Writing

An Epidemic of Epic Proportions

A calamity has befallen this world, an epidemic of epic proportions that more people should be aware of…

…it starts slow, no big deal, but before you know it, it grabs you in a tight grip and drags you into an unreal place that gets more and more difficult to get out of with every hit. You lose touch with reality as it consumes your mind, miss your whole life going by without you. All the good sense of everyone who loves you falls on deaf ears and all you can think is “Just one more…just one more and then I’ll quit.”

But you never do and another day comes and goes and another night passes by without your notice and you suddenly look around and wonder where you are, where did the time go, what happened to you?

Everything that mattered to you before you got hooked – your friends, your family, your future, being a rock star, doing something decent with your life, all those things like “One day I’ll go to Paris and kiss someone at the top of the Eiffel Tower” or “Camp under the stars watching the Northern Lights” or “Race a Lamborghini along the Great Wall of China” – these all fade as your life is taken over, sucked into the black-hole of insatiable craving, leaving no room for anything or anyone else…

…and that’s why you should never start reading books, kids.

Also, stay away from Libraries.

And don’t befriend any Writers 

❤ DragonBeck

P.S. Did you know?

P.P.S. If you aren’t already hooked, get out now and save yourself. However, if it’s too late for you and you’re looking for another hit of epic fantasy, you can check out the Guardians of the Path series:

This tale starts with Ria, but it will be up to all those who keep the Path – Witches, assassins, Makers of Marks, and even Death Himself – to defeat the Sorcerer and save magyc.

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The Opus Imperfectum

Looking through the many files on my computer in my “Stories” folder, I imagine a future…

…a future following the sudden obliteration of civilization on Earth in the year 2019 by a meteor or a zombie Apocalypse. In the future, the decimated human race slowly pulls itself together and builds itself back and one day, a thousand years after the Apocalypse, an archaeologist sifting through the dusty ruins and remains of Earth comes upon…my computer.

With his high tech and sophisticated gadgets, he will recover the archaic bits and bytes, piece them together and begin to read the same files that I read today. In subsequent digs, he will uncover hundreds, thousands more stories of this kind, scattered all over the broken world.

Some time later, he will write a thesis on his findings. He will be invited to speak about his work at an intergalactic archaeology conference, a very prestigious one, probably held on Mars. I can hear him address the great minds there…

“…the predominant genre of literature on Earth at the beginning of the twenty-first century appears to be a curious form of prose wherein the author simply… doesn’t finish the story!…”

He will call it (using Latin, one of Earth’s older and more impressive languages) the Opus Imperfectum (unfinished work) or perhaps Semiperfectus (half finished) or Scriptum est Medium (half written).

A craze will sweep through the stars. People will hold the stories up as philosophic and spiritually enlightening, puzzle over the deeper meaning of the stories, speculate whether the author was writing about the great mystery of life or death or the vagaries of time. Was the premature end meant to teach people to think for themselves or did it allude to Fate? School children will be made to write papers interpreting them and the great writers of the twenty-fourth century will emulate them…

…so if the zombie virus wipes us out, I figure I’m still going to be a famous author.

 

❤ DragonBeck

The Forest Prince (cont.)

Here’s the second writing exercise from the last meeting, as per a special request, it’s a continuation of an earlier continuation exercise, The Visitor and The Forest Prince.

Drown, snort, suitcase

The water rushed over her head, and the clutching hands around her ankles dragged her deeper into the forest pool. She fought, but it didn’t do any good – the creatures were at home in the water, and much more powerful than she was. When her vision began to blur and her lungs began to override her determination to hold her breath for as long as possible, she was sure she was going to drown.

Then someone grabbed her hair, pulling her up while speaking words of power. The creatures below her shrieked, but let their prey go, and retreated into the depths. She was hauled out, first by hair and then her arms, and she lay on the bank, snorting and gasping. When the burn in her lungs subsided, and she saw who her rescuer was, she though perhaps it might have been better to let the little water demons take her.

“Oh, it’s you.” she said.

“What, no words of gratitude?” the man who was not a man said, an impish smile playing over his lips.

“As you’re the reason I’m out here on the run, no, I will not be thanking you for anything,” she replied, wringing water out of her hair, and getting to her knees, fully prepared to march into the forest. Her hand was on her suitcase but his voice stopped her.

“I heard you met my brother.”

She turned to face him, shock and anger vying for supremacy on her face. “And?” she demanded.

“I hoped you’d tell me how that went,” he said.

“Well, you hoped wrong,” she said.

“Did he find it?” the forest prince pressed, going so far as to grab her arm.

