Monday, July 2, 2012
Friday, May 18, 2012
Monday, April 30, 2012
Sunday, April 29, 2012
I've been working really hard on Kanana the Jungle Girl, and I'm well past the halfway point of the draft, but I took a couple of days off this week to work on a new Eaglethorpe Buxton story. The new Eaglethorpe book will definitely be out by the end of the year, so it seems like a good time to show off the cover.
The plan is to combine the original two Eaglethorpe stories with three new ones, so that there will be five tales in this book.
Eaglethorpe Buxton and the Elven Princess
Eaglethorpe Buxton and the Sorceress
Eaglethorpe Buxton and the Queen of Aerithraine
Eaglethorpe Buxton the Day of the Night of the Werewolf (not a typo)
and Eaglethorpe Buxton and the Unicorn Hunters
There is a possibility of a sixth story as well, but
Saturday, April 28, 2012
Isaak Wissinger bent down and picked up a paper from the street. At least he was still able to do that. Many of the people he saw passing him on the street seemed barely able to lift their own feet. He was still in the ghetto of Zurelendsviertel. He had been unable to get out. During the past eleven months, Wissinger had been forced to use the money that his guardian angel had given him to buy scraps of food. She had been right. When push had come to shove, the other Zaeri had helped themselves and their families, and not the famous writer they knew of, but didn’t really know.
The angel had not come back since that night. If Wissinger had not had the money to spend on moldy bread and mysterious meat, he would have thought that he had dreamed the whole thing. Of course there were also the stories. Stories had come into the ghetto from the outside world—stories about a mysterious woman. A blond woman had attacked Neuschlindenmacht Castle, burning it to the ground, though nobody knew exactly how. A powerful witch had fought and killed a dozen wizards of the Reine Zauberei on the streets of Kasselburg. A blond sorceress had freed hundreds of Zaeri prisoners held in a work camp and had killed or frightened off a company of soldiers guarding them. Wissinger carefully listened to the stories without adding his own experiences. There was nothing to indicate that these stories were about the same woman, or that they were even true. But Wissinger believed them.
“You’re thinking about me right now, aren’t you?” asked a sultry voice right by his ear.
Wissinger jumped. The woman was back. He looked up and down the street and realized that there was no one else to be seen. This was unusual. It was almost mid-day. He looked back at her. Yes, it was the same woman. She was dressed at least this time. Sort of. He tried to think where her black corset and leather pants would be everyday dress, but could imagine no such place in the world. She tossed her hair back and then took a pose with her chin held high, like a statue.
“Um, you’re back,” he said.
“Oh my. Here I was told that you were the greatest writer in Freedonia, and this is your introductory line?”
“What are you doing here?”
“Well now you’re just being thick,” she said. “I came back for you. You were supposed to be gone, out of the ghetto and to the coast at least.”
“I couldn’t get out. The Kafirite, Kiesinger, the one who smuggled some Zaeri out for money. The day after you were here, I mean in my room, he was arrested. He wasn’t arrested in my room, he was arrested… wherever they arrested him, but no one else took his place. There was no one else who would help, to smuggle me out.” Wissinger stopped speaking and realized he was out of breath.
“Relax lover. We’re leaving now.”
“Wait. We have to go back to my room.”
She smiled seductively. “What a wonderful idea. I thought you might be more welcoming this time.”
“No, it’s just… it’s the middle of the day.”
“Well, um… I… Aren’t we in a hurry?”
“You’re the one who wants to go back to your room.”
“I have to get my book.”
“What book is that?”
“My book. It doesn’t have a title yet. It’s about life here. It’s hidden in the wall.”
“Then let’s go get it.”
Wissinger led the woman down the cobblestone street to his apartment building and upstairs to his room. His building had been a fine middle class apartment twenty years earlier. Now it was rapidly falling apart from neglect. Holes had appeared in the walls and the floor. In one spot just outside his apartment door, he could see completely through to the floor below. In a way this was all fortunate. The crack in the wall next to the loose board, behind which he hid the tools of his trade, didn’t look out of place. Removing the board, he pulled out the tablet and pencil.
The tablet was the type children used in school. He had started at the beginning and had used every page. Then he had turned it over and had written on the backs of each sheet, in ever smaller script as the pages had become scarce. The pencil was the last of a package of twelve. Oh, how he had wasted his pencils at first, insisting on a sharp point, whittling each one back with his knife. When he had gotten to the sixth one, he had stopped such foolishness. He let the lead become as dull and round as a turtle’s head and had only cut back the wood around it, when it, like the turtle’s head, had become hidden inside. That was all over now.
