Dec 22, 2010

Fantasy Inspiration

Thought I'd post some inspiring photos, since I didn't feel much like writing anything today. :)

I credit Meaghan Ward over at The Patriot's Call for finding some of these, and whoever else found the rest of them for those. *cheesy grin* Some of them I found on epic youtube videos, and some of them I'm really not sure where they came from.


I love the structure and colors and the story behind this one, even though I don't know what it is. The castle is amazing. I want to find out who that person is, and what he's doing.


This guy came from a video of the song "Man of Steel" by Fired Earth Music. The music is nice, but I love the person because of his expression and the plain evil behind him. The clothing is a little extravagant but intriguing. Plus, he's an elf, so that kind of biases me. ;)

This picture is beautiful, modest, and action-filled, which I love. The lighting is almost dreamlike and her expression one of intense concentration. Blurry feathers and flying birds add to the intrigue. Who exactly is she shooting at?


This one has a rather sad feeling behind it. A silhouette is always intriguing to me. Colors are rich and with good placement.


Credit for this one goes to APoD (Astronomy Picture of the Day). This is a supercell thunderstorm. It's not exactly fantasy, but it has an amazing power behind it. Makes me think I need a lot more 'fantasy weather' present in my story, because this on Earth is INCREDIBLE.


This is a picture from Magic: The Gathering that I thought looked like my primary villain, Klista. I don't play the game, but the picture was (once again) on a youtube video. I almost flipped when I saw it. She doesn't look especially evil, but her expression is imperial and almost condescending. Colors are nice (green is my favorite) but not especially appropriate for a villain. I'll live, though. ;)

Well, I suppose that's it for now. You can get larger versions if you click on the thumbnail. If you have any neat pics you want to share with me, feel free. ;)

Dec 10, 2010

Science Fiction for Friday

*thinking it's about time for some more sci-fi -- or would ya'll rather have fantasy? let me know.*

This can't be happening.
I told myself that every minute of every day. I couldn't be stuck in a Coreship cell with Tarika Trevis, the most dangerous criminal in the galaxy. I couldn't have gotten caught using the Equilibrium Complex. I couldn't be without Karelei ... it was an impossibly impossible impossibility.
Tarika stared at me with her creepily colorless eyes as I paced the floor of the tiny cell. The stark, glowing walls were beginning to whirl around me.

"They all do that," she informed me.
"Do what?"
"Pace. It never does any good."
I kept at it, just to prove her wrong. She was in front of me an instant later, blocking my path with an expression like stone. I jumped back into my corner. My back struck the wall, jarring all the air out of me. Ever since that dratted laser got me, all my Equilibrium was out the window.
"I can heal that," Tarika growled again, crouching next to me.
I curled into myself, the laserburn stinging like fire. "Leave me alone."

The door slid open.

Tarika jumped to her feet, fists clenched. I glanced up, deliberately keeping my hair in front of my eyes. Two guards in red uniforms cocked green Fighters at Tarika's head. "Not you," one rasped, eyes glinting behind his purple eyeband. "The kid."
"I still qualify as a kid," Tarika protested. I wondered for the first time how old she really was behind that hard face and jagged black hairstyle.
The second guard shoved her into the opposite corner and stood over her with his gun aimed at her heart. The other beckoned to me. I staggered to my feet, swaying with the barely perceptible roll of the ship.

“Arely!” Tarika cried, sitting up. “Aim for the blue, and look out for the –”
“Shut up,” said her guard. I just saw the handle of the gun impact her head as the door slipped closed again. I shouldn’t have been able to hear her cry of pain through the soundproof walls, but I did anyway.
I also heard the metallic buzz of Restraints as they settled around my wrists and saw the orange glow in front of my eyes as they confined my vision as well. The guard’s thick fingers dug into my upper arm, and I stumbled beside him along a long, curving hall.

The Restraints did not dissipate until it was completely dark around me. Something weighed my hands down. I glanced at it, but didn’t see anything so I groped with my fingers instead. My thumb hit something. A green Fighter laser streaked across the room, the low warble bouncing off wide, high walls and a star-strewn roof, illumined for an instant in brilliant colored light. I cocked the lasergun in my hand, ready to shoot at whatever attacked me. I’d heard of this.

That was the reason cold fear pooled in my stomach.

A blue light stabbed at my eyes from the left. I whirled to meet it, but it vanished. Something slammed into the back of my neck. I smelled burnt hair as I fell to the ground. The gun skittered out of my reach. Gasping, I rolled onto my back, but whatever had hit me was cloaked by darkness, smothering, concealing darkness.
Setting my teeth, I felt the back of my neck. Something warm trickled onto my hand. I jerked my hand away and automatically tried to look at my fingers to assess the damage, but the dark fell like a blanket before my eyes.

Cold laughter echoed to my right. Two points of blue light stared at me. I felt my own eyes grow wide. Every bit of warmth in my body seeped into the floor. My hands twitched. I reached for where I thought the gun would be.

Nothing.

Dec 8, 2010

Design!

