Normalizing Once Again

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! It’s been a while since I’ve blogged (or been online regularly), but the family has gone home and things are getting back to normal around here. I spent last week bouncing around between home, work, and Folly Beach, and while it was super fun (the beach house my sister rented was on Erie street!) it was also super exhausting. And then poor Hops had tummy issues for days after, so I’ve only just started catching up on my sleep. In fact, I think I need a cup of coffee before I finish this post…

The day before her 7th birthday, Hops finally learned how to climb the slippery stairs at the beach house. Who says you can't teach an old dog new tricks?
The day before her 7th birthday, Hops finally learned how to climb the slippery stairs at the beach house. Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks?

Ahhh, coffee achieved. Last time you saw me, I was just about to hit send on my submission to the Women in Practical Armor anthology. Ocean’s story, which I officially titled The Winged Warrior, wasn’t accepted for the anthology, so I think we have a few Fie Eoin Fridays coming up ^_^

I also finished reading HENNA HOUSE and THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI and loved them both! I started listening to FEAR THE SKY on audible, which is interesting so far, and read ONE KICK in a couple days this week. That book was dark and disturbing and so well done that I read it despite the fact that it’s not my usual fare. I’m currently reading THE DARWIN ELEVATOR (man, I’m on a SciFi binge lately – the last CP project was also SciFi), and after that I have HALF A KING which I started and then put aside when family showed up. It’ll go well with my next CP project, which is a fantasy.

StO has been on the backburner for a while, but I got my last set of CP notes back and started re-reading it to get back in Finn’s voice. I wrote a sticky for a new scene last night, so once I finish the re-read I should be able to get that scene written and then all my plot issues should be pretty much taken care of (except the ending, which I’m not changing unless an agent/editor asks me to, sorry CPs). Then it’ll be a matter of polishing my sentences and sending it off to my grammar person for errant comma problems (I’m really bad at commas). While it’s with her I’ll work on the synopsis and query. I hope to be back in the trenches in May! (And I hope to be back out of the trenches at the end of the year *crosses fingers*)

Then I’m heading back to Fie Eoin because I just can’t stay away from home for too long 😉

I hope you have a great weekend, Aledans. Don’t forget to come back tomorrow for the first part of The Winged Warrior so you can meet Ocean and Yule, and I’ll try to get a custom up this weekend! Next week we’ll have a huge Science Tuesday post with all the science news we missed over the past couple of weeks.

The First Day of Spring!

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! Yesterday I saw the first wisteria bloom of the season, and the Aledans here will know what that means: it’s officially spring! Wisteria is the Mother Goddess Aleda’s flower, and blooms when she is reborn into the world (well, into the world in Fie Eoin). Today it was too rainy to see anymore wisteria, but that’s ok because the rain will wash away all the pollen that’s been turning the world green this week. Although that was a pretty appropriate color for St Patrick’s Day.

Today I’m reading through the FE Short for a final time, and deciding on a title that’s better than just “Ocean”. Then I’m hitting “send” on the submission for Women in Practical Armor! I need to do it this week, because next week I’ll be preparing for family to visit and I know I’ll forget all about Ocean and miss the deadline.

StO’s been put on the backburner for now, because I’m just too damn busy and I’m in my reading brain rather than my writing one. I’m also still waiting on the last edit letter for this round (I know my CP finished reading earlier this week, but she stayed up until 4am (!!!) so she needs some time to put her brain back together before I get the notes :D). I did write a new scene last Thursday on my day off from CPing, but I have another new one I need to get to at some point. Probably after family visits. The CP project I’m currently working on will be done before family visits, so I’ll have a week and a half off from CP duties to relax and hang out with family 🙂

I’m still reading HENNA HOUSE, although I’m nearly finished with it (it’s soooo good. Totally different from what I’ve been reading for the past couple of years, and such a welcome change), and still listening to THE GOLEM AND THE JINNI (that’s taking longer since I only listen while doing chores and getting ready for bed). They are both such beautiful books with richly detailed worlds. Definitely check them out.

Unfortunately there won’t be a Custom of the Week for the next three weeks, since I’m busy every weekend, but I’ll definitely get up Science Tuesday next week, if not the week after (probably not the week after). Have a happy first day of spring tomorrow (officially, not just in FE) and I’ll see you in a few weeks after family has gone home and things are back to normal in my world!

I Re-read Nameless for Shits and Giggles. It's More Shit than Giggles.

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! It’s been a busy week around here, mostly because my instrument at work has been acting wonky for the past two weeks. I finally figured out why yesterday afternoon: my dumbass switched two of the three columns and connected them to the wrong place. Whee! I’ve reconnected them to the correct places and now I’m waiting for my instrument to normalize again.

