#WIPjoy: The Other Half of Everything

(images found on Pinterest, other than the title banner in the middle)

As you may or may not be aware (depending on whether you follow me on Twitter or not), I took part in this month’s #WIPjoy challenge, which was great fun! ^_^

I really enjoyed sharing all my answers to the prompts in one handy spot, here on my blog, when I did it last October for The Siren and the Skyship, so I’d like to do that again!

This month I featured The Other Half of Everything, and I thought y’all might enjoy another glance at that work-in-progress of mine, so here you go…

#WIPjoy (Work In Progress Joy) is a writing meme hosted by Bethany Jennings @simmeringmind

WEEK 1: INTRO

Day 1: Introduce your MC & their story

Meridian: 17, no-nonsense, unreliable narrator. <3’s music. Zero patience for Teague.

Teague: the other MC; writer, bookworm, Hero.

Their story: Fantasy world(s), unexpected romance, Teague’s broken/quirky family. Humor, snark, DWJ-esque.

(mock “cover” made by me from images on Pinterest)

Day 2: About you! List 5 things you value

  • Fantasy
  • Heroism
  • Truth
  • Humor
  • Happy endings

About me: Fantasy writer, reader, blogger, punctuation enthusiast (freelance copyeditor/proofreader), Tolkienite, Diana Wynne Jones fan, avid bookshelf organizer, secretly an otter. ^_^

Day 3: A line that’s attention-grabbing

But, I reasoned, it wasn’t the end of the world. It could be worse. Teague could have been an axe-murderer instead of just a writer. I’d live with it. I’d have to.

Day 4: Your main writing goal this year

I’m more doing Dreams than Goals, but some of the main ones are: finish another novel, expand writing platform (newsletter/social media/website), and maybe go to Realm Makers. Here’s a list of my 2018 writing dreams.

Day 5: Your MC’s greatest yearning

Meridian yearns to change the world with music.

Teague… well… who knows what he wants, vague man of mystery that he is…

(Okay, you never heard this from him, but he wants to fix his estranged family relationships and save a couple worlds…)

Day 6: An aesthetic/visual for the WIP

WEEK 2: PRIDE AND JOY

Day 7: Your writing victories of 2017

Wrote 86K (30K in short stories), 5 whole short stories, started a new novel I love, won NaNo for 8th time, NEW PLOTBUNNIES, wrote in my writing journal every week, 116 blog posts.

Day 8: Your strengths as a writer

I have strengths? O.o (JK… *cough* >.>)

I like to think a dash of humor, elegant writing, fun characters, and snappy dialog, are my strengths.

Anyone who’s read anything I’ve written: What do you think my strengths are? I’d love to know!

Day 9: A line that makes you grin

[How about THE WHOLE THING?? Ahem.]

“Pardon me, Miss Meridian, but did you live under a rock your whole life?”

“No, I lived under you,” I shot back. “Which is clearly the same thing.”

Day 10: A character friendship you love

Teague and Meridian. I LOVE their dynamic/snark (but pleasant too… kinda). He annoys her. XD And they’ll fall in love. OBViously. Especially since they don’t know it. Both will deny EVERYTHING if you ask ’em. 😉 *evil author is evil*

Day 11: Has this WIP made you cry?

Not yet. *cue ominous music* I’m writing snippets out of order, so I haven’t been in the mode/emotional. Anytime I think about Teague & his family problems I cry a little inside though. (And then I laugh/smirk/fangirl because I love them.)

Day 12: 5 things you like about this WIP

  • TEAGUE. Can’t describe him
  • Involves a writer (see above) + bookishness
  • Fun + banter (love writing/re-reading!)
  • ALL THE FANTASY. (Spoilers, sweetie. But fantasy worlds…)
  • The “feel” (Diana Wynne Jones-ish but not) + characters/relationships

Day 13: A magical moment in the story

“What happened?” I asked Teague, meaning: “how did you end up locked in an invisible enchanted prison-thing?”

“I made a Wind Chaser angry.”

“And how on earth did you go about doing that?”

“It must have been my charming personality.”

WEEK 3: BOLD CREATIVITY

Day 14: A poem about/from your WIP

No poetry in it as yet; anything serious would be spoilers.

