Merry Christmas To All!

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!!

I know it’ll a little early (not as early as the shopping centre decorations though) but I thought I’d say it now as Christmas Day is always flat out visiting family for me.

I’ve finished reading the Song of the Lioness series by Tamora Pierce and it is simply awesome. I’ve said it before but if you haven’t yet read this series, you should get your hands on it. I’m now re-reading the Immortals series also by Pierce. Set in the same universe as the Song of the Lioness, it’s just as amazing.

As for my own writing, I hit 50k words on Blessed Cursed last night so I am very happy about that. If I keep this pace up, I hope to finish it in the first few months of the new year. I may be looking for some Beta readers around March so please let me know if you are interested.

Anyways I had best get back to the old grind. Thank you all for your support during 2015. I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas and that 2016 be a great year.

Alanna, The First Adventure By Tamora Pierce

This last week I have started to re-read probably one of my favourite series from an author whom I would consider to be most influential on my writing. The Song Of the Lioness Quartet by Tamora Pierce. I have to admit, if I was allowed to meet any author I wanted, this is probably who I would pick.

AtFA_Cover2The first book in The Song Of The Lioness Series is Alanna, The First Adventure. The story is centred around Alanna, a girl who doesn’t want to grow up to be a lady. She wants to be a knight and perform great deeds. But only boys are allowed to train to become knights so she cuts her hair and trades places with her twin brother. Taking the alias of Alan, she goes to the castle to prove her worth.

I loved re-reading this novel. I first read it years ago when I was still in primary school. My copy is looking more beat up than the picture to the left but it’s still whole. As a tomboy, the character of Alanna really spoke to me and I’m happy to say still does. This is the first time I’ve re-read Alanna since becoming a writer myself. It’s amazing the little things you start to notice. Tamora Pierce is a master of moving the story along without denying the reader. The short novel encompasses four years of Alanna’s life yet the story rolls smoothly from one incident to the next.

I have trouble with this when I write. It’s hard for me to write the passage of time. Reading this novel has reminded me that sometimes just a few words is all that’s needed.

I’m continuing onto the next book in the series today, In The Hand Of The Goddess. If you haven’t read this series yet, I recommend you place it on your list. It was the spark that ignited my passion for both reading and writing.

Short Stories from the Elements – Light

Last but certainly not least,  It’s Light’s this week. Enjoy!

‘Our scouts confirm they are on the march. They are expected to attack at these points within the hour. We need to re-enforce those lines.’ Reaching across the table, the man pointed to a large map. The other generals around him nodded in agreement.

‘But we simply don’t have the man power right now to hold those,’ one spoke up, laying his large feathered hat on the table, ‘We need to move the Fire mages to here. Then funnel the Dark forces to hit this section.’ His finger darted across the map as quickly and assuredly as he spoke.

‘Good thinking Dane!’ another broke in, ‘If they were there, we can hit them with the Lightning squadron and take out a good portion of their forces.’

‘My Lords!’ a frantic messenger boy ran into the tent, bowing hastily before continuing, ‘It’s reported that the Dark are within sight. Captains are awaiting your command.’

‘Take this to them,’ Dane ordered, quickly jotting down the plan on a parchment, ‘Spread the word quickly. They must be in these positions for this to work.’

The messenger accepted the parchment and ran out again.

‘Well Lords, shall we join them.’ Gesturing outside, Dane reached down to collect his hat. Moving swiftly out of the tent, the men broke up, each of them mounted their steeds in turn and rode to re-join their section of the forces. Taking in a deep breath, Dane lingered for a moment. He had been fighting this war for years. It was always the same. The dark would push forward in the winter when the ice is at its thickest. They take from the mountains to the fields, right up to the river. Once it becomes summer and the ice melts, the light forces would re-take that area up the mountains. Then winter would come again and the cycle would repeat itself. This section of the front was in a perpetual stalemate. Neither force gaining any land against the other. A stupid and pointless tug of war that neither side was willing to abandon.

Tightening his grip on his hat, he leant forward, placing it on his head. He ran his finger around the brim and took a deep breath. It was time to start again. He raised his head and blinked. Twice. Stone surrounded him. An arena of a time lost past. It’s rocky walls left to rot and crumble. There were others, sitting to the side. They watched Dane with wary eyes, obviously expecting something and from the blood splattered across the ground, he knew what was coming.

Short Stories from the Elements – Ice

Hi Guys, we’ll be hearing the story of Ice this week. Enjoy!

The wind howled through the tundra, blowing ice and dirt up into the air. For anyone unprepared, the tundra was deadly. Even those prepared don’t fair too well either. A desolate place, it was full of large game just waiting for an unsuspecting meal to wander past. For the hunters of Foxtrix, it provided great amounts of food for the clans. Provided you knew what you were doing and had enough hunters and luck on your side. It was also home to them. Brought up on the ice fields, there were no men who were better hunters, trappers and skaters than the boys of the Foxtrix.

