Wednesday, January 29, 2014

WIP Wednesday – Clan Beginnings: Clan, Honor, and Empire

            As soon as their drinks were served and they were alone again, Rajhir said, “Tell me more about yourself.  I already know you’re a brilliant doctor with the makings of a master spy.  How old were you when you decided to become a giant?”
            Flencik snorted.  He put off answering long enough to sip the leshella and made a happy noise over it before setting his glass back down.  Rajhir was relieved to see the Imdiko seemed more inclined to savor the expensive liquor rather than gulping it.
            Flencik gave him a rueful look.  “I was twelve when it hit.  I grew so fast my wardrobe changed every other month.  It was insane.”
            “Your poor parents.  It must have killed their savings trying to keep you dressed.”
            Flencik didn’t brighten any, but he did manage a chuckle.  “I suddenly found myself looking down on them one day.  It was freaky to be the tallest person in the room in such a short amount of time.  Other children my age called me Ronka-Boy.  ‘Ronka-Boy, thundering through the woods, knocking over trees’.”
            Rajhir winced.  “Ouch.  Kids can be so cruel.”
            Flencik nodded.  “Oh yeah.  It could get a little rough, especially since I’ve never been very good at physically defending myself.  Some boys liked to prove their toughness by picking fights with me.  I almost always lost.”
            “That’s awful, Flencik.”  Rajhir felt real sympathy for the other man.
            “That wasn’t the worst part.  At the age of thirteen, a lot of people thought I was a grown man.  I kept getting invited for drinks from of-age Dramoks and Nobeks.  I didn’t understand half the propositions I received.”  Flencik turned red again, ducking his head with a shy and embarrassed grin.
            Rajhir laughed at that.  Maybe those early experiences were what made Flencik get so endearingly flustered now.  He asked, “You aren’t psychologically scarred from it, are you?”
            Flencik sipped more leshella.  “I don’t think so, but there was a period of time I wouldn’t go anywhere without my tutor along to keep my would-be romancers at bay.”
            “You had tutors too?  I was practically raised by mine during some stretches.”
            “Really?  Me too.”
            Rajhir nodded in solidarity.  “That’s the trouble when you have parents with a lot of responsibilities.  Mine did try to spend as much time with me as duty allowed, and I didn’t really ever feel neglected.  Still, there were sometimes periods as long as a week that I wouldn’t see one of them.  How about yours?”
            Flencik shrugged.  “They were busy.”
            Rajhir stared at the Imdiko.  Flencik wouldn’t meet his gaze, and his smile had disappeared entirely.  His tone had gone distant.
            Rajhir put his hand on his companion’s shoulder.  “Are you not on good terms with them?”
            Again, Flencik’s voice was carefully controlled.  “We are not close.”
            He said it with finality, as if the subject was closed.  However, Rajhir saw distress peeking out from the composed expression the Imdiko wore. 

Tentatively scheduled to release March or April 2014

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Is It Just Me?

Am I the only writer who doesn’t care much for social media?  I notice that other authors seem to spend a large amount of time posting about how much they need to get off Facebook and write...then half an hour later they post they are NOW leaving FB to write...then, like an hour later, they’re back on posting how much they’ve written.  Then one or two hours later, according to the timestamp thing that FB has to let you know how recent the post is, they comment they are going back to write a little more.  But first, they have to share an adorable cat picture.

I’m left wondering how they manage to get anything done.  I also wonder if I’m the big oddball here.  For a writer, I spend what seems like such a small amount of time hanging out on Facebook.

I check in first thing in the morning with my morning cuppa.  I’m back right after lunch with my midday cuppa.  Then post-dinner cuppa.  After the kid’s in bed, I take one more look around.  Just to catch up and see what, if anything, I need to respond to.  Once that’s done, I’m outta there.  I’m a hit-and-run Facebook user.  Wham, bam, thank you spam.  I’m in quickly and out even quicker. 

I often wonder what people think when I post something or reply to a message and they get right back to me.  Then I don’t respond for several hours, because Tracy has already left the F-book.  I hope they don’t think I’m being rude.  It’s just that I’ve got stuff to do, you know?  That writing thing, in fact.  Nobeks in particular get cranky and stop talking to me if they don’t get tons of attention.  Imdikos pout.  And Dramoks...well, you never keep a control freak Dramok waiting for anything.

Sure, the memes are fun to read.  The autocorrects make me cry from laughing so hard.  And touching base with my friends and readers is the main reason I sign on.  Yet I don’t see the appeal of hanging out and watching the newsfeed for hours on end or showing up every few minutes to check on it.  If I spend half an hour at a time on FB, I’m really indulging in it.  This is not a stab at those who enjoy Facebook, by the way.  If you’re on social media, then I feel I can safely assume you’re not committing war, hosing down grandmas, or eating puppies.  Carnage and chaos is at a minimum, so it’s all good.  Carry on and enjoy yourselves.

I acknowledge that I’m not the most social creature in the world.  I hate talking on the phone, I find texting a monstrous headache, and don’t get me started about going to a crowded party.  Even my closest friends and family can go for ages without hearing a peep from me if they’re not on Facebook.  Once in a great while I’ll have a few days or weeks of being a social butterfly with one or two people...then I’m back in the writing cave, being a hermit again.  Don’t ask me why; it’s apparently just the way I am.  I seem to be missing the gregarious gene in my DNA.

Facebook is as close as I get to a lot of interaction.  As I’ve described, it’s a limited thing.  Even the small amount of time I’m on there, I’m lurking more than anything else.  So again I have to ask – is it just me?  What is the attraction for everyone else that they can spend ages on that site?  Especially the writers, who can easily fritter away precious writing time?  What am I missing out on?

