Why I Disappeared + My New Writing Project

disappearance blog header.png

So you may have noticed that I disappeared from the blogosphere.

I mean, it was just a slight disappearance that took up, yeah, about the whole month of April. Eek.

And I know what you’re all wondering: Why did you leave us with no warning? We’ve all been suffering without your fabulous blog posts! Don’t leave us anymore!!

Or something of the sort.

Well, there wasn’t a huge reason why I disappeared…mainly just a culmination of lots of little things that led to me not posting and only commenting on a few blog posts throughout the month.

Here’s some of the reasons:

  • I totally failed Camp NaNo. I don’t know how this affected me, but about the time I stopped writing in my novel, I stopped checking my blog as much. I stopped writing because I got to a point where I didn’t know how to write anything I liked (which I’m still struggling with, a bit).
  • The post I was working on was taking a long time to put together. Like, it was taking longer than my Dares posts do! It’ll still be coming to you, at some point, but I’m only about halfway through it at the moment. (For a sneak peek, it’s about positivity!)
  • Life was busy. Between school nearing the end of the year, choir festival, composing a choral song, reading lots of books, and procrastinating a lot, there just wasn’t any time. (Okay, I had some time. But not a lot.)
  • And…yep. I’m sorry for leaving you without your favorite blog.

But I’m back now, and hopefully for quite a while as well!



And now for more exciting things… I’m working on a new writing project!

Well, “new” might not be the correct terminology. I actually started this project two years ago, during April Camp NaNoWriMo, so it’s actually quite old. But I haven’t worked on it for a very long time, so right now I want to finish it! (Remember, one of my New Year’s Resolutions was to finish writing three novels.)

It’s called The Blade (or, at least, that’s what it’s called for now), and despite there being a lot of fighting and war and stuff like that, it’s really about the internal struggles of a girl named Riven, trying to figure out who she is.

It also involves:

  • A sword-fighting teacher who doubles as an counselor
  • A boy with a crooked smile and great letter-writing skills
  • A sash
  • A loyal horse (or two)
  • A desert-y setting with canyons and red rocks
  • A mysterious man in black (yep, like Princess Bride)
  • A magic-less fantasy
  • A war
  • And a lot of heartbreak

And I know you’re dying for an excerpt now, so I tried to find something non-spoiler-y but still something I loved. So here’s this:

“Sometimes Malik sings to me when I can’t fall asleep,” said James, leaning up against the rock.

I stared. This Malik was sounding stranger and stranger. What sort of man would sing a little boy a lullaby to help him sleep? Well, perhaps the same kind who would take a whiplash for him. The kind of man who would love…so why would he be with the Bleeding Sun? “He sings to you?”

James nodded.

“What does he sing?”

“I can’t really remember all of it,” he said softly, a faint blush of embarrassment rising to his cheeks. Perhaps he didn’t want to have me intrude on this memory. Or maybe he just didn’t like singing.

“What’s the song about?”

James drew his finger through the red sand for a few moments before answering. “It’s about falling asleep and dreaming of a castle, and a princess.”



talk to me!

Did you miss me terribly? (Actually, don’t answer that, I know you did.) Did you write any awesome posts that I didn’t read/comment on & should? What was the best/worst part of April for you? How did Camp NaNo go for you? You must tell me everything I missed! And what do you think of my new project? Are you excited to learn more about it?

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:

mermaid colored pencil 2

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?

Spotlight #2: From Discarded Character to Possible Plot Bunny

HELLO I AM BACKKK.

Yes, for all of you who didn’t realize, I disappeared from my blog again for about two weeks this time. Why? Well, I was procrastinating a lot on the Internet and I also didn’t feel like I was spending enough time with my family, so I chose to basically not go on the Internet for a week, and it was actually really nice. I did spend more time with my family but most of my time was actually spent at band camp for marching band.

HOWEVER I am back now and here to share my second Spotlight with you! Earlier today I was reading the first 40K I’d written of Cryonic during April for Camp NaNo (and it is surprisingly better written than I had thought) and there was one chapter that really stuck out to me.

Some of you may know that at one point I decided to have 6 POV characters in Enhanced, so I added in a character who hadn’t been in the first draft, but then I took him out again about a month later. His name is Zen, and he’s an awesome character but he didn’t really fit with any part of the plot, so I decided that maybe he’d just be a minor character in one of the later books or something.

But reading over this chapter that I wrote, I had the idea that I could give Zen his own novel, and I think I would enjoy it. But I shall stop rambling now and actually share the chapter with you so you can see what it’s like and decide if you would want to read more. (If not, that’s totally fine, haha. It’s a) a rough draft, and b) my style is definitely not everyone else’s style. I like honest feedback.)



