Archive | September 25, 2014

Samurai have friends, a continuation of Doomsday for the Giraffe Call (@rix_Scaedu)

This is written to Rix_Scaedu‘s commissioned continuation of the “Samurai” thread:
Gonna be a Samurai
Gonna Learn how to be a Samurai and
Being a Samurai Takes Work
If You Want to be a Samurai…
Gonna be a Samurai… Kitty?

Fourth Year.
Austin was going to be cy’Lightning Blade, of course. That had been a foregone conclusion since he first met Professor Inazuma, and growing ears and a tail (siiiigh) just cemented what he’d already known.

“You should keep on studying farming with Professors Sweetflower and Lily, of course.” Principal Doomsday was taking care of Austin’s official move from cy’kidlings to cy’Lightning Blade, including the physical move from the kids’ dorm to the cy’Lightning house. “And don’t forget to make time for your friends. Remember – sa’Bulldozer, sa’Rainbow, sa’Lightning, sa’Vengeance and I were all in different cy’rees when we were in school, and we are still crew after all this time.”

His friends? Austin found himself blinking owlishly at the principal. “Sweetbriar’s probably going to go cy’Lightning Blade, too.”

The principal said nothing. Austin thought hard and fast. “Sianna. Sianna’s not – Sianna’s not a fighter, she’s a dancer.” Why hadn’t he ever been listening? “Sianna’s not going to go cy’Lightning Blade, is she?” She would probably go… cy’Lily? Or cy’Sweetflower. Who… were his secondary instructors for farming.

“Austin, were you listening?” Principal Doomsday leaned against the wall and huffed at him. “You’re not changing Mentors to be with Sianna. For one, then you wouldn’t be in a cy’ree with Sweetbriar. For another, you wouldn’t be happy as cy’Lily, in my opinion. And for a third, it’s a small school. You’ll still have plenty of time together.”

“But not sitting up all night talking…” Austin slapped a hand over his mouth. “I mean…” The words came out, unsurprisingly, muffled.

Principal Doomsday laughed. “You’re not the only one, I assure you. I told you, I was a student once myself. All of the staff were.”

“Not here though, right?” A change of subject, yay. Austin remembered to move his hands away from his mouth.

“No, long ago and not all that far away, in a place called Addergoole. I think your mother and your older siblings went there…?”

Not the nicest change of subject. “Um. Yeah. Yeah, that’s what Mom said. Somewhere underground? She never really wanted to talk about it.”

“Most Addergoole grads don’t. But we were all kids once. We remember.” The principal patted Austin’s shoulder. “You’ll still have time for your friends, and I’m sure Professor Leo – Professor Inazuma – isn’t going to say no to the occasional sleepover. Sianna’s a nice girl.”

“So’s Sweetbriar.” The words came out fast. Sweetbriar wasn’t nice, not really. She was sharp and prickly and sometimes temperamental, already deadly and altogether hard to read when she wanted to be.

And… and Principal Doomsday was smiling at him, no, grinning, why had he never noticed that minks had sharp teeth, help…

“Sweetbriar is an interesting girl. She’s a good friend, from what I can tell, and someone good to have your back in a fight. Of course, I’m biased.”

“Biased? Ma’am?” She was going cy’Lightning Blade, right, not cy’Doomsday? He didn’t want to lose both of his friends.

“She’s my granddaughter. One of several, of course – but she’s still my granddaughter.” The principal smiled again, and this time it seemed far less dangerous. “You have good taste in friends, Austin. You’re going to be fine.”

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The Creation of a Story: How I Wrote My Piece for “What Follows”

There was a difference, Galina considered, between being immensely long-lived and being bulletproof,
or, as the case may be, bomb-proof. She had met people that were both; she, on the other hand, was
probably not.

This is not the beginning of the story I submitted for What Follows.

The armies were coming.

Grace had gotten lucky, up until now. Her villa was far from the cities and she herself was distant, this century, from business or politics or fame.
But now the city was gone, fallen into burning heaps and the heaps burned to ashes. The so-called gods and the self-proclaimed heroes who had fought over the city were dead, dying, run away, or hiding. And the armies marched on.

