Farewell to June

Farewell to June

Hey! Two recap posts on time in a row! Progress! Let’s get started, shall we?

June’s Writing

I actually haven’t done a ton of writing this month. I worked on several chapters of House of Mages’ third draft, and then got really irritated at it and decided to set it aside until after July’s Camp NaNoWriMo.

Those of you who have read a lot of my blog have probably heard of The Half-Elves. Well I decided one evening to just write something random with them, and I got a two-page short story out of it, in which they actually acted like themselves. I actually posted it, come to think of it. You can find it here.

And I’ve also started plans on a new trilogy, which I talked about in my last post.

June’s Reading

I haven’t read much this month, either. I did read Heartless by Marissa Meyer, however, and I highly recommend it. It was sooooo good! It was heartwrenching at the end (no pun intended), but it was so good. I’d warn you not to get attached to anyone, but that’s an impossible feat, so I won’t suggest trying it.

I’ve also been reading The Collective by R.S. Williams, since I won it in a giveaway (which surprised me, since I don’t tend to win things). I plan on reviewing it once I’m done.

And, if this counts, I read a story that a friend of mine wrote when he was about eight, which had me rolling on the floor laughing, particularly when coupled with the sarcastic comments that he and friends of his had left on almost every other line. My favorite quote from that story was definitely, “Drink this, you great big flashlight!”

Other Fun Stuff

My choir got to sing at Wolftrap with Celtic Woman on June 20th! It was a spectacular experience, although to be entirely honest the excitement seemed to be on a fifteen-hour lag. I didn’t freak out until about ten the next morning, lol. But it was really, really cool to hang out with the choir and meet Celtic Woman and sing in front of thousands of people and just… it was amazing. (Dude, I performed on a stage that Lindsey Stirling has performed on! *squeals*) I called the late excitement “post-concert euphoria.” (I’m a fan of The Space Between Us, so I had to make a reference to it, even if no one got it.) Just being on the bus with the choir is a great experience, because we sing the entire way, randomly bursting into VeggieTales or Disney or Phantom of the Opera or three-year-old choir songs. It’s great, and there’s never a very long lag in the music, because someone will always get us started again on something new. I adore my choir. ^-^

On top of that, one of my fellow choir members and I talked about writing several times this month, which is really cool because I don’t have very many writing friends I’ve met in person.

And in a similar vein, I’ve realized I have a couple of really great friends that aren’t just online friends. (My online friends are still fabulous, by the way.) I’ve often bemoaned my lack of “real life” friends, so it’s really cool to realize I actually have more than I noticed.

I’ve also had a song written about me now. *checks that off bucket list* One of the above mentioned friends wrote a song about each me and another friend, which was cool. ^-^

So overall it’s been a pretty spectacular month. How have you guys been this month?

A New Story Idea and Planning vs. Pantsing

Hey guys!

I’ve spent the last couple of days planning out a new trilogy that I sort of started a few weeks ago, but before I decided to tangle all their plots together and make them all overlap (which is definitely the fun part!)

So remember Heart of the Baenor, which I wrote for Camp NaNoWriMo? Well, I plan on finishing that next month for July Camp, and then I’m starting on this new trilogy, which takes place three years after HotB. The first book focuses on Catessa in a new place (I won’t say too much more to avoid spoiling anything), and she’s one of three MCs, each in a different of three countries that are at war with each other. Anyway, Catessa catalysts the war, but not on her own plans.

The MC of the second book is the king’s Paladin in Mandoria (I know that country wasn’t mentioned in the Deep Worldbuilding Project. It decided to spring up after that and will take a little bit to get caught up to its neighbors), who has just inherited powers she doesn’t feel ready for, since her mentor recently passed away.

The MC of the third book is going to be my first character with a negative character arc, and she both excites and terrifies me. She’s a shapeshifter, one of very, very few in Themar, and she becomes friends with the prince of Roenor after she steals his crown (long story which will be explained in… the story.)

These three books are all taking place simultaneously, which makes it crucial for me to plan everything out pretty well in-depth so that I don’t mess anything up, and stick to that plan with every bit of willpower in me (but since it’s a really cool plan anyway it might not be so hard. ;))

The temporary title of the series is The Dark War Trilogy, which I like more every time I say it.

Planning this is a really interesting experience for me, since I don’t have a lot of experience with planning. I’ve been a pantser, or at the very least a plantser, for the majority of my writing “career.” I’ve planned a couple of books with the Hero’s Journey method, both of which are very old and I cringe to read, and I outlined HotB before I started it, but for the most part I don’t tend to plan much. Well with this one I’m working on a timeline (Aeon Timeline has been extremely helpful), and I’m going to write an outline, which may be similar to the one I did for HotB with just short explanations of key scenes in each chapter, or it might be more detailed.

