Another excerpt from A Fragil Peace: Found


Still working on this of course. Hopefully now that July is almost on us I can finish the writing of the darn thing. the last of the book is still kicking my butt.

Loralil was unsure how to deal with these folk. They looked to her eyes like skinny, beardless dwarves. “Welcome, Welcome, fair travelers. You have come just in time for our festival!”

Hiding her sigh, she dropped back, letting Karleen and Levy take the lead. “An auspicious time for us I think, little dove. These people seem very friendly.”

Loralil nodded, her eyes moving from place to place. It was obvious to Jark that she was still acting as a guard for her friends. “Relax. According to the elder, these are a gentle and peaceful people.” He smiled down at a pretty Gnome woman who flirted coquettedly with her lashes at him. “They are certainly friendly enough.”

The travelers dismounted as they reached the village gates. A tallish Gnome in an uniform covered in embroidery greeted them. “Good day, travelers. What is your business with the village of Poppy Fields?”

Karleen spoke up for the group. “We are just passing through. The elder Nalleen recommended we come this way on our journey toward Tal’shin.”

The Gnome’s face lit up, wreathing in smiles. “Elder Nalleen sent you? Well then welcome, double welcome. Any traveler that knows our great friend is more than welcome here.” He stepped back and gestured for them to enter the village.

As they walked forward, leading their mounts, the travelers were assaulted by a riot of color. It seemed that the Gnomes of Poppy Fields loved color in all its wondrous palate. Swirling murals covered each and every wall and what could be seen, each roof was a different color from it neighbors. It should have been a disaster of clashing but somehow all this color and style gave off a more happy and relaxed feeling.

Peaking out of windows and doorways were male Gnomes dressed in bright red shirts, and blue pants tucked into tall, shiny black boots. The women had more style about them with blaringly white blouses covered with fancy stitchery and full skirts of every color in the rainbow. Each face held curiosity and wonder, as if they had not seen a party like this before. Whether it was Karleen’s regal braids and green healer robes or Levy’s dusty robe mage’s robe that interested them or if it was Loralil’s gem hilted sword riding over her gray clad shoulder and Jark’s black leather and armor, it could not be said.

The first stout Gnome they saw in this village called out from what must be the local inn. “Welcome travelers. Would you be needing a room or four?”

Karleen took charge and soon the companions handed their horses off to a bright-eyed stable boy who barely reached Loralil’s waist. It was odd to her to be surrounded by so many who were shorter than herself. She watched as he skillfully moved the much larger horses into the paddock, calling out to his assistants who swarmed about, unsaddling them and grooming them down.

“Come, little dove. Lady Karleen has bespoke dinner and a bath for us all.”

Turning away, Loralil slung her pack over her shoulder and followed Jark into the inn wondering just what they were dealing with now.

Chapter fourteen

“So you are heading to the Grey Elf city then gentlebeings?” The inn keeper brought them a fine dinner of lamb and new potatoes swimming in a sauce that Loralil could not quite name but found quite tasty.

“Yes, we would be quite grateful if you could tell us of the road before us? Is there anything we should be worried about?” Karleen smiled and thanked the serving maid at her elbow, who poured her a brimming flagon of ale.

The innkeeper looked to his serving wenches before answering. “It is only a rumor, but there have been some who say that the duergar have moved into the old dwarf tunnels.”
“Duergar?” Levy looked up, gently moving the teasing hand of yet another serving wench who seemed to be attracted to the still handsome mage. “I had thought they dwelled nearer to the Undercaves than here. When did the rumors start up?”

Loralil put down her folk and leaned forward. She knew of Duergar, the evil cousins of dwarves. They were to a one, dark followers of Loith and the other underworld gods. They had been known to descend on their tunnels of their cousins, wiping out entire clans in their fervent worship of a goddess who loved blood. She had come up against one in the arena. He had been a truly ugly creature and he would bath in the blood of his downed opponents as the crowds cheered. As much as she hated the killing, that was one of the deaths on her soul that she could not quite feel bad about.