Neither is this. But, As is often the case, they are the shell from which the final story, “Monster Godmother,” emerged.

It went something like this:

Me: So, what are you working on?

Ross: Story for April’s anthology of “How do immortals deal with the apocalypse?”

Me: *Ears perk* Is it open to new authors? Because “immortals and the apoc” is totally my ball game.

Ross: well, you can check. It’s like two and a half weeks till deadline, though.

At this point, I was plotting Escape From Rochester (a serial of a semi-immortal dealing with an apocalypse), thinking about Live Blog the Apoc (which is pretty much what it sounds like), and, in other words, neck-deep in one of my apocalyptic settings. Immortals and the apoc was, indeed, totally my ball game.

…and then I turned around and started the story three times.

That happens, sometimes. The story won’t start, or it starts and then it fizzles after half a page. I do the online version of crumple up the paper and start again.

This time, with a little over twenty-four hours till the deadline, I looked at my 1,164 words and was dissatisfied. I could totally complete the story – but it wasn’t the story I wanted to tell.

So on the drive home from work, I scribbled out an outline for a new story. (Don’t try this at home. For one, it’s really hard to read your handwriting when you’re writing while driving. For another, gah unsafe.) And over the following twenty-four hours, I wrote “Monster Godmother.”

I sat up on Rion’s bed for hours that night, doing word-sprints. And, while every other story had fought me every word of the way, this one flowed. It swam. The original concept, the bare bones, might have something to do with the first two stories I’d written, but this one had music. I wrote 4000-plus words in just over a calendar day. I’m not sure I’ve ever done that before (outside of NaNoWriMo), and I’m not sure I want to do it again, but it was fun. Sort of like the writing equivalent of extreme sports.

Then came the editing, pushing words around, making them fit. Speed-editing, begging for betas, second-guessing word choices. Do I say Ellehemaei (the in-setting word for the immortal-like beings)? It seems like a stretch when nobody outside of the tiny Fae Apoc fandom knows the word. So what, fae? gods-children? Both words fit, and yet neither word fits. In the end, I ended up using “gods-children” as the most evocative, and calling it good.

Then I sent it off to April, crossed my fingers, and waited.

And now here we are! Several months later, with a brand shiny new anthology in front of us, “Monster Godmother” nestled in there with Ross’s story, Rion’s story, and stories from M.J. King, Joyce Chng, Kate Larking, Nina Waters, E.V. O’Day, Crystal Sarakas, Sarah Lyn Eaton, and April Steenburgh. It’s a good cozy place for it, I think. Right in the middle of the apocalypses.

Totally my ball game. 🙂

Check out What Follows here:
Barnes & Noble
(We will be on Kobo shortly)

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Introductions, a continuation of Reynard


“My name is Elle.” The woman had the wire cutters far too close to parts of Reynard that he was very, very fond of. He could feel the cold metal against his skin, and was a bit too much of a coward to look at what she was doing. Not that he could move his head in that direction, anyway… “You are in New Buffalo. I suppose Joshua passed on the news to Addergoole East, and when you ran afoul of Lady Storm and her – mmm – her man – well, here you are.” The clippers moved, and Reynard’s left leg was suddenly free. “Please try not to move too much until I’m done. You’re all over hawthorn, and you could hurt yourself.”

Reynard held still. It had been, he thought, years – almost a decade – since he’d been Kept, but he thought the words had the feel of an order around the edges, even softened by please and try.

She had said several important things, if only the clippers and the shifting and prickling of the hawthorn wasn’t distracting him. “Elle?” he tried. “Is that -“

“That’s the name my father gave me. I can’t say he was the best at the whole thing.” The clippers moved upwards, over Reynard’s belly.

“Well, my father named me Fox.” He tried to shrug, and found he wasn’t really moving at all. Well, that might answer that. “And your Mentor…?” If she remembered him from Addergoole…

“Professor Valerian named me the Stone Gardener.” She patted his thigh with her leather-clad hands. “And I earned it, much like you earned your Name… Fox.”

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