Friday, 28 October 2016

How Come Editing is So Hard?

After finishing the first draft of my novel and diving right into the stage of editing, I discovered something.

Editing is hard.

It takes time and work.

And it's not the most inspiring thing either.

I love writing. But editing is not writing.

It's not the fun and exhilaration of creating a new world. Of finding gems of truth and weaving them into the story. Of pouring your heart into the life of these imaginary beings of your creation and making them more than imaginary.

Editing is looking at that world, that character, that messy jumble of words that you worked so hard to make, and crying.

And then editing is keeping going anyway. It's sitting there - even though it's hard, and it hurts - but sitting there and reading through that phrasing, that scene, that entire chapter and then rewriting. Deleting those words you worked so hard to make.

Editing is hard because it's tearing apart that thing you took so much pride in, spent so much time creating. Poured yourself into.

It's deleting. Redoing. Trying to stay positive even though those words are just so awful. Eating lots of pizza to keep going. Slogging through a sea of words and keyboard slams and trying to find some sense somewhere.

It's hard.

But it's totally worth it.

If it weren't hard, there wouldn't be that happy satisfaction of having completed something great. Something important. Something challenging.

There wouldn't be anywhere near as much Adventure to it.

I couldn't use epic phrasing like: *draws sword and charges off to tame the word-dragons*

And I couldn't be writing a post about editing while I was meant to be editing...cough cough.

Editing is hard, but it's also necessary. If I never bothered to edit through a novel it would remain the same mess as when it started. Basically, I'd never get anywhere.

Unfortunately, it must be done. But there are perks.

The perks of knowing it's getting better, of all the pizza (virtual and real) good friends give you because they understand (or at least are trying to), the cool blog posts you can come up with while procrastinating, the word-doc formatting that can be fiddled with (aka: more procrastinating), and so much fun stuff.

And having people asking to beta read it is always encouraging. Apparently, even after reading those unedited snippets, they think that it's still worth it. They still want to devour it.

Or there's the doubtful people who simply ask when they can rip it to pieces with a red pen.

I can't say how much it excited me when one of my friends asked to beta read...and my cousin...and several other friends...and my family just ask when they can, not if they can. Because they all know I was going to let them even if they hadn't wanted to.

Editing is hard, but because of it, I have already found so much encouragement in my writing.

Plus, this blog post got kinda side-tracked. But it was about editing in general anyway.

Are you in the editing stage too? (do tell about allll the writing stuff)

|| Jane Maree ||

Friday, 21 October 2016

Swords, Sails + Scoundrels: A Big Creepy Dark

*cue sounds of celebrating a confetti mushroom clouds and pizza behind eaten*

Yes! I have relented and you are going to get the end of SS+S before December.

Aren't I nice?

Also, I couldn't wait that long either, so I decided to do it now.

Titles were hard to choose, now that I've done all the letters of the alphabet I considered just 'Climax' or 'Surprise Package' but it was suggested that I try ABCD all in the one title.


A Big Creepy Dark.

So I stuck with that as the title.

But now, enough talk. Onward to the climax and all.

The Dark-shrouded figure of my brother turned, beckoning me after him.

I had to do this.

“Marius, I will save you,” I whispered.

The fog swirled, hiding him from view, cold dread clenching my heart.

Everything was resting on me.

I had to be strong enough.

Stepping further into the Dark fog, I felt the tendrils curling around my legs, sliding up my back and across my shoulders.

A shiver of fear ran down my spine.

Could I really do this?


I had to.

There was no other way.

Forcing myself forward, I repeated the words under my breath.

There was no other way.

I had to do it alone.

My feet slipped on the damp sludge overing the ground, keeping me off balance and stumbling.

I couldn’t fall.

I couldn’t fail.

The Darkness grew heavier with each step forward, wrapping thickly around me, blurring my thoughts.

Was there really any hope?

I couldn’t see even the faintest Light in the heaving, throbbing, living Darkness.

Had there ever been hope?

Then ahead I saw the entrance.

A gaping wound in the earth, tendrils of Dark lapping at the edges. Whispering softly. Pulling me in.

To the Darkness beneath the ground.

At my back, the distant sun hovered on the horizon, a dim speck hidden behind brooding clouds.

It was as if all hope had disappeared.

My breath heaved, panic and fear choking out all thoughts.

Hope had disappeared.

Light had never existed anyway.

The Dark wrapped around me like a net.


I couldn’t escape.

Suddenly I was running. Running past the opening, throwing myself deep into the fog.

Running from everything.

Running from myself.

I tripped on a stone, falling forward onto my hands, fingers clenching tight in the thick moss that covered the stones. A tear dripped off my nose, seeping into the damp soil.

I couldn’t do it.

I couldn’t make myself.

I let my head fall forward, my forehead touching against the stone.

It was over.

I couldn’t do it.

The stone groaned a little, shifting downward. I frowned, pushing myself up. Nudging the stone sideways I stopped short.

A trapdoor.

A window.

A trickle of hope slid through the fog in my mind, leaving a faint trail of Light.

The inklings of a plan started forming in my mind.

If I could just…I bit my lip, glancing around.

Jerking a vine from a drooping tree branch, I coiled it around on the ground beside me, turning my attention back to the old square of wood. Cracking my fingers into the narrow gap between the ground and the wood, I pushed, trying to heave it aside.

A narrow crack inched wider and I felt the hope welling. Then the back of my hand knocked against the vine, sending it slithering down the trapdoor into the ground.

