Friday, 30 September 2016

Swords, Sails + Scoundrels: King's-Healer Kindness

I lived! Surprisingly the force-shields worked well and I've lives to write more.

Luckily for you, or you'd never know what happened. I guess it's like one of those books "we need her alive."

Anyway, Queries and Questions  ended up with the most votes for option one. So basically one won (and one must wonder whether I'm actually fifteen or just pretending).

And since you're all dying to know how Gypsy Boy is after a week of being mostly-dead* I'll stop talking and let you start reading.

*There's a big difference between mostly-dead and all-dead.

“It’s Altin. He wants you, Louise.”

Warin lifted me to my feet before I fully realised what he had said.

Altin. He’d jumped in front of the sword.

For me.

The crew of the Rift had fashioned a sort of stretcher from two staffs and a tunic and jackets, binding it together with a length of rope to ensure it stayed firm.


He lay on the ground, the gold light of the watchtower glowing off his black hair, every breath came in a gasp.

How much longer would he still be breathing?

Two men lifted him onto the makeshift stretcher, their movements slow and cautious. My feet were frozen to the ground.

I just wanted to run from it all.

Then I was on my knees next to the panting form, his hand gripped between mine.

“Altin—” The word choked in my throat. “Altin, why?”

His dark eyes met mine, half fogged over with pain. “I couldn’t let you...give up now.”

“But why?” I didn’t understand.

Why would he do it for me?

“You aren’t finished yet.” His breath jerked and he squeezed his eyes shut.

Someone knelt on the other side of the stretcher, pressing a wad of fabric against the wound. My stomach heaved and I swallowed hard, keeping my eyes on Altin’s face.

“You can stop all this and...all I could do was...” His hand tightened momentarily.

His face blurred in my vision and I blinked back the tears, unable to speak around the lump in my throat.

Altin had bested me.

He looked like a sulky, unfriendly boy, yet when it had come to it he had risked his life.

For me.

Would I have done the same?

I didn’t think so.

“Don’t forget me,” his words came out in a shuddering breath.

“Altin no! Stop talking as if you were dying—” I broke off as the man on the other side of him laid his hand on my shoulder.

“My lady, if we don’t get him to the town soon, to a healer, he’s not going to make it.”

“” I heard the sob in my voice.

The pirates lifted the poles of the stretcher and I scrambled to my feet after them.

“Fare you well, Louise Conwell,” he breathed. “Fair winds.”

I lifted his hand to my wet cheek, struggling to get the words out past the tightness in my throat. “Goodbye, my Gypsy Boy,” I whispered.

“Fair winds.” The words slipped between his lips like a shadow, his eyelids slowly closing. 

Pain crushed my chest tighter, and I couldn’t follow as the pirates stepped away, toward the distant light of the town.

Altin might die because of me.

He might have given his life for me.

And what had I done?


Accusing thoughts swirled through my mind, battering from every side.

What had I ever done?

I couldn’t stand it any longer.

I ran.

I ran from everything, bitter tears tracking down my cheeks.

Warin caught me before I could lose myself.

“Louise. Louise please. I know it’s hard, but you can’t just run.” His arms around me kept me from escaping again.

“Just let me go. I don’t care about any of this. I never wanted it.” As soon as I spoke the words I hated myself for the selfishness in them.

Had I thought about the people who were risking themselves for this?

Yes. Yes I had.

And that’s why I wanted it to stop.

I couldn’t be responsible for something like that.

“Louise!” Warin shook my shoulders, glaring into my eyes. “Don’t give up. You can’t. Not now. The time for giving up was before, you’re too late for that.”

My heart dropped. “I can’t do this.”

He shook my shoulders again. “Yes you can. It’s hard, it was always going to be, but you just need to keep going.”

Jerking backward I hugged my arms around my stomach. “You never even liked him,” I let the accusing words slip between my teeth, tasting bitter fury.

Warin’s eyes reflected a deep pain. “I’m sorry. It’s not—not because of him. It’s…” He stopped, drawing the back of his hand across his forehead.

“What?” I demanded.

“He reminded me of someone.” Warin’s voice croaked strangely.

A distant echo of pain hissed through his lips in a sigh.

The anger and hurt seeped from me, leaving behind only the lump in my throat. “Who?”

Warin raised his eyes from the ground, his tormented gaze meeting mine. “My brother.”

I couldn’t speak, not sure what to say.

“I couldn’t save him, Louise. I tried.” Warin stopped, turning away. “That’s why I know you have to keep going. Giving up never helps, it just hurts even more.”

“I need to find him then.” I stared numbly at the ground. “I need to find Marius.”

Warin’s hand touched my shoulder. “Yes. But just now we need to get to the town. Food and a healer will do all of us some good.”

I nodded, glancing up at the town and feeling the distance yawning wide ahead.

After all I’d done, walking to a town would be easy.

