Monday, August 31, 2015

Flash Fiction - Into the Rift

Confession: I never write flash fiction. I basically never venture out and write anything but whatever current novel I’m working on at the time. I always feel guilty writing something else when I already have a novel that needs my attention, so I. . .never do. BUT right now, since I finished Burning Thorns, I don’t actually have a current writing project going. I’m free. So I did the unthinkable. I wrote a flash fiction piece. Bum bum BUMMM.

My Pack (my online writing group of fabulous girls) has this thing called “Writer Dares” where we post random writing prompt pictures and write little flash fiction pieces should one of the prompts inspire us. Except I never write any. (See above paragraph.) But a picture was posted a couple days ago that was too intriguing to pass up, and I want to keep my writing muscles strong even though I’m on break, so I spontaneously sat down and started writing. The result was something far different than I’ve ever written, but I think that’s what made it fun. Now I see the appeal of this whole flash fiction business. I had a BLAST writing this thing. It’s bizarre and probably makes no sense, but it was fun nonetheless, so I thought I’d share it.

I do hope you enjoy!

Writing PromptThe prompt pic that inspired the whole thing.

Into the Rift

She was stuck.

He shouldn't have used the watch, he shouldn't have tried to bring the auburn haired girl back with him.

She was stuck, and it was his fault. He knew, he knew and he did it anyway…

Time was not to be tampered with.

That was the number one rule in the Organization, ingrained in each student's brain—taught, spoken, written, again and again and again to the point that they mumbled it in their sleep.

Do not tamper with time.

But how could he keep her in that horrible future?

How could he leave the girl with auburn hair?

The girl he fell in love with.

Trying to ignore the tremors in his deep breaths, Lucas gripped the cursed copper watch in one hand and with the other thrust the syringe's needle in the crook of his arm. There was no time to try to fall asleep, he had to use something to knock him out instantly.

Because the girl he loved could only be found in his nightmares.

As consciousness slipped away, hot energy vibrated from the watch. The mildewed walls of the abandoned subway snapped away like a light switching off and then he was there once again, standing in the midst of crumbling, burning buildings and cracked streets. By now he knew every scream, every buzz of the drones circling above, with OTT painted in white on their wings and their weapons pointed at her.

She stood in the middle of the chaotic street, facing her coming death bravely. Bravely, just as she faced the corrupt rulers of this wretched future and dared defy them.

Lucas watched himself rush by, straight for her, twisting the dials on the watch as he ran. Just as he grabbed hold of her arm, the current Lucas, the real Lucas, looked away. He had relived this nightmare too many times. Even with his eyes shut tight he still heard her scream, and the flash of blue light pierced through his eyelids.

He had tried to take her to the past, to his present, away from this future she lived in.

Do not tamper with time.

Taking someone, especially someone as important as her, away from their timeline would alter all of time. So the cursed watch tried to fix his mistake and froze her, imprisoned her in the Rift, the place in between time. She was stuck there, and even after half a dozen times trying to get her out he was no closer than when he started.

But he wouldn't stop trying.

Forcing his eyes back open, he darted for the blinding blue light encompassing her and his past self. The only way into the Rift was to revisit his past through his dreams, or nightmares. The watch read his conscious and, as long as he put himself in the exact spot she entered the Rift, it would transport him there. At least until the watch drained of energy.

He gritted his teeth as searing pain tore into his whole body, pulled him away from time and into the in between. She had felt this pain, she experienced this burning, ripping sensation. He had tried to save her and instead caused her agony.


Hands caught him before his legs gave way, and when he met her golden-brown eyes the pain ebbed.

"I told you not to come again," she said, her brow etched in worry.

"I had to."

"You're killing yourself! Your body can't take many more trips like this."

"I don't care."


"Raina." He gently moved a stray strand of that bright auburn hair out of her face, calming her.

They still stood on the cracked streets, but all was silent. Time hung suspended around them. The people who had before scattered to get away from the attacking drones were now frozen in place, their mouths still opened in silenced screams. Walls collapsing from the fire had stopped midair. The threatening buzz of the drones had quieted. And yet even in the stillness the world quivered. Blurred around them, like looking through a windshield in a rainstorm.

Such was the Rift.

Lucas studied this unnerving world. Though almost identical to his memory, his nightmare, a few small details were different. Such as the man to his left holding the little girl with her face buried in his shoulder. And in his memory the building just in front of him was half collapsed, but here it stood almost whole.

None of this was surprising. After all, everyone's memories were different. And he no longer stood in his own memory, but hers. He had entered Raina's world, and somehow he was going to get her out.

He set the watch again for the far future and snagged her hand. He had tried so many different combinations in the past, maybe the future would work instead. It didn't matter where they ended up, as long as they were together and she was safe.

"Lucas, please don't. It's not going to work. You have to let me go."

"Never." He squeezed the watch and the world flashed around him. More pain, more screams, then darkness.

His eyes adjusted to the dim light and he found himself in an all too familiar dank subway. Alone. He hissed and slammed a fist into the wall. The watch wasn't powerful enough to transport anyone from the Rift. Not away from their own timeline. And so each time it sent him back to his last location. In the abandoned subway he now called home as he hid from the Organization.

He broke the number one rule, and if they found him he would pay.