“No!” My heart leapt into my mouth and I released my grip, jamming the tip of one finger before I could jerk my hands back.

The vine jerked to a stop, caught firmly in place.

Maybe I could use it still.

Clenching my teeth down over my tongue, I forced back the folds of despair writhing around me in the Darkness.

I had to keep going.

Wrapping the remaining end of the vine around a stone, I set it against the wood, pushing my weight on it.

It groaned as the trapdoor shifted downward a few centimeters.

Sitting upright again, I drew in a deep breath.

I could do it.

I just needed to reach the vine from inside, pull it open, and the sunset light would come in.

It had to work.

Straightening, I turned, blinking back the fear that hovered in the back of my throat. The fog seemed to part a little, a slight trail forming in the Darkness.

I had to follow it, no matter what lay beyond.

Clenching my hands into fists, I stepped forward. The path swirled, Darkness weaving with Darkness, adding layers of hopelessness to the trail.

I would stop Dark, it was all that mattered now.

The entrance was in view far too quickly. The Darkness was bending my mind, I had been certain I was further away before.

Surely it couldn’t have that much control over me?

I swallowed hard, pushing down the panic and dread that clogged my throat.

Closing my eyes for a moment, I stepped forward into the shrouds of Dark.

The Darkness clouded my thoughts, every step seeming sluggish as if I was wading through water. There was movement to my right. A figure. I reached out my fingers, brushing Marius’s arm.

He flinched back, turning his face away.

I would save him.

I would save everyone.

It was all up to me.

I had to.

It was all that mattered.

The Darkness grew wider, and I sensed, rather than saw in the dimness, that the cavern widened into the deep room I’d seen in my dreams.

My foot knocked against a chain hanging limping from the wall, links trailing across the stone floor. I reached out, feeling for the vine.

It had to be somewhere.

Something slapped against my cheek and I screamed, biting off the sound halfway through.

I needed to calm down, my plan would work.

I could do it.


Wrapping my fingers around the end of the vine that had touched me, I closed my eyes, listening hard for a sound.

A slow drip of water came distantly, echoing on the walls.

And then I heard a swirl of movement, like the rustle of bat’s wings.

From the Darkness, and even Darker figure stepped.

Dark himself.

My throat closed up. I couldn’t breathe.

What had I been thinking?

A throb of hopelessness swelled in my heart, so real and bitter than my knees buckled, almost sending me to the cold stones of the floor.

I had to be strong enough.

“You have come.”

Dark’s voice echoed through my mind, pounding inside my forehead. Every word repeating over and over.

I couldn’t block it out.

“You…you should stay back.” My voice came thin even though I tried to force it out confidently.

Dark tilted his head to one side. “She is less than I expected.”

Marius appeared, head bowed. He didn’t look at his Master.

“I can beat you,” I said, my tight throat choking over the words.

They hung false in the Darkness.

Even I couldn’t believe them.

“You have seen my power, yet you think to win this battle?” Dark’s voice sounded vaguely amused.

He stepped closer, the shrouding cloak swirling ominously.

Breathe. I had to breathe.

What had happened to hope?

“Don’t make me—” I couldn’t get out the rest of the words.

Dark chuckled softly, the hood low around his face.

Somewhere beneath where his Dark orbs of eyes.

Eyes that would capture the souls of any who looked into them.

He stepped forward again.

Do it! I screamed at myself, but my thoughts spun dizzyingly.

Doubt hammered against my forehead.


I could do it.

It was all that mattered.

I tugged the vine.


Shoving down the fear I pulled harder.

It had to work. The trapdoor would open.

“Is that your trick? Is that what I must be afraid of?” Dark laughed, the sound drowning all hope.

My fingers slipped from the cord and I stumbled backward into the wall, sobs choking in my throat.

“Please.” I didn’t know who I was talking to.

Someone. Anyone who would listen.

“Please. I can’t do this on my own. Help me. Help me please.”

I had failed.

And in that moment, I knew.

I never could have done it.

I was never going to be able to succeed on my own.

“Please.” It was nothing more than a whisper now.

But there was no one to hear.

Dark stepped forward until his feet were almost within arm’s reach, the cape of blackness streaming behind him. “You have failed. You were doomed from the very start. Surely you didn’t expect to be able to win.” He laughed.

I covered my ears with my hands, but the words seemed to come from my own mind.

And worse, they were true.

How could I have ever thought I could do it alone?

Yet, there hadn’t been any other way…Had there?

“I can’t do this on my own. I need strength. But I don’t have enough.” The words choked in my throat. “I can’t save anyone.”

Dark laughed again, the sound hissing in ever corner of my mind.

I could hear the voices of everyone I knew, their shouts, accusing me.

Blaming me.

“Help me, please.”

Dark stepped forward, his hand reaching for my chin. “Look into my eyes, girl…your only chance is with me now.”

I couldn’t move away, my back already pressed up against the wall.

My only chance was to join him now.

“I have found you. You shall be mine. Come with me, and I will show you the only chance you have left.”

The words seeped into my ears like poison.

I couldn’t block them out no matter how hard I tried.

“Please.” I felt my strength draining away. “Please, help me.”

“I have found shall be—”

The trapdoor fell open.

Light exploded through the small gap, flashing through the Darkness in a blinding trail, sending him reeling back with a scream.


The voice, ringing with power and indefinable greatness, flowed around me, blocking out the shrieks of the Dark, cowering in the corner.


My legs collapsed beneath me and I was on my knees. My breath jammed in my throat.

He was speaking to me.



