Thursday, May 25, 2017

Flash Fiction # 252: That kind of day



The day started with my clock taking off from the nightstand with a wail of the alarm, flying around the room for five minutes while I tried to catch it, and then exploding in mid-air, showing the room with bits of plastic.

This was the third exploding clock this month.

It was half an hour late waking me besides.  I threw myself into the shower, pulled on clothing I'd put out the night before -- I am not a morning person -- and ran to work.  Literally.  I put a touch of magic into it and a shield, so the poor, easily upset humans didn't see me, and still made it to work on time.  I stood outside for a moment and got my breath back while I damped down the magic glow. Then I straightened my clothing and went inside the doors of Permia's Fine Clothing for Men and Women.

This was not the sort of place you would typically find a fae working, but at least it was a job.  Fae don't frequent the human realm much, but some of us are just unlucky.  I had fallen into a sinkhole in the fae realm -- one that appeared suspiciously fast under my feet and disappeared again before I could leap back out.  I'd been alone, so no one knew where I'd gone, though I'd held to the hope of rescue for a couple months.  Then I took fate into my hands and started looking for a way back home.  The best I could do would be to gather enough magic to make a door of my own. That would take a long time.  Meanwhile, I had to survive here.  I could have done so by using magic without a problem, but if I did that, then it would take me even longer to gather enough power to get home.

So I had to survive the way humans did.  I used a bit of magic to get a job at a clothing store, which looked marginally better than a fast food place (though free food did have an appeal), and then I just did the best I could.  I had been daunted at first, but I soon learned that I had a better fashion sense than most humans.

"Well at least your on time today," Tavia said with a disdainful sniff.  I had never, ever, been late, so I held her look until she walked away.  Tavia La Madga (not her real name, and I didn't need magic to know it) was in charge of woman's footwear, and I was one of her three slaves.  We dressed as though we were about to step out on a date with Prince Charming, including high heels and a short black dress that was the uniform of every woman in the building. The men wore black suits, blue ties, and white shirts.  We did not fraternize, except for the occasional publicity photo.

After my first week on the job, I found the best way to make my life easy.  Human women almost always lie about their shoe size.  I don't know why, but I could look at supposed seven and know it was an eight.  Rather than argue or have to retrieve several pairs of shoes before the woman gave up and left complaining about our sizing system, I started changing the tags on a box to read seven instead of eight.  I started selling a lot of shoes which made Tavia as happy as she ever got, but didn't improve my relationship with Anna and Clarice.  They didn't want to work hard, but they didn't want me to show them up, either.  I'd see them standing at the edges of displays, eyes narrowed.  I would have thought they were wraiths if I didn't know better.  They certainly were thin enough.

I didn't care.  I didn't intend for this to be my life's work.

We had rain in the afternoon, which was bad.  Women did not shop for high-end shoes on a rainy day unless they were in dire need.  That meant more time with my co-workers, and they were not the most appealing people.  They were so 'into' the New York scene that they might as well have been speaking another language.  I had learned to nod and never question anything.

When the young woman wandered into our department, the others took in her plain black coat and responsible shoes and gave her a look of disdain.  Not important enough for them. I thought she had dressed well for the weather, though tame compared to most of what we saw here. 
She looked lost.  I took that as my chance to get away from the others.

"I have to go to a fancy gathering tonight," she admitted and made it sound as though she was heading for prison.  "I don't have anything to wear.  I thought I'd start with shoes.  How hard can shoes be?"

She glanced my way with so pleading a look that I took pity on her.  I also used a bit of magic so I could help her with the rest of her shopping, including makeup.  By the time she left the shop, I felt as though I had done my first good deed since I came to this reality.

And it paid off.  Before I left work that day, I had a new position: personal liaison to women who needed help for some event.  They'd start advertising within the week.  I got a raise in pay and my own office.  Yes, it takes a bit of my hoarded magic to pull this off, but I didn't mind so much.  It's been fun to help some of the women, and the ones that are not fun, I get through the process with magic, and they're happy in the end, too.  Oh, and I ditched the damned heels, too.

This, people, is how I came to be a modern-day fairy godmother.  The pay's not bad, either!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Circe's Gifts is done!


I surprised myself with Circe's Gifts.  It barely took a month to do the rewrite and double edit.  I am posting on Wattpad at a couple chapters a day, but I'm also going to release the story in ebook.  I will continue posting on Wattpad, but I hope a few people pick up the finished work.  You know -- support the author sort of thing!