Putting together a timeline has been a lot of fun, because I’m playing around with precision in the timing of things. For instance, two characters lose people they care about at the exact same time, and then end up talking about it (which will be a very tense conversation), and then splitting for a few days before one of them comes back a lot harder. And all of the assassinations that happen take place at the exact same time of night. All the successful ones, anyway. Being precise can be very, very fun, and I can make my characters suffer more with more precision, lol. #LifeofaPSK

I haven’t planned quite enough stories ahead of time to say whether planning or pantsing works better for me, but I’ve been more excited and had more motivation on the ones I’ve planned beforehand lately. It could just be coincidence, we’ll have to see, but I’m going to continue planning things for a while and see what happens, I think.

‘Til next time!

A Half-Elves Short Story

A Half-Elves Short Story

I’m sure you’ve all heard by now about The Half-Elves somewhere along the way. In case you haven’t, it’s what I call my “first good story,” and it’s one that has stuck with me for years, but since writing the second draft I’ve had issues with. I’ve tried rewriting it, I’ve tried troubleshooting, and nothing will make it the way it was back then.

Well last night I went outside and did some writing in the tower of the playhouse in my backyard, because it was a nice night and I’ve been wanting to write outside some evening for a while now that it’s semi warm out. As I had hoped, it helped with my writing, and I actually ended up writing a short story about the characters from The Half-Elves.

I’ve repeatedly found myself wondering what sorts of adventures they went on in my absence, so I decided to try to find out, and I managed to get them acting like themselves, which is a feat I haven’t been able to accomplish in years.

Anyway, without further ado, here’s the short story that I wrote.

*****

Elk smiled as a bird flew right over his head. It was one of many, and one of few not singing.

Sunlight filtered through the trees  and would for about fifteen minutes longer, throwing dappled patterns on the grass.

He breathed in the warm summery air and felt, for the first time in a while, free.

“We’re almost there,” Scarlet said from the front of the group.

It was just the original group this ride, him and his siblings, along with his now-wife Crimson and her twin sister Scarlet.

Well, not quite the original group, he amended. Leafman wasn’t here.

He tried to banish thoughts of his deceased brother and continued on through the forest.

The sound of their horses’ hooves against the forest floor was muffled and soft, and the most pervasive sound was trilling birdsong.

Elk was deep in thought when the group stopped, and he barely stopped his horse before it would have run into Saria’s.

He dismounted and looked around the area that Scarlet had picked for their campsite. It was a rather small clearing, but large enough for their two tents and a campfire.

“I like it,” Saria said, her gaze sweeping the place.

“Scarlet and I used to come here all the time as kids,” Crimson said with a soft smile. “It was us and Auburn, most of the time. After the epidemic we stopped coming.” She gave Saria a smile. “But now new young people can enjoy it.”

Scarlet glanced up at the sky, running a hand through her short red hair.

“The sun will be setting soon. The moon’s already up.”

She glanced at the others with a small mischievous smile that made Elk think of a pixie.

“I know just the place to watch it,” she said, ” so long as no one’s squeamish of heights.”

She didn’t wait for an answer before scampering up a nearby tree.

Elk turned to Crimson.

“Are you sure she’s not half monkey?”

Crimson laughed, her vibrant green eyes lighting up, and climbed up the tree after her sister.

Elk, Saria, and Sarabrina followed, tracing the twins’ path as well as they could and emerging from the upper leaves of the tree just in time to see the horizon a flaming rainbow of purples, oranges, and corals.

Sarabrina let out a long breath.

“It’s beautiful,” she murmured.

“Breathtaking every time,” Crimson agreed with a soft smile.

A breeze blew across the air, ruffling the leaves and shifting Elk’s hair, tickling his ears.

They watched in silence as the sun sank down below the horizon, the sky turned to navy blue velvet, and stars twinkled into sight. It made the sky look like a diamond-studded evening gown.

They climbed down one by one and Scarlet started a fire while Elk set up the tents.

Ten minutes later they were sitting around the campfire, chatting about all sorts of things. Fireflies danced around the camp and surrounding forest, and moths dashed toward the rising flames, darting away quickly before they got burned.

The logs snapped and crackles, mingling with the concert of crickets and spurts of laughter from the campers.