My weak plea for help had been heard.

He had heard. And He had come.

For me.


A hand touched my forehead, cool and soothing, yet burning with a fire at the same moment. It formed a mark with a trailing fingertip, tracing a symbol onto my forehead. Like a battle standard.

I wasn’t Louise De Corlette, lady of Fea Sirih.

I wasn’t Louise Conwell of the Rift.

I wasn’t my own.

He had claimed me.

Chosen me.

I was His.

And finally, I was free.

Peace flowed into my heart as if a dam had been broken, letting the Light stream in.

I was His child.

I stood, not thinking about what I was doing, only hearing those words echoing through my mind.

I am His child.

Dark cowered in the corner,  anger and terror swirling in the Darkness around him. “You cannot win,” he croaked.

The words were lost beyond the hum through my veins.

I am His child.

“You never could have won this,” I said, the words slipping between my teeth before I had thought them. “You think you are all powerful.” I drew in a deep breath. “But you aren’t.”

Dark cowered back further.

“There is something far more powerful.”

I looked into his eyes and said one word.


I looked into the eyes of Dark himself.

And lived.

Not because of what I had done. But because of what Light had done for me.

It had never been about me.

I was His child.

And that was all that mattered.


*deep breath* Y'know. I feel slightly depressed coming to the end...I had so much fun with this story and everything and--nope. Not time for that yet. Still a little more to go.

Also, I have a mission for all of you.

In the comments, you should ask me alllll the questions that I need to answer. All the things you still want wrapping up. Just in case I've forgotten one.

Or two.

Or three.

You never know. I might have.

And I really really hope the climax was good. (To be honest I was so nervous while writing this and clicking 'publish/schedule' was the hardest thing ever, because I was worried it mightn't be good enough and it might let down your expectations. And...I've put a heap into this story and I couldn't bear if that happened. *hides*)

Fair Winds!

|| Jane Maree ||

Monday, 17 October 2016

20 Fun Facts About Down Under and the Inhabitants Thereof - Guest Post by Jane Maree

*chokes* No. You didn't read the title wrong. This is a guest post by myself.

Okay, so to explain...Remember how Savannah Grace did a guest post here a while back? Well, at the same time, I did a post on her blog, which was, at that stage, private. (Now it is no longer, so go check it out, 'kay?) But all of you (well, some anyway) wanted to read the post I did it is. Only slightly edited so it's not quite as weird (aka: no longer sounds as much like I'm doing a guest post for myself).

*drum roll*

Hey all! As you should hopefully have realised, I'm Jane Maree. (Yes, I very much hope my blog-readers would have realised that by now)

My task here today is to give you a couple of random facts about Aussies and our country.


Oh sorry. I just fell asleep because I realised how boring that actually sounded.

Let me rephrase it.

*clears throat*


Okay. I am officially hopeless at this.



Neither am I.

So, before we begin, I'd best apologise in advance because *whispers* I've never done a guest post before (particularly not for myself), so I have roughly 0.009283% idea of what in the world I'm even doing. 
Hopefully it won't be too long or anything.

First off, we'd better do some geography, so you can remember what the Land Down Under actually even looks like. Here's a map:

I live in New South Wales. That, my minions, is shortened to NSW, because who could be bothered to write out the whole thing every time?

Now, pay attention, we Aussies have only 8 states (and not all of them are even officially states) to remember, because we value our brains and don't want to even attempt to remember the 159 or-whatever-it-actually-is American states.

On that note, I have a question for all you Americans. DO you actually memorise all those states and the abbreviations? (If you do, consider me amazed) (Also, apparently a lot of you do, according to the actual guest-post comments. I am officially amazed.)

Anyway...I guess I'd better move on to the facts of randomness!  10 Facts about Down Under first:

1. The seasons are reversed here.
No, I don't mean that it's hot in winter and cold in summer (haha ha ha. Nope. It's just warm in winter and a completely fried sausage in summer). I mean, that for us, summer is December-February, and winter is June-August.

2. Snakes are evil.
Particularly the Brown Snakes.
Every summer they sneak along and lie in the sun and slither around on their dastardly evil missions. No, I've never been bitten (my sister once came within a metre (like...two feet away or something) of one and it had it's head raised to strike and everything. She ran. Sensible girl.) Native Aussie snakes are protected. Unfortunately that doesn't seem to help them keep their heads attached when they come too close to our place and there's a shovel around.
Of course we don't kill them, or anything. We just...spread them around a bit, so to speak. (Y'know, head over here, rest of the body over there...)

It's actually quite harmless. Yeah sure, there's sharks and snakes and my backyard is completely packed with the most poisonous spiders in Australia - and they're also the second most poisonous in the entire world (not to make you terrified of coming to visit) - and there's also the massive goannas (monitor lizards) that have been known to eat four of my last guinea pigs in one meal. (I haven't had guinea pigs since. I just gave up on them after that incident)

4. Our school year doesn't start in September.
Who even came up with that idea? Why start school in the middle of the year? For us, school year starts in the most logical place: the beginning of the year.

5. Australia is actually about the same size as the USA.
Only it's got less states, less people and more frying desert and middle-of-nowhere-nothingness, so that fact isn't realised by many.

6. We have...beaches?
This is the thing that I've never been able to grasp. Sand, water, sun, seagulls. Other countries don't have as many cool beaches? Like...what? Europe has half of them with pebbles instead of sand. HOW?! I do not get any of this.