She pulled out of his grip. He whispered the words of power, compelling her to stay, and she stopped, just out of force of habit. She had spent so long trying to hide that his words had no effect on her that she still went through the pretense without thinking.

“I want you to tell me what happened,” he said sternly.

She turned to face him once again, and raised a brow. “How do you know he didn’t tell me not to say anything?”

“Because you would be in excruciating pain right now,” he said. She shrugged.

“He didn’t ask me to say anything,” she said.

“So what what happened?”

“Nothing happened,” she said. “He came, and asked where you were, and I told him I didn’t know, and that was that.”

He gazed at her, doubt in his eyes as to whether he though she was lying or telling the truth. “Where are you going?”

“Far away from here,” she hefted the case and held it close to her chest. “Far away from you, and your family, and this forest, and this whole mess.”

“And what do you think that will get you with what you’re carrying?” he asked, smiling slyly.

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So, should I continue? 😀

❤ DragonBeck

The Fairies’ Creation

Here’s the flash fiction writing exercise that we did at the last Ink Slingers Guild Meeting – it was just Lisa, Desi and I (Desi bough ceviche and it was delicious – first time I’ve ever tried it).

nose (my word), chrysanthemum, floral,

Henri’s nose told him the problem before he even stepped foot in the room. The thick, putrid odor of decay and death poured from behind the door. He swallowed, turned the handle and stepped inside. The window was open, allowing a fresh breeze to come in from outside, but even the pleasant floral tones of the chrysanthemums from outside couldn’t mask the cloying stench that clung to the room.

“Is that it?” he pointed at the mass in the middle of the room.

The constable who had accompanied him nodded, and looked like he was trying to stop from puking. Henri couldn’t blame him, though in truth he had smelled worse in several of his many cases. Henri made his way to the rotting pile of black tendrils spilling out of the clay pot. He looked around the room for something that would allow him to examine the thing in more detail, and his eyes fell on the poker beside the fireplace. He motioned to the constable to bring it, and hefting the iron rod, he prodded the slimy ropes piled over the sides of the pot like noodles. They hissed and shrank back, and Henri also took a step back, just for good measure.

“Doesn’t like iron,” he muttered. “Not a good sign.”

“What was that sir?” the constable said through the handkerchief he held over his own nose and mouth.

“Fairies,” Henri spoke louder. “One of their creations.”

“Ah,” the constable didn’t look afraid enough of this pronouncement. “Can you get rid of it, sir?”

Henri considered the question. “I might be able to.” He also might just aggravate it and cause it to take over more of the flats, but he didn’t think the constable needed to know that.

 

❤ DragonBeck

A Piece of Always

We just did one exercise at the first meeting of 2019, so we had some more words and more time – Enjoy!

 

table, bridge, effervescent, reality, time, particle,

Helden stood on the bridge, looking down at the effervescent water frothing below him. Cosmic thoughts weighed heavy on his mind, thoughts that tried to mold the factors of time, reality, and chance into a solution that would not end in darkness for all. A presences at his elbow drew his attention, and he looked into the bright eyes of Prince Beron. The boy was small for his age, and pale. His mother kept him locked inside, fear for her frail son restricting the very things which might allow him to become stronger – sunlight, fresh air, and physical activity.

“What troubles you, Master?” Beron asked, showing the mental acuteness and attention to detail that would make him a great king one day, if not for his older brother.

Helden smoothed his face into a benevolent smile.

“Nothing, my Prince,” he said. “Just the slow thoughts of an old man.”

Beron gazed at him, his expression showing his disbelief and displeasure at the lie.

“You are not an old man,” the prince said. “Age has little to do with years of your life, and more to do with the life in your years.”

Helden started. “Where did you hear that?”

“I read it in a book,” Beron said, and leaned over the end of the stone rampart, smiling with delight at the stream below.

Helden snatched at the thoughts as they flitted in random patterns, disturbed by the boy’s words.

“What book is that?” Helden probed further.

“It was in an ancient language,” Beron said, and smiled proudly. “The librarian helped me find a table of linguistics to translate it, and the title is A Particle Of Ever. A strange name, but I find things always seem stranger when you look back on them.”

Again, Helden marveled at the precocious prince, and the fate that would keep him from becoming the man he should be. Except if that book was truly what Helden suspected it might be. The more he thought about it, the more he was certain it must be.

“What is it, Master?” Beron asked.

“That is not the correct translation,” Helden murmured, his thoughts at once darker and yet more hopeful. “The book is called A Piece of Always, and I think I need to see it right away.”

 

❤ DragonBeck

The Wizard’s Price

And this one is the last one from 2018 – a nice little piece that grew into two, with some more new words. Enjoy!

concert, figurine, customer

Fred walked into the store, taking his top hat off as he crossed the threshold into the cool interior. “Sir?” he called out. “Madam?”

