Sunday, December 17, 2017

Meet the Books! - The Treasure of the Twin Temples

Hey! I'm back with - guess what? - another...
Anyone excited? I am! :D Ahem. Anyways, Meet the Books! is a link-up started by moi, to the purpose of introducing your novels on your blog for anyone who's new to this. Anyone with a blog and a story can join, and the only rules are to answer the questions and put a link back here in the comments so I can see (you're welcome to take the picture as well). And have fun, of course! ;) That being said now allows me to continue with aforementioned questions. :)
What is the genre?
The genre of the book I'm talking about today is Fantasy (in fact, it's my only Fantasy besides The Second Brother). It could also be rather accurately phrased, though, as Action/Adventure or Historical Fiction. I'm thinking about it being a Children's Fiction, but I'm going to have to consult my co-author on that one, because it just so happens I'm co-writing this with my best friend for fun.
What is the title? Time period?
The title is The Treasure of the Twin Temples (it was the original title from four or five years ago). And the time period is the 1600's, back in pirate-y times, you know.
How is it written (POV, MC, etc.)?
It's written - like all my stories - in third person limited, but - as I said before - being co-authored with my writing confidante (which is exceedingly convenient). ;) There are two main characters, Cap. Westly and Cap. Morales, whom I will introduce in un momento.
What gave you the idea?
Me and my best friend used to act out games of sorts - I know, we're so mature and grown-up - which were stories, and the very last one we acted out (started about four or five years ago but never finished) was this pirate story starring a couple of very unlikely friends sailing to save the civilized world. We each had our set of characters and each had one of the main characters, but we would sometimes switch. It was pretty fun, but we never finished playing it out (still don't know how it ends), and so it fell back into the past for a while. But then, one day, I said it would be a good idea to write some of the adventures those characters went on. next thing I knew, I was going after my best friend, questioningly her pesteringly about co-authoring the original story. And I finally said yes. ;) Haha... in the same way Flynn Rider did, too. :P
Who are the characters?
Baron/Captain Dominique Jaun Ferdinand Morales II is a Spanish nobleman-pirate of a very vivacious and charismatic character. She was my best friend's character - meaning the one she played, but he was the life of both our performances (and is still the life of the story). He's a bit like an odd mix of Flynn Rider, Errol Flynn, Prince Naveen, and maybe a tiny bit of a less crazy and cheating Captain Jack Sparrow. Needless to say, he's a pretty lovable pirate. His ship is the Evela La Belle (don't ask about the French name... long story). Dominique is mainly a pirate for the kicks, as he's already rich and rarely pillages or plunders and never really kills anybody (but... he does get into fights and duels more habitually than any other character I can think of...). :P And, through a very strange turn of events, he becomes the unlikely friend of
Captain Peter Westly, a quiet and rather closed-up personage. Westly is a sailor of undetermined type, but often identified (whether falsely or truthfully) as a pirate because of his rare dockings and powerful ship (his ship, however, as Dominique loves to gloat, is smaller than the Evela La Belle). Westly's ship is called the Cygnus (Westly was my own character, by the by). He is very quiet, but somehow becomes close friends with talkative Dominique. Often he keeps to himself, but what he does say is worth listening to.
Captain DeClouve is a French pirate who has been known to get in duels with Dominique a lot (he really hates Dominique, but Dominique finds him only slightly irritating). He's definitely a bit of a scumbag (okay, more than a bit), which is exactly why he is one of the antagonists - no secret about that (I mean, the book begins with Dominique fighting him, how could I keep his villainous nature secret?). Anyways, though, DeClouve is a scum that, at least up until a certain point in the story, wasn't any particular danger...
Princess Suzannah Margeurite Renee is the tight-laced daughter of the fictional French colony's king (it is called a French colony, but I think we're changing it to just be French-based). She is of a girlish character within, perhaps, but without she is always either affectionate or cold   no in-between. I suppose it is from being spoiled as a child, but such is her character.
Pierre Dumont is Dominique's first mate and best friend besides/before Westly. And, though Dominique has a decided dislike for the French-based colony and its people (especially DeClouve), Pierre is an exception. Pierre is an optimistic but more following sort, but is a splendid first-mate.
Lorice Selvyn is the quiet and thoughtful favored friend of Suzannah's, a nobly born young lady who was disinherited years ago due to a false claim which dishonored her name and broke her engagement. Due to this, she has been little more than a peasant for years, but when with Suzannah is cared for and disguised in full. She has been through a lot herself (unlike spoiled Suzannah), but she would be willing to go through even more for Suzannah - which she does have to do...
Darien Altmoor is Westly's first mate, a fairly easily excited fellow (who, despite this easy excitement, thankfully knows when to keep his mouth shut, due to years sailing with Westly). He's in it a lot, but other than being a first mate, he's not a super big character.
King Blaise Renee is the little-shown king of the French-based colony and Suzannah's currently absent father.
And I think that's everyone (excepting a barmaid in a tavern who only appears in two scenes). :)
What does the plot consist of?
Pirates meet under strange circumstances, discovering an alleged curse and sailing to save the world from an apocalypse of undead rising from the hexed treasures of two different identical pagan temples before time runs out. Cheesy, yes, but that's what the original plot was. We're currently working on the new one. :) Although, in defense of cheesiness, it was originally intended as a game for just our enjoyment and not as a novel. So, stand by plot-wise. ;)
What is the setting?
The setting is a fictional set of 17th century countries (two of them French and Spanish-based respectively). Also, pirates. Pirates and sailors and ships and ports and princesses and such things.
Who is the favorite character so far?
Well, no one has read or even been told much of it aside from us the authors. However, I think both me and my co-author pal are in sync that Dominique is the best character (as cool as Peter is).
What is the favorite scene so far?
Um... Well, there's only one scene that has been released and read by anybody other than the writer of it, but I'd say it was pretty well-received. It's the beginning scene, where Westly pulls into port (right before he runs into the raging duel of Dominique and DeClouve).
Any themes of music for this work?
Well, Derek and Brandon Fiechter's youtube 'Hour of pirate music' is splendid for the setting, but ther are no official themes yet, no.
Any drawings?
Yes - here is my own drawing of Dominique (front) and Westly (back), though faceless they both remain in said picture.
Any snippets?
Not this time, as only one scene has been officially released to the public - actually, why don't I show you that one scene? It's pretty short, after all...
***
The sky stormed and shook. A fire shone in the eyes of the man facing Peter. Peter stood his ground, looking straight at the fire fearlessly. The man scowled and turned away. "Captain?", spoke a voice, breaking the ominous scene.
The sky became clear, the sun bright, and the evil-eyed man was now merely Darien, Peter's first mate. Peter stood at the helm of his ship, the ------------ . Peter mentally shook himself into reality. "Yes, Darien?"