I took five steps before Warin started carrying me.

Warin couldn’t find a healer.

The tavern had closed after Marius’s appearance and none of the remaining wanderers in the streets wanted to speak to a group of strangers.

Even strangers with a dying Gypsy Boy.

I collapsed against a wall as Warin started pounding on the tavern door, yelling for the owner.

At this rate, we’d never find help in time.

Gypsy Boy was still, unmoving on the stretcher but for the faint flutter of a breath every now and then.

He was alive, but it wouldn’t last much longer.

“Please. Someone, anyone.” I found myself whispering under my breath, unsure who I was hoping would hear.

“Please. We need help.”

Perhaps the Light would hear.

Not that it had any of the other times I’d called to it.

I sighed, burying my face in my hands.

A door creaked beside me and a swish of fabric made me look up into a dark brown face of a woman. Scrambling up, I grabbed her arm.

“Please, we need help,” I gasped, desperate.

A moment passed and then a white flashing smile broke across the shadowed features. “It is you! The girl without a sword.” Two arms spread and pulled me forward. “Help? I give help. Perhaps you been in more battles, yes?”

I gaped. Who was this?

Why was that voice familiar?

“Louise!” Warin was beside me, hand on my shoulder. Eyes falling on the tall woman, he stepped forward. “Can you help us? One of is sick, and we need to find a healer. Do you know where one lives?”

“A healer? That is easy, Captain. I am healer. Come inside, I will look at him.”

Warin spun on his heel, beckoning to the crewmen carrying Altin. They stepped forward, the healer holding the door open and standing back for them to enter.

“Please come in. All are welcome. Friends of my friends always have room here.”

I stumbled forward numbly, searching my mind for an answer.


Someone who is my friend.

My thoughts collapsed in on themselves and I allowed myself to be led into a warm room, slumping down against the wall, the warmth of the fire seeping into my frozen fingers.

Brains are better.

The healer from the palace.

What was she doing here?

I drifted into an exhausted sleep.

When I woke, light sifted through the window and danced off dark brown hair as the healer crouched in front of me, studying the palms of my hands, brows creased into a frown.

She was meant to be healing Altin, not me.

“What about Altin?” I asked, blinking the sleep from my eyes.

A smile broke across her face once more, seeing me awake. “My friend!” she said in greeting, “You have slept long and are looking much the better for it.”

“Altin? Is he alright?” I pushed into a sitting position.

She leant back on her heels, lips pursed, eyes sorrowful.

Dread settled in my stomach.

“He made it through the night,” she said.

“But...?” I almost didn’t want to hear her next words.

“The wound is not normal. It...” she trailed off, white teeth biting against her lip for a moment. “...It is Dark. The sword that did it must be bad sword. Dark. I am trying everything, but it might not help.”

I curled my hands against my legs.

I couldn’t live with the responsibility.

“If there’s anything that would make him better that you don’t have, we’ll get it.” I swallowed back the desperate lump that rose in the back of my throat.

“He need Light.” The soft words pushed the panic aside.


I’d asked for help, and someone had come.

Maybe Light was real after all.

But if it was, why would Altin be hurting so much?

Who would let something like that happen if they had the power to stop it?

“But no worry. Elva will do her best.”

“Elva?” I frowned.

The bright smile widened. “Me. I am Elva. You are Louise. The Captain is Warin Wielder, I think.”

“But—how do you know Warin’s name?”

Elva’s eyebrows raised in amusement. “Much talking in sleep. A room of pirates. Many sailing terms.” She half turned and glanced around at the crew, awake and talking together in low voices.

Turning back to me, she took my hands again, the intent crease between here brows returning. As she ran one finger across my palm I realised with a shock that there was no pain. Pulling one hand away, I flexed my fingers experimentally, only the slightest echo of hurt.

I could see why she’d been made the Royal Healer.

“How come you’re not at the palace?” I asked.

Elva looked up, releasing my hand. “The King gave me leave to visit my family.” The wide smile returned again. “Very good thing, too.”

I nodded. “Yes. Very good thing.”

Very good coincidence?

Or was it something more than that?


1. If Altin needed Light to heal the Dark wound, surely the Light could defeat Dark itself then. And surely Dark would know where his arch enemy was.

2. If I could find Leonora and Eumin, they’d know what to do about all this.

3. I steeled myself, facing the thought that battered for attention. I needed to dream again.


As you can sort of see, these options are pretty important basically because I have no clue what in the world in going on and I need your help.

Also, there's the letters X and Y left for the titles and I am not looking forward to naming next week's. Or the week after. Speaking of weeks-after there's going to be an important announcement on Monday so be ready for that.

Fair Winds!

|| Jane Maree ||

Friday, 23 September 2016

Swords, Sails + Scoundrels: Queries and Questions

It's over. 