Next up might be A Plague of Rats, which I think people will like. That one seems to have the strongest call for me right now.  I might as well take advantage of that and leap in.

Russ is going to be gone for most of the week.  I'm not really sure what I'll do with myself.  I feel like I ought to have a big project.  Maybe a (gasp) house cleaning project would work.  I tend to drive Russ nuts with those because I move everything, get part way through, let it sit for a day or two, and then go back to it.  That might be something to think about, especially if it is going to be warm enough to not freeze in the rest of the house.

Okay, I just published Circe's Gifts on Amazon and Smashwords.  Smashwords will spread it out to all the other outlets.  I'll post links in a couple days when everything is cleared.  Here is the blurb:

Circe's sacred forest is a place where wounded and hunted animals can find sanctuary.  She and her long-time companions -- a one-eyed wolf, a cat with a limp, and a tailless mouse -- have lived quietly until a wounded young man wanders into her woods, followed by those who are hunting him.  When the All-Mother lets Circe know that she must help Tiernan, the best she can do is to send her friends to protect him, though they cannot go in their animal forms.

And that's it for me this week!  Still playing around with a lot of graphics stuff and having fun. The cats are still cats.  All is good in the world!

Friday, May 19, 2017

Flash Fiction # 251: Anomaly



Note:  I have dropped in on Tana's little scout ship and her crew a few times before.  If you would like to read the sequence here are the previous flash fiction pieces:

Flash Friday # 106 -- The Replacement
http://zette.blogspot.com/2014/08/flash-friday-106-replacement.html

Flash Fiction # 141 -- The Outpost
http://zette.blogspot.com/2015/04/flash-fiction-141-outpost.html


Flash Fiction # 161 -- Illusion
http://zette.blogspot.com/2015/08/flash-fiction-161-illusion.html

Flash Fiction # 211 -- Team work
http://zette.blogspot.com/2016/08/flash-fictoin-211-team-work.html


Tana hated to admit how much she preferred being out in the fighter with her two crew rather than being back on the Belgium with the rest of the humans.  With a few rare exceptions, like the Captain of the Belgium, almost everyone had started to annoy her more than she wanted to admit.  Tana had snarled until they were finally away from communication's range and even those voices went silent.  Around them stretched a lovely bit of space with a blue-green nebula off to the side, a sparkle of stars through the haze.

However, she still had her two crew to deal with now.

"Another bad date?" Krisin asked.

Tana looked back over her shoulder with a snarl at the craft's weapon's officer.  Lisel, they're Catchin copilot, started to make a sound of amusement and coughed instead.  Wiser than Krisin.

Krisin looked unrepentant, but then he hadn't had any luck with dates either.  She almost asked Lisel if he'd had better luck than the humans, but she didn't know enough about the Catchin society to know if they dated at all.  The one hundred Catchin on board Belgium was the largest such community on any of the Fleet's ships, but they kept to themselves for the most part.

Tana sighed and sat back in her chair.  "You're right, another bad date.  This time it wasn't so much the guy as everyone else around us.  They were all rude.  Okay, and I punched the guy in the face at the other table who kept meowing, but that was kind of an afterthought."

Lisel looked at her, his green cat-eyes wide, and his mouth clamped shut.  His ears had not gone down and he looked more like a tabby with long curly hair than he had in a long time.  Catchins were hybrid human/cat genetic warriors.  She probably shouldn't have mentioned that part --

And then he started laughing.  A few moments later they were all laughing.  They were out on patrol, in a dangerous and uncharted territory, and she could barely get her breath back and her eyes watered.

"Could be -- could be -- trouble!" she protested and laughed again.

Lisel still managed to pilot without a problem at least, though a laugh rumbled through him while he took deep breaths.  He swept them around a small bit of rock and ice that wasn't even in a belt --

And then he turned them back in as sharp a curve as the fighter could make.  "Something wrong there," he needlessly said.  The other two had already realized he'd spotted something and Krisin even started bring up the weapons.

Lisel and Tana worked to bring the craft around and get a closer look at the asteroid.  As they slowed as much as they could -- no good gravity well to push against -- she watched the oddly shaped rock and the surface.

Those lines had to be natural features.  Nice straight lines at the bottom, and lines that curled up and around toward the top.  Pretty.

"Hell," she whispered.  "What are we supposed to do now?"

