The Death of Jimmy

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

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Jimmy appears again…

Greetings world! I feel much more like my usual self after attending the Ink Slingers Guild meeting in the flesh on Wednesday! Lisa tempted me to the dark side with her spaghetti and garlic bread (delicious!) and my chocolate chip cookies went down well 🙂

Also, I heard rumors of the fourth book of Guardians of the Path, so stay tuned for confirmation of those rumors.

Here are the first two writing exercises. I dedicate these to Erika, for obvious reason. My word also came from the shirt she was wearing, so it’s fitting in more ways than one. Enjoy another death of Jimmy!

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lap, oil, token,

Jimmy paid his token, and waited nervously for the hooded figure to examine it,
then wave him onto the boat. Jimmy gave a nod of thanks to the imposing figure,
though he didn’t know if it could see him from under the rotting black hood.
The boat wobbled when Jimmy stepped onto it, and for a moment he teetered,
afraid he was going to fall into the dark, oily water lapping the sides, but
someone grabbed his arm and pulled him to safety. Jimmy breathed a sigh of
relief, and looked to see who had rescued him.
It was a young woman, cradling a baby in her lap. She smiled at him, and Jimmy
swallowed a scream of fright, because that would’ve been impolite. Her flesh was
grey and rotting, and most of her teeth were gone. Scabs and running sores that
had yet to scab mottled what little of her skin remained. The baby was much the
same.
Jimmy swallowed, smiled back, and thanked the gods that the seats beside her
were taken. On one side was a man with a stump of a neck still weeping blood,
his head held carefully under his arm. On the other was a man blue and bloated,
a tendril of seaweed hanging out of his nose. The drowned man nodded to Jimmy as
he walked by, and Jimmy averted his eyes.
He tried not to look at anyone directly, so he wouldn’t have to smile or say
anything. He found a seat at the back of the boat, and sat, adjusting himself so
the spear in his side didn’t twist further in.
______________________________________________________________
goat (my word), gondola, max,

Jimmy stared at his knees, not really thinking of anything. The last thing he
remembered wasn’t too pleasant, so when the hazy pictures of battle popped into
his head, he tried to bury them under other things. I wonder if this is what a
gondola ride would be like, he mused. Death’s barge was nothing like an Italian
pleasure ride, but it helped take his mind off battles and screaming men.
He barely noticed when the boat drifted to a stop, or the thudding footsteps
coming his way, but when someone sat down next to him, he definitely noticed the
spear tear through what was left of his stomach and poke his liver.
“Sorry,” a high-pitched voice said. “Sorry. I’m – I’m just going to sit here.”
Jimmy looked up. It was a young boy. Several of his limbs looked like they were
broken, in multiple places. His neck was also slightly skew. He looked lost,
alone, and terrified. Jimmy took pity on him.
“Hi. What’s your name?”
“I’m Max,” the boy said, and wiped his nose with the back of his hand. “How much
longer?”
Jimmy looked around, then wished he hadn’t. “I’m not sure,” he
said in a kind voice. “The boats pretty full, so I don’t think it should be too
much further.” The boy started to cry, and Jimmy patted him awkwardly on the
shoulder, then stopped when the boy winced.
“I was chasing the stupid goat,” Max explained when he saw Jimmy look down at
the cuts and bruises on his arm. “I didn’t see the cliff.”

__________________________________________________________

And on that not, you can look forward to The Purge of Jimmy – the sequel to The Death of Jimmy – later this year, brought to you by the Ink Slingers Guild.

Until next time,

❤ DragonBeck

Shout out to the Ink Slingers Guild

I want to take moment to tell a story about how I met some of the greatest people I have ever known.

I’ve been writing for about 12 years now. I sat down and wrote my first novel, longhand, on anything from to notebook paper, to flyers, to scraps of paper I found lying around and typed it into the computer on Saturdays, when I was fourteen years old (it was called The Three Mountains and the last time I looked at it, it needed some serious editing).

