Friday, 29 April 2016

Swords, Sails + Scoundrels: Wind and Waves

Howdy! Hope you're all looking forward to this weeks SS+S! I had quite a bit of fun writing it, and I've even found a perfect soundtrack to listen to! (It's real epic) And hopefully since it's only a soundtrack and hasn't got any words it won't annoy people too much. :)

Things are moving on, and I really have no idea how all the jumbled mess in my mind is going to fit together, but I guess it will somehow. I've just got to find that one piece and the rest will fall into place...If only writing was that simple. 

So, read on for the next episode - Wind and Waves!

“The Rift is changing course,” Leonora observed slowly, staring out at the first ship.

I turned, squinting my eyes, and saw that she was right. Instead of being headed straight for us, the ship’s direction had been shifted slightly to the side, on a path that would take them parallel to ours.

“What’s he doing that for?” the first mate frowned.

After a moment the captain shook his head. “He’s headed right past us, they’re going after the other pirate.”

Eumin gazed at the approaching ship. “That captain always was unpredictable,” he grunted.

“Haul in on the sheets!” the captain roared at the crew on the deck.

They were at the ropes in mere moments, pulling them and retying them.

“What does that do?” I asked Eumin in a whisper.

He gave me a sidelong glance. “They’re tightening the sails so we go faster.”

“But we’re headed toward The Rift, or whatever it’s called, why do we want to go faster?”

“Because she’s not after us anymore. Most likely she’ll go after the other pirate and case her away, and then come back after us,” Eumin sucked a breath through his teeth. “We should be far enough ahead by then that we can reach Panalia Harbour without problem.”

“’Should’?” I repeated uncertainly.

“Hopefully,” Eumin added.

“Yay,” I murmured dryly. “What a way to make me feel happy.”

He shrugged. “’t’s true,” he replied philosophically.

The Rift was even closer now, almost drawing alongside our ship. The crew lined the edge of the craft, grinning in our direction.

A tall figure stepped up onto the bulwarks, resting one hand lightly on a thick supporting rope, loose shirt sleeves flapping in the wind. “Until next time!” his call came across the water.

“Whatever,” Leonora muttered under her breath, turning away.

The man nodded to us, raising one hand in an informal salute. He jumped down, striding out of view. The Rift drew away, headed directly for the other pirate ship approaching from behind us.

“Was that Captain Whatshisname?” I asked.

“Wielder. Aye, it was that,” Leonora nodded, throwing a glance after the other ship. “I’ve never seen a man more bold than that one. To stand there in clear view of any archers we might have, without the slightest tinge of worry either I’ll bet.”

“Haul in!” the captain yelled again, and the crew jumped into action.

“We’ve got to get as much speed out of her as we can,” the first mate explained. “The Rift isn’t just going to sail off and leave us be.”

“And I don’t like the feel of the wind,” the captain added.

As he spoke a heavy gust whipped up a wave of spray that splattered over the deck. The crew were at the ropes as another blast of wind pitched the ship sideways, the masts creaking at the sudden force on the sails.

I fell backwards as the ship rolled over a bigger than normal wave, catching myself on the edge of the ship.

The weather changed rapidly. Within fifteen minutes the sky was half clothed in gloomy grey clouds, whipped up by the blustering wind. The waves grew bigger, cascading over the listing deck. I could barely hear the shouted commands of the captain and first mate to the crew over the roaring sound of the wind ripping through the ropes and sails.

Men swarmed up the masts and rigging, ‘reefing’ the sails Eumin said. The ship tilted first this way and then the other, sending me staggering.

The captain turned and yelled something at us, but the wind tore his voice away. Jumping forward, he grabbed my arm. “Get below!” he shouted.

Even from that close I barely caught the words.

Leonora and Eumin made their way along the ship, heading to the cabin hatch. I struggled after them, fighting against the wind to keep my balance.

A massive wave washed over the deck, flooding over me. I screamed as my legs were knocked from under me and the water washed me over toward the side of the ship.

I slammed into the bulwarks, scrambling to hold onto anything. Water filled my eyes, my mouth, everywhere. I felt myself slipping overboard.

A strong arm wrapped around me, and Eumin hauled me backwards, away from the roaring sea.

“Careful!” he yelled over the wind. “Don’t want to waste this whole trip do you?”

Somehow he half dragged me into the cabin, dropping me on the floor as he turned to slam the door against the washing waves.

Leonora helped me up, taking a deep breath as a drenched Eumin turned back from the door.

“That was close,” she said.

“Closer than I liked,” Eumin agreed. “You okay?” he asked me.

I nodded, panting and soaked but alive. “I’ll live,” I managed.

Leonora looked at us both, eyebrows raised. “I thought I was soggy before,” she remarked. “But if I’m soggy, then you,” she nodded at me, “Must be soggier, and you’re soggiest,” she tilted her head at her brother.

A shaky smile twisted the corners of my mouth.

“Something like that,” Eumin shrugged. “I’m going to go find some dry clothes.”

He disappeared into the small cabin that he slept in.

Leonora grinned. “Guess you’ll be wanting a towel?” she suggested, tossing one to me from where it had been folded on a chair.

I fumbled for a moment as the ship listed heavily to one side, but then caught it, earning an approving look from my companion. Heading into the tiny room I shared with Leonora, I grabbed out a fresh pair of clothes, changing quickly.

When I returned to the other room, Eumin and Leonora were busy catching chairs to sit on. The few items of furniture – half a dozen chairs, a small table and a chest of drawers – were rocking precariously with the ship. The drawers weren’t about to move, being stuffed full of hefty metal bits and pieces, the table, on the other hand, looked far more suspicious.

“Take a seat,” Leonora offered, settling down on hers.

