Rumination on Books, Project Update, Excerpts, and More

I was reading one night, far later than I should have been (but what else is new, right?) but when I did finally pull myself away and closed the book, I paused a moment to consider it. It wasn’t a very large book, and without its dust cover it was very plain: black cardboard binding and a number of thin pages sandwiched between; and I thought to myself, ‘This is just about what every book is, in its most basic form’. A stack of paper between cardboard.

Humble. Yet mysterious.

We see these books everywhere, especially if you frequent garage sales, second hand stores, and library book sales. Piles upon piles of them like treasures hidden in plain sight, and I wonder at it. As a writer I can understand even more now than before that these books, these simple stacks of paper bound together, carry the heart and soul of the person who wrote them into being. Somebody somewhere had an idea. A dream. And they put the time and effort, the blood, sweat, and tears, the long hours and the late nights, into bringing that dream or that idea about. They battled doubt and struggled against fear, celebrated triumph and wept in frustration, maybe even teetering on the brink of despair at times, but never gave up. Never ran away. They pressed forward to emerge with a creation all their own, a piece of their very being in tangible form. A book is an amalgamation of all of that.

To hold a book is to hold a piece of someone’s heart and soul, and while you may look at the fancy art on the cover and read the title and summary, you never really do know just what this book is about until you crack it open.


Project Update

Hello, Readers! This is me, reporting in with an update on how things are coming along in regards to Falconsbane. Looking back, it’s been five months (just about to the day) since I took fingers to keyboard and began. At once I think ‘Wow! How time flies.’ and ‘This is taking forever!’

Jumping into a completely new world and working with a whole new cast of characters has been a challenge, after spending the last five years engrossed in the same place charting the journey of the same people. I feel it might take a couple of draft run-throughs to truly settle in, know my characters well, and tell their story to the best of my ability. So thank you for all of your support and patience!

As for the state of this first draft: we’re almost done! Finally! I’ve tried within these past two weeks to finish by the end of the month. I really wanted to write ‘The End’ tonight.

Unfortunately, that’s not exactly going to happen. There’s a quote that fits the situation perfectly:

Image result for i love deadlines quote

There was just too much that needed to happen and I couldn’t get it done in time. But don’t despair ─ we are close! If I can keep up this pace and restock the highest caffeine tea I can find, it’ll be finished within the next fortnight (Lord willing). And after that? Why, round two, of course! I’ll share more about that when the time comes.

But now? The best part!


Excerpts

I promised excerpts, and it’s finally time to let you at them. This is rough, unedited, first draft stuff, people. About as raw as you can get.

Roscha ducked under the first swing and brought his sword up to block the next, hands trembling for the shock of the blow. Eijun meant business this time.

“If you don’t surrender, I’m going to have to slay you,” Shyloh warned. “My conscience wouldn’t like it, but he’s not at my shoulder at the moment. What’s it going to be?”

Silence hung over the assembled troops like a blanket, a mixture of emotions riling for supremacy. For at once they were thrilled at the opportunity to finally be going on their first real mission and anxious at the reality and severity of the occasion. Border skirmishes weren’t anything to sneeze at.

The need for relief forces was even worse.

Judah scoffed. “Heroic. That I doubt. There is little heroic in what we’ve just accomplished. Nothing more than a necessary slaughter.” He didn’t look at any of them when he spoke, remaining by the battlement and staring down at the dead dragon with his arms folded across his chest.

They were a noble people, and proud; resolute in justice, firm in conviction, and unmoving in judgment. To be condemned by them, one was hard-pressed to prove his innocence.


In Other News:

Across the Nightingale Floor (Tales of the Otori, Book 1)Currently (still) reading Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn. I was hoping to have it finished by now, but such lofty aspirations fell short in the wake of trying to finish this first draft. I’m about three quarters of the way through, and so far I’m enjoying the novelty of it. Check back in next week for the whole story (and by that I mean book review)


Lastly, I want to share with you a little craft project I’ve recently finished. When I get into a writing project I always wind up investing my rudimentary crafty skills into it, but these silly little things give me a warm-fuzzy, so you can’t stop me! Mwa-ha-ha!

A-hem.

Anyway.

A couple of years ago a neighbor of mine got me into kumihimo braiding (a Japanese style of braiding with typically 8+ strands), and I’ve picked it up as a hobby ever since then. This bracelet is made of seven such braids, and each one features the tribal colors of each of Phen’s regions from Falconsbane. It pleases me to look at it.

You may recognize the dark gray, light gray, and yellow one of Nyan from a post a couple of weeks ago, and my intent is to write a feature post for each of the regions (namely their individual branches of the Phennish army, because it’s been a large factor in the development of the story). Within the next couple of weeks I’ll have another one ready, so be looking forward to that!


How about you? What kind of hobbies do you fiddle with in your spare time? I’d love to hear about it!

 

NaNoWriMo Finale and Excerpts

Happy December!! Tis the final month of the year, 2017’s last hurrah, the season of giving ─ and taking a deep breath after the marathon of NaNo! The race has finally come to a close, and so many of us have crossed the finish line exhausted, sweating, bloody and bruised from the trials . . .

Okay, maybe not sweating, but who’s looking at details, right?

Right?

The month of November has brought into this world innumerable brand new, beautiful, bursting-with-promise-and-potential words. Magic has happened. Blood, sweat, and tears have been shed. Caffeine has been consumed in excessive amounts (really, I think November is the month coffee and other caffeine containing beverages spike in consumption). And the result has been the genesis of many brand-new stories well on their way to spread inspiration, wonder, adventure, and marvelous characters across the globe to eager readers everywhere. How mighty the word!