He felt the woman press against his back. She wrapped her arms around his shoulders and licked the back of his neck. He turned around and kissed her deeply. She pulled him toward the cot, and he let her. He spent the last hour that he would ever spend on that horrible, worn, bug-ridden mattress making love to a beautiful woman.
“I don’t even know your name,” he said, as they dressed.
“Like the daughter of Magnus the Great?”
“Yes, exactly like that.”
“You’re not her, are you?”
“Yes. Yes I am.”
She slipped back into her boots and headed out the door. Wissinger stuffed his pencil in the pocket where he kept his penknife and tucked his tablet under his arm. A quick look around reminded him that he had nothing else of value. Quickly catching up with Zurfina, he followed her downstairs and out into the street. Even though the sun was still high, there was nobody to be seen. It was as if they were the only two people in the world. Down the street and around the corner, then down the main thoroughfare, they finally reached the twenty foot tall wooden gate to the outside world. It was standing open and the guards who had always been there were gone.
“What’s going on?” Wissinger asked.
“It’s just magic.”
Once outside the gate, they wound their way through the city streets of Gartow. It was much nicer here. The buildings were in repair. The shops were open. But here the world was just as devoid of life and humanity as it had been inside the ghetto. In no time at all they were past the edge of town. They stepped off the road and crossed the first field of many that filled the space between the city and the distant edge of the forest.
“Zurfina, how is it… oh… um.”
“What is it?”
“I just remembered that according the Holy Scriptures, Zurfina… that is the daughter of King Magnus, was burned at the stake.”
“Fine, I’m not her then.”
“But your name is Zurfina, isn’t it?”
“I’m tired of all your questions,” she said, stopping and glaring at him. “It’s been nothing but questions with you since I got here. What’s going on? Who are you? Can I be on top?”
“One more question and I’m leaving.”
“No. I’m sorry. No more questions, I promise,” said Wissinger. “Just tell me which way I am supposed to go.”
“That’s it!” she snapped, and with a flourish of her hands, she disappeared with a pop.
“I didn’t… that wasn’t a question… I phrased it…”
A sound drew Wissinger’s gaze to the sky. A flock of small birds flew overhead, twittering as they went. Then he heard the sounds of voices, and looking toward town, he could see people. A steam carriage chugged down the now distant road. It was as if the world had suddenly come alive. Dropping to a crouch, he looked around to see if there was anyone close. He could detect no one. Staying hunched over, he made for the forest as fast as he could.
Friday, April 27, 2012
When I originally plotted out the story of Senta and the Steel Dragon, Iolanthe was one of the primary characters. However when I started writing The Drache Girl (the working title was The Sorceress's Apprentice), for some reason I used Yuah instead. Because of this Iolanthe fell into the background a bit in The Dark and Forbidding Land and The Young Sorceress. She returns to prominence in The Two Dragons though.
Turning away from the street, Yuah Dechantagne made her way up the stone walkway to the family’s home. The huge, stately structure was the largest building in the colony, and had taken the better part of two years to construct. Featuring a large portico supported by four two story columns, a double gabled roof and more than a dozen stone chimneys, every side of the house was covered with large dual-paned windows. Walking through the gardens and past the large reflecting pool, the fountain, and the sundial surrounded by white roses, she paused to hyperventilate for a moment before tackling the six steps to the portico. Standing at attention outside of the front door was a lizardman, naked except for a yellow ribbon with a gold medallion around its neck. As she approached, the creature reached back and opened the door for her.
“Thank you, Tisson,” she said, sweeping in through the doorway.
Once inside, she walked through the foyer and into the parlor, just in time to see her sister-in-law, the Colonial Governor, slapping her hand across the protruding snout of another lizardman. The creature wore a similar medallion and ribbon as its counterpart outside, though it was a silver medallion on a green ribbon. The reptilian was also slightly shorter and had darker green skin. Even so, it towered over the woman that faced it in the olive green herringbone dress.
“One more time and I’ll cut off your tail and send you back to that mud hut you came from,” she snarled at the lizardman. “Do you understand?”
“Yess,” hissed the reptile.
“What was that all about?” asked Yuah.
