A new year

Happy New Year!

The fourteenth year of the new millennium is upon us. Just when I started getting used to writing 2013 on things, too.

2013 was an interesting year for me. It had plenty of highlights – some good, and some bad.

I hope 2014 will be as eventful, if not more.

    • I hope to publish CHANGELING, my one true love of fantasy novels.
    • I’ve made a pact to go to the gym, which I can see going fairly well. The main reason I never went before was because I had no one to go with, but I have two friends in said pact this time.
    • I’ll, in all likelihood, have to move again – but this time to live with the aforementioned love of my life.
    • And also get a cat.
    • And maybe blog properly, because my current schedule is shit and should maybe be managed better.

How has 2013 shaped up for everyone else? The general consensus that I have seen was that it was a mediocre year – but together we can make 2014 amazing.

Happy New Year, everybody!

for auld lang syne, my dear
for auld lang syne,
we’ll take a cup o’ kindness yet
for auld lang syne!

Arranged Love: Changeling teaser

“He loves her, doesn’t he?”

Alistair sighed and cracked open one eye. “Just when I was about to fall asleep, too,” he mumbled, and rolled onto his side. By the light of the fire across the room, he could see Aisling staring up at the ceiling. The firelight cast shadows across her face, illuminating her frown and scowl. “What are you babbling about?” he asked, squinting at her as he rubbed his face.

“Lord Hession.”

“Please, just call him Sonny. He only stopped cringing at his title a few years ago, and I don’t want him to revert back to it.”

“Trained him like a dog, did you?”

“Can’t do less with Cantons.”

“No, I suppose not.” She brushed her hair off her face and rolled to face him. “Sonny. He loves his wife?” Continue reading

Putting oneself into one’s characters

Everyone who writes is guilty of this. It isn’t bad, of course. We can relate better and work better with a character we know, who is derived from ourselves. But even if we strive to avoid putting too much of ourselves into our characters, it still happens, and it comes as a big shock when we notice.

For example, the main characters of my three main muses are Sage, from OtArb, Aisling, from Changeling, and Caitlyn, from Purity. Sage, despite being male, is very much like me – or at least, he certainly was when I created him a few years ago. Generally pretty quiet, a little awkward, agnostic, and something of an insomniac. He represents my solitary side, and I’m fully aware of it. It’s similar with Caitlyn. She’s more of my goofier side, with immature jokes and a girlier nature. Continue reading

Past Lives: Purity teaser

They marched down the dank tunnel in silence. The earth around them seemed to groan and curse in protest of their intrusion; with each step they took, the wooden beams let out unhappy creaks. Or was she imagining it?

Five minutes into the hike, Caitlyn was desperate to end the deafening silence. But the only thing she could think of was the song.

She coughed to break the silence and remarked, “You, um, play the piano very well.”

“I have had a very long time to practice.”

She scoffed and glared ahead. He could just accept the compliment, rather than be an a—

“I would prefer you did not finish that thought, if you please,” he said, sounding irritated. “There is a root in your path.”

Despite the warning, Caitlyn’s toe caught on the root and she stumbled. A hand grabbed her wrist and hauled her upright before she could fall flat on her face.

She straightened out, gasping. “Thanks for that,” she said, breathless. “I’ve, uh, never heard a song like that before. Did you write it yourself?”

“A friend of mine wrote it.”

“Oh. It sounded very sad.”

“It is not meant to be.”

“Oh.” Caitlyn breathed a sigh of relief when they reached the barricade at the end of the tunnel. Whoever had used it last hadn’t fully closed it, and they squeezed through before continuing into the forest.

The night was warm, and crickets sang all around them. Feeling a long-awaited sense of calm wash over her, Caitlyn looked up at the sky, at the moon smiling wanly at them and the smudges of navy and violet across the dark sky. It was peaceful, beautiful.

With this new sense of ease and the joy of the upcoming opportunity to clean herself up, she quickened her pace to keep up with Fane, almost skipping alongside him. “Who wrote it?” she asked.

“Verity Romano.”

As enlightening as it was, these short answers weren’t at all helpful. She would just have to keep pestering him. “Word around the block is that you loved her. Is it true?”

This time, his expression was carefully composed. It was a blank facade, well-practiced. “Would it change your opinion of me if I said yes?”

“No. Well, maybe. Right now it seems like you don’t have a heart. If you loved her, then maybe you have a heart. And maybe if you’d loved and lost her, it’d explain why you’re so…” She trailed off when she saw the dangerous glint in his eyes. “Um, the lovely person you are,” she recovered lamely.

“You do not know when to keep quiet, do you?”

Caitlyn smiled and felt her cheeks head up. “Not really.”

Maybe it was the shadows playing tricks on her, but she thought she saw him smile and murmur, “Neither did she. Come,” he said, louder now. “The stream is not far from here.”

