writerslife

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

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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

2019 New Years Resolutions

Hello everyone!

Happy New Year! I hope 2019 is treating you well thus far.

I know you’re supposed to do these on New Years (Eve?), but I like a little time to mull over them, ruminate, and make them a little interesting.

So here’s my fine-wine and properly-aged cheese list of 2019 Resolutions:

  1. Be Awesome.
  2. Write a lot.
  3. Protect the writing time (this is very important).
  4. Submit a story somewhere.
  5. Do a public reading.
  6. Have a release party.
  7. Read a lot. Specifically:
    1. Finish Return of the King.
    2. On Writing by Stephen King
    3. The Amazon Ad book.
    4. The Uncle Eric Talks About Series.
  8. Visit the library.
  9. Sell one book per day (on average).
  10. Review something awesome.
  11. Book 6 – first draft
  12. Publish Book 6 (optional: with fanfare).
  13. Book 7 first draft
  14. Let’s be adventurous: Publish Book 7 (optional: with dragon parade).
  15. Run a book giveaway!
  16. Blog (more).
  17. Buy new music.
  18. Draw something.
  19. Play my guitar more than once (I should probably change the strings too).
  20. Dress up for Halloween (as something other than “a famous writer incognito/in disguise”).
  21. Eat at a restaurant I haven’t tried before.
  22. Go to 9th Bar (which I’ve been meaning to do for 2 years).
  23. Be Awesome – I’ve decided this will be the first and last item on every years list of Resolutions.

And I did go ahead and post this list on my wall, so I’m confident about the improved compliance.

Here’s to a year of dreams, dragons, and deadlines (specifically the sound they make as they pass us by)!

I hope you make the best 2019 you can!

Peace and love,

DragonBeck

2018 – A Look Back

Hello, all!

So, the New Year is imminent, and I have to take a moment to look back over how I did this past year.

  1. Be awesome. I’d like to think I achieved this.
  2. Write a lot. Definitely did this – one novel, one short story for the ISG anthology, a little light on the blogging.
  3. Publish book #5.  YES!!!!!!!!!!!!! Now available on amazon: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07L2QBLW9
  4. First draft of book #6. Not so much – but I started! And I outlined the rest of the books!
  5. Read. I did read. A bit. I read Redemption by D. M. Kurtz (dragons!), and I re-read the Lord of the Rings Trilogy (almost, I still haven’t finished Return of the King).
  6.  (more like 5.5) Read Stephen King’s On Writing. And that’s a nope. But it’s still on my list!
  7. Exercise. Yes. And by exercise, I mean:
  8. Go to Africa. Yes, I did this – for a wonderful 3 week safari family reunion:
  9. Learn to speak better Italian (and I do mean speak, not read or write). Non ho fatto questo. Ma forse l’anno prossimo.
  10. Draw or Paint more. The only thing I drew was a gargoyle on a birthday card for my favorite gargoyle. I’m not sure that counts as “more” though.
  11. Play my guitar. Once. One time. One time I picked up the guitar and played. The rest of the time it stared at me mournfully from its corner of the room.
  12. Write letters. I wrote a few, and sent postcards.
  13. Eat good food, drink coffee, have chocolate. Yes (samosas in Cape Town), Yes (lots of coffee), and Yes (lots of chocolate).
  14. Eat something unusual, that I haven’t tried before. Nothing comes to mind for this, so I’m guessing I didn’t do this (or it wasn’t unusual enough to merit).
  15. Have a Golden Birthday. This I did – for those who don’t know, a golden birthday is the birthday when your age matches up with the day of your birth.
  16. Sell lots of books. I’m going to say yes – I had a stretch where I sold a book a day for a week, which is going in the right direction!
  17. Write some awesome Stories My Friends Started. I did this – you can check them out here: https://storiesmyfriendsstarted.wordpress.com/category/nicole-dragonbeck/
  18. Enter (and win) a contest. I didn’t win anything this year. I suppose I did submit my novella to Tor, so half done?
  19. Buy a mattress. Yes, I did this – it’s wonderful.
  20. Get a better phone. Also did this – I can now post to instagram without bugging my sister: https://www.instagram.com/authordragonbeck/
  21. Focus on the real things: real friends, real communication, real happiness. Previous comment notwithstanding, I think I did alright with this. Next year will be better.
  22. Get a movie/TV series deal. Not yet, but I know it’s coming!
  23. Do something outside my comfort zone. I did a few things like this.
  24. Meet new people. I met some new people in Africa. Also, I went to a book fair and met some cool new people there. And I met one of my brother’s friends from work. Mission accomplished.
  25. Spend time on myself. I took a bath. I love baths (so much more relaxing than showers). I should do that more often.
  26. Spend time on other people. I organized (with my mom) a trip to South Africa for a big family reunion, so that definitely counts.
  27. Find something I’d lost. My mind? 
  28. Give a present that really means something. I gave Court a journal that said “Fucking Awesome” and Lisa a journal that said “Fucking Magical”. This was unbelievably perfect (which you’d know if you knew them.
  29. Do something unthinkable or ridiculous (but not dangerous or illegal). I think I might have been joking when I wrote this. If not……..I think I failed.
  30. Something with dragons (for the English teachers and grammar nazis, yes I know that’s not a complete thought). I got a dragon pendant as a present, so there.
  31. Make a new friend. My new friend this year is Elizabeth, a wonderful woman who read my books and whose love of the Witch V’Ronica gave me a little nudge to actually get book 5 out sometime before I turn one-hundred-and-eleventy.
  32. Be awesome (that merits saying twice). Yep, still pretty sure this counts as done, but as always, improvements can be made.

