Monday, November 28, 2016

NaNo Week 4

I am writing this late on Sunday night, the 27th.  I believe that I'll make my personal NaNo goal for this year -- 200k -- without too much trouble.  I'm down to about 4k a day for it and while things might still go wrong (it's been that kind of month/year), I am going to hazard a prediction that I'm going to do fine.    Raventower & Merriweather 2: War is done at 128k or so and Silversun will come in at around 75k.  Not too bad, all things considered.

December is going to be nice.  I only have one novel left to finish this year.  I also have a bit of an outline to fill out, but that shouldn't be difficult.  There is one other story idea I'll write up as well, I think.  But the word counts are going to be low and I'm going to play with graphics and stuff, too.

I'm not certain how the weather will be, but I'm in my little office with the heater, so I'll be fine.  Just really don't want it to be cold and white too soon.  Though it does make nice pictures.  I need to get back to doing some serious photography.  NaNo has taken every bit of my energy this year, though.

What else?

I have crossed a million words for the year.  I've done this for several years, so it's not much of a surprise or anything.  Glad to have done it.  I have four new novels and a lot of rewritten ones this year, so that's good, too.  I expect next year to be much the same in that respect.  I want to get a lot of the older stuff in order and published, so I've been focusing on rewrites and edits rather than a lot of new things.  Besides, Silversun is my 102nd novel.  Less than half of them are published.  I need to get working!

I wonder if I can make up a list of things to publish in 2017.  A few new ebooks and a lot more print versions (because I can do print versions of ebooks that are already out).

For the moment, though, I am just glad to see the end of November in sight!

Next month I think I'll talk about goals.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Flash Fiction # 226 -- Saving Everywhere. Part 10: Truth

I pulled Edmond closer to me -- and Collins grabbed me by the arm and threw me inside the room.  I had the impression of guards coming our way and I quickly got out of sight.

"What the hell is going on?" Collins demanded before anyone else could speak.  "What was that?"

"Don't know.  Sounded like it hit your roof --"

"Not ours," Collins said.  I felt a little touch of magic with those words, just enough to make them seem more true than the others would have thought at first.  "I need to get the door closed before we have a real problem!"

The others agreed.  The door closed.  Collins waved me back from the opening and I retreated, holding Edmond close.  He was purring as I sat down and put him in my lap.  I had never felt such relief before.

"This -- this is Edmond?" Tom asked as he sat back down. Collins took a place across from us and seemed rather more happy than shocked.

"Yes, I am," Edmond answered for himself.  He looked at me, and I could tell he didn't get this reaction either.  Strange people.

"Edmond is a talking and flying cat," Tom said.  "You never said what he was."

Edmond was a non, and that suddenly worried me.  "How did you get here, Edmond?" I asked, trying to forestall other problems.

"Lord Snow put up a bit of a fight and I slipped into the cage with him.  He's trying to work with the non-humans, but they're not very cooperative."

I looked around with a frown.  "No one is. Is there going to be a problem about Edmond and Lord Snow since they are both non-humans?"

Edmond's ears went back as he looked at the others around the table, but I saw something odd in their faces.  Relief?

"There will be no trouble," Collins said.  "In fact, that was the last of the worries gone.  We found that the best way to test people trying to infiltrate was to find out how they reacted to non-humans.  Magical or not, we did not want anyone who couldn't work with nons as part of the inner group."

"But you said I should stay away from them," I complained.

"Just to see how you would react.   We couldn't get a feel for you," Tom admitted.  "You talked about your friends, and you never mentioned that some of them were nons.  We  hadn't thought to ask the nons about any new people with them."

"Maggie -- Davis --" I began.

"In other barracks," Collins said.  I didn't know if I should hit him or hug him for those words.  I'd been damned worried.

"I think it is time we have a meeting," Tom said.  "Get them.  I have the feeling we are going to be moving soon."

Those words gave me hope on several levels.  Edmond still looked around at the others with a bit of distrust, though.  I just wanted to see the others, though when Collins left, I did worrry.

"What about the guards?" I asked.

"Most of them are ours," Tom replied.  He leaned back in the chair and looked Edmond over with a bright smile.  I felt better again.  "And the ones who are not ours simply won't notice anything wrong.  We keep up enough show so that any one from the outside looking in will not notice anything worrisome here."

