Random Challenge of the…Whatever

mawwiageSo our fearless leader/benevolent dictator/main writing guru Tobias is now a newlywed! He’s currently off gallivanting around the world and doing whatever it is people do on their honeymoon, so he asked me to take charge of the Friday writing challenge, and out of the goodness of my heart, I chose to oblige. How today’s challenge is going to work is that I am going to give you a topic and some general parameters, and then you come up with a scene or a story based around those guidelines. You can post your results in the comments, put them on your own blog and link it to us, or hide them in your basement and never speak of them again. It’s up to you 😉

In honor of Tobias and Alayna’s recent nuptials, your topic today is a wedding. It can be before, during, or after, but the main event should involve a wedding. And not just any wedding, because I am incapable of doing things in a normal or healthy way: it should be a wedding gone wrong, whether in a humorous or tragic fashion. Just no Red Weddings, please. Have fun!

Focus

images (2)Keep your eye on the prize. That’s what they say, right? The thought had repeated itself in Aaron’s mind so many times that it had become a mantra. Keep your eye on the prize. Don’t give up. Stay focused. You can do this, whatever it takes.

He stared at the clock mounted high on the wall, worry etching lines into his too young face. That is what they say, right? … …What if something goes wrong? What if… NO! Keep your eye on the prize. Focus, it’s the only way. He rubbed at one arm. It didn’t help though, he itched everywhere. It has to be the suit. New suits are never comfortable. He smoothed down the jacket of the double-breasted suit and tried to clam himself. Keep your eye on the prize. Focus, that’s what they say. 

Aaron took a deep breath, and then another. His hands kept clenching into fists. Across the aisle another suited man noticed his distress and chuckled. “First time is always hard, isn’t it kid? Are your palms sweating yet?”

“I’ll be fine.” Aaron snapped, then took another deep breath and sighed. “Sorry, and yeah, I’m a little nervous… or a lot nervous. Is it always this hard?”

The man laughed heartily. “Nah, you get used to it, but the first time at anything can be pretty nerve-wracking. Heck, I remember my first interview at a place like this. I was up for a job as an account manager… wasn’t even that important and I still just about shat a brick.”

Aaron smiled. “Account manager, huh? That sounds… boring.”

“Wouldn’t know. I threw up in the interview and they never called me back. And thus began my sordid career.” The man paused for a moment, then added, “You’ll be fine though. Just keep your cool and remember why we’re here.”

“That’s exactly what I’m trying to do.” It was Aaron’s turn to laugh now. “I actually have this mantra running through my head right now: ‘keep your eye on the prize. Focus. Don’t give up, just stay focused.’ … …Pretty ridiculous, huh?”

“Not at all, kid. Heck, my first time the only three words running through my head were ‘WHAT THE FUCK?!?!?!’ on a repeated loop. I promise you, that didn’t help any. It sounds to me like you’re doing pretty well.” The man looked at his watch and grinned, “Hey, it’s almost eleven. You ready for this?”

Aaron took a deep breath and then looked at his own watch. He nodded as he counted down the seconds, and then stood, pulled a shotgun out of his gym bag, and yelled, “Everyone get on the floor, this is a robbery!”

Sunday Picture Post

Well, Tobias is out of town and having computer problems, so I’m covering posts for him for the next few days 🙂 We don’t usually do a full post on Sundays, because it gives the writers a break. I’m going to give my own spin on the regular picture post, though. I’m going to give three random pictures, with a brief description of each one. Your challenge is to take those three pictures, use them for inspiration, and turn them into a story. What you do with the objects pictures is up to you – just include all three of them in your story. Another twist: your story must be 400 words or less. Feel free to share it with us!

The crack in this wind-up children's toy can speak of either neglect or too much well-loved use.
The crack in this wind-up children’s toy can speak of either neglect or too much well-loved use.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A random flatbread sandwich. The toppings are up to you.
A random flatbread sandwich. The toppings are up to you.
A leather-bound journal. What awaits inside? Is it written in? Or empty?
A leather-bound journal. What awaits inside? Is it written in? Or empty?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Write away!

One Lovely Blog

Alright, well earlier this week we were nominated for the One Lovely Blog award by J.W. Eberle (thanks man!), and I have to say it’s kind of exciting.  This looks to be a peer based award, so while it doesn’t seem to be entirely official (I have no idea if there are official blogging awards), Selanya, Cassandra, and I are all pretty happy that other bloggers think our work is worthwhile.  So, while I love to talk (and as some friends can tell you, I even love to talk about myself sometimes), I’m not really much for making speeches.