“Normally we could care less about what goes on under the mountains. We have our hills and the Duergar are not interested in our shallow tunnels, as they call them, but they have started to attack caravans through the mountains. Searching for more gold and sacrifices for their goddess.” The innkeeper shuddered before continuing. “We would recommend you wait for the next large caravan to go out to Tal’shin travelers. It would be safer for all if you did.”

Loralil shook her head, sitting back. It was obvious that this innkeeper was a villager. She doubted the gnome had stepped too far outside of his own inn. The dangers of the open road would take a greater evil to a being such as he. A large caravan would most likely attract more attention than their small party would. Though if this gnome could convince Karleen to stay here it would be for the best. While Levy was old, he was still a strong magic user and of course Jark was a warrior priest. Either man could hold off an enemy with her own sword backing them up.

Needs work but then I have to do a serious editing pass through next.

Getting into the zone and the need to rewrite


This Sunday I found myself in that place that all writers dream of. You all know that place, where you sit down to write and when you finally come up for air you find that you have written thousands of words. In this case I had clocked in over 12K! A new personally record for me. Generally I can clock in around 3k on a good day with some long days between without writing at all.

As I have been babbling in the past few months I am working on the next Loralil book. A more emotional book than the first two, it has been a more difficult write. Delving deep into things like depression and shame for a fictional character has been done many times in many ways but generally I find that people are writing about a human and doing human emotions.

Loralil is an elf and the way I have written elves in these books they are very family focused and clannish in their own way. Making my main character orphaned at a young age, growing up in places we would never even have a nightmare of our kids growing up, finding a final family member, losing that family, well there is a lot to deal with.

Still a novel with action and other characters in it, I believe this will be a good third read for the fans.

Now for the rewrite part of the title. See when you do get into the zone anything popping you out of it will cause you to maybe repeat a section, slightly different, and when you go back to do your read through edit you go ARGGHHHH. Yes that is what I did. Now in the parts i write down on paper I can just cross out that part but one the computer screen you need to go through and CAREFULLY delete. Luckily for me it was only the final page of what I wrote that I had to edit that heavily.

I am close to finishing up this book. At nearly 45K this needs a bit more to be considered a real (if short to some) novel.The part that I had planned as the final chapter is now not quite right. See like every pantser author out there (IE those who just write, they don’t plot and outline first) I had surprises pop up in this novel that I had not foreseen. Good ones for sure, but it changes things in this book and will change the future of this character.

Now how about a bit of that chapter for your reading pleasure? I won’t take it too far but this is a major change for my lonely elf

***

Loralil slowly swum up out of the darkness to the sound of a slow drum beat. She felt weak, tired yet relaxed. It brought to mind a distant memory of when she had been a child. She had been recovering from a fever and her mother held her wrapped in her arms, running her hand up and down her back, soothing her.

For a moment she was back there, being held against her mother and hearing her heart beat beneath her ear. She slowly smiled at the memory as she opened her eyes a bit. It took her a moment to realize that the drumbeat beneath her ear was not a part of her dream. She made herself stay limp as she scanned the chest beneath her cheek. Smooth, tanned skin stretched before her eyes. She listened and she could hear the sound of steady breathing and felt an arm resting against her hip.

Was she dreaming still? Very slowly she moved her head just enough to look up. There above her was a sleeping Jason, a shirtless, sleeping Jason. Why was she curled up to him? She swallowed and looked down to see a blanket was draped over her, but not him. He was thankfully dressed from the waist down. She shuddered a little and then turned her attention to her body.

She remembered thrusting the dagger home into Mathias’ chest and then the world growing dark. Everything since then had been flashes of images. She could barely remember Jason showing up and carrying her away. There was a moment, she wasn’t sure if it was a dream or not, when she had wanted to say something to him. When her voice didn’t work she had thrown all caution to the wind and kissed him.

A wave of embarrassment filled her. She had just reached up and pulled him in thinking she was dying. It had been all too brief, but he had tasted good and she wanted to have that last memory. After that she only had glimpses of strangers who did things to her. The pain had gone away and her body had itched and sweated like she was back in the pits. In fact for a time there she had wandered through her memories like a ghost. But the memories didn’t tell her why she was lying here with Jason’s arm about her, using his bare chest for a pillow.

