Spotlight #6: Meet Samuel (Iris, Part 2)

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Spotlights: excerpts, commentary, and random stuff about my current writing. Previous Spotlights can be found here.

If you remember the last Spotlight, I introduced to you a new story that I’ve been calling Iris but will probably be called something else (The Flower of Esclia?). Well, it was supposed to be a short story, but I have 17,000 words so far and it’s still not done.

So it’ll probably be more of a novelette/ novella.

Anyway, I told you about some characters last time, and today you get to meet a new one! His name is Samuel, and he’s quite fantastic. He’s the son of a travelling merchant and was Rosie’s and Iris’s childhood friend. He’s perceptive and…I don’t know how to describe him. You’ll have to read the excerpt.

Random updates on the current writing: The story keeps getting more complicated. Shippiness is at an all-time low between Garic and Iris, but don’t worry, it’ll get better. And I basically have no idea what I’m doing anymore, so I’m making it up as I go along.

All right, all right, I’ll give you the excerpt.

A few minutes later, Samuel sat down next to her and flicked the reins, starting the horses into an easy walk. “The prince is in the back…but he’s right, you know. It looks like it might snow.”

Iris tilted her head to the sky, blanketed with clouds so that neither stars nor moon could be seen. “Maybe.”

“So what’s this about Rosie?” asked Samuel.

This was not how she wanted him to find out. If anything, she didn’t want him to find out at all. Rosie would be better in his memories as free and unfettered, not crippled and locked away in her room. “Last time you and your father left…”

“Yes?”

“About a month later, there was an…an accident.”

Samuel turned to her, dark eyes filled with pain. “What happened?”

Iris took a deep breath. Better to get it over with quickly. “A carriage driver lost control and one of his horses nearly killed Rosie. She survived but…but she has no movement below her neck.”

He was breathing heavily, and she thought she could see the memories running through his mind. Their times together had always been filled with physical activities, with running wild through the streets in a race, or playing tug-of-war, or dancing in the lantern glow of the autumn festival.

That had been the last time Samuel had been there, and Rosie had practically glowed all through those two weeks. And at the end was the festival, where the musicians played and the people of Eyspar danced, and Samuel and Rosie had spent half the night together, spinning around each other and whispering and laughing.

Looking at him, Iris knew that was exactly the memory in his eyes.

“She’s pulled through, though,” she whispered. “You know Rosie…she can find happiness in every situation. I don’t know how she does it, but she does.”

Samuel didn’t answer for a long time, the silence filled by the wind in the grass and the quiet clopping of the horses’ hooves on the dirt road. Finally he spoke. “It’ll be warmer in the wagon. You should go inside.”

It was easy to tell that he wanted to be left alone, so Iris nodded, and he stopped the horses so that she could climb inside.

The wagon was cluttered with wares and barrels and a dim lantern hung in the corner, swaying, illuminating Garic in the only clear spot, leaning against the wall.

She sat down as far away from him as she could, which was only a few feet, and looked down at the ground.

“You’ve been crying,” said Garic.

Of course he’d notice the one thing that she was trying to hide. But what did it matter? It didn’t change the fact that Rosie was never going to stand or walk again. That she could never be who she was once before.

“We haven’t seen Samuel for over a year,” she whispered. “He didn’t know about—” Her voice broke. “About Rosie.”

Iris glanced up at Garic, bathed in warm lantern light, extending his arms to her.

Tonight, when the wind whistled sorrowfully and Samuel’s heart was breaking, she let herself go to him. Tonight he held her, and his solidity dampened the pain, made it bearable.

Tomorrow she would push him away again, tomorrow, but tonight…tonight she let her silent tears fall on him until she fell asleep.



lettuce talk (hahaha I’m so clever)

What do you think of the Spotlight/excerpt/Samuel/everything? Does the block quote format make the text too big? (I’m kind of thinking so.) If you could put the characters into any situation & observe their reactions, what would it be? And randomly, how are you today? What’s been the best part of your day/week?