Of it’s own accord, the pipe organ in the corner began to play an enthusiastic concert, causing Fred to wince at the volume of the slightly out-of-tune moans.

“Sir?” he tried again, though he found he was unable to compete with the sound of the instrument.

Fred took a step forward, and the shop fell deathly quiet, not even the echo of music lingering.

“We have a customer!” a pretty voice trilled from nearby, and Fred looked around to see a tiny creature with glittering green wings perched right at eye level on the shelf to his left.

The fairy gave him a wide smile, deep blue eyes blinking at him with warm contentment. “He’ll be out in a minute,” the fairy said, with a knowing nod towards the back of a shop.

“I see you’ve come for the figurine,” a voice melodious with deeper tones issued from the gloom, and then a man with a goatee wearing a vibrant red cloak stepped into the dim light.

Fred nodded, playing with the hem of his hat nervously.

“You have the price?” the wizard continued, arching a brow impossibly high.

Again Fred nodded, and pulled the small pouch from his breast pocket. He held it out to the wizard, fully intending to relinquish it and claim the tiny treasure he sought, but something made him hesitate, and he clenched the pouch tight against his chest.

 

luddite, shiny, reimage,

Luddite (one of my new favorite words): (noun) “a person opposed to new technology or ways of working”, from early 19th century: perhaps named after Ned Lud, a participant in the destruction of machinery, + -ite1.

And reimage: (verb) to create a new image of (someone or something): such as to form a new mental picture of (someone or something), to impress a new conception of (something) upon a group of people, or to create a new representation of (something, such as a story).

The other definition is a computing definition, and I enjoy that irony of the juxtaposition of the two words above.

Fred leaned against the bars of the cage, his eyes closed as he tried to hold on to the reimage of his life as it might have been had he just handed over the thrice-cursed price to the wizard. A tiny metallic tapping made him look up, and the fairy waved at him from the other side of his prison, her shiny wings beating furiously to keep her airborne. The cage itself hovered without visible support over the gaping abyss below. Even after several weeks, Fred still did not know her name, and though the fairy frequently professed a desire to help him escape, she also claimed to be such a luddite that she could not manipulate even the simple gears within the lock that held him fast. He closed his eyes again and leaned back, then yelped at the sharp pinch on his arm.

“I’ve got something important to tell you,” the fairy said, her voice low and urgent. “Pay attention.”

The faintest flicker of hope kindled in Fred’s chest, and he turned to face the little creature. Her eyes were wide, and alight with an emotion he had never seen: terror. “What’s wrong?” he demanded.

“Shh!” the fairy chastised. “Keep your voice down. She might hear you, and she’s much worse than he is.”

___________________________________________________________________________________________

Now that we’re all caught up with last year, time to finally turn the eyes to the future…and see that January is almost over *gasp* Where did the time go?

❤ DragonBeck

The Oldest Tomes

This one I was very pleased with – I think this could go somewhere cool.

policy, calendar, cube

The glowing cube hung in midair, shooting off random beams of colored lights. The three hooded figured were bathed in the unearthly light, though their faces remained hidden in shadow. As one, they raised their arms high and began to chant, and the cube responded to the sound. It spun, faster and faster. The beams of light became a blur, and then a grid. Points of light resolved into a map of stars and a celestial calendar appeared. The chant increased to a constant hum, and the cube stopped moving. It dropped to the ground with a discordant bang, and the chamber was thrown into darkness.

A single candle was lit, and the flickers of the flame threw dancing shadows onto the bearers face, making him look older and more careworn than he ordinarily was. His two companions removed their hoods, and they gazed wordlessly at each other.

“You saw it too?” the first finally spoke, hoping he misread the horror in their eyes. When both nodded, he sighed, and rubbed his chin.

“You know what the scripts say,” the second – a woman – said. “We cannot contravene the policies of our forebears.”

“That is not what the oldest tomes say,” the first countered, his voice soft with reluctance.

_______________________________________________________

Let me know if you’d like to read more – I’m considering making this the start of my Ink Slingers Guild anthology story this year!

❤ DragonBeck

P.S. For a fun collection of short stories (mine has dragons and ancient flying contraptions), you can get the latest anthology here!

 

Distracted By Cakes

Okay, so I’m still catching up from the end of last year – 2019 is turning out to be my best #AWizardIsNeverLate year ever.