"We are but a couple hours now from port", Darien said. "With luck, Sir, we can be there in only one"

"Good", Peter replied, and he stepped down from the helm. "Take the wheel, Darien, I am going down below"

"Aye, Sir", Darien replied faithfully, and he took the helm.


Peter stepped down below into his cabin. He paced there for a moment, but then sat down at his desk. He picked up the letter upon it, and began to read once more the strange message:
My dear Captain Westly,

I urge you to come immediately to Port Luera on behalf of Chalera. Do not expect any less than the worst, but come with all good hopes. Chalera wants her closest friends before her, ere she goes. She may be gone by time you arrive, but still, I urge you, come. I will await you by word or presence. There is another factor I cannot now explain. Your servant,
Luiz Tamarca.
Peter put down the letter. He had been repeatedly puzzled by it. What was this factor Luiz could not explain? Luiz had been taking care of Chalera, an old native of Port Luera, for many long years. Peter had known her for many long years as well. What factor could be too much for Luiz to tell him? Chalera had been sick for a long time, but Luiz had anticipated it getting worse, so surely nothing could be too surprising? Perhaps.... perhaps it was not the illness that he spoke of? These questions would hopefully be answered soon, when they pulled into port.


From above there came a call. Peter knew what it meant. He calmly grabbed his coat and strode above to the deck. They had just pulled into port.
***
I know it's a bit on the odd side, but it is the first scene of a first draft in a story that started out as a game of pretend, so give me a break, please. :P
Strong point in story?
The attachment. Because it's been around for so long, me and my co-author both already have a great attachment to it, and are eager to write it (eager in my case, mildly interested in my co-author's case).
Weak point in story?
The ending. See, since we never finished the game, we don't actually know how the story ends. However, we will be figuring that one out soon enough... :P
What are your plans for it?
Firstly, coordinating it with my co-author. Then finishing it. Then maybe publishing would be advisable, but maybe not.
Any particular writing habits for it?
As to my co-author, I don't know. But I could give a very close guess. She probably listens to Pirates of the Caribbean, eats Esther Price chocolate, and takes all day to write the one scene, while thinking to herself what a wonderfully horrible cliffhanger of a stopping-point she left me. I, on the other hand, write violently and avidly and take but fifteen minutes to write a lot (though I also indulge on chocolate, in my case Cadbury).
If it were made into a movie, what would be your ideal cast?
I think the guy who plays Wesley in Princess Bride would make a good Dominique (with black hair, of course), and the guy who plays Norrington in PotC a good Westly, while Natalie Portman as Suzannah, Lily James as Lorice, and Johnny Depp as DeClouve. Darien doesn't really matter, but Tom Hiddleston would be a good Pierre.
And that about wraps this feature up. What did you think? Would you read this book? Who do you think would be your favorite character? Did you like my beginning? Trust me, my co-author's writing is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay better. ;) If you would like a look at its aesthetic or a better glimpse, here is the Pinterest board for it.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

The Day We Saw the Blue Angels Fly - A Poem

A poem about the amazing Naval air-stunt team, the Blue Angels, who I saw fly twice, but who captured me both times.
***
Dedicated to my cousin, Andrew, for whom I originally wrote this, and to the hero that we saw fly that day.


My cousins, my uncle, my grandpa, and I
With my aunt to the museum went;
There we saw the Blue Angels fly,
And in awe our time was spent.




Over us all they flew above,
Unafraid of the heights they explored.
It gives me chills just thinking of
the way that each speeding jet soared.




Through the sky they fleetingly flew,
Like rocketing birds of the clouds -
Each was just a flash of blue,
To amazement of all in the crowds.

Loudly rioted air against wing
As they spiraling spaceward blazed,
Trailing a white, billowing string
When to the stars their focus was raised.




Hours passed in a moment's glance,
While from excitement we were chained
With each turn, and swerve, and dance
Of the blue, brilliant planes.




And though brief was our visit there,
Remember always will I
The day we went to the museum of air,
And saw the Blue Angels fly.

