Beautiful People: 2016 Writerly Resolutions/Goals

BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE IS HERE! With Writerly Resolutions and Goals for 2016. Sound scrumptious? Of course it does. Let’s get this proverbial show on the proverbial road!

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Beautiful People is a monthly meme for writers held by Cait @ Paper Fury and Sky @ Further Up and Further In — join in the linky if you like! It’s a lot of fun! 🙂

1. What were your writing achievements last year?

R&RWriting and editing an entire novella (The Rose and the Raven) and entering a contest. Writing two short stories. And working on several novels and getting a total wordcount of over 100k words for the year. Also taking new approaches at my two series. And I learned how to do a draft zero, how to write a lot of words, how to write small things, and also how to CUT a lot of words. I also learned how to write utterly adorable romances (in my humble opinion) so I’m proud of that. XD Basically I made some achievements and learned a TON in 2015 about writing and vaguely feel as though I’ve taken great strides.

*blinks* …Wow, until I answered this question, I had no idea I felt that way about the year! o.o Hurray for Beautiful People bringing out our deepest thoughts! (If it works for our characters, it can work for us writers too!)

S&Scover42. Tell us about your top priority writing project for this year?

Ummmm. Work on The Other Half of Everything, The Siren and the Skyship, The Silver Forest, continue The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (KW2), and replot my entire epic fantasy series, the Starrellian Saga? Maybe? I know, that’s not one, but I’m sort of on writing hiatus right now and… yeah. Those are what I’m thinking about anyway and want to work on the most. 🙂 (Now watch something entirely different happen… >.>)

3. List 5 areas you’d like to work the hardest to improve this year.

  1. Plotting. I get so caught up in “I have to write WORDS and increase my number of actually WRITTEN writing!” that I often write when I’m not ready for it. I need to remember that plotting is a HUGE part of writing, even though it’s not easily visible.
  2. Actually writing. I’m very much a binge-writer, and I can’t write consistently to save my life (or… okay, during NaNo. But it’s exhausting and I usually would rather write 3k one day so I can take a day off than write 1667 words consistently every day). Consequently, it can be really hard for me to actually sit down and START writing! I need to work on this.
  3. Stop waffling. In line with the first one, I need to try to make my plots tighter and more interwoven. I tend to go off down rabbit trails and have a lot of stuff going on without actual plot happening, which makes for freakishly long and daunting books.
  4. STOP CHASING PLOT BUNNIES! …Okay, so this one is probably out of my control. *cough* But I keep getting SO distracted by attractive new plot bunnies that hop by me and drag me off down rabbit holes. I have oodles of perfectly good books to work on already and I don’t need any more until I’ve actually WRITTEN a few of these!
  5. Write what I love. This is actually a contradiction to the point before this, since many of those plot bunnies ARE what I love. But vaguely, I get caught up in stories the way they appear, and sometimes I don’t remember to throw in things that really catch my interest. I’d like to focus on that more this year.

4. Are you participating in any writing challenges?

NO. …Ahem. Yes, I’ll probably participate in NaNoWriMo in November, because I love NaNo, but I’m kind of burnt out as far as challenges go so I think I’m going to leave it at that… (Of course, that was my plan last year and then I randomly entered the Rooglewood Press contest soooo there’s that. *cough*) Challenges tend to stress me out and make me feel guilty for not writing, and I really need to relax and rediscover my joy in writing without all the pressure. 🙂 Currently, writing is for ME so I shouldn’t get caught up in deadlines when I don’t have to!

5. What’s your critique partner/beta reader situation like and do you have plans to expand this year?

Hum. I have a few lovely people who like to read my things at times — I still don’t quite know WHY. O_O — and… I haven’t worked on this much. I still haven’t figured out what I want most from a critique, which also accounts for my struggles trying to be a good beta-reader for others (I’m sorry, everyone!) so… I don’t know. I basically fail at all things beta/critique. :-/ I guess if I had plans it would be to actually read and give feedback for the lovely stories people send me, and figure out what I actually am looking for in a critique? Basically: LEARN THINGS AND NOT BE A HORRIBLE PERSON. There. That can be “plans to expand,” right? 😉

writingmagic6. Do you have plans to read any writer-related books this year? Or are there specific books you want to read for research?

I’d like to read Writing Magic by Gail Carson Levine and possibly On Writing by Stephen King and maybe a few writing books I have around. I do have like twenty random ebooks on writing etc. that were given to me. Not sure. *shrug*

Research… not really. I’m not much of a researcher. Reading fabulous books that I love is my research in general and always has been. 😀

7. Pick one character you want to get to know better, and how are you going to achieve this?

meridian2

Meridian

Oh my goodness, I don’t even know. O_O I do have a few characters who kind of lack something or I don’t really know what they’re LIKE yet… like Meridian in The Other Half of Everything, or Arielle in my Kedran’s Wood series (and also a certain spoilerish character from KW who I can’t even mention). So maybe someone like that. Or maybe just rediscovering my favorite characters from my Starrellian Saga, or any one of my favorites in the other books I want to work on.

As to how to achieve it? I have no idea. My characters do what they want and I can’t make them behave so I’ll just sit here and wait probably, because I’m lame like that. 😛 (Tips, anyone?)

8. Do you plan to edit or query, and what’s your plan of attack?

I don’t knooow! *flails around* I usually edit somewhat as I go, and whenever I actually FINISH a thing I edit it… I don’t have a plan of attack and I have no idea about queries vs. self-pub and all of that utterly confusing industry type of questions. Basically I want to write and not worry about such things right now.

9. Toni Morrison once said, “If there’s a book that you want to read, but it hasn’t been written yet, then you must write it.”  What are the books that you want to see more of, and what “holes” do you think need filling in the literary world?

