Quick update.

Ok, so last year was not the easiest year I’ve ever had. This year is going to be better. I refuse to believe otherwise. So here are a few things I’ve got on the plate.

2015 Writing/pubbing lineup

Elemental Truth;

I am not going to dwell on it. I’m working on it daily. I’ll post chapters as they’re ready. I’m hoping that by the end of this month it will be ready to be pubbed. I’m also going to be releasing it in print, though I’m not sure when it will be ready.

The Bastard Prince, The Sarukai Lord, The Dragon Gates & Crossroads

I love this story. and I hate it. Which makes me sad to say. Once I’m done with the E1 edit/publishing, I’m diving into the Zandercrack and it’s going to be published. This year. Even if it kills me XD.

Those projects could easily swamp me this year. But here are other things I’d like to try to check off the list;

The Fallen. Two maybe three scenes and it’s DONE. >.<
Zombiestuff  –  I have more storires set in this world I want to tell.
Crown of Bones – Fantasy Adventure series, with female protags.
Space Opera
PHFR (prehistoric-fantasy romance)

 

There are other things but right now I have to focus on E1 & Zander. Those have been sitting for way too long. It’s the year to dare to be bad I have to. My sanity depends on it.

I’m also hoping to take one of Dean Wesley Smith’s workshops (you can find them over here) because I want to improve in many areas. Anyways, there’s more on my mind, but I’ve been catwaxing all day. Time to finish the typo sweep and post the next chapter of E1.

NPhoenix

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Coming up for air

In short, we’ve been struggling as a family. My son has been fighting addiction and it has dragged our whole family & routine down the drain. I’m working to find a balance between family, writing and other endeavors. I’ve found a stress easement with some new pets (ball pythons) which have helped with the general out of it I’ve been fighting.

I am sorry. I failed getting E1 up and posted on time. I probably lost what readers I have. If any of you are still around, light a candle, rub buddah’s belly, pray, whatever that y son can get a handle on his issues and that I can help him.

I’m working on the next couple chapters. The edits needed are minor, just a few tweaks and it should be done. I’ll try to get them scheduled this week. Again, I’m sorry. Life derailed me horribly and sometimes you just have to refocus.

NPhoenix

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Elemental Truth – Chapter 2

 

Disclaimer;  Elemental Truth, the first of the Elemental Wars books, is in the final stages of editing.  Hope you all enjoy it.*

Chapter 2

 

It took them three weeks traveling along the southern trading route to get to the coast of Lorn. Another three weeks of travel, following the winding north road, brought them to the village of Dhaul. Once guarded over by the Fortress of Dhaul, a center of commerce, it had dwindled to a modest fishing village nestled between the ocean and the towering Dhaulation Mountains. The steep foothills looked, from a distance, blanketed by a sea of soft greens.

The village itself clustered around the old trading route road which switched from paved road to wide dirt path, winding through the southwestern territories of Nekar. In the center of the village was the market. Central hub of activity. Locals spread their wares to sell, hoping to catch the attention of the rare passersby. Tier stopped by a wagon filled with assorted fruits and vegetables, and glanced around. Though the villagers were continuing their usual activities, they were all watching him and Rale closely. Tier sighed. They were supposed to look for elementals here?

“Is that the fortress?” Rale pointed towards the southern granite face that towered over the valley. Tier could make out towers brushing the underside of dark clouds. He turned to the merchant, but the man was already speaking.

“We’ll have rain before nightfall, gracious lords.” He lifted a fruit, offering it to Rale. “Fruit’s the first off the tree, the very best!”

“What is that?” Rale took the fruit.

“Starfruit, only grows in this region.” Tier said absently. “How much?”

“For you, gracious lord, ’tis free.” The man bowed.

“I can’t take your wares without proper payment, good sir.” Tier pulled a coin out. “It’s not fair to you.”

The man’s eyes widened at the sight of the coin. “I will take no payment, gracious lord, but a donation would not be refused.”

“A donation then.” Tier handed him the coin and motioned toward the mountains. “Is there a pathway up to the Keep?”

The merchant frowned, tucking the coin into an inner pouch of his coat. “There is, but the way is dangerous, and overgrown. The imperials stopped patrolling that section of the road. There is a guide, though, he takes in travelers and takes people up the road. He’s never lost anyone.”

“Where would we find him?” Tier glanced around, the curious stares of the nearby villagers was unnerving, they needed to get out of sight before things turned ugly.

“Well, there is a dunurch up the road.” The merchant pointed. “The guide can often be found there. He’s a surly gossip, though.”

“I’ll consider myself warned.” Tier inclined his head as the merchant bowed, and steered Rale back towards the horses.

“A what?” Rale hissed as they walked away.

“A dunurch, it’s something like a restaurant or eating hall.” Tier said, glancing around the seemingly busy road. They had no guards, nothing to hint that they were more than just travelers passing through. The villagers sensed they were different. Eyes followed their every move. Tier untied his horse and motioned Rale to follow.

“They’re nosy.” Rale said.

Tier nodded. “We’ll stop at the dunurch and figure out where to go from here.”

“Do you have any idea what we are looking for?”

Tier shook his head and was several steps in front of Rale before he realized his cousin had halted. He half turned.

“Then what are we supposed to do?”

“We’ll discuss it over dinner.” Tier glanced around. “We’re drawing a crowd out here.”

He ignored Rale’s grumbles behind him. His cousin didn’t grasp the necessity of keeping his head down. He was far too used to the perks of his station. Tier doubted he’d ever traveled without an entourage or guard, except for the trip to the Oracle. In the outlaying provinces of the Empire, unless there was a guard, it wasn’t wise to announce your affiliation with the Imperial household. Resentment still ran deep. Though it had been over four hundred years since the storming of the fortress and the acquisition of Dhaul into the Empire, these people could relate the battle account as though it happened yesterday.