Jason knew the moment Loralil awoke. He continued to breath slow and steady, not moving if he could help it. He could feel the tension in her body when she awoke. He felt the muscles relax as she realized that she was dressed. He wondered when she had pulled him into bed last night if she was truly aware and he now knew she hadn’t been. The healer had said that she would most likely not remember the past week.

The Grecish that had been on the blades of the sword whip had gotten deep into her bloodstream by the time they had got her to the Way house. She had been thrashing and moaning in a high fever, tearing open the stitches that Karleen had placed in her wounds. She had fought the healers like a wild beast in her delirious condition, striking out with fists when anyone came close.

Oddly enough she had calmed when he took her hand. She had babbled something about her parents in the language of her youth. While Jason spoke Elvish, each tribe had their own words that didn’t translate. The healers had told him she was begging him to stay, to not leave her alone. While his heart soared he knew it was the fever and not any longing for his presence that brought those words out.

He stayed with her through the long healing session. It had taken three days to heal her wounds. He had been right to worry about the bruises. They had heralded more than bruised flesh. There were fine fractures to her shins and her kidneys were heavily bruised. Everything was knit together carefully and fully. The healers had turned to the magic potions that they normally sold to adventurers to heal the wounds in her arms. She would be weak for a while but she would be back to fighting trim in now time.

The poison could not be cleared out fully though. The effects would linger in the victim’s tissues for days, sometimes weeks, after they had been healed. It worked on the balance and the mental shields that the person had, making even the most head blind elf unable to control their senses. Jason had heard that those more sensitive would come close to madness as the world they shielded against was suddenly put deep inside their mind.

It meant a series of nasty nightmares for Loralil. Whenever he left her she would drop back into them, getting no rest as the frail shields she had built were smashed beyond repair. They had moved her out of the common ward to the special shielded rooms they used when one of their own needed tending. They had explained to him that she was an untrained empath and that the pain and sickness of the other patients were cutting her like a raw nerve.

***

Now yes there is more to this. After all I can only give you a tease of what went on. My elf warrior believes she is not worthy of love, so this is a big step for her. This will be a change that should bring her forward into a more normal life.

Researching weapons for a fantasy novel


As a lot of us writer types realize, no matter what you write you will need to do research. As a modern woman I don’t know as much as I need about medieval and other bladed weapons. Yes I have written many a sword battle, knife fight, even a few gun battles.

With my newest Loralil novel I am in the need of something a bit more exotic. While doing battles in the other two novels I mostly stuck with bows and swords as she was fighting either humans or orcs. Now that I have herfighting with one of the cousin elven tribes I am told I need something a bit more exotic.

A fight between two elves will be more fluid, more powerful and faster, so of course their weapons should be a bit different. My hero will be sticking with her sword, because she is a swordswoman after all, but the villain she is fighting now he is something else.

But back to researching. In the old days you would need to go to a museum to see the weapon, maybe find a weapon’s master to show you how it is used or watch a lot of movies. Now we have the advantage of the internet. With things like google images for a picture, wiki for details and if you are lucky, on youtube to watch a video of the weapon being used.

Something like this nine section iron whip would be perfect for my villain

http://www.swordsofmight.com/nine-section-iron-whip-chain.aspx?page_context=category&faceted_search=0

So do what you can to research weapons. Writing fantasy, urban fantasy, science fiction, PA or other weapon filled styles you need to have an idea what there is out there. But make sure you research how they are used. Something like the weapon I linked to above would not work with a slow moving characters, I chain whip would be pretty ridiculous with say a troll/ogre type or the huge man mountains that you find in some PA novels.

If you are writing a character who wears heavy plate armor, don’t give them a light weapon like a rapier or katana. If you are writing a character who is on the small side, like a hobbit, don’t give them a broad sword or claymore. It just doesn’t work.

Loralil, who is on the short side for an elf, uses a long sword. This site has a great list of the various sizes of swords which I find helpful

http://www.thearma.org/SwordForms.html#.VXgkvlLW0wA

There are so many varied sites that are either selling weapons or are intellectual studies of weapons craft.  You can find a lot of information, if you just look for it.