My instrument (HP 6890 ECD)
My instrument – a HP 6890 ECD

In writing news: I got my critiques back for the FE short story, and the plot seems to be pretty solid so I’m mostly working on making the words pretty now. I really suck at pretty words, so I have two new CPs to help me 🙂 When this draft is finished I’m sending it to a final person (who’s read FE and has some idea of the world), and then I’ll be sending it in to the anthology and crossing my fingers!

Since I’ve been hanging out in FE world lately I decided to read Nameless for shits and giggles last weekend. HAHAHAHAHA! *cries* It turns out I learned a lot writing and editing StO last year. Nameless is going to need the first 2/3 re-written…again. The last third is solid, at least. And the plot is still good, it’s just the writing that sucks. I’m so glad I spent a whole year sending that abomination out to agents.

I need a drink.

Good thing Sunday is National Margarita Day! I tried to find a margarita-themed custom pony, but could only find drawings. In my searching I did find a few awesome customs to feature though – I’m just waiting on the OK from the customizers. Hopefully one of them will get back to me before Sunday so I can post CPotW this week!

I hope you have a wonderful weekend, Aledans 🙂

Forcing My "Reading Brain" to Edit

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! This week has been a roller coaster ride of awesomeness and busyness and a little bit of frustrated-ness. I got a critique back from one of my CPs and I’m expecting another any day. They both liked StO (yay!) but I still have some characterization to work on (boo!). I should finish the edits on my FE short story today, and I’ll be sending it off to a few new readers who don’t know anything about the FE universe to make sure it’s not confusing as all hell. Why are 100k word books so much easier to write and edit than 5k word short stories? (On the plus side, StO is now just under 100k)

TheEternaFilesI finished ATLANTIA (I’m disappointed to say there were never any mermaids in it, although I liked the ending) and started a CP project that I’m thoroughly enjoying so far. I tried listening to THE CITY STAINED RED audiobook, but as a fantasy there are too many strange names and I need to see the words because I’m a visual person. I’m going to see if I can read the free sample on Nook and hope it gives me enough of an idea of what the names are that I can continue listening to the audiobook without being completely confused. In the meantime I have THE ETERNA FILES to read, and I can’t wait.

I know I’ve mentioned my weird writing cycle before, and right now I’m in the READ EVERYTHING phase of it, which is making edits slower than normal. If I was in my writing/editing phase they’d be done by now, but my brain just isn’t in that headspace right now. The next phase is for video games and HGTV, at which point my editing brain will be utterly useless, so I’m really trying to get these edits done now. Am I the only weirdo whose brain has these very specific phases of when it will work on certain things? I can’t wait for the writing/editing portion to come back around (it should be here around the end of Feb, which is the due date for this round of CPs to get StO back to me. Good planning, brain!)

In any case, I’m off to force myself to finish editing this FE short (if you missed last week’s Fie Eoin Friday it’s a cut scene from the short story) and do more CPing. Have a wonderful weekend, Aledans!

Fie Eoin Friday: Ocean the Faye Warrior

Happy Friday, Aledan Merfolk! If you’re new to Fie Eoin Fridays (it’s been a while since we’ve had one), it’s the day I post a deleted scene or backstory from whatever project I’m currently working on. Originally that project was Fie Eoin (now The Nameless Warrior), hence the name. I’m back in Fie Eoin’s world for this short story, so I thought an FEF would be especially appropriate this week. This short story takes place after the third book in Fie Eoin’s series, so if you have no idea what’s happening just know that Ocean is Kindra’s granddaughter. Hemlock is her cousin, and has become King of a Roman-like empire called the Known World. Ocean’s not too happy about that, especially when he chooses her to “babysit” his daughter. The rest you can probably work out from the scene.

Enjoy!

It took half a moon to reach the edge of the Known World, and half a moon more to reach the capital city where the royal family lived. The palace rose almost as high as the cliff back home, all dazzling white stone bristling with soldiers in their light armor. Ocean hated wearing it—Aledans fought without armor. Before the Known World found them the Aledans had been the only tribe with iron weapons.

“Cousin,” King Hemlock waited at the door to greet her. His wife, a cold woman Ocean had never been fond of, stood next to him with one dark hand on their daughter’s shoulder.

“King Hemlock,” Ocean bowed. “Queen Alyssa. Princess.”

Hem grabbed her up. “No need to bow, cousin. You’re not a servant.”

Wasn’t she? She was here at his request to serve as his daughter’s bodyguard.

He led her through the hall. “I’m so glad you’re here. There have been attempts on my daughter’s life and I can’t trust anyone, except family. And you certainly made a name for yourself on the front lines. My men call you the ‘winged wave’.”

Ocean’s wings twitched under her cloak. She knew what they called her on the field. Warrior names were sacred and they were making fun of her. Hem should know better.