OHEcoverWhimsical, funny, epic, rollicking, insane fantasy adventures of the sort that Diana Wynne Jones wrote. The world does not have enough of these. I have no illusions that I will in any way approach DWJ’s genius, but The Other Half of Everything is SUPPOSED to be more along those lines… (Though it is still very vague and also keeps throwing dark subplots/characters at me… HONESTLY. It’s supposed to be lighthearted! Like I said, my books do what they want. >.>)

Also retellings of The Twelve Dancing Princesses. There are definitely not enough of them. Which is why I’m going to totally return to The Silver Forest and write MY version of The Twelve Dancing Princesses (and hopefully make it fabulous *cough*).

(Also, there need to be more YA heisty/con-artist books. But I’m afraid I can’t help there. Yet…)

10. What do you hope to have achieved by the end of 2016?

I’m really bad at making goals and actually sticking to them. My inspiration is a flighty and unpredictable thing, and whatever I think is the most important will probably get tossed to the wayside as my writing self tackles a totally random project I never heard of before (*cough* basically everything I wrote last year *cough*). So instead of having anything particular I’d like to have achieved by the end of 2016, I will only say that I would like to HAVE ACHIEVED. I’m not particular. As long as I can look back at my writerly year and say “I achieved”, then whatever that is that I did achieve, I’ll be content. ^_^

Of October Madness

IsItNovember

I know I used this in my last post, but I’m posting it again because it’s an accurate depiction of my feelings right now. (Which is why I put together this handy graphic. ;))

I’m a little in shock about it being November already. How. Even.

Still, my October madness ishness was as follows!

ishness

Life

I feel like I was gone all month — if not literally, at least mind-wise.

I went to a fair/rodeo thing for the first time in forever, which was a lot of fun. Also some NaNo events — yay!

Then last week I was camping . . . Just the right thing to do before NaNo instead of plotting, am I right? 😉

I was also sick for a week smack-dab in the middle of the month, which totally threw me off. Not to mention my dead internet.

I basically spent the month in a blur of being insanely busy and unprepared, flailing around trying to get caught up on things and prepare for NaNo and panicking over The Rose and the Raven and not having my NaNo novel plotted. …Actually, I’m still panicking over those things! Funny how that works…

Watching

moviesoct2015

I saw Ever After: A Cinderella Story, which I always hear about but had never seen. It was not what I was expecting, but fun.

I finished my re-watching catch-up of the Hunger Games movies (paiiin) because for some reason the final one is coming out in a couple of weeks… I still haven’t read the books so I know next to nothing about what’s going to happen in Mockingjay Part 2, except a certain couple of deaths; but I have a feeling I’m going to be very upset about the entire movie. *sigh* I don’t even know why I inflict this series on myself…

I also saw Age of Ultron again. HAWKEYE!! 😀 No, I’m not going to shut up about him; he’s just the best, okay? Don’t deny it.

Star Wars Youtube Stuff

starwars7posterI saw two Star Wars things recently, so that gets its own category this round of Ishness. 😉 Have you seen the new trailer for Star Wars Episode VII (The Force Awakens) yet?? It is HERE and looks amazing.

And it’s not new, but I only just saw it and thought it was funny enough to share if you haven’t seen it: a Star Wars Episode I (The Phantom Menace) parody of the song American Pie. It’s really funny.

Reading

I read nothing in October.

I know, I know, you’re probably as shocked as David Tennant… And so am I. But my month was SO insane I had positively no time to read. I was going to read a very long book for review (that I happen to be EXTREMELY excited about. I’ve been waiting for this book to come out for a year now) and didn’t get to it and consequently got to nothing else.

So. No books. It’s sad.

Writing

Mostly my writing this month was (trying to) plot The Silver Forest. And getting distracted by Tare from my Kedran’s Wood series (because he has no sense of timing) and ending up plotting his series as well accidentally, and being informed there’s yet another novella in the series, bringing it up to 9 stories. Also Teague, from The Other Half of Everything, who has, if possible, an even WORSE sense of timing, tried to distract me too. So I ended up writing snippets of both of them (not together, though; thank goodness).

R&RI also did some writing of (my possible Rooglewood Press contest entry) The Rose and the Raven, bringing its total up to 5k words, as I believe I mentioned. It’s currently on hold (perhaps indefinitely…. I don’t even know right now. But I can’t focus on anything besides NaNo at the moment).

My total words for October was about 3000. Which, for the month before NaNo and considering the insanity, I’m calling a win.

October Snippets

For fun, here are some snippets of The Other Half of Everything, and of Tare and friends. In which Teague makes it his life goal to turn Meridian into a bookworm, and Tare makes spicy tea.

The Other Half of Everything

    Teague sighed as if he carried the burden of the world on his shoulders, and stood up. “My new life goal is to turn you into a bookworm. Preferably of fantasy. Read this.” He held out a book with a plain brown cover.
    “What?” I said.
    “Read it,” he repeated.
    “Why would I want to read a book?” I protested.
    “Pretend it’s a movie.”
    I gave him a look. Then I tried again. “Why would I want to read this book?”
    “Because I am selflessly lending it to you. What do you do when people are kind enough to lend you things?”
    “Normally I put them carefully on a shelf and then do my homework,” I said without thinking, forgetting momentarily that I had graduated.
    “And then?”
    “And then I procrastinate over doing them until the last second before I have to give them back, because I never actually want to do them and am just being polite.”
    Teague gave me look of mild disbelief. “Polite? You?”
    I leaned forward slightly, looking him squarely in the eye, and said very seriously in a lowered voice as if it was a secret: “Are you talking to a mirror?”
    He pushed the book toward my face and I was forced to grab it as he dropped it—which apparently he knew I would do. Infuriating. Then he turned and started crossing the room. “Just read the book.”
    “Again: why?” I asked his retreating back.
    “It’s homework,” he said over his shoulder.
    “Homework?” I repeated.
    Teague spun halfway round. “Yes. Because I am your employer and I said to read it.” There may have been a glint in his eye.
    “You’re evil.”
    “Nope. Just your employer. And are you not listening? I said this was my new life goal. It would be extremely considerate of you to go along with it, you know.”
    I shook my head and gave up. It was too ridiculous. “If you say so, ‘boss’.”
    “ ‘Teague’, thanks,” he corrected as he sailed off through the door back to his writing.

