Excerpt from Delphinium (Happy Valentine’s!)

“So what did you do this last year?” she asked as they began to walk around the clearing. They heard water and made towards the stream.

“Surgery work,” he replied. “We had corpses to practice on, to be able to know what went where, and why, and how.”

“How did you receive corpses?”

“Several people and families generously allowed us to use their loved one’s bodies after death.”

“I can not imagine that is popular. Did you share each.. Body?”
Pierre grimaced. He had not wished to inform Lizzy of this specifically. “Truthfully most were criminals whose deaths were not deemed important enough to give full funerals. At least this way they would be… of use.”

She took this in stride, nodding her head slowly though shuddering.

“A grim year, then.”

“Quite. Though it was not all gloom and horror.”

“Do tell?” While they had walked their hands had linked and she leaned against him as they found the river.

“We were students after all. Pranks were pulled, curfew ignored, alcohol drunk in excess. I was among the oldest so I mainly watched over the younger men.”

“And when you were younger?” Lizzy probed, reading into what Pierre had not said. He did not meet her eyes, staring up at the trees quite pointedly.

“Your brother and I had our fun at times.”

She laughed. They had gotten into enough trouble as children to guess the level of possible mischief Pierre and Piers could do when alone and bored.

“Anything illegal?”

I killed a man, he thought immediately. Several in fact, but one stood out to him in that moment. A prisoner taken straight from his hanging to his slab, so the students could see what was as close to a living body as possible. He had been not quite as dead as they had thought. After seeing the blood flowing and hearing the man let out a moan, even opening his eyes, many of the students turned away and one ran to alert a professor. Pierre had made it seem that he checked for a pulse, but he squeezed the very damaged windpipe. By the time someone with more authority was in the room the man was well and truly dead. It was deemed a delayed hanging. Pierre remained to finish the lesson even though he had been offered a pass at seeing a man die right before his eyes.

“No,” he told her.

“A pity. I hear from Piers that the best moments are those that might get you a night in jail for your troubles.”

“Oh, did he? What tales did he tell his dear little sister?”

“I believe there was a time when the boys in your dorm snuck in strong wine, or went out on the town. Perhaps those were actually in chronological order, it would explain much.”

“I never did such things.”

“Of course not. Though I now shall have to find myself another companion,” she said with a smile and glance to him. “I would like a partner with experience in such things so I have some guidance when I deem to try.”

Before he could answer she dashed ahead to where the stream was in view. He gave chase. At the edge of the bank she did not stop, pulling up her skirts and jumping to a rock that jetted out in the middle. She made it, arms waving to keep her balance and getting one shoe wet, but staying on the rock. With a laugh she turned and curtsied to him.

“And you think yourself safe there, Lizzy dear?” he called.

He took even less care of his attire, jumping straight into the water, mud, and stones. She gasped, looking around for another place to go, but the far side of the bank was, as named, too far.
He reached her then, grabbing her and swinging her in his arms as she shrieked.

“Pierre!”

“Hush or I shall drop you!”

“You would not!”

He pretended to, getting another shriek from her that had him laughing as he carried her back to shore.

“No, my dear, I would not,” he agreed, finally, placing her down in the grass. Not after she had been ill. Another day, perhaps.

They were the same height at the moment and he kissed her before getting out himself and looking down at his ruined clothes. His shoes were wet and the feeling was quite uncomfortable out of the water. He knelt down and began to untie the laces.

Lizzy bit her tongue to keep from asking naughtily if he would also take off his trousers, seeing as they were wet up to the knee.

When barefoot Pierre hopped back into the stream with the shoes in his hands.

“What are you doing?”

“Leaving my shoes,” he called over his shoulder, going back to the rock. He made sure they would not fall into the water before again returning. “They are quite nice shoes, but hardly my only pair. I am sure there are fée around, perhaps the gift would be appreciated. We cannot spare much food or drink.”