Disclaimers: The chapter takes place during a war, a very bloody war. So there is a lot of death and dying and killing and blood. It’s not necessarily gory since I didn’t really go into description of gory things, but it is war, and it’s meant to be kind of horrific and emotional and dark. It’s fine for most people, I think. Also, it’s almost 3000 words, so it’s…really long. I won’t be offended if you don’t read it all. 😉



“Get under cover!” Zen yelled to his team, ducking behind one of the makeshift walls as bullets whizzed past him, soundless to the silencers in his ear that simultaneously allowed him to communicate with those in his team.

The answers came back through the silencers and around him, he saw the members of his team. Adrenaline pumped through him, mixed with determination. “We’ll stay here for another minute, and then charge forward. I’ve just received word that they’ve damaged the outer wall of the city enough for some people to get in just to the north of here. We’ll charge past the other line of men and jump through the walls, take cover, and wait for more orders.”

The others nodded, and in that moment, he knew how exhausted they all were. They’d been assaulting the city for days now, and in the blazing heat they were all getting tired and dehydrated. He took the water bottle out of his suit and drank some of the warm liquid, the rest of his team following suit.

“Ready…” They stood at attention. “Go!” Moving together, they clambered up over the wall, Zen in the front, firing their guns at the enemy line, just waiting for a bullet to puncture into them. They had been given bulletproof armor, but it didn’t cover everything in order to allow mobility, and there was always the chance that one would die, especially the more battles one went through.

And Zen had been through quite a lot.

The enemy fired back and he ran as fast as he could, relying on his strengthened muscles and days of long training to increase his speed enough to run past, enemies falling, spraying red blood. Zen felt a few bullets hit with a slight pressure on his bulletproof suit, and each one made him wonder if this would be the last run he made, the last breath he took.

Some part of him just wanted to stop, to let the screaming bullets take him, but he never did. He kept fighting not because he believed it was right, but because he couldn’t let his friends around him down.

Especially not Lian. This was his first battle, and he was under Zen’s command. That was enough to make him run like the wind.

They reached the wall, a gaping gash of a hole bombed through it, like an open sore, rubble surrounding it like blood. Zen covered for the rest of his team as they climbed through the hole, jumping from pieces of rock in order to make their way through it. He counted them off as they came through, all of them there. After they were all in, Zen followed, bullets pounding against the bulletproof vest. How long would it be until the vest fell to pieces from the battering? He knew they could last for a long time…but how long?

The sight that met him inside the city walls caught him off guard, even as his body continued the motion and ducked behind the side of a house with the rest of his team. No military met them, no one fired back. Bloody, wounded bodies were left on the ground from the bombing of the wall, but as he peered out at them, he noted that they wore no uniform.

Civilian bodies.

The twisting in his gut began, the same horrific feeling that had come over him at the last battle, when he’d seen a similar sight. Surely they would have evacuated the people closer to the inside of the city? But…they hadn’t. Why?

“What next, Zen?” Barro asked, and Zen turned to face him, swallowing slightly. He had orders…but those orders were for a military base, not a civilian compound.

Was it time to disobey? No, not yet, he couldn’t let them know yet that the disapproved, but he couldn’t kill innocents either. This conversation was probably being recorded…they might be able to find out what he said next. He searched for a solution, one finally coming from his mind. “They must have bombed the wrong part of the wall…we’re supposed to be in a military base, but those are civilians. For now, we wait here for further orders. Everyone alright?”

Zen took a glance over his men, and found Lian a little ways away, trembling, his whole body shaking like a leaf as he stared with wide eyes at the bodies.

Walking forward, Zen moved toward him and put his hand on the boy’s shoulder. He seemed to calm slightly at the touch, but the terror was still in his eyes. “Lian,” he whispered, “I know it’s hard to look at. I know that sick feeling you get when you look at them. But there’s nothing we can do about it now.”

Lian coughed and sniffled, the sound clearly audible with the silencers stopping every other sound. “We should have been able to do something.” His voice was shaky and weak, and Zen wondered again how Lian had managed to convince the military leaders he was trained and fit for apprenticeship into the war.

He squeezed his shoulder, opened his mouth, and then closed it again. He couldn’t say much with them listening in to him, couldn’t give the kind of comfort that he wanted to. He didn’t really know what to say, then. War was all he remembered, the killing was all he knew. And civilians…they’d been nothing to him before. But after Lian had been assigned to him, he’d started to feel again. Not to remember, but to feel.