Lisel stared even as his fingers made careful adjustments to the controls and he swept them around the rock, using the innate gravity of the huge stone to hold them partly in place.  His eyes blinked, and she had the impression of a computer digging through very old files and looking for answers that were not there.

"Nazca," he said.  "The Tree."

"Is that supposed to make sense?" Kristin asked with a touch of curiosity overriding the usual snideness.

"Earth.  A place in South America, ancient Peru."

"I didn't know you were interested in Earth," Tana said.

"Why not?" he asked and flashed a brighter grin.  "After all, at least two of my ancestors came from there, though they lived entirely different lifestyles.  I am starting to think the cats might have been the wiser race.  They aren't running around out here looking for trouble."

"True," she admitted.  Tana hadn't realized until now that she'd considered her companion an alien, not a part of earth's history.  She didn't like to find that kind of bigotry in herself.  "Are you sure about the design?"

"Too close to be chance," he said.  "The tree at Nazca is laid out on a flat plain.  Here, they've drawn it up around the base so that the tree's limbs encircle the rest of the asteroid. See how they shaped the bottom like a tree trunk with all those straight lines?  But the design itself is very much the same."

"So the designs at Nazca were done by aliens?" Tana asked as they kept circling.  This was not a big rock -- about twice the size of Belgium.

Lisel said nothing for a moment.  His ears moved up and down as he watched the area before them.  "No, aliens didn't make Nazca.  They proved it was an indigenous people."

"So what is this?" Kristin asked.

"Someone who saw the tree. The designs are visible from high up and they've been there for thousands of years.  I am not reading any hollow in the asteroid."

"Neither am I," Tana agreed.  She ran her fingers over the controls again.  "I don't know if I'm happy or not.  I'd like answers."

"I think I know the big answer," Lisel said.  He smiled quite unexpectedly.  "They did this because it was pretty."

"Art for art's sake," Kristin replied and sounded as though he agreed.  "If we report this --"

"No," Tana said.  "This isn't the work of wereships, so that means another alien species.  I'll tell the Captain, but I don't think we want anyone else jumping at shadows."

"Or coming out here and cutting this to pieces, looking for answers," Lisel added.  "I wonder what else we'll find, now that we know to look."

"Aliens?" Tana asked.

"Yes. And maybe allies.  Beings who copy tree symbols from earth don't strike me as someone who would ally with the weres.  Let's hope we're not too late."

Word count 997

Monday, May 15, 2017

Another (manic) Monday



Welcome to another Monday in my crazed life.  Circe's Gifts is moving along so well that I will be putting up more than two chapters a week soon.  Raventower 2 is published.  I am starting to look at future works for Wattpad, and realizing I will be publishing Circe's Gifts as an ebook before too long.

Really, not too bad at all.  But I am in bouncy mode, mostly.  Lots of stuff going on and I want to do it all. And then I get headachy and annoyed and have to fight to do anything.  And then bouncy again.  I like bouncy.

I'm also working with the Topaz Studio beta graphics program.  So far I'm really impressed, though it does take a lot of my time because I want to play with it.  I can't do everything that Photoshop can do, but it does have a wonderful array of adjustments and additional add ins that make this one fun to play with if you like this sort of thing.  I do, and I've always been impressed with Topaz Labs programs.

I see interesting book covers in the future.

What I don't see much of at the moment is new story stuff.  I have four ideas for NaNo in November, but I haven't been able to get anything moving there.  I think that's simply because I've been focusing on getting other things done and out of the way.  Well, they're done, mostly.  Hello?  Ideas?  Are you out there?

Yes, actually, they are.  I just need to focus on them again.  It's not as though the stories have disappeared. These are the ones that have stayed in my brain for quite a while already, so I'm pretty certain they're going to last all the way through the outline phase and on into writing stuff.  I'll likely get to at least one of them before NaNo unless I spend the rest of the year rewriting older material.  That might happen.  I'm enjoying Wattpad as an easy step toward publication with the hope of finding people interested enough to read the book and maybe buy a couple others.  Oh and it would be nice if they pointed out problems they saw in the text.  I'd be very happy with that happening.

I am working a bit today at getting my photo studio set up again.  It's not a permanent set up, but I've been doing a little at a time clearing out the space where I want to work.  I hope to get it all ready by mid-week.  I won't be able to leave it up because of the cats, but I hope to have a place where I can quickly put things together whenever I have the urge -- and the time.

