Oh what a difference time makes


Last week I blogged about doing new stories for the collections I am working on. This week  I thought I would comment about the older stories that I am editing for those collections.

Yesterday I sat back and worked on getting things formatted. While doing that I realized that I really needed to update The Knight Protector.  For those of you who have not read that tale yet, it is the first of the Mythos of Love stories and was originally published  back in 1999 in my long lost collection of poetry and tales titled, Inside Dreams – Outside of Reality. Yes, I was published under a different names, Lisa Prior, and the book was filled with a lot of work that desperately needed editing.

Well I started on that  yesterday. Let’s just say I cringed at all the errors. I will probably pull down the copy that is up for sale, once I get the collection updated, that is how bad it is! Fifteen years ago I thought it was a masterpiece of course. A novella length story that had heroes, villains, a damsel in distress, evil monsters, gods, magic and mayhem. Everything that a good old fashioned fantasy needed.

Now it isn’t a bad tale, just that in those fifteen years since it first came out I have learned a lot about my craft.  So hopefully I will get it all edited up nice and clean so that I can move onto a totally new piece for the collection. You will see the evolution of me as a writer in this collection for sure.  Here is an excerpt from where I started to fix the flaws:

 

Hargon stood looking out over the parapets. The storm whipped his long white hair around his face, but he did little to restrain it. He reveled in the ferocity of the storm and raised his arms to embrace the storm. As the storm’s power lessened he dropped his arms and pounded a fist on the stonework’s before him. “I shall have my revenge! By all that is unholy I will have the soul of the one named Yasha!”

 

*****

 

The protector walked into the crowded room. People were at tables and couches talking about many things. He looked about for any faces he recognized. There were a few friends and he went over and gave each a smile and a few words.

 

He found himself drawn toward a different place though. With a smile he walked out the door and into a small orchard of blooming apple tree. Sitting under one was a small woman playing a sad aire on a simple harp. He listened quietly from the shadows as she started to sing. Her voice brought a tear to his eye, the song was so clearly full of longing.

 

From the shadows he spoke to her in a gentle voice, “Why the sad song, lady?”

 

She looked up, startled. “Who?” Then she slowly smiled a sad smile as she spotted his form in the shadows. “Oh, hello. It is nothing, kind sir.”

 

He could see some pain hiding in her eyes. His heart went out to her. He walked out of the shadows and squatted down in front of her. “Are you sure?” The concern in his voice was clear in his tone.

 

She closed her eyes a moment and sighed. “Yes, I am sure. You don’t need my troubles.” She opened her green eyes and stood. “Thank you, though.” Her face cleared some. She looked around at the orchard and tried to change the subject. “It is lovely out here tonight.”

 

Not taking his eyes from her face he spoke again. “Yes, it is,” he smiled down at her. He recognized her now. She was one the ladies he had danced with in the past. Though she looked very different tonight. Dressed in simple leggings and a tunic she reminded him of someone else. After a moment he realized that he had been sparring with her off and on for a week. She was a good fighter but she had a soft side. She could be faked out by a cry of pain. He smiled, “Would you like to dance?” He held out a hand to her.

 

She looked confused for a moment until she heard the faint strains of music coming out the doors leading to the orchard. “Yes,” she murmured, “that would be nice.” She took his hand and stepped up to him.

 

He put his arms loosely about her and smiled, looking down. Her hair glowed with silver highlights in the moonlight. She moved lightly in his arms, like a dream. They flowed to the quiet strains of music and she rested her head against his chest with a sigh. He could feel her tremble in his arms. Concern crossed his features. She was holding something inside, showing him a pleasant smile. He gently took her chin in his hand and raised her face to look into her eyes. He could see tears standing in them. She tried to blink them away but one spilled over and down her cheek. He caught it on his thumb. “Tell me what’s wrong.” He tightened his arm about her, drawing her closer.

 

She closed her eyes and stopped dancing. “I truly can’t tell you, my lord.” She tried to turn away but he held her still.

 

“Is there no way I can help?” His protective urges where strong around this woman for some reason. It could have something to do with her gentle nature or the fact that she seemed to take care of those around her, much the way he did.

 

“Truly, no. It is something I must deal with myself.” She would not meet his eyes. “I am sorry, Yasha. I am truly not good company this evening.”

 

“That’s all right Elinor. I don’t mind. Come, let us finish our dance at least.”