What did you think? Did you ever see the Blue Angels? Were you as riveted as I? I was so excited - little did I know, though, that day, that I had gotten the autograph of a hero upon my Blue Angels picture; Angel #5. Only a month or so after I saw them perform in Florida he died, crashing his plane with him in it instead of ejecting, so as to save the building of people that was in the course of his stunt plane. I had intended this as a light-hearted poem originally, just written for my cousin's poetry recital contest at school, but that hard piece of news a month later gave the poem a new meaning to me. I'm glad I wrote it, and I'm keeping it. I only hope that it does just honor to the pilot who gave his life as a Blue Angel. I'm putting it on here as a memorial not just for him, but for all military members who serve at a cost... even the ones in stunt planes save lives.


Sunday, December 10, 2017

The Pain of a Memory - Part IV

Hello again! This is the continuing story of The Pain of a Memory, one of my current WIPs. The first three parts are below:
Part I
Part II
Part III
Please enjoy! :)
***

The old traveler laughed. Well, perhaps he wasn't quite old - not yet at least - but weary, and he had certainly been through much. But that didn't matter now. He was home again, and he couldn't help laughing with joy every time he neared the place he loved so.
He gazed down at it reminiscently. A long time ago, he would've never known this place, much less known it as home. Well, it had become his home, because there was someone there waiting for him, and if that wasn't a good definition of a home, he didn't quite know what was.


Echo, as the traveler's name at home was, stood on a road over a hill, looking across the plain to see quite the sight. Below and ahead of him was a castle, a great garden, and a small village, all within close quarters. But didn't he look to the great mass of greenery, nor to the grand towers. Echo's first gaze was immediately spared for the simple village, where he knew there was a small hut that had someone - or some ones - waiting for him inside.

Echo's weariness abated at the sight, and he began to run like a giddy child in the direction of the town. He had just come back from another long journey, serving the king, seeing sights, and remembering things he'd thought he had forgotten. But now, he was done, and he could enjoy this place again. He could finally feel in its full force the splendiferous sunlight upon his tousled hair. He could finally feel the slight dampness of the morning upon his skin, like a long drink to a soldier lost in the desert. He could finally see the ever-growing green glade-flowers along the path, and hear the tiny stream trickling a little ways off.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                   

Echo then halted, having finally reached the city. He looked around again, savoring every bit of the place. This small but prosperous village was his home. The only home he'd had in almost eight years. Echo had been through thick and thin - battles, wars, journeys, adventures, quests of every type - and he had no wish to go on any more of such things for a very long time, if ever again. He was home now.

Echo walked the streets joyfully for a moment, stopping by a small inn labeled The Glorious Gallivant. He smiled and entered the oddly-named inn. Inside it was fairly busy. Well, at least busy for a small village tavern.
Then an auburn-haired man passed by Echo. Echo turned, and summoned the man, recognizing him immediately.
"Hey, Grant, can't a man get some decent service?", Echo beckoned jokingly.
The man turned to him, seeming angry for second. "Now, sir, if you're not satisfied with our -- Echo!" The man seemed to gladden on recognizing him. "You're back! Back from another of your glorious gallivants, ah?"
Echo laughed again. "Hah! The most glorious gallivant of mine is right here, Grant. Oh, I'm glad to be back!"
Grant smiled for a moment, but then looked down. "Oh, Echo, I wish you had waited just one more day to arrive"
Echo raised an eyebrow. "Why?"
Grant got that 'Did I really just say that?' look in his eye, and he attempted to smile again. "Ah, nothing; it's just that I'm finished brewing new ale tomorrow, you know, it's always best the first day, or at least you always said so"
"Grant?", the traveler suspiciously looked at him.

"I think someone over there needs my attention", said Grant abruptly, and he scurried off.
Echo shook his head smilingly, too glad of home to really persist in making Grant speak. So Echo decided to go. Perhaps he could go somewhere else and more successfully find out what was going on.

As Echo went through the streets, though, he passed a certain small hut, though, and stopped. Echo knew the hut. This particular little house stood out to him, with its an aroma of flowers and fresh-baked bread. Echo couldn't resist going in, because this fragrance was very familiar, and very dear. He could find out what Grant had been talking about later.
So Echo entered. Inside were a young girl and a small boy. The girl was just taking a loaf out of the furnace-stone. She smelled of fresh bread and was bespattered down her front with flour. The boy was tending the furnace-stone's fire carefully, but when he saw Echo walk in the door, he shouted with glee and arose, dusting ash all over himself. He ran to Echo, but on realizing he was covered in ash, refrained from embracing Echo. Echo squeezed him anyways, taking a large whiff of the amazing aroma that filled the house. Oh, how amazing it was to finally return...
Then Echo turned to the two children smilingly. "Ariff, you've gotten taller in these three months. What have you been doing to get so? Ah, Lania, that smells  amazing!"
"Hello, Echo!", said Ariff, seemingly delighted that he had grown any noticeably taller.
 
Echo looked down at him. "Hmm, so you've heard about my nickname in the village, ah? Bet that Grant told you, didn't he?"
Orlania smiled at Ariff and brushed a whip of her wavy blond hair out of her face as she set the loaf down. "Yes, it was Grant"
Echo chuckled. "Good old Grant..." He turned back to Ariff. "Well, you can call me anything you like, Ariff... even Echo"
"Why do they call you 'Echo'?", asked Ariff curiously.