Her one shoe was hardly as wet as his had been but she sat and began to undo her laces as well. Without a word he bent down to help her.

“I shall buy you an even lovelier pair when we reach Piques,” he promised as he turned back to place her shoes next to his.

“Oh, you do not—”

“I insist.”


Not exactly a Scene as it’s from Delphinium and not a stand-alone, but I thought it fitting for Valentine’s. You’ll recognize Pierre’s thoughts from the Scene ‘Hanging.’

So many promos! Now back to me :)

I thought I’d check in and ramble about myself and my work for a little bit to break up the other indie folk.

That said this cross-promotion thing is amazing. All the great writers that I’m showing off are also showing off Larkspur. In October I had 160+ downloads, 101 in November, and in December I have 425 so far, and it’s only the 4th! I’m sure I have a few more promos set up for December too, and I’m not-so-secretly hoping to break 1000.

I have most of the major scenes for Delphinium written and pretty polished, now I’m just trying to tie them all together coherently. Sometimes I explain something in a chapter only to find that I wrote something similar already, so that all has to be fixed and redone. Some of the chapters take place over a day and others might be several weeks and I need to summarize, or expand, and make it flow right. I’m feeling really good about this story though- I have fewer “this sucks, what the hell am I even doing” days than I used to have. The story itself, by the way, takes place over 4 months and almost a week. I am gradually scaling up the time for each book, Aconitella should take place over a year and a half, and a few of the vaguely plotted stories for after the Larkspur series may cover five to ten years. I am working with a lot of time, generations here, so going week by week might not be the best idea in the world.

The Wolf Within has been put aside so I can wrap up Delphinium, but it will be written alongside Aconitella. I want to try dealing with more than one world at once, outside of Scenes. And even with Scenes I tend to fall back into the realm I’m working on at the moment. I’ve not been able to stick to another realm long enough for a good coherent Scene in a while (sorry about that).

I do have a pretty finished opening page to The Wolf Within though, so I’ll go ahead and share that here! 🙂

The pups were coming out of the den. They were less than a moon old and had only opened their eyes a few days past, but the alpha-mother was letting them come to meet the rest of the pack. Their alpha-father stood at the opening of the den, tail wagging his entire body as he made himself wait for his mate and puppies to appear. It was their first litter.
The other two wolves of the pack stood further back, not part of the family and not wishing to intrude, though keeping away from new puppies had proved too difficult to overcome entirely.

Alpha-mother came out first and greeted her mate. An uncertain whining was heard from the den and she yipped, telling her little ones that it was safe. Alpha-father had had enough waiting and stuck his head into the den, sniffing and licking the bundles of fur. He grabbed one by the scruff and pulled him out, setting him down before covering him again in licks.

The other two siblings ran out then and all descended on their father, licking at the corners on his mouth and pressing to him, showing him deference and love.

“Come,” the alpha-mother said to the two sitting off to the side. She nudged one of the puppies, a solid black one, in their direction if her beckoning had not been enough. “You are pack too.”

The elder, a golden wolf with suspiciously blue eyes, looked to the younger white wolf before taking a step forward.

The black puppy moved to him, tail low but swishing, shy and trying not to show her fear. The golden wolf dipped his head and licked her in greeting, and she nuzzled him back.

“Smell different.” The pup sneezed and stood back to look at the other pack members, then back to his mother. “Wolf-not-wolf.”

“Man-wolf,” his father explained. “Pack.”

The golden wolf laid down to be less intimidating and all the pups decided it would be a grand idea to tackle him at once.

Finally the black pup went over to the white wolf and sniffed her curiously. She was different than the golden wolf still, and reminded her of her parents in how she sat.

“Alpha-not-wolf?” she asked.

Her father walked over and bent his head, exposing his neck. “Man-wolf queen. She is the alpha of all the alphas. Wolf and man-wolf.”

The queen nudged alpha-father to stand and snorted in annoyance. “I am still young, and a guest of your father’s. I am not here as his alpha.”

