Month: April 2013

People Skills: WIPpet Wednesday

One of the highlights of my week is hanging out with the Wednesday WIPpeteers – my awesome international writing buddies, who are good enough to share snippets from their work in progress. Although these pieces are often out of context and early drafts, it’s a great way to keep motivated and to catch up on teasers from a wide range of manuscripts. WIPpeteers, I salute you!

Today’s WIPpet, is (for a change) totally in line with the date. In honour of the 24th of April, here are 24 lines from page 24 of The Fall of the Kings. The passage is from Josiah’s perspective.

After a few minutes I realised Simon had stopped speaking and was looking at me, as though waiting for an answer.

I gave a vague nod, hoping I hadn’t agreed to anything I’d regret and rubbed my forehead.  The last thing Tobias needed was for anyone to think he was my favourite.

“I told Tobias to come and see me as soon as he returned. He probably took me literally.”

Simon snorted and shuffled towards the door. 

“But if he turns up early show him in. I have a job for him.”

Simon’s lips pulled together in a tight line, disapproval radiating out of every pore. But I pretended not to notice.

“We’re expecting such a large influx of people for the Dedication, I promised the Council some extra hands. Besides it’ll stop him cluttering up your reception area.”

 “As you wish.”

He gave a sharp nod, and his shoulders stiffened, as though it was all he could do to maintain his dignity.  I was tempted to let him have his sulk, but as prickly as Simon was, he served me tirelessly and deserved to be treated with kindness.  It would also make things easier for Tobias when he returned.

“I would have asked you Simon, but I thought digging the temporary privys was more suited to a novice than someone of your experience.”

“Of course.”

Although the words were delivered in a stoic manner, his cheek gave a tell-tale twitch.  This was one matter he would let go of.

If you would like to join in the WIPpet Wednesday fun, just post something from your work in progress that has some correlation to the date. 24 words, lines, paragraphs from page 24, or chapter 24. Being creative with the date reference is totally in the spirit of this blog hop! Then head over to this linky to join in the fun. Thanks as always to K.L. Schwengel for hosting!

Seasons of Change: Thursday’s Children

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A weekly blog hop where
writers come together to share
what inspires them.

We all know everything changes and nothing stays the same – but it doesn’t mean it’s always easy. Today I had to farewell a close friend, who is moving away. She’s returning home (to the States), into a new and exciting phase of her life. I’m happy for her and can see how this is perfectly timed and a good move, but this new season also comes with a heavy-handed sprinkling of grief.

No more hanging out in her car before school pick-ups, no more looking over my shoulder in the movie theatre during the enthusiastic commentaries, and no more hours discussing the finer points of writing.

Yes there’s still all the virtual stuff, and we’ll keep in touch. But I’m going to miss her terribly.

So apart from feeling sorry for myself, how is this inspiring?

Firstly, my friend was one of the first people I’ve really been able to share my writing journey with. She’s helped, encouraged and cheered me on when I’ve felt I’ve all the talent of a limp biscuit. So even if she is off in far-flung realms, I can take all these miserable, unsettled feelings and pour them into my writing. I can also keep writing, so we can continue to share our lives through the stories we write and the characters we’re coming to know.

Stories are always centered around change. How our characters cope, adapt, choose to grow through the process or refuse point-blank until the choice is taken out of their hands.

I’ve got a new story simmering at the moment, where the characters stand on the edge of each other’s worlds. Trying to make a life together will come with a cost, and in the story the piper is fast approaching. Understanding how they balance their relationship and the pull of different origins and backgrounds is always interesting to unravel. The pain of saying goodbye? Yes, it’s in there too.

Like the people in the Game of Thrones, winter is coming to little ole NZ. It’s not my favourite season; the garden all but goes in to hibernation, it’s cold, wet and the hours of daylight grow short. However, I can also snuggle in by the fire, wrap up against the cold, enjoy the sound of the rain on the roof and look forward to the first signs of a new spring.

Sad yes, but looking forward to this new season too.

If you want to join the blog hop, or see what’s inspiring everyone else click across to this linky and check us out. Many thanks to Rhiann Wynn-Nolet and Kristina Perez for hosting.

First Impressions: WIPpet Wednesday

It’s WIPpet Wednesday! The day when we pry open our Work In Progress and give you a peek inside. This week, in honour of the 17th I’ve posted about 17 lines from page 14 of The Legend of the Kings.

