Researching shape shifters for fiction


I have been reading a lot of urban fantasy. The shape shifters we find in these tend to be werewolves, were big cat, and were bears. While these are a lot of fun to read about, I have wanted to read stories about other types of shifters.

Yes I have found stories about Selkies and other shapeshifters but I am finding myself wanting to write about other types of shifters for a while now. It seems like all the other writers out there will only write were predators. Why not stories about non predator species? Or lesser known species of predator…or even the tame versions.

So trying to do research can get both difficult and interesting when deciding to do a tale about shape shifters. This weekend while dealing with the heat all I could think bout is leading into the dog days of summer. Those hot and sticky days that come from the middle of July and through August. Well that led me to thinking about dogs and why aren’t there any dog shape shifter stories? Why don’t I write one?

Well then I decided that I need to do research on bloodhounds. Yes I said bloodhounds. Those incredible dogs who are used by law enforcement to find missing people. What about a story about a shifter bloodhound who is just trying to find a peaceful place to live where they are not bombarded by the man made scents of the city. Of trying to find a bit of peace and quite and then having a mate who is of another species of dog shifter. This could be interesting.

The thing is writing a story that would be a paranormal is a bit out of my wheelhouse. Yes I have written one before. Where Angels No Longer Tread took me ages to write. So while I am going to try to do this, dont expect it too soon. Here is the opening that I have been tossing around.

***

The heat of summer is the favorite time for many, but me? Well I prefer the cool of the autumn. The world in the heat of the summer is filled with the stench of sweat, tar and rotting meat. Yeah like I said, rotting meat. I thought when I moved into the north country people would leave me be but word got around that I had another form. So when kids started gong missing the local police came out to my farm and told me that I would either help them find the kids or I would be brought in as a suspect. So of course I agreed, with a few little caveats.

So now I am snuffling my way from field to forest, looking for the latest of the missing kids. A ten year old boy who was last seen riding his bike over by the train station. The fields are mostly tame over there so even your basic human should have been able to find him if he was there.

***

Just a start that might go somewhere. I hope

 

Trying to work out my next project…first chapter of No Matter the Distance


Now I will probably work on more than one thing at a time, like always but I decided it was time to work on the second book of the Chaos Wars series. This is my attempt at end of the world horror. Didn’t do too well but then none of my books do that well right? But for those of you who like what I write, THANK YOU! I plan on continuing to write, even if I only have a handful of readers. Here is the first chapter (most of it) of this book.

***

Sitting on a bench in the middle of a deserted park, her long hair floating on the gusting winds, Jessica sighed. Once this place had brought her pleasant memories. Days walking through the trees, hand in hand with her lover or sitting out on the grass, a child by her side. Now she saw simply the ghosts that flitted about, lost in the darkness.

She looked down at her watch and stood. It was an hour past the time for the Meet. Something was wrong, she could feel it in her bones. It was not like either of them to be late, never mind be this late. She closed her eyes and sent her senses outward.

Blocking out the world about her, she searched for the two she was intimately connected to. Her range, not as strong as theirs, but more accurate, limited her search to a few blocks; she could just feel something at the edge of her awareness, like a flash of rage. That had to be him and she opened her eyes. The darker than night eyes narrowed as she heard furtive movement coming toward her, something thinking she was an easy snack.

The feel of the being sneaking toward her was that of one of the new breed of predators. She knew if she turned and looked, she would see what should be just a young man, a junkie or some type of small time hood, but her senses were tuned higher than that. There was no way the creature had any idea just what it was attacking, it was just looking for easy prey. A woman with white hair had to be old, or so it thought, and in this world old meant easy prey.

Standing relaxed under her long coat, her hair snapping out in the wind that was building before the false dawn, Jessica waited. When the creature reached out hands that ended in long claws, she spun bringing her foot up and around. Her hands moved up from her waist and stabbed toward the eyes as her foot slammed with more force than it looked possible for her to deliver into its side. The creature crumpled with a moan and she flicked white stuff off the long, silver painted nails that extended past the cut fingers of her gloves.