When he applied for the Organization of Time Traveler's school two years ago, he had no idea he was stepping into a world of corrupt, power hungry maniacs.

The watch had to recharge, and each time he had to wait those two hours was pure agony. The minute the blue light indicating full power blinked on, he snatched up the watch, shoved the needle in his arm, and returned to his nightmare. He embraced the blue light and was with her in the still, blurry world once again.

Without even looking at her, he began adjusting the watch to a new time, but his fingers trembled violently over the dials and white spots obscured his vision.

"Lucas, stop."

His eyes moved to hers and found tears rimming them.

"You're dying." Her voice was so quiet, so defeated. She slid her hand to his and hovered a finger over the watch clutched in his palm. "It wasn't meant to be used like this. Your body can't handle coming here over and over again."

"I'm not going to leave you. Don't you see, Raina, you won't even age. There is no time here. You'll be imprisoned in this place of nothing for eternity."

"I know. And that's why you have to let me go."

He swallowed the dry lump in his throat. "I…I can't."

"It's the only way. Everything will go back to normal. Both our timelines will be sorted, you won't even be on the run anymore."

"But you'll die." He could not mask the crack in his voice.

"Lucas." She pressed a hand against his cheek and smiled through her tears. "Before you came, I was so lonely, lost in the hate of the world. You showed me what it is to be loved. Now it's my turn to show you."

Before he could stop her, she snatched the watch out of his hand and backed away.

"Raina, no!" He dove for her but it was too late, the watch was already doing what it so desired to do. Her fading body glowed with blue light. "No, you can't. You can't! You'll die. Those drones will kill you!"

Wind stirred around her and whipped up her auburn hair, and her body became more and more transparent. And yet she smiled. A wide, gleaming smile that had captured his heart from the beginning.

"Even a time traveler can't predict the future," she said. "But you can change it. Never forget that." Her last words came in a whisper. "I love you, Lucas."

Then his world exploded into excruciating light.


Lucas snapped up with a gasping breath. His eyes swiveled from left to right, but there was no deadly drones, no collapsing buildings, dark subways.

No Raina.

Instead he sat in a bed in a stark white room.

A familiar room.

Snatching up the tablet at the bedside table, he checked the time and date.

June 23, 2319. 7:08 a.m.

This was the day he had stolen the watch, the day he changed everything, the day he went to the future and met Raina.

But it hadn't happened yet.

He once more took in the white room. His room, at the Organization.

Time had reset.

Everything was back to normal, before he tampered with time.

But he still remembered. His fingers balled into a fist. He remembered and he would never forget.

Throwing off the covers, he jumped out of bed, slipped his shoes on, and headed for the door. A bright yellow sign to the right of his door halted his steps.


He read the white words, the number one rule. And then he ripped the whole sign down and dumped it to the floor.

Because every single person ever born tampered with time. That's what people did. They changed the world, they changed the future. He could tamper with time without using a time traveling watch. Instead he could use his current life to make a difference, like Raina did.

He could strive to stop the corruptness of this organization.

After all, those drones with their guns pointed at her had been sent by the Organization of Time Travelers. The future version of the Organization he stood in now. The one that would eventually use their power of time to take control of the world and murder the girl he loved.

But not if he could help it. He'd stop them now and make the future a better place.

A place the auburn haired girl could live in.

He couldn't predict the future, but he could change it.

Monday, August 24, 2015

Five Glass Slippers Book Review

Five Glass Slippers Cover

One Beloved Story - Five Exciting Writers - A Collection to Cherish!

What happens when Cinderella is so painfully shy that she cannot bear the idea of attending the royal ball? Or when the slipper fits . . . but on the wrong girl? What happens when Cinderella is determined to oust an imposter prince from her rightful throne? Or when she is a cendrillon miner working from a space station orbiting a cthonian planet? What happens when Cinderella, a humble housemaid, is sent with a message for a prisoner trapped in a frightening fairy circus?

Here is Cinderella as you have never met her before, wearing glass slippers and off on unforgettable adventures!

~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~


Five Glass Slippers
is Rooglewood Press's first fairytale collection, and a beautiful one at that! A couple years ago they set up a contest for anyone to enter a 5k to 20k word Cinderella retelling and chose five of the many entries to put into this one collection. The five girls chosen were picked with good reason, each of the stories taking the original tale of Cinderella and turning it into something new and different and wonderful.

What Eyes Can See by Elisabeth Brown
Rating: 3 Stars

This was a sweet little story to start the collection out with, though it had a few flaws that kept me somewhat detached. The way the omniscient POV was handled threw me off some, and I felt the writing style a little bland. And though the characters were sweet, I never got as attached to them as I would have liked. Except for Drusilla. I liked her from nearly her first appearance, and my love only grew stronger. What I really loved about this story was how it kept practically all the Cinderella themes in clever ways, but then flipped the whole familiar tale completely on its head. Evil stepmother and stepsisters? Nope. How about a sweet stepfamily and a Cinderella who really doesn’t want to go to the ball? Oh, and also let’s give one of the stepsisters the main spotlight instead of Cinderella. Interesting concept, am I right? Despite some of its misgivings, this story is worth a read. It’s a very intriguing take on our beloved Cinderella and the surprise ending was absolutely delicious. Trust me. Or read it for yourself and see. *winks*

