Jan 20, 2014

Guest post at Sarah Coons' blog

I swear I'm very sorry to have to keep posting-and-running like this. But what with one thing and another my motivation was apparently brutally murdered when I came down with the flu a few weeks ago. However, I scraped enough of it together to make a post on Sarah Coons' blog, My Double Living. Here it is:

And since this is a text post, not an image post, I can give you a preview:

Ideas are like constellations. Sometimes they’re bright and clear, so compelling that they demand to be stared at. Sometimes they’re obstinate, only looking right if you lean back and squint at them. Sometimes they’re too shy to be seen directly at all, and you have to pretend you’re not looking at them to find out what they are. But if you stare at something directly for long enough, even something clear and brilliant, you begin to lose focus. You blink, rub your eyes, anything to keep it where it should be. But focus, like starlight, is an elusive thing. You get bored with looking at your constellation. You think it may not be as pretty as you thought it was. And those other constellations start to look awfully appealing...

I hope my tips are helpful!
Hopefully, I will have the next much-delayed short story runner-up posted soon.

Jan 4, 2014

Guest Post on Emily Rachelle Russel's Blog

Hey all! I can't stay, but I thought I'd let you know that my art post on Emily Rachelle Russel's blog, Emily Rachelle Writes, is live. You can find it here: 

And here is a photo that didn't make it into the post, but can help set the scene:

Also, I would like to apologize for the fact that my draft is not yet ready. I quite planned to have it ready by Christmas, and then - flu. But as of the 4th of January, I am very, very close. Sorry, longsuffering readers. :(


Dec 10, 2013

A Fanfic Celebration

It's been a whole month since I posted - and one of the busiest I've ever seen.

You probably remember that I launched my first attempt at NaNo, with not 50, not 30, but 20,000 words as my goal - and just baaaarely squeezed in a win. Not that I stopped there, because the plot decided it wasn't finished with me and I bashed out another 4,414 words. Meaning I have to trim down the draft 4,414 words. I sent out the first draft of it to my readers yesterday evening and am refreshing my inbox obsessively. *cough*

This is a cover I made for my short story. I may or may not have been procrastinating when I made it.

It kind of counts as fanfiction because it's a retelling of Cinderella for this contest: http://anneelisabethstengl.blogspot.com/2013/05/five-glass-slippers-writing-contest.html
Yes, I probably have too much on my plate. Do I care? No.

December is going to be pretty busy too, because I have promised Certain People that the draft of my first novel will be to them by Christmas. So don't expect the posting rate to pick up again right away. I'll be guest posting in a couple places in the near future, though, so look out for that!

As a sort-of celebration of my sort-of return, I'm going to post my very first piece of fanfiction that I wrote for Stacia's contest over at her blog: http://sjaisling.com/2013/07/01/artwriting-contest-when-imaginary-worlds-collide/

Yes, it involves Iri, who is very glad to be back and is already waiting to soak up the fangirls' accolades. It also involves Stacia's character Rykel, of whom I have been a fan for some time.

(That is Stacia's sketch of le Rykelface. Gah, I wish I could draw my characters like that.)

I had the time of my life writing it, nibbling peppermint chocolate in my bedroom floor and toasting my toes in front of a space heater. (To those of you who are inevitably wondering, this falls right after my prologue.)

Without further ado - Iri-Rykel fanfic!