In this scene Jae is sitting in a bar waiting for reinforcements, and an opportunity to get even with the man who has robbed and beaten a traveller child (the fey). The start of this chapter was posted as A Bully by Any Other Name in an earlier WIPpet.

The bar door banged, and a few people turned to stare openly at the newcomer.  Not the others, they wouldn’t draw attention.  Instead a tall, lanky young man wearing the plain brown tunic of the Order, and hoisting a large journeyman’s pack stood in the doorway surveying the room.  Oblivious to the growing tension he made for the bar, taking the empty seat next to the oaf and dropping his pack at his feet.

“Here’s one that’ll appreciate a drink off the back of the fey.”  The big man raised his tankard with one hand and clapped the newcomer on the shoulder. “Taught one a lesson today.  Won’t be seeing his magic around here any time soon.”

Jae ground her teeth.  She wanted to rip his tongue out and silence his bragging forever.

Surprisingly the young man slid off the stool – away from the oaf, as if recoiling from a snake.   Retrieving his backpack, he caught the bartender’s eye and gestured towards the stairs.

“Any rooms free?”

The bartender nodded.  The young man made for the stairs, but then seemed to think better of it and turned back, staring at the brightly coloured scarf poking out of the man’s pocket as though something troubled him.  The whole tavern seemed to fall silent, so when he spoke the words seemed to ring out overly loud.

“There’s never a reason to be proud of stealing.”

The oaf turned crimson and started to his feet, but the young man didn’t seem to notice.  Having had his say he’d already turned and was striding across the room.

Jae couldn’t have been more surprised if he’d sprouted wings and flown away.  She’d never heard anyone stick up for a traveller before.  Especially one of the Order.  Realising her mouth was hanging open she shovelled in another spoonful of soup and watched the man disappear up the stairs.

If you want to join the WIPpeteers and share a piece of your own work in progress, add your link to this linky. Many thanks as always to K.L.Schwengel for hosting.

 

Shuffling After Inspiration? Thursday’s Children

thurschilbadgejpg
A weekly blog hop
where writers get together
to discuss what’s inspiring them.

Inspiration has been somewhat lacking for the past few weeks. Nothing like an overflowing schedule and lack of sleep to drive the poor thing away. In my zombie-like state I endeavoured to push through, honestly I did. But unlike the zombies in Warm Bodies there was no great comeback. The words refused to cooperate, falling onto the page with a lifeless thunk, and not bearing the slightest resemblance to the vibrant story rioting through my imagination.

Oh it’s been bad. Last week I missed Thursday’s Children. And then the anxiety set in about the blog. What if it takes years to get this novel into good shape? And to blog about writing seems dishonest when the only thing making headway on the WIP is the delete button.

This couldn’t carry on. I needed to take action!

But with no let-up in the schedule, finding alone time to recharge the creative batteries was impossible. I was going to have to woo inspiration back, even if I had to leave out milk and cookies – or really dark chocolate to do so.

Just thinking of dark chocolate made me feel better.

Why waste the limited time I had feeling frustrated, when I could just take a break. The schedule is bound to slow down in a few weeks, so I may as well enjoy the rare down-time and relax.

Inspiration quite liked this idea. When it realised I was serious, it popped out of the bushes and led me on a wild-goose-chase to the library, where it spotted something very brightly coloured indeed!

Now this book is way out of my genre. Janet Evanovich is the queen of light, comic relief. Her Stephenie Plum books, about a female bounty hunter based in Trenton, New Jersey, are full of colourful, irreverent characters and equally interesting (and unusual) happenings. The kind of book where you suspend disbelief and sit back and go with it. Because if there was ever a time I could do with a good laugh, this is it. Fortunately Evanovich hasn’t lost her touch:

De Angelo looked at Vinnie. “Who’s the fat chick?”

Everyone sucked in air.

“Excuse me?” Lula said, leaning forward, hands on hips, eyes set in her wild boar on the attack squint. “Did you just say what I think you said? Because if you said that, you better say it was a mistake. I’m a reasonable person, but I don’t stand for disrespecting and slandering. I’m a big, beautiful woman. I am not a fat chick. You don’t apologize, and I’ll squash you like a bug. I’ll step on you until you’re just a grease spot on the floor.”

There’s nothing like a good story – and this one, as unlikely as it seems, inspires me to take time to enjoy myself when things are tough.

What’s your go-to plan, when inspiration is thin on the ground?

If you’d like to join us in the Thursday’s Children Blog Hop, or to check out other inspiring posts, click on this linky. Many thanks to Rhiann Wynn-Nolet for hosting!