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Mermaid Clans, Fairy Tales, War, and Adorable Princes (a.k.a. my NaNoWriMo Novel)

It has clearly been too long since I last posted, but I have been busy. (And also procrastinating, but let’s just focus on the busy here, hehe.) Anyhow, I’m back today to ramble for a little while for the novel I’ll be writing for National Novel Writing Month this November!

If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is who are you child, it’s where you try to write a novel in a month. Obviously. If you want more info, head on over to http://nanowrimo.org/

Butttt my novel! Let’s talk about that. It’s called….drumroll please…Battle Song. And I’m sure you’re wondering what it’s about, and, to be honest, most of it’s in the title.

I actually did talk about it a bit in this post, which also had this picture I drew:

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Of course, at that point I didn’t know I’d be writing it for NaNoWriMo, and it’s more developed now, so I’ll just give you a quick summary right now. Basically, the idea is a retelling of The Little Mermaid where the mermaid loses her beauty rather than her voice, and also where the mermaids are a warrior society.

This idea has been developed more and I just want to ramble a little bit more about the stuff I’m really excited about, mentioned in the title.

Mermaid Warrior Clans

I am so happy about this. The MC is named Amrya il Osamarii, from the Osamarii clan. Basically there’s these huge family clans/tribes and they all war among themselves because…well, because I can’t resist having fighting or war in my stories. I just can’t. I’m pretty sure that there may also be something with some of the tail scales being valuable or increasing your position in society…but yes, they’re all warriors, including Amrya.

The reason I love this besides the whole warrior thing is that we get lots of new culture with a clan thing rather than a typical nuclear family, and there’s also going to be a strong theme of family. Amrya has five older sisters (or maybe only four, I can’t remember…), and one of the main points in the story is about her mother who died a while ago.

Her mother’s death is especially important because in the original Little Mermaid story by Hans Christian Andersen, the whole reason (besides love) the mermaid becomes a human is in order to have an immortal soul (which, of course, Disney took out) rather than turning into sea foam. So the whole sea foam/immortal soul/life after death is going to come into play in the novel, which I’m really excited for.

Fractured Fairy Tales

Okay, I just love fractured fairy tales and retellings and all that fabulous stuff. I’m just going to fangirl over those until the end of my days. I adore Ella Enchanted and also there’s some great ones by Jessica Day George that I read recently, and if you have any recommendations of adorable and awesome fairy tale retellings, please tell me.

I think it’s so interesting to see how many different twists you can take on one story, and I especially love the twist I’m going to be using. It’s going to be more about falling in love because of what you say and how you act and actual friendship rather than the annoying “love at first sight” stuff. Which’ll be great. And just people who are able to be actually in love and don’t just care about beauty. (I’ll probably talk about this more in the adorable princes section.)

And then I’m so excited to be writing a fractured fairy tale just because I get to include all of these extra little tidbits from the original story. Like, the palace is a yellow-ish color, and there’s a river thing that runs under the prince’s balcony where the mermaid watches him which, you know, isn’t creepy at all, and the girls who find the prince after the little mermaid has rescued him are actually part of a convent. There’s all sorts of cool reference things that help develop the culture, and I’m very excited.

War

I told you before, I can’t resist including a war in my novels. And just because continuous battles between the mermaids isn’t enough, the humans are also in a war. Is it bad that I’m already fangirling over this? And this is made so much better because the prince that Amrya is trying to get to marry her is also trying to deal with a war and generally just annoyed with her because of that. But since Amrya has grown up learning how to fight (and more than that, underwater, where it’s so much harder because of the water resistance), she gets to show off her sweet skills and totally be better than him. It’s wonderful.

Adorable Princes (who I just want to hug because they’re great)

This is possibly one of the things I’m most excited for. I always fall for romances with princes. (Ella Enchanted again.) They’re just my favorite, especially when the princes are so cute and sweet and just the perfect gentlemen.