            Iri’s fingernails whitened round the edges of a snow-white scale as his other hand pressed a rag to the rift in his dragon’s colorless hide. A phantom pain throbbed in his left forearm and Snow whimpered, hanging her great head down in a fervent desire to lick the wound. ‘No,’ Iri snapped, glaring up at her.
            She swung away, eyes screwed shut. ‘Iri, it hurts!’
            ‘Be still.’
            Something nagged him about his bad mood. Maybe it was because he wished he hadn’t used his magic up and could heal her instantly instead. Maybe because he’d assassinated a princess yesterday and left her body to rot in that abandoned temple. Or maybe he was just tired from the battle.
            Tiredness. That was it.
            Iri turned and felt the swift, immediate movement behind him as Snow pulled the wound out of sight to nurse it. Damon, a fair elf and one of the few other Carseldians in Klista’s service, bowed in deference to Iri’s new status as head of the Riders. A bit of the pleasant glow from his promotion reignited in his tired limbs. He straightened, stretching his cramped fingers. “What is it, Damon?”
            “There is a…stranger at the gates asking to see you. Seems to know you.”
            “I can’t take visitors now.” Iri let his head sag to the side in exasperation. “Besides, practically everyone knows me.”
            Damon’s eyebrows seemed to hunch forward in confusion. “He’s asking quite…forcefully. When the guards apprehended him, he threatened to…blast us. Or something of that nature.”
            “Magic?” Iri scowled, wrapping the bloody rag round his palm. “Is he a Rider?”
            “He – he – doesn’t look like any Rider I’ve ever seen.” Damon glanced down as if to check his information against something and found his empty hands to stare at. “He also mentioned” – his voice fell to a near-whisper – “a world called Earth.”
             Iri tucked his chilled fingers into his palms. Earth.
            He brushed past Damon and strode toward the gate.
            The Riders moving through the courtyard bowed to him, greeting him briefly in the Andunian language, but no one wanted to get in his way. Even the dragons coiled up stray wings and tails from his path.
            He realized at the gates that Damon still trailed him and waved the Rider off with a flick of his fingers. His sword hung on the rack in his rooms – he thought to have no need of it today – but his dagger still sat firm and cool in its sheath against his thigh. His finger arched over the top of the curved pommel, back and forth, as the guards parted at the door of a room adjoining the gates. Usually their captain shared this room with an absurdly small desk, but today an altogether bizarre young man lounged against the edge of said desk, tattoos cascading over his crossed forearms.
            When Iri entered, the stranger flicked a ragged edge of hair out of his eyes and levered to his feet. The guards’ spear shafts clacked together in front of his chest. The stranger lifted a pierced eyebrow. “Tell them to buzz off, would ya?”
            Iri shifted weight from his sore leg, enjoying his advantage a little bit longer and using the delay to study his visitor. The eyebrow wasn’t the only piercing – he had some kind of rings in his ears, though Iri had only ever seen women wear them there – and he wore a curious tunic with ragged tears at the shoulders where the arms should have been. Blocky markings crossed the front of it. Letters, but they spelled no words that he could make out. Ac, dc. Aack duc. Who put words on their clothing, anyway?
            Despite all his oddity, Iri’s first thought was that he knew him.
            His second thought was that he would like to see whether the muscled youth would put his solid-knuckled, calloused hands to good use. The weight of the rank pin at the breast of his uniform checked him. He had responsibility now; he couldn’t start fistfights for no reason. But still…
            Pay attention. Act like the leader you are. “Threats aren’t the best way to put them at ease.”
            The stranger shrugged. “They messed with my Indian.”
            “Your – what?” There went the poise. It reminded him too much of his father, anyway.
            “Oh, don’t tell me.” The young man raked scarred fingers through his mop of overhanging hair. “Dangit. You don’t have those here. Yeah, I know – some of the kids at Poly read fantasy novels. Pretty freaky stuff if you ask me. But I had to get here somehow. Not my fault if you’ve never seen a motorbike before.”
            Iri frowned, curling his first finger round the dagger pommel. Familiar or not, what Iri knew of Earth and the people there gave him more than enough reason to be wary. “Who are you?”
            “Jack Rykel. You can call me Rykel. Now can you tell ‘em to buzz off?”
            Iri hesitated only for a moment. Strangeness aside, this Rykel seemed well-connected to Earth, and ill treatment of a representative could lead nowhere but trouble.
            Besides, he seemed already far too comfortable in a world different from his own, and Iri wanted to see what he thought of dragons.