7. Apparently there is 3.3 times more sheep here than people.
Weird huh? To be honest, I didn't actually know this before, but I was looking around for inspiration and discovered this fact. And deemed it random enough to put here.

8. Koala 'bears.'
Do. not. ever. call a Koala a bear in front of an Aussie. Because it will be the most wrong thing you have ever said. And I will not take the responsibility for any injury you gain after speaking those words.

9. Kangaroo meat is not a sought-for delicacy.
In fact, I can personally assure you that it is gross. I once at a kangaroo kebab at this Bush-Tucker camp we were on. But only because I'd been busy helping out actually making them, and everyone else had eaten the rest of the food by the time we'd done skewering the stuff. *shudders* Never again.
I've also eaten possum stew. It...wasn't bad. A bit hard to get down (nowhere near as hard as the kangaroo), but the best part is being able to gross people out by saying that I've eaten some.

Because someone invented that you cannot be an continent and an island at the same time. BUT WE ARE. Australia is both. Just because we can't be. So we are. Just 'cause - Down Under Logic.

Phew. First ten done. Halfway to finished. We can do this.

Onward to 10 Facts about the Inhabitants Thereof

11. We have to put of with the notoriously American Blogger spell-check. 
We write 'favourite' and bing - BIG. RED. LINE. Excuse me, favourite is spelt with a 'u' here, no matter what you think, brainwashed spell-check. (As is honour, favour, and all those other ones)

12. We are inherently proud of our criminal ancestry.
And if you can trace your great-great-great-whatever back to a bush ranger?! That would be SO COOL. But no. I'm just related to the dude who named the clouds (Luke Howard if you were curious. He's a great-great-somethingorother-uncle I think).

13. Yes. We totally call French Fries chips.
And those things that some people call crisps? Hah. We call 'em chips as well. Wouldn't want to be normal or anything.

14. Not all Aussies have wrestled a crocodile.
Like, I haven't even seen a wild one, and if I did, the first thing I'd do would be RUN AWAY SCREAMING IN TERROR. Either that or stand there staring in shock until it ate my leg off.

15. What you call chickens, we call chooks
No really. I'm serious this time (what no! Me? Serious? Never. Except for now). Apparently it's one of those slang words that we use without even realising it's anything out of the ordinary. We call baby chooks chickens or chicks, and big chooks are called...chooks.

16. We don't actually go around saying 'G'day mate'.

Sorry to burst that bubble, but we don't. Some people do, but not most. The most Aussie greeting that you'd actually be likely to come across would be 'howdy'. I use that one now and then.

17. Not all of us are outdoors-bushwhackers.
Some are, naturally, but others prefer to be inside. And for some strange reason, not everyone has dreams of gliding (hang gliding or paragliding, I'm not fussy) off the nearest mountain ridge. Adventure apparently isn't everyone's slice of pizza. (Hehe, get it? Cup of tea was far too British so I turned it into slice of pizza. Okaaay, I think we should move on.)

18. We can't all throw a boomerang.
I am disappointed in myself.
I have watched other people throw it perfectly the first time they ever even held one.
I have watched them be so good at it that they had to jump over the boomerang when it came back and almost whacked their legs.
I have tried.
I have failed.
I have climbed the tree to try get the silly thing back out.
I have also failed at that because it was an extremely tall tree and the thing was right at the top.
I have stood awkwardly at the bottom while the first-time-expert successfully got it down.
I have apologised profusely for almost getting it stuck for eternity.
I have tried again.
I have gotten a boomerang stuck in a tree more than once.

19. Our brains are all fried every summer.
True fact.
But it's hot, and it sure feels like my brain gets fried. Except for when I spend most of summer sitting inside enjoying the air con that keeps us alive.

Something tells me that after this post no one here is going to be doubting the fried-brains fact...

20. We all walk upside down because it's the bottom of the world.
What? You don't believe me?
Well...yeah okay. Maybe not then.

*deep breath* There. 20 random fun facts about Aussies and our country. And a guest post by myself.

Not sure if many people can say they've guest posted on their own blog before...

It's a talent some people have.

So there you are. Hope it was at least vaguely amusing. (Haha, actually no. I would honestly hope you laughed your head off, except then the hospital fees would be expensive and the surgery would be far too complicated and it would be much more simple if you don't go that far overboard with the laughing.)

Americans! Are there crazy facts about your country that I might not know? (Hint: the answer is yes)

|| Jane Maree ||

(P.S. Good news. You're getting another SS+S installment of Friday. *cue celebration and confetti*)

Friday, 14 October 2016

Swords, Sails + Scoundrels: Xenial Xaelvin

Me: scrolls around the internet searching for words that start with X

Me: ...

Me: Finds one word that might do.

Me: keeps searching

Me: doesn't find anything

Me: inserts keyboard slam starting with X

Me: "Perfect. Do you think the readers will notice?"

Me: thinks hard

Me: "Hmm....maybe I should edit the story and invent a random name for the island."

Me: "...yeah. Although I do like the keyboard slam..."

Me: "But hey, we do it this way, and the title is even sarcastic!"

Me: "Sarcastic? Okay. We'll go with that then."

So there we go. 26 letters. 26 parts. Every. single. one. alliterated.

I hope you appreciate my dedication, *grins*

A Yearning Yawner got more votes for three and therefore we have two of our favourite characters back! And a hail to them. And I know that you all want to know what's happening and what cliffhanger** I've left you on this time for a few weeks now, so I'll let you run off and read it.