She stood over the moaning creature and debated. She should kill it, but it was against her basic nature. She had done things in the past to survive, but she never attacked once the foe was down. She turned on her heel and strode away, the tails of her faded black leather trench coat flapping in the wind. “Let the dawn take it,” she said to the ghosts about her. It was far from likely that the night dweller would make it back to its lair before the sun rose. The loss of its eyes would hamper it and the liquid she had painted on her nails would insure those eyes did not regenerate. She might not be a stone cold killer, but she was not stupid either.

***

At the other side of the park things were a bit more active. This side led out toward the last of the colleges whose doors were still open. And like students from all time, the students at this college did dumb things. They held parties just near the gate of the haunted park. They would dare each other to spend the night at the gates or even in the park.

The few who took up that offer were never the same and the one or two who entered the park never returned. The college administrators had come to think of it as a weeding out of those who had not the ability to survive in the harsh new world that had dawned with the new millennium.

It was not the end of the world like the religious thought, the planet going down in fire and brimstone. Nor was it the crash of technology, as the companies had feared when the Y2K bug was discovered. It was both simpler and more horrifying.

One night, years before, a gate had been opened. Unintentionally the door had been opened letting into the calm, normal world of the first days of the 21st century creatures from the collective unconscious. Ghosts, goblins, werewolves and vampires; every dark being out of nightmare had sprung up out of a single man’s pain and loss.

The first wave of creatures overwhelmed the simple men and women of the world. Those who could not believe died quickly, food for the hungry new owners of the cities. Humanity’s overcrowded cities became tombs almost over night. The more advanced the society and its toys, the faster it all collapsed. It was hard to fight something that did not show in all the fancy high tech devises. They did not believe in science and science did not believe in them. It took the old ways to kill them. Hands and knives and poisons were the tools that stopped the darkness from taking over the pockets of humanity left in the one time most powerful nation on the planet.

The latest group of college kids who decided to party at the gates of the city were a bit rougher than the kids of the previous century, but they were easily identified as college kids. The jackets most wore would have been team jackets for some football team in the ’90s, but now they were a mark that this group could be left out during the night.

They had their bottles of cheap liquor and a roaring fire. Most of the kids lounged about, in relative relaxed poses. Drinking and grappling with the opposite sex as college kids have for centuries, they still had one or two who were on guard, watching for anything that could be construed as danger.

It was with a gleam of white teeth that the tenor of the party changed. One student looked up, freezing as a large figure loomed in the darkness. The strangled sounding gasp brought up the heads of the partying kids and then all hell broke loose.

Blades whipped free of sleeves and coats and others took up protective stances over their less ready friends. It was too little and too late for the two guards. The first came crashing into the firelight, his throat torn out. There was but one short scream to pierce the night air before the killing really began.

Is it the weather or is it me? How about an excerpt of a future tale?


I have been noticing that hits on my blogs are way down. Is this because I am not putting up new and exciting content? Well maybe. Could it be the weather? It is after all and nobody wants to be inside reading of course. Who know.s? So in an attempt to get some eyeballs how about I put up something as an excerpt?

Those few of you who actually look at my blogs know I have been working on the next novel in the Saga of Loralil Greyfox series. I am currently waiting for my second highly wonderful beta reader to send me back her recommendations for edits. Now I could make up a cover right now but the hubby is pondering where we should go with this the next book. Probably something brighter than the last cover for sure.

So should I give an excerpt? How many excerpts is too many from the same book? Should I skip ahead in her life and show you places that she will be going? Hey yeah that could be interesting. After all I have a number of tales that will be told in this. So here you go.

Now this is from something I am tentatively calling The Birth of a Hero. Set years after the current books that I am working on. I started the bits of this I have when I lived with a different name. This has been languishing in WIP status for a decade but it will be done someday soon!

***

She sat among the branches of the tree watching the road below. She was diminutive in height, slender with an air of menace that belayed her fragile appearance. Her moon-pale skin and long silver hair glistened brightly among the leaves. Deep violet eyes scanned the road, intent on any movement. She had come to this place two years ago and found a group of people fighting off creatures that were far more than their match. She went in and helped those still able to fight. They destroyed the raiders and she came to be accepted in the village.