Broken Glass by Emma Clifton
Rating: 5 Stars

Oooh, this story! It had me hooked right from the beginning and kept me turning pages so quickly I probably gave myself whiplash. Emma Clifton has a gift for dry humor and wit. By the time I got to the end, my cheeks were sore due to so much grinning and giggling. This had such a colorful, lively cast of characters I honestly forgot I was even reading about fictional people. Each and every one popped off the pages in their own unique and loveable way, even the ones that probably shouldn’t be described as loveable. I adored all of them. The tale is completely worth reading for the characters alone. But then you throw in a steampunk world (um, yes please!), some insane schemes involving exploding carriages and an inept fairy godmother, and completely original twists on the Cinderella story (it’s not everyday that the glass slipper fits on the wrong girl!), you’ve got yourself a recipe for a fantastic, humorous, exciting tale. I don’t know how Emma Clifton fit so much into one novella. There wasn’t a single thing I disliked about this story—from the quick, easy writing to the lively characters and crazy schemes. It was one of the most fun tales I’ve ever read.

The Windy Side of Care by Rachel Heffington
Rating: 3.5 Stars

I have mixed feelings on this one. I think the problem is that it was a phenomenal story, just not my thing. Rachel Heffington has an absolutely amazing talent for rich writing. It’s like if you put something such as Charles Dickens or Jane Austen with a touch of modern flare together you’d have Miss Heffington’s style. Sadly, my wee brain has never mixed well with such writing. I much more enjoy fast-paced sentences (there’s a reason YA is my favorite genre). So, as a result, I didn’t mix well with this tale. I also found the characters a little too pretentious. One of my favorite things about the Cinderella story is Cinderella herself. I love her quiet spirit, so different from most heroines we see these days. Alis from The Windy Side of Care has anything but a quiet spirit. The wit and bantering had me chuckling, but I just couldn’t quite click with the characters. Though by the ending, I had become much more fond of them, especially Prince Auguste. Despite all this, I actually immensely enjoyed the plot itself. Rachel Heffington took the Cinderella themes and absolutely made them her own. Instead of simply dreaming of living in a castle, our heroine is quite certain she’s rightfully the queen and takes it upon herself to take the throne, no matter the complications. Quite an interesting take on the original tale! And the ending was fabulous and made it all worth it. Overall, this story wasn’t exactly my type of thing to read, but Rachel Heffington’s talent really is exceptional, and I think a lot of people will completely love this tale.

A Cinder’s Tale by Stephanie Ricker
Rating: 4 Stars

This was actually a fantastic tale without a thing wrong with it. Unfortunately, I’m not much of a sci-fi person, so, as with The Windy Side of Care, I didn’t mix greatly with it. I’ve just never enjoyed stories set in space and spaceships, and that’s exactly what this setting is. I found myself having to reread through a lot of paragraphs to get a grasp on the space-y talk. But that was no fault of Miss Ricker’s! Her writing was smooth and beautiful and extremely clever, I’ve just never exposed myself to a lot of sci-fi stories and it takes my brain a bit of time to settle into it. BUT I still very much enjoyed this story. This definitely has to be one of the most unique Cinderella retellings I’ve ever seen. This story did indeed have a ball, but it also had space battles, clones, a cyborg, an alien in place of the fairy godmother, and all manner of witty dialogue. Action and excitement abounded! What really endeared me to this story though was the characters and their relationships. Our heroine, Elsa, and her fun-loving crew made every page pop with life and fun. *I* wanted to be part of their happy little crew. Their friendship felt so real and lively and sweet. It was absolutely worth the read just to feel a part of the little cinder crew alone. So even if you’re not a sci-fi person like me, give this one a try. And if you do like sci-fi, you’re going to love this story!

The Moon Master’s Ball by Clara Diane Thompson
Rating: 5 Stars

One word came to me when I finished this tale: Wow. While reading it I kept wishing it was a whole novel, because the closer I got to the end the more I realized I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to be swept into Tilly’s eerie world for far longer than just within a novella. This story was definitely the darkest of the five, but I think that’s why I loved it the most. The dark beauty of it thrust me into a world of a mysterious circus, chilly streets, dangerous creatures, and a timid girl trying to get away from a past trauma but being shoved closer to it every day.  The true mystery starts when our heroine, Tilly,  is sent to the strange circus with a letter in her pocket addressed to the Moon Master. From there strange, magical things occur and the suspense rises with each page. The simple but beautiful writing style glided through the story and took me on an otherworldly, heart-racing journey. Each character endeared themselves to me, the Moon Master himself especially. If I had one complaint it’d be that there wasn’t nearly enough of him, simply because he was amazing. But they all were, the whole story was. Really, I can’t complain about anything. I adored this eerily beautiful story from the first sentence to the last. It’s one of those stories that struck deep inside me and will cling there forever. The perfect end to a splendid collection of Cinderella stories.

All in all, I enjoyed each story in their own special way. My favorite thing about retellings is seeing all the different twists that can be done from one little story. There were so many clever takes on the original Cinderella tale, I’m in awe at the brilliant minds that put these together. If you’re a fan of Cinderella or just fairytales in general I highly recommend this collection. Each story was so different but so intriguing, swirling together to make one memorable collection.

All together I give the collection a. . .