Any hope that I might ever get stop being called 'Jane the Cruel' is gone with the wind. This week was apparently my test week, but...I'm fairly sure I've failed the being-nice test so...sorry about that.

Disclaimer: I love my characters. But it has to happen.

But really, you brought it on yourself. I never expected that I would be writing option 2 but hey! Equal votes for 2 and 3 last week so I tried to include both. Except they're sort of completely different, so that was very easy, and option three-ish stuff only comes in way at the end.

But!!! I'm hoping that maybe it'll be satisfactory.

Unless you were hoping for a happy* story.

*if you were, I protest, I never said this story would be happy.

Also, sorry for the late-ish post. The internet was playing up for half the morning.

Marius. No. He couldn’t be here.

But the other half of me was crying. Sobbing with relief.


I’d found him, and I could talk sense into him, snap him out of this trance he was buried under.

Captain Zeeb stood, his eyes darting around the room helplessly. “But s—sir!” he tried to protest.

A swish of movement came and Marius appeared in the corner of my vision, his dark cloak swirling against the leg of a chair. “You will not resist, she is coming with me.”

The voice was so familiar, yet so foreign.

How could he have let himself become such a thing?

Zeeb looked like he was choking on something, being strangled by an invisible force. His eyes darted wildly, terror turning his skin ghostly pale. Then he collapsed down into his chair, tearing his gaze from Marius.

“Yes, lord.”

A gloved hand gripped my upper arm, pulling me away from the pirates, toward Marius.

I forced myself to step forward. He was my brother.

Down inside somewhere there had to be some of the man I knew remaining.

I just had to find it again.

“Marius,” I breathed the word lightly, tilting my head up to see beneath the hood of his cloak. “Marius. You came for me.”

“My Master’s orders must be followed.”

I recoiled at the flat monotone.

What if I was wrong?

Marius turned, his grip on my arm like ice. Every eye in the room was downcast, not daring to risk meeting the Dark filled eyes.

Then the door slipped shut behind us.

He didn’t stop, pulling me along after him as he walked down the shore. His cloak swirled around him in a Dark cloud, reaching out toward me.

Yet it never once touched my skin.

It was almost as if the Dark was afraid.

Not afraid of me, but of something else.

The glow of sunset lit up the west, reluctant to give ground to the night. To the far sides, the bright flame of the watchtowers blinked brighter by the moment, flooding golden across sand.

All of it was harsh contrast to the Dark-drenched figure leading me.

The silence itself almost radiated from him, clamping my jaw shut. I followed, my heart pounding against my ribcage.

This had to work.

He would listen to reason. It would snap him out of it.

I could save him.

Brains are better, after all.

I closed my eyes, wishing I could trust.

But who?

Dark I could only trust to be Dark.

Again, a tinge of something nudged in the back of my mind.

If there was a Dark, surely a Light had to be real as well.

How else could hope exist?

Finally Marius stopped walking, his fingers slipping from my arm.

The low hill of grass overlooked a long beach, the watchtower burners glowing light off the sand like powdered gold.

It would have been beautiful if only...

I turned toward Marius, his back toward me, cloak of Darkness wrapped tight around his shoulders.

I could run. He wouldn’t see until I was too far away.

Perhaps I didn’t have to talk to him after all.

The others were be better at that sort of thing anyway.

“Don’t try to run.” He didn’t even bother to turn.

As he spoke, I realised I couldn’t anyway.

I couldn’t waste this chance, it might be the only one.

“Why did you come for me?” I asked, reaching out toward him without thinking and then dropping my hand to my side again.

“I do what my Master orders.”

“Marius, don’t you remember me? Louise. Your sister. What if he ordered you to hurt me?”

“I do everything my Master orders. He is greater than you could ever realise.”

Pain throbbed in my forehead, this wasn’t working.

“It’s not too late.” I felt desperation seep into my voice. “There’s still hope. You can still be forgiven and make everything right.”

Even as I said the words I wondered.

How many people had he killed?

“There was never hope for me.” The words were harsh, but still he didn’t turn around.

I sank to my knees, feeling grass stalks between my fingers.

What had happened to the brother I thought I knew?

A light glinted on the water just off the shore. A ship.

Hope welled in my heart.

They were coming for me.

Rising to my feet again, I looked at Marius’s straight back, trying to form the words that would save him.

Save him from himself.

“There is always hope,” I began, feeling a strength seeping into my limbs as the words slipped through my lips.

“My Master gives you two choices. To join us. Or to die.” The Dark figure interrupted.

I stopped, the words hesitating on the end of my tongue. “I can’t.”

He didn’t move, his cloak fluttering in a light breeze.

“Marius, I—”

“Kill her...kill her...”

My gut clenched at the hissed words, echoing from all around.

Marius stood like a statue, head cocked, listening.

“You must...kill her...”

A choking sound came from Marius, and his shoulders shuddered violently.

I stepped forward, hand outstretched.

He could resist it.

He would.