I have learned as a writer, you get these three questions.

1. What do you do? (or as a young person What would you like to do when you grow up?)

Writer: I write.

2. Oh, what do you write?

Writer: Fantasy (or genre of choice here).

3. Are you published?

Writer: …

I was mortally terrified of question #3, or more accurately, of the answer, which was an unfortunate “no”. In fact, I was so terrified that when I was  a younger writer, I would never tell people that I wrote.

I had the idea that I would like to go places with my writing, but I had no plan for that. Until I received a fateful text from my brother, telling me to talk to a woman he worked with. I recently went and found the first email I sent to her, on March 28, 2011 at 9:18 PM:

“Hi Lisa,
My name is Nicole.
I got your email address from my brother, (insert name), who works with you. He told me about this inksligersguild that he overheard you – or someone else at the office, I forget exactly which – talking about.
I checked out the website that he gave me, and it sounds awesome. I am a fiction writer myself and am very interested in finding out more about it!
If you could email me back with the details of what it is all about and what I would need to do to be a part of it, that would be really great.
Thanks very much,
Nicole.”

Yes, I did refer to it as “this inkslingersguild”. Lisa still saw fit to invite me to attend a meeting, and so I went to my first ISG meeting on 13 April 2011. Thusly, I was introduced to, and  subsequently inducted into the Ink Slingers Guild.

The Ink Slingers Guild, as described on the website, “is a group of fiction writers that provide each other support, inspiration and the occasional kick in the arse.”

We are awesome.

isg

(And we have matching shirts).

We get together every two weeks to go over our accomplishments (or conquests, if you want the real, insider lingo), check up on each other, and and get that kick in the arse, if required. Even if someone can’t come to the meeting for some reason or another, we make sure they get the words of the writing exercises, and there’s always Skype:

ISGG

We support each other in our writerly endeavors, with feedback, beta-reading, proofreading, or providing emotional support when reading aloud in front of real, live people.

isg 2

(Like the time we went to read some Stories My Friends Started at Wordier Than Thou.)

Before the Ink Slingers, I had some talent, passion, and a secret dream. Now I have two novels published, multiple short stories in seven anthologies, and a group of awesome friends. I can honestly say joining the Ink Slingers Guild literally changed my life.

So here’s to Lisa,  Courtenay, Rhiannon, Alanna, Erika (and Dalia), Jen, and Desi:

I’d like to say you guys are magnificent, amazing, and wondrous, and I love you all!

❤ ❤ ❤ DragonBeck

The Magic Brew (with an appearance by Jimmy)

In preparation for the ISG meeting tonight, I wrap up the exercises from the last meeting with this:

On our third and final exercise of the evening, I read last. I got five words into it, and everyone started laughing. After I was done, we reminisced about our tales of Jimmy In The Death of Jimmy. “We used to kill a Jimmy a meeting,” Erika said, a little wistfully. “We don’t kill enough Jimmys any more.”

Which is true, but sometime he makes an appearance 😉

coffee-777612_1920
trip, blink, coffee,

Jimmy stumbled down the stairs, almost tripped on the dog, and stood there blinking as he tried to remember where the kitchen was. He didn’t remember that, but he did seem to recall this was not in fact his house. He looked around. The dog raised its head, and wagged its tail.
“Nice doggie,” he said.
The dog yawned and went back to snoozing. Jimmy looked around again and decided the most logical place for the kitchen to be was through those doors. He was right. He stood there for a moment, thinking about his next course of action. Coffee, he thought.
It took him five minutes and searching through first the top cupboards and then half the bottom cupboards before he found something which resembled a french press. The coffee was easier. A jar on the bench labeled such beckoned. He took a pot and filled it with water, then set it on the stove. Taking a matchbook out of his pocket, he lit it and watched as the water began to head, pacing around the kitchen.
It was only after his first sip of the magic brew that he became alert enough to begin putting things together. Or not so much together as at least there. He had no idea where he was. He had no memory of getting there. He actually could not remember a single thing before waking up this morning.
“Hello, my dear,” a voice said behind him.
Jimmy yelped and dropped his drink. He spun around, but the coffee had made the floor slick. He had time to marvel at the beauty of strange yet alluring creature with long blue hair and shining wings in the doorway as his feet flew up into the air over his head.