Just a little middle-of-the-week post to tell y'all to check out my new blog design. Like the header? My mother, beloved Kimberly *chuckle* and I made it this morning. Quite wintry, no? I was inspired by Squeaks' beautiful design over at Hidden Doorways. Check her out too. *waves madly to Squeaks*

I have also been successful in designing some outfits for my Elf/Elvarian dancers to wear at the party in the end of my book. Not the most important thing on my agenda, but *shrug* I'm getting there. I finally settled on a design with a rather blousy cut. Three parts; a jacket, pants, and an undertunic. The pants are cut just above the ankle and the leg slants upward. I was thinking something that wouldn't obstruct movement and something that they wouldn't trip over or step on. The jacket is in the same sort of design, open at the front with embroidery down the right sleeve, while the pants have embroidery down the left leg. I'll upload a pic if you guys want one. ;) Also settled on the colors green/gold for one outfit and crimson/white for the other. (Those represent Iri and Aaron respectively, for those of you who know them.)

While I'm here, let me share a couple of verses that touched my heart this week:

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place,
when I was woven together in the depths of the earth.
16 Your eyes saw my unformed body;
all the days ordained for me were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

No matter how hard we slave over our works, whether they be novels or graphics or a malfunctioning blender, we can always be humbled by the fact that God did it first and best. Since we are created in His image, how much can we achieve by glorifying Him in our works? The best is yet to come.

Elizabeth

Nov 29, 2010

Opinions?

Well, I made up for not having any epic music today with the last post, so I felt the need to post something else... except there is nothing in my brain currently and I am staring blankly at the blinking cursor.

Hum. *purses lips* Well, I'm hoping to have my first draft finished by the end of the year *does a happy dance* so not much trouble there. Political junk to clear up, and all that sort of stuff. Though I do have some things that I'm still foggy about. I'd like some opinions, if you please. *elegant bow*

(I have not disclosed names to protect the innocent [plot].)

Dilemma No.1: Most of you are probably aware that I have three Main Characters (hereafter referred to as MCs.) One of these is deadly ill currently and I am debating whether or not to have him die while his death has significance. I don't know if the story will feel cheap if all three come out unscathed, so ...

Dilemma No.2: The person currently in line for the throne is the son of the Human High King, so it would make sense that he would rule. But the Humans have ruled for over a century, and only because the other races were driven away by a war and were recently driven back together by another war. Should I have one of the other rulers contest for the throne, or would it get too messy?

Dilemma No.3: Should the enemy be allowed to stay in the country if they wish? My mom suggested this and now she doesn't seem to think it was a good idea. Most of the enemy army want to go back to their own country, but it could be both helpful and harmful to allow whoever wishes to stay there. They could stir up rebellion on one hand; on the other, they could help the country recover from the damage they inflicted.

Dilemma No.4: What should the Dragonriders do now that they aren't fighting? Police? Or what? I'm just going totally blank on this one.

A little help on these would be much appreciated.
Lady E

Nov 17, 2010

So it isn't Monday, but ...

This is one serious piece of Epic!!
Posted just this morning as a tribute to Two Steps from Hell's fans and a preview of their 2011 album Eclipse, I have already decided it is one of my favorite all-time TSfH songs. *maniacal laughter*



Composer: Thomas J. Bergersen
Artist: Two Steps from Hell
Album: Eclipse (coming 2011)
Images: dragons soaring, diving, blasting fire; cannonballs impacting the walls of a besieged city; roiling waters of a whirlpool; ship's flapping sails as it outruns the hurricane; cavalry charging down the slope toward the battle below; duel between black and white blades; assassin taking aim at the King; sparkling water cascading off the back of a sea serpent.

Give me your images! And bookmark that song!! *dances*

Nov 3, 2010

Discoveries (Helpful Ones)

So y'all are thinking that it's about time for another post?

Well so am I.

*beat*

Hmm, how about some discoveries that I made recently? Writing-related, of course. Here we go:


So yesterday I was browsing my Youtube favorited videos, and found a demo of swords by Darksword Armory. I decided to visit their site and check out their inventory, and I found that I really liked it. Although it doesn't have as much volume or variety as a lot of other medieval sites, they have a nice setup and feel very clean and easy to navigate. And their swords...man. This site is a really good source for pictures because of the clear views of the weapons themselves. They also feature some very nice test videos of the swords and their *heh heh* destructive power. Their portfolio of each sword is very informative with a bit of history about each one.
All this can be found at the Darksword Armory website.

Yes, this is a Dungeons and Dragons generator. No, I don't do D & D. I have, however, found that some of their material is very useful for writing. Take, for instance, this gen. You can input the first letter and last letter of the name, the first letter of the surname, the character's race, and other things to give it a specific feel. There are various name generators I like to use but this one was the most helpful one I've discovered recently, so I am most generously sharing it with you. *elegant bow*
The generator can be found at this location.
Other generators I like to use are Chaotic Shiny, Seventh Sanctum, and Yafnag.

One more before I have to go:



Alright, admit it. Most of you writers have injured a character at one point or another. Yes? So now that we have that established, I have observed that it is rather difficult to injure someone when you don't know how precisely that person is built. I only found this site a couple days ago, but I can already tell it's going to be very, very helpful. It offers large and detailed diagrams and explanations of almost every conceivable part of the body. I have yet to explore the rest of the site, but it appears to be interesting and I will keep you posted on that.
This can be found at Bartleby, Great Books Online.

