Saturday, March 29, 2014

You Ask the Character -- Vincen

Since I'm completely out of ideas, I've decided to do something else today. Another character interview ... Except you guys get to ask the questions! Today I'll fling Vincen from Dragon's Whisper up for interview. Ask him whatever questions you want, and I'll force him to anwser.

A brief character profile:

A fifteen year old orphan, Vincen lives with a (large) adopted family in the main settlement in Farra: the Village. His mother died from infection when he was young, and his father went on an exploring expedition when he was eleven and didn't come back. He's currently training for the rank of scholar because it was his father's wish for him and his adopted family holds him to it. He secretly gets training from a healer in his spare time.

Fire away at him, and I'll force him to answer in my next post. ;)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Some Random Snippets

I'm trying to blog regularly. To keep this up, I'm doing some random stuff today. First, a snippet of Dragon's Whisper, put up on a pretty picture using my new favorite method of procrastination, Picmonkey.

So there's that. My poor MC. I shall avoid saying any more, because my beta readers will slaughter me if they see this. My beta readers hate me. ;)

And for something else ... Um ... How about a snippet of a scene I rewrote today? That work for everyone? Okay? Okay.

She was snapped back to reality by a crashing in the forest. She brought her dagger up, even though it wouldn't be much help if a dragon took a fancy to her.

The dragon burst through the treeline, roaring and thrashing its almost bird-shaped head about. Its black scales, hinted with blue, glinted in the light. Rael's attention was drawn to its wicked black claws, so similar to the one her dagger was made from.

A chill ran through her. She looked up from the dragon's claws – and straight into its eyes. The beast looked directly at her, its eyes an icy shade of blue, filled with intelligence and malevolence. The chill Rael had felt intensified as the creature held her in its glare.

The thing's concentration on Rael was shattered by a battle cry. The gathered warriors attacked the dragon, swords and battle-axes mere blurs as they swung toward the creature.

The dragon reacted with amazing speed. It dodged blows as quickly as the warriors delivered them. It darted away from ax blows and wove between swords, using its spiked wings and tail as well as its claws and teeth to deflect and strike.

A fighter darted close the dragon. Rael held her breath, waiting for the beast to die like it should.

It didn't. It reared onto its hind legs, flapping its wings out behind it and using its tail to steady itself. Its claws flashed as they came down.

The man let out a pain-filled scream that made Rael's stomach turn. He crumpled.

Rael swore she saw cruel pleasure flicker in the monster's freezing blue eyes as it returned to striking blows.

The dragon came back down onto all fours, lashing its tail and knocking a few warriors away. With a sickening crunch, a battle-ax connected with the dragon's wing. Black blood mixed with the red on its scales.

The dragon staggered sideways and roared, its speed and rhythm interrupted. It swung its tail in an attempt to make up for its blunder and now-useless wing.

A warrior that had taken advantage of the dragon's wound to get close fell backward, his sword knocked from his hand. He scrambled backward, defenseless without a weapon. He somehow managed to reach the edge of the action without injury.

Before she could think her actions through, she had tossed her dagger in an easy underhand toward him. It landed a few feet away from him and skittered to his feet. He snatched it up and cast her a grateful glance.

The dragon roared again, beating with its tail and remaining functional wing. The fighter let out a battle cry and darted back into the fray.

She watched the fight more closely now, somehow she was invested in it.

The dragon roared again, its voice laced with pain and rage. The warriors scattered. Try as she might, Rael could find no reason for the sudden change.

The dragon lunged, but the fighters easily moved away from it. Its jaws snapped open, and it spat a mouthful of blue fire at them.

Cold fire?

The blueish – silver fire spattered against the wall and slid harmlessly off the stone.

The dragon roared again, its voice weaker this time. It swayed on its feet. Only then did Rael notice the black blood pouring freely from the creature's neck. She thought she caught a glint of metal, but the dragon shifted before she could tell.

The warriors held back, waiting. The dragon continued to snarl and lunge for them, but each movement was weaker and slower than the last. Eventually it could barely maintain its footing.