The ship tipped deeply and a chair slid into the back of my knees. I stumbled backward, sitting down heavily on the chair. My stomach lurched threateningly, and I gripped the sides of my chair. I wouldn’t be seasick. I wouldn’t. I gritted my teeth stubbornly.

Leonora and Eumin were looking at maps and charts, eyebrows knotted with concentration. I braced my legs against the floor so the chair wouldn’t move. Closing my eyes, I imagined myself far away, galloping a horse across green fields, clear spring air in my face, and sun shining against my back.

A dark room, the shadows are almost physical, cloaking everything in a damp forlorn despair. Someone sits against the stone wall, chains bind his wrists, darkness binds his soul.

There is no hope.

I jerked upright, my eyes shooting open. The ship rolled again, less violently than before, and the howling of the wind had died down a little.

Had I fallen asleep?

I blinked, looking around at the cabin room. Eumin and Leonora were talking in low voices, and everything was the same as it had been before I closed my eyes.

Slowly, I shut my eyes again.

“There is no place for hope here,” a hoarse voice whispers into the blackness.

I jolted into reality again, choking on a sob of despair. What was that?

Eumin stood, glancing in my direction. “I think it’s calmed down again,” he said, moving toward the door.

Opening it, he stepped aside, bowing and gesturing at the open doorway. “Ladies first.”

Leonora took my hand. “C’mon,” she said. “Let’s go see what’s happening now.”

I pushed the strange dream aside, following Leonora as she trouped out onto the deck.

Up at the tiller, the captain smiled tiredly at us as we joined him.

“How’s everything?” Eumin asked.

“Not as bad as it could be, that storm came from nowhere and then went back there again pretty quick,” the captain nodded at him, “Good catch, by the way.” He glanced toward me, “Don’t want to be losing any passengers.”

Eumin shrugged. “I don’t want to lose her either,” he replied.

“Are we almost there?” I looked toward the front of the ship.

“Just wait a few more moments, Miss Conwell,” the captain said, eyes on the lookout. “We should come into sight of it in a few minutes.”

I gazed up at the lookout, waiting for the shout.

“Unless the storm drove us too far off course,” the captain added as the lookout peered silently at the horizon.

“Land ahoy!” the shout echoed down, and a grin split the captain’s features. “Dead ahead!”

“There you have it,” he turned to me. “In another minute we’ll be able to see it from here.”

I craned my neck, shivering with excitement at the thought of seeing Eirerandil for the first time.

“There!” Eumin said, “I can see it!”

“Where?” I stood on tiptoe, trying to see.

Slowly a dark line appeared.

Leonora sighed happily, draping her arm over Eumin’s shoulder. “Home, eh?”

He nodded. “Susana,” he breathed, a small smile playing on his lips. “I hope they’re alright.”

“’Course they will be,” Leonora replied, eyes fixed contentedly on the green mass creeping closer.

“Ana and James’ll have grown up since we left.”

“I’ll have a full linguist for a nephew by now,” Leonora remarked with a grin.

I looked at the green land, imagining my first step on foreign soil. I took a deep breath as if I could already smell the unique fragrance of land. A seagull cried overhead, diving into the water after a fish.

Everything was perfect.

“Sail ahoy! Astern and gaining fast!”

I spun around to look up at the lookout. He was pointing at the horizon behind.

The captain clenched his fists around the tiller. “Haul in!”

Leonora closed her eyes. “Egh,” she muttered. “Just when we were almost there.”


1. “She’s not the Rift!” the lookout bellowed down.

2. “We’re not going to reach land in time,” the captain shook his head.

3. “Why, how pleasant. What a lovely group. Terribly sorry to interrupt,” a casual voice spoke from behind.


Okie-day (yes that was a Jar-Jar quote) thanks everyone for reading. Can't wait to hear your thoughts and votes!

Fair Winds!

Monday, 25 April 2016

Songkeeper - Artair's Sword

So, you have all heard that I am a terrible artist. Right? Well if the answer was no, now you have.
But if I get desperate/excited/inspired enough, I might give it a go.

Generally speaking those attempts end their very short days in shredded pieces in the bin.

But not this day!

To inspire me to even attempt anything slightly art-ish is an amazing feat (unless I'm making pizza, in which case it's easy to be artistic). Therefore I must impart the great and amazing thing that made me do it:


A book. Called Songkeeper. And the fact that I'm on the 'launch team' probably helped a little.

So I guess you'll all want to see my picture now. *Sighs* Well, that's what this post was for. Here goes:

Ahem...So...yeah. How d'you like it? If you weren't sure, the picture's of a sword (Artair's sword) at the bottom of a river. It turned out better than I expected...

I just started with a sketch and then my DLS (A bit like DLF only it stands for 'Dear Little Sister' - even if she's older) helped me discover, ever deeper, the ways of colouring something in on photoshop. 

Now that we've got the picture over and done with, I can rant about 'Songkeeper!' Okay, I'll let you go lightly then. But only if you read the book!

Songkeeper is a really, really, really, really (really, really really) good book. Epicly so. I was actually jittering in my seat through half of it. It was good.

Oh, I guess I'd better mention that it's the second book in the Songkeeper Chronicles, and Orphan's Song (the first book) was definitely just as great.

I reviewed it on Goodreads here. And for those of you who couldn't be bothered to click on the link, I'll stick it in here too. :)

“This book is SO GOOD! I just can't even think straight anymore. I enjoyed Orphan's Song massively and expected great things from Songkeeper. And I am not disappointed at all.

The characters are all amazingly real, relatable, and just plain awesome. To start off the awesomeness we have the unique but pronounceable names, super great! Add that to complex personalities, struggles and pains. I was drawn ever deeper into the lives of all the characters.
And I will never believe that [character - whose name I shall not state] died unless I see the body. I refuse to believe.

This book had me literally jittering from epic-ness. The pace never slackens for a moment, and it's page turning the whole way. I can't put the amazingness into words! Everything about this book is impossibly and completely great and epic. Plus, there's now a map, triple the epic!

