awesome

Needful Things meets Rumpelstiltskin

This is the second writing exercise from the last meeting. The title was suggested by Brandon, and I don’t know what “Needful Things” refers to, but I like it! I am thinking this little piece could go somewhere magical if it were expanded a bit – Enjoy!!

Trip, boat, kettle, goddess (I honestly forget which word was mine)

Brin wandered through the store, her eyes gazing about at the myriad wares offered for sale. Each was graced with a gold tag, tied with gold twine, and on the paper in graceful letters were written things like “your second kiss” and “an afternoon in the sun”. Brin passed a giant cast iron kettle that sang though no fire was lit under it, a tiny boat in a tiny jar that sailed in fair waters, but as Brin passed the sky within the glass clouded and the water grew choppy, and a hundred other things that she couldn’t see.
“Can I help you?” a smooth voice issued from the shadows at the back of the shop.
Brin stopped and peered closer, trying to see the owner of the voice. She took a few steps forward and made out a wrinkled old man with copious amounts of curly silver hair and a large smile.
“I’m looking for a token for my aunt,” Brin said. “She said something about a goddess stone that she saw in the window?”
“Ah, yes!” the old man said. “Just in from Ireland this morning.”
He jumped off the stack of books he was using to come up to eye height, and trotted through the store with confident steps. He came back bearing a stunning jewel in a green velvet box, and Brin’s eyes widened.
“It’s a beauty isn’t it?” the man agreed.
“It doesn’t have a price tag on it,” Brin noticed.
“You’re right,” the man replied, and tapped his nose.
From a drawer, he pulled out gold twine and scissors, and wrote on a tag “A trip you’ll never take” before tying it around the jewel’s case. “What do you say? I daresay your aunt will look stunning wearing this.”
“She would,” Brin murmured, reaching out to touch the gem. “How do I pay?”
“You don’t,” the man assured her. “Just take the tag, and present it to your aunt, and all will be well.”
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❤ DragonBeck

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Round Robin Stories

Happy Friday 13th – an appropriate day for the following, I think!
Every two weeks the Ink Slingers meet to go over how awesome we are (joking, but seriously). Part of what we do is writing exercise – have to keep those minds and fingers limber, you know! Occasionally, we do a really fun exercise where we each take a paper, and write one sentence, then hand the paper left or right, and the next person continues the story with their own sentence.
I blame the sinister twist on all the stories to Brandon and Erika – it was pointed out that other members ended stories in sinister ways, but I think that is still attributable to Brandon and Erika’s influence; Alanna is super sweet and would ordinarily never throw anyone into a seemingly endless abyss.
Here are the stories I started:
“The Task”
They all stood in the circle, their shadows joined in a point between them by the magical fires burning behind them. The task had called them to this place between worlds, and their sour tethers were barely holding on. Morton tried to break free, the tethers were so loose, but something dark held a lifeline fixed to his core and he panicked. The darkness crept up inside him, threatening to take over and he felt his mind begin to fade into the background. A voice, sinister, whispered into his ear, into his mind. “So, again you forgot – and again you came.”
“Past and Future”
The potion was bitter and yet sweet at the same time, tasting of sadness and treasured memories, and he swallowed it all one gulp. Considering magic was involved, he expected an immediate result: it took about ten minutes to violently react. Torin doubled over in pain and fell to the ground as his bones cracked and reformed in quick succession. When the trembling had finally subsided, Torin took a deep breath, savoring the scents of his past and his future in his new body. His transformation was a sacrifice with one goal, and he had three cycles of the moon before he turned to ash.
❤ DragonBeck

Just Toppam

Here’s a three-in-one post of my writing exercises from the last meeting. Technically we only did two exercises, but both Brandon and I did continuations, so we got a third set of words for an extra-special story. Here’s mine – enjoy!