However, without Selanya and Cassandra I don’t know if I would have kept this blog running for the last year.  Much as I like to point out when they miss posts, and get annoyed at them for calling me at the last minute to tell me that they couldn’t get something done, I work with two really amazing ladies here, and they should definitely get a lot of the credit for this award.  I also have to thank some of the regular commenters: Lynne, Wayne, Colin, Palindrome, and Delft especially! I always love hearing from you guys, and while we don’t always agree on things, your opinions are always welcome, and keep me inspired to keep writing.  For any readers out there, I honestly can’t explain how important commenting is on blogs that you love.  I know it’s not always easy to do, a lot of the time I don’t do it myself, but from a bloggers perspective, it lets me know that people actually read and care about what I write.  It lets me know that what I’m doing actually has some kind of impact, and that is more encouraging than I can easily put into words.

So, this award does come with some rules… actually I’ve been explaining it to friends as half award and half chain letter, but it’s one of those good kind of chain letters that makes you feel happy and doesn’t tell you that you’re going to die horribly if you don’t pass it on.  I’ve never passed one on and I haven’t died horribly yet… … …although I am still single… … …maybe I should have been passing those on… hmmm…

Yeah, not really.  Anyway, the rules:

1) Link back to the person who nominated you and thank them – done

2) Share seven things about yourself

3) Nominate 15 bloggers that you admire

4) Leave a comment on their walls letting them know that they’ve received the award.

So, seven things about myself:

1) I’m single.  Already told you that, but honestly, I’m not really on the market right now.  Let’s just say that it’s been a rough year and leave it at that.

2) I teach online.  I’ve mentioned that a few times.  I teach classes in philosophy and religion at Grand Canyon University under another name, and I’m trying to get a few more teaching jobs.  Adjunct teaching is one of the lower paying jobs in the country.

3) I someday hope to make money off of this blog.  I really don’t know how yet.  I’d kind of like to avoid the whole advertising angle, but I’m not completely opposed to it, as long as I can control the adds that are put up.

4) I used to have voices in my head.  Not kidding, really did.  I’ve never been institutionalized, but I have had some seriously crazy years.  For a while I think I somehow separated out all the different parts of my subconscious into separate, conscious voices that each had to have a say.  I had seven, and two were definitely representative of Freud’s Id and Ego.  Somewhere over the last two years the various voices have been reintegrated back into my subconscious, so it’s quiet in here again.

5) I am obsessed with monkeys.  I don’t know why.  Really, I can’t explain it… I usually blame it on a roommate I had in college.  It’s not like a ‘have to have one’, ‘looking at pictures’, ‘love them’ obsession.  It’s more like I’m obsessed with the concept of monkeys.  Not that this really makes any sense.

6) I love Star Wars.  I once watched the trilogy as background material for an entire semester during grad school.  If I was in the room, there was a Star Wars movie on.  My roommate at the time was not appreciative.

7) I don’t plan to live much past 70.  Let’s just say that my life hasn’t exactly been easy and being here longer than that doesn’t seem appealing.  I am open to the possibility that by the time I reach 70 my opinions might have changed.

And fifteen blogs that we admire, in no particular order:

Tobias’ Picks:

1) Blue Table Painting: While this nomination is less for their blog specifically and more for their company in general, this is a great group! These guys honestly make me wish I had the money to get back into wargaming.

2) Online College: Being that I teach online blogs that offer up good advice and guidance to students are important to me.  I found out about this site earlier this week, and I like their work.  They seem to really have a desire to give students some desperately needed guidance.

3) Clarion Blog: This is the blog of Clarion Publishing, and these people have some great tips and exercises for new writers.  This blog actually helped to inspire some of the format for The Art of Writing.

4) SF Signal: SF Signal is mostly an update and reviews sight for science fiction.  However, the author does an awesome job of keeping the site up to date, and of getting the word out about what’s new and what’s coming.

5) Graeme’s Fantasy Book Review: I don’t spend much time reading other blogs at the moment.  However, Graeme’s is one that I have read and commented on in the past.  He does a great job with his reviews, and he reviews a lot of books that I either hadn’t heard about, or had no interest in until I read his review.  Definitely up there with some of the best.