Songkeeper's tone is diferent than Orphan's Song. There is war all over Leira, and suffering at every turn. This book takes a darker turn, looking into the pain deeper, as the characters experience it in different ways. There is blood, there are wounds and deaths, but I was not bothered by it. The pain of the characters made them more real.

ARCs are officially amazing. I was barely able to put this book down as soon as I got it. When's the next book coming out?! Songkeeper has kept up the amazingness of Orphan's Song, adding to it, even. My recommendations for this books are flooding out over every single person ever.
Go read the book.

Since I said I'd let you off lightly (trust me, I accidentally ranted for a whole page about this book in my last letter to my cousin) I'd better leave you with that final instruction. Read de book, see you on Friday, and (for all the Aussies) hope you have/had a great ANZAC Day.

Fair Winds!

Friday, 22 April 2016

Sword, Sails + Scoundrels: Pertaining to Pirates

Yipee! We have, at last, reached the day of beginning! I've been looking forward to sharing in this adventure with you all! I have so many great plans. Hopefully you'll enjoy reading it just as much as I did writing it. 

In this first part, I've attempted to explain several things, hopefully in an interesting but understandable way...I really had no clue where this was going but it turned out okay.

Now I can reveal the cover picture!! (Insert excited shrieking)  A massive (massive, massive, massive, massive x infinity) thanks to Sarah for spending so much time on this for me. I promise not to ask you to draw sails ever again. I just can't say how much I love the whole look of this picture, from the top to the bottom, left to right. Epicness in drawn form. And Sarah, as ought to be common knowledge, is epicness in human form. :)

The ship rolled over another wave, and my hands flew to the handrail to keep my balance. Spray fountained up in the front of the ship, cascading gracefully over the deck. As we dipped down into the trough of the wave a spray of water splashed over the side.

Ducking behind Eumin, I managed to avoid most of the water, but he took it full in the face. Spluttering, he spat out a mouthful of salt water. “Bleh, that’s what I don’t like about sea travel. Too much spray.” He gave me a sidelong glance, “Although you’ve managed to stay fairly dry.”

“It’s a matter of having a large friend who kindly shields you from it,” I returned with a smile, lurching forward suddenly as the ship rose up again.

Eumin chuckled. “You’ve not found your sea legs though.”

I shook my head, holding the wooden rail for support. “I never realised sailing was going to be like this until—” I broke off, “Has it really been two weeks?”

Eumin frowned down at his fingers for a long moment, counting them several times. “Yes,” he looked back up with a smile, revealing that he’d not needed to count at all.

“Wow, it feels like ages,” I remarked. “Well, either that or just a couple of days. I can’t quite work it out.”

A fleck of foam landed on the back of my hand, and I wiped it absently on my leggings. “I still don’t really understand what’s going on.”

Eumin shrugged. “It’s not something easy to discover. Your father’s reaction showed that much.”

“Tell me again, will you?” I asked, looking up at my companion. “I’m just trying to get everything in order.”

His shoulders rose as he drew in a deep breath. “Two years and nine months ago, a member of the royal council was assassinated while visiting his family in Sáliner. As the trusted lieutenant of the Royal Outriders, Leonora was sent to investigate the issue, accompanied – as usual – by Eumin Quest, one of the king’s advisors, and also an esteemed member of the council.”

He paused as I grinned in his direction. “He says in a humble tone,” I interjected.

“No really, I’ve been in the council for five years, and my sister is the famed Lieutenant Leonora. Bonus points to me.”

“How come she’s only a lieutenant if she’s so famous?”

A grin slid across Eumin’s features. “She’s be offered promotion hundreds of times, but she doesn’t want it. Apparently it’s hard enough to be a responsible lieutenant let alone a commander.”

I ducked away as a jet of spray shot from the water. “Back to the point,” I said, remembering the purpose of our conversation.

“Yes,” Eumin said, frowning, “Where was I?”

“Ah…” I opened my mouth to reply but then shook my head blankly. “I don’t remember.”

“Pfft, that shows just how much you’ve been listening,” he snorted. “So anyway, we went off to investigate and, after around a month things were starting to get worse, but we’d worked out the assassin’s name. We’d also been told – by a rather shady looking character – that there was only one person who could stop him. His sister.”

I nodded, still barely comprehending.

“So we went off to find some Lady De Corlette person who was our only hope to getting rid of this guy completely—“

“And you met Maree, but then went back to Eirerandil to find more clues,” I continued the tale. “But then two years later, you discovered exactly who you were looking for, and so you found me.”

“Basically,” Eumin agreed.

A tight feeling of pain in my chest built a little higher. “I just can’t believe that Marius would do anything like that,” I burst out, my voice catching ever so slightly. Tears threatened to spill and I rubbed my hand over my eyes, blinking furiously.

Eumin’s hand touched my shoulder. “I understand,” he said softly.

A startled yell from the front of the ship brought my head up, and I almost laughed at the sopping figure of Leonora as another explosion of spray splattered the deck. She dripped her way to us, brushing the sopping fringe of her hair from her eyes.

Eumin looked her up and down. “You look like you’ve been having fun.”

She rolled her eyes. “Yeah,” she stretched her arms above her head. “I have no clue why I started arm wrestling sailors. They started it, but I was fool enough to agree.” Leonora turned to me, “A piece of advice, never get into an arm wrestle with a sailor. You will lose. Also, if you must, never let one of these decent types see you wince or they will never stop apologising.” She shook her head, “Once was enough, but after slamming my hand into the table, Lewis has barely paused for breath with all his ‘sorry’s.”

A smile crept onto my face, and I turned to look out to sea again, glad to have my mind back on more cheerful topics.

A small dot appeared on the horizon.