Let me know what you think of these!
E

Oct 23, 2010

Science Fiction for Friday -- on Saturday? *shrug*

As promised. I wrote this at aobut 10:00 last night, so it's a bit delayed. Rayhan still won't talk to me, so we'll have to save his story for later. *sigh*


I was there when they brought him in, unconscious, mumbling incoherently, a long streak across the back of his Zangar getup torn and the flesh beneath red from laserburn and orange Restraints still flickering around his wrists and ankles. I don't know why I bother saying I was there, because where else would I be? Where else would a dangerous criminal be confined except the the galaxy's finest Coreship?
Yeah. Right.

I watched him, having nothing better to do, for the better part of an hour. The Restraints activated by the laser eventually faded. He wasn't going anywhere. I began pacing the room again. I hadn't done it in over a month, but restlessness had set in. I hadn't had a cellmate for over a year. I wanted some news.

In the middle of the fourth circuit of my pointless prowl around the mercilessly glowing walls, the youngster stirred and moaned. I squatted next to him, tracing a finger over the long streak of laserburn. He started upright, groaned, and sank back onto the metal floor. I rocked back on my heels and studied him again. Long, untidy brown hair, unusually aquiline features, startlingly blue eyes. I hadn't seen eyes like that since ... since ...

He peeked out through a thicket of brown bangs and scooted back against the wall, teeth clenched. "I know you. I know you, you can't be here. Go away. You're all over the Weave. Convicted for -- "
"Yes, well, we all know about that." I peered around his side, where the laserburn carried over to his left leg. "You should let me treat that."
"With your ... your witchcraft?" His voice was high and frantic, signifying near panic. "No. Get away from me. This isn't happening."
I moved back to my corner of the cell and leaned my head against the wall. A long silence ensued.

"You gotta name, kid?" I asked finally.
"Why should I tell you?"
"Far's I can tell, you're in the same boat as me. We're equals now." I pretended to examine my cracked fingernails. "You might as well spill."
He gulped. A lock of his bangs fell back over one eye. "A-Arely."
Huh. What parent names their cub something like that? I'd hate going through life with a name that meant Destiny. 'Course, Starfield wasn't much better.

"So," I drawled, licking my lips. "Whatcha in for?"
He appeared to be sorting through his memories. Another silence, this one stretching for at least five minutes, then; "Something they call love."
"Ha! Love." I grinned. He shrank farther into his corner. I ignored that. "So she dumped you and you went and did something stupid."
"N-no."
"Then what?"
"None of your business." He sniffed. "Why did they put me in here with you, anyway?"

"For fun. They like a fight every now and then. You want outta here?"
He didn't appear taken aback at the sudden question, as I'd expected, but a light of hope glinted in his colorful eyes. "I guess."
"You'll have to trust me."
He looked down. "I don't know how. I-I can't trust anyone, anymore."
"You'll have to learn." I narrowed my eyes, thoughts racing through my head like green Fighter lasers. "'Cause I'm your only way out."

Oct 15, 2010

Science Fiction for Friday

This is my first attempt at sci-fi. Tell me what you think!

I wiped my sweaty fingers on the slick fabric of my form-fitting Zangar outfit and positioned them over the smooth virtual keyboard.
“Commence infiltration,” muttered Karelei, behind me.
“Shush,” I ordered, reaching up to adjust my eyeband. “Here we go.”

I’m sure that without the technological sweat-wicking geniuses of the Zangar company, I would have been drenched. As it was I now wished I’d accepted the gloves offered me at the start of this endeavor. You don’t get sweat on the world’s top machine. No going back for them now, though.
Choking back my nervousness, I began pecking at the numbered keys, maneuvering quickly through the preliminary levels. The colors of each individual room flashed by, faded into a blur. White, black, green, orange–
Red.
Confirmation code required.
“Sayller?” I choked.

A combination of random numbers blinked into the corner of my screen. Except not. That was what I expected it to be. Instead it spelled a single word. Relax.
Sayller!!
“Chill. Kid, you have no sense of humor.”
The word relax faded back into the luminescent silver background. My favorite color. It was supposed to be calming.
Password: S45228G.

I keyed it in, double- and triple- checking each character. “You’re sure this is the right one?”
I felt the pulse of electric color and sound as Sayller’s solid frame touched the virtual wall. He had a bad habit of leaning on Detector substances. “Positive.”
“It better be, or we’re fried.”
“Like an egg,” Karelei joked feebly. “Sunnyside up.”
“Quit with the ancient history, sugar,” Sayller chuckled.
Affirmative, said the red room, and faded. Please wait.
I slipped off the eyeband and smiled weakly. Karelei turned to face me, clutching folds of her outfit. With a sigh, she let it go. It snapped back into its original position. “Thank you, Arely.”
“No prob.”

She pulled off her gold eyeband and blinked. Once again I was struck by the color of her eyes. My family couldn’t afford to use the bands on a regular basis, so none of us had the characteristic cream-colored pupil of the Weavers. Everyone said it had no effect on eyesight. Well, no known effect, anyhow. Most were too immersed in their virtual worlds to care. Some never even took it off.
Sayller included.
“Hang on,” he proclaimed, grinning. “Got an update.” He walked over to the far Receptor wall and began moving various invisible objects across it with his fingers. I knew that to him, it was the colorful, multi-layered surface of the Weave. To me, it was just empty metal.