Moving right along….lots of pages typed up yesterday


Well as I have said before I have been working on the third of the Loralil books. These are written in in duologies..as in two connected books. In this case this will be the first of the two A Fragile Peace books.

When I last commented I was stuck on where to go but wow did I manage to move along. I am nearly at the halfway point, okay maybe past it. As my followers know I tend to writer shorter length stuff and my novels are generally only around the 50K length.

As of yesterday I have moved past the battles with the owl bears and have to deal with the aftermath of not one but two character deaths. As a writer of action filled fantasy tales there comes a point where you have to kill off characters. Having everyone live through battles with monsters if not really logical. So deciding just who will die is not easy. I tend to let the scene work itself out.

As this book is planned as a more emotional one I decided that I would have to do funeral rites for the two who were killed off. Being as they were two different cultures and races, I needed to find a way to combine the ceremonies. Here is a little excerpt for you, my readers, here you go.

***

Harl’s body was carried out by six strong Elven men on their shoulders, behind them came Jark dressed in finery that surprised Karleen. In the time they have traveled with the brothers, he had always been dressed in the clothing of a mercenary, if one that was doing well. Leather, steel and the flashy jewelry that was the way a good mercenary advertised their worth was gone. Now he was dressed in flowing robes of blood red. A stole hung over his shoulders to brush the ground. Picked out in glittering ruby thread were mystical and religious symbols that she could barely decipher.

He was carried to the bier and placed in the center of the fragrant wood. The bearer’s then stepped back, allowing Jark to come to stand at the foot of his brother. The clearing grew as silent as a tomb when he turned to face those gathered. “We are told from our youngest days that each and every thinking being has a soul, a spirit. We are told that each one has a path and a destiny.” Sweeping his arm toward his brother, now clad in rich cloth that at once seemed at odds with the man they had known, yet was perfect for him. Robes of black with black weapons tracing down the front that told those who knew that Harl too was a type of priest. “My brother lived this life hiding his true worth from most, for those who refused to see past his size and lack of voice, he played the fool. For those who had eyes to see,” his eyes searched for Loralil, who stood at the edge of the clearing, as if on guard. “He was friend, teacher and confidant. He will be sorely missed, but his spirit stays with us, watching and protecting as he has done his whole life.”

He turned toward Litha’s still form and nodded to Elder Nalleen. She spoke softly but loud enough to be heard from corner to corner of the clearing. “Litha was the last of my children’s children. She lived with honor and lay down her life with that honor intact.” She bowed her head a moment before she lifted tear filled eyes and opened her mouth to sing. One by one voices joined hers, filling the clearing with the music of loss. From the edge of the clearing Loralil debated but a moment before adding her voice to the rest. While she had not known Litha long, the woman deserved to be sung to her rest.

****

Now i would have put up more but my computer is not being helpful with the whole cut  and paste thing. I know where this has gone and I know where the story will go. One of the things I am leading up to is introducing a bit of foreshadowing for the future. There is a lot of darkness coming and it will lead into future tales in this series.

Writing unsure


As a writer I get to put a lot on the page. Emotions, beliefs, imaginings and so much more. At the moment as you know I am working on the next in the Saga of Loralil Greyfox boos. A Fragile Peace: Found picks up after the ending of Revenge is a more emotional book than the first two. Writing the journey Loralil needs to go through to become an adventurer is something I didn’t expect to be quite so difficult.

When writing the inner emotions of a character you actually have to delve into your our beliefs and understanding of the emotions. Not that I understand truly how this character feels. She has been cut off entirely from any family due to death. Lots of death and that is always a fun topic.

Working on the traveling sequence I realize that you can’t have a fantasy quest type story without a lot of creatures dropping in to visit, fight and probably die. So I am currently trying to deal with those sequences.

One of the important things is to make your creatures recognizable without having them be too cliche. I was going to use bugbears for a monster attack and realized that they are both cliche and not what I remembered them to be. One of the things in fantasy writing is that the monster creatures evolve. Bugbears have been around for a very long time. In fact they are based off of old Germanic boogymen tales. Centuries ago mothers would tell their children to behave or the bugbear would get them. Just a wee bit too cliche don’t you think?