Show, I thought.  Most of this is show, but I couldn't put together why.

Lord Snow arrived before the others.  I was so glad to see him that I actually hugged the huge snow leopard which got a bit of a laugh, and maybe a purr, out of him.  "Edmond said you were here," Lord Snow said as he looked around.  "They have explained why they kept us apart.  I am glad that part of the business is over."

"Me too --"

Maggie and Davis came in.  More hugs, more sounds of relief.  I had been worried about Maggie, but her wounds were healed.  Her metal wings flickered a little now and then, which told me she was agitated and the glances she gave the others showed she didn't trust them much either.

Davis looked relieved, though.  I hoped that he was seeing things clearly.

"What about Lord Cayman?" I asked.

"He escaped back into the woods," Maggie said.  She didn't sound happy.  "That's going to be a problem if he goes up against Darman and Potilla.  We need to get back there and help, Mark.  Otherwise, we may lose the one real hope we have of winning.  If Darman defeats Cayman, he not only gets this reality, but he won't have much trouble taking over the faelands, either."

No one liked that idea.

"The best way might be to take the next delivery truck," Edmond said.  He'd clearly been watching things -- not trapped in a barrack like I had been.  "A group of us could head back to the real battle.  If we win, we can get the rest of the prisoners out of here.  If we don't go and help, we'll only make matters worse."

I nodded and so did Davis and Maggie.  We sat around the table and discussed what we could do.  Noen of it sounded reasonable, but at least we were talking about doing something.  The relief that I was back with my friends almost made me shaky.  If there hadn't been more trouble brewing, I would have been happy to just stay here for a while longer. 

I couldn't abandon Lord Cayman, though.  Not just because he was my father.

"I'm glad we're going to get moving back to where we're needed," Edmond said.  "Humans and their ideas of what to do are going to drive me crazy.  Why move us from where we might help?  Why not keep us close, just in case?"

"That," Tom said, "is a smart question."

And then he began to change.

To Be Continued....

995 Words

Monday, November 21, 2016

Week 3

Hello Monday. What a miserable week we've had.

My eldest cat died.  He'd been ill for some time, but he looked like he was getting better -- and then not.  I miss him.  He was a big old teddy bear of a cat who liked to crawl into bed with me when I would settle in to read on my Nook.  He'd climb up on the pillow, stretch out across my shoulder, and read with me.  That included changing pages with a swipe of his paw, even if I wasn't ready to.

He was a feral kitten, like all my cats.  If he'd stayed outside, he would have been lucky to live three years -- we have an area rough on cats, including a neighbor who hates them and has threatened to poison any he finds.  So Wind wouldn't have survived long out there.  Instead, he had fourteen years of warm house, soft bed, and good food.  And all the books he could read.

But still....

Just not a good week.  There have been other things.  My back has been giving me trouble.  I hate when it does this.  Walking is difficult. Sitting is uncomfortable.  Stretching out in bed is great until I have to move.  I had to stay home today while Russ went on a nice trip north to visit.  I could not walk or sit that long.  I did manage to write.  So not all was lost.

NaNo?  Oh, it's going fine.  I'm up to about 140k.  I've finished Raventower & Merriweather 2: War and started in on Silversun, an interesting little science fiction novel with a western feel. This is an experiment novel as far as the genre and setting combination goes and I am barely 12k into it, but enjoying the characters and the setting so far.  I hope this will hold me through the rest of the month.  Just focus on the writing and ignore almost everything else.  Will the story work?  I don't know.  Sometimes the experiments do and other times they don't.  This one has a number of POV characters and an odd layout.

For all the NaNo people, I hope the rest of you are doing well.  We are closing in on the end.  You can do it -- and even if you don't reach 50k, you wrote words, right?  Enjoy yourselves.  Write your stories and have fun.  We're lucky that we can imagine other things.  Most of the world is trapped in the dull little world of reality.  We are the lucky ones, even if it is hard work.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Flash Fiction # 225 -- Saving Everywhere. Part 9: Surprise

After two more days of mostly staying in the barrack and not hearing anything helpful from Tom and the others, I was ready to start doing something on my own.  It probably would not be wise, but I couldn't sit here and read any more of The Hobbit (the only book of any interest they had in the collection), though I was starting to feel an affinity with Bilbo and the fact that he didn't really want to go on an adventure.  I was a hobbit at heart.