 

I think I need to make a list and post these for 2019 – that might help with compliance. I’ll put some thought into 2019 resolutions, and most likely steal some of these for next year.

I hope you did some awesome things in 2018!

❤ DragonBeck

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

Just a Feeling

Hello all!

Work is progressing on Wasteland (Guardians of the Path book 5) very well – I hope to have it to the editor within a week *fingers crossed*. In the meantime, please enjoy this little writing exercise from the last Ink Slingers Guild meeting of July 2018 (where did the year go?):

resume (my word), force, honey (Lisa’s word, but it was going to be mine!), sound

“That’s not how you spell it,” she told him, peering over his shoulder.
He tried to shrug her away, covering the top half of the paper with his hand, but she lifted it up and pointed. “You need an accent on the end, other wise it’s resume, not resume’.”
“Don’t you have something better to do?” he asked, trying to force some honey into his voice so he didn’t sound like a pouting child.
She sat on the edge of the table beside him, swinging her legs. She still wore the peppermint striped tights she had worn the day they met.
“Not really,” she said, and her big green eyes followed the strokes of his pen. “You didn’t put the accent.”
He threw down the writing implement and ran a hand through his hair.
“I can do this later,” he said. “I’m going for a walk.”
“I’ll join you,” she said brightly, hopping down and scurrying after him.
She only came up to his elbow, and he was sure that the neighbors thought he had adopted a young girl. He had adopted her, in a sense, but she wasn’t young and she wasn’t a girl.
“Have you thought about it?” she asked as she danced among the brown autumn leaves covering the sidewalk.
“Of course I’ve thought about it,” he answered in a gruff voice. It was hard not to think about it, when every day she grew paler and more translucent. Her wasting didn’t seem to bother her, she was always so cheerful, but he wondered what would happen to her if she faded completely. This world wasn’t good for her.
“And have you had any ideas?” she stopped and turned her abnormally colored eyes on him, hope making them shine brighter than usual.
He sighed. “Not yet.”
“You will,” she said with supreme confidence.
“How do you know that?” he asked, following her as she continued down the pathway.
“Just a feeling,” she sang over her shoulder.
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❤ DragonBeck

Tutor and Student

I really liked this writing exercise – it could go places. Enjoy!

miniature, tutor, cap, puddle,

The governess glided into the library, her thin nose in the air and her thin lips pursed suspiciously. Her eyes narrowed when she saw Daved sitting alone in front of the fire, his nose buried in a huge tome with colored illustrations.

“Where is the tutor?” the governess demanded, making Daved start, and stare around with a guilty look.

He quickly closed the book and shoved it between the sofa and the wall, and snatched up his cap, which was lying on the sofa seat beside him, and jammed it on his head. “He left for the day, ma’am,” Daved mumbled, staring at his shoes.

“Speak up, young man,” the governess instructed. “No nobleman speaks as though his face were in a puddle.”

“He left for the day, ma’am,” Daved spoke up, looking somewhere over the governess’s shoulder.

She sniffed. “He will have to be informed that is not acceptable. What are you reading?”

Daved blinked, and answered very clearly. “History of the Twelve Realms by the Honorable Tracey Michelson.”

The governess frowned. “Why were there pictures?”

“There were no pictures,” Daved countered. “Perhaps you saw maps.”

The governess’s eyes narrowed further. “Let me see the book.”

Daved dug it out of the crack and clutched it tight. He whispered something to it, and handed it to the stern woman with a subdued look. She opened it, turned several pages, and several more, looking at him in disbelief. “I saw pictures, in color. They looked cheerful and frivolous, nothing that would be in a serious book of history,” she said, and flipped through more pages.

Daved shrugged. “There’s a map,” he said helpfully.

The governess put the book down on the coffee table, and gestured for the boy to sit back down. “As your lesson was cut short, I’ll bring tea early.”

Daved nodded and watched her leave the room, before he sat back down, pulled the book back onto his lap, and opened it to the page with the bright pictures of dragons and brave knights. On the mantle, the miniature man trapped under the crystal glass glared down at Daved, shouting inaudible words at the boy engrossed in the novel.