Elk glanced at Crimson. Her rich red hair was framing her face, and fireflies blinked behind her. A moth was dancing around her like a light, and when she smiled he was no longer surprised.

She caught him looking and smiled before looking away again, her gaze as elusive as a will-o’-the-wisp.

“Have I told you the story of my raid on the chief goblin’s tent in Itrea?” Scarlet asked.

“Only about fifteen times,” Saria said with a laugh.

“What about my first hunt in Ambar?”

“You’ve told that one about twenty times,” Sarabrina said.

“Okay, well-”

Saria cut her off.

“Did I tell you about the time Leafman put a jar of spiders on Sarabrina’s pillow?”

Sarabrina moaned.

“Oh please no…”

“She shrieked so loud.”

Everyone laughed except Sarabrina, who had her face in her hands.

“I hate spiders…” she said.

“Noted,” Scarlet said, a mischievous glint in her eye.

Sarabrina looked up and shot her a warning glare.

“Don’t you dare.”

“I wouldn’t dream of it,” Scarlet said with a grin.

They talked until the fire had died down to embers, remembering good times and old friends, before retiring to their tents, and Elk fell asleep to Crimson’s rhythmic breathing and the chirp of crickets.

Character Interview: Amber Arun

Character Interview: Amber Arun

We have our next interview. :) This one is the mother of my favorite character from The Half-Elves, Crimson, and her twin sister Scarlet.

 

Amber: *takes a seat across from the interviewer, a little uncomfortably* Hello. *gives a bit of a shy smile*

Interviewer: Hello, Amber. How are you?

Amber: I’m doing all right. How are you?

Interviewer: I’m doing well.

Amber: Why do you want to interview me?

Interviewer: Well, as queen of Baarmegan, people are interested in getting to know you.

Amber: Oh. Okay. *gives another weak smile*

Interviewer: Let’s start off with an easy first question. What is your name?

Amber: Amber Treya Arun.

Interviewer: And how old are you?

Amber: I’m thirty-seven.

Interviewer: What is most important to you: Kindness, intelligence or bravery?

Amber: Kindness.

Interviewer: And of these: Honesty or selflessness?

Amber: *takes a minute* Probably honesty, but they’re very close.

Interviewer: What are your hobbies?

Amber: I don’t really have any hobbies. I work in my garden a lot, but that’s about it.

Interviewer: Okay. In your opinion, what are the worst offenses and most disdainful actions?

Amber: I don’t know. I hate seeing people hurt others.

Interviewer: What’s your favorite food?

Amber: Peaches.

Interviewer: What is your favorite color?

Amber: Grey.

Interviewer: Why?

Amber: It’s very unobtrusive. It easily fades into the background.

Interviewer: And would you rather live in any other type of home besides the castle?

Amber: I’d much prefer to have a small house in the village.

Interviewer: And why is that?

Amber: I feel too important in the castle. *shifts uncomfortably*

Interviewer: What job would you rather have?

Amber: I wouldn’t mind running an inn, taking care of people. Or a clinic.

Interviewer: What’s your favorite book?

Amber: I’ve always liked The Adventures of Jaddisi Kane. It’s an old childhood favorite.

Interviewer: What is the one thing you can never leave home without?

Amber: The necklace Edom gave me when we got married. *fingers it, a gold pendant with a small emerald on the front*

Interviewer: Would you call yourself an introvert or extrovert?

Amber: Introvert.

Interviewer: And, I know you’re already married, but if you weren’t, what traits would you look for in a man?

Amber: Someone kind and considerate. Like Edom. *smiles a little*

Interviewer: What is your favorite animal?

Amber: A horse.

Interviewer: And why is that?

Amber: They’re both useful and beautiful.

Interviewer: Do you have any siblings?

Amber: No, but I grew up with my cousins Renaldo, Gena, and Mabella.

Interviewer: I think that’s all for today.

Amber: *nods* Thank you.

Interviewer: No, thank you.

Amber: *smiles a little and leaves*

 

I hope you enjoyed this. Let me know of any questions you’d like me to ask the next character, and I’ll put them in. :)

Character Interview: Clissa Hiara

Character Interview: Clissa Hiara

I recently asked my sister to interview one of my characters, merely because this character is really interesting and complex and I was curious how she’d respond to the questions. I can tell you that almost none of these answers are entirely truthful, because of who she is, but it was interesting to see. My best friend also deserves credit for a few of the questions.

I plan on making character interviews a regular thing and choosing a character of mine at random to interview each day or week or however often I decide to do this. If you’d like to offer some questions, go ahead and leave those in the comments.