***

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.”

***

Mixup at Kedran’s Wood (KW 2.5 novella)

Tare leaned over and poked the fire in the hearth with the poker. “Anyone want some tea?” he asked.
    They sat in stunned silence, blinking at him, until he finally looked over his shoulder at them.
    “Some what?” Ivy demanded.
    “Tea,” Tare repeated with a flat look. “You know—that thing that people drink.” There was a strong note of sarcasm behind it.
    “But why would—?” Lavender began, trying to understand why Tare was talking about tea or why he would have any.
    “Because it’s there,” Tare cut in, exasperated, “and I thought I’d offer you some. Have it if you want.” He flapped a hand in the direction of the table. “Otherwise, forget it.” And he dropped into a chair.
    Now that they looked where he had waved, they saw the brown tea pot crouched on the table among the other stuff, steam curling upward from the spout.
    “Did it not come in black?” Baz teased.
    Tare tilted his head with a fake and humorless smile. “Haha.”
    Marie poured some of the hot tea into a few brown ceramic cups and handed them around.
    “Ooh, cinnamon!” Baz said happily, staring into his cup.
    Tare sent him a weird look. “There’s . . . no cinna—”
    But Baz had taken his first sip, and started to cough. After a cautious sip from each of the others, most of them were coughing too. Tare just looked at them all like he couldn’t figure them out.
    Adrian grinned. “Come on, guys, it can’t be that bad.” Adrian took one large gulp, choked, coughed several times, and managed to splutter, “What is in that?”
    Tare gave him a hard stare. “I told you. It’s tea.”
    “That’s not tea, that’s dragon fire in a cup!” Jake gasped, clutching at his throat.
    “Well excuse me for not noticing the dragon when I was making it. I guess I need to work on my observation skills.”
    “No, really, what is it?” Marie asked.
    “It’s ginger tea,” Tare answered, nonplussed.
    “No way—what else?” Adrian said.
    Tare shrugged. “Lemon and honey . . .” He paused as if thinking. “And cayenne pepper.”
    “Seriously?” Ivy exclaimed
    “Oh my goodness,” Lavender managed.
    “Is that what the little floaty red specks were—not cinnamon?” Baz squealed indignantly.
    “What is wrong with you that you would ruin perfectly good tea like that?” Marie said.
    “And then feed it to your friends,” Adrian added.
    “Maybe he wanted a good laugh,” Jake said.
    “Maybe he wanted to kill us,” Baz put in.
    “Maybe, I’m neither laughing nor killing anyone and don’t understand what is wrong with you that you are all dying on me over some tea.” Tare folded his arms.

What’s Next?

SilverForestCoverFinalSo that’s what was up in October. As for November, well, as you may guess I’m very busy writing! If you’re doing NaNo and would like to be buddies on the site, you can find me here. 🙂

I don’t know how “around” I’ll be online this month, but never fear — I’ve scheduled some posts of some old writings of mine on the blog this month so that I won’t entirely forget and abandon y’all. Hope you’ll enjoy them!

And good luck on whatever your plans are, especially all you NaNoers! (Only because you may need more “good lucks” than less insane people. 😉 ) YOU CAN DO IT!

Meantime, I’d best get going on filling this November with some Ishness of its own.

I’m off into the Silver Forest. I may get lost on the way, but it’s bound to be interesting all the same. See you on the other side…

(And I’m just going to leave you with this thing I made, even though only Leverage fans will get it…)

Blogoversary Shenanigans

blogoversary2year

I want to thank each and every one of you, blog readers and commenters, for coming with me thus far on my writing journey and reading my li’l ol’ scribbles on this here blog, as The Road of a Writer turns 2 years old today.

Thank you so much.

I love you guys to Starrellia and back.

Here’s a bit of a (longish…) scribble in celebration. Enjoy! 🙂


Blogoversary Shenanigans

The sun rises slowly and shines its warm pleasant golden beams past the trees circling a green forest glade. It is empty. All is still save for a quiet twitter of birdsong and the rustle of the leafy branches swaying gently in a soft breeze.

A black raven flies into the glade, and alights soundlessly on a large grey rock near the center. It ruffles its wings into place, cocking its head this way and that to survey the area as it settles on the rock. Then there is a blur and it morphs into a black-haired woman with a black cloak and a dress with a pattern of roses, sitting on the rock.

She is still looking about as she was when she was a raven, and a moment later she nods and stands up with a little smile.

“Yes. I think this will do nicely.”

Immediately, an ageless looking man with gold-tinged light hair that curls about his ears, and a gold harp in one arm, appears in the glade. He does not appear surprised, merely curious, as his golden eyes survey the dark-haired woman. Then he smiles very slightly and sits down on a nearby stump. He begins to softly pick out a melody on his harp, the golden notes filling the glade.

At that moment, there is a sudden bump and two more figures appear.

“. . . I just don’t see why on earth you should be acting like — Oh!” The eighteen year old girl in jeans and an assortment of either fashionable or extremely slipshod shirts and layers, with brown eyes and dark brown hair, breaks off in the middle of her sentence from talking to her companion, to look around the glade in a startled manner.

Her companion, however, a young man of twenty-something with sandy-ish fair hair, a pencil behind one ear and a pen in one hand, with a rather large notebook in the other hand, does not seem to have noticed either the girl’s talking or the glade he is suddenly in. He just goes on scribbling where he sits on the grass.

“Teague!” the girl half shrieks, half whispers, prodding him in the ribs with the toe of her red converse sneaker. “Pay attention! What on earth just happened?”

“Mm…?” Teague says distractedly, and finally looks up. His uncertainly-colored eyes rove about. “Oh.” He pauses a moment, looking absentminded. “I thought we were in my house,” he adds mildly, going back to his scribbling.