Iolanthe rolled her aquamarine eyes. “How many times have I explained? They still don’t get it. When the flower petals fall off, the flowers are replaced.”
“I think they like the flowers better when they are wilted,” replied Yuah. “It must be a lizard affectation.”
“Well, I’m not going to put up with it. Say, where have you been all morning?”
“Oh yes. Very pretty.” If there was one thing Governor Iolanthe Dechantagne Calliere could appreciate, it was a new dress. “The baby was crying a little while ago. I had Cissy feed him.”“Sirrik!” called Yuah. Another lizardman, mottled yellow with brown stripes, stepped into the parlor from the doorway which led to the library. “Go have Cissy bring down the baby.”
Thursday, April 26, 2012
Throughout the series, it certainly seems that Saba Colbshallow gets around. He's had his hands in just about everything. I have chapters entitled PC Colbshallow and Inspector Colbshallow, and this one-- Saba the Spy.
The S. S. Windemere didn't arrive until Festuary eighth. It had been waylaid in the Mulliens with a damaged boiler. Still, Saba Colbshallow had been at the docks to meet it and one passenger in particular. Mr. Brockton didn't look like a secret agent, not that Saba knew what a secret agent looked like. He was a short, slight man in his mid-forties with a brown handlebar mustache and thinning hair beneath a brown bowler hat. He looked over Saba for a moment then shook hands.
“Governor Dechantagne Calliere asked me to meet you and see that you have a place to stay,” said Saba.
“Very good,” said Brockton in a thin nasal voice. “She indicated in her correspondence that she would send a representative that had her complete trust.”
Saba tried not to let his surprise show.
“I've got you an apartment on the militia base.”
“Won't that be suspicious?”
“Probably less than rooming anywhere else, unless you want to spend the next week in a tent,” said Saba. “Those are basically the two options for new arrivals. We don't have a hotel or rooming house yet, though there are a few people who let rooms. The apartments and rental houses have quite a long waiting list.”
“The militia base it is then,” said Brockton with a thin smile.
Saba led the way up the hill from the dock yards.
“I'm going to need a day to get my land legs back,” said Brockton. “Why don't we plan on meeting tomorrow and I'll go over what the Governor needs to know with you then.”
Saba nodded. “Fine. I'll have some supper sent over if you like?”
The following afternoon just before tea, Saba met Brockton outside the building that had been designed to eventually be part of the base's barracks but which, since its construction, had been divided into ten small apartments.
“The best place to eat is back at the dock yard,” he said.
Brockton raised an eyebrow.
“They have food carts.”
Making their way down the hill, they took their place in the queue for sausages. Then they sat down on a bench at the northern edge of the gravel yard and ate the thick sausages, which were served on a stick.
“Not much in the way of dining in Birmisia, eh?” said Brockton, then waved off Saba's reply. “I expected as much really. I ate so much on the voyage that I probably gained ten pounds anyway. This is fine, and so were the fish and chips you sent up last evening.”
“Good. So what is the information you want me to relay to Governor Dechantagne Calliere?”
“She is aware, though you might not be, that I am with His Majesty's Secret Service. We have people working around the world, but right now our focus is in Freedonia.”
“Aren't we at peace?”
“Ostensibly. But a great many things can happen. And I don't mean war, at least I don't mean just war.”
“What else?” asked Saba.
“ Klaus II fancies himself a wizard and he's immersed himself in the wahre kunst von zauberei. As a result, the wizards of the Reine Zauberei have replaced most of the non-wizards in key positions in the Freedonian government.”
“Don't we have quite a few wizards of our own?” asked Saba. “Yourself for instance?”
Brockton smiled a thin smile.“Well spotted young Corporal. I'm a first level journeyman from Académie Argei. But you have to understand, these Reine Zauberei are not just wizards. They have their own peculiar ideas.”
Wednesday, April 25, 2012
Cissy finished tying the yellow bonnet below Terra’s chin and stood up. The bonnet matched her cute little yellow dress. Where was the boy? He had been here just a moment before. It seemed so odd. Human children were almost unable to move when they were born, but by their second year, they were almost as quick and wild as lizzie offspring.
“Hyah!” shouted Augie, jumping out from behind the door.
Cissy threw her hands up, shaking them in mock fear. Terra squealed and then laughed, just as she did every day when her brother jumped out at her.
“Now come,” said the reptilian, scooping up the girl, and taking the boy with her other hand.