Hope everyone is having a great Christmas season! ❤

Early NaNoWriMo

November is National Novel Writing Month. From the 1st of November to the 3oth the goal is to write 50-thousand words, or 1667 words a day.

I know a bunch of writers and several of them have already decided they are doing NaNo. I half-heartedly have tried in years past (last year trying to finish Delphinium..), but I didn’t last more than a few days. Now said friends have roped me into it and I’m not allowed to escape.

(Thanks, kalez ❤ :P)

This year I will again try and finish Delphinium for NaNo. It isn’t technically within the rules, as the story isn’t new and a good chunk is written already, but blah- don’t care.

Reasons I think I might get it to work:

1 – My friends will hound me about it, I’m sure.

2 – I’ve been doing a lot better lately with productivity and feeling good about myself. I started the keto diet in the middle of summer and it’s doing wonders

3 – I am fed up with not having Delphinium out. I owe you this story. I owe the almost 100 people who have written reviews on Amazon and Goodreads, who loved Larkspur, and are still waiting. I owe the people I know through Facebook who are both my friends and readers. I owe Pierre and Lizzy.

I am making a minor tweak though-I’m starting October 17th. I have more than 50K words left and if I want to squish in the (more or less) correct number of words a day I need more time. So I’m just going ahead and adding in the last two weeks of October. Let’s call it fée-time and pretend it can work that way.

Seeing as it’s after midnight already and I’m not too tired I guess I’ll start now.

 

Notebooks and plans

First thing’s first- there’s this new amazing notebook  program that I saw on reddit. The creator is super awesome, and while the program is a little bare-bones right now, there’s already major updates planned that will in just a few weeks make this the best organization/writing program ever.

http://www.notebook.ai/

You get to input characters, places, items, and will be able to include races, family trees, scenes- the whole shebang. I’ve already started adding in some characters and places. The cool thing is that there’s a list of questions for each person/place/thing- their age, how they look, what they like, where the thing is from. It helps you think and plot more thoroughly.

You can also show off your notebooks to others. I fully intend to make use of this and have a link  in the sidebar to show off Noctuina.

This also has me plotting more in general. I’ve gotten the timelines more set for the Larkspur series- I know where books 3 and 4 start and end, and roughly what goes on during this time. I have a start for The Wolf Within and I’m plotting that out as well. I’ve even back-tracked to Incubo and made some adjustments even though I plan to have that stand-alone out only after the City of Dreams series.

That’s not to mention still the other handful of projects I have popping up as wanting to be next in line.

And I am writing! I got a lot done last night, a good chunk of Delphinium and some in The Wolf Within. Writing sprints are really helpful.

I might try and make the next Scene from Ibella, where Incubo and City of Dreams takes place.

Wolf Girl (Astrarctia)

She should return to the woods. She’d lived in this town for five full moons, longer than she usually stayed in one human place, but she had been comfortable. Another like her lived here and though she had not met with him he felt like family. It was more than she usually had and she had not wished to give it up.

But they knew. She did not think it was her that was caught, but it was a warning she could not ignore. If a ringian had not already been sent for one would be soon.

The full moon had been last night, and unlike months before many had hid in their homes from late afternoon, when the moon first appeared in the day-sky. As a born werewolf she could change shape whenever she wanted and was not even forced to by the moon, so she had not dared shift. She had wanted it, desperately, and felt dizzy and on edge all night, but she sat with the other urchins and homeless of the town in the meeting hall and tried not to bring attention to herself. They were told they had been brought to the hall for their own safety, but more likely it was to make sure they were human. She stole a cap to wear over her white hair and did not look up, hoping her amber eyes would seem hazel in the shadows. She had not slept at all.

Now it was dawn and she felt safe enough to leave. She would eat, hide things she could not take, and disappear. Once she was far enough in the forests she would shift and find a place to curl up and sleep. If she was lucky she would run into a pack that could take her in for a time, but she had been a lone wolf before.