"Because of this", said Echo, pushing back a large portion of his hair, revealing an empty spot where his left ear should have been. "It's not my favorite of the names I've been given" He laughed exasperatedly. "I suppose I don't pay attention very well, so Grant used to joke that when he talked to me, it just went in through the hole, echoed around in my head, and went right back out again. That's why they call me Echo. Not a very nice name. Do you know why you're called Ariff?"
Ariff looked up expectantly for a moment. "Nope. How am I supposed to know? I'm only ten... and besides, it was you that named me, wasn't it?"
Echo nodded. "Yes, indeed it was, Ariff. But I'll tell you why your name is Ariff. You are named for someone very brave who was once my friend. But he and another very good friend died in the war I fought in long ago, and I never saw him again. I named you after him so I'd never forget..." Echo trailed off reminiscently. Then he shook himself back into the present. "But some time later, I was wandering around the country, and I saw you two in the streets, orphaned by the war. You were only three then, Ariff, so you probably don't remember. But your sister, Orlania, was eight, and she knows"
Ariff looked at Orlania in awe. She smiled and nodded. Ariff looked back at the traveler expectantly.
"You were so little, and without a family to name you, so you had no name then",  he continued. "And because you were alone, I took you along with me, and named you, Ariff, after my friend and comrade. And so that is your name", he finished, and he looked silently off into the distance for a moment.
Ariff looked up at Echo thoughtfully. "I suppose all names mean something, then?"
Echo smiled. "I reckon so... and if not, I think they should"
Then, suddenly trumpet-call sounded from outside. Echo knew that call. It was a summons for the knights of the king. Echo had to leave them again already... So soon...
"I must go", Echo said to the children firmly. "I'm sorry" And with that, he limped out.


The picture this scene was originally inspired by, The Departure of the Knights.
On his way through the street, Echo looked back one last time. Orlania was watching him sadly from the doorway. A tear dropped onto her pale cheek. How Echo wished that he could wipe away that tear himself. The only family she and Ariff had was leaving again, and perhaps one day he would not come back.
I know, I know. Another scene from a different POV than Anwynne. But I promise they are very important, and will all meet eventually. I can also promise you something which may be a joy to some in my audience - the next scene is Anwynne again. :) Yay! I just am grateful to all you lovely readers for being so patient with me - I don't know what I'd do without you guys! :)
But anyways, what did you think? Do you prefer Echo to Lan? To Anwynne? Or are you hanging on for the last POV character (who will also enter in a little while)? Or have you all stopped reading by now? I don't blame you! ;)