It let out a final angry roar as its legs gave out and its thrashing ended.
So, this has been my attempt at regularity. Tune in next time (hopefully tomorrow. ;) )

Monday, March 24, 2014

The Trap of Comparison

The trap of comparison is something I fall into quite often. Just when I get feeling good about my writing -- whether that be the plot, style, characters, storyworld -- I stumble upon an author I think is more succesful than I am. "Succesful" can mean any number of things. Simply having a self-published novel or two out by mid-teens qualifies. Having cool catch phrases, a good author page, decent quality illustrations ... Anything. Since I don't think very highly of my own work to begin with, it's astoundingly easy to find someone to envy.

Once I start comparing my accomplishments to others, I get myself stuck in a cycle. Searching through my work and cringing at it, trying desperately to find something comparable in there. I never do. I start thinking that my work is crud because I don't have a catchphrase or good character quotes to pull out of it. So I try to make something similar.

I fail, because I can't properly re-create someone else's stuff for my own story and expect it to work. I get really frustrated with myself for not being able to make what I consider to be something synonymous with success. This drives my muse into hiding and feeds the vicious cycle.

So I sit there feeling sorry for myself and hating myself for not being creative.

Right now, all I know to stop this is that it helps to force myself to not do anything creative at all and wait. When I figure out a real solution, I'll let you guys know. ;)

And since I read somewhere that it's good to regularly include pictures in blog posts ... Here.

Some fan art of Brian McBride's character Alicia from Paradox. I know I've already said I liked that book, but I can say it again in the form of fan art. 

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Book Quotes

I'm trying to blog routinely. I might not get it for a while and my posts might be painfully short, but it's the thought that counts, right?

Anywhoot. Today, I worked up a few character quotes. This first one is from my current WIP that I hope to have published by the end of the year, Dragon's Whisper.

Jethro is my awesome angel charrie. One of them, at least.
 And this one. I'm not completely thrilled with this one for one reason. This is from Dragon's Whisper's sequel. The book I have kept myself from starting because I want to get the first one completely done before I start the sequel. (Not to mention I have a prequel begging for attention.) This sequel even has a title already. It's screaming to be written.

Book Review of Gilded by Christina Farley

Today I'm going to review Gilded by Chistina Farley. You can get it here:

I jumped right into this book, and loved it at first. The characters are strong, and Jae's character arc is strong and believable.

I must admit, when I hit the gods and demi-gods, I nearly threw the book out the window. Especially when Haemonu turned on the charm and Jae wanted to go with him. When I got to that point, I thought the book was going to turn into a useless erotic romance between Jae and a demi-god.

It didn't. It was handled beautifully. I usually don't enjoy the gods and demi-gods, thing, but I managed to enjoy this.

And ... Maybe it's just because I'm a Christian, but I was able to find some allegorical elements in it. And I loved the end, that I will not detail because of spoilers.

So. Final thought. If you like adventure books, and don't mind magic and mysticism, then try this book. It's awesome.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dragon's Whisper Snippet

So I can post more often, I've decided to start posting story snippets and flash fiction. Here's a scene that will probably get my beta-readers hunting me down with pitchforks.

Sonra stood at the end of the street. She held perfectly still, searching through the chaos. The stench of fear assaulted her as she looked. So many lost souls.

But they were not her mission. With sharp eyes she continued to scan the streets. She caught a glimpse of her target, but he disappeared behind the flick of a dragon tail.

She moved down the street, passing through both man and dragon. When she reached them, the dragon stood over the man, blood fouling its claws.

Sonra willed her physical form to appear. “Get away, Ralistye.”

The dragon flinched and snarled. “You cannot tell me who I can take. We have been given free rein. And I have previous ties with this one.”

“That does not matter. Get away.”

Ralistye withdrew from the man and flapped off, screeching as he went. Sonra knelt next to the man. A sliver of information was allowed into her mind. His name was Tyrim. He had indeed had interaction with Ralistye, but that was in the past.

Fatal violence flickered around him. He wouldn't last much longer. She reached toward him, silently requesting healing.

Her arm jerked back. He was not to be healed.

Her attention was drawn to the shell of a young girl in Tyrim's arms. Already gone. Sonra longed to touch her and heal her, but her arm was deadweight.

The girl was not to be healed, either. Nor was the mother who lay near.