Random/silly thing:

It horrified (or slightly bothered) Teague
To find Meridian and Lulin in league
About his lack of a good memory
But he quickly forgot and went back to his tea

Day 15: Your best tip for writer’s block

Turn on a timer and try writing just until it goes off, and see if you don’t find that you’re writing after all…

Day 16: (1) A line that feels daring

[Drawing a blank, so have this one.]

“Well, what’s wrong with him?” Gran asked.

I grasped about for the right words and couldn’t find them. “…Everything!”

I didn’t know the half of it.

Day 16: (2) Other creative outlets you enjoy

Wait, there’s something other than writing? O.o

Sometimes: graphic/web design, sketch, color, crafty things [origami/knit/crochet], play a line on piano/pennywhistle.

But who has time for that when there’s books to read/write??

Day 17: Your WIP described as a food

A coffee-cake, mildly brownish and demure and coffee-flavored at first, so it’s tasty; but when you cut it open, there’s a whole new world of a hundred different colors and flavors inside…

Day 18: 3 songs that inspire me (for The Other Half of Everything)

Touch the Sky (Brave)

Walls (After the Morning – Cara Dillon)

Into the Open Air (Brave)

(First: the wonder of worlds; other two: Teague & Ivan… ‘Scuse me while I go cry.)

Day 19: Doodle an image from the story!

I… er… haven’t drawn anything for this one, so have my very first fan-art, from my dear friend Skye Hoffert, instead. (It’s Meridian and Teague and it makes me happy. ^_^)

Meridian and Teague (art by Sky Hoffert)

Day 20: How is writing this WIP brave?

My first novel in first-person w/ unreliable narrator + nothing like me. Writing out of order. Throwing away all story conventions & doing what I want. Aspiring to be a bit like Diana Wynne Jones. Dealing w/ dark things but a fun story.

WEEK 4: CHARACTER TAKEOVER!

(Character takeover week is my FAVORITE! :D)

Day 21: MC: your favorite holiday

Meridian: Bonfire Night.

Teague: National Read a Book Day.

M: IS there such a thing?

T: I haven’t the faintest notion, but there ought to be.

M: You could look it up.

T: Too much work… *goes back to reading*

Day 22: Antagonist: your side goals

I’m skipping this one since my antagonist(s) are… erm… in the works. >.> Which is to say, I’m having a hard time pinning them down. -_- (Anyone have villain tips? *cough*)

Day 23: A line of dialogue

A series of loud thumps proceeded from the direction of the kitchen. Then silence.

“I don’t want to know what that was!” I called.

“Remarkably wise of you,” Teague called back.

“I still don’t want to know what that was!” I warned.

“That’s probably for the best.”

Day 24: MC: describe your work day

Meridian: I go upstairs & clean house/make food for THIS guy so he won’t burn the house down.

Teague: *blinks absently* Work? What’s that? I don’t work; I ART. *reads/writes/makes money on scribblings*

M: No idea how he gets away with that. -_-

Day 25: Sidekick: a day your life changed

Lulin: Classified. Sorry, sweetie. *smiles*

Me: You could —

L: If I told you, I’d have to kill you. Politely… But you’d still be dead = unpleasant for both of us. So. Classified. ^_^

Me: … The problem with questions like this… -_-

Day 26: Antag: do you relate to the MC?

(I’m using Ivan for this one; he’s slightly antagonistic, though not villainous.)

Ivan: No.

Me: I didn’t mention if said MC is Meridian or Teague —

Ivan: NO.

Me: (He kind of does because — )

Ivan: SHUT UP.

Day 27: Main Character: a memory about family

Meridian: I don’t really remember my parents, but one of my mother playing the violin I play now. Gold music and sunlight in her hair.
Teague: My siblings & I on some adventure. NOT the dragon one. (Me: Too late.) Very well, that one. Fun times…

WEEK 5: VISION

Day 28: How do you hope to publish?

AHAHAHAHA.

Ahem.

I have no clue yet. Hence the insane laughter. (Hope you enjoyed that, by the way, because it’s all the answer you’re getting, unfortunately… Come back in a century or two once I know. *tips hat* Good day…)

Day 29: Who do you write for?