 

With a sigh she moved back into his arms and let the music take her away. It was pleasant here, sheltered in a man’s arms. No need to be strong. She shook her head slightly. “No thinking like that girl. That’s what started the whole mess.” She smiled weakly up into his deep brown eyes. He was so handsome and she knew his reputation as the Knight Protector. Any damsel in distress had only to whisper his name in the air and he would appear. She was sure it was mostly the tittering of the fanciful young women who looked longingly on him when he walked into a room. Though there was some truth to the rumors. He had been involved in many rescues of maidens in the past. But then she was no dewy young maiden without a thought in her pretty head. She was a fully trained bard and she could hold her own in a battle. But she didn’t feel strong this night. Her troubles were not the kind that magic or a solid blow from a staff could fix. She had made her bed and now she had to sleep in it. Lonely bed or no. Her mind without willing it thought back on the events of a month ago.

 

***

As you can see, this is a fantasy romance. Sweet and fun to write even.  I plan on adding at least one more tale to the ones all ready in this group before I release the collection.  Here is an excerpt from Singer of the Blood Song:

 

Sitting in the quiet darkness, her eyes just a dark pool watching him. Just him. Silently supporting his talent with her presence, one true fan of the new voice. She mouthed each word as he sang, as he spoke and she held her breath for the endless moment before the applause began. She drank in the pleasure that lit his face and smiled when his searching eyes found hers. Only two souls knew whom the songs were sung for, who inspired the words. And only two understood the pain and deep love those words called forth.

 

As the crowd cheered and the stage door Jills moved toward his perch on the stage, she moved back and deeper in the shadows. She didn’t watch the young lovelies press against him nor did she listen to the promises they made. The women tried to play the age-old game but none of them would be going home with him this night.

 

Only she would be.   She stepped out of the club and turned to walk around the side. Her car was parked in the back. Where he could slip out and not be followed by his new fans. They had done this many times. Playing the small clubs across the northeastern states had been both a joy and a learning experience for them both.

 

******

 

Ohanko sighed with relief as the doors shut behind him. He found the night’s performance had pulled more out of him than he expected. Looking about he smiled when he spotted the sleek, black car, idling just a few feet away.

 

He picked up his guitar and headed toward it. Inside he knew would be Kiele, his island flower. She was delicate and loving, she was always there, waiting for him. As he slid into the soft leather interior of their one luxury he rested his head back and smiled. “As always,” he leaned over and kissed her waiting lips.

 

She lifted her soft hand and gently caressed his tired face. “Tough night, wasn’t it?”

 

He nodded, his eyes closed. “They were cold, you saw how long it took for them to warm to the music. I don’t know what Rogers was thinking, booking me into that place.” He ran a hand through his shoulder length black hair and shivered a little with the chill of the late night air.

 

Noticing his chill, Kiele turned on the heat and pulled away from the club. “Me either. Those people were as dead inside as last Sunday’s pot roast. The place should be left to the wannabes and the sinking.”

 

Ohanko lifted just the corner of his mouth in a smile. “Well, maybe he thought he would give them a treat. A little excitement in their tired lives and it was only one night. I think I can take a night of energy draining listeners. Besides they really perked up near the end. I think the SONG got their blood moving.”

”You should not have to. You have paid your dues.” She paused for a moment as she negotiated around a truck that was double-parked. She darted a look out of the corner of her eyes at his face. “And you definitely don’t need those young things all over you.”

 

He repressed the smile that wanted to spring across his face. He had detected just the hint of jealousy in that comment. He knew she was nervous of the attention the younger women showed him. “Ah, but they are so full of juice,” he teased her.

 

”Juice?” She lifted one slender brow, her fingers tightening on the steering wheel.

He smiled then and trailed his fingers up the inside of her leg to the hem of the leather mini she had worn. “Yes juice. But that is all they are full of.” He trailed his fingers a little higher and she gasped. “I prefer my women filled with blood and passion,” he whispered.

 

”Stop that,” she mock growled and slapped at his hand before he could distract her more from her driving. He could feel her relaxing and he pulled back his fingers, after one more quick caress of her inner thigh.

 

”Let’s head home.”

****

So if you like romance and fantasy mixed together, this collection will be for you for sure. Expect me to finish it up by Valentine’s day 2015 (I hope!) All depends on if I can get my modern writer’s head wrapped around my old writer’s head.

The joy of writing or coming up with one more short story


As a writer who does mostly short stories coming up with a complete set of stories for a collection is important. While I have released a lot of my tales as separate shorts, I like to do one new and unreleased short story for each collection of tales that I put out.

Now the one I am trying to work on for release is Echoes of Elder Times. In this collection of tales there are a few that go with one of my earliest releases, Ice. so the tale i want to work on should book end that tale as best I can.