Turkey, messy (my word), narrow,

He walked down the narrow alley, the dead turkey swinging at his side. They
would eat well tonight, better than they had all winter. The dead bird was
scrawny, and had not been plucked, so it would be a messy preparation, but still
his mouth watered at the thought of hot, roast meat. His stomach gave an
answering grumble. Shadows moving behind him pulled him from his lovely fantasy,
and he groped for the rusty knife in his belt. He turned to look, but the alley
was empty. After a moment spent searching the darkness, he convinced himself
that he had been imagining things. He shrugged and turned to continue home. He
ran into the tall man standing in front of him, swinging the silver topped cane
with a smile that bared pointed teeth.

__________________________________________________________________
marked, butterscotch, grime,

“Who are you?” Tim stammered, clutching the turkey to his breast as if it would
protect him.
The second man smiled wider. “My name is Toppam.” The man bowed and touched his
hat.
Tim started. No one had ever bowed to him.
“And who do I have the pleasure of addressing?” The man had a pleasant smell
reminiscent of butterscotch hanging around him, and his fine clothes seemed to
repel the grime of the dirty alley they were standing in.
“My name is Tim. Tim Calloway,” Tim nodded, and raised his hand to his forehead
though he had no hat to tip.
“Mr. Calloway, it is an honor to make your acquaintance,” Toppam said. “Would
you walk with me this evening?”
Tim didn’t think he had a choice, so he nodded and fell into step beside the
tall, sinister man.
“You are probably wondering why I came to seek you out,” Toppam continued in the
same dignified voice that hinted at a private joke.
Tim nodded. “Yes, Mr. Toppam, sir, the thought has crossed my mind.”
“No, it’s just Toppam,” the man corrected, flashing pointed teeth again. “And it
is a simple enough answer Mr. Calloway. You’re a marked man, sir, a man marked
for greatness, if you would only allow me to assist you in that endeavor.”
_________________________________________________________________________
Zone, ghastly, tickle,

Tim swallowed. “I don’t know about that Mr. Toppam, sir,” he said, forgetting
that the man wished to be called simply Toppam. “I’ve never done anything great
in my life.”
The tall man threw his head back and laughed, then turned and patted Tim kindly
on the shoulder. “You are such curious little creatures,” Toppam murmured, more
to himself than to Tim. “Such potential, and yet so shortsighted and
narrow-minded at the same time.”
Tim gave a nervous cough, and distanced himself by two paces from the
frightening man. “Mr. Toppam, sir-”
“Just Toppam, if you please, Mr. Calloway,” Toppam smiled, this time his lips
pressed closed.
A tickle of unease rippled down Tim’s spine, and the fact that the man insisted
on calling him Mr. Calloway made him more uncomfortable still.
“Toppam, if it please you, sir,” Tim continued, pushing past the lump in his
throat. “If it’s all the same to you, I just want to go home to my family.
They’re hungry, sir, and waiting for me to bring them supper.”
“Unfortunately, it’s not the same to me, not at all.” Toppam gazed at the sky, a
ghastly expression on his face, one of age-old suffering, then he twirled his
cane once more, and the expression was gone. “That is a fine bird. Tell me, how
did you come by it?”
“Won it in a game of cards, fair and square, Toppam, sir,” Tim said, lifting his
chin.
Toppam chuckled. “If it makes you happy to think so.” Toppam snapped his
fingers, and the turkey vanished.
Tim let out an unmanly scream, and stumbled back against the wall, quaking as
Toppam stepped towards him, reaching into his jacket.
“Please don’t,” Tim pleaded.
Toppam grimaced. “I’m not going to hurt you.” He withdrew a small square of
paper. “Have you ever seen this woman?”
Tim squinted at the picture of a girl with blond curls and dark eyes for a long
time, just to be sure. “No, sir.”
A sigh escaped Toppam’s lips, and he looked relieved, the darkness leaving his
face and his eyes lighting. “There may be time yet,” Toppam said.

_____________________________________________________________________________________

❤ DragonBeck

Writer On Holiday (Sort of)

Hey there, wonderful readers of the world!

I know I haven’t been gracing you with literary awesomeness like I should’ve been, but I have a good excuse – I swear!
I’ve been visiting my sister out in the great (or greatest, depending on who you ask) state of California, and so I haven’t had much attention or time for anything else.