Poor Jimmy!

More to come soon,

❤ DragonBeck

An Appearance by Jimmy

Hello everyone! 🙂

I hope you are all doing well. I have been rather slack in the writing (and blogging) department over the last couple weeks, but that shall be remedied, starting now.

Just a reminder: the Ink Slingers are going to be at Tampa Bay’s First Annual Book Fair at Park Station in Pinellas Park tomorrow, and you are all welcome to come out and join us for a good time; I will be there with my gold sharpie in hand to sign books. The above link will take you to the place with all the details. Hope to see you there!

Now, here are my exercises from the last ISG meeting, wherein there is an appearance by Jimmy, of The Death of Jimmy fame. Enjoy!

Naughty, squishy, sellout

Henry sat in the corner, shooting glares at the teacher and sellout Jimmy. It was not fair. What he had done wasn’t naughty. He had only wanted to find out exactly how squishy the frog really was. Now he was in a time-out because Jimmy had shown the teacher what Henry had done. Henry seethed to himself, silently plotting revenge. Jimmy was sitting like an angel, in the front row, rapt eyes on the teacher as she lectured about the difference between reptiles and amphibians.

Henry gently pulled the frog out of his pocket. It blinked at him with wet eyes.

“Sorry about that,” Henry whispered. “I didn’t know you would explode like that.”

The frog blinked again and shifted its sticky feet.

“It’s okay,” it croaked in a tiny voice. “At least you put me back together again. How did you do that?”

Henry shrugged, pleased at the attention. “Just something my grandmother taught me to do,” he said.

“Ah,” the frog said. “Do you think your grandmother could teach you to turn me back into my true self?”

Henry thought about it for a moment. “I think so. We could ask her at least.”

“Could we?” The frog gave an excited hop. “I would love to be able to eat a proper meal again, something that doesn’t involve insects.”

“Sure,” Henry said, eyes straying back to Jimmy and the teacher. “But there’s something I have to take care of first.”

Lotion, magnetic, classical

Trebert sighed, looking at the mess of a potion that he had managed to concoct. Classical magic was such a pain. If every little thing was just exactly right, if all the components were placed together at the exact right fraction of a second, the whole thing turned into something that looked like a four-year-old had dumped some green food dye into some tanning lotion and poured it over the dog.

Trebert shifted his feet, wondering if this would classify as hazardous waste and what he was supposed to do with the thing. Then a bright idea occurred to him. This was Classical magic, of course, but Trebert was much more proficient in the more fluid approaches of New-age magic, where the twirl of the wand didn’t matter so much, nor the utterances of precise and complicated syllables.

Diving into his bag, Trebert pulled out a number of things. He needed something magnetic. He held up a lodestone, then put it back, then picked it up again. That was the downfall of this New-age stuff. There was no map, no precise recipe, and sometimes winging it was hard. Trebert picked up the stone again, grabbed some ogre powder and the gizzard of a reborn phoenix, tossed it into the mess and stirred.

It changed color, becoming a nice, serene brown color, and evened in texture.

Then it exploded.

_______________

Until next time,

Rock on!

❤ DragonBeck

 

…and the Dragon survived.

Hello 🙂

So I did go and read one of my stories aloud, as planned, and promised.

I read the first half of “Finding Magic” from The Death of Jimmy; I started with “Hello, my name is Nicole DragonBeck, I am an Ink Slinger and a published author – my book is for sale back there – and at the moment I’m going to read you a story called “Finding Magic” from The Death of Jimmy.” and left off with “If you want to find out which Jimmy dies, you have to buy the book.”