The dunurch was unnamed, probably a meeting place everyone knew about. They tied up their horses and Tier led the way. It was a wide, circular building, round low tables with cushions spaced in a circular pattern. The Dunurch Keeper hurried over, a thin aging man who bowed low, staring at Tier for an uncomfortable moment before his eyes widened and blood drained from his face.

“Your…your highness…”

“Please, no titles. We just need a table and light.”

“This way, most gracious lords.” The man bowed and turned walking stiffly around tables.

The cushions were worn and stained. Tier glanced at Rale’s dubious expression and settled on his.

“They don’t bite Rale.” Tier said. Rale started to say something then shook his head and cringed as he lowered himself to the stained cushion.

“I should have told her no thanks.”

“Do you think she would have taken that answer?” Tier asked. The Dunurch Keeper set a tray with an elaborate silver teapot and several little silver cups.

“The meal is a tasis over grain and steamed vegetables, is this acceptable?” The man was actually wringing his hands together.

“Sounds great.” Rale made a dismissal gesture and leaned forward, squinting at the shiny table top. “It looks clean.”

“Rale.” Tier scowled as the Dunurch Keeper stiffly walked towards the kitchen.

“Tier this place is filthy.”

“Do you want to sleep in the rain?” Tier asked, pulling a map out of his vest.

“No.” Rale said after a long pause. “I don’t want to die of sickness from bad food though.”

Tier poured tea into a small cup and handed it to Rale. “Then be nice to the people who give you food, here. The Empire isn’t exactly trusted in the outer territories.”

“Hmm. What next?”

Tier poured himself some of the tea, sipping it and glancing around the dunurch. They were the only guests, aside from the young woman and an older man sitting in the far corner of the room, speaking low in the local in the local rough dialect. No threat. He unfolded the map and set the tea to one side.

“She sent us here for a reason,” He said, tapping the map.

“Why?” Rale leaned forward, voice hushed. “Our likelihood of returning home alive is not good, Tier. There are no…” He sat back as several plates were deposited in front of them. “There are no more…”

“There were rumors around Jaktor that there were pockets of elementals hiding north of the mountains.” Tier said. “I didn’t give them much thought, until meeting the Seeress.” He finished his tea, folded the map away and motioned to the plates of food. “This doesn’t look half bad.”

They ate quickly and spoke little. Regulars began filing in, lightning lit up the sky, and each time the door opened a rush of cool moist air accompanied the new guests. As the Dunurch Keeper cleared the table Tier watched the young woman and old man in the far corner; both looked uneasy as the tables around theirs filled up.

“Good sir,” Tier lifted his hand, catching the attention of the Dunurch Keeper. “we’re looking for guides up the mountain.” Tier said. The Dunurch Keeper gestured toward the pair in the corner.

“Matau and his granddaughter know the mountain paths to the Keep, and beyond, better than anyone else.” He said. “You’d be wanting lodging too?”

“There’s an inn?” Rale said. The man shook his head.

“Matau.” The Dunurch Keeper waved him over and turned back to them. “He’s a gossip and Xin is a bit strange. But they have taken many up the mountain to the fortress and back safely and they take in lodgers. They’re the only ones who will.”

Tier nodded, watching the pair make their way over. The old man leaned heavily on his cane while the young woman followed behind at a distance. Her blue-gray eyes flickered over Tier and Rale, not quite meeting his gaze, before looking towards the Dunurch Keeper. Her dark hair was pulled back in a bun with two carved wooden hair-sticks in it. Though not very tall, there was something very peculiar about the way she stood, hands gripping the hem of her too-large tunic. She glanced back up, meeting Tier’s gaze then looked away. Oddly shaped blue eyes and the pale skin, Tier was intrigued. She didn’t fit in.

“Tis too late to go up the mountain.” The old man said, his words slurred. He settled on a cushion with a grunt, jabbing at the cushion between him and Tier. “Xin, sit.” She sat, keeping her eyes lowered.

“Shall I bark too, Matau?” She asked, her voice low.

“Hush, girl. The road to the fortress is steep, and dangerous.”

“Howso?” Rale asked.

“Bandits, spirits, wild animals.” Matau shrugged.

“How long do you plan on staying up in the Fortress?” Xin asked.

“A day or two,” Tier shrugged. “Then on to Delebeg.”

The Xin and Matau exchanged a dubious look. “There are outlaws in the forests beyond the fortress. Since there are so few Imperial Patrols in this area, they gather in those mountain passes, robbing those passing through.”

“Tier…” Rale began. Their perspective guides gasped in unison.

“Prince Tier?” Xin asked, staring at him with wide eyes. Tier inclined his head, shooting a dark glare at Rale. He was going to have some strong words with his cousin. She shook her head. “What is an imperial Prince doing in the backwoods sticks of the empire? Without a guard?”

“None of your business, girl.” Rale snapped.

“Personal curiosity.” Tier said. They needed these two, to guide them up the mountain. He’d rather have a guide than fumble through unknown, possibly hostile territory.

Xin’s eyes narrowed. “If we’re going to be guiding both your lordships up the mountain, knowing who we’re dealing with is my business, my lord.” She leaned forward, pinning Rale with an unfriendly stare. “I’m not going to risk my neck if you two are going to put us in danger, I don’t care who you are. Your highness.”

“Xin.” Matau rested his hand on her shoulder, knuckles white. “Go make sure the cots are prepared for our esteemed guests.”

She looked at him, her expression hard. She stood, gave a stiff bow, and left.

“Forgive my granddaughter, she has a sharp tongue.” Matau sighed. “However, she’s right, your lordships. Is the danger worth the coin?”