**Cliffhanger? Nooo. When have I ever done that? *innocent smile*

“Captain!” A crewman dashed into the room. “Some’uns outside making a terrible row ‘bout something.”

Muffled shouting came through the now-open door, and I scrambled up.

I knew those voices.

Warin half stepped toward the door, eyes narrowing. “Who is it?” he demanded.

The crewman started to shrug and Warin pushed past without waiting for an answer. “Louise. Stay there.”

“No thanks.” I shook my head, running after him.

Warin crashed through the front door, making the wooden frame rattle ominously. I caught the door just before it slammed in my face, pushing it open again and slipping through.

The rest of the crew was already outside, arrayed in front of the door. I couldn’t quite see above their heads.

“Excuse me,” I murmured, pushing past after Warin.

He looked like he was about to do something stupid.

Stepping between the last two men, I stood beside Warin, finally able to see.

They had come for me.

Then Leonora had dragged me forward and had her arms around my shoulders, a grin breaking across her features.

“Louise. Oh Louise. We’ve found you.” She pulled back to see my face clearly. “And you look like a smidge of a pirate girl.”

I couldn’t get the smile off my own face.

They’d found me.

Everything would be alright.

Warin cleared his throat awkwardly behind me and I turned. “So. We meet again, eh?” Warin tried for a wane roguish smile.

“Change of situations.” Eumin’s own smile was wry. “For once, we were chasing you.”

The crewmen standing behind Warin shifted uncomfortably, eyes on the ground. Their captain cleared his throat again, coughing behind his hand “Well, yes. Ah…indeed.”

Leonora’s lips twitched, and I felt a bubble of happiness welling in my heart.

Everything would be alright.

Warin put his hand on the hilt of his rapier. “So…since you’re here—”

“Nope.” Leonora’s voice brooked no argument.

Warin stopped mid sentence. “Ah…”

“If you’re going to fight, just get on with it before the audience gets inpatient.”

I turned at the lilting, educated voice, realising that half a dozen townspeople had gathered off to the side. A young man waved his hand in the air. “Soldiers and their bashing. They have no idea of quality.” A smile touched his lips. “But don’t let me interrupt.”

Warin’s mouth formed an ‘o’ of surprise.

“Yes. Don’t let the tailor give you lessons on when or how to swordplay.” The young man waved his hand again, his other arm draped with neatly folded fabrics. “Only, let me leave before your dust ruins the quality of my work.”

“I—” Warin blinked as the tailor saluted informally and walked away.

“He says that every time we’re in town,” one of the crewmen muttered. “Darned tailors and their high and mighty talk.”

“If you don’t mind, Captain,” Leonora brought Warin’s attention back to herself. “I will be taking back Louise and you can be off to wherever you want to be, as long as it isn’t near me.”

Warin stepped forward, hand back on his sword hilt once more. 

The door behind the crew creaked and Elva slipped out, the men parting to let her through.

I froze at the light of anxiety reflected in her soft eyes.

No. Everything was meant to be going right now.

The healer stopped beside Warin, touching his shoulder lightly with one hand.

“He’s getting worse.”

My stomach dropped. The words from my dream pounded louder and louder in my ears.

He was fading.

Too soon.

I looked up, Warin meeting my gaze for a long moment.

He nodded.

Turning back to Leonora, he lifted his chin. “My lady, we have a country to save, if you care to join.”

Leonora blinked, glanced sidelong at Eumin and lifted one shoulder in a shrug. “Anytime.”

Warin turned to his crew. “Well, what are you waiting for? To the Rift!”

The crew surged forward into action, gathering any remain possessions from the house and starting toward the ship. Warin caught my arm. “Where are we going?”

I paused, swallowing hard. “To that island.”

A frown creased a line between his brows. “Pyre-ite?”

“No. The one I asked you about.”

“There’s nothing there, Louise.” He shook his head.

“That’s just the thing.” The words squeezed tight in my throat. “There is something there. And I need to get rid of it.”

Eumin’s hand rested on my shoulder, fingers pressing comfortingly.

My friends were there with me.

But inside I knew  that Elva was right.

I had to do this.

And I had to do it alone.

After three tense hours of sailing, with the wind firmly in our favour, the island slid into view.

My breathing came tight and I tried not to think of my dream. Hands resting on the handrail, I looked across the greying waters as the island drew nearer.

Eumin stood beside me, his broad shoulders sheltering me from the bite of the icy wind. The Rift rolled over a swell, spray spattering across the deck but I kept my balance, fingers loose around the bulwarks. A spatter of the salt water speckled Eumin’s face and neck and he wiped it off ruefully.

“I’m still not your man when it comes to sea travel,” he remarked dryly

I drew in a deep breath, trying to find a sense of peace.

The sun was lowering in the west. Dark, swirling mist lapped around the edges of the island.

There was no peace here.

“That island used to be called Xaelvin. People used to fish from it.” Eumin’s eyes were thoughtful. “But then…one day none of them ever came back.”

I felt like Dark was slowly closing in around me, his net almost sprung.

Warin strode forward from his position at the tiller, eyes fixed on the nearing island. “We can’t go much closer. That mist often means shallow water. I can’t risk the Rift, we’ll have to row in with the longboats.”

He started to turn away, but I caught his sleeve. “Captain.” I stopped him. “Don’t ask the crew to come.”

He glanced around the deck. “They will do whatever I ask of them. Whatever you ask also, don’t doubt it.”

“That’s why I’m not going to ask them. They can’t do anything to help.” I shook my head.

I had to do it alone.