I frowned, my head on one side, wondering vaguely what it was.

Slowly it began to creep up higher, revealing more and more of the shape.

“SAIL AHOY!” came a shout from the top of the main mast where a sailor was on lookout duty. “Ship off the starboard bow!”

“Can you see what she is?” the captain bellowed back, peering into the distance.

I grabbed Eumin’s shoulder as a support and scrambled up to stand on the handrail. The dot was becoming even clearer, and I could make out sails and the actual ship now.

“Careful,” Eumin cautioned, taking my hand.

“I can’t tell!” the lookout yelled down to the captain. “She’s not flying any flag!”

I jumped back down to the deck, glad I did so a moment after as the ship rolled over a particularly big wave. 

“Quest!” the captain called, beckoning to Eumin.

Eumin frowned and headed across the swaying deck toward the captain and the first mate. After a moment, Leonora and I followed.

“—may turn out to be a pirate, the Notrias sea is simply riddled with the vermin,” the captain was saying. “If she is, we won’t be able to outrun her on this course.”

“So they’ll catch and board us?” Eumin asked, looking over the sea to the other ship gradually becoming more and more distinct.

“She’s unfurled a black flag!” the lookout yelled down.

The captain waved his hand in acknowledgement.

“There’s one other option,” the first mate said lowly.

I leaned forward as if drawn by some underlying tone of voice. A shiver of fear trailed up my spine.

“We could turn south and sail around the east side of Pyre-ite Island. We’d be running with the wind dead behind.”

Eumin looked at the captain in alarm. “But that would take us past—” he stopped, looking at their grim faces.

“These pirates spare no one.”

“Maybe not,” Leonora said.

The eyes of all the small group turned to her.

She was glaring at the approaching ship. “No,” she shook her head, finally glancing at the frowning faces around her. “If that’s the ship I think it is, we’ll be fine.”

“What d’you mean?” I asked, screwing up my eyebrows in confusion.

“That ship is the Rift – no other pirates fly that black flag with a jagged white line through it. Her captain’s been after me for ages,” she returned her gaze to the ship. “I believe he wants to fight me.”

Eumin drew a hand across his forehead. “Not that one,” he groaned.

The ship’s captain glanced from one to the other. “What are you talking about?”

“You’ve heard of the Rift?” Leonora asked.

He nodded furiously. “Yes, a more dreaded and elusive pirate vessel I am yet to lay eyes upon. Stories of Pirate Captain Wielder never cease among the wharves and sailors of these parts.”

“Well this Captain Wielder presumably wants to raise his reputation a little higher,” Eumin continued. “And so he’s been following Leonora around for…how long do you think?” he directed the last to Leonora.

“Too long,” she sighed heavily. “It gets annoying.”

The first mate ran his fingers through his damp hair. “Would it be worth the risk?”

“I don’t know,” the captain said. “What do you say, Quest?”

Eumin rubbed his chin thoughtfully. “If we can turn west immediately after the islands, there should be no problem. We’ll be far enough away from it.”

“From what?!” I burst out, frustrated.

They turned to me, surprised looks on their faces. “The maelstrom, miss Conwell,” the captain said after a moment.

I looked blankly at them.

“Swirling vortex? Massive whirlpool big enough to sink a fleet of ships?” Leonora suggested.

“Oh. Right. That doesn’t sound good,” I said, an alarming image appearing in my mind.

“Correct. It isn’t much good,” Leonora agreed.

“So we’ve got to choose between pirates and a…a swirling vortex?”

“Aye,” the captain nodded. “Let me tell you, the tales I’ve heard of the Rift and her captain are enough to make me choose the maelstrom over a meeting with him any day. And I am no coward.”

“I will leave the decision to you, captain,” Eumin said. “You will best be able to make the right choice.”

“Big factors like pirates and maelstroms don’t make it easier,” the captain muttered.

I turned to look at the pirate ship. There was nothing particularly special about it, so far as I could tell, but I had next to no knowledge on ships. A fluttering black flag flew at the top of the highest mast.

So that’s what a pirate ship looked like.

Perhaps my father had been wise to be reluctant to allow me to go.

Too late now.

“SAIL AHOY!” came the shout again.

I spun around to follow the other’s gaze to where the lookout was pointing urgently.

“Astern port side!”

“What in the world does that mean?” I muttered.

“That way,” Eumin returned, pointing backwards and slightly to the left of the ship where a dark dot lay on the horizon.

“Oh,” I mouthed, watching the rest of the vessel appear.

Then the lookout added one last thing: “She’s flying the black flag!”

“Um, now what?” I asked timidly.


1. “To port! Change course for the south!” the captain roared at the crew below.

2. “The Rift is changing course,” Leonora observed slowly, staring out at the first ship.

3. “Take a leaf from your own book,” Leonora said. “Do what they least expect. We’ll land on Pyre-ite Island.”


Well, hope you liked the first part of SS+S! I wasn't exactly planning on having pirates come in quite this soon, but they just sailed into everything without my help. That's Captain Wielder for you. I have so many ideas for scenes in the future. Some of the ones I've written actually happen closer to the end than the beginning...but they're cool. 

I am greatly looking forward to all the comments and votes.

Fair winds!

Friday, 15 April 2016

Camp NaNo Novel - The Path Through the Trees

I'm back! I had a crazy fun week, got a couple dozen injuries, a sore mouth from smiling basically all the time, swam in the pool every second day, added a Spanish accent to my random accent/mimicking arsenal. So yeah, pretty fun.

So, to get to the point, as I have mentioned before, I'm doing my first time ever of Camp NaNoWriMo**. And so far I'm really enjoying myself.

I just thought that I could tell you guys a little bit about the story I'm working on for Camp. 'The Path Through the Trees.'