Relaxing for a moment, she rested her back against the trunk of the tree. Her eyes still scanned the road, but her mind went back over what she had learned soon after she had stopped here. The village belonged to a Lord Edwin who was out in the so-called holy wars. She could not understand why he would leave to fight holy wars when his own home was overrun by unholy dead things conjured up by the nearby magician. How Loralil Silverhair wished that she could leave these people and take on the magician. “Well,” she thought, “someone has to watch this road and it might as well be me.”

Her large eyes were hooded as she thought back to the day she had strolled into this area. She had been on foot, having lost her horse to one of the large forest cats days before. She had been foot sore and hungry by the time she had wandered into the human village. It had been either her personal gods watching over her or a bit of wanderer’s luck, but she had come through the surrounded forest untouched. The village hadn’t been as lucky. She walked into the village, almost expecting the looks she received. Isolated villages tended to be leery of strangers, and strangers of a different race were less welcome., but here she was surprised. She had expected to be accosted at least before she had made it to the building with the sign of a tavern. She was left entirely alone, even though she could feel the eyes of the people on her back. When she entered the tavern was when she saw why. It had been set up as a type of temporary hospital. Even two years later, the elf woman shuddered. The building was full, pallets covering most of the floor. She had grabbed the arm of one of the woman who was tending the wounded and asked what had happened.

All of the men of the village were either dead or badly injured. The village had been attacked three days before by a force of creatures of the night, as the woman called them. The simple villagers, hunters and farmers all, had no idea how to deal with creatures that could not be felled by a simple staff or arrow. They had panicked when faced with the walking corpses of those they had buried the season before. When she asked what their priest had been doing, the woman pointed toward one of the covered pallets. The priest had been one of the first to be killed.

Though by no means an expert, the young elf woman had some experience on how to deal with the undead. She organized the remaining healthy people of the village together and they managed to beat back and destroy most of the troop of undead who had struck the village.

Now the men were almost back to fighting strength with the wounded ones healed and the boys growing up to fill in the empty spots left by their fathers. She had spent the past two years, much longer than she had expected, living with the villagers. She had taught them how to fight, how to work together and what she knew of healing herbs and stitching wounds. Though saying she lived with them was not quite the truth. She didn’t live inside the village with the humans. They had at first accepted her out of need, but as their confidence grew they had taken her closer to their hearts than she was comfortable with. She had moved out of the tavern and the village entire. “Soon,” she thought. “I can leave them to themselves.”

***

Yes it needs work…a LOT of work but then this is a total rough draft. Heck I spotted three issues with a simple glance at the open paragraph. So don’t expect to see the rest of this soon but as you can see I have gotten a lot better over the past decade of writing!

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.

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.

Getting stuck


Every writer goes through times when we get stuck. Some call it writer’s block and stop writing. Others move on to something different. We are all different and all have ways to cope.

Generally I move back and forth between things when I get stuck. If one character won’t tell me where the story is supposed to go I move onto another. Problem is that for the past month I seem to be stuck period.

I am hoping that things will loosen up again. I have some story things moving around in my head. A set of two different new characters and stories that might go somewhere but just not sure where.

Now this tiny bit is part of a post end of the world tale. Most of the stuff I have been watching seems to take place right after the world crashes. This is obviously from much later.

***

It’s been ten years since everything collapsed. The old world ended pretty messily.
There were monsters of mankind’s making, both living and dead. Things were pretty bad for a long time, but nothing can last forever.

While the big cities had turned into wastelands or war zones, there were still places out in the world that were barely touched by the madness that had descended. Places that had been hidden so well that they looked like a part of the natural world around them.

***

Now this one I actually have six pages of but here is the first two paragraphs of a new urban fantasy tale with an elder protagonist.

***

They say that the talent for magic appears at puberty. That the strongest practitioners would show signs from birth that they will be great and powerful. They tell you that if you have not shown ability by the time you graduate high school that you might as well just become an accountant.

I showed no sign of that gift. At puberty I was too busy helping to care for my younger siblings to even take the tests. When I graduated high school it was decided that I should marry and pass on my genes to another generation. So I started having babies, one every two years till I had six children to care for, all girls. A regular stay at home wife and mother and expected to stay that way.