“You’re very quiet today,” he said as they ascended the stairs.

“I’m Faye. We’re always quiet.” With others. Together the winged ones were boisterous. Ocean remembered many nights in Fie Bradach with the other Faye. Late nights, bonfires, music, and Yule. Ocean was never quiet with Yule. The Faye priestess hated that Ocean was a warrior, because Faye outside of Fie Eoin were taught to shun weapons, but that didn’t stop them from enjoying each other’s company.

Hemlock opened a wooden door to a room the size of a tent in Fie Eoin. There was a pallet on one side, tapestries covering the stone walls, and a door in the sidewall. A carpet that reminded her of the rugs in Fie Obsid covered the stone floor.

“The second door leads to Kindra’s chambers,” Hemlock said, ignoring Ocean’s wince at the sacrilegious name. “If you need anything her servants have been told to supply it.”

What Ocean really needed was a tent under the stars. Fighting on the front lines had always been better than the cities of stone. She dropped her sack on the pallet and turned to face her cousin. “You have my word—nothing will befall your daughter while I’m here.”

“I know,” he said and studied her. His hair hadn’t gone to silver like his twin brother’s, but it looked tarnished all the same. “I know what I’ve done, Ocean, but I did it to save Fie Eoin.”

“We’re grateful,” she said automatically.

He sighed and looked away. “Take the night to become acclimated. I’ll see you first thing in the morning.”

“Do you still do warm-ups?” She asked out of curiosity. He hadn’t gone soft around the middle, but she’d been in his army twice before and noticed his men didn’t have the same morning routine as the Aledans.

“Of course.” He stopped at the door on his way out and stared at his hand on the stone. “I know that you think I’ve abandoned Fie Eoin, but I was never born to rule. I’m doing my best. My brother would have been better-suited to this life.”

She didn’t reply, although she agreed. Bar was made to rule, but Fie Eoin didn’t need a war chief right now—it needed someone to bring them together after the destruction the Known World caused. Aledan, Obsidian, Faye, Tarrin, and Gaerlom…Ocean’s father could bring them all to one. Barracuda would have broken them apart.

Hem left and Ocean began to unpack. After a short while the princess opened the second door. She was almost as dark-skinned as her mother, but her hair was highlighted with gold and her eyes were hazel. Aledan.

“You’re to be my new guard?” She said.

Ocean stopped and looked at her. The scar on the girl’s chin—which was how she got her name—the wild, half-golden curls. The eyes. Ocean bowed her head. “I am.”

“Father calls you Cousin.”

“You can call me Ocean.”

The girl tilted her head. “Do you speak Known? Or should I speak to you in Aledan?”

Ocean switched to Known. “You can call me whatever you like—I hear princesses are special.”

The princess snorted. “I don’t know why,” she said in Aledan. “I haven’t done anything to be special about, except being alive.”

That made Ocean smile. “And by being alive you’ll someday be queen.” There was no word for queen in Aledan, so she switched to Known. “And then you’ll do great things. Rule the Known World. You’ll be the most powerful person alive.”

“Except the gods.” The little princess grabbed an amethyst from Ocean’s desk and turned it over in her fingertips. “Father says I was named after a goddess.”

“You were named after you great-grandmother,” Ocean said. It was easier for her to think of it that way.

The young hazel eyes met hers. “Did you know her?”

In that moment the princess—Kindra—was just a girl. Ocean swallowed. “No. She died when your grandparents were only fifteen summers.”

The girl nodded and rubbed her fingers over the smooth gem. “I wish I could have met her.”

“I do too,” Ocean whispered. Kindra was the first woman to become a warrior in Fie Eoin, and it hadn’t been easy for her. It hadn’t been easy for Ocean either, rebelling against the non-violent Faye to earn her warrior name. Outshining her father, the chief. Having no twin-bond whose energy she could draw on.

She glanced at the princess—the first Aledan/Known child with the name of a goddess—and thought it must not be easy for her either. Ocean decided she would protect this girl with her life and spirit.

Princess Kindra placed the stone back on the table carefully. “Do you know what threats you’re protecting me from?”

“All of them.”

“How many people could possibly hate me?”

Ocean stepped next to the girl, ran her hand over the strange hair. “They don’t hate you, but they hate your father. Some people will use children to get to their real enemies.”

Kindra wrenched away. “I’m not a child. I’m thirteen.”

“To your father you are. To his enemies you are. Even when you grow up to be queen you’ll be a weakness.”

“You’re the daughter of a king,” the girl said. “Why aren’t you a weakness?”

“I’m the daughter of a chief. The youngest daughter. And now our only enemies are yours, which makes you far more valuable than me.”

The princess was silent for a moment, and when she spoke it was in Aledan. “I think if my father’s enemies are smart they’ll know Fie Eoin is the most valuable thing.”

