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!

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.

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?

Audio of Escape!


I know I am a bit late with blogging this week but I wanted to wait till I had the link for something really cool. Sheenah from Papercrane books offered to have a voice actor/author from her company read the first two chapters of Escape for her biweekly blog. Now I have the link for those of you who would like to heart them read. The actor has a great voice and he really brings the chapters to life.

You can hear it here

http://windowstomymind.wordpress.com/

Go over and give it a listen, then you can leave comments here or over there!

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.

A bit off the mark or writing something short in the middle of a novel


Yup I am taking a little break from Escape to write something else.  I was asked if I wanted to submit a short story for another anthology.  As you can imagine I said yes.  After all short stories are my fortay right? (And yes I can’t spell)

With the theme of summer I thought why not write a tale about the summer solstice and of course a creature that is hot…well in the literal sense that is. A tale about a salamander.  Now the funny thing is I thought I would just jot down a fun little tale but this guy decided he needed to tell the tale.

So instead of being in third person I am writing this tale from his point of view. I have done this before of course.  Started out doing that in Night and Day and moved to the Harry stories, so it won’t be that odd for those of you who have read my work.

This wont be a long tale because well…it is set on the shortest night of the year.  I should hopefully have it done in the next couple of days and then I can send it over to the editors to take a look at it but for you guys who enjoy teasers how about a little bit from a short story today?

***

Summer Solstice, just another day to most.  Lots of sunlight, warmth and good times.  Pull out the barbeque and beer and enjoy long hours of golden sunlight.

But not too long ago people remembered, people held ceremonies celebrating the day.  For it is the turning of the year. The shortest night of the longest day. There are a few who burn the bonfire, the bone fire. They burn for the turning, to remind the world that the year will grow darker. Long ago the fired called us to you but now they simply light up the dark.

Look closely and you will see eyes in the those fires. Watching and waiting for you to invite us out to play.

***

Like I said, just a little teaser.   Happy Summer Solstice my friends and have a bright and sunny summer time.