“We were.”

“Hmm. We seem to be somewhere else now. How did we get here, exactly?”

“How should I know? But I suggest you figure it out pretty quick. Your dinner’s going to burn,” she adds, folding her arms.

“Don’t get so excited, Meridian,” Teague says mildly. “My dinner usually burns.”

“Not when I’m there to look after it.”

“Well, you’re not.”

“That’s entirely the point!” Meridian howls in exasperation. “Look, stop scribbling and do something about it!”

His pen continues scratching. “I don’t get any pleases around here, do I?” he says resignedly.

“We don’t even know where ‘here’ is,” Meridian says pointedly. “But okay. Please.”

Teague sighs and stops writing. He looks around again. Then he gets unconcernedly to his feet, looking absentminded again, like he’s forgotten the entire conversation already. He wanders toward the bard, a trail of yellow sticky-notes detaching themselves from his notebook pages to flutter quietly toward the ground behind him. Meridian grimaces, but begins picking them up from the grass as she trails in his wake.

“You there: harper,” Teague calls.

The golden-eyed bard looks up, his fingers still moving on the strings.

“Any idea how we got here? Or . . . where here is, for that matter. That would be extremely helpful,” Teague says.

The bard nods toward the black-haired lady by the rock. “You might ask her. She was here at the start.”

“Mm.” Teague wanders toward her. Meridian sends a quick “Thank you, by the way,” that Teague had forgotten, in the bard’s general direction; he smiles.

“Good morning,” the black haired lady says pleasantly.

“Is it,” Teague says vaguely. “Incidentally, I don’t suppose you’d care to tell us why we’re here, would you? I’m not particularly caring about it myself, but Meridian will carry on and keep me from writing until I find out for her,” he adds with a certain stare over his shoulder at his follower.

Meridian wrinkles her nose at him and says, “Teague.

“I wouldn’t mind at all,” the black haired lady says, smiling widely. “In fact, I’ve called you two and the others here –”

“Others?” Teague says, raising a quizzical eyebrow.

“They don’t seem to have all shown up yet. How annoying.” The black haired lady looks questingly around the glade. “Ah. Here they are.”

The forest glade is suddenly full of several other people, scattered randomly about in small groups, save for the nearest person, who is alone. He wears a long black leather jacket, has black hair, and glances sharply around with narrowed eyes, looking tense and ready to fight off anyone who so much as steps in his direction.

“Tare, would you mind awfully — ?” a voice is saying, but breaks off and turns into a yelp.

“Yes, I would,” the young man in the leather jacket growls at the teen boy, in jeans and blue t-shirt with tousled brown hair, who had yelped.

He changes his tactic and his plan. “Where are we?”

Tare’s black eyebrows draw together, his dark blue eyes scanning everyone in the glade. “I’m working on figuring that out. Quiet.”

“You don’t look like you’re working very hard,” the other remarks, tucking his hands in his jeans pockets.

“I said quiet,” Tare repeats, his glance making its way warily over the nearby observing faces of Teague and Meridian and the black-haired lady.

“Alright, alright, I’ll be quiet. I can be quiet. Bazzes are very good at being quiet when they need to be, especially this Baz –”

The freezing dark blue eyes turn to look him in the face. “I said — ”

“Right.” Baz clams up very quickly.

A short way off, a very tall young man in his twenties, with a shaggy mane of rusty-brown hair, clad in a sleeveless brown leather jerkin and brown pants, wields a long double-ended crystal spear in his hands, looking warily about like a trapped beast. If the leather jacket fellow looked ready to fight off anyone who steps toward him, this one looks ready to instantly kill anyone who so much as breathes in his direction. His jewel-green eyes dart quickly all around the glade. A harassed-looking boy in a cloak and a once-fine travel-stained blue embroidered tunic looks nervously around, standing just behind the spear-holder, and beside them is a dark-haired princely-looking fellow, who looks like he’s resenting something. Or possibly everything.

A young man with shockingly purple hair runs languidly by, clearly neither knowing, nor caring in the least, what is going on around him. He is apparently in pursuit of two very small men in dusky brown jackets (one in an Irish-looking cap) who seem to be carrying paintbrushes far too large for them. The little men are much too quick for the purple-haired fellow.

Two small, scruffy baby griffins prance awkwardly by at dangerous speeds, flailing feather-down-kitten-fluff tails and wings. They make chaos and get underfoot everywhere, snapping and biting at ankles merrily, and frolicking about with a small fluffy white puppy who is yapping with apparent ecstatic joy and panting with a little puppy grin, his pink tongue hanging out.

“What are we supposed to DO?” wails a flustered-looking lad of seventeen, with ordinary brown hair, looking for help from a younger lad with silver hair and sharp grey eyes and a blank expression, who is leaning unconcernedly against a tree, absently fingering a gold ring.

“Calm down, Faron,” a deep voice rumbles, as an enormous black bear saunters by, pats the brown-haired boy briefly on the shoulder — in a comforting gesture that nearly knocks him over — and commences efficiently and effortlessly taking charge of the small fluffy mischievous things.

“How can I be calm when –” Faron splutters, apparently lacking further words to continue.

Several other people mill about around the edges of the glade, and between yapping, screeching purrs, harp music, and miscellaneous chatter and wailing, the place has become quite lively in the space of a short time.

“Oh. Those others,” Teague says, unconcernedly.

Meridian sighs and hands him his dropped sticky notes, neatly stacked, which he takes with mild surprise and tucks into the notebook under his arm.

“May I have everyone’s attention?” the black-haired woman calls loudly.

Most eyes turn to her (the painter, leprechauns, griffins and puppy don’t seem to notice), and there is a slight quieting down so that only a few murmurs and the soft trill of the harp continue.

“Now, perhaps you’re wondering why I’ve gathered you here on this auspicious day –”

“Then be quick about it and tell us so that we can be on our way,” the spear-holder growls.