“Our business will bring neither you nor your people danger, good sir. ‘Tis a personal interest in the fortress that brings us here.” Tier said smoothly.

“It’s a day and a half one way. There is a small cabin on the side of the mountain we stay in overnight. The weather is changeable.”

“Your price?” Rale asked.

Matau named an amount and Rale made a noise that Tier wasn’t sure if he was amused or annoyed. Tier nodded.

“Half now,” Tier set the money on the table. “Half on our arrival at the fortress.”

Matau’s eyes narrowed. He hit the table with a fist. “Done.”

 ~*~

The next chapter will be posted Tues, June 10th.

Thanks for reading. 🙂

(c) 2014 Necia Phoenix

There might be some formatting adjustments as I figure this out, please bear with me.
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It’s time

So I’ve been waffling on this for a while now, but I’m taking a jump here. Starting next Tuesday here and, possibly Wattpad, Elemental Truth will be posted as a serial. Two chapters a week, Tuesdays and Thursdays until it’s done. Once it’s wrapped up, I’ll do a final edit pass then it’ll be available as an ebook & a POD through either Createspace or Lulu (I’m still looking into the details on that). This is an experiment, I’m not sure if I’ll serialize the other Elemental books,we’ll see how things go. One step at a time, right?

 

Ok, off to do a final edit sweep and try not to dissolve into a pile of twitching nerves.

 

 

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Planning

J.A. Marlow gave me this project planner back in Jan, but I kinda forgot all about it. Sat night I dusted it off and started planning out projects, setting dates and OCDing on what I want to get done this year. I may have overloaded myself 😛 but I have a clear cut idea of what I want to get done over the next…two years 0.0.

You read that right, two years.  Just take a look at my Series List and you’ll see I have more than enough planned stories to write XD (Yes J.A. Marlow, this is ALL YOUR FAULT!!!  **shakes fist**)  😛

The rest of this year needs to be an Avaria year, and next will be the dragons. I’ve also got smaller projects that I want to put out in between the larger ones. I need to get this ball rolling. I’ve pushed The Bastard Prince back to September at the latest. I have the project The Fallen staring patiently at me waiting for me to finish the edits and put it up for sale. The plan is to do that for this May.

I also have some digi art plans, and plans to do a really awesome computer build (think alienware, but homemade, it is going to fucking ROCK!) so there’s a lot to think about, aside from the family shtuff. I am still around, have just been drowning in life stuff.

Hope yall have a great Monday!

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Old story revisited, 2

Ok, so here’s the rest (sorta) of the scene I posted the other night. Honestly my brain is happy and has shelved this story in liu of finishing Zander so I can get the timeline written up to this story. I could, I suppose, write on, I know what happens, and it doesn’t mess too badly with spoilering things, but I’ll have to think about it. Anyways, here’s the first bit over here if you need to have a refresher. Okay, ready?

 

The song seeped into his mind, telling of ages past, long gone times. The shadows on the ceiling of the cave flickered and danced. He frowned, blinking. How long had he been staring?

“I have got to stop doing this.” He muttered, trying to push himself up.

Nit, nit! Hoynia ei zi!” Hands pushed him back and he found himself staring up at large green eyes peering from beneath filthy hair.

The woman, the singer. She turned her head towards the fire, reaching for something out of his vision, and he saw the elegant double tips of her ear. Rahaun. She was rahaun. She turned back to him, holding a small salve jar. She spoke again, gesturing toward him. Her hair, her face were filthy, her hands were clean, slender and scarred. She dipped a finger into the jar and it came out covered in a dark brown cream. He held up a hand and shook his head. She said something and his hand was brushed aside. Wherever she touched, numbing cool spread, the burning and itching he’d grown used to, stopped.

She spoke as she smeared it, going down his neck and shoulder. He belatedly realized his clothes were gone, a covering spread over his lower half. He wanted to ask where his things were, but he was growing tired. He closed his eyes, feeling the pain ease away, the woman began to sing again, low and haunting, words that made no sense.

 ~*~

It was dark when he woke again, his body aching and skin burning. He pushed himself up slowly, looking around. The fire had died down to embers. In front of it, curled up under a ragged looking blanket, was the woman. They were in a small cave. Against the wall was a stack of something, he couldn’t tell what. It wasn’t wood, he wondered how she’d managed to get a fire going. What was she using for fuel?

His things were stacked neatly beside him, the orb on top. He glanced back at the woman, then around the cave. The tunnel leading off behind him appeared to be the the only way in and out. He pushed aside the coarse blanket and pulled on his pants, leaning against the cave wall to rest. It was infuriating, the act of getting dressed made him dizzy. He leaned over, intending to pick up his tunic and found himself sitting, blinking. He pressed his palm to his forehead.

A jaw-breaking sentence rattled off and he looked over. The woman was watching him, shaking her head.

“I don’t understand you.” He said, fearing it came out as a groan. Eyes narrowed and she moved over to him at a crouch, saying something else. A different language, vaguely familiar, but still incomprehensible.

He shook his head again, flinching when she touched his face. She was looking back and forth between the burn and the other side of his face. She said something, an inquiry.

“I stepped between my friend and a fireball.” He spoke in high rahaun, hoping the ancient language was one she’d recognize. She tipped her head to one side, eyes narrowing.

“Fire-ball?” The words were thick, accent heavy. He nodded half grinning.

“You speak high rahaun.”

She blinked several times and nodded. “Is old speech. Am out of practice.” Her voice was rough.

“What’s your name?” He spoke slow, watching her face. She frowned again, looking away, whispering something in another language, and looked back at him.

“Dee.”

“Dee? I’m Zindith.”

She repeated it, working the sounds then nodded. “You rest. You fell far. Should have died.”

“It’s not the first time.” He said dryly. He should just avoid high places all together.