The Flu, and I Just Discovered Audiobooks!

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! You’re definitely much more Aledan today, because for the past two weeks I’ve been working on a Fie Eoin short story for the anthology WOMEN IN PRACTICAL ARMOR. It takes place thirteen years after the third book in the FE series (which I haven’t written yet, but I storylined a few years ago if you remember this sticky). I like my main character in this short so much I’m really considering giving her an entire book. You know, after I write the other three that are still just sitting in my head…

TheMartianYou may have noticed the lack of promised Fie Eoin Friday last week, but that’s because on Weds I didn’t just catch the flu, we started having a serious relationship. Fever, chills, aches, you name it. Fun! Actually, it did give me a chance to start listening to my first ever audiobook (I never knew when would be a good time to listen, other than long car rides. Turns out having the flu is the perfect time to listen to an audiobook). I started THE MARTIAN by Andy Weir and holy science! My little chemist heart was so happy to listen because the science is spot on. I finished it last night and I can say that the sciencey goodness lasts the whole way through. The end is full of tension (and explosions), and I highly recommend it. Especially in audiobook form. The narrator was great.

TheCityStainedRedSo now I’m about to start listening to my next audiobook, THE CITY STAINED RED by Sam Sykes, and my short story is in the hands of a CP who’ll rip it to bloody shreds, because I already know it sucks, I just don’t know how to fix it yet.

I hope you all have a great weekend, Aledan Merfolk! I’ll be posting a Fie Eoin Friday tomorrow, and this Sunday I have a space-themed pony for Custom of the Week!

StO Draft Three is Done!

Happy Thursday, Aledan Merfolk! I finished the third draft of StO this week, and I’m doing a read-through to make sure I didn’t screw anything up before I send it to my next round of CPs. I’m fairly sure the plot is solid, and the characterization in the beginning is much stronger, so I’m hoping this round of CPs can help me really pump up the emotion. After I fix their edits I’ll send it to my grammar/sentence structure CPs for the final polish, and then…query time! I’m really hoping to be back in the trenches by June, that way I can hang out on the beach with a margarita to keep my mind off it 😉

I’m trying to decide what to work on next, and I think I’ll probably end up going back to Fie Eoin for Pike’s Revenge. I’m not ready to work on Nameless again, but I miss home. I can only stay away for so long before I need to get back. Plus, Karigan is my favorite character to write!

In the meantime I’m working on a short backstory for Finn which I plan to post as an FEF soon.

AtlantiaI also started reading Atlantia by Ally Condie, which is not a mermaid book. I don’t know why I assumed it was a mermaid book (maybe because of all the talk of “below” and “above” and “sirens”), but there are no mermaids in it so far. It’s still good, just not what I was expecting. Either way it’s the first book I’ve read since I finished Gone Girl a month ago. Yes, it took an entire month for my brain to get back to reading after that mind-screw.

Speaking of mermaids and such, have you seen this week’s Custom of the Week? It’s a freaking amazing seapony custom that’s so detailed and bright! I’ll have another awesome custom this weekend that fans of Spirited Away should love 🙂

Have a great weekend, Aledans!

Nearing the End of StO!

Doctor Who nails have nothing to do with this update.
Doctor Who nails have nothing to do with this update, but I loved them!

Happy Friday, Aledan Merfolk! The summer rush finally hit us at work (after all the interns return to school) and I’ve been busy writing writing writing, so I haven’t been on the blog much lately. Except to announce PonyFest14, of course! If you’d like chance to win a custom My Little Pony based on your novel, check out the link. It’s a super fun contest 🙂

I completely forgot to sign up for #WriteMotivation this month, but I’ve been pumping out the words despite it. I’ve made it through the climax and the resulting super-emotional scenes of StO and now I’m only seven or so scenes away from the happy ending! Happy compared to most of my books, at least.

I also have an awesome new CP who’s already ripped apart the first four chapters for me to put back together again. AND he ripped apart the first three chapters of Nameless and found the problem behind the “I just didn’t fall in love with it” comments I’ve been getting. So once StO is off to critters I’m thinking I’ll tackle Nameless one more time (I know, I’m crazy).

That’s it for me, Aledans. I hope you have a great weekend, and don’t forget to join PonyFest14!

Sticky #1

Fie Eoin Cast - Illustration by LauraFie Eoin Crew - Illustration by Laura

The first Sticky Note is actually from a friend of mine who could be considered my own personal plot bunny. If I can’t come up with it, she can, and I always turn to her for help. Need a reason for Bryant to leave Fie Eoin? She’s got it. A disease that will last a long time without killing someone? She knows it. An illustrated drawing of the cast of your book – on Post-Its? Go to her.

My number one friend and fan, thank you to Laura for supplying the first Sticky Note.