Dragons – WIPpet Wednesday

WIPpet Wednesday is a blog-hop where writers throw open their Work in Progress to give you a sneak peak into their writing life. I had promised to post something about dragons this week – so here is 10(ish) paragraphs from the prologue of The Legend of the Kings (Book 3). (Please remember this is very much a first draft).

The golden dragon fell from the sky like a meteor, wings back, head flat and extended; her gaze locked upon the large grey slab marking the Boundary. This close to the stone the noise was unbearable, filling her head with a sharp crescendo of pain and blurring her vision. She tried to focus. To remember what was at stake. But the ground was coming up too quickly, and her wings wouldn’t respond.

She hit at speed, her breath knocked out of her as she pitched forward and slid across the dirt. The sound was everywhere now, slicing at nerve-endings; sapping her strength. She longed to let go. To let the white blanket of oblivion overtake her. But she pushed on – she hadn’t come far enough.

Out of the corner of her eye she saw a flicker of movement. Adrenalin flooded her system, and she struggled to her feet before she realised it came from the wrong direction.

It wasn’t him. 

A man ran towards her, brandishing a sword. Foolish. He had to know it was useless against dragon scale. She saw the glint of metal as the blade fell, and glanced off her side. Irritated, she whipped her head around and swatted him away like an insect.

She was almost there. Beyond his reach.

“No!”

Was it too much to hope that she might have been able to slip away quietly? She’d chosen this place because it was remote and for other reasons too. Reasons tied up in another life. Yet another figure appeared at the tree-line, a younger man, red-gold hair flaming in the sunlight as he ran sword-in-hand, towards his friend’s unmoving body. The desperate grief on his face mirrored her own.

A savage roar, erupted from somewhere behind her. Her frayed nerves causing her to lurch forward and stagger sideways, clipping the youth and sending him sprawling as she sought to get away.

She could barely keep her eyes open now, as the noise raged. Stealing her strength. Her hope.  Her vision was blurring, the earth tilting dangerously beneath her feet.  Struggling to stay upright, her legs gave way and she came crashing down beside the youth.

Not far enough…

Well there you have it. If you’d like to participate, post something with some relationship to the date (10 lines, paragraphs, from page 10) and head over to this linky to add your link and see what everyone else is working on. Many thanks as always to K.L. Schwengel for hosting!

Stellar: WIPpet Wednesday

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I know I promised you dragons this week, but I’ve trawled back through the WIP and I can’t find anything suitable to share. Most of them contained spoilers, one piece was written in a dragon’s POV (probably not a keeper), and nothing else fired the imagination.

So instead here’s a light passage where Stellar drags an unwilling Jae along to visit the Sanctuary library. Both Jae and Stellar are in disguise, if they were recognised as travellers the best case scenario is they would be arrested. Stellar, however, doesn’t seem the slightest bit worried… In honour of the 3rd, today’s WIPpet is from page 73 of The Fall of the Kings.

“Are you the librarian?  Are you responsible for all this!” Stellar waved her arm with a big flourish and beamed down at the man, who stared at her as though she had just stepped out of one of his books.

This was Stellar being inconspicuous? She might not look much like the Stellar Jae knew; her head was bare, silvery tresses bound in a tight bun and the long shapeless dress and grey shawl made her look dowdy and harmless. But the disguise would only go so far if she kept behaving like – like Stellar.

Jae tucked her arm through Stellar’s and gave her a sharp pinch. Willing her to tone it down. All he had to do was recognise her accent or look a little closer at Jae’s colouring and it would all be over. She ducked her head and fought the urge to run a hand over her scarf to check her hair was covered.

The man staggered to his feet but his gaze didn’t leave Stellar. Jae tensed, but to her surprise the man’s shaggy grey eyebrows raised and the hostility evaporated.

“I am. Although I haven’t been able to unpack properly yet.”  He scowled at the half-empty shelves, before turning back to Stellar and showing his teeth in what appeared to be a smile.

“Well I can’t imagine what it will look like when you’ve finished. My niece has never seen a library – and I knew the Sanctuary library would be something special. What do you think Janice?” 

Janice?  Jae was more desperate than ever to get Stellar out of that library – so she could throttle her.  But under the gaze of a beaming Stellar and a man who was clearly not very interested in little Janice, Jae forced a smile and tried to look impressed.

“I’m speechless.”

If you want to join our merry band of WIPpeteers pick a passage from your WIP that has some connection to the date and join up via this linky. Many thanks to K.L. Schwengel for hosting!