California is really nice – I am enjoying myself. I am immensely enjoying the weather, though it got a little hot. My sister is taking me to all the ice-cream places which are to die for (shout out to Jeni’s and McConnelsl’s – aaammmaaazing ice cream). Have you ever had Earl Grey And Shortbread ice-cream? If not, I heartily recommend it. It has a very writerly vibe to it, I think. The only thing I have a small problem with is that it’s very difficult to find postcards – not really sure why; this is a touristy state, is it not?

Anyway, I hope everyone is doing well, and we’ll talk soon!

Oh, and any advice on where to get postcards in LA/Orange County? Or really good ice-cream?

❤ DragonBeck

Bug Crisis

Erika said this wouldn’t end well. What do you think?

busy (my word), crisis, bug,

Just when she thought things couldn’t get any worse, the bug showed up. It was a
hideous things with too many legs, mandibles that clicked with a hungry sort of
questioning repetition, and glossy wings that rustled against its back. It was
also the size of a cat. Kella had been busy trying to avert the crisis brewing
in her cauldron, but now she was on the table, her heart hammering in her chest
as she watched the monstrosity crawl through her kitchen, praying to the gods
that it couldn’t climb the furniture.
Out of the corner of her eye, the witch noticed the purple froth begin to flow
more energetically over the rim of her cauldron, pooling on the the kitchen
floor like luminescent fog in the wee hours of the morning. The flames
spluttered, but clung stubbornly to life, which made the purple mist pour out
faster and faster, and soon the floor disappeared under it. Kella could still
tell where the giant insect was, by the way the mist moved, and the pair of
antennae that hovered above the blanket of mist, but then even those were
hidden.
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❤ DragonBeck

Meet The Authors

Hello everyone – happy Friday!

The Ink Slingers Guild are officially at Tampa Bay Megacon this weekend – we have a table in Artist Alley, and lots of fantastic books for you!!!

Let’s take a moment to get acquainted, shall we?

Lisa Barry:

“Writing and reading every minute she can, Lisa counts on her cats to keep her keyboard warm and on the countless gargoyles who stand guard throughout her house to ensure the safety of all those who enter with good intent. The gargoyles, even more importantly, listen carefully when Lisa reads to them aloud.

On a person note…besides having a deep admiration of gargoyles (who says they’re not real?), I love to read and write.  I collect gargoyles, I love music and can be heard driving up before I am seen, I’m a very picky eater (just ask my friends -eyes rolling-), I enjoy fishing and will catch them, clean them, cook them but won’t eat them or anything else out of the ocean.  I also believe in many fairy tale creatures, just haven’t knowingly met any yet.”

And she has a really cool tattoo.

  and coming soon…

Dalia Lance:

Dalia says “I have had a very interesting upbringing starting with growing up in Hollywood, CA. Never shy, I learned that if you are not willing to try something new you may let life simply pass you by. I love meeting people from all walks of life and these experiences inspire me on a daily basis. As a true friend once pointed out “You are never a complete waste, you can always be used as a bad example”. So what’s the worst that can happen?”

 

J. M. Pacquete:

JM Paquette writes cheesy vampire romance novels filled with action, adventure, intrigue, and sometimes slightly steamy sex scenes. She enjoys alliteration and puns of all kinds.

   

Alanna J. Rubin:

Miss Rubin says “I’m originally from Massachusetts. As a northerner, I never missed an opportunity to pick apples, carve pumpkins, or visit Salem to see the witches and haunted happenings. Now that I’m in Florida, not a day goes by when I don’t miss the changing colors of leaves, but I would never go back to having to shovel snow. As a fan of science fiction, paranormal, and romance…I find that individually they are fun,  however, I love them more when they’re mashed together. Often, when I am not writing my next adventure you’ll find me torn between watching a Jane Austen adaptation or hopping on the Tardis for an adventure in time and space.”

  

And yours truly, Nicole Dragonbeck:

I was born on the first day of a year-long eclipse of the sun, the thirteenth child of the Prince of Elves and an enchantress. As a small child I fell into a poisoned well and was horribly transformed by the toxic sludge seething in the deep darkness. I was fished out by a band of gypsies, who promised to feed and clothe me if I cooked and cleaned for them. They taught me to ride bareback and read palms, but I royally pissed off the leader by setting his wagon on fire and he cursed me with a great imagination and an equally great inability to tell the truth…and the rest is history.