I glanced back at the screen. “You’d think they would’ve had tighter security on that.”
Karelei rubbed a hand over her face. “They may. Wait till you see the next level.”
“Think we’ll get her out?”
“We have to try.”
Sayller keyed in the code for Illusion, and a shimmering film of color appeared on the wall. He’d been wanting a better quality machine for years, he said, but this one looked fine to me. ‘Course, I wasn’t exactly educated in the constant updates of the big-wigs. They’d only brought me along for my innate talent with the Equilibrium Complex.

The colors resolved themselves into the face of Tiral, one of our few tech experts. She was frowning. “This wasn’t part of the plan.”
“Look, it was my idea to bring Arely along,” Sayller sighed. “And he got us in, didn’t he?”
“Not all the way. You have to be more careful. You have to –"

The please wait screen flooded from black to red and emitted a low, eerie warble of warning. It tore at the fabric of my mind, ripped my Equilibrium into a drillion pieces. I whirled to face it, my fingers digging into the metal of my eyeband. An orange laser streaked across my back. I crumpled forward onto the cold white floor. The last thing I heard was Karelei screaming my name.

Oct 12, 2010

Character Discussion No. 2

Chayten: Where is everyone else?

Me: I decided to bring just you in for now, since you're giving me such a hard time. Have at it.

Chayten: Have at what? *leans against a tree, scowling most immaturely*

Me: You know what. And no trees. This is an interrogation.

*trees vanish, and we are in a cold, bare metal room with buzzing fluorescent lights and a single metal chair*

Me: That's more like it.

Chayten: *suddenly sitting in and handcuffed to the chair* That is not fair. *flinches at the lights* Those are too bright.

Me: Glad we agree on something. For those of you who don't know, Chayten is a Tuliran. This explains his sensitivity to the bright lights. *leans comfortably against the wall and smiles* So...what do you want to talk about?

Chayten: *stops jerking on the handcuffs long enough to say* I thought you were in charge of directing this conversation.

Me: Odd. You thought wrong.

Chayten: Shut up. *tugs on the handcuffs again*

Me: As long as you're going to insult me, those aren't going to give. *sigh* Alright. Tell me about your childhood.

*Chayten looks up, golden eyes wide with alarm*

Me: Alright, we don't have to talk about that. How about your stint as a Rider for Klista?

Chayten: You are picking the most painful topics on purpose.

Me: Maybe because you don't have anything that isn't painful to talk about.

Chayten: And whose fault is that?

*silence*

Me: What do you want to talk about?

Chayten: Nothing. Let me go back to the battle.

Me: You deserted!

Chayten: No I did not!

Me: Then what did you do?

Chayten: I... *looks down* I was angry at Arionwyn, and ...

Me: *gently* You can tell me.

Chayten: Afraid. When Lee interfered, I saw her for who she really was. And I knew... I knew that they would not forgive me for what I did, if they ever found out who she was. So I ran.

Me: I see.

Chayten: Can I go now?

Me: No. But we can delay the rest of this for later. This post has gotten far too long.

Chayten: *barely keeping back a whine* Does that mean you will keep me here until you work up enough courage to post again?

Me: I'll let you back into the main dungeon. Be prepared for *heh heh heh* development.

Chayten: Does that mean more fractalling? *cringe*

Me: *grin* Maybe.

Oct 7, 2010

Race No. 3 --- Tulirans

Here is some basic information about my race No. 3: Tulirans.

Tulirans are humanoid with a long, cat-like tail.

The Tulirans' eyes are gold and deep-set with a round pupil.

Their hair is coarse and thick with little shine, kept in waist-length braids or long ponytails. On the males, facial hair is mild, but most prefer to stay clean-shaven. The color is deep black or brown. When interbred with other races, a recessive gene often shows and they are born with silky, shiny gold hair. Among the pure-blooded Tulirans this is extremely rare.

Their noses are sharp and prominent.

Their skin is a deep brown (think African-American) to almost black. it is not thick, heals easily but also scars easily.

Their emotions can almost never be read on their faces. The forehead is high and broad, the cheekbones very prominent, the jawline strong and cleanly cut. This gives them a sharp-edged appearance.

Their build is slightly delicate, height averages from 6' 1" to 6' 8". The limbs are long but strong and slightly muscled. Their fingers are long and slender. Occasionally, among the less pure of their race, the skin under their fingernails, on their palms, and the soles of their feet will be pale.

Sense of sight rated at 4 1/2 (excellent), touch at 4 (very good), hearing at 3 (moderate), taste at 2 (poor), and smell at 2 1/2 (moderate). A weakness is sudden flashes of bright light. This can temporarily or permanently blind them.

Their movement is moderately quick, extremely graceful with very good agility, which enables them to climb even the most difficult of trees. Forest is their natural habitat. Their strength is moderate and their stamina poor. They can work magic and sustain it with moderate ease.

Their talent of gift from God is manipulation of wood, living or dead. Even the young ones can meld a piece of bark or a stick into a marvelous sculpture. The oldest and most skilled among them can make the tree spirits appear as visible beings and bend them to their will.

They hate wide, open spaces.

Their faith is strong but often twisted to reflect and serve their own ideals.

They are not known for their loyalty.