Teens, twenty-somethings, and those young at heart, who enjoy a good fantasy tale with a dash of humor and elegance and (I like to think) a unique twist on a thing or two, and don’t want to worry about content or an agenda. Just a good ol’ enjoyable story. 🙂

Day 30: A line about hopes or goals

Teague sighed as if he carried the burden of the world on his shoulders. “My new life goal is to turn you into a bookworm. Preferably of fantasy. Read this.”

“Why would I want to read a book?” I protested.

“Because I am selflessly lending it to you.”

Day 31: Where to find you (link day!)

Still working on that official website; stay tuned. 😂


What do you think? Comment below — I’d love to chat! Thanks for reading! ^_^

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When Writing Doesn’t Happen

When writing doesn’t happen, because life is happening and you can’t stop to write . . . it’s okay.

When writing doesn’t happen, because the worlds are alive in your head but they won’t go on the page yet . . . it’s okay.

When writing doesn’t happen, even though we’re halfway into the first month of that year you were really going to start working toward those writing dreams . . . it’s okay.

When writing a blog post hasn’t happened, because it’s late and your brain doesn’t function and your week has been too busy to allow time for writing a post . . . it’s okay.

It’s okay
because plans go amiss
and life goes awry
and all those dreams don’t always work out
but sometimes they work out better than you planned
because off the beaten path
and off the line on the map you’ve drawn
may be better than anything
you could have wished for.

It’s okay
because if the worlds are alive in your head
there’s no need to fear (like you are secretly fearing)
that they will never be caught on the page again
because that will only happen if you are afraid.
But there’s no need to fear.
Remember?

It’s okay
because two weeks is not make-it-or-break-it
especially when life is busy
and not having started toward that dream
doesn’t mean you’ve failed.

It’s okay
because if you don’t post on your blog one week
nobody will notice or care or be upset at you
and the world will not end.

When writing doesn’t happen . . .

. . . it’s okay.

I promise.

Because you can always try again.

Because the negative space of “I haven’t…” is not stronger than the positive space of “I have.”

And between the two is “I will” — a dream, and a promise, and a hope for the future.

So we’ll write when we can. And when we can’t . . . it’s okay.

When the busy week is up, or when the worlds are bursting to come forth onto the page, or when the new year calms down and you stop worrying about how much you’re getting done (or not getting done), or when the blog inspiration is there . . . then you will write.

The words will be there. Later. When they’re ready.

These are things I’m trying to learn, so I thought I would share them, in case they help you too.

Sometimes you need to try. But other times . . . you need to let the road surprise you, and relax on the journey.

Sometimes you find Narnia when you’re not looking for it.

And sometimes, just sometimes, when you’re not trying . . . is when you succeed.

And oh, look, I have a blog post after all. 🙂

Sunshine Blogger Award

(photography by me)

I don’t know about you, but personally I could use a little sunshine during this cold time of year! So it’s fortunate that I was tagged by Daley Downing @ The Invisible Moth for The Sunshine Blogger Award! Thanks, Daley! ^_^

And I’ll get straight to the tag questions…

WHO IS THE ONE PERSON THAT IS THE SUNSHINE IN YOUR LIFE?

I’m going to steal Daley’s answer and say it’s not fair to make me choose. XD I will say my family (particularly my sister) and my lovely online friends (particularly Christine). I have SO many beautiful sunshine people who brighten my life, and chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re one of them! ❤

DO YOU PREFER ALL HAPPY MOVIES, OR OCCASIONAL SAD MOVIES?

Definitely happy! I won’t mind if some of it’s sad as long as it turns out okay (and my favorite characters live. XD) but really sad ones are not my favorite.

WHAT IS THE ONE FOOD THAT ALWAYS MAKES YOU HAPPY?

(pinterest)

Fettuccine Alfredo or Chicken Tortellini — they’re the best! ❤ (And hey, strawberry Häagen-Dazs ice cream — that’s a food, right? 😉 )

WHAT IS THE SUNSHINE ON YOUR BLOG?

Any time someone reads my little scribbles and leaves a comment with their thoughts. I so appreciate you guys! ❤

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE WACKY “FUN” DAY?

I… don’t know. Maybe kayaking, if we’re talking unusual kinds of fun. Or wandering around in bookstores and libraries.

Or, if I’m being honest, giving myself an internet/computer vacation and turning off my laptop for a day and giving myself permission to just read anything I want, not just books on my current need-to-read list. XD

(pinterest)

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU LOVE ABOUT YOURSELF?