Oh, and another story idea just hit.  Maybe I can work it into one of the others?  Yes, actually, I think I can.  In fact, I think this might be a missing piece of the Lost City story.  It also has a great opening.

Okay, need to think this through and start working up notes and stuff.  On a lot of stuff.

Yeah. Time to get my brain bouncing around again!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

Raventower & Merriweather 2: War and Wattpad


Yes!  Finally!  The second Raventower & Merriweather book is out! 

Here is a link to both of them in Smashwords

And here is a link to the new book at Amazon

War has come to the city of Kamere. The Atrian ships are blockading the coast and occasionally landing troops in attempts to either take the city or to capture some of Sedina's coastline.

The villages inland are in chaos, food supplies are already growing scarce, and several areas of the city are in ruins. However, the Sedina forces -- Army, Navy, and Air Patrol -- are keeping the mass of Atrians out.

Atrian assassins are still trying to kill Lord Raventower. More worrisome than that, however, is the Atrian's dangerous interest in the object lying on the ocean floor near Raventower itself.

Clockwork giant spiders, glowing women -- family dinner gatherings with the Merriweathers -- Micalus Raventower is not certain even the redoubtable Captain Merriweather and his clockwork creations can keep him safe from all the trouble he's attracting.


These are run Steampunk/Clockwork/Fantasy books. I hope you enjoy them!

And in other news, I have started posting a novel on Wattpad:

Circe's sacred forest is a place where wounded and hunted animals can find sanctuary.  She and her long-time companions -- a one-eyed wolf, a cat with a limp, and a tailless mouse -- have lived quietly until a wounded young man wanders into her woods, followed by those who are hunting him.  When the All-Mother lets Circe know that she must help Tiernan, the best she can do is to send her friends to protect him, though they cannot go in their animal forms.
You can find the story here.  Four chapters are up now and more will be added soon.  

Friday, May 12, 2017

Flash Fiction # 250: Spider Drabble



Dear spider on my keyboard,

I had thought you might have literary pretensions as you danced across the keys, alas too light to make an impression on the world of writing.  I tried to follow your choices, thinking I could type them out for you -- a little thing to offer between one writer and another; I have always been fond of archie and mehitabel.  Then you stopped and glared as you took up residence on the delete key.

I realized then that you were a critic, not an author.  The world is filled with too many critics.

Goodbye, damned spider.


100 words exactly

Monday, May 08, 2017

Schedule




My schedule for now looks pretty solid:

Picture of the Day post.  Every picture was taken that day and posted at http://zettepicaday.blogspot.com/.  I started on 1/1/2007 and haven't missed a day yet.  Fun stuff to do!)

Monday:
Blog Post, Joyously Prolific: http://zette.blogspot.com/ (That's here)

Tuesday AND Thursday:
A chapter on my Wattpad project.  The first one is Circe's Gifts:  https://www.wattpad.com/user/zetteG/about

Friday:
Post current 2YN class on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Lazette-Gifford-Author-352371884942342/ .  Post a Flash Fiction on Joyously Prolific: http://zette.blogspot.com/

Also, of course, is the big one: write every day.  I have done this for decades already, and I don't see any reason to stop now.  It's what I do both as a job and for the pure joy of it.  Writing for me includes editing, rewriting, formatting and even, on occasion, publishing.

I have other things that will drop in there as well.  I have a couple things I truly need to get done that don't have a lot to do with writing (mostly copying Vision articles into the right location), and I want to start doing them on a regular basis, but I don't want to make them part of the schedule.  Not yet. 

Oh, and of course there is the hieroglyph stuff.  I am still doing a little on that every day and still really enjoying it.  As I've mentioned here and a few other places, this is absolutely the most useless thing I've ever set out to learn, and I love it. 

On Saturday we picked up more note cards and some nice note card dividers that I can write the proper hieroglyphs on.  I am going to be redoing a bunch of cards now that I have a better grasp of how to write the letters.  I am amazed, really, that I am still this enthusiastic so far into the study.

I am also preparing to organize notes for my NaNo 2017 books.

I have one big problem, though.  One I may have mentioned before, but it is staring me in the face right now.  I can write, re-write, edit, format, make book covers, go over everything a dozen more times ... but when it comes to the point where I should publish, I freeze.  I am not even certain why, to be honest.  I know some people won't like the book.  You cannot write something that will please everyone.  I know that it will not be perfect.  I can accept that someone will find problems.