And there are two fabulous princes in Battle Song. I can’t wait. I haven’t really developed their characters yet, not like I have with Amrya, but I know the basic idea about them. There’s the older brother (and the fact that they’re brothers makes this even better because siblings are fantastic), and he’s the crown prince. He’s a little arrogant and rude but I still love him so much because arrogant princes are so dramatic and fabulous. He also happens to be the one Amrya saves from drowning and also makes the deal with the sea witch to marry, but no way does he want to marry her.

But, there’s also the younger prince who is so squee-worthy because he’s one of the perfect gentlemen kind of guys. And he becomes Amrya’s friend and they’re adorable and sort of fall in love, all while Amrya’s trying to get the other prince to marry her before he marries anyone else. Which creates this love triangle-ish sort of thing, but it doesn’t really count because we all know who she’s supposed to end up with.

I don’t want to give away too many spoilers, but there’s this one scene that just makes me die a little inside when I think about it because of its cuteness. Basically, there’s that whole thing where, because the little mermaid’s deal with the sea witch, every step feels like stepping on knives, right? And, in the original fairy tale, there’s this scene where the little mermaid is hiking with the prince and her feet start bleeding. And so I decided that Amrya’s feet get worse as time goes on from walking on them, and they eventually start bleeding. She tries to hide it from everyone, but eventually the younger prince finds out–and basically adorableness ensues because he’s worried about her and gahhh the damsel in distress and valiant knight thing always get to me.

And the best part about the younger prince is that he loves Amrya even though the sea witch took away her beauty, because he knows who she is inside, and that’s what he loves. Which is exactly the kind of guy I want to marry me.

And one more thing that makes me excited and also a little nervous: I haven’t yet decided whether or not it will end happily. I mean, you look at any other fairy tale retelling, you start the book, and you know it’s going to end happily. But with The Little Mermaid, the original doesn’t end happily. And so you actually have a chance of a sad ending where things don’t work out, and the girl doesn’t get the guy, and it’s not happily ever after.

Which I both hate and love at the same time. I hate it because I want Amrya to have a happy ending and I love ships that work out and fall in love, and that’s how I feel it should be. But that’s also why I love the idea of a sad ending: it’s not supposed to end that way, and you know it. But, that’s how life is sometimes. There’s tragedies and pains and there’s all that feeling and that’s the part of me that wants it to end with the prince marrying someone else and Amrya turning into sea foam.

I’m undecided right now, and it’s possible I won’t even decide until the very end. I think I’m procrastinating the decision.


Anyhow, that was a very long post, but also very fun! Are you participating in NaNoWriMo this November? What are you writing? I’m so excited for Battle Song (if you couldn’t tell). Tell me what you think. Do you love fairy tales as well? Wars? Adorable princes? What are your favorite fairy tale retellings?

The Lady of the Vineyard Blog Tour + Character & Author Interview

This is an exciting post because I get to be one of the blogs that opens the blog tour for The Lady of the Vineyard, a novella by Kellyn Roth, who you may know from her blog, ReveriesYou also may have noticed her from the rather long comment chains we tend to make responding to each other’s posts.

Kellyn is a homeschooled author and she’s already self-published one novel, The Dressmaker’s Secret, which is a historical fiction novel. BUT that is not what our post is about. This post is about The Lady of the Vineyard, which…is also a historical fiction novel.

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and can I just take a moment to flail at you about how a cover I made is going to be on a published book? *MUCH FLAILING*

By now I’m sure you’re absolutely dying to hear the synopsis of the book, so no more waiting, I’ll just give it to you:

Judy has lived with her egocentric mother since her parents divorced when she was a baby. When her father, Troy Kee, shows up at her sixth birthday party and whisks her away to his vineyard in France, Judy is more than happy to go with him. But Adele, Judy’s mother, isn’t quite ready to give up her daughter. Can Judy forgive Adele? More importantly, can Troy?