 

Book, Old, Clouds, Tree, Birds, Bank, Rush, Landscape

Over here in the Writing Corner we’ve contributed 64.5k to the pot, and over the next month and more I plan on adding to that as this new project progresses.

Now, because I know you’ve all been as thrilled as I am about this project, I’m going to give you a few short excerpts of the rough and unrefined, raw first draft.

•  Roscha didn’t respond. His teeth were welded together, hardly allowing even a grunt to escape his throat, let alone an answer.

•  That had never stopped him from accepting Shyloh’s challenges. It had never once deterred him from climbing trees, or the cliff by the lake, or the church turrets. “I must be a sucker for punishment,” he muttered.

•  Roscha lifted his head to find Shyloh standing in the doorway, a lantern in one hand and a bulging satchel in the other. “What are you doing back so early?”

“What, do you want me to leave?”

“No, but . . .”

Shyloh smiled in the corner of his mouth and walled in. “You didn’t show up and I was getting bored of waiting.”

•  Roscha’s attention zeroed in. This is it . . .


Also, if you’ve been curious about what this new world and theme of the story looks like, check out my board on Pinterest dedicated to the project!

The Day Draws Nigh

Hello, dear readers, and happy 3rd day of summer! Wow, I can’t believe it’s summer already – only 15 days left until my brother’s wedding! Only 14 days left until An Odyssey’s End is published! So excited!

Anywho, in preparation/anticipation of that, I’m going to play a little game here. I have with me the proof copy of AOE, and I will flip to seven random spots (not necessarily in order) and write down an excerpt from the page I come to, crafting a kind of flash teaser trailer type of thing. You ready? Lets go.

♠   ♠   ♠

Caution to the careless and woe to the souls of many, for the Destroyer of Worlds has come.

 – – –

“Way to hog the glory,” Teryn scowled.

“Don’t worry, there’ll be more,” he [Jonquil] replied, wiping his nose.

“Let’s hurry,” Sergil bade.

“Why?” Fwip asked. “We going somewhere?”

“If at all possible we should see if we can’t find some form of shelter,” the man answered. “The quicker we move the less likely are to get eaten.”

– – –

Her answer, and what she could possibly mean by ‘worse’, silenced them, and no one spoke again until she finished. By then there wasn’t a single mark left on the man’s torso, leaving no evidence of the mincemeat it had resembled just over an hour ago. Iris released her Spells and stepped back, taking a deep breath and fighting off a wave of fatigue.

The woman physician approached the once-injured man and passed a hand across his abdomen, the look of absolute amazement upon her features easy to read. “Truly a miracle! How did you come into such incredible power?”

“It was given to me by a pair of friends,” Iris replied, glancing at her hand a curling it into a fist . . .

– – –

“What is this?”

“That would be an aluminum can.”

“What’s in it?”

“Food. The label should say exactly what.”

“My Helosite’s a little rusty,” the man retorted blandly. “How are you supposed to open it?”

“The newer design is supposed to have a tab you can pull, but for these you’ll need a can opener.”

“And what in the name of briny hopswitch is a ‘can opener’?”

– – –

“I thought he’d be here sooner than this,” Thock said.

“Oh, I’m sure he’ll be here in no time,” Piffry assured. “You know how he is.”

“Then he’s probably snooping around instead of asking for directions,” Thock replied.

“I’m sure!” Piffry laughed.

– – –

Out of an adjoining room came Quincy himself, and in his arms he carried little Tao, asleep. “I was wondering when you’d come to see her,” he said in a rumbling whisper.

Teryn stopped short when he appeared. “Aye, well, I didn’t have any time before now,” she retorted. “And I still don’t have a lot of time.”

“Why is that?” he asked. “Are you needed back for the war council?”

“No, it’s because I’m needed back in Sekon’dome.”

– – –

Jonquil and Sergil ran to meet it, clashing in a duo, rapid fire attack that left no seam between their strikes. Sergil hefted his sword with a stony resolve, blocking and hacking with the gleaming edge, his body falling in time with the motions of a dual handed blade like an old dance he’d never truly forgotten. Jonquil wove in and out of their parries and attacks to deliver his own blows with a pinpoint precision that would have been fatal had their opponent been just about anything but what it was.

– – –

This was Sanctus, the purifying Spell.

Fires ignited all over his body, creeping across his shoulders and torso, piercing the murky depth of his tenuous form, blotting out the cast of his shadowed existence. Within moments Akairo became completely engulfed by the furnace, his triumphal laughter turning into howls of rage and agony as his darkness, his dross, was consumed.

“Curse you!” he screamed, high pitched and wild. “Curse you all to the depths of oblivion! Die! Wither! Fall to the worst and more painful deaths! I despise you pathetic, insolent worms! I hate you!

– – –

Fine. Keep your miserable and rotten children — they aren’t worth raising up.

But that would not stop him from razing them down.

♠   ♠   ♠

Well? How was that? I have to say, it was harder than you’d think, because there were so many parts that I thought ‘Oh! That would be cool!’ ‘Oh! I could do that!’ But alas, if I did that, then I’d have spoiled all the fun and written here the whole volume, and that would just not do.

I hope you enjoyed this, and don’t forget to mark your calendars! July 7th is the Promised Day, when dreams come true, bated breaths are released, and new adventures begin.


Don’t miss it! The Goodreads Giveaway for The Clandestine Crusade ends the 27th of this month — 4 days — so enter for a chance to win a free copy + bookmark!

Also, starting today and ending Tuesday, the ebook version of The Clandestine Crusade will be available for FREE on Amazon, so grab a copy for yourself, grab one for a friend, grab one for the neighbor and his friend! The possibilities are virtually endless, and no halfway decent person is less than thrilled at the magnanimous gift of a story.