**A short explanation of Camp NaNoWriMo: (National Novel Writing Month) It's an online 'virtual' camp. Basically you sign up, create a 'novel profile' about the WIP you'll be working on, set a word-count-goal, and join a 'cabin' of other writers who talk about random writer stuff and cheer each other on. And you write. And write. And hope to to reach your word count. And have fun!

The idea wasn't mine originally. It was actually Jessica's, and I, the fool that I am, agreed to write the story with her. She had ideas for a couple of characters, and I added to that a little. The two main characters were rather based off ourselves (they still are, actually) and so Jessica didn't know much about 'Lydia,' (the me character) so she asked if I could write her part. And it just went on from there.

At first my half of the story was basically a fanfic of Ranger's Apprentice and Brotherband (yes, both at the same time), and I wince with horror every time Jessica mentions some of the 'brilliant' ideas I had back then. Ideas that were almost complete mirrors of scenes from afore mentioned books. *Shudders* It's truly horrible.
The worst thing was that it was all my ideas that were taken off those books, not Jessica's as that was back before she had read them.

Then I realised how very bad the story was, and suggested we get rid of the fanfic-y-ness and actually do something original for once. So we did, and that made it kinda okay-ish. (As in, marginally more okay-ish than totally dreadful.)

It's gone through a lot of different stages of awfulness, but it's slowly getting better. Particularly after I completely rewrote it a few months back.
Now I start laughing so hard whenever I read the old version, just 'cause it was so terrible. I can't believe I wrote that! I just can't.

I've been completely amazing myself with how many words I'm writing every day for Camp. I went for a 8,000 word count aim and thought that I should be able to do it. Maybe.

I got it on day six.

And almost died of excitement.

So I raised it to 15,000.

Aaand I've only got 883 words left as of today.

I'm continuing to stun myself by writing around one thousand (or even two thousand) words per day. Just like that. For Dusty Red and If Adventure Comes Your Way I struggled to write that much, but now it's just coming?! I am discovering hidden depths within me. (Except I was a little slack while on holidays and only wrote one thousand for the whole Sunday to Friday)

Now, back to The Path Through the Trees.
I wrote a synopsis kind of thing for it so I could put it in the details for camp:

Lydia Keramed's quiet seaside trading town is attacked by pirates, turning her whole world upside down. In her struggle to build a new life she meets a thief by the name of Annette Revlis of Hidden Knowledge, and is suddenly embroiled in a life and death struggle for the throne.

With Annette’s treacherous sister, Ravanor, on the loose with an army at her command, is it possible that the two girls can work together to save their new country? And is Ravanor really the force behind it all, or is there a darker, more sinister evil hiding?

With courage, stubbornness and quick wit, Lydia fights her way through, always looking for the path through the dark forest into the light beyond.

I've also got a short scene I thought you might find amusing..


The room was in uproar.

In a daze I heard the shouted words: “The invader!”, “Seize them!”

As my vision began to clear I found myself held in the iron grip of two soldiers. The cruel looking man stood before me.

“Who are you?” he demanded.

No time to reconsider now, Lydia, I told myself blearily, the only hope is to go with it. I forced a massive grin onto my face. “Did you mention Jay the Jumping Jester who enjoys jellies?” I burst out at rapid speed, raising my eyebrows in questioning innocence.

The man looked taken aback for a moment. I took advantage of the fact to add another layer of confusion.

“Judiciously jam jellies,” I nodded knowingly.

“What are you doing here?” he barked roughly, covering his bewilderment.

“Juggling,” I replied, keeping my face an innocent mask.

“What?” the confusion was back.

“Just juggling, James.”

“My name is not James,” he spluttered.

“Jude? John? Jack?—” I suggested.

“Do you know who I am?”

“Jitslanish?” I asked, thoroughly enjoying myself now.

“I am lord Mâlekae, second in command here,” he said with narrowed eyes. I opened my mouth to comment but he snarled. “And don’t keep talking in ‘J’s.”

“Okay,” I said, shrugging carelessly. “D’you ordinarily open—”

“NO!” he yelled. “Not ‘O’s either!”

I shut my mouth abruptly, deciding to not push it too far. Better to stop before he beheaded me just to shut me up.


I've got several ideas of how to improve the story, but at the moment I'm just focusing on the writing part...Although, this week's holidays have included half a hundred conversations of ideas...Of the fifty-thousand-words/twenty chapters length of my half (Jessica's is only around fifteen thousand, but I do get more time to write than she does) chapters 13-17 are being deleted and a whole new idea replacing them. The prologue and chapters 1, 2, 3, and 4 (and very possibly more) are going to be completely different because we discovered a problem with the character's ages...(the 15 year old one sounded rather older than the one aged 17)

Meh, we'll see how it all ends up. As it is, I'm really enjoying my first Camp NaNo and am totally doing it again. I'm also thinking about continuing setting monthly word-count goals every month just to keep me writing. Dunno what's going to happen with that though.

I really don't know whether 'Swords, Sails and Scoundrels' will start next week or not. I guess I'll have to inform you on that when I find out. I'll do a random post if the beginning date is to be postponed again.

Have you ever thought of doing Camp NaNo?
(You really should) 
How did you like the segment of The Path Through the Trees?

Fare Thee Well!

Friday, 8 April 2016

New Story Reveal!

Here is the promised reveal of my next serial blog-story! To start with, I guess I'd better announce the title:

Swords, Sails + Scoundrels

I wanted something slightly shorter than 'If Adventure Comes Your Way' because that can be a bit of a mouthful to say sometimes, but I wanted it to be cool. And it also needed to reflect the story somehow.

As you can gather from the title, there will hopefully be quite a bit of sailing/ships in this story, as well as weapons - mostly of the sword-ly kind. I'm quite looking forward to starting so you can all find out about my brilliant plans.

Now, I have a couple new characters, and I spent ages thinking up random character profiles/blurbs that didn't give away everything that might happen but were still interesting, so I hope they'll give you a quick glimpse at what these people are like.