  

I hope to see you at Megacon this weekend and get the chance to meet you in person!

❤ DragonBeck (and friends)

 

 

 

The Wizard’s Library

Fair warning: these next few blogs are going to be short and sweet, with just a fun little story for your reading pleasure and not much else. I’m sorry I don’t have much time to entertain you, or enlighten you with my writerly thoughts on writing otherwise known as #writetips – I’m pretty swamped with all things writing and life.  Still doing the last little bits of clean up and catch up from the disruption that was Hurricane Irma, and it’s getting to be that time of the year – holidays!!!! – and I have to get my act together for that. So, without further ado, here it is – my writing exercise from last meeting. The words were a little angsty and emo, but it was fun. Enjoy! 🙂

hate, dissension (my word), leather,

“And what’s this?” Heather asked, pulling a bottle filled with black mist from
the shelf. A red cork stopper kept the mist from escaping, but it still looked
like it was pushing and fighting to get out.
“Hate,” the wizard said, and snatched the bottle from her. “Don’t touch
anything.”
Heather crossed her arms, head turning right and left as she followed the
irritable man through his lair. So many interesting things sat on the shelves,
bones, and feathers, golden orbs, and fanged creatures floating in green liquid.
“Right,” the wizards snapped, and Heather looked forward.
They stood in front of a huge bookshelf. It towered over their heads, and
disappeared in the dark gloom above them. Heather didn’t think she could read
all the books on the shelves if she had three lifetimes. The books were all
shapes and sizes, and piled haphazardly, like soldiers in the throes of
dissension, no rhyme or reason to their placement, at least that Heather could
see. Her hand reached out, fingers bushing the soft leather, but the wizard
knocked her arm down.
“Didn’t I tell you not to touch anything?” he grumbled, then waved his hand and
summoned a ladder which flew to him. “Wait here. I shan’t be gone long.”
He rapidly ascended the rungs, and was soon lost from sight far above her, and
Heather was left alone with the books.
________________________________________________________

Let me know what you think! What are your favorite writing tips?

❤ DragonBeck

Guardians of the Path: Book IV The Other World – Available Now

I am very happy to announce that Guardians of the Path Book IV The Other World is now available for purchase!

Haunted by Riddles and Dreams

Here: In Demona, the Guardians go to the Dale, a place of old magyc locked away in the past, hoping to find the Man of Tongues, a sorcerer of myth who they believe may have the power to send them across worlds. They get more than they bargain for, learn more than they ask for, and in the end, they must make a terrible choice: Aethsiths, or Ria?

There: In the Other World, Maria Westerfield’s past comes back to haunt her when one of her friends is murdered and a mysterious symbol she never thought she’d see again appears written in his blood. The Girl Who Came Back must figure out what to do before everyone she loves is destroyed by the things she thought only existed in dreams.

Everywhere: All those who wield magyc are drawn together to battle Demons, Wardens, and their own dark secrets to keep the Placer of Pieces and his Men in White from extinguishing the light of life called the Path. Assassins, Witches, princesses, Makers of Marks and even Death Himself all attempt to divert the fate of this world, but everything hangs on the choice of one girl in…

…The Other World.

I cordially invite you to step through the door and continue the adventure in the other world! And I’d appreciate it greatly if you’d take a few moments to please leave me a review and let me know what you think!

❤ ❤ ❤ DragonBeck

 

 

So Much News…

Having gone radio dark for a month (all in the name of science), here are the updates I promised regarding the world of the Guardians of the Path and other fantastic realms:

I spent a couple weeks going over Book 1, First Magyc, and I am happy to announce that the second edition is now available on Amazon. I cleaned it up a bit, tightened things here and there, and stretched them out in other places. I added a bit to the epilogue, which I enjoyed and I hope you do to. I recently read The Last Gunslinger (Dark Tower, book I) and if Steven King can do a second edition of book one (right around the time the fourth book of that series was being released, if memory serves), I feel that gives me licence to do the same.