Wednesday, December 6, 2017

The Motherly Writer's Award

Hallo - I am doing something new today, and starting my own tag. :) With my own cute picture, too.
There. Now that's a tag picture (cough cough a mediocre one cough). And the picture gives away the name of the tag - The Motherly Writer's Award. The rules are such:
  • Thank the person who tagged you and link to Belle's original post
  • Take the picture
  • Answer the motherly writer questions (which I will put in this post)
  • Tag at least three bloggers at the end
However, while nobody tagged me (as I'm the one starting this), I do have to thank two people for this tag. Kate, for making her Evil Writer's Award, which inspired my complimentary one, and then Catherine, for supporting the idea (and for being such a motherly writer herself). That being said, I'll continue with the questions. I will answer them myself, just to get things started off, but anyone who doesn't want to read my answers can skip to the bottom of the post where I'll tag some people and list the questions by themselves.
How motherly are you to your characters? What sort of a mother? Strict but attentive? Spoiling and soft? Tender but cautious? Or perhaps you are one of those writer mothers who is not so motherly?
I am a spoiling mother. And one who takes favorites, often. :P So... not a great one, but a very attentive and loving one (so long as I'm not in a certain mood, of course, in which I kill off characters). :P My ink-and-paper people keep me company throughout all the day - never a moment's rest, never a desire for one. But, so long as I'm not busy inflicting misfortunes on my characters, I am very motherly to them ("You don't have a girl yet?!" "Oh, that injury!" "How would you like to have another new friend?"). ;)
Do you fret about your characters' fates? Their dates? Whether or not they get kids of their own?
Yes. This is perhaps the thing I fret about most over my poor characters - he needs a girl, she needs a guy but doesn't fit him, why have these two been married so long and still don't have kids? - I think I'm a bit obsessed perhaps. :P Although, in my defense, when they choose their own dates it usually ends badly (think of Celeise and Lothaire!)... except in a couple remote cases. And I think I still only have one married couple (that aren't parents of a main character) that are parents at all in their story.
Are you sad when your characters are hurt? How sad on a level from one to ten are you when one of your characters in injured physically or emotionally? Spiritually? What about if they die?
Um... emotional character injuries, I get so sad that I'll sit in my room crying just after reading that one kinda sad scene that I've already read a bajillion times and wrote like months ago. So maybe a nine on that :P Spiritually, it actually kind-of satisfies me, because usually I intent conversion for them eventually (in the cases where there is no conversion, though, such as the villains, it does make me a tad bit sad). So maybe about a two. Physically, I go through an unusual process of first enjoying it and then being sad (and then really enjoying it again when my readers yell at me for getting their favorite character in the hospital). ;) I would say about a seven, though, when I'm in the thick of it. As for deaths... every time one of my characters dies I go through a complex multi-staged path of grief usually ending with easily awoken sobs. Definitely a nine. So, in short, yes, I am generally sad when something happens to my babies (even if it's caused by me)...
Are you aggressive or do you retaliate when someone insults or doesn't like your characters/book? To what extent?
Mmmm, actually not really. Unless it's one of my pet characters. Then I get mad. On the inside. Outside I just kind-of laughingly try to assess exactly why they don't like the character, and then pass their opinion off as just a silly reader (providing it's one of my pets). If it's not a pet character, oftentimes I will agree with them.
Which of your characters do you "baby" the most?
Probably either Percy from Alomina (he was one of my first babies, after all!) or Harry from The Top-Hat Gang (another one of my first babies). Although I would like to say I baby Blakely from Alagna, I must say that actually I leave him on his own a lot, unfortunately.
Which one of your characters do you let fend for themselves the most?
Probably Owain from The Second Brother. I really have very little sympathy for him due to his constant complaining, and so even when in his head, not a single sympathy expressed for his situation is me talking. I mean, I have less sympathy for Feotheire from the same book (because, unlike Owain, he's not in the right place) in the realm of being on his side, but I have more actual feelings for him because - in the wrong or not - he definitely doesn't complain as much as Owain does, and he's more likeable, even for his rudeness and rashness. :P
Do you tend to cling more to your older children and stories, or your youngest ones?
Definitely the older ones. I am soooo much less willing to let Alomina or Alagna be finished than say, The Second Brother, or my newest story. Same with the characters. I like Mina and Alagna both better than Owain or Feotheire.
Do your characters have any habits or styles that you disapprove of?
Yes. For instance, Owain complains too much (as I've complained of in a very Owain-like manner...). :P And Leta (of In Greater Hands) is a worry-wart. And frankly Jerry's (of The Top-Hat Gang) habit of irritating people on purpose for fun is just annoying (no pun intended). And obviously I don't approve of most of my villains' actions, of course.
Which of your characters are you most proud of?
Hmmm. Blakely, I think. He's such a man, and fiction needs real men (that aren't just macho braggarts). He grows so through the story, it's enough to make a mother proud. :')
How many of your main characters have actual mothers?
*shamefaced silent moment* Not many. All of my non-medieval people do, though, except a couple from In Greater Hands. However, not many of my medieval people do... In fact, I think just Blakely, Felicia and Alexander (from Alagna), and Selina (from my newest story) out of all my maim medieval people have shown mothers. :P
How many of your main characters are mothers?
Just one, if you only count ones who are actually mothers in the story. That one would be Felicia from Alagna - sorry about the spoilers - though you don't know it at first. She enters the story a mother, and it is revealed later. As for ones that may be mothers after the last page, that is entirely uncountable...
Have you ever had pressure to kill off a character? Have you ever downright refused?
No - in fact, I'm often pressured not to. However, I have refused to kill a character I was urging myself to kill many a time. My reluctance to kill off my babies is the main reason so many of my "dead" characters come back all the time. :P
How many of your characters are children?
Just a handful, really. Ariff II and Orlania from The Pain of a Memory, and then one or two of Freddie's sisters in The Top-Hat Gang. I think that's it. I don't have many children in my stories (unless you count my one Youth Fiction novel that is intended for children).
Are you loath to kill characters? How much so?
Yes. To the point of making them dance with death several times and still come back. :P
Are you biased for your own characters?
Yes, a bit. I like other people's characters better sometimes, but often I stick with my own ink-and-paper people to be safe. ;)
How well do you care for your characters?
Uh... let's just say, sometimes not so well. :P
And do you intend to be more motherly, or less motherly with your characters in the future?
I think the same or less so - I mean, if I have this much trouble killing off a character (and I do it all the time!), then I just should cool down a bit perhaps.
Anyways, that wraps up the questions. To get the ball rolling, I will tag not three but six motherly writers with blogs. They are as follows:
 And hopefully that's enough motherly writers to start things up. :) Here are the questions:
  1. How motherly are you to your characters? What sort of a mother? Strict but attentive? Spoiling and soft? Tender but cautious? Or perhaps you are one of those writer mothers who is not so motherly?
  2. Do you fret about your characters' fates? Their dates? Whether or not they get kids of their own?
  3. Are you sad when your characters are hurt? How sad on a level from one to ten are you when one of your characters in injured physically or emotionally? Spiritually? What about if they die?
  4. Are you aggressive or do you retaliate when someone insults or doesn't like your characters/book? To what extent?
  5. Which of your characters do you "baby" the most?
  6. Which one of your characters do you let fend for themselves the most?
  7. Do you tend to cling more to your older children and stories, or your youngest ones?
  8. Do your characters have any habits or styles that you disapprove of?
  9. Which of your characters are you most proud of?
  10. How many of your main characters have actual mothers?
  11. How many of your main characters are mothers?
  12. Have you ever had pressure to kill off a character? Have you ever downright refused?
  13. How many of your characters are children?
  14. Are you loath to kill characters? How much so?
  15. Are you biased for your own characters?
  16. How well do you care for your characters?
  17. And do you intend to be more motherly, or less motherly with your characters in the future?
That's all for now, folks! What'd you think? Will you pick up the tag? Did you like the questions? Chat with me! :D