4 out of 5 stars

Monday, August 17, 2015

Beautiful People - Iavin and Cael {Friendship Edition}

Hello, peoples! We are halfway through August (wait, WHAT??? Shouldn’t it still be January or something?) which means the newest edition of Beautiful People has been up and going for a couple weeks and I’m just now getting to it. Per the norm. I do like to be fashionably late after all. *flips hair* (Okay, I’m really the one rushing around like a mad octopus because I’m already half an hour late to where I need to be and haven’t even left the house yet. Ahem.)

This month’s BP is a little different. In honor of National Friendship Day (August 2nd) all the questions are centered on friendships! So much of fiction focuses on conflict and romance, but I adore me a fun, strong friendship in books. Because, really, sometimes our protagonists need a good friend to tell them they’re being dumb, am I right? Friendships are the best! So if you haven’t joined in yet you can take a hop, skip, and a jump (or just a click, whatever) to Sky's Blog or Cait's, snag the questions, and link up!

Beautiful People Button

When I first saw this month was focused on friends I ran my mind through all my stories and the different relationships. Some interesting considerations popped up, but I ultimately decided on probably the strangest friendship I’ve ever written. Which obviously means it’s my favorite.

Does anyone remember Iavin and Cael from my NaNoWriMo novel last November? (You can learn a bit about them HERE if you’d like.) Iavin was my super awkward, shy, adorkable protagonist and Cael was. . .well. . .the antagonist basically. So to call them friends might seem a bit strange since Iavin did spend the majority of the book thinking he hated Cael, and Cael spent all that time making quite a lot of disasters for Iavin. But his heart was in the right place. . . Okay, not really, but he sorta thought it was. Cael is one of those charismatic types that gets along with everyone even as he’s imprisoning them and destroying all their plans. He’s polite like that.

Their “friendship” was one of my favorite relationships I’ve ever written as they battled with wanting to be friends while having veeeerrrryyyy different goals. I didn’t even realize until writing that they would end up being friends, despite also being enemies. It was strange, and I loved it. So I couldn’t help but choose them for these questions. Not to mention I’ll be seeing them again for this next NaNo as I continue the series, so we’ll call this early NaNo research. *grins*

Cael and Iavin

Iavin followed him down the wide hall and examined the drink in his hand. The frothy, dark texture didn't look like anything he knew the name of. He gave it a sniff and immediately jerked his head back. The overwhelmingly spicy scent brought tears to his eyes.
"Are you sure this stuff is safe to drink?"
"Of course," Cael said, leading Iavin down a broad set of stairs. "You're going to like it, trust me."
Iavin trusted him as far as he could throw him, and judging by his attempts at throwing the chair the day before, that wasn't very far. But he was thirsty, and since Sayleth didn't seem alarmed by the drinks they probably weren't meant for harm.
Bracing himself, he inched the rim of the cup up to his lips and took a tiny sip. "Agh!" The cup as well as himself nearly hurled right down the stairway. He jerked to a halt and pounded his fist into his chest, pretty sure his heart combusted into flames. The drink burned all the way down to his stomach. He clawed at his clothes, sweat dampening every inch of him.
"Oh, I probably should have mentioned the first swallow is pretty powerful," Cael said, skipping over the last step to the ground floor.
"Powerful?" Iavin gasped. He stretched his collar away from his flaming throat. "I think I'm dying."
Cael waved him off with a flick of his wrist. "You're fine. The first sip of rioric always feels that way. But afterward it'll provide a pleasant warmth."
Iavin, still trapped in the middle of the stairway, reached the offending stuff far away from his smoldering body. "I'm not drinking this ever again."
Cael shrugged. "If you want to freeze that's none of my concern."
"I'd rather not burst into flames either." The worst of it seemed to have faded but he still took cautious steps down the remaining stairs.

1. How long have they known each other, and how close are they?
They met during the story, so only a few months really. How close are they? I’m literally laughing right now. I have no idea how to answer this questions. XD Um. . . Well, Cael ended up saving Iavin’s life on multiple occasions and revealing a lot about himself. And Iavin goes back and forth from wanting nothing to do with Cael to wanting to help him, so. *shrugs* It’s, um, an interesting friendship.

2. What’s their earliest memory of being best friends?
Like I said, they only just met in the novel. Iavin’s first exposure to Cael was Cael bursting into a battle with his ice bird and bringing the fight to a halt. Because he’s dramatic like that.

3. Do they fight? How long do they typically fight for?
HAHAHAHAHA!!!! Let me tell you a thing. Iavin is an extremely pacifist person. He’s melancholy, he’s quiet. But angry? That’s not something he experiences a lot.

Then Cael happened.

Iavin never knew true anger until he met Cael. Let’s just say Iavin has many unfriendly things to say to Cael throughout the book. Also one time Iavin got so mad he tried to throw a chair, but, well, he’s small so it didn’t go very far. . .

4. Are their personalities similar or do they compliment each other?
These questions. XD
Okay, actually, I think their personalities are what caused their unlikely (to put it lightly) friendship. Iavin is the weak type without many ambitions, while Cael is confident and makes things happen. Iavin feels worthless, inept at everything. Because of this, Cael kind of took him under his wing and ended up mothering him a bit. And no, I’m not kidding.