“Shut your mouth, outlaw,” says the dark-haired resentful-looking princely young man behind him. “Let the lady speak.”

“Don’t you tell me what to do — ” the outlaw spits through his teeth.

“Calm down, both of you,” the harassed boy says hastily.

“Just because you’re princes doesn’t mean you can — ” the outlaw begins.

A loud thrum of harp music pauses everyone’s voices. “Quiet for the lady.” The golden-eyed bard speaks seemingly quietly, but the strength of his voice carries through the glade with authority.

“Thank you,” she says. “Now. I have called you all here today because it is a special day and I thought we should consult together for an appropriately celebratory . . . well . . . celebration.”

“Which is?” Meridian prompts.

“It has been two years since the author began a certain endeavor . . .”

“Is this about the blogoversary and throwing a surprise party for her?” Baz speaks up, suddenly.

There is a pause, all eyes turned on him.

“Which . . . I know nothing about, of course,” he adds quickly.

“Yes, I believe the ‘blogoversary’ is what it was called,” the black-haired lady says. “Two years is a long time . . . for some” — here she smiles distantly with what might be mischief in her eye — “and I thought it would be considerate of us to congratulate the author in some way.”

“The author . . .” Tare says, fixing her with a hard stare. “She’s not even writing you yet.”

“Yet. I have my ways.” She smiles.

Tare snorts. He folds his arms and eyes her warily. “Who exactly are you, anyway, and why do you think you’re in charge here?”

“I’m Ev, of course; I’m a fairy and — oh, I forgot my own,” she adds suddenly, and that instant beside her, standing by the rock, appears a young man in a royal purple tunic with a golden coronet, and a young woman with a silver circlet in her dark hair. They appear to be kissing, and break off just then, looking around in confusion.

“What — ?” the prince begins, looking around at the assembled gathering and gently pushing his lady behind him in a protective gesture, a hand going to rest lightly but unapologetically against his sword-hilt as he turns a calculating eye on everyone.

“Prince Derrick, Princess Brier-Rose . . .” The raven fairy Ev quickly fills them in on why they are gathered. “So,” she finishes, “I am only asking what you all think we should do to surprise the author in celebration for this day that she finds so special. Suggestions?”

Princess Brier-Rose smiles. “I think it’s a lovely idea.” She pulls a long-stemmed scarlet thorny rose from behind her back and holds it up. “We could give her roses,” she adds softly.

Prince Derrick deftly takes the rose from her. “Don’t touch that, Brie,” he says, kissing her forehead. “You’ll hurt yourself.”

She frowns. “I like roses, and I don’t see why they’re forbidde –”

“Cake!” Baz exclaims. He gets another round of stares. “Cake,” he explains firmly, grinning widely and obviously enjoying the attention, “is absolutely the only way to celebrate any celebratory celebrations whatsoever. Which would include blogoversaries.”

The bard is seen to smile in the background.

“Well, not that I know anything,” Faron speaks up from the edge of the crowd, still looking flustered — it looks as though he had been continually prodded by the silver-haired boy, who looks innocent of all such doings as if he has merely been quietly observing the bark on the branch above him. “But I should think that a proper royal feast would fit the occasion.”

“How about we leave her alone,” the outlaw growls.

“Nonsense, all of you,” says an imperial voice from somewhere above everyone’s heads. Several people look up. A great airship is hovering above the glade, and standing on the bottom rung of a long slightly-swinging rope-ladder, unconcernedly holding the side with one hand, is a young woman with truly impressive fiery red hair in gorgeous but haphazard curls about her pretty face. “A ride in my skyship should do. Scurry off, everyone. Unless you’d all like to be invited along too, which… could perhaps be arranged. I think you’d fit. As long as everyone behaves in a shipshape fashion, of course.”

“They won’t. I don’t like their looks. Don’t let them up,” calls a voice from above.

“You’re one to talk,” the redhead says, tossing her hair out of her face as an errant breeze tries to blind her with it.

“And who are you, exactly?” Ev calls up. “I’m not certain we have met before.”

The girl on the rope-ladder smiles with cheerful charm, mixed with royal elegance, and touches her brow in a sort of salute. “Princess Tasmania Peckham-Archley, Captain of the HRSS Star-Dreamer, at your service.”

“That won’t do. I believe the author is afraid of heights,” calls a random sandy-haired youth in a cloak with a sword, who is standing among a collection of others.

“Not at all — it’s only you that is,” retorts one of his companions, a sea-blown looking young fellow with a young lady at either shoulder.

A new rush of voices begins as almost everyone begins to give suggestions or argue about them.

Tare shakes his head, muttering. “This is ridiculous. I’m out of here.” He strides toward the edge of the glade, ignoring everyone, but when he reaches the border, he finds himself suddenly back where he had been standing near Teague and Meridian and Ev and the rock. “Hey –”

Ev finds herself the recipient of the icy dark-blue stare, but instead of doing anything about it, only climbs up onto the rock so she can see everyone better.

The outlaw looks as though he had been going to try to leave as Tare had, but seeing the results of it, he makes a surly face, sticks one end of his double-ended spear in the ground, and leans against a tree, apparently waiting it out.

At this point, there is a rather interesting disturbance at one side of the glade. A whole cluster of young ladies come through the trees and into the clearing, talking animatedly among themselves. There are twelve of them, they appear from their circlets to be princesses, and they are each wearing a different colored dress: grey, black, purple, blue, green, blue-green, red, reddish-brown, white, yellow, pink, and light orange. The grey one is leading the way, looking about alertly while engaged in some sort of argument with the one in blue-green. The green one seems to be complaining about a horse, or perhaps the lack of it, while the blue one is soothing her and simultaneously trying to keep track of the pink and the orange. The red and the brown, who have the same face and appear to be twins, are laughing, and the yellow one is somehow reading a book while walking. The one in black and the one in white are at the back, silent; the black, a withdrawn silent; the white, a shy one.