The Lady of the Vineyard tells an amazing story of change, growth, and love, and it’s going to be published on September 10th–in two days! But if you don’t want to wait that long, you can preorder the Kindle version on Amazon.

And now, to the fun stuff! I was able to interview both a character from and the author of The Lady of the Vineyard for the blog tour, and so I chose to interview Judy, the serious six-year-old girl this story is about.


Interview with Judy

Did you ever think about your father much before the story began?
No, I guess not. I knew he was somewhere … but nobody ever talked about him. I mean, Aunt Lola did sometimes, but she didn’t visit all that often.
What is your favorite thing about your mother? Your father?
My favorite thing about my mother is that she is beautiful. My favorite thing about my father is that he is wonderful.
Would you rather spend time with other people, or on your own?
I’d usually rather spend time with other people, but I like being with Daddy a lot.
What is your favorite childhood memory?
I don’t think I have one yet.
What do you want, more than anything else in the world?
I just want to stay in one place and have everything be the same. I don’t want things to change all the time anymore.

But change is fabulous and that is what this story is about–how hard change can be…and then how amazing the results can become! Isn’t that awesome?

Afterward, I got to interview Kellyn Roth, the author of The Lady of the Vineyard, about…well, author-y things!


Interview with Kellyn Roth

What inspired the characters in The Lady of the Vineyard?
I think for once I made character to fit a story instead of visa-versa. 🙂 Of course, they ended up jumping off the pages eventually, but y’know, their basic personalities were pre-determined.
Who really encouraged and inspired you to publish?
My friends, especially my friend Bailey, were always encouraging me too, and then NaNoWriMo (YWP, of course) is so awesome for encouraging young writers to write and write and write! But I think mostly if helped a lot to get my blog set up and feel like I was official.
What book(s) are you currently working on?
Ivy Introspective (The Chronicles of Alice and Ivy, Book 2) is really what I need to focus on what now … but I’m also plotting out At Her Fingertips (Book 3). And … writing random bits of writing based on every plot bunny I can catch.
What was the biggest thing you learned while writing The Lady of the Vineyard?
The Prohibition didn’t happen in England. Or France. XD
Not really. But that’s a hard thing to pinpoint. I suppose one of the things I learned is that oftentimes my philosophical rambles don’t make sense – at least not outside of my head – and it’s sometimes better just to do something that actually makes sense.
And … that didn’t make sense. 😛
What is the best part of writing and being an author?
Being able to control everyone. *evil laughter*


Be sure to head on over to Reveries and congratulate Kellyn on the publishing of her novella and to check out the rest of her blog tour! And if you’re looking for a short and sweet story to read, The Lady of the Vineyard is just the book for you.

Reformatting and the Epic Sci-Fi

As you can see (or maybe you can’t, if you’re on the Reader or your email), The Music of Words has undergone a marvelous transformation. Okay, it’s not really that amazing, but I think this design has a more professional and clean-cut feel to it than my previous one.

So, there’s that. And I’m also finally going to tell you about the Epic Sci-Fi! I’ve had this idea for a couple of weeks, but I haven’t gotten around to telling you about it until now. Here’s the story.

Long, long ago, in a galaxy far, far away, Lana had an idea for a story. (Well, it may have slightly been stolen from some sort of adopt-a-prompt thing where someone actually took it before she could, but she altered it anyway, so that was okay.) And the idea for the story fascinated her so much that she wrote the first scene during her choir class, which was rather difficult, since in choir, one is supposed to be singing, not writing.

She wrote anyway.

It was about a guy named Kai (the name suggested by one of Lana’s friends) and how he had to go through something painful without showing any pain, or else he would die. And yes, there may have been a girl watching him.

When Lana came home from school, she typed up what she’d written, adding in a dying mother, and continued to write. The girl became Taira. Kai stayed Kai, because Lana didn’t have any ideas for a better name.