***

Just two little bits from my most current WIPs.  Now hopefully I can get them to move on.

Back to work


With all the snow and ice and bitter cold the very best thing fora writer is to stay inside and write. Thankfully I am getting words down finally. Over the past month I have tossed between four different titles and had real trouble settling down to work on just one. Been hard working on just one.

In fact at the moment I have two notebooks with complete scenes from the next Loralil book and a totally new book. The important thing is that I am writing new things. We, as writers, need to write, daily. If we can that is. The past three months I have mostly been editing work and not putting down fresh new words.

Thankfully I got them down and I will do more today. Writing can be a chore but it is also a fun thing.

Now I don’t plan on putting the new Loralil stuff here till I get more of it down but I thought how about a bit from this totally new thing I started?

***

Sherri woke up to a furry paw tapping her face. “Aw, enough, Sammy.”

“Now, Sherri.”

She grumbled as she tried to roll over and found she was trapped under her blankets. Wiggling an arm free, she sighed and opened her eyes. “Damn, did I oversleep?”

The room seemed filled with light and she looked over at the clock. It read as 1:00am. “Huh?”

“Hurry, get dressed.” The same voice from before urged her to move. Still a bit foggy with sleep, she was swinging back the blankets before it dawned on her that cats do not talk.

Sherri darted her eyes about, but there was no one in the room with her other than her cat, Sammy. “Who?”

There was an audible sigh and a thud as her cat jumped off the bed. “Me, silly woman.” The gray stripped form turned about, then sat, curling his tail about his paws neatly. “We really don’t have time for this, Sherri.”

Sherri blinked repeatedly and then shook her head. “Must be dreaming.” She started to lie back, when her cat darted forward and raked a set of claws across her knee. “I said, up!”

“Hey!” Rubbing the scratch, Sherri slowly got up. “How long have you been able to talk?” She reached for her robe when Sammy leapt up and sat on it.

“Duh, forever.” He quickly licked his shoulder, then looked back at Sherri. “Look, you really need to get dressed. Put on the stuff over on the chair.” He pointed with his chin, before settling down and closing his eyes.

Sighing, sherri shook her head and stepped over to the threadbare, overstuffed chair she had placed by her window. Lying, neatly folded, was clothing she did not recognize. She picked up and shook out a knitted silk, long sleeved t-shirt and shrugged. “Okay, looks like it will fit.” Slipping out of her sleep shirt she rummaged through the pile and dressed from the skin out.

Turning back to face her cat, she buckled a new belt into place. “Okay, I’m dressed.”

“There are boots next to the chair, put them on.”

Shaking her head, Sherri complied. “Weirdest damn dream ever.”

“You’re not dreaming.” Sammy sat back up and stretched. Just as he reached that full tendon snapping stretch common to all felines he form wavered and flowed into a man form. “But you aren’t dreaming and you are not safe. Please continue dressing. We don’t have a lot of time.”

Sherri’s jaw dropped and she paused mid movement. “Um…you sure I’m not dreaming? I mean since cats don’t transform into,” she took a closer look at Sammy, “two foot tall, hot,” she swallowed as her eyes were drawn to his abs, “men?”

A smile slid over Sammy’s face and he stretch again. Luckily for Sherri’s senses he had transformed in a pair of worn and low slung jeans. “Well, normal cats don’t, no.” He chuckled and sank down to sit cross-legged on the bed. “Keep dressing and I will explain a few things.”

“O…kay,” Sherri pulled on the first boot, lacing it up tight.

“We don’t have a lot of time before they start rounding everyone up, so don’t expect me to tell you everything.” He looked toward the blinds before continuing. “Firstly, you are no more human than I am.” When Sherri opened her mouth he held up a finger. “Silence.” Sherri swallowed, then nodded.

***

Well there is a lot more to that one. I am not sure where this is going to go but it should be fun. When I get there that is. so much to write and so little time right?

Getting back to work


Well after the holidays and then getting a bit of a cold, I am finally back to work. Thanks to my beta reader who is sending me little fixes, I have noticed what I am missing on my editing. Little things are what get you with the more picky of readers of course. Miss a comma or use a word that seems perfectly fine to your way of talking and you get trashed. So it is important to find someone you trust to go over your book. I am lucky that I have a few fellow writers who are willing to read through various of my tales and point out where i missed a comma or used a word that just doesn’t work for the average reader.