Here’s another writing exercise. One tip that I use to free up my mind and get the words to flow easily is starting with the hardest word (for me) and fit the other ones around it. In this case “cliche” is not an easy word for me, or one that I would ordinarily choose to put in my writing. So I came up with a cliche – pixies have notorious sweetteeth (yes, that is a word) (and I got “dessert” in there). “Baleful” is easy-peasy in fantasy – villains anyone?

dessert, cliche, baleful

“Nina,” he hissed. “Nina! Come one we have to-what are you doing?”

“Hmm?” she looked up at him and blinked.

His eyes flicked to the display in the window behind her, and he sighed. Towering mounds of fluffy white icing draped in tiers of chocolate sponge with roses of spun sugar on top, tiny delectables dusted with edible glitter, and a dozen other desserts tantalized through the bakery window. Though it was the middle of the night, flame-less candles lit the entire display.

“Now is no time to get distracted by cakes,” he said, yanking on her arms.

“I wasn’t getting distracted,” Nina pouted. “That is such a cliche. You think that just because I’m a pixie, I can’t resist a treat.”

“It’s not a cliche. It’s a fact of life,” he said. “Now, come on! We don’t have much time.”

The pair ran down the side of the street, their footsteps sounding loud in the darkness. They rounded the corner, and skidded to a stop, the baleful creature crouched and waiting, red eyes glowing. A forked tail twitched behind it, and an ominous rumble grew in its throat.

❤ DragonBeck

The Forest Prince

This one is actually a continuation of the previous writing exercise:

Secret, beer, flimsy, alien,

“What do you want?” she said, the kettle still screaming behind her.

“Are you not afraid of me?” His voice was smooth and warm, and the animal sense of self-preservation in her mind quaked at it.

“No,” she said, and was pleased that her voice did not waver.

She turned and moved the kettle off the stove, and a quiet descended on the kitchen. She poured tea, two cups because to do otherwise would have been impolite, and wondered at the workings of gods and fate. When she decided that something had to be done about this, she didn’t actually mean right this second. She turned around, and found him standing right behind her. He had moved so silently. He looked down at her with large green eyes, his alien features warning her something dangerous lurked behind his pointed face and gleaming hair. A wreath of metal and jewels graced his brow, and he smelled like fresh dirt and beer and an evening breeze on sun-warmed stones.

“Strange,” she murmured to herself.

“What is?” he asked, tilting his head.

“You smell different than I would have thought,” she said, and handed him a cup of tea.

He took it, and took a sip without moving his gaze from her. The drink should have scalded his tongue, but he made no sign that he felt anything.

“Do you want to know why I am here?” he asked.

“Because you are following your brother,” she said, and felt frail and flimsy under his penetrating gaze.

“You are smart, for a mortal,” he said.

“And you are not as dumb as most gods,” she retorted, then her eyes widened in shock. She had not thought that through, but when he smiled, a wide, radiant expression of joy and humor, she relaxed.

“So you know my secret,” he said.

“One of them,” she answered, and he looked at her sharply.

She lowered her eyes. I have to be careful, she thought, or I will have two fey creatures who want something I cannot give them.

 

❤ DragonBeck

The Visitor

So it’s been a little while since I’ve posted my flash fiction writers’ meeting exercises, but I’m going to start that up again!

The story (or excuse, if you prefer) is that my little baby, my acer netbook, which has stood by me for almost 1,000,000 words (yes, that’s 1 million words) no longer connects to the wifi (for some reason I am not knowledgeable enough to guess at, but it probably has something to do with dark magic). And because I’m terribly lazy, I just haven’t taken the time to get a thumbdrive, and transfer them that way.

Anyway…moving right along…

I do not recall the date of this exercise, nor do I recall which word belonged to whom, but I hope you enjoy!

cramp, chaos, consternation, evergreen

The room was the embodiment of chaos, cupboard doors hanging open, things spilling off the shelves, the covers of the bed over the floor, and clothes falling out of drawers. The widow was smashed in, and the cold scent of ice and evergreen made Cindy shiver. He had been back, but he hadn’t found what he was looking for, and for this small favor from the remaining gods, she was thankful.

Cindy crossed the room, and drew the curtains to shut out some of the chill, then looked around the room. She couldn’t seem to muster the interest in cleaning up, it all seemed so pointless. She kept her eyes firmly away from the false brick in the wall, until it felt like they would cramp up with tension and strain. He could be watching, or one of his spies, the woodland creatures he bespelled.

Cindy went into the kitchen and stoked the fire in the oven, the warmth dispelling some of her consternation. She put the teapot on, and stared into space as she thought. Something had to be done about this. She could not keep returning to a ransacked and ruined home, but how could she defy such a powerful deity as he who haunted these woods?

The piercing shriek of the kettle startled her out of her thoughts, and that was when she noticed the figure standing in the doorway.

❤ DragonBeck