There was Light in him still.

A long sword hissed from the scabbard at his side, blade as dark as the sky. Marius turned, throwing his cloak back from his shoulders, the hood slipping down his back.

I froze, looking into the wide eyes.

Wide and angry.

So much anger.

“Marius?” I whispered, taking a step backward.

For a moment he faltered, emotions battling across his features.

“Kill her!”

The Dark wrapped around him tighter, a cold layer of anger and fear closing the barriers of his mind.

I was too late.

“I do everything my Master commands.”

Scrambling backward, I slipped down the sand dune, sprawling on the beach for a moment before lurching to my feet. Marius jumped, the cloak of Darkness flying out behind him as he leapt toward me, landing in a crouch only paces away.

“Please Marius.” My voice was breaking, rasping in my dry throat.

He wouldn’t.

Marius stepped forward smoothly, the sword coming up.

“Marius, remember how in the summer when we would sneak away from the castle and have picnics in the forest? And how you told me the stories of the knights and heroes of old. And you promised to always be there for me, and—” I couldn’t get any more words out past the lump in my throat.

Tears blurred my vision and I took another step backward.

“What happened to you, Marius?”

We had been friends. He’d always tried to get adventure. I’d always tried to keep him out of trouble.

I’d told on him more than once anyway.

What had happened since those days?

I should hate him. For what he let himself become.

I should want him dead, like all those people he had killed.

But I couldn’t want it.

“Marius.” I stopped retreating, sand squeaking unevenly under my shoes. “Think about what you’re about to do Marius. Don’t you know me?”

The sword went back, the Dark blade radiating anger and hopelessness.

I couldn’t let him live knowing that he’d killed me.

At least he should know I understood.

My vision narrowed until all I could see where Marius’s eyes. Sounds faded into the background, pale against the war of torment in those eyes.

Marius, what have you become?

Cold anger clouded over the emotions, Darkening his pale eyes into deep blackness.

“Marius. I forgive you.” I whispered.

The sword plunged forward.

A shadowed figure dived in front of me, just before the sword found my heart.

Time stood still.

Marius jerked his sword back, red blood smeared across the end.

Gypsy Boy wavered for a moment, hands clenched to his stomach.

Then he fell, collapsing into the sand.

He’d saved my life.

He risked everything for me.

What had I ever done for him?

A sword flashed past me and Warin’s familiar figure leapt at Marius.

Marius swept up his sword, knocking Warin’s blow aside. A cloud of Darkness swirled around him, sending Warin stumbling backward.

“Marius!” I heard my own voice calling and I stumbled forward, pushing toward the Darkness.

It hissed a low laugh and pulled away, fading into nothing.

Marius was gone.

My knees collapsed under me and I was sobbing on the sand.

I couldn’t do this.

I had failed.

I had failed everyone.

Eumin, Leonora, Warin, Gypsy Boy, Gripper.

But most of all, I’d failed Marius.

Everything blurred into hopelessness.

Maybe Marius was right.

There was never any hope.

“Louise...Louise please. Listen to me...” Warin’s voice pulled me from the horror of my own thoughts. “Louise.”

I didn’t want to open my eyes.

All I wanted was to give up.

For this to all have been a dream.

A nightmare.


1. “It’s Altin. He wants you, Louise.”

2. I pushed the persistent voice aside, sinking lower into the nothingness of unconscious dreams. Maybe when I woke up this would all be gone.

3. “It’s not over yet. You need to get to the town.”


*hides from the murderous readers* I'M SORRY GUYS OKAY? IT WAS GONNA HAPPEN FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. *runs away in terror*

Fair Winds
(Unless you're sailing down here to make me suffer, in which case-- *starts putting up all the force fields*)

|| Jane Maree ||

Monday, 19 September 2016

Monsieur Scattlocke - the Completion of Draft the 1st

*showers everyone with pizza and confetti*

In case the title didn't make it obvious enough:

I finished the first draft of my WIP Monsieur Scattlocke!!!

*screams forever*

So in celebration, I thought I could have some fun here, and actually tell you something about the book and pass out some pizza and snippets.

Yus. Snippets.

But we'll get to that later.

Now, technically I finished the first draft on Thursday the 8th, but I just took this long to get around to doing a post. Better late than never though!

I'm gonna put up allll the numbers and stuff of the finished 1st draft just for fun

Words | 62k

Chapters | 21

Pages | 174

Characters (no spaces) | 289,504

Paragraphs | 3,386

And, as you may have noticed from the picture, I've now named the series.  The Outlaw Legends (because basically everyone is an outlaw by the end. Mwahahaha). And I've admitted to myself that there's going to be (probably...maybe...hopefully) three books (*screams* I've said it now. I've admitted to myself that there's three books not just two. I can do this. I can *dies*). Monsieur Scattlocke, Agent Kit, and...Something Flint that I haven't a clue on yet.