She had caches all over the town and she went from one to another. Most had food, meat she had caught or stolen and then packed in snow, and some had clothes. One had a knife she had found in the woods. She ate the food and left the clothes- maybe some of the other urchins would find them and use them. She would not need them with her fur. The knife she wished she could take, it was a good quality, but would be useless with her teeth and claws.

Every moment she stayed was another moment she was in danger. Some of the shops were opening for the day, people were beginning to leave the safety of their homes, and all would be wary and on the lookout for a werewolf in their midst. She decided she had eaten enough and abandoned the last few caches, heading towards the woods. It would be best if she was not seen, even though she had ‘proven’ her humanity. It would be foolish to be seen going into the forests the day after a full moon.

Voices stopped her. She froze behind the thick trunk of a tree and listened. They were speaking to each other and it did not seem they were looking for her.

“Go!” a woman sobbed.

“Quick, son.” A man’s voice, gruff with emotion.

“But if I leave they will know!” The third voice was of a boy.

“If you stay you will die.” The man again.

The wind picked up and blew towards her, bringing her a wealth of information. The man and woman were married, and the boy was their son. He also had the scent of wolf and blood on him.

She peered around from her hiding spot. The boy had a hand wrapped in bloody bandage, and his clothes were torn and ragged. This was not the werewolf she had scented before, though, this werewolf seemed to have shifted for the first time last night, not even aware enough about what was happening to take his clothes off.

She began to walk to them slowly, but the boy turned to her as the wind changed direction again, and now gave him information about her. The parents looked at her too and the mother’s eyes widened in fear. The father moved towards her, as if he could silence her and protect his son. If she was a human girl who heard what was being spoken, and then told the town it could be death for all of them.

“She’s one too,” the boy said, figuring out what her scent meant, moving to stop his father.

“Was she the one—”

“No,” the boy said quickly. “It was a male, a man, that..” He moved his hurt arm. His father took a step back, but did not look away from her.

“I’m Inisaira,” she said, reaching them. “Aira. I was leaving after last night.”

“Ander,” the boy replied when his father said nothing. “I was too, I guess. I… changed last night.”

“We want him safe!” his mother said. “Please, help us. Take him far away!”

How could she turn him away? He was was taller than her by a few inches, older than her,but she had certainly been a werewolf longer. She had felt safe enough just knowing a werewolf was in the same town (even though she now thought horrible things about the wolf that had bitten a child). This could be the start of her own real pack.

She began to take her clothes off. The man turned away, but the mother and boy did not. She was still young enough that it was not unusual to be naked in the summer months. Of course this was winter.

“Hurry,” she urged Ander, throwing her shirt on to the ground. “We will run faster as wolves. Your parents want you safe, that is more than I’ve seen in some other places.”

Once they were both naked, the boy looking more uncomfortable than her, she nodded to him. Good, he was listening to her. “You were bit, but you can still turn into a wolf if it isn’t a full moon. You need to mean it- say a prayer to Luna and picture yourself shifting.”

It took him a few minutes to change. Aira was a wolf in only a moment, and she observed the boy while he concentrated. Finally his limbs began to move and fur sprouted from his body. The mother gasped and she hid in her husband’s arms, but the father did not look away. Ander crouched and then fell in the snow, but quickly his new form appeared, one accustom to snow and the forest.

He stood, shaking off the snow that clung to his golden fur, the same color as his hair. He was an older puppy, like Aira, neither yet adults as people or beasts but needing to act without guidance from adults.

They regarded each other in this second form. Their scents filled the air and both knew even more about each other than when they had scented each other in human form. Ander knew she was a born werewolf, the alpha, and that she was tired and worried, even if she tried to hide it. She knew he was bitten a few days ago, the bite tearing when he shifted last night and reopening wounds. He was worried too, even afraid, but was determined.

She took a step to him and looked up into his eyes. He tilted his head in confusion, and then slowly bent his head in understanding. He licked her snout, crouching before her.