Their language is similar in sound and structure to French. They have fairly deep but sometimes nasal voices. If they learn English (called Lindian in my world) they will have trouble with contractions and many will drop them altogether. They usually speak fairly fast and loud enough for all to hear.

They have an affinity for fire and it is usually hard to enchant them unless they have been tainted beforehand.

Their leaders are chosen by royal blood or by a series of trials.

They prefer nocturnal hours.

Overall, they are a sharp, hard people. Their laws are merciless, and they often deal with others in the same manner.

Oct 4, 2010

Music for Monday -- Epic

So, I'm starting a new feature: Music for Monday! Today, as with many days, I felt like some Epic.

I'm beginning with the song that started it all.

Those of you who know me are very familiar with the fact that I listen to Epic music extensively. For those of you who haven't been introduced to the genre, it's the type of music you hear in movie trailers and the like.

This was the first really Epic song that caught my attention:



Composer/Artist: Two Steps From Hell
Album: Legend
Impressions: Rollicking, rolling waves; throbbing heartbeat; marching army; grim cadence of a requiem; menacing strokes of an enemy's blade; dances of elusive forest creatures, sneaking through the underbrush; wingstrokes of a dragon; swaying of trees in a hurricane; hectic chase through crowded city streets; rubble flying as a cave roof collapses.

Give me your images! :D

Sep 24, 2010

Lesson 1 -- No Throwing Frozen Vegetables


"Where are the peas?"

"Mmmm, check the freezer. Top drawer."

I stooped over the white metal container -- which was, at the moment, belching frigid air -- and searched for the elusive vegetable. A moment later my hand closed on the bulging plastic bag, twisted closed at the top and emblazoned with a deceptively green picture of peas the size of golf balls. Solid as a rock!

I shoved at the drawer with my knee and it closed with a satisfying thunk. "They're frozen."

My mother turned from her post beside the stove and pushed yet another strand of rebellious brown hair behind her ear. "We might have expected that."

I turned to look at the pot of simmering garbanzo beans, potatoes, and onions that constituted an Indian Spiced Potato Salad. "Can't put them in there like this," I muttered. "I wonder..."

Without stopping to consult her, I gave an extra twist to the top of the bag and dropped it to the floor. Mom jumped. I waited for an extra tense few seconds to make sure the peas weren't going to explode all over the floor. Delighted, I picked it up again. A few of the peas rolled around under my fingers; the rest of them stubbornly stuck into an impenetrable lump of ice.
Mom glared at me with a dubious, playful air. "I wouldn't do that..."

It must be understood that my mother is not your common person (those of you who have seen her antics on Facebook know this well). It isn't that she means something totally different from what she says, it's just ... okay, maybe it is. In any case, I knew both of us would enjoy it, so I dropped it again, sort of cringing and knowing that it would be too good to be true if they didn't spill this time.

Well, not too good, after all. There lay the bag of peas on the floor, unmarred. I bent to pick it up, laughing softly. Sweet!

Rolling the bag around in my hand, I noticed a rather large lump of unsurpassedly stubborn peas still stuck near the edge. Feeling confident by now I lifted it above my head to drop it again. Mom raised an eyebrow. "Don't push it."

"But -- "

"Think your luck'll hold, punk?" she teased, poking me. She stepped back and watched.

I dropped it.

Oh, woe to those who do not listen to the whispering, nagging little voice in the back of their heads! The bag of peas plummeted downward towards the tiled floor, and in that instant I knew I had gone too far. Still ... there was a chance that the tiny little twist of the bag top would hold ... and after this I wouldn't do it again. Hold...hold...

It held, alright.

It was the bottom of the bag that didn't.

And all of a sudden there were tiny green planets spinning all around the galaxy of fake-marble floor. I groaned. Mom tried to hide a laugh behind her hand. "I'm not helping you pick those up."

"I know that," I said, grabbing a bowl. "Do you think I'm stupid?"

What you don't know is that the day before, I had spent a rather lengthy day at the playground, jumping over things, running along a miniature train track, pulling myself across the monkey bars, and generally setting myself up for very, very sore muscles the next day. As a result getting down in the floor in pursuit of the peas was rather painful, and associated with a lot of grunting and groaning and several bouts of "ow, ow, ow", usually with each one a note higher on the chromatic scale. Of course these were all laughed at by my mom who was triumphantly grinning and standing over me with a wooden spoon in her hand. The little random comments given in a richly sarcastic tone did little more for my pride. Things like "I thought you listened better than that" and "Do you need your hearing checked?" and "I can't wait to see this become a Facebook status!"

"Oh no," I muttered, pushing myself to my feet with a bowl full of thwarted peas in my hand and a defeated smirk on my face. "This one's getting a blog post."

Sep 21, 2010

Speculations ...

I have been disturbed by all of the stereotypical fantasy races that all of the popular literature of that genre seems to employ these days. Even Eragon fell into that trap. So I have made my races more original in hopes of evading cliche. Raechal. Sivanis. Tulirans ... but still, something nagged at the back of my mind.

Aha!

Elves.

Those of you who know me know that I use Elves extensively. Two of my three MCs are Elves. I'm not saying that they cannot be used in an original and productive way, but mine were just like all the others ... which really troubled me, especially since I had come up with something unique for all the other races.