Sunday, November 26, 2017

The Pain of a Memory - Part III

Here is the continuing story of The Pain of a Memory, by yours truly. :) The first two parts are here and here. I hope you enjoy! :)
***
Lan held his spear higher. His country was in war, but he had never been in battle before this day, and the thought of it loomed black and terrible in his mind. Lan looked to his side. There stood his older companion, Elaeus, looking grimly ahead, perhaps in anticipation of the battle to come. Elaeus undoubtedly had to be just as uneasy, no matter how little so he seemed to be.
Lan  looked down at his hands. They were shaking violently in his fear. Only for his country, the only thing he fought for, would Lan do this. He tried to turn his mind from the unpleasant prospect. But his thoughts trailed along a thin strand, only ever washing fear and doubt back into his mind. Would he ever come back? Would Elaeus ever come back?
Oh, why did Elaeus have to come into this war? It was not his country's to fight, and yet he came. Elaeus was an Ingrecian, and this war was being fought for Belestine, Lan's own country. But Elaeus said that if the Nistrians, who were invading Belestine, got past or even into Belestine, they would then surely attack Ingrecia, so therefore it was Ingrecia's duty - and necessarily Elaeus' duty - to fight as well. But Lan didn't like it. He was glad that he would not be alone... but he did not want his friend to have to fight. And Elaeus had far more to live for than Lan did. Elaeus had a family - two siblings, a mother, a wife... Why did he have to come...? But then, if - as Elaeus said they would - the Nistrians came into Ingrecia, he also had far more to protect and fight for.

Lan, on the other hand, was only here to serve his country, or rather, to attempt it feebly. He had no siblings, no mother, and no wife to protect. He was merely a boy... a boy with no one to fight for.
But he would still fight, and he would make sure both he and Elaeus came back... or at least Elaeus. Even though they had no experience, they would come through, or at least so Lan tried to tell himself. Yes, they would come back. Elaeus would return to his lady, Rita, and then over time Lan could come visit and play with their children. That was indeed a far better thing to think about then any other result of this ominous battle.

"Don't worry, Lan. We'll come back soon enough", said Elaeus suddenly, as though he had guessed what Lan had been thinking. Perhaps he had been thinking the same thing.

"Well, I'll make sure you do", said Lan, attempting a brave smile, though not feeling quite so brave. "You have to - Rita would never forgive me if you didn't"
Elaeus smiled back, a trace of sorrow in his eyes. "And you have to come back too, or else I'll never forgive you either"
Lan sighed and made to answer, but then the trumpet calling their section of men into the battle sounded, interrupting them abruptly. Elaeus then quickly patted Lan's hand grimly and ran out into the battle. Lan then ran forth behind him, ever carefully watching his friend.
As Lan rushed into it, he looked around desolately. The battle was an endless rage, almost impossible to tell who was Belestinian and who was Nistrian. Lan didn't think he'd ever be able to wipe it away from his memory. Clanging of swords and yells of battle were all that could be heard as Lan fought by his friend's side. He was blindly surrounded by both friend and enemy fallen and still falling every moment. The sound of cries both raging and grieving echoed in Lan's mind. It was not, as any poet had before stated it, 'a field of glory', but surely only of slaughter, death, and such horrible atrocities.
Lan himself was always but an inch away from Death, only narrowly victorious, to have attack on his person renewed. The sword of one of the Nistrian soldiers slit deeply across Lan's right hand from somewhere in the warring chaos. Lan dropped his sword with a cry of agony. He picked it up again quickly with his left hand and clumsily continued to fight for his survival.
Then Lan realized he had lost sight of Elaeus. He circled around looking for Elaeus. He could not lose Elaeus. He  just couldn't go back to Elaeus' folks without Elaeus. Lan searched the chaotic red plain. Only yards off was Elaeus and another companion, Ariff, fighting in an almost unmanned area, surrounded by enemy soldiers. So Lan sprinted as swiftly as he could over to them, cutting carelessly through enemy lines, only thinking of making it there. Elaeus and Ariff were being ever and ever more surrounded.
Their strength seemed to be failing amidst all the opponents, they seemed as though they would be overpowered. They were getting separated even from each other. Lan himself was getting slowly overwhelmed by the enemy. Then Lan fell, his own sword failing for his inability to fight left-handed any longer. He got up, and began to try and run to Elaeus and Ariff again, muttering at his own stumble and lack of ability. He called ahead to them hopefully. Elaeus looked in his direction for a moment. Lan then was able to reach Ariff... only just in time to see an enemy sword hack into Elaeus only but yards away. Elaeus, still turned to Lan, staggered for a split-second - expression distant - and then crumpled to the ground limply.

No! This couldn't happen! Lan watched only a moment more in shock. Elaeus did not rise up again. Undoubtedly, if he had not already been killed, he was now, for being trampled by the discordant violence. There was no way that he could have survived. Lan turned his sights away from the spot, and, with a loud cry, began to fight with twice as much strength as before, even for his inexperience. For what seemed a timeless eternity, Lan was only conscious of fighting. Blind, disarrayed fighting was all Lan was aware of doing. The only person anywhere around him was Ariff, until somehow, eventually, the battle had ended. It had been won, but to Lan it did not feel as though it had.
The battle was over. Lan sank down onto the hillside lifelessly. Ariff soon sat down next to him wordlessly. Ariff merely held up some bandaging rags, and indicated Lan's injured hand.
Lan turned to Ariff. "Ariff   ", he began, faltering and looking down. He wasn't sure he could speak after all.
It was all Lan's fault, and he knew it well. All because he was a fool without a mind. All because he couldn't fight for himself, much less defend his friends. All because he'd had to distract Elaeus. How could he live with himself knowing he'd as well as killed his best friend?