“You loved her, then?” She peered up at him through the darkness, picturing him standing next to Verity Romano. The ghost was a knockout; she must have been beautiful in life. And if he wasn’t so gaunt, he would be a handsome fellow himself; though he couldn’t really help his weight, as he only had blood to keep him going. “I’d understand if you loved her. She seems like a really nice person, and—”

“If I told you I loved her,” he interrupted, voice calm, “would you stop talking about her?”

“No guarantees.”

He pressed his fingertips to his forehead as if easing a headache. “Yes, I loved her. More than life itself.”

“And you’re miserable because she died?”

“Perhaps I have always been this way. Have you ever considered that as a possibility?”

She hopped over a fallen log, using his arm as support. “Maybe, if you’re anything like your father it’s a definite possibility.”

He suddenly stopped walking, and she turned to see him scowling at her as a muscle in his jaw jumped. “Must we continue to discuss my personality faults? This is not therapy.”

“I never said—”

He waved his hand to the trees ahead of her. “The stream is just through there. Be swift.”

The Last Night: Changeling teaser

She was on the verge of sleep. Her weight was on him, her head on his chest and hair tickling his nose. Her breath was heavy; it brushed the hair in his oxter, nearly making him giggle.

The evening was hot. He was almost ready to beg for fall, just so late summer’s obscene temperatures could end. Their skin was stuck together were she lay on him, and the rest of him was covered in a light film of sweat. The windows were all open, albeit with nets to stop mosquitos from buzzing in, and a small fire was lit only for light. They had long ago kicked off all the blankets from his bed, but it wasn’t enough.

She seemed to sense his unease. Their skin parted with a wet noise as she moved, and she blinked blearily at him. “What’s wrong?”

He couldn’t help but smile. Her hair was tousled around her head, and her lips were puffy and red; she looked like she had a rough night, and thoroughly enjoyed it. Running his fingers through her hair, he dropped his head into the pillows and sighed. “I’m going to be crowned tomorrow.”

She was so precious when she was half-asleep. All her defences melted away, and she was almost drunk with exhaustion and innocence. She gently spun her finger in his chest hair and blew on his damp skin, making gooseflesh ripple down his chest.

“You will make an excellent king,” she said, and patted his chest. “Have you planned how you will announce your magical inheritance?”

“Not word-for-word, but I have a general idea.”

“That is a start.” With a soft groan, she rolled on her back, so she lay arched over his lap, arms spread and face pointed to the ceiling. He thought it looked horribly uncomfortable, but she didn’t seem too bothered by it. “The king’s chambers are much better than your old room,” she remarked, lifting her head just enough to look around. “More windows.”

Alistair smiled and took one of her hands in his. Her fingers automatically tangled themselves with his. He frowned; she was being unusually affectionate, had been all day. It was odd, but not unwelcome. With a contented sigh, he kissed her fingers and let their hands rest beneath his chin.

“You know, you hated me a year ago,” he said. “Have you ever thought of that?”

She let her head roll to the side so she could see him, and she smiled. “It wasn’t yet a year ago. It was late fall, not summer. It was after your birthday. And I did not hate you, but you were an annoying little fungus.”

His brows arched. “Fungus?”

Her smile lessened, but the tender emotion of it remained in her eyes, and his heart skipped. “You grew on me. I am quite fond of you now.” She moved, leaning slightly on her side; then it happened again, the same thing she had done earlier. He had touched her breasts, they being his favourite part of her—well, other than her eyes and amazing personality, of course—and a grimace had flickered across her face, so quickly it was almost imperceptible. He had refrained from touching them after, except very lightly, to his great disappointment.

She adjusted her position again, so she wasn’t leaning her weight on her side as much, and squishing her breasts between her and his abdomen. His frown returned, but either she pretended not to notice or was completely oblivious to his concern.

“Are you all right?”

She rubbed her eyes and crawled up beside him. He automatically opened his arm so she could lean on him. “I’m fine. Only tired. Thaddeus has had me worked to the bone since we got back.”

He kissed her head and wrapped his arms around her, pulling her close. She didn’t fight; rather, she nestled closer, as if taking advantage of every chance she could to touch him. Unable to help himself, he brushed her hair off her neck and kissed her there too. She hunched her shoulders automatically, and he chuckled.

She shuffled to look up at him. “Are you happy?” she asked, hushed.

“I’ve never been happier. Are you?”

She took a moment to answer. When she finally did, and turned to him to look him straight on, he thought there were tears in her eyes. “My life has never been happy, but spending these past few months with you is the closest I will ever come to bliss. I will remember this moment until the day I die,” she whispered, and kissed him.

He wanted to tell her. At that moment, with her warmth pressed into him and her lips, tasting of wine, against his, he wanted nothing more than to tell her exactly what he felt. But Hession’s words still rang in his head, warning him away from any rash decisions.

She pressed her palms against his chest and kissed the heartbeat in the hollow beneath his jaw. Without another word, she settled herself on top of him. His hands automatically set themselves on her hips, but as he looked up at her his breath caught in his lungs.

There was something dark in the depths of her eyes—something desperate and unforgivable.