Cael patted his shoulder, eyes gleaming bright in the darkness. "Mhm. I know exactly what you meant. Come on now," he stood and grabbed Iavin's arm, "you really should be sleeping."
"We've got another full day of traveling tomorrow. You need your sleep." Cael pulled him to a stand, dragged him back to Nemayn, and practically tucked him to bed, carefully making sure Iavin's cloaks covered him sufficiently. "You sleep well now."
Iavin watched the boy walk off, not entirely sure what just happened but far too sleepy and cold to figure it out.

Yeah, Cael tucked Iavin in. When I realized my antagonist was mothering my protagonist I became extremely confused. Strange things happen during NaNoWriMo, strange things.

5. Who is the leader of their friendship (if anyone)?
You could probably guess by now. Iavin is NOT the leader type. He follows everyone. He can hardly keep one foot in front of the other, being a leader is not his thing. Cael on the other hand. . . Well, being King of the Universe is probably on his bucket list should he have one. Iavin gets dragged around by Cael on ridiculous ventures quite a lot.

6. Do have any secrets from each other?
Cael is basically a sack full of secrets that could change the history of their world. At first Iavin had no clue who the strange boy with white hair was. But Cael eventually spilled his secrets. Ya know, right before he imprisoned Iavin. He’s nothing if not polite.
As for Iavin. Iavin is Iavin. He’s a simple boy and everyone knows who he is. There’s nothing mysterious or dangerous about him.

7. How well do they know each other’s quirks and habits?
Cael picked up on Iavin’s insecurity almost immediately, and did his best to put Iavin at ease. I think that’s what makes their friendship work. Cael does not judge Iavin for being shy or clumsy. He’s perfectly fine with Iavin’s awkwardness, even likes it I think. He’s good about keeping up mostly one-sided conversations and making Iavin laugh and just in general being laidback and accepting Iavin. Iavin isn’t used to such treatment. He has very high class parents and has spent his life being tortured by snobby people who turn their noses up at him. He’s made fun of for his small stature and introverted ways. But Cael accepts him for who he is. Or treats him like his cute puppy, but ya know. And that went way off on a tangent that has nothing to do with the question really. Whoops!

Anyways. For Iavin it took him quite a while to make any sense of Cael’s flamboyant and carefree (and often manipulative) ways.

8. What kind of things do they like to do together?
Well, there was that one time Iavin stopped Cael from destroying and taking over his homeland. That was good fun.
And they like to eat together because food makes everybody get along.

9. Describe each character’s fashion style (use pictures if you’d like!) How are their styles different/similar?
Iavin is definitely not much for fashion. Plain tunics and trousers and comfortable shoes are preferable. Of course his mother has other ideas for him. . .

He tried standing in the corner as inconspicuously as possible. Being inconspicuous was kind of hard though when one was wearing a bright blue suit with gold seams that seemed to glow at every tiny exposure of light.

While Cael would be perfectly comfortable in a gaudy blue suit. He does like to be showy.

10. How would their lives be different without each other?
Now that’s a question.

Cael would be off continuing his plans of “improving” the world, and by improving I mean taking it over and enslaving half the inhabitants. But ya know, details.
Iavin. . .well. I think in his own strange way Cael gave Iavin some confidence. I mean, after Cael forced Iavin through frozen wastelands to griffin infested caves down to dank dungeons with danger around every corner, he’s bound to gain some confidence somewhere amidst all that.

They both have a long way to go, but I think their friendship, as shaky (and ridiculous) as it is, pushed each of them to be better people. And now I’m really looking forward to November when I can continue their story! They’re honestly one of my favorite, if not THE favorite, character duos I’ve ever written. Gotta love those unlikely friendships.

Monday, August 10, 2015

Burning Thorns Snippets

Hello, hello! In celebration of finishing Burning Thorns I thought I’d share some snippets. Since I have been (and will be) jabbering on and on about it, the least I could do is show you some of it, right? As always, this is first draft material here, so read at the risk of eyeball injuries.

Burning Rose


"Oh." She was silent for all of three seconds before saying, "So what do I call you?"

"Dragon is as good as anything."

"What?" The pattering of feet came to an abrupt halt. "You're the dragon?"

He stopped as well but never once moved his gaze from the path ahead. "Yes."

"But you don't look anything like a dragon."

His hands slid deeper into the sleeves. "How do you know?"

"Well, I mean, it's your, erm, proportions. You seem a bit too small, too human shaped, for a dragon."

An odd sensation tugged up at the corners of his lips, but he quickly squelched it. "Dragons have many different forms."


"Do you like to read?" He glanced down at her, hardly knowing where the question came from. She did need a distraction to keep her away from the Forest and prying through his personal belongings. And somewhere away from him.

She looked up, eyes sparkling. "Oh yes, very much!"

He averted his eyes to the door again and reached to open it with his free arm, unsure why he suddenly felt so uncomfortable when she looked at him. He cleared his throat. "Good. Then maybe you'll have something to occupy yourself with that isn't snooping where you don't belong." He forced his gaze back on her and almost managed a smile. "I think you'll find my library quite satisfying."

Her lips parted and surprise flashed in her eyes. "You mean…you're allowing me to stay?"

He stared at her hopeful gaze for several seconds. A dull ache pricked at his chest and constricted his throat. Trying to swallow it all away, he nodded. "I suppose I am."