Sickening, that’s what every battle felt like after the adrenaline was gone and the stark reality was there, staring up at you with empty, dead eyes.

“Come back here, Lian,” he said quietly. “It’s better if you don’t look.”

The boy let him lead him away without any argument, and as he turned, Zen caught a glimpse of movement in the empty space left of the hole.

Reflexes took over. Zen pushed Lian away and whipped out his gun, firing at the movement.

Silence.

“Zen?” Araena’s voice was quiet, worried, tense.

“It might have been nothing,” he said, relaxing slightly. “I thought I saw something, but it was probably just my imagination.” I’m seeing things… It was hard to tell if it was real or not. There could be enemy soldiers out there trying to get a shot at them…or it could be something else. His memories? He’d thought he’d seen flickers of it, like visions appearing in his mind before, melding themselves with his surroundings. Had he seen that flash of motion once before?

Or, of course, he could just be going crazy.

“We’d better keep an eye on that opening. Teika, Vessen, Elko, stay here and watch. The rest of us are going to scout around just a little bit, in case there’s any soldiers here.”

The idea had come to his mind after the motion there, as gruesome as it was. Could the enemy really have placed civilians in the place they knew the bomb would hit in order to distract invaders afterward enough to ambush them? That was even more sickening, but it somehow fit. No civilian would stray near city walls knowing that they were being attacked.

Zen made sure to take Lian in his group when they split around buildings, wanting to keep an eye on him. He didn’t remember his first battle, and the blank spot frustrated him to no end, but he was sure it must have been as horrible as this.

What would it be like to be like Lian had been before he’d come here? Not knowing about death, not understanding that life could be so easily taken. The boy valued life so much more than Zen did, and part of him envied that, wanted to feel an ache at every life he took away, to make sure he really knew what he was doing, but the other part of him was grateful that he didn’t understand it fully, that he didn’t remember what life was like before.

He jerked back into the moment, looking through the scope of his gun. In the distance, he could see movement. Pointing toward it, they headed that way, and as they came closer, he saw it was a woman, holding onto the lifeless form of a body, head bowed over him, hair covering her face.

Quietly, they moved toward her. The others followed him around a house — he didn’t want to frighten her into running — but when they came back out again, she was gone. There wasn’t even a body there, just…nothing.

He was definitely seeing things, and it made his head hurt. Was he going crazy? Or, were they, as Lian had suggested, visions of memories that were now slipping into his mind when it related to the situation?

It was true; there was something familiar about the things he saw, unless he was just imagining that part, but whenever he tried to actually remember anything, he wasn’t able to reach past his memories of a few years ago, except for the occasional whisper of something tickling in the back of his mind.

“This way,” said Zen, leading them through the buildings and trying to focus on what was at hand. The past was a long ways away, and the present was now. He couldn’t afford to spend his time looking backward. “You seeing anything?”

His team answered with negatives, and he nodded, weaving through the buildings. Maybe he shouldn’t have taken Lian with him — there was a body in nearly any direction you looked, and many of them had been shredded by scrapnel. This wasn’t any place for a boy…and yet something in him said that’s what a war was, to turn a boy into a man.

But was a man someone who saw death and felt nothing or saw it and wanted to weep for the life that had been lost?

Focus. He was having trouble with that today, and it wasn’t a good mindset to be in when they were in the middle of a war.

A war with what? Civilians, innocents?

His spinning thoughts were focused a second later, when he heard a voice crackling through the silencers. Teika’s voice, worried and fast. “Zen, we’ve got a problem.” Silence for a few seconds, as Zen turned and started running toward them. Then, “They’re swarming through, like rats. Can’t keep them away for long.”

“Hold on as long as you can. We’re coming for you. Keep me updated.”

As he ran, all the worst scenarios that could happen ran through his head as he imagined what had happened. The flash of movement, then, had been real, and he hadn’t been seeing things that time. They’d been lying in wait, and he’d misjudged. He’d taken most of the group, and then the ambush had happened from the wrong side.

Zen cursed over and over again, making sure none if it was going through the silencers to his men. If they knew how worried he was, they would be too; it was the simple rule of battle psychology. Act confident, be confident, and your men will accept it as truth.

Teika’s voice came through the line again, this time strained. “Been shot…in the leg…hurry.”

Zen affirmed that they were coming and then cursed again. This wasn’t supposed to be going like this.

And then another thought came into his mind: if Teika had been shot and she was still the only one who had contacted them, what was happening to Vessen and Elko?