Cassandra’s Picks:

6) Land of Milk and Honey: I have been following Land of Milk and Honey for over 5 years now. Besides the fact that the author has a very descriptive style that makes me salivate whenever she describes on of her organic, homemade, gourmet meals, I enjoy reading about the farm, and now bakery lifestyle.  It’s like a trip to the past, only it’s happening now.  Organic farming, farmers markets, organic bakery. This author is nothing less than inspirational.

7) An Aggie in Ethiopia: Take a trip to Ethiopia through the life of Peace Corps volunteer.  This blog takes you into the struggles and delights of the people of Ethiopia as well as herself.

8) In Other Words – A Poetry Blog: This blog/webpage is filled with poetry and reviews for modern times.  The author does not rest on his laurels, but strives to improve himself and his chosen sphere of poetry.  Throughout the site you get a glimpse of the questions that he asks and tries to find answers to through his works.

9) Barefoot Photography: This photographer takes you through the ins and outs of her business through her blogs.  She loves her clients and her camera and is always trying to capture life through her lens.

10) Books and Vines: This is a relatively recent find of mine, but I love it.  The author explores the classics with great attention to detail.  Plus, his added attraction to fine publishers, picture, paper quality, and more gives the blog an added level of sophistication.  Additionally, you can explore other topics such as wine, art, and news on his blog.

Selanya’s Picks:

11) The Adventures of Samuel: An entertaining, thought-provoking, and well written blog about the life and excursions of a good friend of mine. He’s an excellent writer, and every single post teaches me something new, whether it be about Sam himself or life lessons in general.

12) I’m Pumped About Everything: An absolutely hysterical blog written by my college creative writing professor. Topics vary from satirical The Onion-style pieces to creatively written posts about himself and his life.

13) Lantern Hollow Press: This is a very excellent blog on writing and the processes thereof. Every post is intelligent, helpful, sharp, and witty. I recommend it to writers everywhere.

14) The Doctor Who Information Network: Do I really need to explain this one? Updates and postings on all things Doctor Who. Absolutely brilliant!

15) Reflections of a Book Addict: A very entertaining blog by a lady who tries to read 100 books every year. Great for book worms everywhere.

And one extra, because it’s a ministry that I admire. Living Bread Ministries:  This is a Christian ministry that works with the extremely poor in Brazil.  I know these people, and I have a lot of respect for them.  They do very good work.

My First Romance – Sort Of: Sam Part 4

Finally, Sam thought as he leaned forward and laid one hand over hers as he said, “I have searched far and long for you, my lady. I have taken many guises, poor, beggared, lame, sick, and now scarred, and you are one of the few who have looked past that which lives on the surface. Tell me your name.”

The woman sat back into her chair, confusion clearly written across her face, but she did not remove her hand from under his. “My name is Tilde. May I have yours?”

“I have been calling myself Sam, but that is not my name.” As he spoke Sam’s scars began to fade. “In fact I have no name. At least, none that is true and whole. I was never named, for it was I that did the naming.”

Tilde’s confusion was even more obvious now, and she squirmed slightly, but she spoke all the same. “Of what?” She asked, although Sam could see that she already knew the answer.

He played along with the question anyway. Sometimes, the question is important. His scars were now completely gone, and there was a soft echo of light, barely noticeable, shining form his eyes and mouth. “Of everything, Tilde.” Tilde jerked her hand back and shook her head. “No!” She whispered, “No, no, no! You can’t be. I can’t meet you.” Her hands went to her scant dress, and there were tears in her eyes. “Not like this.”

Sam held his open hands on the table, inviting. “Give me your hands, Tilde.” His voice had an air of command to it, something soft, but firm that could not be denied. Tilde reached her hands onto the table, and placed them into his. Sam smiled. “In all of my searching, you are one of the only people to see me.” His gaze flicked to her dress and back. “Do you imagine that I cannot see all that you have done? Do you imagine that, looking at you now, all your life is not laid out before me?”

Tilde tried to pull her hands back, but his grip was firm. Not painful, not the arrogant grasping of her customers, but firm and inescapable. She tried to scream, to yell for the men by the fire to come and help her, but she had no voice. And Sam continued to speak, “Do you think that I have not seen your every thought? But Tilde, I tell you this: You are forgiven.” A soft, warm glow flowed down from Sam’s arms into Tilde’s hands, and she could feel her entire body falling into that glow. “You are made pure, and new, and whole. Tell me Tilde, what is your greatest desire?”