The castle surrounded by roses had sat still and silent since it appeared in the midst of the Forest. No movement of wind crossed its path. The nearby trees dared not shudder their branches lest the leaves rustled. Rose petals fell perfectly silent to the earth. It was as if time itself chose to keep its distance from the foreboding structure. Only the dark mist snaked through its shadows.


"Why do they fear you?" Rose asked. Not accusingly, not with bitterness, she simply wanted to know, and yet this confused him all the more.

He looked down at his gloved hand and crumpled the thick leather into a fist. "Everyone fears me." Doubts niggled at his mind, thoughts he pondered every day since she came. He had to know. Keeping his head down, he asked quietly. "Why don't you?" Much to his surprise, she chuckled, and something inside him lifted at the happy sound. He moved his gaze back to her and found the light had returned in her eyes.

She stood and brushed dirt from her dress. "Because," she gave one last flap of her skirts and then looked him straight in the eye, "you're not the beast the stories make you out to be." Her smile and the twinkle in her eyes grew softer, sincere. "You're kind."


Boyish laughter filled the air. Anya's fingers crumpled tighter at the mocking tone, but movement behind the trees distracted her from the irritation. A section of the dark fog spiraled higher and higher until a single wisp detached from the rest. It swirled a few foot above the earth, darting back and forth between the foliage, as if putting on a show, before finally approaching the wall of trees. Hovering at eye level with Anya through a gap of branches, it twirled and twirled, and with each spin, it grew, took shape.

Anya blinked when she found a boy grinning at her between the branches. He took a step back and bowed so low his nose nearly touched the forest floor. "Your ladyship."

~~~ Larke

Anya straightened. "I'm looking for someone." She did not miss the slight rise of his brow, though his voice kept its mocking tone.

"Ah. A runaway prince, then? Can't blame him for running. You could make a dragon freeze under that glare." His eyes flashed in triumph. "See? It's getting even worse now. I'm shivering already."


Teeth clenched, Anya snatched the flower from his hold before Marigold had a chance to take it and tossed it to the ground. "Enough of your tomfoolery, imp. Where is Rose?"

He glanced down at the flower, blinking, before shrugging it off. "First of all," he said, raising a finger, "I'm not an imp. Thirdly, in the castle."

"Um, you skipped your second point," Marigold pointed out.

"Hm? Oh, right. Numbers were always slippery little things. Secondly, she's in trouble. Thirdly, she's in the castle, thus the troubling part. There."

Marigold wrung her hands together. "What's troubling about the castle?"

"Well, she could break her neck on those floors. They're so polished it's like trying to walk on ice. Seems impractical to me. Oh, or she could be murdered by the dragon that lives there. Either one."


The Beast roared.

He roared until the foyer windows cracked, the walls quivered, the furniture clattered against one another. Until his throat burned and lungs emptied of air. And then he lifted the great high-backed chair and hurled it into the mantel where it broke and crumpled. Eager flames devoured the splintering pieces, growing brighter on its feast. Larger and hotter, just as the fire inside the Beast. The Dragon.

~~~ Dark Forest

Keeping the blade high, he used his other hand to pull Rose to her feet. "Get out of here!" he snarled, looking left to right at the fae once more closing in. "Go to the castle. Now!"

She immediately sprinted past him and down the muddy path. One of the creatures loped after her but the Beast caught it by the back of its leathery neck and drove the blade into its back. He did not wait to watch the body disintegrate to mist.

Turning to the others, he snatched off his half mask and looked right into their dark, gleaming eyes. They moved back as one, hissing quietly. "Leave!" he roared. "You will not come here again!"

He swiped the blade before them and their hissing turned to screeches. They sunk into the ground and seeped into the shadows, not even leaving a print in the mud behind.

The Beast stood alone, the only sound his own heavy breathing.

He stared at his shadow stretching into the depth of the Forest, casting darkness even upon the bright roses encircling him. He clutched the mask in his hand. No matter how hard he tried to hide it, he was still a beast. No mask could change that.


The Dragon's claws scratched the dusty castle floor with each dragged step.

Scrape. Scrape.

Scrape. Scrape.

For days—or had it been a lifetime?—that sound alone bounced off the castle walls.

That and his roars.

He sauntered around broken furniture, shattered glass, doors torn off their hinges. His rage was the only thing that kept him company now.

It was laughable that he once thought he could make this place a home, a real home he might actually be happy in. As if waxed floors and polished furniture would somehow make the curse, his prison, bearable.


Dark Castle"It's big," she said.

He followed her line of sight to the castle tucked between the trees before them. "Unlike you humans, we fae aren't small minded."

"No, just bigheaded."


"Why are we even here?" Marigold asked

"I thought it'd be a nice gesture to visit."

"Visit? The Dragon? And do what exactly?"


"Oh, that sounds like a great plan. Why don't we have tea with him as well? And what for dessert? Charred flesh? Human eyeballs?"

"Their tongues are much tastier." Larke glanced her way from the corner of his eye and bit down on his own tongue to not laugh at her horrified expression.


"Maybe you're really the youngest and just forgot."

This finally brought her eyes away from the fire, and the way they flashed it looked as if long exposure pulled some of the flames right into her eyeballs. "I am not the youngest! I am a year and a half older than Rose!"

"My! A year and a half? Impressive." He took extra precautions to assure the sarcasm made it to her ears loud and clear. "Wait, wait." He held his palms out defensively when she shifted as if ready to lunge right over the fire and to his throat, wounded or not. "Looking young isn't all that bad. I pull it off beautifully after all."