“Then, it probably won’t be the last.” She skampered on all fours, animal like, over to a stack of things, then returned with the jar. He shook his head, held up his hand.

“Wait,”

“You hurt.” She batted his hand aside and lathered the concoction over the burn.

“What is in that stuff.” He asked, the blessed numbing of his face enabled the other aches and pains to rear their heads.

She didn’t answer, her lips moved though no sound came out. She finished applying the salve then pointed at the mat he’d been sleeping on.

He shook his head. “I need to find a way out of here.”

She blinked, moving back towards the fire and tossed something wide onto the embers. It flared up, casting shadows over the cave. A clumped strand of hair hung over her face.

“No escape. No way out.” She moved, skittering out of the cave, disappearing into the looming dim tunnel.

 

~*~

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Old story revisited

For some reason I started thinking about this old Avaria story which disappeared on a lost hard drive years ago. I decided to try to re-write the intro (I don’t remember how much of it I had actually written) and I have to say, rough as it is, I like this version. Have some slightly raw words;

(quick note, this story will actually pick up right where the prior story, The Darkening Marsh, left off.)

~*~

Time was suspended. Somewhere in the distance something dripped. A slow and steady sound, something to listen to besides ones own heartbeat. Zindith drifted in and out of consciousness, on waves of pain reminding him he was still alive. His heartbeat pounded in his ears, his breathing harsh. Whispers echoed in the dark caverns, memories of voices long since silenced. He heard a groan, realized belatedly that it was his own. He opened his eyes, fighting to stay awake. Darkness closed in around him, and he noticed a faint glow nearby. He frowned and turned to look closer at the glow. Pain shot through his body, a throbbing burning settled along the left side of his face and torso.

Memories rushed at him, who he was and how he’d gotten there, he groaned again. Trapped between enemies, he’d acted, tackling the Slayer, knocking them both over the edge of the ravine. How far had he fallen? The Slayer vanished, opening a rift and sliding into another realm leaving him plummeting towards the river below.

Zindith remembered hitting the cold water, the shock of it sent waves of pain through him. Then nothing. He rolled over, gasping for breath and fighting a churning stomach. Sand, he was on sand. He pushed himself up, peering around. He didn’t remember anything beyond hitting the water. He was far underground, deep in the Labyrinth, but where? How long had he been in the river? He didn’t know. He glanced back at the glowing. Thin ropes of pale green glowing things hung from above. The light they provided was faint, almost useless.

He ran a hand through his hair, inhaling deeply. Musty, moldy, with the faint metallic scent that permeated everything in the Shadowlands. He coughed and groaned. His sides hurt, bruised ribs? Cracked? He hoped nothing was broken. There were no healers in this place.

“Thank the gods for being half telaxian.” He murmured. His voice was loud in the cave, echoing and joining the faint whispers in the distance.

He closed his eyes fighting a wave of dizzy, and heard the singing. A woman’s voice, echoing through the tunnels, singing a song in a language he’d never heard. The tone was haunting, full of loss and deep longing. It tugged at him. He pushed himself to his feet, swaying a bit. He was tough. Like his brothers and sister. Like his father. A little fall wasn’t going to stop him. He gritted his teeth, his stomach doing dangerous flops. What little he’d eaten before needed to stay where it was. He had no rations, no idea of what was edible in this place. He couldn’t afford to lose his lunch. Then the song changed in pitch, lower, angry. He listened, focusing completely on it, willing his body to obey. Now was not the time to be ill. He wanted to find the singer. No, he needed to find her, though why he wasn’t sure.

He quickly took stock. His pack was gone, lost in the river no doubt. With it were the torches and the healing salve for his burns. His belt pouch, though soaked, was still firmly secured on his wide belt. He unfastened it and opened it, swearing.

He put his hand over the top and flipped it upside down, letting the water pour out. Everything in there, the herb packets, the small parchment for writing notes, all ruined. He let them drop to the sandy ground, keeping ahold of the small light orb his brother, Auron, had given him. He hoped it still worked. The glowing ropes didn’t provide enough light to see. He wiped it on his tunic, and tapped it as he’d been taught. It flared to life, sending rays of light dancing over the cave walls. He finally got a good glimpse of where he was and his stomach did another dangerous flop.

He stood on a narrow sandy beach beside the river that coiled away, disappearing into the darkness. How far from the bridge and ledge was he? He shuddered, afraid to know. He looked upriver, trying to get an idea for where he was. There wasn’t a riverbank except the strip of beach he was on. The river had carved a tunnel through the rock, sheer cliffs on either side made going back the way he came impossible. He wasn’t about to try to risk walking in the river itself. Who knew what might be lurking beneath the surface? He edged toward the sloping walls, ducking under the ropey-glowing moss. It glowed brighter the closer he got, reflecting the light of the orb. He frowned, peering at the walls. Deep in his mind he felt a tug, faint, but persistent. He moved closer, lifting the orb, hoping to get a better glimpse. There was a jagged tear in the rock, a passage leading up and away from the river. He leaned against the edge of the entry letting another wave of dizzy pass. He needed to get out, to find the singer. He dared not guess what sort of creepy crawlies were in the passage.

The tug in his mind was insistent. He needed to go into the passage. He nodded. So far it hadn’t led him wrong. It guided him to where the Slayer had hidden Mayhren, it had guided them back to the surface before the fireball. He swallowed, aware of the tightness in his left cheek, the pain that he was getting used to. He glanced back towards the river and took a deep breath, wincing at the pain in his sides, and stepped into the looming darkness.

It pressed against the orb light, closing around him, blocking off all view and any hope of escape. It felt alive in some way, a malevolent presence that wasn’t willing to let him leave. He forced one foot in front of the other, trying to think of anything other than the dark. His companions, his brother, they probably thought he’d died in the fall. He’d find a way back to the surface and back to Avaria. He’d get beyond the reach of this darkness and find a way to let them know he wasn’t dead.