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❤ DragonBeck

Fate

This is an Ink Slingers Guild writing exercise, brought to you by me. Enjoy!

sabotage, flabbergasted, saturate, lime,

The woman came down from the dais, her sleeveless lime green dress flowing behind her like sea foam. Natan’s eyes followed her, never blinking to make sure he didn’t miss some trick or sleight of hand. Wonder saturated the gazes of all others, and made him nauseous. He was trying to discover a way to sabotage her plan, but she had sunk her fangs into the hearts of all the king’s subjects, they would no more deny her than they would deny their own need to breathe. Natan tried to see what she carried in her hands, but people shifted and pushed, trying to get closer to the witch woman they idolized. He pushed too, and was rewarded with a clear view of the woman. She was beautiful, with golden skin and dark eyes, but her smile was cruel. He was flabbergasted when he saw what she carried – a child, no more than a year or two old, sucking on its fist. It – for he couldn’t tell whether the child was male or female – had pale blond hair and eyes like sapphires, and shining on its forehead was the mark of seven stars, pale silver against the child’s skin. Shock rocked Natan back on his heels, and he tried to wrap his mind around the impossibility. That woman should be screaming in pain where her flesh met the child’s, yet her look was as serene and cold as ever, not a hint of pain or even mild discomfort as she carried the child out the wide door and into the sunlit square, where more of the adoring citizens awaited their fate with joyous oblivion.
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❤ DragonBeck

“The universes are a strange place” – a writing exercise

Greetings beautiful people!

It has been quite a while since we’ve gotten together for a nice little interweb coffee and a chat to catch up. I’ve been busy – work on “Wasteland” is coming along slowly but surely. I promise to have it out by the end of the year, so help me all that is good in this world, or I might have to do something drastic like give up chocolate until it’s done (gasp!).

I held a Lord of the Rings marathon, and re-watched all the extended versions of the films (yes, all 14 hours of them), and am currently re-reading the books. I am almost done with the Two Towers, and enjoying it more than when I first read it, if that is possible.

The Ink Slingers were represented at Orlando Megacon in May, thanks to the lovely Erika and Alanna.

I submitted a little Guardians of the Path novella to Tor, and was rejected in just 3 days, which must be a record of some kind. I think these authors would tell me to keep calm and carry on, and that is what I intend to do!

I ran my books through the Kindle Unlimited program, but have yet to tabulate the results. If anyone has any information regarding the program and its success or impact, I would be most interested in hearing it!

I am almost done with my submission for the Ink Slingers’ annual anthology – we’re doing a science fiction themed anthology this year, so we’ll see how mine turns out. There are dragons and elves, but there are also flying vehicles and medical scanners, so I’m pretty sure that counts.

And finally, these are my writing exercises from the last Ink Slingers Guild meeting – a little bit darker than usual, but I hope you enjoy!

Relationship, shun, gun, practice.

Brin aimed the gun, closing one eye to bring the target into sharper focus, and breathed out slowly. It took many days of practice to be able to use this other-world weapon, but the fabric of the universe doesn’t allow elemental magic to pass through, so Brin didn’t have much choice. He squeezed the trigger, and rolled back with the recoil. The target dropped, a small black dot against the beige desert sand.

Brin took his time coming down from his rocky perch, and making his way to the dot, which grew larger, and resolved into something that looked like a man but wasn’t. Its face was pressed into the ground as if to shun the world, and the arms were bent at odd angles.

“The universes are a strange place,” Brin said aloud, standing over the dead body. “The relationship between life and fate, or love and nothing, or peace and death, cannot be understood from within, only by someone looking in from the outside.”

The dead body on the ground twitched, and Brin steeled himself, reaching inside for the magic that was no longer there, and hadn’t been for some years. For once that was a blessing and a curse. The creature would have found him much sooner, and Brin’s chance at returning to the plane of existence he should be in would have been lost. The body twitched again, and the head turned upwards.
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Cannibal, spoon, beach, display

“Do you think a cannibal got her?” Harry asked, unable to keep the excitement from his voice.

He clutched the tree branch with his legs so he didn’t fall off and waved his hands at her, fingers curled into claws.

Rissa rolled her eyes. “You don’t really believe in that sort of thing, do you? It’s more likely a werewolf.”

Harry pouted, and crossed his arms. “It’s not a full moon, and besides, werewolves don’t eat with spoons.”

Rissa didn’t have a reply for that. They had both seen the picture in the newspaper, the body on the beach, displayed like a sacrifice to a god, its innards gone, along with its tongue and most of its face. The spoon stuck in the sand marked the spot like a tombstone.

“So if it wasn’t a cannibal, and it wasn’t a werewolf, what was it?” a third voice chirped up.

Harry and Rissa looked up. Hidden in the foliage above them, a small face peeped out, eyes bright. Harry winced, and Rissa sighed.

“Marr, you can’t follow us around like this, we’re not friends anymore,” Rissa said, putting her nose in the air.

The effect was lost as she had to look up at Marr anyway. The small boy scampered down, agile as a squirrel, and looked at her hopefully. “I thought maybe you guys had forgiven me by now.”

“No, we’re never going to forgive you,” Harry spoke up.

Rissa nodded. Harry had gotten the worst of that, and Marr knew it. His little face fell, but then a calculating gleam came into his eyes.

“I know where we can find out what really ate the lady on the beach,” he said.

Harry and Rissa were silent, looking at each other with doubtful expressions.

“Do you really?” Rissa asked at last.

Marr nodded eagerly, and shimmied down the tree. “Come on! I’ll show you!”
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❤ DragonBeck