Tilde opened her mouth to scream again, but instead she whispered, “George. I want George back.”

Sam smiled at her, and then shook his head. “Better to ask that you had never lost him, because you never did.”

Tilde frowned at him for a moment, but then memories of her life with her husband filled her mind. Like two sides of a coin, she could remember walking the streets, trying to scrape together enough money to feed herself, and she could remember her home with George, a mere two blocks away, and their three lovely children. Tears rolled across her cheeks as she looked down at her no longer scant clothing. She looked back up at Sam and asked, “Why?”

Sam smiled his half smile, one hand rubbing at the scars that covered half of his face. “Because you believed. You should be getting home now, Tilde. George gets worried when I keep you out too late.”

Tilde smiled shyly, “George doesn’t worry. He knows you too. But it is almost time to put the children to bed.” She leaned across the table to give Sam a delicate peck on the cheek. “Thank you.”

Leaving the coffee house Tilde looked back to see Sam resume his slow trudge down the street, and she wondered how long it would be before he found another who would see him.

The End

I am Like My Book! Are You?

I’ve had several conversations lately with a variety of people and, through these, I have come to realize that my first book, Among the Neshelim, bears a strong resemblance to my personality.  Getting to know me is often a difficult prospect, as reading my work can be, because at first it seems overly complicated and very confusing (some people give up at this point – because it’s too hard).  However, the farther in you go, the more you acclimate, and then you start to figure things out.  This is usually the point where you start to realize that I (and my book) can be very dark, and kind of disturbing in places.  Honestly, this is the place where a lot of people stop.  Neither I, nor what I write, are comfortable or safe.  Don’t misunderstand me, this is not a bad thing, but it is a thing that a lot of people don’t seem to be interested in.

However, if you continue to press on (either in getting to know me, or in reading my book) you will realize that there is something wonderful there, and all the complicated, confusing, dark, disturbing, scary, and uncomfortable things are a part of it.  Press on to the end, and you will realize that the more you get, the more you want…I guess I’m just addictive like that ;).  So, I am like my writing.  Are you like yours? Tell me how.

The Landscape of Avnul

The Longminjong call the high mountain range that breaks Tob Erets the Panlong Zi.

The world of Avnul has three large continents, one smaller continent, and one island almost large enough to be considered a continent itself.  The three large continents are home to most of the world’s population.  When I have one available, I will provide a map of the world of Avnul.

Tob Erets: The southern continent it is split into three distinct areas by two mountain ranges, the northwest portion of the continent is mostly desert, inhabited by the Neshelim.  The southwest portion is much more fertile, covered in plains fed by two great rivers.  These plains are the home of the Nemmi.  To the east, across some of the highest mountains in the world, is a vast stretch of jungle, which turns into temperate forest farther south.  This jungle is home to many clans and cults of the Saru.  Nestled between the forest and the high mountains is a plain that houses the five cities of the Longminjong, though this plain is small it is no less fertile than the great Sogope of the Nemmi.  The two mountain ranges that split the continent go by many names, but they are home to the holds of the Kovathi.  While these holds spread across the length and breadth of the mountains, each acts as an independent city state, with no overarching rule.

The Yama:  The Yama is a large island off the northeastern coast of Tob Erets.  While the island is almost large enough to be considered a continent in its own right, it does not quite qualify.  The island is dominated by two volcanic mountain ranges, one the hugs the southern portion of the island, and one that crosses the islands middle and separates north from south.  The southern portion of the island is also home to a dense jungle that holds many secrets, while the northern portions are flat, fertile plains.

Holdnu is a difficult place to live, even on the best days. To the Narut, its only indigenous people, the name means 'its cold here.'

Holdnu: The northern continent of Holdnu is a frozen wasteland.  A single, wide river flows across the land to feed a large inland sea, so salty that nothing can live in it.  This tundra is covered with boulder fields, the remnants of destroyed mountain ranges, and is home to the hardy Narut people.  To the east high mountains rise up to split the continent, and beyond these the land is slightly more fertile, and water more plentiful.