Last week, Friday about 3 PM to be precise, I had an idea of sorts, but discarded it because of all the problems it caused. The idea was to have the Elves made more reptilian, with a flexible crest from the top of their head following their spine down to their lower back. Their culture was shaped around this; their emotions were displayed by what position the crest stood in (flat, frightened, straight up, angry and so on), they wore low-backed tunics to compensate, etc. Problem was, I have written over two thirds and more like four fifths of my story and some of the things my Elves did would be restricted by this trait. I discarded it.

Then Friday about 8 PM I had another thought. This one ties into a bit of my world's history. Around a thousand years before when my novel is set, there was a war between the Elves and the Humans over the heir to the throne. Things progressed rather rapidly to a very ugly level. It came to the point where each race was killing the other on sight without cause or provocation. Desperate, each of the sides scrambled to create an advantage. The Humans had strength and greater numbers, the Elves had precision in arms and heightened senses. So here's where the magic gets involved.

A highly powerful group of Human magicians constructed transportation devices called Portals, fed by Elven blood and energy. As in, you would spill Elven blood on the activating area, go through, and have your passage paid by the energy of the Elf involved. No one cared about the brutality of this invention; they simply cared about getting where they wanted to go and about killing more Elves. My idea was that at this point, the Elves were in their original reptilian form (with the crest) and were not called Elves, but [insert cool name here].

In retaliation, the Elves devised a magical disguise that hid their crest and almost everything that betrayed them as not being Human. Three things remained; pointed ears, their tall slender build, and their lower pain tolerance. There was possibly some other physical trait that is yet to be decided, like patches of scales/scaly skin in certain places. The disguise was successful for a while, but when caught, the Humans, bewildered at this strange Human-like creature who was decidedly not Human, dubbed them Elves. When they were found out, the Elves were weakened and forsook the war, fleeing behind a magical barrier. For over a millennium they stayed there, so used to their magic-induced form that they relied on their older, more animal form less and less. Eventually, all Elves except certain small groups forgot how to break the magic restraining their old form and accepted the name and shape the Humans gave them.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Would it be too weird?

Lady E.

Sep 17, 2010

Fantasy Fiction for Friday

Inspired by Meaghan Ward at http://thepatriotscall.blogspot.com/, I have written some music-inspired fiction for y'all. This was totally a new idea for me. My first try at this. I have never been in this world before, never met these characters before listening to this song, parts one and two: http://youtube.com/watch?v=z9G_imteJWI



Welcome to Dorua.

The soft rustle of silk filled the room as Alima turned away from the window. Thick crimson carpet muffled her footsteps. The Doruan sheik Rayhan watched her cautiously, disturbed by the absent look in her large black eyes.
The princess lifted one dark, slender hand. The long sleeve of her flowing dress fell back from it ike ocean waves from a cliff. “I told you that the Rebellion was centered in the far east portion of Dorua.”
Rayhan’s lips quivered. What does she know about the Rebellion?
“I told you that it was nothing to worry about. That it was a group of untrained peasants with nothing more than pitchforks to fight with. That no portion of it could ever possibly reach the streets of our” -- she gestured out the window at the crowded streets below, blanketed in the dusky light of evening -- “enlightened city.”
A drop of sweat trickled down Rayhan’s back. Alima glided closer, her long eyelashes fluttering slightly, her red painted lips parted. Her feathered headdress slipped a little to one side and a lock of hair the color of suns-set caressed her bronzed cheek. Her smooth, soft voice tickled his ear. “I lied.”
Rayhan clenched his fists, straining not to scream from frustration. From fear. “My Lady?”
“Come to the window.”
Measuring his steps, Rayhan walked with her across the lavishly decorated chamber to the west-facing cutout in the stone wall. The blade of his curved dagger felt warm and hard against the skin of his upper arm, where his robe’s sleeve covered it. It was comforting, but not in the way he’d previously hoped. I don’t want to do this. I can’t. I won’t.
But what if ... what if I have to?

Alima said nothing for a long five minutes, while the two suns, dancing around each other, intertwining purple and orange rays, sunk toward the horizon. Soft cries and noises of hooves on stone streets drifted up to the pair. The city looked perfectly contented, pleasantly busy, happy in their huts and cottages and tents in the shadow of the enormous palace. Rayhan knew better. It was swarming with buried hatred, like a blue-hornet’s nest just waiting for the right moment to attack.
“Rayhan,” Alima began, her voice still smooth as the Tilami river. She chuckled. “Na├»ve I may be, but I am not blind. I needed to wait … the time was not yet right. So I didn’t tell you the truth about how strong the Rebellion really is.”
Rayhan gulped. “How strong, my Lady?”
Alima’s face hardened. Her features, in profile, looked like a fair but completely invincible stone wall. The suns-set light played on it, teasing, testing. Rayhan’s self-control wavered.
“Four thousand trained infantrymen.”
Rayhan narrowed his eyes. Her guess was surprisingly accurate. Though, how he knew that, she would never find out.
At least, he hoped so.
“Imagine the sway I could hold over them if I captured the leader. If I had him in this very room with me.”
His blood chilling, Rayhan glanced over at her. As usual, she was unreadable. Everyone believes that the leader of the Rebellion is female. How could she …
“I have that chance, Rayhan.”
Their eyes met, sparkling black and dazzling yellow, at the same moment. Rayhan felt as if he was falling into a glittering, shimmering black pit, bottomless, mocking. Her thoughts spun around him. With an effort he pulled back into the room. She knows. I have to act now – draw the dagger. DRAW IT! Kill her, NOW!
Alima moved first, and he lost his chance. Before he could blink, she was behind him with something sharp against his throat. The truth was unraveling in Rayhan’s hands, like a badly made rug.
“I have that power,” Alima whispered gleefully. “And I’m going to use it.”