I have started and and stopped so far four times on this tale. Coming up with the right direction for a story to go is the hardest thing for a writer, IMO.

I admit that lately I have done dozens of mini tales. Drabbles and other shorter than short fiction forms that of course will be released in a collection or three but I Need to do a tale that will fill the ending of my collection.

Well the story I am working on is Winter’s End and here is a little bit of it for you to read

****

The winter settled in and seemed like it would never let go. While those who lived in the far north knew that winter could linger long into what was supposed to be spring, since the brief war of Gods and Giants, old Mother Winter had not released her grip in almost two years.

The day of Ice, as the war was known, had lasted for an unknown time. Man and all the lesser creatures had been frozen in place, with only those special few still moving about. When the war was done and the ice slowly withdrew the world had changed. Most of those living in the big cities did not survive the thaw. Of those who had, fewer still survived the uprisings. The world changed dramatically when the world ended.

Those that survived had many different beliefs on just what happened and who was responsible. In most cases they were wrong. The handful that had an idea kept their heads down and their mouths shut. Speaking out now was a one-way ticket to the other side of life.

***

Excerpts are a useful thing and I will post up more now that i am back in the writing phase of my works. The collection that I plan on working on after Echoes will be the Beyond Realities collection and here is a little excerpt from the as far unfinished tale for the end of this collection.

****

This tale is titled Finding Momma

The child stood in the dark, the rain soaking down her hair and clothing. She looked about like a frightened squirrel and dashed from under a tree to the bus stop shelter. Fear and sadness was clear in the stance. Fear grew stronger as a voice floated out of the night.

“Little kitten running away in the dark. Where does she think she’ll go? Who is she running to?”

Sarah froze for a long moment, then ducked beneath the bench, curling into as small a ball of wet misery as she could. Her tiny voice, barely audible as she whimpered. “Momma, please find me. Momma, I need you.” Tears slid down her face unheeded into the fur of the ragged teddy bear she clutched in white-cold hands.

The eerie voice came closer and continued to frighten the small child. “Kitten hiding in the dark, come to Sheila, come out now. I have treats and toys for good little children. Good little girls and good little boys.”

“Momma, where are you,” Sarah cried and shuddered more as the shadow filled the doorway of the shelter. She pressed back against the glass, trying to escape the reaching claws.

Suddenly there was a growl and the shelter shuddered as lightening filled the night with flashes of light and roars of thunder. Sarah let out a louder whimper, too scared to truly scream. She felt the walls about her shudder and then the glass before her shattered outward, sending glittering shards into the night. As the wall broke she finally screamed into the night.

Suddenly the storm stopped and there was silence. She could hear her own ragged breathing loud in her ears. She stayed curled tight in a quivering ball for long moments before she heard something new. A soft voice, singing a gentle lullaby, came from before her. She uncurled just a tiny bit to look around. Spotting a shadow before her, she curled back up tight, but a different soft voice spoke to her.

“She is gone now, little one. No more to hunt you.” This voice was soft and furry and Sarah swallowed before lifting her head. She looked up to see a large hand, held out, not to grab or hurt, but seemingly to help.

Sarah debated as she stared at his callused hand, but something about the face that went with that hand decided her. She placed her tiny, cold and shriveled fingers into his and let him pull her out.

Brian was careful as he lifted the tiny child from under the bench. From her ragged jacket ,to her soaked and holey sneakers it was obvious she had been living wild. Her head barely came past his as he knelt before her. It was hard to tell her age or the color of her soaked hair.

In the soft glow of the street light he could see that she was pale, thin and worn looking.

***

After I finish these two tales I will think seriously about what to put out next.

Getting close to releases


Yup more stuff to be added to my list of titles. As I have blogged before I have been submitting stories to a few various anthologies that are seasonal…sorta. Well I have been accepted for all three as of this morning. Now I don’t have the titles for all three but they should be out soon.

So for a recap on the anthologies. The first one I submitted to was to be a collection of Halloween drabbles. Yup a whole book filled with 100 word stories that have to do with Halloween. That one was a perfect fit for me at this time of the year. I tossed off a fun little story and submitted Walk With the Pumpkins. When I have the title and link for that anthology I will put it up so my readers can pick it up if they wish.

The second anthology was to be stories about clowns, yup clowns. They could be any type of story as long as it had a clown in there somewhere. I wrote basically a flash fiction, a short short. The title for the tale, Behind the Red Nose. I wanted to do something a bit different than the other stories and I was glad when it got accepted. Again I will put up the link soon.