“Good afternoon,” the princess in silvery-grey says to Ev as they approach. “We seem to have lost our way; or at least to have found a very curious gathering.”

“Indeed,” the golden-eyed bard speaks up pleasantly, still playing a quiet melody that weaves through the sunbeams.

“And I have certainly not met the rest of you, either,” Ev says curiously. “Who might you be?”

“We are the daughters of King Fergal,” the blue princess says. “Or . . . most of us are,” she adds with a glance at the silver princess.

“And it’s quite obviously not doing us a bit of good, because we’re bloody lost,” the green princess says, folding her arms.

I don’t care,” the peach princess says carelessly, her eyes sparkling. “It’s far more interesting to be lost.”

“And the author is definitely not writing them yet,” Tare mutters. “Not till November. She promised.”

“Jealous, much?” Baz says comfortably from behind him.

“Actually . . . no, I’m not. And you said you were going to be quiet.”

Meridian is frowning, staring around with her hands on her hips. “Well, one thing’s for certain,” she says. “There are far too many princesses around.”

The outlaw glowers. “More like far too many princes.” His resentful prince looks ready to go at his throat, but the harassed one makes peace by stepping between them (a dangerous move, but he seems to live despite it). Prince Derrick stands by politely and does not appear offended.

I think,” Teague says mildly, “that there are far too many people of any kind around.”

“That’s the first sensible thing I’ve heard all morning,” Tare says with an annoyed sigh. “Nothing’s going to get done, and we’re never going to get out of here.” He looks toward Ev with a left-over glare. “Can’t you — ”

But at this point a rather severe, tragic looking young man — or fairy? (He does seem to have the semblance of silver wings growing out of his black cloak.) — with long black hair and silver eyes, arrives and severely addresses the twelve princesses. “There you are. I told you not to stray off the path. Come.” And, with several severe glances at some of the others, particularly Tare and the outlaw, he escorts the twelve princesses to the edge of the clearing . . . and out of it.

Which means that they at least could get away.

Tare looks put upon, and the outlaw looks angry.

Princess Tasmania, still swinging idly on the end of her rope ladder above everyone’s heads, is looking vaguely bored.

But most everyone else is still talking at the same time and there is a general buzz of noise, mostly arguments, that makes it quite impossible for anyone to really accomplish anything.

“For the love of Faerie, be quiet at once before I decide to put you all to sleep just to save a headache!”

This startling announcement is made at the top of her lungs by Ev the raven fairy, who is standing on top of the rock at the glade’s center. There is a sudden silence. Everyone looks at her. Until now she had been the picture of amiability, but now there is definitely some anger to her, and her black hair seems to have been fading into a shade of red.

“Now then. Can we possibly stop quibbling and come to an agreed-upon mode of celebration?” Ev glares around, hands on hips, the red color crawling further up her hair. “Everyone, make one suggestion each, and then we’ll vote.”

She unfortunately had not specified who was to give suggestions first, for everyone begins talking at the same time again. But before Ev or the bard or anyone else can restore order, there is a sudden voice from another direction altogether.

“Guys! What . . . in the world . . . is going on here?!”

There is a sudden, deathly stillness. Then everyone turns to look.

A girl with long brown hair, in a green t-shirt and brown skirt, with a notebook embellished with clock-faces in one hand, and a black pen held limply in the other, is standing at the side of the glade and staring in utter confuzzlement at everyone.

The bard ceases his playing and comes smoothly to his feet, his golden harp in the crook of one arm. He makes a minor bow in the direction of the newcomer, a smile playing in his golden eyes. “Author. We did not expect you so soon. The Lady Ev here has been . . . Well . . . She had plans.”

“What are you doing all together — what happened — is everyone all right?” the author asks, darting frantic looks at everyone. “Has anybody killed anyone? You do not mix well! Tare, get away from Bithoa — now.”

“I wasn’t doing anything,” Tare says with a frown of perplexity, not moving. The outlaw narrows his jewel-green eyes but otherwise makes no move. They are several feet away from each other, but this does not seem to do anything to soothe the author’s worries.

Ev slides down the rock and smiles. “We’re fine. I only thought it would be nice to call everyone together. We were going to . . . surprise you.” Her face falls. “Unfortunately, we seem not to have come up with a surprise yet.”

“For what?” The author looks very confused.

Tare sighs and folds his arms. “Your blogoversary. Obviously.”

“Yes, we were going to give you a surprise celebration,” Baz cuts in. “I suggested cake, but nobody’s listening.”

Others begin to put in what they had thought of, particularly Princess Tasmania.

The author begins to laugh and stops everyone. “Well, you needn’t think any further,” she says. “I’m glad everyone’s okay — I was worried there for a second. There’s a reason you’re not all in the same story, you know. And a reason you don’t ever gather together, besides. But if you were looking for a special way for me to celebrate my blogoversary . . . you’ve already done it. Thank you, guys.” She smiles happily.

Several of them smile back — though some, like Tare, the outlaw, the silver-haired boy, and the still-oblivious purple-haired young man, do not seem to do smiling much in these or any circumstances.

“Well, I’m off,” Princess Tasmania is saying from above everyone’s heads. “You’re sure you don’t want a ride, author?”

“Sometime, thanks,” the author calls back. “I’m just busy for now, with . . . other things.”

“As you please,” Princess Tasmania says cheerfully, shimmying up the rope ladder in a twinkling. “I’ll give the rest of the crew your greetings.” She waves a hand back down. The author waves back with a wistful look.

“If that’s all cleared up,” Teague says, “I suppose you can go back to writing. And so can I,” he adds with a pointed look at Meridian, who picks up another dropped sticky-note and sticks it firmly on the notebook he is holding, giving him a raised-eyebrow-look.

The author laughs. “Fine. And . . . Ev. I loved seeing you all together for a minute, and there weren’t any casualties, but don’t go making a mess like this again.”