Let me know what you think! Should I write more in this setting?
E

Sep 14, 2010

Character Discussion No.1

Me: Alright, I promised that I would have conversations with you guys on my blog, so have at it.

*profound silence*

Me: Why is it that you can always find something to say when I want you to be quiet and now you can say nothing?

*Aaron shifts uncomfortably, and Arionwyn looks at the floor*

Me: Alright, fine. We'll all sit here and keep our mouths zipped. See if I care.

Me: *two minutes later, a bit embarrassed* Can't you find anything to talk about? You can even argue for all I care.

Arionwyn: Wh-who's involved?

Me: Involved?

Arionwyn: In the conversation.

Me: All three MCs and some extras. Just you guys for now. Why? You've never been nervous about how many people are talking to you before.

Arionwyn: Before what?

Me: Nevermind. Is it the blog aspect that bothers you? Is that why you won't talk?

Aaron: Well, you never know who's listening. Uh -- reading.

Me: Iri, are you joining?

Iri: I feel...strange.

Aaron: You're in the Void.

Me: Not here.

Arionwyn: Then where is he? What point in the story is this? Is he still a villain? Has he even shot Blaze yet?

Me: Ummmm... I'll have to work on that. *pause* Honestly, do you have to be so difficult?

Arionwyn: I wanna go back to HW and play dodgeball.

Me: No. Aaron, aren't you used to tech and such yet? You have a facebook.

Aaron: You neglect it.

Me: Whatever.

Aaron: Do you have to do another battle?

Me: Are you complaining?

Aaron: No. Just asking.

Me: Yes, I do. It's the only way to vanquish Klista.

Iri: I want to help.

Me: No.

Iri: You never let me do anything.

Me: Oh, shut up.

Sep 2, 2010

Ideals (a poem by me)

Hear the stroke of a dragon's wings
feel the touch of the wind that sings
grip the sword in your hand that brings
Freedom.

Nigh the ring of the mighty horn-call
at Quintor's hand, evil falls
true and firm as a thick stone wall
Hope.

Hand to the ground, feel how it moves
white or black, and the conflict proves
hear the rumbling of stallions' hooves
Battle.

Taste on the wind the blood and sweat
muscles burn, but we can't stop yet
darkness consumes all it can get
Despair.

Warm the clasp of another hand
sworn foes and friends, both take a stand
'gainst the dark, together we band
Trust.

A glinting dagger in your back
angry thoughts as the world goes black
I should have known ... sense I lack
Betrayal.

Whispering growth of new spring grass
warm the sun 'gainst the window's glass
watch a flow'r unfold. Winter's past
Life.

Rusty blade, half-hidden in soil
broken in half, a strong blow foiled
jeweled hilt glimmers with ancient toil
History.

Flickering light on ancient tome
smell old pages and rain-washed stone
hear the voice of a sage intone
Knowledge.

Feel the spray of the untamed sea
rigging's creak and gull's wild plea
peer through the spyglass, you may see
Adventure.

Crumbled ruins, as old as time
subsumed by trees and curling vines
breezes whisper in aged pines
Mystery.

Elizabeth

Aug 31, 2010

The Restorer by Sharon Hinck (a review)

A scraping sound under the eaves interrupted me. For a second, I thought I saw something move in the shadows ... Voices ... seemed to come from the boxes in the darkest end of the attic ... In that instant the air became thick with pressure. My breath caught in my lungs. My ears roared as forces surged together under the eaves. The attic crackled with threads of electricity ... Then everything exploded.