Ariff put his hand upon Lan's shoulder grimly, interrupting Lan's thoughts. "I know of what you are thinking, Lan", Ariff spoke slowly as he began to bind the gash on Lan's hand. "Please... have reason. You are not at fault, Lan. The only one to blame is war"

"It was my fault, Ariff. I failed to help, and even cost him his attention... I stumbled, and--" Lan faltered and swallowed. "--And I was too late"

"You are very young, Lan. You had no experience, and neither had Elaeus. The fault belonged to neither of you", said Ariff, finishing and tying off the bandage.
But as Lan looked across the corpse be-ridden plain, he knew that he could never accept this. He would never truly live again.
Ariff looked down at Lan pleadingly. "You must not grieve, Lan, he would not want it, and it is useless"
Lan attempted a shaky laugh. "No, indeed he wouldn't" He got up. "I have to leave this place, Ariff. I can never be at peace until this war is ended, so no one else may die... like Elaeus did...", he faltered again, clearing his throat. "Never again..."

Never would this happen again. So Lan had vowed that day. Now, as he stood upon the hilltop overlooking the place where the battle once had been, so long ago, he remembered it all as clearly as ever. And it was still just as bitter a memory. He gazed grimly down upon the treacherous field. It now bore new grasses, and looked - quite deceivingly so - no longer a war's memorial. But no matter how it looked, it always remained to him a cold memorial, not of war's glory, but of its savagery...
And that's it for now. What did you think? I apologize for both the unexpected POV switch and the horrendous info-dumping in the beginning there. So... who's ready to get back to Anwynne? ;) Or do you prefer to see where Lan goes? Or... will you wait until the next part for another different POV? Or are you asleep because that was kind-of boring (it was!) and very badly written (it definitely was!)? ;D I am also open to any critiques or suggestions. :)




Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Of Unlikely Beginnings and a Possessive Mother's Rants

Recently, yet another reader commented on the fact that my main WIP, Alomina, is almost finished. WAAAAAAAA!!!!!! And... like the possessive mother that I am, I lamented. Because I have a complex about finishing the story. I don't want to finish it because it feels like it's my baby growing up. Which I don't want to happen, naturally (again, I'm a very possessive mother. Heaven help my actual kids someday). :P But, as often happens with mothers, in thinking of my babies growing up, my thoughts reverted to memories of their beginnings...
Actually, most of my stories began absolutely nothing like they are now. Let's just say my babies changed a whole lot over the years. In fact, let me show you...
***
Alomina walked up the spiraled staircase, to her brother's room. He had been absent all day, and for days had gone out little. She finally reached Percy's room. She took a deep breath, knocked, and entered. Percy had his back to her, gazing at the window. Then he seemed to sense her presence, and he quickly turned around. Alomina nearly gasped. Her brother's usually strong face was thin and pale, and his dark brown eyes were deeply set with shadows under them. His hands were cold and thin-looking, his cheekbones were set even higher against his face than usual, and his slightly-curled dark brown hair was untidy and distraught-looking.

"Yes, what is it?" Even his voice sounded exhausted and depressed.

"It - it is time for supper", Alomina said, and then she hurried out of the room to stop herself from crying.