But I am sitting here with Raventower 2.  It's done.  I need to put the TOC in and get the ISBN and that's it.  Done. Ready to go.  And I have let it sit there for about a month as though something fantastic is going to happen if I leave it alone.

Ugh.  Hate to get to this state and lately it happens any time a novel edges over towards 'publish me now' areas.    You'd think after so many that I'd get over it.  But I don't.

But ... I just published it anyway.  Just now.  Did it, got it out of my hands and I can move on with my life.  I'll do a post for it in a couple days when I'm sure it will be up on Amazon and (already) on Smashwords.

So I guess I can stop complaining, right?

Friday, May 05, 2017

Flash Fiction # 249 -- Saving Everywhere. Part 33: The End





(Previous)

When I looked into Lord Cayman's face, I knew something was still wrong.    Davis made a sound of worry and looked around.  Others were still moving everywhere, but I could not see any sign of an enemy.

"Mark," Lord Cayman said.

"Sir?"  That seemed the best way to address him.  Formal and not too personal.  I still could not look at the man and think father.  I suspect he had the same trouble considering me his son -- but this wasn't the time for either of us to worry about such mundane things.

"I have to go," he explained with a worried frown.  "I must make certain that Darman and Portilia didn't end up somewhere else where they might do harm.  That was a brilliant answer, Mark.  Risky -- it could have dragged us all in -- but I fear we could not have defeated them otherwise.  Good work."

"Thank you.  How will we follow them?"

"Not we.  Not this time."  Lord Cayman looked away, and I wasn't sure what I felt just then.  Betrayal?  Hurt?  Good job boy, but --  "I need you to stay here.  Really need someone here I can trust.  There is going to be some stray magic, and probably a few of Darman's creatures around and the locals will be upset.  I want to stay and help but --"

He meant those words.  Cayman trusted me to handle a situation that might still prove difficult.  And this was my reality, after all.  I understood these people.

"This is my home."

"Half your home," he replied.  "When you're ready, you will find the gate."

I smiled agreement.  "I'd like to go to Elsewhere without fearing something strange happening every five minutes."

"I don't know if that will ever happen, Mark.  You seem to have a gift for drawing trouble.  I hope to see you soon.  I'm taking others with me -- they won't be safe here, and I can leave them in Elsewhere faster than having them go find the gate. The sooner things get back to normal in this reality, the better. Good luck."

He turned and signaled the others in around him.  I gave a wave to friends.  "Thank you!  Thank you, Bog Bob!  Great work!"

He bounced up once, and I braced myself, but everyone disappeared before he hit the ground.  A quick breeze -- and the magic had gone.  I felt --

"I guess we have a lot of work to do," Edmond said as he brushed against my leg. 

Not alone.  Edmond, Maggie, and Davis still stood with me.  We could handle this.

It wasn't easy.  I had to do a lot of talking to important people, some of whom were outraged and mistrustful.  We kept calm and quiet, though Edmond had suggested he might bite a few more ankles for me.  I held him in reserve.

I also met Mary Hale.  Remember her?  I shot Tommy Creston and killed him when I thought he had killed her.  She had somehow survived.  They were still working on some of the scars, but she had lived because I had stopped him.  We hugged.  She had come back to town just to see me and thank me.

And yeah, it made a difference.

My friends and I didn't do anything flashy, and the fact that all the other magical beings had left helped.  Things got quiet and boring.  Davis went back to Elsewhere.  Maggie stayed with me, and she kept her wings folded, though they sometimes fluttered when she got agitated. She even visited a few people she used to know.  I went and saw my mom and her family.  It was nice, and we had a good time -- Edmond was a big hit -- but I had moved on.  We didn't talk about my father.  He wasn't a part of her world.

More meetings.  I wondered how much longer I should stay.

Boredom will do strange things.  Maggie and I both got our GEDs.  I'm not sure why -- maybe just to prove that we were both still human enough.   Edmond wandered off sometimes.  He was even gone for a few days on occasion, but he must have realized how much that worried me because he stopped going.

We still met with officials at least once a week, but there were fewer and fewer questions, and it felt as though all the world had simply buried the momentary lapse into magic and people would do their best to forget it.

Good.