So instead I have turned to a different monster. Still a bear but one that thanks to a twisted mage in the past is actually a cross between a bear and an owl. I am sure you can see the potential of such a monster.

The fact that these are truly monsters means that not everyone who goes up against them will survive. Sad but true but you can’t keep everyone in the party alive till the end of the book. Currently I am working on the aftermath of that encounter. Coming up with funeral rites for two different cultures is a little confusing but I can’t wait to see where it goes.

While I admit that working on this part is coming slowly but once I do finish up the writing part it actually reads really well. Here is hoping I can get more done and move into the Spine mountains. I all ready have a plan for the traveling through the mountains to Tal’shin.

Happy Victoria Day Everyone!


Well started out the morning working on A Fragile Peace Found. Managed to put in three pages of new text before going out for a walk. I do plan on a lot more typing today but I wanted to get out into the sunlight and enjoy the day before the rain moves in.

Today I will be adding in those fun tertiary characters that happen in any quest type fiction. You know what I mean right? Those people that the hero meets along the way that make an impact but are not around for more than a chapter or three. These are not random villains but basically NPCs who are there for background information and exposition. Also you can think of them as guides to your reader exploring new environments your characters are walking into.

As I have Loralil and her companions riding through the Forest of Calyn I have of course dealt with the random bandit/slavers all ready. Those low lives who think that random travelers are, to put it in a modern vernacular, ATMs. They have been fought and dealt with. Now it is time to bring in those others who live in the Forest.

See I have of course a number of small settlements in the large forest. Those that are along the King’s road are generally a mix of humans and other races running inns for the travelers. But as my companions are no longer on the King’s road they will run into those who don’t like travelers in their part of the woods.

Just how difficult they will be is yet to be seen of course. Yes, they are wood Elves, and yes Loralil is part Wood Elf, but the three tribes of elves rarely work together. The fact that Loralil if half wood elf, half High elf and all Grey Elf should make things interesting. Will they be intrigued? Will they be disgusted? We shall see.

And that is the fun of writing. We get to decide just how the races in our world interact. This is a fantasy world with filled with many different races. The morality of the different peoples will of course be a mix of some modern ideals and more medieval ideals. As I am not at the moment tossing in a heavy religious overtone to this tale, don’t expect to have that impact much…or maybe I will? You never know.

I have a lot of heavy slogging to go to get to the ending that I have all ready written. So we shall see what happens.

Spring has sprung for real thankfully


Well I have been a both busy and lazy lately. Last week I just wasn’t feeling up to writing my blogs, instead I just read and read and read and read….yup did the thing that makes us the best of authors.

Every writer needs to read. Because we need to see what else is out there. Not just in the field we write but what else the world likes. Now we need to read not just our genre, but as many genres as we can. I tend to delve into fantasy, science fiction, romance, paranormal, mystery, western, the occasional biography, manga and of course comic books.

Yes folks I mentioned illustrated work. See the truth is manga and comic books is a great source of writing. While they don’t have to go into the world setting like we do, describing everything. They do have to give you depth to the characters to make you care enough to buy the next issue.

For example I will pick one of my all time favorite comic book series, Elfquest. Now I started reading this way way way back (1982) yes that far back. When it was coming out about three or four times a year in this huge format. It was stylish, intense and well written. The characters were very diverse (yes all those elves each had personalities) It dealt with racism, violence, love, tenderness and so much more. The fact that they are doing a current series that ties up many of the threads that have been made in the various issues shows how long a series can endure. The Pinis (author and artist) have taken us along for a very long ride and managed to keep us determined to read every last word.

As an author I only hope to write a story that can have people still reading it thirty years later. It is something I think most authors dream of. In this world of needing to sell the most, the biggest total we forget that we aren’t writing to make the most money, we are writing to tell a story and to hopefully find people who love our words.

I of course have been writing since I was young. With working on my oldest character’s next set of books, I am bringing people back around to reading a character who means a lot to me. Loralil is a huge part of me. While no, I am not a 4’10” sexy silver haired warrior/bard elf, I have grown as a person and a writer along with her. I have dealt with some of my own internal fears by writing her and I will continue to do so. Every writer will have that one character who means more to them than the rest. In my case it is her. So you gentle readers. Do any of you have characters the you find more Interesting than the rest?