“Where are you off to?” asked Mrs. Dechantagne, when they reached the foyer. She was still in her night dress, though it was well past noon.
“To the store. Yuah come too?”
“Not this time. I have a headache. I’m going to take a nap.” She looked down at the children. “You both look precious. Give Mama a kiss.”
First Avenue was one of the most well traveled roads in the colony, at least on the east side. It stretched from Town Square to the small homes of Zaeritown, along the way passing the largest homes in Port Dechantagne—some deserving the title of mansion. Dozens of lizzie work crews were here, laying bricks on the roadways, pouring cement sidewalks, or installing little wrought iron fencing around the trees that were designated not to be cut down. Many of the lizzies stopped to stare at the female with two human children.
A large male who was pushing a wheelbarrow in the opposite direction from the Dechantagne children and their nanny, Cissy knew him only by his human name of Zinny, hissed “khikheto tonahass hoonan.”
“Kichketos tatacas khikheto tonahass hoonan?” asked Augie, looking up at Cissy.
“Talk hoonan,” she ordered.
“What did he mean you ate a human?” asked the boy. “Who did you eat?”
“I not eat… Cissy is lizzie. Cissy act hoonan. Tsass khenos khikheto tonahass hoonan. Lizzie on outside Hoonan on inside.”
“That’s stupid,” said the boy. “You don’t act like a human. You just act like Cissy.”
She reached out a clawed hand and tousled his hair.
The inside of Mr. Parnorsham’s Pfennig store was crowded with patrons, both reptilian and warm-blooded. The proprietor, a bespectacled older man with very little hair who was shorter than Cissy, waved over the shoulder of his human customer as they came inside. Cissy walked the children through the aisles to the toy counter. It was a small twenty four inch square counter divided into six inch square compartments, each with a different type of toy. There were rubber bouncing balls, toy airships, tin soldiers, doll sized tea cups with saucers, and wooden dogs which could be pulled by a string. Augie immediately went for the red-coated tin soldiers, pulling them out one after another and comparing their poses.
“I wanna see,” complained Terra.
Cissy lifted her up so that she could see over the top of the counter. She picked up two of the soldiers and held them close to her face.
The bell above the doorway rang again and another female lizzie entered pulling along two human boys by the hands. Cissy recognized Sanny, who had worked in the Stephenson home, working her way through the other patrons to the toy counter.
“Tsaua Claude, Tsaua Julius,” said Augie to the boys.
“Tsaua Augie,” they replied, not quite in unison.
The boys immediately started in on a conversation about the tin soldiers and the limited number of poses that were available for them.
“Did you see Angorikhas this morning?” asked Sanny quietly in the lizzie tongue.
“No, I didn’t see him today. I know who you mean.”
“They say he disfigured Szarakha and blinded one of her eyes.”
“The Kordeshack maid; the one the humans call Sorry.”
“Why did he do that? And if he did, why is he still here?”
“You know why,” said Sanny. “Szarakha khikheto tonahass hoonan. And as for the why… you know the humans don’t care what happens to us.”
Cissy abruptly stopped the conversation with a wave of her hand, as she looked down to see the three boys paying careful attention.
“Inghaa nicta Cissy…” said Augie.
“I won’t let anyone hurt you, Cissy.”
“Little child not to whorry. Cissy is fine.”
“I’ll punch that Angorikhas right in the goolies,” pronounced Augie.
“Yeah,” agreed Claude Stephenson, though his younger brother seemed less sure.
Cissy hissed mirthfully, partially at his sentiment and partially because she understood that he had no idea where the goolies might actually located on a male lizzie.
“I want the park,” said Terra. “Park, park, park! Let’s go!”
“Yessss,” acknowledged Cissy.
She bid farewell to the other nanny and ushered the children to where Mr. Parnorsham stood behind the counter. Augie had a tin soldier in his hand and when Cissy picked up the little girl to set her on the counter, she saw that one of the small red-coats was clutched in her fist as well.
“Two soldiers. Three Dillingdoe’s. Account.”“Two toy soldiers and three cold bottles of Billingbow’s sarsaparilla and wintergreen soda water. That’s one mark fifty two P on the Dechantagne account,” said Mr. Parnorsham.