The passage wound its way upward, in some spots he had to tuck the orb in his tunic and climb steep slopes. With each step the tug got stronger, a pressure in his head that was almost painful.

The passage ended at a stone carved doorway though the door itself had long since rotted away. Zindith stared, disbelief and awe blocking out the pain. How long had it stood silent in the dark, waiting for its masters to return? The tug pulsed, pain shot through his head. He gasped for breath, and edged closer to the doorway. He stepped through the doorway, wishing he had a weapon. Who knew what might be in this place? Stepping away from the door, the light of the orb illuminated an ages old walkway carved into the sides of immense cliffs. Guardrails once stood along the far edge, but most of those had long worn away. All that were left were posts that would have held the railings. Overhead he could see the orb’s light glinting off of what might have been metal chandeliers or some sort of lighting devices.

“Impossible.” He murmured, his voice bouncing off the walls. In the distance, to his left, a stone bridge spanned the chasm, the far end concealed in the blanket of darkness. The tug pulled him in that direction. Bemused and in awe he went where it led, noting the archways that dotted the sides of the chasm, and the passageway. Who had carved these ways? He couldn’t wrap his mind around it. The rahaun hadn’t lived underground. He didn’t recall any other legends that hinted that these passages existed. His heart pounded and the tug became a pounding at his temples. It stopped, as suddenly as it started, when he reached the bridge.

He stared up at the steps leading across the chasm, his heart loud in his ears. The steps led to a wide flat platform, then a walkway arched back downward to a second platform from which another set of stairs led, he hoped, to the other side. He couldn’t tell. The orb’s light cut off, unable to penetrate the wall of dark ahead of him.

He took another look around. The archways, with their passages gaping at him, gave him the shakes. He could almost imagine things just on the other side of the dark, watching him, waiting to strike when the orb flickered out. He shook it off, looked back at the stone bridge. He felt it, briefly. The tug, gently pulling him towards the bridge. He stepped onto the stone bridge, testing it. Who knew how long this had stood, alone, in the dark underground of the Shadowlands. It felt firm.

He  went up the steps, wishing there was a rail of some sort. When he reached the first platform he got a glimpse of the other side and smiled. Another passage, but it veered upward towards steps coiling towards the distant ceiling. His ticket out, perhaps? He hesitated, glancing back the way he’d come, listening. His own breathing was loud in the hush. No echos, no drips, no bodiless voices lamenting in a dead language. Silent. The caverns were holding their breath, the darkness waiting for a misstep. He shook himself. Too many knocks to the head.

Zindith wiped his hand on his breeches. He felt clammy, ill, and dizzy. He hurried across the wide arch toward the second platform. He felt the tremble through his boots, and swore. A cracking sound echoed off the walls of the chasm. He swore darting towards the platform as he felt the bridge beneath his feet crumbling. He jumped, landing on his stomach on the platform the air knocked from his lungs as the arch crumbled, clattering far below. He barely caught his breath, starting to pull himself up when the platform shuddered. He swore, the crack of shattering rock deafening. The platform dropped out from beneath him and he was falling again. He closed his eyes, there was no river below to save him. The fall halted and pain exploded across his jaw and nose as he hit the stone face first. Darkness wrapped around him.

 ~*~

 Part 2

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Another rough snip

Okay then

Rough, it needs scrubbing. I KNOW this….  Mikial’s nickname is Shaderunner fyi 

~*~

The odd hut was divided into three small rooms with a large central fire-pit area. Mikial built up the fire as the women divided making it comfortable. He tried not to notice how closely they watched him, his injuries were still healing and he could feel their concern. On some level it was touching. On another, he couldn’t bring himself to care. He wanted to be healed, he wanted to be done. He wanted to go back to the caves, to confront Avari and demand an explanation.

He was going to get one. He’d given his existence to her. She’d better damn well give him one. Or else,

He hesitated, crouched in front of the fire, watching the flickering flames. Or else what? She was a goddess, what could he do, after all?

He stood, stretching sore muscles, testing the healing tissue. Years of life, of living, slowed his body’s healing. Velvet, despite her assistance, couldn’t counter that. And there was the damn monitor. It wouldn’t allow his body to heal faster than the algorithms programed years ago. He absently rubbed at it as he left the dome.

The fields of Tives stretched out before him and in the distance the broken and tumbled city walls of Tives itself stood, silent testament to the anger of the gods. He tightened the cloak around his shoulders, staring towards the rubble.

Gods, Goddesses. His life was caught up in a massive joke. What was the point? Time rolled past him, for a brief moment he could almost see the faces of his past lovers, lost friends. Dria would have raged, Savna counseled, Rinoa exploded, he shuddered. Too many. And now, with the bond he couldn’t rightfully seek solace of death. Velvet’s life lay on his shoulders.

He sensed her, before he heard her, old friend, one of the few who knew Dria, who fought in the goblin wars and managed the catacomb collapses. Emmalin stopped a little bit behind him, not saying anything though he felt her mind brush his, ever so gently, gauging, testing. Almost too light for even him to detect.

“You know, Vel feels awful about the whole binding issue.” She said softly.

Mikial couldn’t respond. How could he? What was there to say?

“It saved her life, repeatedly though.”

He half turned frowning at her. “How?”

“She’s never explained. But I’ll say this, if she’d died, when attacked, if she’d died way back when being tortured, she wouldn’t have been able to save Zin, or pull the unbound together.” Emm was staring at him, her overlarge dark eyes very serious. Mikial felt his stomach twist as she stepped closer, resting a hand on his shoulder.