The Twinned Continent: The twinned continent of Tonatiuhtlan and Col Dachad is home to the Baeg-Diathan and the Tonatiuh Coconeh.  The two halves of this continent are connected by a wide isthmus of mountainous land.  In the east the Baeg-Dithi make their homes in the vast jungles, forests, and mountains of Col Dachad.  In the west the vast plains of Tonatiuhtlan vary between harsh scrub land and fertile plain, fed by three large rivers.  South of the plains rises a low mountain range that separates the plains from the forests at the bottom of the continent.  These forests are home to wild tribes, descended from the exiles, prisoners, and undesirables of the Tonaconeh.  Mighty fortresses rise out of the mountains, protecting the cities of the north from these tribes and the monstrous lizards they share the forests with.

Briste Firann: The broken continent has never been explored.  Though mountains can be seen rising inland, and the harsh coastline is covered by rocky cliffs, no explorer has ever returned from a landing.

An Introduction to Avnul: The Peoples of Avnul

Kung Fu fighting!! The Longminjong have a focus on martial arts similar to ancient China.

The world of Avnul is the primary fantasy world that I write in.  It is a dark world where wickedness seems far more common than good, where beings of incredible power rule over men, and where it is very easy to die.  In Avnul, heroes are usually doing well to survive a story, much less come out on the winning side.  In Avnul the hero rarely gets the girl, and when he does she’s usually bucktoothed and angry.  Above all Avnul is a world that you can believe in.  It is a world where most people are just doing their best to survive, and only a few are really doing it well.

Probably the most unusual thing about Avnul, when compared to most fantasy setting, is that the world is in the late Bronze Age.  Most cultures use predominantly bronze weaponry and armor, many tools are still made of copper.  Some cultures are still trapped in the Stone Age, predominantly living off the land and making their tools from either rocks, wood, or the bones of the animals they hunt.  Magic is fairly common, but it is granted to the various peoples by the gods they worship, even sorcerous magic takes on an aspect of worship, as it is provided by great beings that are minor gods in their own write.

Although there are several distinct races in the world of Avnul, the peoples of Avnul are separated by culture rather than by race.  There are a number of cultures in the world of Avnul, each of which will be given an article (or several) of its own.  However, here is a brief overview of the various peoples of Avnul.

The Longminjong: Currently the Five Cities of the Longminjong is the primary setting for upcoming books.  The Longmingjong are a martial people, and their primary entertainment comes from martial arts tournaments.  The five cities are each the center of one of five different districts, which are constantly at war.  The God-King Abin-Thul, ruler and religious leader of the Longminjong, has set down strict rules for warfare between the districts.

Not a Saru, but close enough for the moment.

The Saru: The Saru are one of two reptilian peoples that live on Avnul.  Though they are short and relatively weaker than humans, they are extremely agile.  The Saru are a Stone Age culture and they are obsessed with death.  They believe that existence is a cycle of lives and the only rest a person can find is in death.  Because of this death has become a very important in their culture, and they have a great many rituals, mores, traditions, and rules concerning it.

The Kovathi: Grey-skinned and hairless, the Kovathi are a strange, mountain people.  They are giants, compared to most of the people of Avnul, and they live their lives according to strict codes.  The primary god of the Kovathi, Wernak-Voar, has set down the ever-growing Doktrin von Ausgemacht (the Doctrine of Being or Arrangement), to guide the Kovathi in their day to day lives. The Doktrin is continually added to by the annual gathering of the Kovathi elders and it tells the Kovathi people what is right and wrong in almost any circumstance.

The Nemmi: A tribal people who occupy a great plain that they name the Sogope, the Nemmi are also a Stone Age people.  Most Nemmi tribes are nomadic by nature, though there are a few that build small, primitive settlements.  The Nemmi have a rich mythology, but are generally ruled by fear.

The Yeter: The Yeter are kind, gentle, noble, and wise.  Generally the Yeter are good people, though they are often prone to pride and self-righteousness.  Though very long-lived they are a people who are ruled by an ancient grief.  The Yeter are one of the few cultures in the world that has mastered the refining and working of iron.

The Neshelim: The Neshelim are the masters of the continent of Tob Erets, and the setting for my first book Among the Neshelim.  Though they do not truly rule the continent, the influence of their empire spreads far beyond its imperial borders.  The Neshelim, like the Yeter, are both long-lived, and have early Iron Age technology.  The Neshelim are also magically powerful and tend to treat the other peoples of Avnul as livestock.