"You need to learn patience," Tom told me as we sat at the table.  The sun had gone down on another day with no word about anyone.  Tom could see I was starting to lose my temper.

"I need to learn a great many things," I said.  "Patience is the very least of them."

"Matters are delicate," he said.  He'd said those same words so many times already that I snarled a little at the sound of them.  Then I thought that might make me look and sound too much like a were-creature, so I sighed instead.  "I know this is not easy --"

"I must find out what happened to the others."  I put both my hands on the table before me and looked into his face.  "I'll take my chances with the desert -- just find me a way out of here."

"I wish it were that easy."  He sounded sincere. 

The guards would be by soon.  Last night it was not Collins and from the way the others reacted, I could tell this was not one we could trust.  I marked him; his brown eyes and balding head, his sneer when he looked our way.  I hoped he wasn't the one that came tonight.  I had come to like Collins who was worried about us and who had to be in a very dangerous position.

I couldn't say I trusted him, though.  I didn't trust any of them, to be honest. They were hiding things from me.  And besides, they weren't trusting me, either, which made it very hard to trust them in return.

We were nice to each other.  We were polite.  I was even careful to follow their rules and even stay close to the barracks and out of sight, but I did that for my own reasons.  If people stopped seeing me, it might take a while before they noticed I was gone.

Tom had just made it clear that he was not going to help me, though.  Fine.  I would find a way out on my own.  I was not going to abandon the hope that I could still find the others.

"Mark, I know this must be annoying -- no, listen to me."  I had been about to say something rude, but I shut up and stared at him instead.  I had lost all patience; he was right in that respect, but there was good reason for it.  I think Tom realized that I'd been pushed too far.  Whatever he had  been about to say, he rethought the words while I sat there and glared.

"We haven't told you much --"

"No shit, Sherlock."

The words almost amused him, and I don't know how I would have reacted if he'd laughed.  Then I realized that he was admitting to something on his side.  I shut up and gave a little nod.

"We haven't told you much," he said again.  "We have to be very careful.  Your arrival and claims aren't easy to veryify, either.  I would like to trust you.  I know, to some degree that you are telling the truth. But I won't risk the lives of the others just because I think you are a good kid."

"Kid," I said, the start of a snarl -- and then stopped.  "That's the problem, isn't it?  I'm a teen.  You think I'm exaggerating the stories I've told you."

"Or you could be far worse than a teen with a good imagination," Tom replied.  He leaned over the table and looked me in the face.  "You have people you are worried about.  I'm trying to find more information.    But I have people to worry about, too."

It made sense.  I tried to consider what I would do if I were in his position.  Well, wasn't I?  I was a Protector, and it was more my job than his to make certain everyone -- including the Nons -- were safe here.  I suddenly realized that I could do nothing that would make trouble here, like disappear off into the desert, and the realization almost won a cry of despair from me.  I wanted my friends here!


"I want Maggie, Davis, Snow, and Edmond to show up here," I said.  My voice trembled a little this time.  "That's all I really want.  If we're together, I can wait out anything."

"I'm sorry.  I hope to have more information soon."

I nodded and sat back.  The guards came a little later, and Collins took his place.  Everyone was relieved, even me.  He gave a nod, made the requisite noises, and then settled in with us.

"We've heard there is a lot of trouble out East," he confirmed.  "Some sort of major magical battles."

"Maybe my friends weren't taken, then!" I said and felt better.  I smiled, probably for the first time.

"Maybe so," Tom agreed.  He looked relieved as well.  "But I imagine that makes everyone else around here nervous."

"Yeah.  So be careful --"

Something hit the roof, bounced, and came to a stop.

"I have got to figure out that landing stuff," a voice said from above us.

I was out of my chair and to the door before anyone could stop me.

"Edmond!"  I had just enough sense not to shout.

He threw himself off the roof and into my arms, but I could hear more of the guards coming our way.  There was no time to run away and hide.

To Be Continued....

1000 Words