Brother, she said, nudging him. Beta.

Sister, he agreed, nuzzling her face. Alpha.

She looked to his front paw. He had taken off his clothes but had forgotten about the bandage. It was now lose and twisted up in his fur. She bent over and grabbed an end in her mouth, pulling and shaking her head until it came loose and she dropped it. When his wound began to bleed and he whined she licked at it until it stopped.

She glanced to the parents and gave a nod so they would understand. The father nodded back, and then mother tried to hide her tears by picking up their clothes. With a meaningful look to Ander she dashed off into the underbrush. He followed.

 

Scene 7

Working on Scene 7, ‘Wolf Girl.’ The main character is Inisaira, one of my first characters from way back when I was 13. Her story has been a constant in my mind for years, and I’m glad to be getting back to that realm (and werewolves, I love werewolves). Charting the timeline is helping me sort through 13 years of memories, old ideas, and plots that no longer work. Like with Clandestina I have several generations of stories there (I love a family saga).

I’m thinking Inisaira’s story might be the second series I begin properly (alongside Pierre and Lizzy’s), but much of that is still in the air. Plus I want to write the short-story ‘Dear Friend’ (which is in yet another, third, realm) which seems too long for a Scene, but shouldn’t break 10K. I might put it up for 99cents or even free from the start. I have six or seven main realms where many of my stories take place, and many many more minor realms that I don’t know enough about yet, but plan to work in. Remember, Noctuina has 256 different magical realms, with different cræfts, bestia, and histories.

Delphinium is coming along well too, I’ve been at the beach this last week and that helped with a lot of thinking and plotting. I’ve actually updated Larkspur with the opening scene of Delphinium, and an author’s note near the start.

‘Wolf Girl’ should be up tonight 🙂

Scenes

I’m working on the first scene that I plan to put online. It’s short, shouldn’t be more than 1000 words, about how Pierre and Lizzy met for the first time. I didn’t know that’s how they met when I started the scene. I just started writing and it.. happened.

I used to RP (roleplay) online- write a paragraph with my characters, someone else replies with their own paragraph, and so on. An interactive story. I learned to write those afternoons making up stories with friends. Pierre was actually a character that I made specifically to rp with so his story didn’t get muddled with my ‘just my story’ stuff. Ironic how he’s the protagonist in my first published work.

So I can see how it’s easier for me to write out a short scene and then stand back, assuming someone else will then come in and give me something to reply to. It’s how I thought I’d publish my work actually- short scenes that were out of order and stacked together to form a chapter-book of sorts.

(Larkspur was originally a scene called Lady of Death. The only two characters to make an appearance were Pierre and Mora, with mentions of Lizzy).

You can see how I then thought Larkspur, at 15K, was fleshed out. There were subplots and characters I didn’t intend to introduce at all showing up. Wolfram’s love even got a name-change between Larkspur and Delphinium (her name isn’t in the first book though, so there aren’t any limited edition versions with that in it. There are though versions where I call Mora’s realm Plwto, then Thanatos, and finally Akhlys ).

Delphinium went even further. What was supposed to be a sequel at a bit over twice the length grew into a tome that’ll be at least 6 times as long as Larkspur. There’s at least three strong subplots and I can’t tell if that’s too much.

In a way I’m worried about going ‘back’ to scenes. What if I get used to just writing random bits and pieces, but forget to put them all together to make a real story later?

Well, there is nothing saying I have to leave the scene after it’s done. If there’s something there for me to use I can let it grow into a book or a series. You’ll have seen a part, probably an important part, but it won’t be the whole story.

(That’s exactly my current ‘problem’ with Delphinium. I wrote a few scenes that happened around the same time, started to connect them together, and -poof- I made a real book. Something something green fairy joke).

Even if it is just backstory that doesn’t come up but in passing, with writing it out I’ll have the extra that I wouldn’t have. You’ll have it too. And not just as a reply in an interview or an explanation given after the fact, but an actual slice of story.