Ooh hey, now we need to have a synopsis.

2556 days exactly.
Seven years was too long a time to be outlawed for. Yet here Will was, dismally remembering the day when the Great Federation had officially claimed him an outlaw. 
They’d even put six hundred ciphers on his head.
That was nothing to the six hundred million it was now.

William Escarlate, an outlaw running from his past, finds himself in the middle of Britain. Yet it is not the Britain most would expect. The Eastern Empire has forced it into a real life Robin Hood reenactment - their only hope to stall the world-wide war.

His hopes to begin his life afresh as a Frenchman under the name Monsieur Scattlocke are dashed when an enemy agent sees him and Will must go on the run once more.
This time he runs with the Sherwood Outlaws.

It isn't long before Monsieur Scattlocke becomes the outlaw leader, and his name is famous across the country for his daring escapes and rescues. Will hopes that perhaps there might be a chance that his past has left him behind.

But no one, not even the infamous outlaw leader, can escape the Great Federation forever.

Eventually, everyone is caught.

*epic soundtrack starts playing*

And now we need some snippets!!!

I was going to do the first paragraph and the last one (although, technically the first bit is at the beginning of the synopsis) but then I kinda realised that the last sentence is a pretty big spoiler and I don't want to ruin it all.

(Because yes. When beta-reading stage comes along...*grins like crazy*)

Wherefore I have spent another fifteen minutes scrolling through the document looking for some other random scene. 

And attempting to convince myself that you all know it's first draft, unedited stuff, so it doesn't matter how terribly terrible it is. *cringes*

So here's one from the beginning of chapter the 18th:

Will pulled down the wanted sign, screwing it into a ball in his fist without caring to look at it.

They were everywhere.

Allan, Ivan, Meldon, Kingsley and Tain.

Even Emir.

But most of them were Will.

Every week, every day that past, Will could feel the noose tightening.

He couldn’t last much longer.

Every day he left the camp half not expecting to return.

“They still can’t get my hair properly.” Emir squinted at his own wanted sign in his hand. “I mean, just look at that.” He pushed it under Will’s nose.

A smile danced across Will’s features at the sketch. “Maybe you should get a re-style,” he suggested, nodding at the sign. “It quite suits you.”

The Arab boy snorted through his nose. “Yeah right.” But a grin quirked up the corner of his mouth.

Another six weeks and Will would have been in Britain for a year.

But something inside him said that either one way or the other he wouldn’t be in Britain at the end of those six weeks.

Either he would have run, or be caught.

Hmm...that was a bit of a mixture of amusing and depressing...lets see if I can find one more. This one is from chapter 14.

There was no time to be careful anymore, if the coast was clear now, it wouldn’t be for long. Will flipped the trapdoor open the rest of the way, letting it thud softly against the ground.

Right in front of a pair of riding boots.

Will froze, slowly raising his eyes.

“What, I ask you, do you think you are doing here?” Merian put her hands on her hips, a scowl over her fair features.

Will gaped. “I...sorry, my lady,” he choked, shock and relief making it hard to get the words out.

She raised her eyebrows. “I should think so,” she remarked sternly. “Now, quick. Tell me what you’re doing here or I’ll tell father.”

“Rescuing Allan and Ivan,” Will said hesitantly.

She wouldn’t tell her father.

Would she?

She cocked her head to one side. “From our stables? Last I checked they were in the Sheriff’s prison.”

“They were but then we got them out,” Will shrugged awkwardly. “Through a trapdoor.”

“And why are you here now?”

“Because this is where the trapdoor went to,” Will said helplessly. “I had no idea.”

“Uh, Will...” Emir’s voice floated up from below. “Who are you talking to?”

“Don’t worry,” Will called down. Looking back at Merian he waited pleadingly.

“Why is there a tunnel from the Sheriff’s dungeon to our stables?” Merian demanded, crossing her arms in front of her.

Long story, Will said. I'll tell you some time.

There. Hopefully the 1st draft-ness doesn't make it too bad. I almost gave them an edit before posting them but I resisted because the whole point was it was a 1st draft thing. 

Speaking of editing.

*deep breath*

That's what's next up for me.

I took a three-day break after the finishing of draft the first, and then...



The stage of dreaded editing.

Now. To be entirely honest I opened the document on day one and thought "Aw c'mon. It can't be as hard as they all say."

Ten minutes later I was slumped at my desk with my head on the keyboard, groaning like a wookiee.

And yes, I can make a noise like a wookiee.

But no. Don't ask me to now. Wait until I'm editing and I'll do it without having to be asked.

But!!! I'm not going to moan about the fact that I've done, chapter so far (if anyone happens to have some editing inspiration, PLEASE HELPPP MEEE), because this post is about the finishing of draft the first! Which is a matter for celebration and pizza!

*hands out some more pizza*

Here's some random facts about Monsieur Scattlocke, because you totally wanted to know.