Percy was pining for her! - a girl he'd been with some nights ago... Alomina choked a sob and started going down the stairs. Oh, why did he have to fall in love with that girl?! He was eating less, sleeping less, speaking little, and staying in his room. Why did this have to happen?! Alomina shed another tear. She hated that lady, who had made her Percy this way. Alomina knew that she could never rest until this was ended...
***
Hahaha, and what you just read was the mostly unfiltered original idea scene for Alomina (from a little over three years ago). ;) Wanna know what happened? Celeise, cruel and heartless beauty that she was in this draft (who never actually made an appearance in what I wrote), lured Percy to her side and then broke his heart, abandoning him to the dust scornfully. Then Alomina finds out, gets furious for Percy, and she goes and secretly murders Celeise. Then chaos outbreaks, because Celeise is the princess, and then Percy finds out Alomina did it, he confronts her with angry reproach, and Alomina kills herself shortly afterwards in guilt and sorrow (with a confession), leaving Percy alone now mourning even more, and the blame is put on him for Celeise's murder and he is executed. Haha, cheerful right? And exactly like it is now, too, huh? ;) I can practically see the jaws dropping here (except that I've probably told this story a bajillion times, right?). :) Little, timid Mina, murderous? Suicidal? Celeise, a cruel despot of hearts? Haha, it's always hilarious to me when I think about it. Also, Percy's original name was Romero (because I planned on connecting the story to a play I had written, in which the main character's name was Romero). But my best friend and writing confidante - well, she didn't think it was such a good idea to connect them, and even requested that I write them separately. And, whether begrudgingly or willingly, I usually listen to her (because she is just about always right in these matters somehow), and so I changed his name to Percy and decided to write it as a separate story (which is good, because I trashed said play within the next few months of writing that first Alomina scene).
And so a new drama was born, called Alomina after the tragic (and melodramatically off) heroine. And then, somehow, as I started writing it, developing that deep bond between Percy and Alomina (to later be cultivated in her murdering someone for him, lol), it started dawning on me. These two are too good. Their bond just started coming through so brilliantly, I couldn't destroy it. I started thinking. This lady wouldn't murder anybody! This guy wouldn't allow it! These two can't get broken up! (In truth, they were actually mostly boring and void of personality characters at that time in the writing, but in my head they were much more vivid.) And so as I wrote the ball scene where the heartless beauty and Percy were supposed to meet, I broke off with all my previous plans. And I reverted to an old movie. What's the best way to bring a couple together? Make them fall apart. And so on their very first meeting, Percy and Celeise fought (mostly Celeise, though). And then I had to improvise (because I had just on a whim thrown away an entire nicely planned-out storyline). So I made Alomina meet somebody too. And he was supposed to make it still dramatic. He was the main villain who was against Percy and Alomina, and Alomina would fall in love with him and story could still be a drama. But then... I fell in love with him too somehow. So I took apart that plot as well, making a new main villain (and no weird murderous romances going on). But Montefore - as the original villain was called - remained a villain, just not the main one (which, of course, makes him more likeable). And from there, I'm sure you can see where it went. :)
And that's just Alomina.
Alagna also came from highly unlikely roots. I went out for ice-cream with my best friend/writing confidant (poor her - she was witness to all my dumb and crazy story ideas, haha). ;) And I had an idea for a poem.
Alas, she fell, to live no more -
For love a price she paid.
And all have told in ancient lore
The terror of that crimson blade.
The dramatic second-to-last stanza of a mini-epic poem. The poem - which later became a saga of long poems to be continued for a while - became an ancient Tresintan (yes, the country in Alomina) legend, called the Ellian the Fair (followed by The Tale of Ellian, Ellian's Demise, and last but not least, the Ballad of Ellian). It was a very cheesy poem, yes, but it's what Alagna takes roots from. When I played a game of "10-Page Story" (exactly what it sounds like) not long after, I used Ellian's tale again. Which was basically the tale of the most beautiful woman in the world who was desperate for true love - which no one gave her - and spurned most suitors because of this - driving one of them out of his mind - and then finally found a true love in the one man in her life that had never been her suitor before - only to be stabbed and killed by said insane suitor the night before her wedded bliss was to take place.
I know - hilarious, right? :P But there was this one adorable scene between her and King Edgar (who was said Mr. Right) when he was talking to her, and once I had trashed Ellian's story, my best friend (again right about my stories - as always) reminisced about that adorable scene lovingly. Of course, I was surprised that anything out of that story could be worthwhile, but I trusted the all-knowing oracle friend of mine once more and took that one scene. I changed the people, changed the names, and changed the background. And it was a miracle.  It was a brand-new story. So I then began the story from its proper beginning with these new characters, and it became Alagna (actually, there are several nods to Ellian's story within Alagna, which most people don't - and aren't meant to - know the back story of. For instance, there is a scene where Alagna is singing, and she sings a ballad - the Ballad of Ellian, in fact, which was the last and only one even relatively worth salvaging of the Ellian poem saga. And then Blakely's looks; he was based off of Edgar - although, unlike Edgar, is not any more than in his fancies beyond friendship with Alagna in the story). Also, in the very first prototype Alagna scene, it was spelled as a Nova-Italianization of Ellian's name, Elagna (but then my best friend took interest very vehemently in the story and insisted Alagna's name be spelled with an 'A', which I allowed and then later absolutely loved... I am lucky my best friend is so opinionated, haha). :P
And then the story of The Pain of a Memory. It started out as me cramming all my writing prompts into one story as well as I could and improvising completely other than that, but somehow it turned out as one of my neater, more put-together novels. Also, originally Rogan was going to reform and marry Anwynne. Weird. And kinda gross. :P But in defense of that, he was little younger in my head then, too. He's better as a villain, trust me. ;) Also, Angelo was going to be not that good, but then it started sounding too much like another novel of mine... *cough cough Alomina cough* Now, Angelo is pretty loveable. Can't wait for you guys to meet him! :)
Anywho. I could tell you a good few more stories about my babies, but I won't bore you so. I suppose the vague point of this rant post is that no matter how bad or weird your stories start out, they can change immensely. So don't trash them. Just... work on them. Who knows, they may be the best book you've ever written with some work! :) After all, on my side,
  • Alomina de Blyrwen of Alomina was originally a suicidal murderess
  • Celeise of Alomina was originally a cruel heart-collector
  • Alagna was originally based off of an epic poem chronicling the assassination of a ridiculously pestered and exaggerated princess
  • Blakely from Alagna originally existed because of a simple scene in which a sweet guy said "I love you" very cheesily
  • Rogan from The Pain of a Memory was once a romantic interest for the person that despises him most now in the story
  • Percy de Blyrwen's name was originally Romero, and he was originally Spanish (<---WEIRD)
  • I used to end all my stories with everybody either committing suicide or getting murdered or being miserable for the rest of their puny lives because everyone else around them did those former two options
So! Just remember that a story can change pretty darn drastically - believe me, I know! ;) And... also remember how much a proud mother can rant about her children... :P
What did you think? Were you bored? Do you feel the same way about your characters? Am I the only one thinking that a movie (preferably containing Gary Cooper) sounds amazing right now? ;) (P.S. Yay! I just had my birthday today, and I am now convinced that my sister can make the most delicious and filling cakes on the planet - ever hear of her, you have to try her goods!) ;D