The Merin: The Merin are an amphibious, blue-skinned, sea-faring people.  Most Merin spend their entire lives on the open ocean, though they know enough to fear the things that dwell in its depths.  Like the Nemmi, the Merin are a tribal, nomadic people; often allowing their great floating cities to drift on the ocean currents.

The Yamakuni (Kuni): The Yamakuni, sometimes just called the Kuni, are a people of great courage who value physical power and violence.  They are very superstitious and are generally cut off from other peoples because of their mountainous, island home.

Again, not a Nemmi, but enough for you to get an idea.

The Narut: The Narut are a hardy people who inhabit a blasted tundra in the far north.  They survive in a place where few others could, and they take pride in this fact.  The Narut are another Stone Age people, however their tundra home is covered in the ruins of an ancient civilization, and so many artifacts are found among them.

The Baeg’Diathan (Baeg’Dithi): The Baeg’Diathan, or Baeg’Dithi, are the second reptilian race on the world of Avnul.  Unlike the Saru they are extremely large, often over eight feet in height, and they tend to have incredible physical abilities.  They separate into clans according to bloodlines, and often war among themselves.

The Tonatiuh Coconeh (Tonaconeh): The Tonatiuh Coconeh, or Tonaconeh, stand second only to the Neshelim in the raw power of their empire.  Though they are constantly threatened by the vicious tribes of the Baeg’Dithi, the Tonaconeh are consistently ready for the attacks.  The Tonaconeh worship a pantheon of bloodthirsty gods who demand human sacrifices on a regular basis.

So, these are the peoples of Avnul, I hope you’ll come back to read more about the world in further blog posts.

The Crossing**

The great Oppaipeh

The Oppaippeh flows. Its endless stream of tears, the memory of lost hope, dreams trodden under careless feet, the life’s blood of love and goodness, streaming out from hearts shattered by their grief, to wander the land in eternal solitude. Upon its muddy banks the bohogande*, Sanuye, knelt, made homage to such power as endless torment may afford. Precious wood, gathered months before on the other side of the world, in the shadow of mighty peaks, was gently lain upon the river’s swirling surface. There to bob and float away, to soak up some little portion of the Oppaippeh’s pain. Palms were cut and blood dripped into its mighty depths as Sanuye begged for peace between the river and the people.

Liwanu watched as the witch women, those caustic creatures that so fawned over the bohogande’s power, cut apart a goat and fed it, piece by piece, into the water below the ford. The blood and flesh and bone sinking, pulled down into the water’s depths, there to feed its hungry mouths that they might not hunt the people. He watched Alaqua, her lithe form moving as though to unheard music. Her gentle curves inviting him to all manner of illicit thoughts as Alaqua’s knife slid through the goat’s abdomen, spilling its innards upon the ground. Liwanu grimaced and looked away, trying, with little success, to rid himself of the thought of her fan of earthen hair, and breathed in the heavy stink of the goat’s last meal.

As the last of the goat was fed to the mighty river Sanuye raised his arms in supplication to all the gods, crying out for suffrance. Finally standing, he nodded to the chief for the people to begin the crossing. Their mouths shut tight against the fear of offending the river and undoing all of Sanuye’s work, the splash of many feet and rustle of hides the only sound above the gentle burble of the water. As they did so Sanuye caught Alaqua about the waist and pulled her to him, their lips meeting in fervent passion, her still bloody hands pressed against the furs covering his chest. Such were the privilages of power, Liwanu thought, that those who should belong to others were drawn to the mighty.

The northern plains of the Nemmi near the mountains

Liwanu watched in furtive glances as the people crossed into the turgid currents of misery. His thoughts, he imagined, a morass of suffering even greater than the river’s own. His fingers twitched upon his spear, the urge to drive it into Sanuye’s chest, to claim his rightful prize…he took a step…

…And found himself speared by Alaqua’s eyes, hard and cold, the ice of those eyes warred against the heat rising within him. Looking away he spat his frustration at the ground.
The people walked, the crossing of even one man took quite some time, so wide was the river, and the people numbered more than two hundred, along with their animals and belongings. As they walked, fearful silence still ruling their lips, Sanuye and Alaqua watched, his arm ever around her waist, her head upon his shoulder. Liwanu trudged with the rest of the people; one, he thought, among that great mass of servants under the bohogande’s watching eyes.