Anyway, if you want to enlighten me on that matter, I’ll be back to check in a few hours.   Meanwhile, I’m back to the writing cave.  I’ve got work to do.  But first, here’s a cute cat picture (just so I can pretend I’m part of the gang):

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Bloggus Interruptus

Today’s blog has been cancelled.  The one I planned to write is not going to happen, at any rate. 

You see, as I sat before the glow of the laptop, the blinking cursor and blank page eyeballing me in that challenging way that they do, I was sideswiped by a sudden issue that demanded my immediate attention.  My son crawled in my lap, wrapped his arms around my neck, and launched into a hugfest.

Recently as I readied for the new year, I sat down and made a list of my life’s priorities.  Little Man was at the top of the list, exactly where he belongs.  I’ve been thinking about that a lot lately, especially with the recent holidays.  The kiddo was out of school for over two weeks, and that meant lots of interruptions in writing.  Some days, that meant no writing at all.

Being the OCD creature that I am, I admit to chafing a bit over not getting in daily word counts.  I tend to be impatient when interruptions strike while I’m working.  However, my priority list has been helping to set me straight these days.  My number one job is being the mother to a child who requires a lot of time and energy.  He could care less about my word counts or that my writing will get us the kitchen upgrade we need so desperately.  He’s not interested in the fact that the floors need to be replaced (circa 1972 linoleum is waaaay ugly stuff, especially when it’s chipping and peeling off the floor).  As long as his tummy is full and his bed is warm, the rest is not on Little Man’s radar.

What did appear on his radar today was the need for Mommy to stop pecking at her keyboard and give him hugs.  So I did.  Sometimes hugs are the most important thing I do all day. 

I don’t get a lot of the parenting thing right.  I admit I screw up on a regular basis.  Little Man eats too many sweets, I let him get away with stuff he should not, and he’s allowed way too much time to play video games.  I am a far cry from Mother of the Year.  However, I take comfort in one thing:  I’m pretty sure I have my priorities straight.  The smile on Little Man’s face while I’ve got my arms around him tells me so.

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

WIP Wednesday - Clans of Kalquor 9: Alien Indiscretions

                Cissy gripped hands with her identical twin sister Tasha.  She tried to appear cool and calm for the Kalquorian attendants on board the shuttle.  They didn’t need to know how her heart raced or that her palm was sweating as freely as Tasha’s.  They didn’t need to know that she felt as much nervousness as anticipation right now.
                The shuttle that had brought them from the transport that had taken them off Earth had landed within a cliff.  To Cissy’s surprise, the interior bay did not look like it was within a great rock jutting on the pink-sanded shore on the planet Kalquor.  The vid viewer to the left of the hatch the Salter twins waited on to open showed them a thoroughly modern landing bay with soft illumination glowing from the walls and ceiling.  Other shuttles and transports dotted the large area.
                The vid also showed them the large number of people waiting for their arrival.  Cissy thought there were easily fifty people out there, if one didn’t count the red formsuited guards standing at attention all over the place.  Most of them were the dark-skinned, black-haired Kalquorian race and male.  Unabashedly masculine and muscular men.  Judging from the robes that predominated the group, they were also politically powerful men, the ruling elite of the Kalquorian Empire.
                Cissy swallowed against the rush of nervousness that flooded her.  She’d known her cousin had clanned with the emperors of Kalquor.  She'd been treated with deference that bordered on embarrassing, but the status she’d gained through family hadn’t made a real impression until this moment.
                Tasha sounded just as breathless as she felt.  “Wow.  It looks like a quarter of the Royal Council showed up along with the Imperial Family.  You’d think we were important.”

Tentatively scheduled to release September 2014

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

WIP Wednesday – First Mataras: Michaela

Govi said, “It’s my understanding your parents passed away not so long ago.”

A shadow of sadness passed over her round face.  “They died in a shuttle accident just after I turned seventeen.  I never felt I got to properly mourn them, because my situation was so up in the air.  I was afraid my true nature would be discovered since I became a ward of the Church.”  Michaela shuddered.

Raxstad pointed out, “You managed to get away undetected, however.”

She nodded.  “Since I’d finished my schooling, I applied to the military as a junior serviceman.  It’s a program for kids who are not likely to go to college and aren’t qualified to do anything worthwhile.  Once you get through that, you go on to basic military training.  Lucky us, after that we would get to fight on the front lines in battles.  It’s essentially training to be cannon fodder.   They pretty much stuck the juniors on a ship and assigned us all the shit jobs.”

“What exactly did you do?” Govi asked.

“I slung hash in the mess.”  At their confused looks, Michaela offered up her wonderful throaty laugh.  “I served meals in the ship’s cafeteria and cleaned up afterward.  It wasn’t awful.  Plus, it gave me the opportunity to try and escape Earth for good.  That’s why I signed up in the first place.”

“A plan that has succeeded,” Korkla congratulated her.  

She gave him a rueful smile.  “After over a year of waiting and hoping.  And only if that battlecruiser orbiting Plasius doesn’t find a way to send fighters to tear everything apart before I get out of here.”

Raxstad spoke in a forbidding tone.  “They won’t get anywhere near you.  Besides, you’re not going to be here much longer anyway.”

Korkla grinned.  “We are getting you and your friend Jessica McInness off this planet.  No matter how you feel about my clan, you are going to Kalquor, where you’ll be permanently free from Earth.”

Michaela’s sudden beaming smile was the most beautiful thing Korkla had ever seen.  It was the smile of the terminally ill patient who had received a miracle cure.  Her dark eyes, so brown they were almost black, brightened with unshed tears.

Release tentatively scheduled for June 2014