Louise De Corlette: 
(Yeah, I know, I know, the new ones'll come soon)

Using the cover name Conwell, she is eager to see more of the world. One time, Louise would have been daunted at such a prospect, but she is no longer the same girl that sat in the parlour with Governess Kathryn.

Now a tried adventurer, Louise finds that she has yet a very narrow field of experience. Changing status from a lady, she tries her hand at many trades; traveller, gypsy, even pirate. But her journey to Eirerandil isn’t just for fun…

Eumin Quest:

Leonora’s oftentimes companion on her Outrider missions. He's quiet and strong, the perfect kind to fight alongside Leonora’s daring courage.

Leonora Maysdaughter:

Lieutenant of the Royal Outriders and younger sister of Eumin Quest, Leonora has become well known for her adventurous ability and fencing skills

(Here come the new characters!)

Marius De Corlette:

The second of Louise’s older brothers, Marius is just twenty years of age. He and Louise were the closest of the De Corlette siblings, despite being almost complete opposites. Having left Feâ Sirih a little over three years ago to earn renown, he fell into deep trouble upon reaching the fair country of Eirerandil.

His family have heard nothing of him since the day he left.

Captain Wielder:

Infamous pirate of the Notrias Sea. Rapscallion, rebel and rascal supreme.

Although he goes by the term pirate, Captain Wielder has nothing alike with others of that kind. Since his boyhood he made adventures for himself, planning great feats and fame on the high seas. These dreams never died, and he now lives them in reality, sailing the seas in search of adventure. 

Captain Wielder is an expert swordsman, known for capturing soldiers to fight them and beat them with his gentleman-like manner – just to show off his swordsmanship skills. After which he unfailingly releases them so they can go tell the whole country about him.

Earning his widespread fame in this manner, he ceased searching for adventure, discovering that it found him plentifully without any help. Being such a renowned swordsman, the ultimate challenge for would-be soldiers is to fight and beat him. Many have tried. None have succeeded.

With gentlemanly courtesy for the ladyfolk and willing respect only for those who earn it, he sails his beloved Rift across the sea, meeting ever more famous swordsmen to fight. And beat. And release. And make his reputation grow ever more.

Gypsy Boy:

At the age of sixteen, he lived his whole life travelling the country with his parents and the band of gypsies. Unfortunate, and unexpected circumstances (a.k.a. Captain Wielder) drag him from his mother’s overindulging grasp, and send him reeling onto the wild seas.

He has the typical brown hair and olive skin of his race, but his eyes are dark blue, given by a distant Eirerandil ancestor.

A quick glance shows a sullen, quiet yet arrogant bearing and a remarkable ability to annoy people without speaking a word. But inside he really wants to be wanted by someone, to be needed somehow – he realises that no one actually likes him, they just fake it. Although some don't bother to even do that.

Though he is a fast thinker and good at quickly assessing situations, he doesn’t often share it, keeping his thoughts and feelings to himself.

I really can't decide if I like Captain Wielder or Gypsy Boy the most...I have such plans for them both. 
So, how to they all sound? Interesting?

And here's a random synopsis I wrote up:

Eirerandil, a once-bright land, is marred by the presence of a terrible evil. A serial killer stalks the land, and only one person has a chance to stop him.

Louise ‘Conwell’ is excited about widening her experiences, but when she reaches her destination she realises that it’s worse than she imagined. Courageously starting off things begin to go awry from the very first. When Louise is captured by the infamous pirate Captain Wielder she discovers that allies can be found in the strangest of characters.

But with wild storms at sea, shiploads of pirates, and an elusive goal, can Louise and her friends possibly stop the killer before her long-lost brother is lost forever?

Sadly I can't share the cover picture yet, because my artist is yet to finish, but I can say that, last I saw, it looks pretty cool.

And equally sadly, I won't be starting SS+S next week. I'll be away at my crazy cousin's farm! (Disclaimer: I never said she was crazier than me. I've been told she had her serious moments.)(besides, she goes to school. Pfft, overrated thing as it is, you've got to be at least half sensible to go there and live.) I'll be getting back next Friday and doing a post about my Camp NaNo novel, so things won't be completely silent.  (Also, since I'm leaving early Sunday morning I will check for comments Saturday night, but after that they will unfortunately remain unpublished until I return on Friday. But please comment anyway, it'll give me a nice welcome home!)

My plan is to start the week after though, so unless something bad blows up (or the cover picture still needs more time)(I think my artist is a bit of a perfectionist when it comes to her drawings), you can expect the adventure to begin then. 

If you were wondering what happened to Maree and Jack, don't worry, they actually did live happily ever after (for a while). All the Freespirits are alive and they went to live with Jack's family in the forest. But they yet wait for news of Louise's return.

Oh, I almost forgot, I drew (you are about to witness the most artistic I ever get. Except for when making pizza) a map -

And then Clare, dear sister that she is, made it epic -

It looks so amazing! I'm just annoyed at myself for smearing the 'd' of Pyre-ite Island and the 'n' of Raeyn...(Raeyn is the town right down the bottom of the coast of Eirerandil, if you couldn't tell)
I reckon the sea looks pretty cool, with all the currents and the swirling vortex around the compass (I was rather happy with how the compass turned out, I usually draw them in a slightly different style but I actually like this one heaps). The land's great's the whole thing really. Thank you terribly much, Clare. :D

I believe that's all for now. Phew, I wasn't planning on this being such a long post! I hope you're as excited as I am for the first segment! *does a happy dance*

Dúinn aller!