The final anthology is Ode to Autumn – Season of Change. This is the anthology from my friends over on the Wordsymth. Great group of writers who all write very different things. This is obviously a collection of stories dealing with autumn..everything up to and including Halloween of course. My story will be How I became a Legend.

Now I got asked so very nicely to make the cover for Ode and I of course said YES *chuckle* Once we have the link for it I plan on setting up a website for our little group. It should be a nice thing for everyone to link their other works too.

Cover Reveal – Ode to Autumn – Season of Change


suteko:

The cover to an upcoming anthology that I took a part in

Originally posted on Ch'kara SilverWolf:

I am pleased to bring this Cover Reveal to you for,  Ode To Autumn – Season of Change  by a talented group of authors of which I am proud to be included.

Nell wordsmyth

DESCRIPTION

Introducing An Ode to Autumn~ A Season of Change… An anthology of dark and deadly poems and short stories from over a dozen acclaimed, award-winning Indie authors—COMING SOON!

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Herb of the Day – Cinnamon


suteko:

One of my all time favorite flavors ever. Cinnamon is great

Originally posted on From Ch'kara's Grimoire:

My husband is diabetic and cinnamon is very good for controlling blood sugar.

 Cinnamon

Posted onbyladyoftheabyss

Herb of the Day


Cinnamon

                  
Add cinnamon to remedies for acute symptoms, as this herb is a stimulant to other herbs and the body, enabling herbal remedies to work faster. It is also a blood purifier, an infection preventive, and a digestive aid. Cinnamon is used as a mouthwash, and is good for upset stomach.
For a cold medication simmer sticks with cloves for 3 min, add 2 tsp lemon juice, 2 tsp honey, 2 tbsp whiskey.   Cinnamon is also good for yeast infection and athlete’s foot. A 2% solution will kill both of these conditions. Boil 8-10 sticks in 4 cups water, simmer 5 min, steep 45 min, then douche or apply to athlete’s foot. Cinnamon reduces cancer…

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Halloween is Coming – The Showing by Will Macmillan Jones


suteko:

I read this and it is perfect for this time of year….spine tingly!

Originally posted on Ch'kara SilverWolf:

Today’s taste of Halloween is from my friend Will Macmillan Jones for his spooky story The Showing.

The Showing FRONTDESCRIPTION

‘It was a house Mister Jones knew well, his family’s home from his childhood.  But now his chance visit has awakened that which was sleeping.

How many will be taken before –It- is laid to rest?

if you knew quite how much of this story is based on fact, would you – like other readers – sleep with the light on tonight?’

LINKS

Amazon US:  http://www.amazon.com/Showing-Will-Macmillan-Jones-ebook/dp/B00LXBQ482

Amazon UK:http://www.amazon.co.uk/Showing-Will-Macmillan-Jones-ebook/dp/B00LXBQ482

Web:                www.willmacmillanjones.com

Blog:                http://willmacmillanjones.wordpress.com/

Twitter:         https://twitter.com/macmillanjones

Facebook:     https://www.facebook.com/william.macmillanjones?fref=ts

Amazon:       http://www.amazon.com/Will-Macmillan-ones/e/B005TIMXI0/ref=ntt_athr_dp_pel_pop_1

REVIEWS

4.0 out of 5 starsScary bit of fictionDecember 31, 2013
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Reading this on the last night of the year was an interesting experience. I luckily had lights on and…

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short story collections and why you don’t need 50K in words to make one


Lately there has been so much focus on length that authors and readers are getting all tangled up in the wrong thing. Yes that 50K limit is the starting point for something called a Novel…not a collection, a novel. It is a shorter novel, not a door stop that most people seem to think makes a book worth reading but when talking short stories there is and should be a much different level that should be looked at.

In the modern age of ereaders we no longer have to put out the door stop thickness of any work. Expecting a short story author to hold off publishing their work till they get to some arbitrary length is both silly and stupid.  Short stories by their very definition are SHORT. Most writers in this field tend for a 3k – 5k story but some do shorter still. Waiting until you have a minimum of 50K words that might or might not fit together in a collection would have these writers never publishing.

Now i am sure a lot of writers out there would have no problem with this. They do not understand nor appreciate the amount of work that goes into writing well crafted short stories. Of being able to write a story that is concise and limited in scope, without all the fluff and filler that they use to make their masterpieces of fiction that span upwards of 100K or more at times.