            “Stand down,” he ordered. The guards lowered their spears, their narrow eyes sharp with interest. Iri shot a smile at his visitor as he turned to the door. “Whatever magic you may have, you’re in the Riders’ headquarters now. Watch what you do.”
            “Dude, it’s not magic,” Rykel said to his back. Iri grinned and led the way out into the courtyard.
            The first dragon they met was relatively small – a blue belonging to an Elvarian desert-dweller named Nyvien – but she was impressive enough as she reared her angular head up out of the recessed pit lined with rushes for padding. The courtyard bustled with dragons and their Riders – larger fighting beasts resting from the takeover three days ago, small couriers coming and going, the two or three broody females rustling their wings protectively over their eggs as others passed.
            Iri glanced back at the stranger sauntering behind him – sauntering truly was the best word – to gauge his reaction. Rykel’s mouth had narrowed to a pucker which presently let out a low whistle. His eyes followed the path of a green courier as she circled the courtyard and dived out of sight behind the walls of the compound. “Don’t have those where I come from.”
            Snow raised her head guiltily when Iri stepped to the top of the recessed pit where she sprawled, her impressive, serpentine bulk set off by the dark rushes patterning the light stone beneath. He jumped to the bottom, turned back to face Rykel, and leaned against her side. She curved slightly to accommodate him, her tail flicking between him and the newcomer, a motion that said mine, mine. Rykel stood at the top of the steps, hands on hips, feet set wide.
            Rykel had the high ground, but Iri had a dragon.
            “So you haven’t told me what you’re doing here.” Iri crossed his arms, letting the weak sunlight glance on his gold armbands.
            Rykel shrugged again and settled into a comfortable crouch, digging a packet of something out of a pocket in his tattered pants. “Your author’s had my info on her laptop for ages.” He methodically placed a slender paper tube between his lips, lit the end of it with an odd blue device, dragged a breath on it, and said in a puff of acrid smoke, “I figured I’d come meet you.”
            “That can’t be the only reason.” Iri tapped his fingernails on the armbands; he knew it was a mannerism most people hated, but it helped him think.
            “No, you’re right.” Rykel rested one elbow on his knee and waved his hand, trailing a streamer of smoke across the watery blue sky. “So I thought I’d do a little snooping while I was here. I have no restraint. It’s a curse.”
            It wasn’t, Iri thought, watching the upward tilt of his square chin, a curse he was particularly eager to remedy.
            “Your author leaves stuff everywhere. Notes, plans, timelines.” He placed the cylinder in his mouth again. The end glowed with fragments of fire. “It wasn’t hard to figure out.”
            “You don’t want me to decide that you’re wasting my time.” Iri examined his fingernails, blue-crusted as they were with his dragon’s dried blood. “I have an evening scheduled with a courtier who’s a lot prettier than you.”
            “You really don’t listen well.” Rykel bounced once on his toes, his hair flopping up and down again. “Fine. In plain language, I’m trying to warn you.”
            “Warn me?”
            “Whatever you’re doing, believe me, you want to stop.” Rykel’s startlingly blue eyes narrowed for an instant, in something like concern. “I read ahead, man. It doesn’t end well.”
            “And why do you care?” Iri stifled a thought that was beginning to sound a lot like Why would anyone?
            “Because.” Rykel’s knuckles paled on the white cylinder. “You don’t.”
            Iri was suddenly, inexplicably angry. “It’s not as easy as you seem to think,” he snapped.
            “Changing? Oh, I know.” Rykel huffed a short breath and leaned forward so the white letters wrinkled across his chest. “Heck no, it’s not easy.” He rose in a smooth motion, shrugging the shoulders of his odd tunic straight again. “But –”
            “Go back to your own blasted story!” Iri shouted, blind with an anger that struck faster and hotter than lightning. Snow, reacting, rolled half to her feet and hissed a cloud of chill air, ruffling the edges of Rykel’s tattered sleeves.
            “Easy, snowflake, I’m not gonna hurt him,” Rykel said in an offended tone, backing a step. “Gosh, you people take things so seriously.
            “Take your warnings and your motor-bike and go back to Prolly –”
            Iri gritted his teeth. “Wherever you came from!”
            “Dude, I can take a hint.” Rykel raised both hands in surrender. “Don’t overreact, okay? Just – for what it’s worth.” He jerked his thumb over his shoulder. “I’ll, uh, see myself out.”
            Iri watched him swagger away, winking at a female Rider who had no idea who he was. His eyes narrowed.
            ‘Iri?’ Snow’s wings spread over the floor, enclosing him in a blanket of warm, scaled leather. ‘Who was that?’
            Iri caressed his dagger hilt. ‘An enemy.’

So, what do you think? Does fanfic suit me? ;) Are you happy to see Iri back, or should I do a different character next time? Who should it be?