Warin  paused for a moment and then nodded shortly. “Very well. I will row you, and the Quests can come as well.”

I nodded. They couldn’t do anything either, but I wouldn’t be able to convince them of that just yet.

In five minutes, Eumin helped me down into the small boat, my feet touching against the planking and sending it rocking unsteadily. Warin gave last minute orders to the crew and dropped into his seat, taking up the oars.

The even dip and splash of the oars in the water was the only sound in the stillness. Mist crept up the sides of the boat, trailing a cold finger down my spine. Leonora’s arm slipped up across my shoulders, a warm sense of comfort.

One I would soon have to leave behind.

The mist only got deeper and Darker as we neared the shore.

Eumin swung his legs over the side, splashing down into the waist high water to push the boat up to dry ground.

“Are you sure about this, Louise?” Leonora asked, her green eyes darting around the fog smothered island.

On the far edge of my vision I saw a figure appear, the mist swirling silently like a vortex.

Marius had come to lead me.

“I’m sure.” I let Eumin help me out, my feet slipping in the slick stones.

Leonora started to rise. “Well, the sooner in, the sooner out—”

“No.” I stopped her with a hand gesture. “You’re not coming.”

She looked bewildered. “But…of course I’m coming,” she protested.

“You all have to go back to the Rift. I need to do this alone.”

Eumin turned me around with a grip on my shoulder. “You can’t do this alone.”

I felt the truth of his words cut like a sword in my heart.

I knew I couldn’t.

But it was the only way.


Light. If you exist. Help me now.

“You know it always had to be like this.”

Emuin’s hand slipped from my shoulder. He wouldn’t leave.  But he had to.

It would never work if I wasn’t alone.

Then Eumin stepped back into the boat, pushing it off the shore as he did, shoes dripping small ripple across the pale water.

“Wait no!” Leonora lurched forward but Eumin pushed her back gently.

“She’s right.” His eyes never left mine.

“Light be with you.”

Warin saluted silently, bowing his head and dipping the oars into the water.

Light be with you.

Eumin’s words hung in the air, strange and foreign in the heavy air.

I watched as the boat slipped back into the grey expanse, fading through the damp fog.

This was were it ended.

One way or another, tonight this would finish.

Either I would banish the Dark from Marius.

Or…I didn’t like to think of the other option.

Turning my back to the sea, I looked directly at the swirling Dark figure.

The man who was my brother.

“I will save you, Marius.” I let the words of hope drift into the drear greyness. “I will bring you back.”

Then I stepped forward and followed the shadowed Darkness into the very heart of its despair.

Tomorrow the sun would rise on a new day.

It was my job to make sure that it was a new day to rejoice in.

Was I strong enough to stand between the world and Dark by myself?

I didn’t know.

I didn’t see.

I didn’t understand.

It had never been about me.




Come back on 2 December to find out what happens next!

But don't stay away entirely, because I've got some posts scheduled for the next few weeks. And there's comments for you to comment.
I'm also offering a discounted model of Jane Maree that is perfect for throwing across the room whenever you read cliffhangers.

Or maybe not. But...I'm sure I can whip up something in the next fifteen minutes.

So, even though I decided that options didn't really work this week, do tell me how you liked (or didn't like) this week's chapter, and general critiques are always very very welcome.

And just keep checking back here just in case I change my mind and finish it before December...

Fair Winds!

|| Jane Maree ||

Monday, 10 October 2016

Beautiful Books - the NaNo Novel

So I finally decided to do one of these. And apparently it turned out quite fun, and plus cool new pictures.

I love making cool new pictures. And fiddling around to make it a unique/quirky/yeah just plain random header picture is always good fun.

So today I get to introduce you to the novel I will be writing for NaNoWriMo. Agent Kit, book #2 of The Outlaw Legends! Including lots of car chases, outlaws, guns, bashing things, grumpy Generals, and mushroom clouding explosions.

As I said. Good fun.

So I'm gonna answer some questions so you know a little bit of what I'm talking about.

1. What inspired the idea for your novel, and how long have you had the idea?

Well, it's a sequel to Monsieur Scattlocke, so it came somewhere while I was writing that and I realised that this story totally wasn't about to stop. And plus, that character totally needed a story from his point of view. I'm guessing I had Agent Kit in my head since about...June/July-ish.

And book 1 didn't satisfy my thirst for dystopian (considering most of it was actually in 'the Experiment' which is all faked medieval-times), so I needed more of the hacking and tech and flying cars (called Vans) and guns and security-camera-dodging and all of that stuff. Wherefore, Agent Kit is lacking in none of them.

2. Describe what your novel is about!

Synopsis time!

AusIntel Undercover Agent Benjamin Kit never meant to get lost. He'd been minding his own business spying in the Middle East when he took a wrong turn and found himself in the middle of Britain.

Now back in his home-ground, he thinks that maybe things will start making sense again. It doesn't last long. 
When tragedy occurs, throwing the AusIntel Headquarters into chaos, Ben is determined to prove Will Escarlate's innocence, and find the man who actually did it.

With mad car chases, narrow escapes and gun shots flying in all directions, Ben is doing what he was trained to do.
And being hunted by the entire world isn't as easy as he'd thought. 

So yeah, basically it's about Ben Kit and Will Escarlate running around in the Great Federation making the General (leader/head dude of the GF) very annoyed and trying to save the world.