I don’t go with the flow; I have to do things MY way, even if my opinions make me feel like I’m the only person who feels that way. XD

(quote from Captain America: Civil War. Image designed by me on Canva.com)

WHAT IS ONE THING YOU LOVE ABOUT THE BLOGGING COMMUNITY?

I love when people encourage each other and lift one another up, just being there and understanding. 🙂

WHAT IS THE ONE BOOK THAT MADE YOU SMILE THE MOST?

(goodreads)

Howl’s Moving Castle can always be counted on to make me smile. ^_^

WHERE IS YOUR CORNER OF SUNSHINE IN YOUR HOME?

I love to curl up in my big comfy chair in my room and read or write or journal, or just stare at the books on my bookcase. And sometimes there will be a literal beam of sunshine on my bed, where I might curl up with my kitty and nap (particularly during NaNo. XD).

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE COLOR OR COLORS?

Forest green, and light blue. I’m also partial to silver and gold colors…

WHAT IS THE ONE MOVIE (OR DRAMA) THAT ALWAYS MAKES YOU HAPPY?

How about the Pixar short film “La Luna”? That one ALWAYS does. ^_^

TAGGING:

I tag Jenelle, Madeline, Mary, and Christine, and anyone reading this who wants to! No pressure. 🙂 Just let me know if you do it so I can read your thoughts!

On a related note, if you like to be tagged for things, let me know in the comments below! I haven’t done one for awhile, so I’m a little rusty, and I’d like to know so that I might remember to tag those of you who want to be tagged, in the future! ^_^

Thanks for reading! ❤

New Year, New Dreams

Oh, look, 2017 is over. Imagine that.

I now greet you from the amazing FUTURISTIC YEAR 2018. (Seriously though, who gave that number permission? I swear it’s still 2013…)

I’ll get to some quick writerly highlights of 2017 in a minute, but first…

Now is about the correct time to list goals and resolutions for the year.

But they’re funny things, goals.

They are things to mark off, and every moment spent NOT marking them off (other than moments spent actively working toward them, of course) can be seen as a failure… (Or is that just me? *cough*)

Which means that most of the time, goals can leave a person deciding to throw in the towel and move to the Alps to live with the goats instead.

(And don’t get me started on Resolutions, because those can be even worse. The second you break one: NOPE, DONE.)

Dreams, though… Dreams are different.

Dreams, you’re allowed to — well — dream them. And yes, you work toward them if/when you can, but they’re something more elusive; maybe they happen and maybe they don’t; maybe they’re out of your control but you can hope anyway; and maybe, just maybe, one day they’ll come true… especially if you work on them.

Dreams are less guilt-oriented and less of a rigid To Do List You Must Mark Off Or Else You Are Not A Decent Human And It’s Alps And Goats For You. (Don’t ask about the analogy, just… yeah, just roll with it.)

That’s why, here at the start of 2018, instead of resolutions or goals, I’m going to share some of my writerly dreams.

2018 Writer Dreams

  • Finish another novel. Not particularly picky as to which one, though The Siren and the Skyship would be my first choice at the moment.
  • Finish the short stories I started. (The Treasure of A Distant Storm, The Tangled Thicket of Perilous Perrifeld, Hairdo Havoc.)
  • Stop getting hung up on perfection and not-starting and just WRITE A LOT.
  • Which also means not getting distracted or letting other things get in the way of actually letting myself have some writing time. (This is harder than you might think.)
  • Start a newsletter. (Is this a terrible or awesome idea? Please advise!)
  • Start Instagramming. (I actually have one, I just… can’t post there yet because you need a smartphone to do so. *cough*)
  • Start a Facebook page. (Shocking, I know…)
  • Set up my official website. Which I’ve only been meaning to do forever. (Don’t worry, this blog and my book blog aren’t going anywhere! I’d just like a central hub, is all. Because #professional. And because — let’s be honest — MORE PRETTY WEBSITES!)
  • Get a crystal fox from The Last Jedi for a pet. (Wait, what? How did THAT show up on my writing dream list? O_O Ahem. Moving on…)
  • Spend more time with the stories and characters I love most. Like Tare and co., The Other Half of Everything, and The Siren and the Skyship. Speaking of which…