Getting back into the saddle


As a lot of you know I have been blocked lately. Having trouble writing is nothing new. Everything author goes through times like that. I have gone from writing pages and pages a day down to years between. This time it was not so much life and kids blocking me but a lack of drive for a lot of things. Yesterday I sat down and I am happy to say Loralil has finally started talking to me again.

As my oldest character there are so many tales that she has to tell but she gets a wee bit stubborn from time to time about the details of these tales. Well yesterday I managed to get almost up to 11K words in her newest tale.

This picks up just months after the end of Revenge and as I have said before it is not as action heavy (so far) as it was before. I am at the moment trying to decide if I will stop this story when she reaches the Grey elven city or if I will just keep going. I have two parts. A Fragile Peace is the story and the first part is Found…the second is Broken and it takes place fifteen years later. So most likely this will be two stories, either novella length or novel, we will see.

Now one of the things that is helping is I finally did a rough map of Loralil’s world. Okay really just of the Kingdom that she is currently in. Based very roughly on my old home state I have three mountain ranges, Three rivers, a massive forest, A inland sea, a fen, a swamp and various town and cities. I haven’t detailed things like the grasslands and plains between the other places. The fun part is after the research I did on how fast you normally travel via horseback or with a pony cart I can estimate how long travel will take from place to place.

This is important folks. Even when you write fantasy like I do, you need to do your research. Writing stories set in the horse and buggy times travel will take so much longer than you realize. Never mind fun things like what type of horse could carry a Minotaur! (Yes in my fantasy world Minotaurs and intelligent farmers who rider horseback…on those huge draft horses that are practically extinct in our modern world.

Also one of the things I will be working on today is a cover for an erotic fantasy that I will be releasing. Now this is not light on the erotic side. There is a lot of steamy sex before I even introduce the true fantasy elements in this tale. I do plan on doing a bunch of these, not a tale type for the general reader of my work. I have written a lot of erotica that is either sweet or very wild. I have a very small following for those tales and I will be putting them out as I get them edited to completion. If you are looking for something hot and steamy with a touch of fantasy elements, then this will be for you. The title is “It was a Dark and Stormy night”” Yes a cliche but it works in the story.

Another thing I am looking at doing is some free complete stories over on either my website or on Wattpad. I have not seen a lot of attention over there, so I am hoping to get some attention for my work.

Back to diversity research


This morning I spotted an interesting video on facebook about the changing face of male beauty around the world. Yes I said male. We all want to have a good looking, sexy male in our book to bring in the readers. But back to the video. In this they went through countries around the world and showed what was the current trend in the various countries. Every one of them was buff, mostly hairless on their chests/bellies and had thick hair, mostly dark and yes most of them are lighter of skin tone. Though there was more diversity than you would expect. The ones from India, South Korea and Nigeria were interesting to me.

Now for the research part. You see after watching the video, getting tired of all the comments that I see online and on tv, I wanted to see just what is the biggest racial group and this is what I found. It isn’t white (we knew that). it isn’t black (no matter what they say), it isn’t Latino (really folk it isn’t), the largest racial group in the world with 18% of the over 7Billion people on this plaent, is Han Chinese! The old rumor of the Chinese taking over the world from when I was growing up is close to true if you look at the numbers. The next largest group is those of Indian (from India that is) descent. So the two biggest groups are of the Asian world.

Now I have written characters who were of Japanese descent, native American descent, a few of African descent and a lot of course of Irish/Scottish (my own personal racial group). We do write what we know of course. I write characters that I want to read.

My question for reader this week is what do you want to read? When it comes to a hero does he need to be tall, dark and handsome? Have a square jaw, 12 pack of abs and more muscles than brains? Or can we do real men? Ones who might be short or thin or fat, pale or darker ?

The links for the research I did are these

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Demographics_of_the_world

http://www.queerty.com/heres-how-the-male-standard-of-beauty-changes-around-the-world-20150319?utm_source=bb82&utm_medium=social&utm_campaign=malebeauty&ts_pid=2&ts_pid=2   This is the video