3. What is your book’s aesthetic? Use words or photos or whatever you like!

Not sure if I should mention that all these pics are reasonably innocent and happy compared to the blood and gutsy stuff of the actual book...Nah, I'm not going to mention that. 
I mean, take a look at that little gap the guy is jumping across. Pfft. That's got nothing on jumping from a flying Van, smashing through a window and...whatever Ben decides to do next. You never know with Ben. He could be dropping in to buy hot chicken for all I could guess.

4. Introduce us to each of your characters!

(Main Character)
Ben Kit: a quirky dork, good (depending on your definition of the word) at driving in a car chase even though technically he can't actually drive, AusIntel (the Australian Intelligence Service) Undercover Agent (not 'officially' finished training, but that's just another technicality), loyal to his friends, reasonably good when it comes to all those fight scenes, including the one just after he got shot. Oh yeah, spoilers. *laughs evilly*

(MC from book 1/second main/what even does he do in this book other than get motion sickness?)
Will Escarlate: Big time outlaw (from everywhere but Australia, and that's a tentative statement at the moment), was the leader of the Sherwood outlaws before--nah scrap that, more spoilers. Not a good person to have on car chases as he has a bad case of getting motion sickness, a highly good companion when it comes to all things running, outlawing, sneaking around the Great Federation and

5. How do you prepare to write? (Outline, research, stocking up on chocolate, howling, etc.?)

Howling. Lots of howling. Oh and plotting. I've done a bit of that, but it's still pretty vague as of yet. And NaNo is tearing down on me like a...a Van that Ben is driving. I think my doc after NaNo will be very keyboard-slam-filled.

6. What are you most looking forward to about this novel?

Writing it. And falling in love with the characters again. And explosions. And fight scenes. And I promise I'm perfectly sane.

7. List 3 things about your novel’s setting.

Uh, dystopian. Big city with lots of flying Van things. Erm...Lots of explosions. The setting is...okay, I'll revert to a picture.

Allll the gloomy darkness. That actually looks sort of depressing. Probably because it doesn't show any of the snarky comments and Ben's often-amusing thought train.

8. What’s your character’s goal and who (or what) stands in the way?

Erm...*thinks hard* *jumps onto Scrivener to check out the planning sheet* Um. Basically he's tying to prove that Will didn't do you-don't-know-what and you-don't-know-who actually did do you-don't-know-what and to do that they need to get by you-know-who/the villian/General Malevich.


9. How does your protagonist change by the end of the novel?

Ahem. Well...he's got several more scars. He knows more about actual fighting, not just training. He's in trouble up to his neck (no difference there). To be honest I haven't plotted all the way to the end so I'm just making this up as I go right now. He and Will are now permanently inseparable friends. *has a flash of inspiration* Ooh that's mean...that's really mean. I gotta go write that down.

10. What are your book’s themes? How do you want readers to feel when the story is over?

They should be in the depths of despair and agony of course. Not that I know how it's ending, but I'm pretty sure it's not gonna be happily ever after. Hence there's a book 3.

On a more serious note, I think some of the themes would be loyalty to friends (and friendship in general), and standing up against the wrong and stuff. And explosions.

Well...I blew that serious moment just then didn't I? *laughs*

I'm sorry. I'm so, so sorry. Except I'm not.

And now you have a few snippets more of an idea of what this book is even about. Not that I know very much. But that's what the NaNo-prep month is for: freaking out about not knowing.

But I'm really looking forward to NaNo. Bashing my head against the keyboard. Killing the laptop battery. Carrying around my Agent Benjamin Kit pens (WHICH ARE SO AMAZING AND IT'S LIKE FANDOM SWAG STUFF OF MY OWN BOOK THAT I HAVEN'T EVEN WRITTEN YET, THANK YOU OH MY SISTER OF EPICNESS).

In general: It's gonna be great.

I mean, I might die, but I'll have fun doing it so...*shrugs*

So what are you doing for NaNo? 
(if you aren't doing it, how's the general writing stuff going?)
Was this at all informative, or are you just as clueless as me?

|| Jane Maree ||

Friday, 7 October 2016

Swords, Sails + Scoundrels: A Yearning Yawner

I cannot believe you guys.

No one - not even one person - voted for option one.

And that was the one option that had actually originally been part of the story before I decided it was going on for too long and cut if off. So that 500 words sitting around in the document is now gonna have to sit there forever unused.

But that's the fun part of having it as a choose-your-own-adventure-thing and I just have to go with whatever you decide. So I don't actually mind all that much.

So basically, King's-Healer Kindness got most votes for option three. Dastardly dreams strike again.

And then I realised we're closer to the end than originally planned. But I don't think we're quite close enough to finish off next week. I'll have to see when we get there. My guesstimate is at least two more. Not entirely sure though.

And yes, I do realise that the title on the picture is actually the wrong way around. *headdesk* But I literally only just saw and I couldn't be bothered to make a new picture.

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

As soon as I had the thought a ripple of fear shivered up my spine.

I couldn’t do it.

I wasn’t strong enough.

But Altin had saved my life, I couldn’t just let him die while I had the power to save him.

My breath jerked in my throat, and I squeezed my eyes shut. A hand touched against my forearm, and I looked up into Elva’s anxious eyes.

“Is something wrong?”

I couldn’t do it. “I—it’s—” burying my face in my hands, I gave up.

How could a fifteen year old girl do anything against something like Dark?

How could anyone?

“You have more battles coming,” Elva murmured, sitting down beside me. “I see. You remember what I said first we met?”

She paused, waiting, but I couldn’t answer. With a faint sigh, she continued. “Brains are better. Swords, age, size. They no matter, as long as you use brain first and find only way out.”