  • Develop the sequels to The Siren and the Skyship. (Yes, it’s a trilogy now. Yes, I know I haven’t finished the first one. Yes, there are more fairytales, though I’m not 100% as to which. Yes, I’m insane. Shush.)
  • Get my freelance proofreading/copyediting business off the ground. (This is the part where I get annoying and actually *gasp* market my services, and say: “Does anyone need a book edited? I love catching typos! I’m good at it, too!” But I’ll skip that part, because it’s boring. XD Oh, wait…)
  • Be more open about my writing dreams and thoughts on my blog. Wait, what? Isn’t that what this post is about? Well, yes. I’m not saying I’m not open and honest on this blog, because I am. But I’m somewhat of a shy, introspective person, and I was realizing I don’t actually share about things that really MATTER to me and are important to me, like my deeper struggles about publishing and writing and all of those goals and things. Would anyone care, I wonder? Is it only me? Sometimes I don’t share my writing goals because I’m afraid of failing; because, somehow, I expect to fail — and I need to stop that. So being more open with you, my lovely readers, might be a step in a better direction. Tare and I need to realize we need our Chess Club. (That’s you.) And as much as he and I like to work alone… “it’s more friendly with two.” 🙂
  • Figure out what on earth I plan to do about publishing, because I’m dreadfully confused and have been for years now. I think I’m pinning down some of what’s going on with my struggle, but it hasn’t shown the answer yet. I should probably post about this…
  • Speaking of: Write more awesome blog posts. And have a giveaway or two, because those are fun. And basically continue (hopefully) epicness and keep all involved happy. (Everyone: me, you, and the pixel-fairies who carry the words between us across the tangled web of internet. No idea where that came from. It must be getting late, y’all.)
  • Gather all the info I’ve accumulated over the years about publishing and marketing and make a sort of list of said tips. Because I feel like I know and have learned SO MANY THINGS, and would kind of like to see how much there is.
  • Get closer to publishing something, somehow.
  • (And… while I’m dreaming — hey, why not a really big one that I have no idea if it’s even feasible?) I would love to be able to go to Realm Makers this year. 😉 No idea if it could even happen, but it would be nice!

(My inner editor is squirming about that missing comma before “darling.” Unfortunately, my editing does not extend to gifs… Also, yes, I went from Tangled to Inception; problem? I have wide tastes. XD)

2017 Writing Highlights

  • Wrote a total of 86,000 words.
  • Wrote 5 short stories (Wintertale, A Tale of Two Boxes, a Kedran’s Wood “fanfiction” for myself and Lauri, Invisible Beauty, and Tare and the Puppies) — 3 of which I shared online! *shocking*
  • Started two other short stories (The Treasure of A Distant Storm, and The Tangled Thicket of Perilous Perrifeld. Wow, their titles are almost short stories in themselves…)
  • I hardly ever write short stories, so working on 7 this year has been very interesting.

  • Some work on Kedran’s Wood 2 (which is getting long and rambly and unwieldy; I should do something about that).
  • Also dibs and dabs of The Other Half of Everything, which is at around 15K words, despite not having a complete chapter written. XD (Writing things out of order and only when you’re 110% inspired is fascinating. If I ever get it done, it’s going to be the most awesome book ever, is all I’m saying.)

  • Started The Siren and the Skyship (and got maybe halfway).
  • So many plot ideas and lightbulb inspiration moments and restructuring of various books and series. There’s a lot going on in the fictional worlds inside my head, lately! I’M SO EXCITED.
  • Met with many amazing writer friends throughout the year. It’s been incredible! ❤
  • Participated in my 8th NaNoWriMo (as well as two Camp NaNo sessions, even though I didn’t plan on either. XD) and won.
  • Was an ML for my NaNo region for the 5th time, and ran a writing group sometimes.

