For a split second I see Varazan, his eyes lighting with a blue smile.

Then I jump upwards – or forwards; direction itself is spinning about me now.

And all is brilliant light.

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