Stepping out from his tent, Ryler took a deep breath of the frigid morning air. The sun had barely begun to rise. It was time to start to the hunt anew. Pulling his furs closer, he cast his alerts eyes over his campsite. His men were already awake and ready to go. As they should. They were all fine hunters. He was proud to be their leader. Turning his head slightly, his eyes fell upon the strange girl they encountered yesterday. Skipping around and around his second in command, she was a small child of about eleven. Sporting bare feet and a short sun dress, Ryler couldn’t understand why she wasn’t freezing. She actually seemed to be enjoying herself. Steeling himself slightly, he walked over.

‘Good morning Isttas,’ He smiled down at her, ‘Did you sleep well?’

‘Yep,’ came the pert reply.

‘Not too cold, I hope?’

‘Nope.’

Rolling his eyes slightly, Ryler gritted his teeth. This was why he didn’t have any children.

‘Can I ask you, Isttas. You’re so young. How did you ever learn to do those things you did yesterday?’

‘I dunno. Practise I guess.’ Shrugging her shoulder, she paused from her skipping, turning to face Ryler.

‘I see. Well I would be honoured if you joined us on our hunt today.’ he smiled, bending down on one knee to look her in the eyes.

‘Nah,’ Isttas replied, tilting her head to the side with a sigh, ‘That’s too boring. I’m gonna go and try to find something fun to do.’

‘I guess this is goodbye then little psycho. Had you not come along when you did yesterday, we would all be in the stomach of a Hoarfrost Worm.’ Reaching down, he ruffled her hair gently before standing. ‘Till next time, Hunter Isttas.’ Spinning on his heel, he hurried after his men.

‘Bye’, she grinned, waving as the men disappeared into the grey waste of the tundra. Turning away, she started off, skipping along the ice. Her foot gently kicked something. Smiling, Isstas reached down, gripping the wooden stick with a firm hand. She straightened again and almost dropped the stick. There was stone beneath her bare feet, not ice. The cave and tundra had been replaced with stone and vine. A giant arena surrounded her. A smile slowly returned to her face. This looked like it was going to be fun.

Short Stories from the Elements – Fauna

Fauna has taken over the blog this week. Read more below.

Gripping the strap of his bag tighter, Lokum swung it over his shoulder with a sigh. It had been too long. He looked out over the sandy beach to the mass of wooden huts on the other side of the trees. The image stirred one word in him. Home. It had been fifteen years since he left these sandy shores. He was just a child thinking himself a man last time he set foot on this beach. With great ambition for grand adventures, he had set off on the first boat to the mainland. The Trinity Islands were just too small compared to the world.

Now he had returned. Lokum glanced up at his companion. He had meet Zygmog a few days after he had landed at Port Taroona. A skilled hunter and fierce friend, Lokum was glad for his company over the years. Had it not been for Zygmog, he may well have died a few times. They had developed a close bond. Sure, Zygmog was sometimes loud and quite smelly and he always insisted on the best food but Lokum had learnt to compromise. A skill he didn’t developed till long after he abandoned these sandy shores. When you have a companion so big, it was either compromise or get bruised. Returning his gaze to the huts slowly coming into view, he frowned slightly. The tribes of the Trinity Islands were a sheltered people. They may not have seen one such as Zygmog before.

‘Now remember,’ Lokum spoke up, breaking the silence that had gathered between them. ‘Be nice. And patient. They may be a bit nervous of you to start with but I’m sure with time they will accept you.’ Zygmog simply rolled his eyes with a sigh. He was used to people reactions of him. He had stopped caring long ago. Most people judge by appearance and his was truly fearsome. Lokum was one of the few who had actually given him a chance.

‘You’ll like it here,’ Lokum smiled as his mind wandered back, ‘The fishing in the river is amazing. You’ve never seen such fish. It takes two men to bring them in but they are worth it. The meat is always so tender.’ Grinning, he reached out to his companion and gripped his shoulder gently. His fingers disappeared into the dense fur.

‘I think it would be best if you stayed out here to start with while I go in and tell them about you. They may react badly because of your… um’ Lokum struggled the find the right words, ‘well… because you’re a Dryphis bear and that’s a little scary.’ Zygmog paused to regard his friend down the length of his long snout. Gripping his shoulder once more, Lokum set out through the trees. Finally home again. So many things he never suspected he would miss flashed through his mind.

An errant gust of wind hit the loose sand, blowing it up and into Lokum’s eyes. That he didn’t miss as much. Cursing under his breath, he quickly wiped them clear. Glancing around, he noticed Zygmog was by his side. However his village had disappeared and in its place stood broken stone and jungle. Taking the wind in deeply, he smelt sweat and blood. A fight. The tang of the blood suggested humans. Turning, he had already identified the people at this back and moved into his stance.