  • Was in print for the first time! (Okay, not really… I was in a print copy of the collected Tales from a Modern Bard stories from that blog, which just the authors got copies of. But I did get to hold in my hands something with a story of mine printed in it! Thanks to Hazel!)
  • Got my first fan-art from the lovely Skye! (Thank you! ❤ )
  • Did lots of beta-reading and editing and such.
  • Built the Vintage Jane Austen website — such a joy to work with these talented authors! It’s been beautiful seeing this series release into the world this last year!
  • Was part of the second annual SilmAwards!
  • Announced my freelancing services.
  • Wrote more or less 50,000 words of book reviews this year. (Er… yeah… I write them in Scrivener and it tells me I’m pretty close to that, and I know I wrote some I didn’t put in there, so… yeah, more or less. Plus other blog posts, so who KNOWS how much of that there’s been. No wonder I don’t write as much fiction as I used to! O_O It’s been fun, though!)
  • Started a bullet journal. (Not super writerly, but it does keep me vaguely organized. I’m so excited to be starting a new one for the New Year today! The blue journal pictured in the header image of this post.)
  • Wrote in my writer’s journal every week this year. (Wow! o.o)
  • Posted 50 posts here on The Road of a Writer, and 66 posts on The Page Dreamer.
  • I’m positive I’m missing something EXTREMELY important, but this will have to do. XD

I’ll be sharing my top 15 favorite books I read in 2017, on my book blog soon, so watch out for that!

So, there you have my 2017 and a look forward to this new (futuristic *coughcough*) year of 2018!

And as I type this on New Year’s Eve, there’s snow on the ground outside, which is practically unheard of around here…

So you see, dreams do come true.

***

Happy New Year, my beloved Roadlings! May you have a most glorious and fantastic one indeed! ❤

How was your 2017 and what are some of your dreams for this year?

NaNo Snippets: Siren and the Skyship

And now for the long awaited party I mean snippets I promised you!

The time has come, the blogger said, to take you on some trips

Through NaNo! Clouds and sirens, and Royal Sky Navy Ships!

Or something like that.

I hope you enjoy this glimpse at my YA Steampunk-Fantasy Little-Mermaid(-ish) 2017 NaNo novel, The Siren and the Skyship . . .

Snippets

“Skyship off the starboard bow!” cried the lookout.

Auren wondered a) how the lookout had managed to see anything in this abysmal weather, and b) how anyone could possibly hear him.

* * *

In the mellow lamp-light in her cabin, Tasmania’s fine penmanship filled white pages with ink as black as the night the skyship was currently sailing through.

Nearly died today. Again.

Otherwise an uneventful day.

* * *

Rook crouched forward astride the dragon, keeping Emmy safely in front of him with his arms to either side of her as he steered the clockwork dragon into the night. He did not know if they had been spotted in the light from the explosion, or if they were being followed, and he did not intend to stick around to find out. Protect Emmy.

Navyman and girl flew with all speed through the clouds and mist, wind in their faces blowing back her fair hair, and what had escaped from the tie he kept his long dark hair tied back with. The barest silver crescent of the moon emerged from the clouds above and radiated soft white light into the dark night, gleaming on the metal of the clockwork dragon’s beating wings, and showing the looming forms of several dark stone pillars rising up in the night.

* * *

“And we’ll just be careful.”

“Always,” Tasmania said cheerfully.

“Says my reckless captain,” Gerias said, but he smiled as he said it.

“When was I ever reckless?” Tasmania said, and she breezed out the door on her way to some breakfast and tea.

* * *

Tasmania swiveled back toward Rook.

“Stirling Rook,” he said.

She frowned, looking somewhat confused. “What about him?”

“He’s me,” Rook said, knowing there was probably something wrong with the way this conversation was going, but not quite sure he had the brain power to rectify the situation.

Captain Tasmania blinked, then folded her arms and shook her head. “Impossible. Can’t be. He’s dead.”

Rook raised his eyebrows. “News to me…” he muttered. “I mean, I feel terrible, but not that terrible…”

* * *

Before Captain Tasmania could ask any more questions, a tall man with blond hair and a chiseled jaw, in an officer’s uniform, came down the steps into the infirmary room.

“Captain, you’re wanted on deck,” he said. “And how is my patient?”

“Fine,” Rook rasped warily, looking at the man.

“Mr. Rook,” Tasmania said, “this is Gerias Bridgington-Cramley, the First Mate and Medic aboard the Star Dreamer. Gerias, we have a name to our mysterious rescue: this is Stirling Rook.”

Gerias’s blond eyebrows raised. “The Stirling Rook? Admiral Rook’s son?”

Rook sighed. Not this again. “Yes.”

“I thought you were dead.”

“So I keep hearing,” Rook said.