Book 4, The Other World, is up for presale (that announcement has been burning a hole in my pocket, but in the name of science, I couldn’t break my month-long abstinence).

I drew yet another map. It is a marvelous map that shows the rest of the Guardians of the Path series on one (rather large) sheet of paper. I did it in pretty colors, and right now it exists in three places: on my computer, on my wall, and on the phone of the person who was kind enough to help me transport the map into the digital realm (Though I’ve thought about asking them to delete it, I have no hope of getting them to do so – I have a sneaking suspicion they would just give me a look and whisper “it’s in the cloud”). I am not sure if I will release this map, or put it in a book. Perhaps in the tenth book. In any event, I am very proud of it, and it helped me get my thoughts in order for the next six books, and I hope, make the writing smooth and steady.

On that note, book 5 Wasteland, is coming along. The first draft is well begun (which, contrary to Aristotle, is not quite the same as half done, at least when talking about a novel). The tale becomes somewhat more complex during book 4, so I am hoping that book 5 will be released mid next year.

I have also been reading the Pendragon series (also ten books). It is an amazing story, and I am about halfway through – I’ve procured the last five books from the library, and trying not to devour them in place of sleep.

The Ink Slingers Guild has been busy as usual – we have three anthologies coming out between now and sometime in the near future – Super Useless, wherein superpowers that aren’t exactly super are discussed in chunks of 2,500 words or less, and The Purge of Jimmy, which is the sequel to The Death of Jimmy (available on Amazon Kindle for just 99¢), wherein more Jimmys (or is that Jimmies?) die and at least one loose end is tied up, and finally (the big one): the annual ISG anthology, my contribution to which is called “The Writer’s Trial” – a fun little piece about writers, devils, and talking cats that I wrote several years ago, and by several years, I mean over a decade. It shall see the light of day towards the end of the year.

Several other members of ISG are getting ready to publish novels, most imminently Alanna J. Rubin with Second Chances (a fun sci-fi, Jane Austen romance adventure mash-up), J. M. Paquette with her second novel Solyn’s Body (sequel to Klauden’s Ring)and Lisa Barry, with her second novel in the Gargoyles Den series, titled Rogue.

Our fantastic writing group will be making an appearance at MegaCon in Tampa Bay at the end of this month. Come find us in Artists’ Alley – we’re very friendly and entertaining, and more than happy to sign books, answer all manner of questions, and pose for pictures. I will be there on Sunday the 1st of October, most likely wearing a dragon shirt, or a Supernatural shirt.

Whew! That is a lot of activity. I’ll need another break after all that. Just kidding, a writer never gets a break. No rest for the wicked!

❤ ❤ ❤ DragonBeck

Half-Truth

Here’s the next writing exercise (product thereof) for you – enjoy!

Blue, arrow, pot

She hovered over the smoking pot, wringing her hands, frowning, and generally
looking worried.
“Is it supposed to be that color?” she asked, her eyes trailing
up the thick swirls of blue.
“No, we’re looking for more of a purple hue,”
William told her in his best wise voice, and hid a smile when she started pacing
twice as fast.
Her face was pale, and sweat beaded on her forehead, and then he noticed the
unusual glow in her eye.
“What’s the matter?” he asked.
She turned to him, and shook her head. He leaned forward and looking more
closely, he saw the signs that he should never have missed. The arrow was nocked
before she could blink, and she gazed at the weapon with something between
terror and rage.
“Who are you?” he demanded, he hand unwavering. Though he knew the face, he was
no longer certain what lay behind it. “What have you come here for?”
“What I told you,” she said, a plaintive ring to her voice. “I have to undo what
they did.”
“You told me they cast a curse on your village, and that you had to
go back and save everyone,” he reminded her, in case she had forgotten her own
sorry story. “You said everyone in the village was under this horrible spell.”
“That’s true,” she nodded, and she swallowed before she continued in a soft
voice. “I did not mention that I was the only one in the village. Everyone else
was dead.”

_________________________________________________________

So, Erika thought he should die, Jen and Alanna thought there may be a happy ending lingering just out of sight. Lisa thought there was probably a dragon involved.

What do you think?

❤ DragonBeck