Eyeing him skeptically, she settled back down. "How old are you?"

"It changes from day to day."

Her brow furrowed and she blinked at him for nearly ten seconds before the realization flared across her face. "Ugh, you're hopeless!"

~~~Burning Rose2

Palms still spread out in front of him, chest heaving, and blood pounding in her ears, Rose looked into his face. "Dragon?"

He blinked, and the untamed gleam in his eye faded. For the first time since he attacked, he looked at her. He saw her.

Rose took a shuddering breath. A thousand words she longed to say stormed through her throat, but only one broke free. "Please."

His black lips parted, trembled, like speaking pained him. His eyes roved over every inch of her face, as if searching for something lost. They gazed deep, piercing, hungry. She could see him now, the man hidden under the beast, so desperately trying to claw his way out.


What was first only one night in the curious castle turned into many days, and those days into weeks, until Rose almost felt familiar with the large structure of shifting halls and dancing murals.

In repayment for his hospitality, she offered the Dragon her cleaning services, but after she nearly flooded the entire foyer with her first attempt at mopping, he declined any more offers.


The shadows tore around the Dragon—both invigorating and overpowering. The flames inside him flared, fed the overcoming desire to take blood. Begged to kill. How easy it would be. Just one eruption of flames and they would all be dead. No more accusations, no more looks of hatred. No one left to control his life. Solitude.

Or loneliness.


Forest SilhouetteShe twisted around to face him, her eyes sparkling with life more vivid than ever. "Oh yes! In fact, I think it was Him who led me here."

He licked his lips before carefully saying, "Do you? Why?"

She reached for the great white doors and shoved them closed. The moment the last slit of sunlight disappeared, the foyer candelabras crackled to life. Rose turned back to face the Beast and the firelight gleamed off the iridescent fabric of her lavender gown. Standing there in the middle of the foyer, she looked as enchanting as the castle itself, as if she was a very piece of it.

She stepped forward, the flame's light weaving glints of gold down her dark locks. "Because here, away from the slave trader, away from my sisters, from those dark beings in the shadows, I know I'm safe."

Her answer clung to the Beast far after she had left for bed.

Monday, August 3, 2015

And They Lived…

B&B and Rose

On July 13th of last year (2014), I started a Beauty and the Beast novella called Tossing Roses with the intention of entering it in Rooglewood Press's Fairytale Contest. Halfway through writing I retitled it Burning Thorns, deciding it fit better with the theme. Two months after starting it I finished the 20k novella, later jumped into editing, shared it with my critique partners, edited some more, did NaNoWriMo somewhere in between there, yet more editing, and then in December sent it off for the contest.

On February 1st I learned Burning Thorns was not one of the winners for the Five Enchanted Roses Collection. Obviously there was a little disappointment there. I think that’s natural. But the strange thing was, I also felt a peace. I felt this strong urging to take my little 20k novel and expand it into a full length novel. Maybe that’s what it was supposed to be after all.

Originally I had planned to rewrite another novel this year, but I couldn’t get Burning Thorns out of my head. And so just two days after discovering Burning Thorns wasn’t chosen for the collection, I started an outline, an outline to expand it into a novel. In March I started writing.

It was a strange experience turning a little story into a full length novel. New characters appeared, subplots were discovered, backstories came to life. I realized the novella had just scratched the surface. The novel was where the REAL story was. The story I thought I knew rather well suddenly became so much bigger and deeper and more alive than I had ever imagined.Rose

Writing was a pleasure, a delight. With the novella, I snatched a moment with the characters, a little vacation; in the novel I got to LIVE with them. I grew to love them so much, they tugged tears out of me, and it’s an extremely rare occurrence that I cry with my own writing. But it happened. I became so attached I actually had to fight back tears on multiple occasions.

Writing was going great and at a fairly good pace, but I decided I wanted to move it along a little faster. I write (and do anything really) a thousand times better when I have a goal, so in June I set a 30k goal for myself. It was a bit of a struggle, but it pushed Burning Thorns from not even being halfway yet to having an ending in sight. With that realization I kept on pushing forward throughout July.

As the month went on, and life reared its head and laughed at my silly goals, I feared I wouldn’t finish the story by the end of July like I hoped. July exploded into a frantic mess of busyness. It tried its best to pull me away from Burning Thorns, but I kept holding on, even if by my fingernails.

The ending of the story was getting nearer and nearer, but so was the month. Finally, by the last week of July I realized it was silly to stress myself out over finishing the story. So what if I finish it at the beginning of August and not the end of July? Did just a few days really matter? My OCD side said yes, but I chose to ignore it (for once) and let my common sense actually show its face (again, for once). I’d just enjoy writing the ending (because, ya know, I do love writing endings) and forget about silly goals. The ending would come when it came.

Then Wednesday happened. I had 3 more chapters to write and only 3 days left of July. It’s a very rare occurrence (unless NaNoWriMo is involved) that I write a whole chapter in a day. So writing a whole chapter 3 days in a row? So wasn’t happening. But as I started writing Wednesday, it went super smoothly, and was superbly fun. And then I realized I had written a whole chapter in one day.


Then Thursday came and it happened again. A whole chapter in a single day.