* * *

“Why, oh, why, can’t I touch things!” Auren howled in exasperation and panic. He thought he was slowing her fall just a little, but not stopping it. The skyship was out of sight above them, obscured by clouds, and she was rapidly falling straight toward whatever was below the next batch of clouds. Auren hoped, for Tasmania’s sake, that it was one of the rope nets…

No such luck. They were near a net stretched between two pillars, with grass growing on the tops of the rock, but the trajectory of her course was aimed straight for the pillar or, worst case scenario, even down beyond that to who-knew-what—probably jagged rock or maybe a crevice down into no-man’s-land.

All Auren could think was: She’s going to die. Tasmania’s going to die and I can’t save her. And that was when he realized. I love her. It was completely a miserable thought to have at a moment like this, and extremely inconvenient too. Why did he have to care so much? But he couldn’t stop it now. Determination and anger flowed through him. He wouldn’t let it happen.

Auren bent his entire will and all his thought and strength toward becoming a wind, pushing her up, slowing her descent, fighting the air currents with wind of his own, fighting them to keep his Tasmania alive.

And as he did, he sang.

He sang with all his heart, siren song words which welled up from somewhere deep inside of him, half lullaby, half war song—a song to keep the most tired soldier fighting, to wake and put to sleep a child all at once, to say You are safe in my arms—let’s fly together, and don’t worry about anything.

Every part of his mind and wispy-wind-like body strained as hard as he possibly could and—he—slowed—her—down.

His nearly insubstantial touch that had never been able to hold anything, held her, stopped her fall, and, still singing, he slowly, gently, ever so gently, laid her very softly to rest on the green sward of grass at the top of the mist-wreathed pillar of rock.

* * *

Auren woke to find Rook standing by the side of the bunk bed, arms folded, looking down at him.

Auren stretched and yawned. “ ’Morning?” he said.

“Are you an assassin?” Rook asked calmly.

Auren blinked. “Pardon?”

“I didn’t hear you come in last night,” Rook said, as if this explained everything.

Auren yawned again and rubbed his eyes, wondering if this was a human thing to have no idea what someone was talking about this early in the morning. “I’m sorry, why is that a bad thing? I was trying to be quiet; that was just me trying to be considerate and let you sleep. What’s wrong with not hearing me come in and— why do you think I’m an assassin? Because no, I’m definitely not.”

* * *

“So . . . what you’re saying is that I’m an assassin, but I’m just a really bad one?” Auren said, incredulous. “I feel like I should be insulted, but I’m still trying to wrap my mind around why you think I’m an assassin.”

* * *

So he did the only thing he could do: he spun the wheel and steered them directly between two of the pillars. Auren had never steered a skyship before, but he knew the air and the wind currents, and if there was one thing he did know how to do, it was fly.

* * *

“Because like it or not, someone wants you dead.”

Tasmania sighed and dropped her face into her hands to rub her forehead. This was turning into a long day.

* * *

Auren had fallen in love with hammocks and abandoned his bunk in favor of sleeping on one.

“It’s like sleeping in the air, or flying,” Auren had said in raptures, completely delighted at this concept for some reason Rook could not make head nor tail out of.

Rook grunted. “We’re on a skyship. You’re already flying.”

Auren ignored him.

At least Rook had the bunk to himself now.

* * *

She saw Auren, across the deck, vault up onto the railing, rope in hand. Without hesitation, he leapt in a graceful arc, as one with the air, over the side of the skyship and out of sight into the sky below.

* * *

As soon as he was gone and the door closed behind them, Tasmania relaxed and slumped a little in her chair, grimacing. “Back to civilization, is it? Civilization can’t pluck you out of the sky when you’re falling a thousand feet through a storm. You’re very welcome for picking you up on this little not-civilization ship, sir.”

* * *

She laughed. “It’s Tasmania. Really. Or… my brothers call me Mania.”

Auren’s eyes widened. “I could never call you that.”

Her grin was infectious. “Believe me, if you’d known me as long as they have, you would.”

* * *

“I thought you were dead.”

“Yeah, I… get that a lot,” Rook said.


What do you think? Leave a comment and let me know! Thanks very much for reading — I so appreciate it! And Merry Christmas! ^_^ I’ll not be blogging next week, so I’ll see you all in a couple of weeks with the turning of the year! Love you, lovely readers! ❤