Friday, 1 April 2016

If Adventure Comes Your Way - Fragment Twenty-Four

April fool's day...interesting day really. I completely forgot until today that I managed to play a prank on google a while back so it seems to think that it's my birthday today. Weird. It isn't.
But in addition to April fool's day it is also the first day of Camp NaNoWriMo. Aghhh! I don't know what I am doinggg! (For those of you who don't know, camp NaNo is where you set yourself a word count goal and MUST REACH IT OR DIE. Or maybe not. That's just how I feel when I have absolutely no clue what in the world I'm doing.)

When I finished Dusty Red I was really surprised to look back and see how much I'd improved since the beginning, and how massively the story changed from my original plan. And it's been no different with If Adventure Comes Your Way. I've purposely avoided the massive world travelling stuff I crazily did with Dusty Red, but it still changed a fair bit. So did the characters and how I imagined them. 

But anyway, to the point. Option three got voted in. Somehow I feel like option three in particular got a lot of votes, but I'm probably just imagining stuff...Second thoughts, after looking through them all, option 3 got voted in fourteen times. Option 2 got twice. Option 1 got six. Aaand option 5 got once (that was for Fragment 20 when all of you thought up the options). So apparently three is a favourite!

I'm really looking forward to your comments today. :D

Loud shouts started up on the walls again and I turned in spite of myself. My eyes widened at what I saw.

A solitary figure was charging the remaining soldiers, holding a long staff out before him. Before they could dodge, the wooden pole smashed into them, turning into a wheeling blur. In another moment a second fighter sprang from the shadows, her long sword catching the light.

The soldiers gathered around the three Freespirits turned uncertainly, not seeming sure which to deal with first. Maree jumped forward, grabbing the sword from a surprised man’s hand, proceeding to bash the nearest soldier.

“Ellie!” I yelled, running to her as Dael joined his older sister. Sweeping her up, I dodged through the melee, sprinting to the stables. “Hide there,” I said, putting her down by the door.

Her eyes were wide and frightened, staring at me with fear. “What ‘bout Maree?” she gulped tremulously.

“Don’t worry about her. I’ve got t’ get the portcullis up so help can come,” I replied, gently untangling her fingers from mine.

“How d’ye know?”

I glanced over my shoulder as a boy jumped down off the wall, stumbling slightly as he landed. “Jack’s back,” I answered.

Soldiers were scattered around the courtyard, a bunch in chaotic battle with Maree and Dael, still more running for the walls to aid their falling comrades. Two were running for Jack.

I ran toward the gate where Jack stood oblivious to his danger, pushing my legs as hard as I could to try and beat the soldiers. I slowly fell behind despite my efforts and I yelled as loud as I could to attract Jack’s attention.

My voice was lost in the riot of noise.

The leading soldier staggered and went down with a crossbow bolt in his chest, but the other barely hesitated. I tripped over something, sprawling neatly on the hard ground. I scrambled up, seeing myself almost beside the dead soldier. His lifeless hand clutched a bow, a quiver of arrows strung over his back.

Pressing my lips together I tugged the bow from him, dragging an arrow from the quiver. The soldier was almost upon Jack and I struggled to fit the arrow to the string. The tight string pulled against me as I strained to draw it back, aiming the bow in the general direction of the gate. Know it was impossible, I gritted my teeth, wrestling with the bow string.

My arms and back revolted, fingers slipping from the string. With a thrum the arrow sprang from the bow, flashing toward the portcullis of its own accord. The soldier yelled as it sprouted from the back of his leg, and he fell forwards onto Jack.

With a startled shout, Jack went down under the sudden weight.

I dashed forward, dropping the bow in my haste. “Jack!” I cried, seizing his groping hand, and hauling him up.

He gasped, scrambling away from the moaning soldier. “How close was he?” he managed.

“Too close,” I replied, panting from my effort.

“I didn’t know you could shoot a bow,” he said, looking at me in surprise.

“I can’t.” Turning to the portcullis I examined its workings. “I think we’ve got to go into that room there and turn some…thing,” I said, hastening to a half open door.

Something heavy hit my side like a whirlwind and I fell, crashing against the wall. “Henry isn’t going to let the Louise escape,” he hissed. “Henry has been watching, waiting for the Louise to come in. Henry knew it would.” The slimy fingers twisted around a heavy plank of wood. I scrambled back from him but he grinned evilly, raising the plank high above his head.

Then tumbled over sideways, collapsing limply on the floor.

Jack dropped the staff and held out a hand to help me up, staring at me curiously. “I’m not going to ask just now,” he said, “But sometime I’d love to hear the story.”

He turned to the large mechanism, scratching his head. “So, what do we do with this?”

I wrapped my fingers around the winch handle. “We turn,” I replied.

Throwing ourselves into the struggle, we forced it around in a slow circle, grunting with the effort. The only thing that kept me going was the knowledge that help was outside, and it would all be fine if they could only get in.

Sounds of battle from outside continued, gradually getting nearer. I heaved on the winch with all my strength, wishing it would turn faster. Seconds seemed like hours as the portcullis slowly inched upwards. “How…will we…know…when it’s...up high…enough?” Jack gasped.

“You’ll hear ‘em,” I returned shortly, through clenched teeth. “They’ll go through…soon as they can.”

Another turn; and then another. My arms ached, stars flecked my vision. Jack panted beside me, beads of sweat dripping down his forehead.

A rousing shout echoed outside the walls and the thunder of horses charged past. I slumped down, relieved. “We did it,” I wheezed.

Jack flopped on the floor breathing heavily. Henry groaned close beside him and Jack gabbed up his staff again and thumped it down on the man’s head. “Just stay there,” he muttered, dragging himself to his feet.

I opened the door again, looking out cautiously. Hacaz’s soldiers were outnumbered, but that didn’t stop them from fighting. A few dropped their swords and fled at the first sight of the king’s banner, but most stood firm. A thrill swept through me at the sight of the ordered battalion of king’s men charging the soldiers.