And, slowly, the story evolved. She wrote in it between NaNoWriMos, scenes here and there, and in just shy of a year, she’d finally finished the 98,000 word draft. Lana loved that story so much that she decided she would come back to revise it.

Throughout the next months, it stayed on her mind. Ideas for its revision started to pop up, as well as ideas for a second book. Though she wrote other things, it was the thing she kept having new ideas for.

And then the idea hit her, just a few weeks before Camp NaNoWriMo was supposed to start and she was supposed to write the second book: this could be an epic sci-fi. (Which was like an epic fantasy, only in a sci-fi setting.)

This idea intrigued Lana, so she started to work on it. More POV characters than just Kai and Taira rose to the surface (there became six total), and new plots were added in. The setting became slightly more developed, and she just ended up loving the idea even more.

Lana never expected to be a sci-fi writer. She always thought that she’d be a writer of fantasy, since that’s what she loved to read, but these books became the ones that she’d always wanted to write. They were awesome, with a plot and characters and a villain and battles and run on sentences (the grammar could be fixed later).

The novel that was once called KT (based off the names Kai and Taira) became Enhanced, and its sequel, Cryonic. (Remember that post where I told you what I was doing for Camp NaNo? Yeah, that’s the same Cryonic as here.) Lana was totally ready for Camp (note the sarcasm) and she was ready to take on any challenges that her new series, her Epic Sci-Fi, would give her.

-TO BE CONTINUED-

I know, that was a cliffhanger. You can hang on to your cliffs for a little while longer, though, because we don’t know how this story will end yet. We have come to that blank page that is called “the present”.

Camp NaNoWriMo starts in two days. (Or maybe three, I never know how to count these things.) And while I certainly don’t feel ready for it, I am excited for the story to continue and to work on Cryonic. It’s going to be so much fun, and I am definitely going to enjoy myself.


You can find summaries of the first two books with the “Epic Sci-Fi” link-y thing at the menu bar at the very top of the page. Enjoy!

Short Story: Resolve

This is a short story I wrote for an English assignment, but I like it anyway and I think it’s at least somewhat decent. But be warned, though it’s not gory, it does go into some murder stuff, so if you don’t like reading about that sort of thing, you might not want to read it, just warning you. (I don’t think it’s too bad, but then again, that’s me, the heartless author.)

Also, for the school assignment I had to use 20 words invented by Shakespeare in the story. If I’ve done my job right, though, you won’t notice any of them. Hopefully. Here’s my short story, Resolve, and yes, that’s a word Shakespeare apparently invented.

“He’s trying to kill you.”

In the darkness of the abandoned factory, Evon Demarco’s eyes found those of Nivera Clare, his business associate-turned-fellow runaway. The frown on her face was quickly mirrored by one of his own. “I’m not going to hurt him.”

She held out the gun to him once more, but just the thought of pulling that trigger made Evon feel sick. “No,” he said again.

“He’s been hunting you for four days, and he’s not going to stop no matter how long or far you run.” The shadows on the gun’s surface writhed as Nivera shook it at him. “He doesn’t just want to drive you off, he wants you.”

Evon refused to look at it, instead watching the faint dawning glow through the factory’s high windows, not yet bright enough to pierce the gloom below. “Regardless, Nivera, I will not shoot my own son, no matter how misguided he may be.”

“Misguided? He’s a devious, cold-blooded snake who’s trying to murder his own father.”

His thoughts fell on Drane. He could still remember when he’d been a bright-eyed boy, looking up to “Daddy” in everything he did. It was hard to connect that with the jaded, haunted face that had threatened to kill him. “Yes, misguided. He… They pulled him into this.” And yet, Drane had made his own choice.

“I don’t think you understand how dangerous he can be.”

Evon sighed. He knew it full well, knew that Drane would kill him in an instant if he was given the chance. His little boy was hardly recognizable anymore, dark and distant. And dangerous. “I do understand, Nivera, more than you know.”

“Then you know how much bad he’s doing. Better for him to die than for him to kill a thousand more people.”