#1 | it's the longest novel I've ever written so far. (I've technically only done one other completed more-than-one-draft novel (The Bridge of Anskar - although it isn't quite long enough to count as an actual novel so it'll have to go by novella) so it's not a hard thing to do really)

#2 | I cannot work out what genre it's in...I mean, it's dystopian...except they spend most of the time in a forced-back-to-medieval setting. Is there a genre for Robin Hood Retelling?

#3 | the idea came to me about March this year.

#4 | the first scene I wrote when I first had the idea actually never happens in the story.

#5 | the sequel is going to be nothing like I had originally planned.

#6 | like, NOTHING.

#7 | there are cool flashbacks and melting slushy snow and Russia is probably completely different from how I imagine it. But that's their problem, right?

#8 | I really wanna tell you something, but it's a big spoiler so I can't. xD

#9 | they at the story goal in the end.

#10 | hence there's a sequel. Which may or may not fail as well (I haven't actually worked it out yet). Hence there's also...(come on. Just admit it) there's also a third book.

Eeep. Basically, I'm so excited about finishing the first draft. And I'm very pleased at the length too. Like, 21 chapters is pretty cool.

And you guys are all so amazing for listening to my rant, and being excited with me, because that's just what you're good at.

*jumps up and down on one foot several times*

*noms on pizza*

That's it, I guess, then. But tell me all your own novelling experience, and I shall proceed to give you pizza and confetti. And if you're doing editing, we can cry together. And more pizza.

Basically, there'll be lots of pizza.

|| Jane Maree ||

Friday, 16 September 2016

Swords, Sails + Scoundrels: Ordinary Occurrence

*clears throat* I have a quick announcement before I start. Savannah (yup, same one as who wrote the fun guest post) has now started a public blog!!! It's called Scattered Scribblings and you all totally need to go check it out.

Back to this blog now.

The votes for Zeeb's Zephyrus were a bit of a war. Basically a war against me, wherefore I have tried my best to start the story on a happy-ish track. *hopes* So, I'm hoping that, even if I haven't shaken off one of two titles (such as 'Jane the Cruel'), maybe I have partially atoned for my meanness. :P

So, on to-- Oh, I never actually got around to saying what option won. In the end, it was number three. But it was close. Very close. I may have forgotten several verbal or uncommented votes so...sorry about that if I have. But anyways! On to the story!

“Louise? Great whales, they caught you too?” Gripper’s voice came muffled in the still air.

I hunched my neck around, peering into the shadows through a mist of tears.

A scuffle of movement came and Gripper’s familiar features appeared at the edge of the square of morning light coming through the grid of the hatch.

His brows drew together in a look of furious concern and he shifted forward, raising his bound hands to untie the gag over my mouth. “Cowards they are,” he snarled, expression dark with rage. “Ambushing people to take them as slaves.” He spat on the floor. “Did they hurt you?”

My throat was tight, and I couldn’t get the words out. Tears of pain and fear blurred over Gripper’s face until he was just another shadow.

I couldn’t do this.

“Louise.” Gripper’s arm went around me, pulling me to his side.

I buried my head of his shoulder, letting the tears come.

How had I ever thought I could do this?

The hatch crashed open and I flinched awake.

How long had I slept for?

Only a bare glow of light came in through the lifted hatch, at least a day had passed.

The Zephyrus lay still. Waves lapped against the hull but the ship itself was dormant.

We’d reached the main land.

Brushing the sticky marks of tears from my cheeks, I straightened, swallowing hard.

A pirate bearing a lantern shuffled down the ladder, followed by half a dozen more. He bared his teeth at me in a harsh smile. “Ye ready missy?”

I clenched my barely feeling hands behind my back. No.

They couldn’t.

Gripper’s arm tightened around me for a moment and then he stood, stepping in front of me. “Were d’you think you’re taking us? We’re not slaves, ye know. The Captain is coming for us.”

Us?” the pirate repeated, stepping close to Gripper, hand on his dagger. “There’s no us about it. You’re staying right here.”

Gripper lashed out, grabbing the man’s right hand before he could draw the dagger. “What are you talking about?” he snarled, voice dangerously low.

“Get the girl,” the man nodded at his companions. “Take her up to the Captain. I think we’ll have to deal with this one.”

A sob of fear caught in my throat, as two men drew knives and stepped toward Gripper.

“Don’t hurt him,” I heard the words come from my mouth before I realised.

“Hah. Don’t worry about that missy. Just you tell him to be a good boy and we’ll leave him in one piece.” The pirate’s eyes met mine.

Daring me.

Gripper gaze flashed on me with a wild anger. “Don’t do it, lass,” he said. “Don’t worry about me.”

One of the pirates grabbed my arm.

I looked from the knives to Gripper.

I couldn’t make a decision like this.

A knife edged into the skin on Gripper’s arm, a small drop of blood trickling down the sun tanned skin.