I didn’t want to look up, didn’t want to see her earnest face filling with disappointment.

She didn’t understand.

“Friends matter. To have friends, you must have brain. You need brain to choose the friends that can help in battle.” Elva didn’t seem to care that I wasn't responding. “Warin is good friend. So is Mister Quest, and Leonora-girl. But they no can help you now.”

Frustration bubbled in my chest, raising my head I glared at the healer. “What are you trying to say? Just give up?”

Elva looked at me steadily, eyes reproaching. I closed my eyes again, the anger fizzing down as quickly as it had come.

“I’m sorry,” I breathed.

I had to do it.

I needed to dream.

Surely there had to be some other way to find out.

A knot twisted in my stomach, and I knew.

It was always like this, from the very beginning. I had to come. I was the only one who could fix this thing.

They were all counting on me.

“Please, I…” taking a deep breath, I forced the words out. “I need something that will make me fall asleep.”

Elva pulled back slightly, her dark brows twisting into a concerned frown. For a moment I thought she would protest, ask questions I wouldn’t be able to answer.

Questions I didn’t even know the answer of.

The healer paused and then nodded, rising and stepping toward the door, beckoning me after her.

I pushed up from the floor, following through into the corridor. Elva stood by a half open door, nodding for me to enter first.

I slipped through, stopping a few paces into the dim room, curtains drawn over the window, only a sliver of sunlight trickling through across the low bed.

Altin lay, a silent form, barely breathing. Warin was slumped, fast asleep, on a chair in the corner. Elva stepped in behind me, moving softly to a table of bandages and healer’s ointments.

I couldn’t take my eyes from Altin. He was so still.

What if I was too late already?

Elva pressed three grey leaves into my hand. “If you are certain you wish to do this, these will do what you want.” She pushed me into the only spare chair.

I curled my fingers around the herb.

I couldn’t make myself do it.

The King’s Healer bent over Altin, fingers adjusting the bandage with light touches.

I had to do it.

Pushing the dried leaves into my mouth, I chewed slowly, eyes fixed on Altin’s limp hand trailing over the side of the bed.

My vision blurred, and I couldn’t breathe.

No going back now. Thoughts flew away and I slipped into unconsciousness.

Almost immediately I began to dream.

Marius crouches in the darkness, struggling and twisting against the iron shackles that hold him to the cold stone wall. The steady dripping of water is the only other sound.

Then a slow, cold laugh chuckles its way out from the darkness, coming from every direction at the same time. Echoes bounce off the walls, multiplying the sound thousands of time louder than it started.

A man steps forward, hood shadowing his face, shrouded in fabric darkness. “Your struggles are pointless,” his hoarse whisper slips from beneath the shadow of the hood. “Give in, and I can make it all go away.”

A clawing hand emerges from the swirling folds of the cloak, moving slowly toward Marius.

“Give in…just give it all up…hope has no place here…”

Marius’s body shudders and an echoing hiss fills the darkness as a glimmer of Light trickles from him, doused at last by growing Darkness.

The hand touches his chin, raising it so Marius must stare into the dark, shadowed face. With a moan of despair slipping between cracked lips, his body goes limp.

The laugh echoes again, filling the Dark with its evil triumph.

Suddenly Marius changes, his skin becoming darker, hair growing blacker, longer and scruffier. Until it is Gypsy Boy.

Blood – dark, red blood – smears his side and the stones behind.

Standing beside the dark cloaked man is Marius, wrapped in the same Darkness as his Master, a scorning leer twisting is lips.

A trail of Dark curls up from the wound in Altin’s side, brushing against his slumped head, sliding around the back of his neck like a serpent.

“Yes, good…” Dark murmurs the words softly. “He is drawing deeper, closer. She will come soon. She knows she must.”

A fresh swirl of Darkness pushes toward Altin, dancing around him in a whirl of pain. He stirs, tensing against it.

“She will come, and we will be ready to receive her.” Dark steps closer to Gypsy Boy, watching the Darkness moving in still further. “And you, Marius, you will be the one to bring her. You will lead her here. She will join us.”

And Marius hesitates.

For a mere flashing moment, he hesitates.

But then he replies, “I will bring her down.”

Voices. They pulled me from the dream. Wrenching me into reality once more.

Warin lent over me, eyes wide. “Louise, what did you do?”

I felt the floor pressed against my back, cool and calming.

“I sorry, Captain, I should not have let her.” Elva said from behind. “It my fault.”

Warin glanced up and then back at me. “What did you do?” he repeated.

My breath came back to me in a gasp, thoughts pounding against each other in a confusion. And then from the jumble I knew one thing.

“Warin. We need to go sailing.”

“Sailing?” He gaped. “What do you mean sailing?

“On the Rift.” I pushed into a sitting position. “We’re going sailing on the Rift.”

Warin was speechless for a moment. “But…where to?”

“An island.”

He looked bewildered. “What?”

I met his gaze. “We’re going to save Marius.”


1. Warin stopped, mouth half open. “You know the crew aren’t going to like doing this, don’t you?”

2. Warin blinked and clapped his hands together. “Right then. It’s about time by now.”

3. “Captain!” A crewman dashed into the room. “Some’uns outside making a terrible row ‘bout something.”


So there we are. I'll admit that the options are a little odd, basically because I had no clue what to make them. Hopefully they'll do though.

Why do the endings of these things always sneak up on me so?

Anyways, hope you enjoyed it.

Fair Winds!

|| Jane Maree ||