But I could not forget what I was, and I found it harder and harder to hold the magic back inside.  I spent a lot of time away from others.  I saved bunnies and squirrels because sometimes the Sanctioned Protector ability kicked in and I had to do something.  I helped find two kidnapped children, but I talked the police into keeping my name out of it.  They were willing to do anything I asked since they were still trying to get past the fact they had worked with Darman -- as Sheriff Creston -- for so long.

It was a long few months.

Edmond and I were sitting on a bench in the park, enjoying the weather and the quiet when Maggie arrived.

"We have a problem," Maggie said. She had a basket in her hands and opened the top as she held it out to me.  "These were left with me this morning."

I looked in, worried....

Six little black kittens.

With wings.

And voices.  "Hello, hi, hello, hi, want out, fly, fly, fly--"

I snapped the lid shut, took a few breaths, and then took the basket.  Edmond was looking elsewhere.  I grabbed him and placed him on top of the basket.  He was uncommonly quiet.

"What are you going to do?" Maggie asked.

"We're going to take a trip to Elsewhere."

"And do what?" Maggie asked, looking worried.

"I'm not sure yet," I said, but then I smiled.  "But I'm pretty sure it will be an adventure."

Maggie smiled and brought out the compass.  "Let's go."

"About time," Edmond said.

THE END

1000 Words




Monday, May 01, 2017

Goals for the New Month


First, in the news this week -- I finally got my Twitter account back! @LazetteG there, but it is going to take me awhile to get used to checking it and posting things again.  Still, after nearly a year, it's nice to have it back!

That will be one of my May goals: Start remembering to post on Twitter, Forward Motion, and maybe do a bit more on FB that is targeted toward my work, and not just random posts now and then.  Also, there is still the WattPad stuff.  I believe I have the novel I'm going to place there.  It is a YA fantasy called Circe's Gifts.  I have a good start on the final edits and I can start posting as soon as I figure out all the extra little things that need done before it goes up.

I had hoped to have Raventower & Merriweather 2: War published before the end of the month, but I had a week of miserable illness where I spent most of my time curled up in bed under the heated blanket and wondering if the apocalypse might not be better.  I am still not well, but my brain has started to put words together and get them into something like a proper order again.   It's not quite up to things like formatting and publishing books, but I'm getting there.  The book will be out soon.  The last of the Surviving Elsewhere flash fictions will go up this Friday.  I hope to post the first of Circe's Gifts at Wattpad this week.  Busy stuff.  Lots of busy stuff.

I've had more than one person ask me this week if I always have multiple projects going.

Yes.  The only time I do not is in those hours after I finish the last writing on the last day of the year (yes, I plan it that way) and before I start the first project of the new year.  Which, by the way, I generally start a couple minutes after midnight.  It's fun.  It's my way of saying 'this is me, and welcome to the New Year!'.  Later in the day I often start my first rewrite and/or edit of the year as well.  After that, work just grows and lessens and grows for the entire year.

And I love it.  I really do.  I have written every day for decades.  Why not?  It's what I love most to do.  Apparently according to some people this is a sin when it comes to writing.  Oh, don't write so much!  Slow Down!  It's evil to write more!

It's a joy.  It's fun.  It is not for everyone.  I think I've mentioned this a few times already, right?  Writing a lot and writing fast does not mean you can't edit afterwards, and honestly, I edit slowly.  I edit multiple times.  I edit until I drive myself, my husband, my cats -- and probably the stuffed plot bunnies around my desk -- insane.  There is the 'it is never quite right' problem. 

Unfortunately, it never will be.

At some point you have to let go.  Maybe someone else will find something for you to fix.  Maybe others will hate it.  Maybe you could have written the novel an entirely different way -- change the POV, go with a different main character, change the setting....

And maybe you would be writing an entirely different book if you did any of those things.  At some point you need to stop changing things just to change them.  I know.  I've been there.  I've written over 100 novels and hundreds of shorter works.  They may not be the best stuff ever written, but I do understand how the process goes and what problems you can make for yourself.

One of the worst is not letting go and moving on.  So that's part of why I have multiple projects.  (See, this comes back to the point!)  If all I have is one story and I can't step away from it when I need to and work on something else, I am just going to nudge and jab at it forever.  So when I'm done, I close it down and work on something else that's already in progress, whether that is something new or an edit.  Just move away.

And sometimes I even get something to the point that I'll publish.  I hope to do so this week.  Wish me luck with the second Raventower & Merriweather book!