“Avari betrayed you to your enemy, I see that, you’re in shock, I know. But when I see you I remember the man who faced down the dragons, who stood firm against the spider queen.” She glanced over her shoulder towards the dome, then back at him. “We’ve seen some crazy shit in our day, Mikial. She has no idea. And the man you were back then, got buried under bureaucracy.” She touched his face. “I miss that man.”

“Perhaps that man is dead.” He said softly.

Emm smiled sadly and shook her head. “No, I don’t think so.” She leaned forward hesitated and brushed a kiss against his lips. “There’s game a few miles south of here. You and Vel, you have some things you have to work out. I’ll get out of your hair,”

“Emm,”

“So you can get that straightened out and,”

“Emm, she needs you here.” He wasn’t sure it was a good idea to be left alone with the little red-head, but Emm shook her head with a sad smile.

“No, because she’ll hide behind me, because you scare the ever-loving piss out of her.” She patted his arm, then squeezed gently. “She’s tough, yes, she’s had to be. But she’s as alone as you are, and the bond was the only thing that kept her sane.”

He nodded. Emm took a deep breath and grinned. “Have fun.” And was gone.

He swore under his breath. Typical. There were times, like then, that she reminded him so much of Dria it made him want to weep. It was why he’d cut off contact. He couldn’t handle the pain that welled up every time he thought of the lost free-spirit.

 

###

 

I will clean this up, I promise.

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Snippet out of the blue

This is from….a project I really shouldn’t be working on.

~*~

 

The voices of the patrons of the One Winged Angel created a mildly comforting din as they cheered the pit fighters on. Velvet leaned against the bar watching, amused, as her customers yelled, laughed and cheered. She couldn’t see the fighters, but could tell by the cheers, who was dueling. A slim brunette, curls bouncing around her shoulders, wove her way through the crowd, a tray of empty dishes held overhead. She nodded at Velvet and glanced over her shoulder.

“They’re actually fighting rather well tonight.” She said as she slid the tray on the counter and turned around. “The bets are getting ridiculous!”

“Who’s winning?” Velvet leaned closer. She brushed a kiss against the brunette’s shoulder. Emm glanced at her with a grin.

“I couldn’t tell, they’re both fairly bloody.”

“Great, we’ll have patching up to do.” Vel chuckled.

“You’ll have patching up to do.” Emm laughed, moving around to the back of the counter. “I just work here.”

The door to the tavern opened, and Vel got a glimpse of swirling snow outside before the view was blocked by a tall figure. Her smile faded and she pushed herself upright watching the tall man and his two companions step into the taproom.

“Shut the gods be damned door, fool, unless you want to pay to heat this place!” Emm yelled.

The man looked her way and smirked. The door shut behind him, cutting off the howling wind. His companions looked at him in surprise. He’d not touched the door with his hand. He strode forward, aware that most eyes were on him. Pale hair, albino skin, and brilliant green eyes that laughed at her. Velvet shook her head. Trouble. Pure trouble.

“Kale, I’d be careful were I you, I’ve seen your tab here.” Emm pointed the cudgel she kept under the counter. “I’ll make you go wash my dishes!”

“You don’t want me to do that.” Kale said with a laugh, leaning against the counter. “Just ask the staff at the caves, I break more than I clean.”

“On purpose, I’d wager.” Vel snorted and glanced at the two silently following Kale and back at him with a frown.

“They were set to follow me.” He turned, gripped the shoulder of the nearest man, hauling him to the counter. “But I caught them, so I invited them along for a drink.” He smiled.

“Poor fools.” Emm said. She leaned towards the man at the counter. “You might just want to give up the commission, my friend. Really not worth it.”

“I figure they’ll be kind enough to pay my tab, after trying to chase me through this gods-forsaken city.” Kale looked down at the men and held out his hand. “Your purses, please, if you’ll be so kind.”

The men looked at each other and slowly reached for their belts.

“Nothing funny gentlemen,” Vel said softly. “Neither of you will walk out alive.”

They gulped and nodded, handing over some very heavy looking money pouches. Kale bounced them in his hand and nodded, glancing at them. “Go away.”

The men vanished.

“Where did you port them?” Emm asked, eyes wide.

“Creshna, near the Sable mountains.” Kale grinned.

“Evil.” Vel snickered. “What are you doing here, Kale? I thought the Goddess Avari frowned down on her pets consorting with us uncouth unbounds.”

“She does. Except when she’s given orders to hunt you out.” He rested elbows on the counter. “And I have specific instructions to ask you to kindly come for a visit to the caves.”

“What does she want?” Vel asked, heart pounding in her ears.

“Father has been asked to host a meeting of immortals, namely unbound, to discuss the current Slayer situation.” Kale leaned towards Vel. “Rumor has it you’d be the best one to ask about the Slayer.”

“Ooo an invitation from the Shaderunner.” Emm said leaning against Vel’s shoulder. “Sounds exciting.”

“A meeting?” Vel looked at her. “Sounding exciting?”

“The Staff of the Caves make the absolute best pastries and I know several back passages to get them.” Emm grinned impishly at her, then turned towards Kale. “When does his grumpyness want us there?”

“Us?” Vel eyed Emm.

“Grumpyness?” Kale snickered. “In two days. I’ll port you…”

“Kale, I’ve been porting since before your mother’s people were a clan. I think I can handle it.” Emm said. “Just tell us when we need to be there.”

Kale snorted. “One of these days Emm, I’m going to get you to tell me a tale or two. Loren say’s you’ve got a lot of them.”

She laughed. “Not today, Kale.”

Vel stewed, leaning against the counter. “Great. Just what I need to deal with.”

“Aww come on red, it’ll be fun.” Emm said. She kissed Vel’s cheek. “You’ve never seen funny until you’ve seen a startled centaur on marble.”

Kale snorted.