“No.” The word came out wrenched with pain. “Don’t hurt him.”

“Lass, I—”

“Gripper, the Captain will come for you, I know.” A sob welled up, blocking the words. Choking it down, I continued. “I’ll be fine. Please, just...” I couldn’t finish, the words catching on the lump in my throat.

Gripper’s shoulders slumped, the anger draining from his frame. “We’ll come for you, lass. You wait for us.”

“I will,” I squeaked.

The knives slid back into their sheaths, and I was dragged toward the ladder.

I didn’t look back.

In the west, a red glow of sunset tinged the sky with its light, giving the deck an eerie fire.

The Zephyrus was secured to a long wharf, and even in the dim sunset the dockside bustled with people.

“Welcome to Levonel.” Captain Zeeb’s voice in my ear made me freeze.

Stepping around in front of me, his hat tipped up jauntily, he curled the corners of his mouth into a mocking smile. “It seems your captain was too slow, eh?” he said. “I’ll grant, it was a good story. Almost took me in.” He dismissed it with a wave.

He drew his dagger, inspecting the edge and then reached behind me and sliced through the ropes. Not even a scratch touching my skin.

They needed me whole.

No one buys an injured slave.

Anger and helplessness clenched in my stomach.

I couldn’t do anything.

“Well, we’d best get going before it’s too late and all the good buyers are gone home.” Captain Zeeb clapped his hands together.

A pirate, his hand on my upper arm to stop any attempt at escape, pulled me forward after the captain. The boards of the dock echoed hollowly under our footfalls.

A slave.

They were selling me as a slave.

I couldn’t let them do that.

If only Eumin and Leonora knew where I was.

A door opened and Zeeb stepped through, bowing to me mockingly as I had no choice but to follow.

Warin couldn’t be that far behind, could he?

The tavern was wide and packed with men, sailors, merchants, peasants, farmers. Zeeb pushed through to a table with one empty seat.

“My friend!” A man rose with a laugh and slapped Zeeb’s shoulder heartily. “I heard your message. A girl this time? We’ll find her a perfect mistress.”

The men laughed again.

Captain Zeeb dropped into the spare seat, returning the greetings of the other men at the table with a broad smile.

The pirate shoved me forward until I stood only slightly behind the captain, two hands resting heavily on my shoulders.

A reminder of the impossibility of escape.

The first man turned and ran his gaze along me, rubbing his beard between his fingers. “How did you come across this one?” he asked.

As casually as if I were a bundle of furs for trade.

My jaw tightened.

This wasn’t right.

“Oh it was the ordinary sort of occurrence,” Zeeb chuckled, nodding knowingly at those gathered around the table.

A shiver of anger tingled up my spine.

This couldn’t be happening.

“So how much are you thinking?” The words came cold and unemotional from one of the other men.

My breath came in gasps through the anger and frustration that built up inside me.

I wasn’t a bag of goods to be traded.

I wasn’t someone’s possession to be sold like nothing.

I wasn’t a slave.

I was...

Who was I?

Lady Louise De Corlette of FeĆ¢ Sirih.

Louise Conwell.

Crew member of the Rift.

Why did it have to be me here stopping Marius?

What was so special about me?

Twenty silvers?” Zeeb’s voice cracked. “I was hoping something far higher for such a sweet maid. I call eighty.”

“You hope to get eighty from that skinny wretch?” one of the men scoffed. “I wouldn’t pay thirty.”

“You must see the quality. She has manners of court in her bearing.”

I wanted to run.

Do anything.

As long as I could get away from here.

From these men who were discussing me like a prize animal they hoped to sell at the fete.

A scream welled in my throat, pressing higher every moment.

This wasn’t happening.

I would never be a slave.


I’d rather die than be someone’s.

My vision blurred with tears of frustration and helplessness.

Please no!

The tavern door opened, the creak a bare sound hardly noticed in the rough noise.

“Sixty then.” The burly man threw up his hands, slapping his purse onto the table. “I’ll take her for sixty and no more.”

“Deal.” Zeeb thrust forward his hand and shook on the bargain, a wide grin plastered across his features.

Pain screamed through my mind.

It couldn’t have just happened.

I wouldn’t believe it.


I raised my eyes.

The entire tavern was dead quiet, not a breath of a whisper.

All eyes were fixed on something in the center of the room behind me.

I couldn’t turn, the pirate’s hands still frozen on my shoulders.

Then an achingly familiar voice spoke.

“I rather think I’ll be taking this one for free.”


1. Relief flooded out every other thought. Eumin. They’d found me.

2. Marius. No. He couldn’t be here. 

3. “Cap—Captain Wielder?” Zeeb croaked, his eyes round and bulging.


Do you forgive me now? See, look how nice it ended! I mean, yeah, option number two wasn't too nice, but I'm honestly not expecting many votes for it because you're all such nice people and don't want to give me any more chances for being nasty. :)

Hopefully you liked it.