His thoughts never far from Alaqua’s supple form Liwanu walked, step by trudging step, down into the water. Lust and hate swirled through his mind, dancing around one another like lovers before the bridal tent, the river of his mind bleeding out his mouth in a soft muttering of discontent. The Oppaippeh heard his rancid thoughts and all the pleadings of the bohogande were lost, in rage the Oppaippeh rose, its waters swelling their banks, and washed away Liwanu, and all his brethren within. Fifty of the people were lost to the river’s wrath, for the judgments of grief are swift, and without mercy.

***************************************************************

* The Bohogande is the priest/sorcerer/wise man of a Nemmi tribal group.  A man, or sometimes woman, chosen by the gods to be the people’s spiritual guide and protector.  His witch women act as assistants, pupils, protectors, and sometimes wives.

**This story was first posted on the short-lived blog Stories from Lantern Hollow Press, which (if I am not mistaken) has been viewed by about seven people in all of time and existence.  So, while technically this is a repost, I still think of it as original content.

What’s This All About

If you’re reading this then chances are you have followed my work on While We’re Paused, the blog of Lantern Hollow Press, where I posted under the name noothergods.  With the recent publication of my first book, and my year of experience with While We’re Paused, I have decided that the time has come to start my own blog.  First of all, please do not think that there has been any animosity between myself and Lantern Hollow Press, this blog is nothing more than a sign of positive growth in my career as a writer.  Second, I hope that you will all enjoy this blog as much as you have enjoyed my work with While We’re Paused.  I do intend to update this blog daily, but the format and content will be somewhat different from While We’re Paused.  I do hope that you will continue to enjoy both of these wonderful blogs from this point forward.

As I said in one of my early posts with While We’re Paused – I write to educate and, hopefully, bring about positive social change.  I am not a particularly ambitious man; I just want to change the world for the better.  I intend to do this through fiction.  Why? Because stories are the seeds of reality, and myth is the outcry of the heart.  Admittedly, I wax a little poetic sometimes.

This first post should let you know what to expect in coming days, weeks, months, and hopefully years.  First of all, this blog is not primarily going to be about myself, or my writing (though some of that will be included).  Instead, the primary intention of this blog is to help young writers who are looking for advice and practice.  I will be posting three writing challenges every week, outlined below, along with at least one post that is intended to be useful to writers.  I will also be posting at least once a week about my own writing, or one of the worlds that I write in.  Lastly, I will be posting at least one book review every week.  I will review either professionally or independently published work, and you can see the submissions page for details.

The weekly breakdown will look something like this:

Also on Monday: A random, one-legged pirate will accost you in a back alley.

Monday: Writing Challenge – I will provide you with three words (1 verb, 1 noun, and 1 random word).  You will then write a story of five hundred words or less using these three words.  You may use any normal form of these words, however verbs must stay verbs, and nouns must stay nouns.  For instance, you cannot turn a noun into a pronoun.  So, if I provide the word reaper, you may not name your main character ‘The Reaper’ in order to use the word.  If you wish you may email me your story, or post it in the comments.  I will try to reply to every story I receive, but as more people write, I won’t be able to get to all of them.

Tuesday: My Writing – I will be posting articles concerning my own work and the worlds that I write in.  For the moment most of these article will be about the world of Avnul, as it takes up the majority of my time, but there will be other worlds.

Wednesday: Writing Challenge – I will provide the beginning of a scene (anywhere from a phrase to two sentences) and you must finish the scene.  You can write anything you want, and you can post it in the comments, or email it to me if you wish.  Again, I will try to reply to every scene I receive, but the more I get, the lower the percentage to which I will be able to respond.

Thursday: General Writing – I will be posting articles concerning the process, art, form, etc of writing.  These will generally be similar to the articles you have seen me publish on While We’re Paused, but I will include some specific content for writers in all of them.

Friday: Writing Challenge – I will provide a setting and between three and five brief character descriptions.  You will then come up with plot ideas that could be written using them.  As with the other writing challenges, you may post these in the comments, or email them to me if you wish, and I will do my best to respond to them all.

Saturday: Book Review – I will be posting book reviews, starting with some of my favorite novels, and then some lesser known works as people send me books to review.

And a random demon...I think he's about to overcook that guy's steak.

Sunday: General Content – This could be anything.  An extra article or book review, a piece of flash fiction, a guest post, or another writing challenge.  It just depends on what I feel like posting.

I hope this gets you primed and ready for the new blog.  I know I’m excited about it, and you should be as well.