Eumin and Leonora clattered down the stairs from the walls, sword and staff ready for a fight. Leonora grinned. “Good job you two,” she said. “Things were getting tight up there. When we came her looking for la…er, doing our mission…we weren’t exactly expecting to be part of a castle siege.”

A sudden thought flashed upon me. “What about Hacaz?” I blurted. “Has anyone seen him?”

Leonora and Eumin exchanged a glance. “I haven’t,” Eumin shrugged. “There wasn’t anyone of particular rank up on the walls, and, judging by the chaos down below, it was the same there.”

“That means he’s probably escaping through some secret way,” I looked around, alarmed. “We’ve got to stop him!”

Eumin jogged out, calling a few soldiers. In a moment he and half a dozen others stood before me. “Care to show us the way?” he asked.

I gulped. “O-okay.” I ran off toward the door I’d come through, jerking it open and tearing across to the next door. Vaguely heading in no particular direction, I randomly opened doors, following staircases up and down, desperately hoping that maybe Hacaz would be behind one of the doors.

When I was almost giving up, and almost certain I was going in circles, I emerged from a long stairway and burst through another door. A large hand clamped over my mouth, dragging me further into the room.

Eumin followed me into the room, stopping short in shock. All the other soldiers entered, along with Jack and Leonora.

The razor edge of a blade pressed against my throat.

“If any of you move a step closer, this whelp gets her throat slit,” Hacaz growled in a sneering voice.

I looked at Eumin’s hard face, trying to get him to understand that Hacaz mustn’t escape. He took a half step forward, and the knife move across my skin opening a shallow cut. I closed my eyes, trying to stop shaking in terror. In a moment it would all be over. Very soon now.

“Let her go,” Eumin commanded. “What have you against her?”

Hacaz laughed scornfully. “What haven’t I?” he returned.

I opened my eyes again, finding Eumin standing uncertainly. “Are you such a coward that you would kill a girl?” he spat.

Hacaz stiffened.

“Aye, he ees ectually.” Feet thumped of the floor as Maree vaulted through the window and strode across to Hacaz. She casually plucked the dagger from his grasp, stepping back again before anyone fully comprehended that she was in the room. “I’ll teke that for ye; wouldna want ye hurtin’ yerself.”

The soldiers jumped into action, leaping on Hacaz. I dropped to the ground, scrambling away. Maree pulled me up, draping an arm around my shoulders.

In moments it was over. The soldiers disarmed Hacaz, two brawny men holding his arms behind his back. He snarled around the room, saving his worst death glares for Maree and me.

Refusing to quail under his hatred, Maree slipped from my side, picking up a dark bundle from the table. “I’ll teke that too,” she said, pulling her jacket on. She looked down at herself, brushing some dried mud from the sleeve. “Thet’s better,” she sighed happily, her lopsided grin filling the room.

I couldn’t help but smile back.

Hacaz spat on the floor. “You will pay for this Freespirit,” he swore. “And you,” he turned to me, “One day you will regret that you ever knew me.”

“Oh trust me, I already do,” I replied, raising my eyebrows.

“Well, what’re we waitin’ fer? Dúinn aller!” Maree marched proudly from the room, her jacket shedding crusts of mud profusely.

Out in the courtyard the fight was well and truly over. Hacaz was swept off to some prison that probably suited him perfectly, disappearing under the portcullis with a rather large escort. I never laid eyes on him again.

Pretty soon we were surrounded with king’s soldiers, all cheering and congratulating us and themselves. Broad grins on every face. They parted suddenly, allowing room for an important looking man to approach.

“That’s Sir Gawen,” Jack whispered in my ear. “He’s the commander of the king’s army. Pretty important guy, but rather nice.”

He halted in front of us. “My great thanks to you all for your aid. Hacaz has been stirring up trouble in the realm for years now, the king will be very pleased to offer you all a reward.” His eyes settled on me. “I have heard much of your exploits from Jack Danson,” he said. “It quite amazes me that one so young as you could do such things. You have done the De Corlette name proud.”

I curtseyed automatically. “Thank you, Sir Gawen,” I replied meekly.

A groan came from behind and Eumin and Leonora stepped forward, ignoring the confused look from the commander. “Oh please,” Leonora groaned. “Please tell me I just heard wrong. Did he just call you De Corlette?”

“Er…yes,” I said, frowning in bewilderment.

“Drat,” Leonora exclaimed, slapping her leg with a hand.

“You’re Lady Louise De Corlette?” Eumin asked.

“That’s me,” I nodded uncertainly.

Leonora grabbed my shoulders. “Honestly, why didn’t you tell us before?” she almost shouted. “We’ve been looking for you for years!


*Dramatic music begins*
And there we leave them to live happily ever after.


But not for long! Because, as you probably already know, there will be a sequel! Next week I will be taking a break from writing and will do a post with the title and a few other stuffsies: you'll get to meet some new characters…And the new cover picture has not yet been completed, so that may delay things a little. (Note to my artist: don't die of terror. I'll give you alll the time you need.)

So, that was a little bit of a surprise. It just went and ended! Not much warning, just suddenly boom. The end. On the bright side, we're not just leaving them there forever.

Sorry about the slight cliffhanger ending. I just couldn't resist.

If there’s any details you’d like to know about the ending of this story, just ask me in the comments, and I’ll give you a little more detail than ‘happily ever after.’ (Sorry, but I'm not telling you much about Leonora and Eumin's mission [I might drop hints if anyone asks]. Seriously, that's the whole plot of the sequel! I may tell you next week though...)

Thank you guys for all your faithful reading and commenting. I know that sometimes you're busy, and it's hard to find time for reading my crazy stories, but it's really encouraging for me. I mean, can you imagine how this would work if no one commented at all?
I really can't say how much I appreciate you all. *Thumps you on the back several times hard* So, yeah...thanks.

Dúinn aller!