Zen wanted to comfort the others on his team, to tell them fake assurances, but he couldn’t think of anything to say. So there was silence as they ran, settling over them, deep and heavy, like a thick cloud of smoke.

When they came across the gaping hole in the wall, his mouth went dry. The enemy soldiers were pouring in still, covering the hole, as Teika had said, like rats. Zen fired a spray of bullets at them, and a few went down, but not enough.

He found the three of his soldiers holed up in an alleyway — at least they’d retreated to a semi-defensible system, rather than staying out in the open. That gave him some hope, but it was quickly discouraged as they charged over to them. Teika was barely standing, leaning against the wall for support, and Elko was barely able to fire his gun from where he sat near the wall, clutching at a wound on his side, maybe at one of the straps where the bulletproof suits came together. Vessen was unconscious behind them, not even moving.

Zen was filled with such a rage that he’d never felt before. If he hadn’t been able to feel sorrow before, he’d never felt this either. It rose up in him like a raging fire, unable to be stopped, like lightning being flung across a stormy sky.

And for the first time since he’d started to feel, he wanted to kill.

The shots from his gun blazed into their men, pushing them down where they fell. He felt returning bullets slamming against him, but he ignored it, focusing solely on making them bleed as much as possible.

How dare they touch his men, how dare they shoot them, how dare they attack them defenseless when they knew their leader was gone?

They were monsters, and each one he killed seemed like a mercy.

But no matter how many of them he shot, they just kept coming, swarming toward them, filling up the area before the alleyway, as if they were waiting for their chance to die. As if they were sacrificing in order to try to get at least one good shot in.

And they did. Zen watched as his men started to get shot, one by one, thankfully not in the most vital of places it seemed, but they left and the enemy kept coming.

Each one made him shoot more. When he ran out of bullets, he tossed his gun back to Teika, who refilled it as he grabbed the gun Vessen had dropped, exploding more of the others, killing them, pushing them away as best that he could.

The fight seemed to last ages as they came and came, pooling around them like blood. No, like carnivores, ready to consume their prey. It seemed that everyone was wounded except for him when others on their side finally came, enough of them to make a difference, enough of them to make a rescue.

Zen watched all of it with glazed eyes, as they took the gun from his hands and the rage kept on inside of him but his body was so tired his arms simply held limply at his sides, waiting.

He finally came to his senses when one of them started taking the pulses of his wounded men. “What are you doing?” he asked, stepping over to him, feeling weak on his feet.

“Making sure they’re alive,” the man snapped back, his words sharp and abrupt, pounding into Zen’s skull. Had he really talked like that before he’d met Lian?

Zen swallowed as he moved to each of them, his heart sinking as he moved toward Teika, Vessen, and Elko, the three that had first been here. He wanted, with all his heart, to believe that they were alive, but the stark reality was that they’d been wounded for longer than anyone else.

When the man checked Vessen’s pulse, his fingers came away with bloodstains.

“Dead.”

Zen’s stomach plummeted, and his whole body seemed to cry out in pain. Not Vessen, not the strong and noble man who would have given anything for the rest of them, hiding it behind grumbles that any person could see through.

In war, though, there could only be acceptance, not denial. It didn’t change anything. Vessen was dead no matter what he did.

Lian came to stand next to him, putting his hand on his arm. When Zen turned to look at him, there were tears in the boy’s eyes, but he was the one who did the comforting. “You did everything you could. You’re not responsible.”

Zen wanted to pretend to be strong, to say, “What makes you think I’m sorry?” but he couldn’t. He only shook his head.

Lian kept talking. “This is war. People…people die. That’s what they say. I calculated the statistics of someone dying today and the chances were high that one of us would suffer a fatality, so I tried to expect it.” His voice choked up. “Vessen isn’t just a number, though.”

“Wasn’t,” Zen whispered. He didn’t know what to say, what to think. “I haven’t lost a man since…since Fyn.”

Lian tensed beside him; Fyn had been closer in age to him than any other. Zen half expected him to start spouting some sort of statistics, since he seemed to do that when he tried to comfort, but he didn’t speak.

Neither of them did, standing there in the alleyway as it was slowly emptied of their wounded friends. Finally Zen just started walking, and Lian followed, the two of them moving out of the city.

It was hard not to step on any of the bodies.



If you managed to read through all of that, what did you think? Did you like or not like? Are you curious about Zen? I am. I haven’t figured out half his secrets yet. Did it make you feel emotion in any way? And, most important of all, are you excited to see me back in the blogosphere again? 😀