Ev laughs too. Her hair is quite black again. “I was only trying –”

“I know, I know,” the author says. “But please don’t. Now, everyone back to where you belong. Before somebody kills anyone,” she adds under her breath.

“I shouldn’t worry about that,” Ev says, tilting her head curiously to one side.

The crowd breaks up and people (and griffins, dog, bear, leprechauns, etc.) begin to disappear or wander out of the glade, which they now seem able to leave.

“Where did Baz go?” the author asks suddenly.

Tare had been striding off to leave, but pauses and looks sharply around.

“You may want to look up,” the golden-eyed bard remarks casually as he strides by, harp under one arm, on his way out of the glade.

The author and Tare both turn their gazes skyward. Baz is just disappearing inside the skyship, waving cheekily down at them. “I’m going to explore the clouds and be fabulous!” he crows when he catches their eyes.

“I’m gonna kill him,” Tare says through his teeth, making a lunge and catching the bottom of the rope ladder. Baz yelps and disappears inside as Tare quickly climbs upward.

The author sighs, about to go after them and prevent violence, but first gives Ev a pointed look. “You see?”

Ev’s laugh turns into a sound of ruffling feathers as she is once more a sleek black raven. She spreads her wings and flies off in the other direction from the skyship (with the dangling rope-ladder and its climbers), leaving below an empty forest glade full of golden sunbeams and no sound save the quiet twitter of birdsong and the rustle of the leafy branches swaying gently in a soft breeze.

Starring, As Themselves (In Order of Appearance):

Ev (The Rose and the Raven)
Bard Reldin (Heartseeker)
Meridian Brownley (The Other Half of Everything)
Teague Aurelius (The Other Half of Everything)
Tarragon “Tare” (Kedran’s Wood Series)
Basil “Baz” (Kedran’s Wood Series)
Kevin Johnson (Underground Rainbow)
Donal and Liam (Underground Rainbow)
Troggsie and Scottle (Underground Rainbow)
Small Occasion (Kedran’s Wood Series)
Faron (Starrellian Saga)
Ryan (Starrellian Saga)
Darksky (Starrellian Saga)
Bithoa (Starrellian Saga)
Prince David (Starrellian Saga)
Prince Donavin (Starrellian Saga)
Prince Derrick (The Rose and the Raven)
Princess Brier-Rose “Brie” (The Rose and the Raven)
Princess Tasmania Peckham-Archley (The Siren and the Skyship)
Andrew (Starrellian Saga)
Liam (Starrellian Saga)
Laura (Starrellian Saga)
Marigold (Starrellian Saga)
Princess Silver (The Silver Forest)
Princess Ebony (The Silver Forest)
Princess Amethyst (The Silver Forest)
Princess Sapphire (The Silver Forest)
Princess Turquoise (The Silver Forest)
Princess Emerald (The Silver Forest)
Princess Auburn (The Silver Forest)
Princess Ruby (The Silver Forest)
Princess Ivory (The Silver Forest)
Princess Goldie (The Silver Forest)
Princess Rosie (The Silver Forest)
Princess Peach (The Silver Forest)
Prince Taghdach (The Silver Forest)

With Special Guest Star:

Deborah O’Carroll as ‘The Author’

Written on location at the forest glade.

No characters were harmed in the writing of this crossover.
(Baz came close, though.)
(And Tare and Bithoa within seeing distance of each other were murders waiting to happen.)

Invisible Barrier Follow-up: Teague & Meridian

Since my random writing-prompt snippet Invisible Barrier (that I’ve since decided is in some form going to make it into my as-of-yet-unstarted novel The Other Half of Everything) was received with such surprising enthusiasm, I thought I should share what I’ve written as a sort of follow-up.

I know the styles / “feels” of the two snippets feel kind of different, which I might have to work on, I don’t know… And some stuff clearly happened between the two but I don’t know what exactly yet because I don’t have plots figured out. But at least you can see that the guy wasn’t stuck in the invisible barrier forever! 😉

And you get a longer glimpse of Teague and Meridian. Because we all need some lighthearted humor in our lives.

I hope you’ll enjoy this snatch of The Other Half of Everything!

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Excerpt from The Other Half of Everything

Meridian2

Meridian

The invisible nothing vanished—I know that sounds odd but it’s what happened—and Teague flickered into sight. For an instant I could see how he must have been slumped half sitting, half leaning against the invisible side of the barrier. But now it was gone and was no longer holding him up.

Teague slumped sideways into the wet grass.

I ran to him and dropped to my knees beside his limp form, ignoring the damp.

“Teague!” I said.

His eyes were closed and I wasn’t sure if he was breathing, but at the sound of my voice he stirred. I sat and pulled his head into my lap, looking down into his face. His breath began to come evenly.

“Teague,” I whispered. “Wake up at once, do you hear? This is not the proper time for taking a nap.”

“Is it ever?” he murmured. His eyes opened and looked up at me. They focused. A slow smile appeared on his face like a sunbeam in clouds. “Hello, Meridian,” he said.

“Hello you annoying author.” I was happier than I had any right to be, considering I was sitting in a very damp patch of grass in another world with a very out-of-it Teague not showing any sign of getting up or moving his head from my lap.

“Mmm.” Teague closed his eyes and breathed for awhile.

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

Teague-ish

Teague

“I made a Wind Chaser angry.”

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

“Would you stop saying that—we’re not on Earth. And I don’t know, exactly.” Then he smiled a little. “It must have been my charming personality.” He coughed. And went on coughing for awhile until I became alarmed.

“Are you okay?”

“Of course. I’m just remembering how to breathe air again. There wasn’t any in there, you know.”

“Well I call that nasty! How did that happen?”

“There was air at first, naturally. I just used it up. Foolish of me, I know.” He coughed again. “Breathing is a bad habit of mine. It’s also impossible to break.”

“Believe me, its one of your few good habits.”