I have these photos of my books on display at the Clearwater Center for the Arts:

WIN_20150924_191535

WIN_20150924_191511

There was supposed to be a video of me reading, but there was a slight malfunction. It was not my fault.

The reading was a lot of fun. I will probably do it again 🙂

❤ DragonBeck

P.S. I’d like to thank Erika Lance for making me go and all the encouragement, Alanna Cormier for the commiseration, Lisa Barry and Lila for coming out to support me in my first reading, and my sister for manning the camera. I ❤ you guys!

 

DragonBeck *First Magyc* release party, part II: The Party!

Hello again 🙂

Now, to continue from part I:

…we were waiting for the guests, and they came…

…to give me sentences for the Stories my Friends Started:

SMFS participants

There were a lot of those, and I must say, my friends are quite talented with their story starters (actual stories to follow soon):

SMFS

I did a lot of book signings:

Author 04

(and a few impromptu, informal Q&A’s with fans and budding authors.)

Author 03

(I love how excited my fans get.)

Erika

(I didn’t realize I hold my head in exactly the same position each time I sign a book…)

Book signing

We were treated to a reading (by Erika Lance) of the short story “Finding Magic” by yours truly from The Death of Jimmy:

Party 01

Rapt audience

Beautiful Russian

Reading

Party 02

Everyone gathered for cake and a toast in my honor *blushes*…

Party 1

…with amazing dragonish punch:

Drinks

Hey, look at that! We were actually on schedule for once. (My beautiful mom is doing the cake honors).

Cake and beautiful mother

Party 2

First to speak was fellow author, friend, and publisher Lisa Barry, who gave a lovely toast about her first client (that would be me, by the way) and how amazing said client was. It made me feel very special:

Party 03

Then friend and fellow author Erika Lance (you’ve probably heard of her, she’s kind of a big deal) complimented me some more.

Party 05

(whereupon I got rather embarrassed)

Party 04

Then, in order to make sure my ego swelled to appropriate proportions, another friend, author and all around cool person, JM Paquette gave her favorite memory of me (it involved the decision that the reason we were stuck in traffic, crawling along in first gear, for over an hour, was that a dragon had crashed into the causeway and was holding things up). I ❤ her.

Party 06

And of course, the author was informed that she was obligated to say a few words. The words were something like “This is awesome. I’m very happy and I’m glad that you are all here to share it with me!” I thought it was a pretty good speech, considering it was on the fly and off the cuff, and I don’t usually speak in front of groups of people.

Party 07

A little bit later, we did the raffle drawing to find out which lucky three would win the signed ISG anthologies:

Raffle drawing 2

(Hello there!)

Raffle drawing

Here are the prizes with the names of their recipients elegantly written on post-it notes:

Raffle

To top it all off, I was given these wonderful flowers by my friends, Tesia and Aspasia Loehwing. I felt like I was winning an award or something. It was lovely, almost as lovely as the flowers themselves:

Flowers

All in all, it was a brilliant,  amazing, unbelievable evening. And now you’ve shared it with me via these photographs! I hope you enjoyed yourself 🙂

I’d like to thank everyone who came to the party; a very, very big thanks go to my mom, dad and sister for all their help, to Lisa, Erika and Jen for the toasts, and to Erika for reading for me. Also to Lisa, mom and Ayla for the photographs. I couldn’t have pulled this off without them. I ❤ all of you!

If you haven’t already gotten my book, and would like to purchase a copy, it’s available here on Amazon.com and BarnesandNoble.com. Bring it by and I will be more than happy to sign it for you 🙂

I am very much looking forward to the next one and the journey onwards and upwards. Until next time, Peace and love.

Rock on!

❤ DragonBeck

Dragon

[Say hello to my little friend 😉 ]