As a writer of short stories, this annoys me in so many ways. I will not go into the arguments I have had with authors about length, about filler and fluff and about style. I have been and will always be a great fan of the shorter forms of fiction. From the hint fictions and micro fictions that I have been experimenting with to the drabbles, dribbles and flash fictions that i have been working on collecting together, to the short stories series that I have all ready published, it is quite obvious to my readers that I write mostly short fiction.

But in all honesty I have been an avid reader of short fiction since I was young. I find a real joy in picking up a collection of one author or an anthology of many. I love discovering short tales that fill my mind with wonder, or introduces me to a new writer. My books shelves over the years have groaned under the weight of the anthologies i have collected. While I lost most of them when I moved to Canada I still have many in ebook format on my computer and I will go back to them between other, longer books on a rainy or snowy afternoon, curled up in a chair. Short stories are a wonderful throw back to older times.

Like I have up on my author page on Amazon:  Short stories are the modern fire side tales.  With a world so crowded with things that have to be done, they allow you a few minutes outside of your life.  Be they a bit of fantasy, science fiction, horror or of an erotic bent, each tale gives you a few minutes outside of your day to enjoy.

It is as true now as it was then. Short stories are well worth reading. By telling a short story writer that they must hold off offering their collections till they have 50K or 100K you are keeping yourself and others from wonderful finds. Yes i admit that my own collections vary in size. Where Guardians of the Gate city’s six stories clocked in at 96K, Death Walks Through 15 tales only clocked in at 42K, Gates: From One Reality to the Next was only 20K with six tales and Distance Means Little to Love had six stories and six poems at 15K. I do think that you cant charge $4.99 for the smaller collections but with the sweet spot for anthologies and collections averaging around $2.99, offering less in total wordage is fine.

If you have been reading my blogs for a while you know i am working on compiling my series into collections. While Echoes of Elders Times has only 24k words it has ten tales in it as it sits. Yes I plan on at least one more tale, an exclusive to the collection but I don’t plan on holding out releasing it and the other 14 collections I am working on till they reach the mythical 50K threshold. If that is wrong, well then I am wrong. And if it is wrong to enjoy collections of only two or three tales by talented indie authors that total less than 10K…well then I guess I am wrong but I will continue to enjoy short stories in every format they come in. Released singly, in collections or in anthologies. The short story is an established format and style of writing and writers who can’t dream of writing short should stop stifling those whose imagination can soar in the shorter forms.

Let’s Talk Witch – Concerning Initiation


suteko:

A very interesting article. My initiation was a very private ceremony between myself and the High priest and priestess of my coven at the time.

I have met many Wiccans over the years and I think the differences now is that not every Wiccan believes you need to be initiated in the same way. It is the heart that makes the Witch and not the ceremony. Many of us are now solitary witches

Originally posted on Witches Of The Craft:


Fantasy Comments & Graphics
Initiation

Most shamanic and magical religions utilize some sort of initiation ceremony whereby an outsider becomes a recognized member of the religion, society, group or coven. Such rites also mark the new new direction which the initiate’s life is taking.

Much has been made, publicly and privately, of Wiccan initiations. Each Wiccan tradition uses their own initiation ceremonies, which may or may not be recognized by other Wiccans. On one point, however, most initiates agree: a
person can be a Wiccan only if she or he has received such an initiation.

This brings up an interesting question: Who initiated the first Wiccan?

Most initiation ceremonies are nothing more than rites marking the acceptance of the person into a coven, and her or his dedication to the Goddess and God. Sometimes “power is passed” between the initiator and neophyte as well.

To a non-Wiccan, the initiation might seem to be a…

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Halloween is Coming – Death Walks Through by Lisa Williamson


suteko:

I am glad to see a couple of other great and friendly bloggers putting my collection up on their blogs. This book is a great collection for the season. Fifteen ghost stories!

Originally posted on Ch'kara SilverWolf:

As we are coming towards Halloween, I thought I would promote my friend Lisa Williamson’s collection of short stories Death Walks Through.   I will feature other stories and collections throughout the month of October.

Lisa death-collection-cover-2

DESCRIPTION

Every culture has some type of figure of Death. The Grim Reaper who collects souls as they lie dying. For some he is the cruel face of an end come too soon, for others a gentle healer of life lived too long.

But there is another face to this spectral figure. Death walks through the world, helping those souls that linger between this world and the next, those trapped by circumstance, wish, desire or loss.

So many souls linger needing but a gentle voice and hand to help them move past the final moments of their lives.

This collection contains 15 tales of beings who either know not that they are dead or just…

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