While I admit last week I was feeling way off after getting a review that was both good and bad, but now I am much better. In fact so much better that I got my reviewer pen out and decided to read and review a few things. Two new reviews from me are up on Amazon and today I will be doing some reviews over on booklikes soon for other work. There is one read and review I was requested to do that is putting me in a quandary. I have an early novel from another writer that is bouncing between two and four star for me. There is a lot of editing issues and some historical bits that are way off but the characters are quite interesting and the plot at times runs full steam ahead before it stutters to a halt. anyone who knows me knows that generally I can read a book in a day, a good one in hours. this one has taken me over a week to get half way through.  I will continue to persevere because this is a fellow indie author who needs a review. If this was an established traditional author I would have given up on reviewing this book but I offered, so I must.

Now for what I am doing. Over on my Books by Lisa Williamson blog I put up an excerpt from  one of the new tales I am working on in the Flights of Fantasy novella series. Here I thought a bit from the next novel I should put out would be good. the Price of Freedom will be book two from the League of Stars series. Now unlike most books in a series now a days, the ‘hero’ and ‘heroine’ will not be carrying over to this book. In the style of the Diadem of the Stars series by Jo Clayton, I decided to take a character from book to book but to have the main characters of each book entirely separate. While Quirin and Babe will be in each of what i hope will be four books in this series, they are not the ‘stars’ of this book.

Here is a bit from The Price of Freedom:

****

They had all been born together, a rarity for the People. Four tiny daughters brought forth from their mother’s womb with great pain. One young father left with those daughters when his mate died. He was a gentle, quiet man of the people and he raised his daughters with love and understanding. Never once did he blame the little girls for the loss of his mate.

The eldest, Druscilla, was the tallest and fast to anger. She fought for the rights of her family, teaching those who tried to take advantage of them that she had hidden weapons that cut to the quick. Her flame-red hair caught the attention of many, but her fierce eyes made most males of the People nervous. She was the leader of the sisters, often into trouble.

The next oldest, Chantrea, was the gentle one. Her large, soft brown eyes captivated many of the young men their age. She always had one of the small creatures about her. She would care for the bird with the broken wing or the injured squirrel. The three other sisters did their best to help her find training for her healing hands. There was little money for a formal apprenticeship, but the healer let her work with him as an assistant, teaching her when he could take time from his paying students.

The third sister, Tatum was the practical one. Her black hair and green eyes were striking, but more so was her sharp mind. She schemed and plotted and helped her father keep her sisters fed. When Druscilla’s temper got them all in trouble, she would find a way to ease over the injured pride with wise words or a bribe if necessary.

The final sister was the wild one. Where her oldest sister fought and grew angry quickly, little golden Arella was always running. She gloried in freedom and movement. Always laughing, her eyes sparkled and her laughter was contagious. She was fiercely protective of her sisters and father, loving with all her heart and rarely did she hold dark emotion. Always, she was willing to lend a hand when needed, but rarely would she be found doing those things that women were expected to do. The tasks that were repetitive or slow were not for the wild child, though she could sit still if the task involved making beauty. She had an eye for colors and how they should be put together.

****

Just the brief description of each of the four heroines of this book. The characters from this book will mostly not be humans this time. While I will have humans in this book, they will mostly be the villains (other than Quirin of course). Writing a nonhuman race can be an interesting thing for a writer. As a fantasist writer, I have written elves, dwarves, orcs, dragons and elementals, but these are all more like their human counterpoints than not. The small, furry aliens of this book are from a society that has collapsed and regressed yet still retain bits and pieces of their high tech. They have powers that will seem like magic but are really more mental than magic. I am hoping that I can pull this off and that I will be able to find the help I had with the first book of this series. Writing science fiction is very different from writing fantasy of course. But luckily there are so many things that are the same, no matter the genre. There will always be elements that match, from good versus evil, law versus chaos and life versus death.

So hopefully this week I will get a lot of writing done…is it all a working author can ask for right?

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.