Fair Winds!

|| Jane Maree ||

Monday, 12 September 2016

The Importance of Secondary/Minor Characters - Guest Post by Savannah Grace

Heyo everyone. As you hopefully read from the title, [cue everyone going back and actually reading that monstrosity of a very-long title] today I have a wonderful friend here to do a guest post!!!

Welcome to Savannah! *cheers and applaudations*

Now, I would give you a link to her blog and all because it's such a fun place of epicness, but unfortunately it's also private. So it would kinda be pointless.


Equally unfortunately, that means you don't get to read the guest post I did for her (which was called '20 Fun Facts about Down Under and the Inhabitants Thereof' just in case you were curious). If anyone feels terribly eager to read it, do say so and I might post it here as well.

Now, I say Savannah is a 'friend' but to be honest, I've never met her, or talked to her in person, or anything. Don't worry! I'm fairly sure she's a legit human being--oh sorry. Actually, she tells me she's an orphaned elf from Middle Earth.

That figures, I guess.

She and I 'met' over Camp NaNo and have been great buddies ever since. She's a very epic person. And I am very pleased to welcome her to my blog!

I'd better stop rambling now and hand it over to her, and see what she's got to say about the Importance of Secondary and Minor Characters.

[Enter Savannah]

  Harry Potter. Lord Of The Rings. Star Wars. The Hobbit.

   What character do you think of when you hear those words? Most likely the names Frodo, Harry Potter, Bilbo, and Luke Skywalker came to your mind. The main characters – pretty much the stars of the show.

   But honestly, the stars of those shows would probably be DEAD if it wasn’t for side characters (sorry, sorry, just had to point that out).

   I’m here today to discuss the importance of secondary/minor characters and how to use them + not use them.
 Don't you love the pic Savannah made? It looks so...I dunno...American. :D

1. Without them … well, you have no cast. Whatsoever, really.
   Guess that makes a pretty good first point, doesn’t it?  

   So, um … who else REALLY doesn’t want to read a story with only ONE character? Come on, what fun would that be? Without Secondary and minor characters, you have NO cast of characters! And without a cast of characters, you have a very bland story.

   I don’t think I want to read a bland story, thank you very much.

2. They’re an extra POV/pair of hands
   If you’re writing a very huge novel, there’s a good chance that you won’t be in your main character’s head the ENTIRE time. There will probably be a couple places where the scene is from a different character’s head.

   And that doesn’t work without a side character now, does it?    

   Of course, they’re also useful when you need two things to happen at once in two very different places. Send the side character off to place B and main character to place A.

   Problem solved.

3. They’re help (or company) for the main character
   Could YOU make it through life all on your own? You couldn’t. I’ll just tell you that.

   And your main character can’t either – trust me.

   Your main character will probably need a friend … and maybe mentor-ish kind of character … or siblings and parents … you know, all the works.  Or half the works, whatever works for you *shrugs*.

4. Don’t have the secondary save the day
   YEAH you don’t want to do that. The main character is supposed to save the day, not a secondary character. Sure, we’ll like the secondary a lot (or you’d at least hope we do), but we’re really rooting for the main character.
   For instance, what if Hermione had killed Voldemort instead of Harry (you know, somehow …)? I for one do not think that J. K. Rowling’s fans would have been pleased (she might end up with a bunch of Muggles yelling at her very loudly). Or what if Pippin had destroyed the Ring instead of Frodo?

   Secondary characters can do a lot of great things, but don’t turn them into the main character.

5. Secondary characters can have plots of their own
   Ever heard of this funny little thing called subplots? Well yeah, you need side characters for those (most of the time).

   And what fun is a story without one of two little subplots? I literally can’t think of one story I’ve read that doesn’t have subplots, can you?

   A story definitely become more full when you add subplots (just don’t add too many – then it’s simply overwhelming). Secondarys help with that.

   SO yeah. There’s a peek into my brain.

   *looks over post* *realizes … it wasn’t actually very helpful* *shrugs* *uses it anyways*

   *exits stage*

Don't ask why I put it in Spanish...Random impulse, and it looked cool. :D

So there we are! Thanks again Savannah for the guest post, it was great fun.

I hope you all enjoyed it, and maybe even learnt something. (More use than mine was, unless you wanted to learn about the randomness of me)

(Just wanted to mention, Savannah and I blew our brains up attempting to work out our American/Aussie time zones so we could publish the guest posts at the same time...So I published this at 10am Monday, and she did it at 7pm Sunday. [cue a few more brains exploding at how that even works] It took us a while to work it out. :P)

And...I think that's basically it!

Don't forget, that if you want to read the guest post thing that I did for Savvy, just ask, and if there's enough of you wanting it I'll post it here as well.  

Fair Winds!

|| Jane Maree ||