Tuesday, April 24, 2012
Zurfina the Magnificent is a character in the Senta and the Steel Dragon series. In Book 3: The Drache Girl, as in Book 2: The Dark and Forbidding Land, Zurfina appears, but itsn't around all that much. It is, after all, Senta's story. When Zurfina is present though, she is really fun. She is one of my favorite characters because she is so seriously messed up. She's self-absorbed to the point of being psychotic. She's sexy and wild. And of course, she's extremely powerful. She lives by a few basic guidelines. If you're powerful enough, you never need to explain yourself. If you're powerful enough you never have to do anything you don't want to. Nobody is as important as she is.
Monday, April 23, 2012
Once you sell enough books to start getting reviews, it can be rough. I've had a lot of really nice things said about my writing, as well as some not so nice. It's REALLY hard to respond to a review. It's probably good that some forums don't allow you to respond, but in the past, when I saw a blog review of my book, I would always jot off a note.
I never berated, insulted, or even disagreed with a bad reviewer. My standard answer was "I'm sorry my book wasn't more to your liking." Why? Why even respond. The answer is absolutely no good reason. It accomplishes nothing. It's just so damn hard not to. But I'm going to try from this point. I'm going to thank positive reviewers and just ignore negative ones.
I won't respond to negative reviews. You can bet your ass I'm still going to read them though. I'm going to sit and read, cross my arms, stick out my lip, and fume about it. Can't help myself. :)
Sunday, April 22, 2012
A special thanks to "Moe the Cat", Mobile Read Forum member and frequent poster right here. Moe has been reading Senta and the Steel Dragon book by book and has uncovered
a few too many long undiscovered typos which he has compiled into a list and sent to me. I really appreciate it Moe.
I just finished chapter 7 of Kanana the Jungle Girl. I've plotted out a story that is 18 chapters, 49,000 words, but that may change as I go along. I had a weird dream last night that I think might become a new chapter 12.
I'm having a lot of fun with this story and I hope people enjoy it. It's very 1910-1920s pulp, but with quite a few surprises.
Saturday, April 21, 2012
Eamon Shrubb is one of my favorite characters. He's just a big lovable lug. When I originally plotted out the story, he was only in the second and third parts (which became books 3 & 5). When I spread it out to five books, I didn't really have much for Eamon in The Young Sorceress, but I got to write his meeting with Saba in book 2. I had a great time doing that.
Saba looked up to see a big man standing a few feet from him. Saba was six foot three and this fellow was just as tall, but with broader shoulders and a thick muscular chest. Though the man was a few years older than Saba, he was only a private.
“I’m Shrubb, Eamon Shrubb.”
“Nice to meet you, Shrubb.” Saba slowly stood up and stretched out a hand, which Shrubb took.
“What’s your Kafirite name, if you don’t mind my asking?” asked Shrubb. “Um… you are a Kafirite, aren’t you?”
“I’ve never seen so many zeets before.”
“I don’t much care for that word,” said Saba, icily. He was still thinking about Yuah and was predisposed to dislike anyone whom he thought might be aiming an insult even in her general direction.
“Quite right. Quite right. As I say, I’ve never met many zee… Zaeri. I don’t have anything against them though. I never understood that whole ‘killed Kafira’ thing anyway. I mean, didn’t she come back from the dead? That’s a big part of the church. How could she have come back from the dead if nobody killed her? All worked out for the best, as far as I can see.”
“Do you always talk this much?” asked Saba.
“No.” Shrubb looked pensive. “Quite uncharacteristic really.”
“Good. My first name is Saba. What would you say to some fish and chips?”
“I don’t generally talk to my food.”
Wow, in their hurry to convert to their new interface (which I hate), blogger has totally screwed up my posting schedule. Two blog entries that I had scheduled didn't appear and they budged up my logo and title too. Let's hope this doesn't continue.
Friday, April 20, 2012
Yuah Dechantagne is a character in Senta and the Steel Dragon Book 3: The Drache Girl.
Book 3 is the mid-point for Yuah's story arc. In many ways, it is for her, the high point in her life. She has married into a high position in an extremely wealthy family. What's more, she actually has a position that puts her above Iolanthe in some ways (because she's married to Iolanthe's elder brother, and therefor first female in the family). This was a fun turn of events for me, because in the first book, Iolanthe is so horrible to her. On the other hand, Yuah's low point comes at the end of the book as the only thing she has ever wanted is taken away from her.
Yuah appears only a little in book 4, not because her part isn't important, but only because book 4 is very Senta-centric. In some ways her story carries on further than anyone else's, but you'll just have to wait for book 5 to see what I mean.