Well then.

So there we were, Friday, July 31st. Last day of July, one chapter left. And I realized with an excited tingle. . . I can do this. I seemed to have forgotten once more that endings always move along so, so much faster than any other part of writing for me.

I sat down that Friday afternoon, wrote “Chapter 35” at the top of a new page of my Burning Thorns document, and started writing. By around 7 that evening, with fingers literally shaking from the thrill of it all, I typed two of the most satisfying words in the world: The End.

35 chapters, 83,835 words, and the first draft of the Burning Thorns novel is DONE.

I sat there for a minute, staring at the “The End” I just typed on the page, stunned. There’s always something so surreal about finishing writing a novel. Maybe it’s just me, maybe I’m just an overemotional little elf. But spending days, weeks, months, hours upon hours upon hours pouring your heart and soul into words on a page and then realizing you finished the first step—wow. It’s a magical feeling!

I think I’m still a little stunned it’s finished. Probably because I spent so much time these last couple of months with it. Practically every free second I had was spent writing in it, and the not so free seconds thinking about it. I get so terribly attached to my characters. Spending all that time with them and then suddenly not takes a bit to adjust. They’re still running around in my head, giving me the illusion I need to rush over and continue their book. Since my brain has been so adamant in writing as much as possible, I can’t seem to process the fact that I DON’T have to write.

Perhaps my brain can’t adjust to the change because, really, this story has stuck deep inside my for a year now. In a year's time the novella was written, edited, sent off, read by a contest judge (O_O I try not to think about that scary thought), sparked an idea for a full novel, and now IS a full novel. Um, how did that even HAPPEN??? It was originally just going to be a little story I write for a contest and that be that. And here I am, a year later, with a fully finished, nearly 84k word first draft in my lap.

I don’t even know how to process this.

But still, am I happy about finishing? Ummm. . .


Pinkie Pie GIF



So what now? Yeeeah, I have news about that. Remember how I was all planning to join in on Rooglewood Press’s next contest, the Sleeping Beauty one? I had the beginnings of a rather fun idea and everything. Wellll. . .I’m thinking I won’t be entering this year.

See, my secret hope was that I’d finish Burning Thorns in June, take a writing break in July, and start my Sleeping Beauty Novella in August. Obviously that didn’t happen. Okay, so I’ll finish BT by mid-July, have a slightly shorter break, and then write the novella. Again, plan failed. BT just kept taking longer than I thought it would. And, well, I’m pretty burned out on the writing front. I don’t think I have another writing project in me right now.Five Magic Spindles Banner

The problem is, I’d have to start very soon because it’d probably take me about a month or more to write a 20k novella. Then I’d have to edit it and get it all polished perfectly for the contest before December. Which wouldn’t be a big deal except we have to add NaNoWriMo into the equation. This year’s NaNo is going to take a LOT of plotting, and I always use all of October for NaNo plotting, and then of course November is write-my-novel-and-do-nothing-else-like-a-crazy-person month. And in December I need a BREAK. So. Basically I’d have August and September to write, edit, and polish a 20k novella that I don’t even have plotted or anything if I’m going to join in on the contest. After spending SO much time on Burning Thorns, I really just don’t think I can do it. Writing is life, but sometimes even us crazy writer people need a break from it. So, as of now, I’m not planning on joining in the Sleeping Beauty contest. It’s rather sad, but for my own mental state of health I think it’s necessary.

I’ve ignored a lot of things in favor of writing lately. I literally almost want to cry when I look at my inbox. It’s just not even funny how much stuff I’ve put off that really, really needs tending to. (And have I mentioned I haven’t really read anything in like two months? O_O Yeah, I think I’m going insane from book dehydration.) My big plans of trying to catch up on EVERYTHING in July crumbled into me trying to keep up with life with one hand and type in BT with the other, while everything else fell by the wayside.

All that to say, I’m going to be spending the next couple weeks or so actually catching up with emails, friends’ stories I need to critique, and hopefully fit in quite a bit of reading in there, plus, ya know, that life thing. And then, hopefully, RELAX and be gloriously lazy. (Notice the emphasis on “hopefully” because we all know how life is.)

(And who knows, I might squeeze in writing a Sleeping Beauty novella in the midst of all that. Okay, okay. Mostly kidding! But with me you honestly never know. I didn’t mean to write a Burning Thorns novel any time soon and here we are. So. *shrugs*)

Then October I’ll be thrust back in the writing life and start planning for NaNo. (Can we talk about how close it’s starting to feel already? How is NaNo so CLOSE??? Actually, let’s not talk about it. It’s terrifying.) After NaNo, another break, and then in January I’ll be opening the Burning Thorns document once more and jump into. . . *shifty eyes* REWRITING. *cue thunder and lightning* Scary, I know. But that’s the plan. Watch it crack and shatter, but for now I’m sticking to it.

Long story short (real long story apparently, good grief): I FINISHED BURNING THORNS AND AM FLOATING ON AIR RIGHT NOW.

Hover Pinkie Pie GIF

That’s quite enough talk from me. I want to hear about you! Did you do CampNaNo (I guess I accidentally did two mini ones in June and July but not officially)? How’d it go? If not, what have you been up to in July? Annnd what’s your plans for August? (Except I’m pretending it’s not August because HOW IS IT ALREADY AUGUST???)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...