Strange murmuring voices, figures in the darkness, lightning, energy, and then...
Susan Mitchell is flung head-first into a completely different – and very turbulent – world.
The first thing she sees, a fight to the death between two sworn enemies, strengthens the strong suspicion that she has finally gone insane. After all, for the past few months she has been gradually pulled down into a vortex of deep depression, fueled by the endless hassle of raising two teens and two toddlers. Manifesting doubts and fears about her once-strong purpose had finally driven her husband, Mark, to create an attic hideaway free of iPods, laundry, and fingerprint-covered windows.
Instead of calming Susan, however, it has just the opposite effect. After being flung through an inter-dimensional portal and meeting Tristan, whom she deems a murderer, and his mysterious (and rather creepy) friend Kieran, Susan finds out that she is evidently the promised Restorer, sent by the One to lead the people of the Clans back to Him. Understandably, Susan is a bit disconcerted by this information (okay, maybe a lot.) What is a soccer mom from suburbia supposed to do about the situation in which she finds herself – facing Hazorite armies, mind-controlling enemies, a power-hungry politician, and the gnawing questions that eat away at her soul?
This book was a very engaging read for me, with the combination of fantastic writing style, vibrant emotions, and stimulating theology. Sharon Hinck has created a masterful work using a palate of hope, love, sorrow, anger, fear, spiritual purpose, and a whole spectrum of others. The spirituality is accurate, but more importantly is deeply felt by the readers. The portrayal of the One in vivid detail encouraged and strengthened me to, as the one-word theme of the book says, Surrender. I found nothing offensive in the theology but rather felt impassioned by the up-close and personal view. Clarity is also a big plus for me in this story. The plot was easy to follow, meaningful, and charged with unexpected turns on every page.
What kind of read was it? Well, let me put it this way: I put it down at bedtime Friday night on about page twenty. I picked it up again Saturday morning and couldn’t put it back down until I finished it three hours later. Then I had to go and request the sequel from the library card catalog. Reading it wasn’t hard, but the reading level and vocabulary content were stimulating. It was long enough to give me a feeling of satisfaction and short enough to leave me wanting more. After the first few paragraphs I felt like I personally knew Mark and Susan, and a few paragraphs after meeting Tristan and Kieran I felt like I knew them as well. The characters are deep, colorful, and fault-filled (a good thing for fiction, since it helps the reader to identify with them – and identify I did. Kieran nearly brought me to tears.) The setting felt a bit odd at first, being a mix of sci-fi and fantasy technology (they fight with swords and have tech powered by magnets), but after a little while I got used to it. The plot is relatively fast-paced, but the events are clear and flow into each other nearly seamlessly.
In short: I picked up this book because A) the cover intrigued me and B) because I saw it on a friend’s list of the top ten works of Christian fantasy fiction. I picked it up again after the first read because the story and characters captivated me and couldn’t get enough of them. In my opinion, the series ought to be a lot longer than three books. The Restorer is a fantastic read.
E

I recently wrote this review for Into The Book, a team of Rebelutionaries dedicated to writing Christian book reviews.

Aug 25, 2010

On Unconsciousness (and falling into it)

I don't know about you, but in my current story (and in my next one as well, I imagine) I have several of my perspective characters [n. characters from whose perspective you write] being knocked unconscious. This happens rather often, but ways of expressing him can become extremely cliche. Sure, in the context of the story it's dramatic, suspenseful, and perhaps induces a bit of pity/sympathy, but how many times do you think you can use "everything went black" before your readers start to notice something?

Some authors I know of stretch the experience of being knocked unconscious into so many very looong sentences that I wonder if the character is ever going to actually black out. Tolkien, for instance, with Pippin in Return of the King. It takes him two whole paragraphs until "his eyes saw no more". While I don't necessarily have a problem with this and it fits with Tolkien's style, if I ever tried it the attempt would sound very, very cheesy.

Other authors will use a process of a few sentences, with the character seeing snatches of the world outside, possibly trying to claw their way toward it or willfully sinking, depending on the situation -- whether the character is fed up with his current position or wants to stay around to see what happens or possibly save himself from getting skewered, for example.

Most authors try to express it in two or three words, i. e. "everything faded" or "darkness closed in" or "blackness descended". While these are simple and effective, they are also used far too often.

Let's take a look at the last two, shall we?

I really think the "process" technique is good for certain situations when you want to prolong the experience and add more detail. If your character has been recently injured and you want to add some throbbing or whatever, now is the time to do so. If he thinks he's dying you can put in something about savoring life for a last, lingering moment. Try panic, fury, regret or cold acceptance for emotional detail.

On the other hand, the "phrase" examples are much more common and (as I have stated before -- maybe I'm trying to make a point? ;) ) profusely overused. While the "process" technique offers a good place for detail, I tend to think that the shorter version is a place for action. Unfortunately many authors who use this technique fail to employ strong verbs. Strong verbs are a must for any action sequence and especially one of this sort because it carries so much impact. If you want to use this "phrase" technique and you insist on following the template, go find a good, old thesaurus (no, really) and look up alternatives to the words already in use. Some starter words for a word like "fell" -- as in "fell into darkness" -- are plummeted, plunged, or sank. You could also try playing with engulfed or swallowed -- just don't use the same phrase over and over again. Variety really is the spice of life -- and good writing.

I tend to use the "phrase" technique for emphasis, with things like " slumped into unconsciousness" and "blackness claimed him" and, most recently, "plummeted into the waiting abyss". I've also read some interesting plays on the common template, things about black sparkles and fighting darkness (and losing). What kind of things have you come up with?

Also, if any of you ever decide to do stupid stuff like banging your head into a brass doornknocker (ahem, Sir Emeth) and faint as a result, try to remember what it feels like for someone who has never actually been unconscious, okay? ;)

Aug 16, 2010

First ever blog post....whee!

Well, here we go.
I suppose I should begin by telling you a little bit about me. Though, what with the profile info...forget it. Let's start instead by me telling you what you should expect from this blog. A whole lot of zany, very little sense, and perhaps some hidden messages...nah, forget that last part. Anything profound is about three miles beyond me.
Let's get a little more specific, shall we?
So from my interests (and those of you who know me and connect with me via facebook) you probably know a little of what you'll see here: epic music, story excerpts, conversations with the people inside my head, etc. I'll expect feedback from y'all in return, just to let you know. I'm always welcome to any sort of constructive criticism. So don't be shy.
I'll also occasionally be posting pictures from my excursions, whether to my backyard or to the big city, musems and such. the intervals between posts may vary from daily to over a week. I have a rather...erratic schedule.

Well, so ends my first blog post!
E