Her attention was drawn back to Tyrim. He still had a few minutes left. A few short minutes.

Her fingers tingled as she knew what she would be allowed to do. She focused on Tyrim and his departed family and blinked. When she opened her eyes, they were in a quiet part of the forest.

She settled onto the ground next to Tyrim. The pain, confusion, and guilt in his eyes made her wince. “Have peace and feel no pain.”

The pain instantly faded from his eyes, but the confusion and guilt remained. They struggled within his eyes for a moment before guilt won over.

His gaze fell on the empty body of the young girl in his arms. He pulled her close to him and tears wet his cheeks as he murmured to her. The regret flowing so freely from him gave Sonra pause; she had to take a moment and push it away.

“You have no reason for regret. Have peace.”

He didn't notice. “I'm so sorry … If I could only tell you … If I had only tried harder …”

Her purpose here grew clearer. This she could do. “This is not your fault –”

Another flash of information.

“ … Nor is it punishment. You asked for forgiveness, and it was granted.”

Tyrim calmed slightly, and a hint of fear mixed with his grief. Though it slipped underneath a moment later, it was still there. He trembled with conflict and weariness.

A sudden revelation hit him, and panic joined the emotions assailing him. “My daughter …”

An impression was given to Sonra. He had another daughter. And for the moment, she was well. She was protected. “Your daughter is well. She is alive. She is being protected.”

He relaxed and slumped to the ground, the panic eased.

Sonra could feel his strength fading, could see his lifeblood seeping out of him onto the ground. She kept her eyes on him and prayed. Prayed for peace. For a gentle passing. For his family to be waiting for him.

Sonra reached out and softly touched his shoulder, praying to be allowed the ability to ease his passing.

The slightest shimmer of peace came from him as his breathing slowed, then stopped. Even in physical form, Sonra saw the air shimmer above the discarded body. She focused, listening.

A laugh. A true one. Full of joy and a peace that couldn't be grasped in the fallen realm.

Not just the laugh of man, but of a woman, a little girl, and a young man.

Sonra breathed deeply and smiled. It was well.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Review - Brain McBride's Paradox

Allrighty. I KNOW I haven't posted much. As usual. I wish I could promise to do better, but I can't. I have enough trouble writing regularly as it is.

BUT. Anyways. Today I have a quick book review of Brian McBride's Paradox, book one of the Starcrafters' Saga. You can get it here:

I'm not completely sure how to do this, but I'll give it a shot.

Overall, I love this. The world was wonderful, the kind that gets a hook in your brain and won't let go until you're done. The combination of more modern and medieval technology is unique.  I ripped through the book in one day, and re-read it sooner than I usually do.

The characters could have possibly been fleshed out a bit more at first. For a while at the beginning, David and Jake seemed to kind of smoosh together into what felt like a single character. As the story went along, though, they seperated and turned into good, realistic characters. I especially liked Hannah.

There was one plot twist that I felt the characters didn't react strongly enough to, and that made it feel ubrupt. I felt a bit jilted by it. The characters actually grieved less than I did.

A similar thing happened with the general writing style. It was choppy and lacking in the details department at first, but once I reached the end, it was leaving me breathless. The writing at the end was amazing.

Overall, this was wonderful. I loved it, and I can't wait for the second one. I'll give this book four stars.

(Edited to add: I cannot believe I forgot to mention this. *sheepish grin* The violence. There are endless opportunities for the violence to get graphic and gory. And it seems inevitable with so many ghouls, gremlins, dragons, vampires, werewolves and demons and big battle scenes. But Brian does an amazing job of keeping it from getting too detailed. Something very noteworthy, considering how easily he could have tossed in as much gore as he wanted.)

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Cover Playing

I haven't been around much. Sorry. My posts will probably be rather brief for a while. Since I'm hoping to get Dragon's Whisper self-published within the year, I need most of my free writing time for that. Besides, when you put that much effort into one project, it's hard to feel inspired for anything else. But to make up for it, I'll post a few mock covers for Dragon's Whisper.

(And as you can probably tell, I haven't decided if I'm going to use a pen name or not.)
Well. Back to Dragon's Whisper!