Now without further ado, here’s the interview with Clissa.

 

Clissa: *takes a seat across from the interviewer, legs elegantly crossed* Hello.

Interviewer: Hello, Miss Hiara. How are you doing today?

Clissa: I’m well. How are you?

Interviewer: I’m quite fine, thank you. Let’s get started with our first question. It’s really preliminary, but what’s your name?

Clissa: Clissa Hiara, prime minister of the Trell Province.

Interviewer: And how old are you?

Clissa: That’s not a very polite question to ask a woman. *a hint of a smile twitches at her lips* I’m twenty-seven.

Interviewer: I apologize. Which of the following is most important to you: Kindness, intelligence, bravery, or cunning?

Clissa: Intelligence. A prime minister must be intelligent.

Interviewer: And of these: Honesty or selflessness?

Clissa: Definitely honesty. If you can’t be honest with people, you’ll never get anything done. Any relationship is based in trust, be it personal, professional, or indirect like that of a prime minister and her subjects.

Interviewer: What are your hobbies?

Clissa: Singing and dancing, mostly. And I love birds.

Interviewer: What are your prime fashion choices?

Clissa: Well as prime minister my choices are no secret. Red and black dresses, mainly, with lots of jewelry, usually in gold.

Interviewer: In your opinion, what are the worst offenses and most disdainful actions?

Clissa: Good question. Murder is high on the list, as is theft. One of the things I find most disgusting, though, is not the action itself, but when people get others to do their dirty work for them. It’s more dishonest than the thing itself, I believe.

Interviewer: Hmm…What’s your favorite food?

Clissa: Dark chocolate.

Interviewer: And favorite color?

Clissa: Red.

Interviewer: Why?

Clissa: It’s dramatic. I have a flair for the dramatic.

Interviewer: What would be your ideal home? Castle, mansion, cottage, tower?

Clissa: A castle, most definitely. A castle makes a statement.

Interviewer: That it certainly does. Is there any job you’d prefer to prime minister?

Clissa: Well, not to sound cliché, but I’d like to be queen. Not that that’ll ever happen, but a girl can dream, can’t she?

Interviewer: Of course. Why would you want to be queen?

Clissa: The same reason everyone does. Power, importance, glamour. It’s an important position that any woman would love to have.

Interviewer: Indeed. And would you rather watch a movie or read a book?

Clissa: I don’t enjoy either particularly much, but probably watching movies.

Interviewer: Do you have a favorite?

Clissa: Maybe The Three Musketeers.

Interviewer: And do you have a book preference?

Clissa: Romeo and Juliet.

Interviewer: What do you like about them?

Clissa: *shrugs* The adventure, I suppose. And with Romeo and Juliet I enjoy the romantic tragedy.

Interviewer: What is the one thing you can never leave home without?

Clissa: A tube of lipstick.

Interviewer: Would you call yourself an introvert or an extrovert?

Clissa: I’m definitely an extrovert.

Interviewer: And what traits do you look for in a man?

Clissa: Dark and mysterious, and as intelligent as I am.

Interviewer: What is your favorite animal and why?

Clissa: A cobra, because they’re beautiful.

Interviewer: Do you have any siblings?

Clissa: No. I’m an only child.

Interviewer: Are you excited for your upcoming wedding?

Clissa: I’m very excited. *grins*

Interviewer: Do you have a dress picked out yet?

Clissa: I do, actually. I’d show you, but I know Roran watches this broadcast, and I can’t have him seeing it before the wedding. *smiles*

Interviewer: Of course not. Wouldn’t want to ruin tradition. What kind of flowers will you be carrying?

Clissa: Red roses outlined in black leaves. I decided to leave the rose thorns intact, as well, to go a little outside the box.

Interviewer: That sounds quite striking. Who is the maid of honor going to be?

Clissa: There will actually not be a maid of honor. Roran and I have decided not to have a wedding party.

Interviewer: Oh, okay. What kind of cake do you have picked out?

Clissa: It’s a really big thing, the cake. It’s three tiers high, covered in red frosting, extravagantly decorated. The interior is a dark chocolate and red velvet swirl.

Interviewer: That sounds delightful. Well, I think that’s all I had for you. Thank you for your time, and for the insider access on your wedding.

Clissa: Certainly. *smiles as she stands and leaves*

 

Well, that turned out to be a fairly long interview, and I didn’t realize until I was copying it how many times in the first third she mentioned being prime minister. She’s rather prideful.

Like I said, if you have any questions for the next interview, let me know. :)