“I’d rather not have to deal with Shaderunner.” Vel said, voice low. The idea made her blood run cold. There were some beings in the world far too powerful for their own good.

“Why? Father’s not that bad, Vel, not really.” Kale looked confused.

“God-like powers, not that bad?” Vel snorted.

“Just hand him some ancient tome or book and he’ll be happy.” Kale winked. “Besides, I heard he likes redheads, kind of a weakness thing!” He vanished, leaving a money bag on the counter.

Vel stared at the bag and glanced at Emm. “I really didn’t want to hear that.”

 

###

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Inside The Author’s Mind released

The series is done, for now, and compiled into a complete collection.

cover

 

Inside The Author’s Mind is a collection of shorts written from the
point of view of the story elements. From characters, to ideas, to
muses, and editor, these have previously been sold singly and are
now put together. The collection is approximately 6400 words, 25
pages, and includes The Shiny, Redshirts, Muse Interrupted, Editor In Chains, 
Daydream Paradise Beach

It is available at:

Smashwords
Amazon.com
Barnes & Noble
Kobo

Now on to the next project!

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2014 Goals, Plans, and Expectations

A new year, new goals. I’ve made up a tentative publishing schedule for this new year, starting with the goal of one new publication (large or small) a month with three large releases for the year. We’ll see how it goes. Goals are dreams with a date on them they say. And I’ve even taken into account the usual grueling summers I have.

There are plans to move to another house sometime in late spring early summer which may disrupt things.

The big releases, the first three Zander books, are slated for April, ?June?, and September/October. The final book, Crossroads (which *might* be 2 books) *might* be ready by December.

I’m still dabbling with the idea of E1 up as a serial, but I’m not sure with everything else I have on my plate, that I have the mental capacity to to that atm. I might do something like that over the summer since E1 is, for the most part done.

Other smaller projects will be released through the rest of the year, hopefully on a monthly basis. I’m not hinging all my hopes on any one project. As a writer who plans to be around for a long time, my larger goals are long term, not hinged on any one book. A career isn’t built on one book, rather multiple projects. I’ll refer you to Dean Wesley Smith for more on that particular viewpoint.

I also have the goal of doing a Friday Flash fiction every week this year. Lofty? Maybe. I’m gonna try to do it though.

Last year’s sales;

With the lack of new material up for sale, sales were fairly non-existent. I haven’t pulled up the actual numbers yet, but I know they were spotty. There are a number of reasons why, ranging from pricing, covers that need to be improved and just lack of new material to keep my name up at the top of the new release lists and whatnot. Last year was fairly brutal for me. For a number of reasons and that impacted me finishing and releasing stuff. In short; sales sucked and I’m the reason why.

That was last year. This is a new year, new opportunities, new information to learn. This year. I want to write more. I need to write more. I need to get a better handle on covers, formatting and get back in the game so to speak. The paralyzing that halted me over the past year and a half, seems to have melted away. While there is a touch of anxiety, it isn’t halting me. Onward and upward! I’m ready! Are you?

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2013 Winding Down

2013 is almost over, and I have to say, writing-wise, I didn’t do as much as I’d planned. But what’s done is done and I’m not going to beat myself over the head about it. I’m still writing, and that’s a lot more than a lot of ‘writers’ these days. I’m putting together a 2014 business plan atm, will post it as soon as it’s more than a vague idea.

Dean Wesley Smith has a 2013 wrapup over here which I thought was very interesting.

I hope you all have a great Christmas (If you celebrate it), Yule, Winter Solstice, etc.

 

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December is here

Where did the year go? Rhetorical question, I’m not expecting an answer :P. So I did hit the nano words and my brain decided that Dmitri was going to go to sleep and Zander promptly started whispering at me. 0.o

Something that I noticed, post nano. I don’t seem to have the post nano brain-dead. I think it’s because writing has become such an integral part of my day (yes my DAY) that writing 50k really isn’t all that big a deal. Looking over my records on writing, I seem to have the greatest monthly output, wordwise, in feb, march and april. Interesting (imo).

I was fiddling with a program called Aeon Timeline to set up the timeline for the Zander stories. Mind you I’ve tried a number or programs and most timeline ones limit the dates. This thing is effing awesome. The world Zander lives on and the time frames in this world are VAST. This program allows me to set up my own date/calendar system. My OCD is very happy with this. VERY happy.

I managed to do the timeline for Books 1-3 and then Zander/Talia’s part of bk 4 and was starting to work on the timeline for the forensic fantasy part of bk 4 when I realized that I needed the name of a character, I couldn’t for the LIFE of me remember his name. So I did something I shouldn’t have done. I opened up my backup files and started skimming through old versions of Crossroads. -.- I am kindof surprused how well it holds up. YES there are issues, and no I don’t think I’d be able to edit it to fit into the new plot/timeline. But some of those scenes are golden. Just golden.

Anyways, I’m back to plugging away on the Zander story, I want to finish bk 2 before Jan 1st. Anyways this sat on my computer for way too long. Hope yall are having a good december so far.

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Still here

I’m very close to hitting NaNo, despite some unexpected shit tossed my way this month. I’ll try to put it into words later, suffice to say this month didn’t go quite as planned. Anyways, would you like a dragon snip? Have I mentioned I lurvs my dragons? 😀

Just remember, this is NaNo rough. It needs a good scrubbing. I know this. Enjoy;

~*~

Miranda was preparing to return to their quarters, when a sound from the entry ledge caught her attention. Dmitri stood still, watching the tunnel, his hands clenching and un-clenching at his sides. Khal and Lita moved behind him. Three males stepped into the hall. The man in front was pale, broad shouldered in clothes that were worn and patched. His hair fell to his shoulders and looked tousled, unwashed. He wore a blade at his side, and he rested his hand on the hilt. They strode in silence, looking neither right nor left, stopping several lengths from Dmitri.