“Thank you. I didn’t know I had any.” He tried to get up. “The grass is wet,” he observed.

“Thanks for that, Mr. Obvious.”

He frowned a little. “Well. It is.”

“Did it work?” a voice called.

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Lulin

We both glanced over. Lulin was running across the field toward us, her short white hair flying up and down with the wind of her speed.

“Teague!” she said.

“I don’t know what ‘it’ is, but evidently it did,” Teague said as she came up. Then, “Hello, Lulin.”

Lulin looked down at him with a cheery smile. “Hello obnoxious descendant of the human race.”

“Same to you, sister of mine.” Teague sat up this time.

Lulin’s smile took a vacation. She dropped next to him and assaulted him with an enormous clinging hug. “Don’t you dare ever ever do that again,” her muffled voice said into his shoulder.

“Believe me, I have no intention of it.”

“Why do you never listen to my advice?” I said.

“I would if you had anything useful to offer,” Teague said.

“You mean if I said something you already planned to do,” I translated.

He smiled. “Exactly. By the way, Lulin, I was very much enjoying getting to breathe again and you’re kind of defeating that just now,” he added.

She let her tight hug go and pulled back.

“Thank you. Very considerate.”

“I learn from the best,” Lulin said with a mischievous grin, suddenly cheery again.

Teague laughed. “I know—I am.”

June Snippets

Peoples.

This.

Is.

My.

100th.

Post.

…Ahem.

Anyways, I said I’d post some snippets from last month’s writing, so here they are!

Also, FYI, I updated my Writing Desk pages up on the menu-bar, so there’s now a Kedran’s Wood series page. You knew it was inevitable.

Enjoy!


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“You are incorrigible,” I said, half cross, half wanting to laugh.

“I like that word,” Teague said, as if he had made a fascinating discovery. He quickly scribbled it down. Then he looked up again. “You were saying?”

I sighed and dropped my head into my hands. “Forget it.”

“I can’t very well forget something I never knew in the first place, you know,” he said, almost gently.

“It’s impossible to have a reasonable conversation with you,” I got out in a muffled tone.

Teague smiled very slightly and looked off into the distance through half-closed eyes. “Well, I knew that, anyway…”

~The Other Half of Everything


dressAshton took his place opposite her, and she slipped her hand in his as he held her waist and led her smoothly back into the disrupted dance as if nothing had happened.

“I hope I was not interrupting,” he said.

She looked up at him. “You were. Thank you.”

Ashton smiled.

~Darkling Reflections


hands“I did not see you on the guest list,” Alethea observed.

“I wasn’t.” Ashton smiled disarmingly in his crooked but endearing way as he spun her away from him and back.

~Darkling Reflections


For the first time that the restaurant could remember, she left early. Her clicking heels carried her quickly out of Tara Ganova’s, not even waiting for the waiter to clear her place. She disappeared outside through the black and gold glass door into the evening that still had some light to it.

All that remained to show she had been there at all was a half-finished plate, napkins left forlorn and crumpled atop it, scribbled with blue ink and forgotten.

~Darkling Reflections


Her voice whispered softly into the fog of the darkling night: “Who does he remind me of?”

But the fog did not answer.

~Darkling Reflections


cover2“Yeah,” Tare said again, shortly. Sure, things were good. Great. Now, anyway. “Fine.”

This whole talking thing was not going well. Why had he thought it was a good idea?

He contemplated hanging up.

Or possible tearing the phone from its cord and throwing it at the brick wall of the library.

Or possibly growling “forget I called” and going into the woods to kill something that deserved it.

Let’s just destroy the phone and leave . . .

Instead he said cordially, “You?”

~Son of Kedran’s Wood (Kedran’s Wood 0.5)


He was more closed-off looking, but at the same time more open, though slightly wary-seeming, all wrapped up in a thoroughly cool, casual manner that tied it all off like a bow in a black ribbon as he stood on the front door step with his hands in his leather jacket.

~Return to McAllistair Mansion (Kedran’s Wood 1.5)


His eyes blinked once, slowly. They were dark blue. The color of midnight around a star.

~Return to McAllistair Mansion (Kedran’s Wood 1.5)


“A bit strange, but then, well . . . so are you.”

“Thanks,” Tare said dryly.

~Return to McAllistair Mansion (Kedran’s Wood 1.5)


“How could you tell?” he asked briefly.

“You have a shifty look—even by your standards,” Roderick replied with a slight smile.

“That bad, hmm?” Tare said ruefully.

~Return to McAllistair Mansion (Kedran’s Wood 1.5)


And held the picture frame up against the mirror, so that Tare could look at it next to his own reflection.

The picture was of Tare … seventeen perhaps, only a couple of years younger than he looked now. His combed-back black hair, with a little falling forward over his forehead, was about the same as now, and this younger Tare wore a fairly expressionless blank but flat look on his face. He was not smiling, just as Tare was not now, and yet . . . despite that, he looked somehow far closer to at least having an ability to be almost happy or at least less grim, than Tare looked now, even fairly relaxed as he was.

Younger Tare was looking straight at the camera—and consequently straight at the Tare of now—with sharp eyes of a bright sky blue. Shifting his gaze a little, Tare looked in the mirror, his current reflection staring back at him with deep blue eyes, almost black.

In his reflected eyes, Tare saw the shadows of eight years in a world of darkness looking back into his soul.

~Return to McAllistair Mansion (Kedran’s Wood 1.5)


KW2coverP“What are you making, anyway, Lavender?” Baz asked.

“Nothing,” Lavender said loftily.

Baz eyed her crocheting with the air of a detective. “It doesn’t look like a nothing to me,” he said dubiously. “Of course,” he added with a sudden turn toward cheerfulness, “I have never myself seen a nothing before, so there’s that.” He turned toward Jake and whispered, “I think ‘nothing’ would be impossible to see, you know, due to its very nature.”

~The Secret of Kedran’s Wood (Kedran’s Wood 2)