Evon forced himself to look at the gun. One flex of a finger, and thousands of lives would be saved. One single second, one single shot.

He averted his eyes to the dusty, broken machinery left here years ago. Could he leave Drane here, to be laid to rest, his only companions the mangled remains of a once busy factory, now numb and faded and lonely?

No. “You do it,” he whispered.

Even though he was looking away from her, Evon could feel the look she was giving him. “We only have one bullet, and you’re a better shot than I am. By the time he got close enough for me to shoot him, we’d both be dead.”

Evon’s stomach twisted. Nivera didn’t understand that, no matter what Drane did, he would still love him. How could he hate someone who he’d raised to adulthood, when he could remember seeing that six-year-old smile and kissing away all his bumps and bruises? Nothing could erase that love.

Dauntless, Nivera walked around in front of Evon, forcing him to look at her, and thrust the gun into his hands with determination in her eyes. The metal burned cold against his skin.

Protests welled up inside him, but none of them made it past his lips. His fingers refused to drop the gun.

Far away, a door opened.

The silence that followed was deafening. They both knew what it meant. Drane had arrived, and he wasn’t going to leave until there was only one person alive, and it wasn’t going to be him or Nivera.

Evon met Nivera’s wide eyes, and she motioned at him, lowering herself silently under the tangle of unused machinery, the only viable hiding spot. A few seconds later, he followed with a vague scuffle, crouching under the grasping arms of the dying factory.

Neither spoke.

The dust they’d stirred up drifted noiselessly to the ground.

That was when the footsteps came. Evon could hear at least three sets, moving through the factory. It was easy to pinpoint which one belonged to Drane; they were the same footsteps he’d heard for over twenty years.

“I know you’re in here, Father,” called Drane, mocking voice echoing through the quiet air. “It’ll be just like those games of hide-and-seek we used to play.”

In the stillness, Evon could hear Nivera’s shallow breathing from beside him. She looked at the gun. Nodded at him.

Evon’s fingers were slick, sliding along the gun’s smooth surface. Through the partly twisted metal, he could see a spot along the wall where, if Drane would walk past, his head would be in exactly the right spot for a killing shot.

The thought made him shudder.

The sound of the hurried, searching footsteps filled the air, but Drane’s whispered voice carried itself above all the noise. “Ready or not…here I come.”

Evon tried not to breathe, tried not to think about the gun in his hand and his son walking toward him. Tried not to see Drane in the corner of his vision, walking toward the exact spot he’d found earlier.

His heart weighed more than stone, squeezing against all of his organs as if he were drowning, and yet it was pumping more rapidly than ever before. His palms were sweaty, his breathing becoming more labored though he tried to stop the noise.

Nivera said he needed to kill Drane.

The very thought made bile rise up in his throat. Evon took a deep breath, closed his eyes against the pounding in his head.

And remembered.

Drane had loved it when Evon threw him up in the air and caught him in an embrace, or when they spun around and around and around in dizzy circles until they fell to a heap, laughing. Evon missed the sound of that six-year-old giggle, the one that bubbled from his mouth whenever he discovered something new and wonderful about the world around him.

He missed everything about his son.

Maybe that was because none of those things existed in Drane now.

Eyes opening, Evon could see Drane nearly at the perfect place for the shot. Nivera elbowed him, and slowly, he pointed the gun at the face of his son.

One single shot, just one shot.

“Daddy, Daddy, come see!”

To save a thousand lives.

“Look at the flower, Daddy!”

One shot.

The face of his six-year-old son overlaid the years older face of Drane for a single second, as the gun lined up perfectly with his head.

“Now!” Nivera shouted.

The gunshot rang through the empty factory, bullet screaming in the air before slamming into its target.

Sound drifted away as Evon’s gaze blurred between his bloodstained fingers and the gun that dropped from Drane’s hand and clattered to the ground.

Evon Demarco looked into the eyes of his son for the very last time.

“I could never have killed you.”