“I’ll be damned.” Someone whispered. The hunters gathered creating a loose circle around the newcomers.

“Brenon.” Dmitri inclined his head, his low voice carrying over the room. Muffled gasps filled the room. Miranda nibbled her lower lip. Should she go over or stand to the stay where she was? She glanced at Jor, but the other woman had her eyes locked on the Outlander and his people.

“Dmitri, its been a long time.” Brenon’s voice was deep, similar to Dmitri’s though his was rougher. He looked around, narrowing his eyes when he saw Miranda, then looked at Dmitri. “Lots of whispers about you in the Outlands. Lots of eyes on the Keep, wondering if you’ve got a chance in hell.”

“You’re not here to discus whispers and rumors, brother.” Dmitri said. “Why are you here?”

Brenon gave a bark of laughter. Some of the hunters shifted uneasily. Was this going to be a challenge? Miranda wanted to ask someone, but all eyes were on the two males. Brenon lifted a rolled scroll. “You have a working office. There are many eyes in here.”

“Say what you have to say here, Brenon.” Dmitri crossed his arms.

They regarded each other.

“You’ve caught the attention of the Thalsbren. Even the human nations are beginning to notice. Gaeno is old, weak, bitter about his lack of advancement with Lothos and Otto.” Brenon ran his hand over the scroll. “He’s approached me, so did Hesh and Rilo, and several others who have since fallen. You’ve made a dent, a huge one, in Lothos old crew.”

“Get to the point brother.” Dmitri snarled. His skin mottled, swirls of blue-grey just below the surface.

“The alliances are lining up, between you and Gaeno.”

“We know this!” Jor snapped. Dmitri held up a hand and Brenon nodded.

“We, the Outlanders, have held off giving any of you our support.” Brenon held up the scroll. “Gaeno wanted us to ally with him, until I gave him our terms.”

Dmitri said nothing.

“How many contenders have you fought, since you made your stake?”

Dmitri looked towards Jor who was frowning as she strode over.

“Nintey four.” She said.

“What are you, made of steel?” The male asked incredulously.

“I wish.” Dmitri gave a crooked grin. “It’d hurt less when I get hit.”

Brenon gave a bark of laughter and held out the scroll, unrolling it and walking over to the table. “The elders will call for a count, see whose support you’ve garnered, once at the contenders are down.” He set the scroll down and Miranda could see it was a detailed set of maps. Brenon pointed at Dmitri. “You need the Outlanders. Every other contender, and I’ve lost count, has come to me, begging me for my backing. Giving nothing and promising nothing in return.” He spat on the floor. “Every single one of those slithering worms hid from father and Otto. You haven’t come to me, and you’re the only one who had the gall to stand up to the old man.” Brenon pointed at an odd marking on the map. “Give us back Syrteca, and the Outlanders will back you.”

Someone gave a long low whistle.

“That’s a fools task.” Lita said.

“Syrteca was one of the first taken.” Dmitri didn’t look at the map, his eyes were locked on Brenon. “The queen has dug in deep.”

Brenon nodded. “Do it, brother, and we’re yours.”

Dmitri’s eyes narrowed. Miranda could see several others shaking their heads, even Brenon’s men didn’t look optimistic.

“Done.” Dmitri said finally. Whispers ran through the onlookers. Brenon nodded grinning slowly.

“If anyone can do it, you can.” Brenon stepped forward, arm out.

They gripped arms, and after a moment Brenon pulled Dmitri into a rough embrace, said something in his ear, turned and strode out, his fellows close behind him. The silence stretched, all eyes on Dmitri. He leaned over the map, hands on the table, staring at it.

“There is no way to dislodge a queen, Dmitri.” Lita said. “It’s a death wish.”

He made no response, moved one of the maps.

“Dmitri, how could you agree to that?” She pressed. He looked at her, the mottling was back. She stepped back.

“Malice, Lita, take a scouting trip around Syrteca. Keep low, and don’t be noticed.” He said after a long silence. He rolled the scrolls up and glanced around the room before leaving.

###

Have a great weekend!

 

You can find more dragon snips over here

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Wednesday

It never looks right when I write it out.*

I’ve been plugging away on all sorts of things, bouncing around with RL stuff and writing projects that I keep forgetting to get over here to get a post up. SO, projects;

Zander book one, roughly done. There are a few things I need to go back and fill in which will bump the word count up.

Inside the Author’s Mind – I’ve been dabbling at that, I’ve gotten the one story halfway done and realized I think that’s it. I do need to pull together a cover for it now.

Zander book 2 – I thought I had about 17k on it. I poked at it, I prodded, then I realized that no, it wasn’t going to work. Book two has been started again from scratch. But I think it works better than the 17 k.

I’m going to go ahead and use it for NaNo and see how it goes. Hopefully it won’t negate Book 3 too terribly much and I won’t have to rewrite IT. >.>

OTHER stuff:

Flash Fiction; I want to get back in the habit of tossing those up on fridays. But I’m not sure I’ll be able to before the first of the year.

Elemental Series: E1 sits in limbo. I haven’t done much more than reread it in months. I know it has issues. E2 screeched to a halt, the others are also hanging in limbo as stories at the far end of the series hijack my brain. My dragons are overpowering.

I have been researching crowdfunding projects, and polls and have been putting together a tentative plan for next year. More on that if anything pulls together solidly. My brain has been very flaky lately. I was thinking of putting together some sort of ongoing series on the dragons/elementals but it’s a very vague and unformed idea.

Anywho, need to get words and do some mundane RL stuff. Have a good day.

 

*edited because it was spelled wrong. That’s why it looked wrong. **facepalms** **sigh**

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