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Flash Fiction # 248 -- Saving Everywhere. Part 32: Magic





(Previous)

No one had expected my move.  That was good in some ways since Darman and Potilia were intent on the people they took to be the most dangerous, like Lord Cayman.  On the bad side, though, it meant none of his allies were prepared to help protect me.  I had to move quickly.  I had to draw on the magic I'd learned during this odd, long journey.  I had the power of being a Sanctioned Protector at my fingertips.

And I had spent a lot of time learning about a certain type of magic.  The first magic I had sent at them had been a diversion.  I put all the power I dared into it because I wanted them to think I was truly trying to destroy them.  I wasn't -- I knew I hadn't that much power, but what I sent against them did take the two by surprise and I saw that three of the dozen fireballs had gotten through their defenses, which was better than I had expected.  The others quickly took up the attack as well.

No time to reconsider what I was doing.  No time to ask if this might be wise or if any of them could help.  I had to go with my next trick. There was one type of magic I'd been around more than any other during this madness.

I concentrated on a spot just behind Darman and Potilia.

I opened a door.

And then I opened another within that door.

And another.

By the fourth door, the others had realized what I was doing, both on my side and on Darman's.  The power from the votex of so many linked doors began to drag leaves into it.  I made another door -- far harder now. The power to make them and to keep them open came from me, and Darman sent a bolt of pure power that would have killed me outright if Maggie hadn't stepped forward, staff in hand, and her own power deflected the blow.

Time meant nothing to me now.  Seconds?  Minutes?  I could not measure the time it took for me to make those doors and hold them open.  Five -- I had five doors at my command.  The vortex had started grabbing up rocks, plants, and dirt.  Darman and Potilia had grabbed hold of each other and that wasn't out of fear.  I saw their powers merging in braids of light that spread up around them.

Dangerous for us -- but dangerous for the two of them, as well.  They were both powerful magicians and I doubted they'd ever joined power before.  I thought I heard Lord Cayman shout something, but I dared not try to listen.  I held to the doors.  I could feel the pull of the vortex reaching for me now, too.

The weres suddenly made a rush for me.  I should have expected it and seeing hundreds of creatures heading straight for me.  The shock and fear almost made me lose the hold on the spell, but before I could fully react, Bog Bob leapt over the top of us and landed with a force that flattened weres with such force that most of them must have died immediately and those that were not hit retreated in haste, breaking free of whatever magic Darman had used to drive them towards me.  The ground and trembled and I went to my knees, but I held on to the spell.  Trees were starting to bend toward the vortex now.  I hoped my friends stayed safe.  I had time again -- not much, but --

Bog Bob launched himself straight at Darman and Potilia.  I gave a cry of despair because I knew the two would react too quickly.  I almost let go of the doors to save him, but at that moment Edmond arrived at my feet.

"Hold on!" he warned above the growing wind.  He had to catch hold of my pants with his claws.  "Diversion!"

Bog Bob was a big diversion, too.  I realized others had started to move once Bog Bob blocked the view.  Just hold on a little longer, that's all.  I knelt and grabbed hold of Edmond as he started to slip.  I knew we could do this.  We just had to --


Bog Bob leapt to the side with surprising grace for something that large.  Darman cursed and turned as well, and that as his mistake.  I wasn't sure if he saw the others lined up -- Tom, Darman, Maggie, and a few others.  The blast that hit him and Potilia -- who had seen it coming but panicked -- did not destroy the two, but it did send them flying.

They tumbled through one door, another, another -- I thought maybe Lord Cayman had added a few more doors and more chaos into the mix.  I wasn't sure.  Once the two were gone I knew the others were safe, and that meant my power grew weaker.  My doors snapped shut, one after another.

Weres disappeared into dust, the power Darman had used to create them gone, and they were no longer human enough to hold on to their forms.  Within a minute the wind died down, the weres disappeared, and I was kneeling with allies, including a group of startled soldiers, in the empty field of battle.

"Where is he?" I asked, looking up as Davis came to me. 

"We don't know.  You did  a damned good job there.  Random doors like that -- brilliant.  You okay?"

"I think so," I said and let go of Edmond.  He stretched and looked around, blinking as though he'd slept through the battle.   I let Davis help me back to my feet.  "The others?"

"We did well," he said.  I heard a little bleakness; he was a healer and no doubt lost a few people in this battle.  "I am glad to have it done."

I nodded as Lord Cayman came toward me, but from the look on his face, I could tell we were not truly done.

To Be Continued
1000 Words