Update in less than 500 words…

…not including the title.

I finished writing Touch of Fire and am over halfway through with the first read through. I then started a new novel as a distraction. Oops.

Please enjoy this excerpt that will probably make it to the final draft:

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Excerpt from Wildflower Crown

Wildflower Crown

Wildflower Crown

© Charlotte Cyprus

Prologue

The woman kept to the shadows, avoiding the torches that lit the streets. A hood concealed her face and black cloth was thrown over the basket in her arms. Little whimpers came from the basket, but the woman shushed it, moving through the unfamiliar village slowly. She avoided the men walking home from the pub and went farther to the outskirts of town where there were smaller houses stuffed with squalling children.

Fog rose up from the ground in the cold night air. The streets were tracks of dirt that the recent rain had turned into mud, and it sucked at the woman’s boots as she struggled to keep herself unnoticed. A pitiful cry came from the basket in her arms. The woman paused to reach her hand in and stroke the baby’s cheek. She was rewarded with a happy gurgle.

The woman was caught off guard. She looked at the baby, so sweet and small and innocent. Had she gone far enough south? The king would be hunting her, she knew. It had been a foolish thing to take revenge on the king, but she hadn’t counted on getting pregnant. The baby’s father had no idea where they were, or that the baby existed, but it was for the best. The babe could live out an anonymous childhood away from the chaos of her own life.

A child’s cry rang out in the night, but it wasn’t her baby. The woman froze and listened hard to find where the noise was coming from. The child called out again, and the woman determined that it was the little house across the street. The roof was crumbling and the door was hanging at an angle. As the crying continued, a light was lit. The woman could see it through the shuttered window.

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More Covers

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I’m done, I’m done. I’ll pretend like this is the final cover and the final title. My friend pointed out that if it’s accepted by a publisher that they’ll probably change the title and the cover. I’m not so sure that I’ll be able to be published, but I am going to submit to at least two or three publishers before deciding to self-publish. I think I already have decided to submit my novel to one specific publisher, so my plan is to have it all edited and finished in time to send it to them before summer (mostly because when at school I can print all the submission pages with my school print credits and not pay for ink (well, not directly, I’m still paying thousands in tuition)).

But since I’ve been mucking about all day (really, all I’ve done is nap and use fake photoshop for covers I won’t use) here is an excerpt from Woman of Fire, Man of Ice. Or rather, Kiss of the Fey, now. I just don’t know.

Xenos scowled as he looked down on the beach. Orion was standing at the tide line, teetering along on his staff and looking every bit the old fool that he was. Deep wrinkles ran down his face, and his skin hung off of his bony frame. He was tall and stooped, with hands so gnarled they looked like claws. Even at a distance, Xenos could see the bright blue eyes, framed by bushy white brows, that denied all knowledge of the advancing age of the face upon which they sat. The eyes could have belonged to a newborn baby.

Scowling at the twinkle in those blue eyes, Xenos slowly led his horse down the cliffs until he reached the sand. At his command, his men waited for him above as he approached the old warlock. By the time he had ridden down the beach Orion was bent over leaning heavily on his staff, looking, apparently, for seashells.

“Why hello! The beach is always lovely this time of year, wouldn’t you say?” Orion asked, his deep voice booming. His robes were in surprisingly good condition considering his long journey. His sandals, however, were in poor condition, and Xenos wondered if he would need to give Orion his own shoes before they made it to the nearest village to buy some. The old fool was constantly inconveniencing him.

“You’ve gone too far this time,” Xenos said, riding up and dropping from his horse. Lovely indeed. He hated the beach. His kingdom of Malum was cold year round, with snow covering the ground seven months out of the year. Orion had fled so far south that they were in the kingdom of Blairford, the southernmost kingdom on the continent. Malum was the northernmost kingdom. Xenos had not enjoyed the chase, nor did he enjoy the climate. It felt as if he was swimming through the air, and already he could feel the sand from the wind getting all through his clothing. The horses didn’t like the change in weather either, and their progress had slowed the further south they’d gone. They were mountain-bred horses, meant to stay in the mountains. Xenos himself felt sure that he hadn’t been meant to leave the cold peaks either.

“Or not far enough,” Orion said. He turned and smiled at Xenos, holding a large seashell in one hand. “It is your first time here, is it not? Perhaps you should enjoy yourself.”

Xenos grit his teeth. The waves of the ocean were choppy and full of white. The sky was overcast and there was lightening in the distance. Xenos felt satisfaction in the fact that the weather was reflecting his mood rather nicely, even if that meant that there was a good chance he and his men would be caught in the storm. “Must I use force to move you?”

“No, no, of course not,” Orion said, smiling. He started handing the seashell to Xenos. Xenos almost took it before he saw the gleam in Orion’s eyes. His eyes said “yes, trust me,” but the gleam said “trusting me could be your biggest mistake”.

“What have you done to it?” Xenos asked. Old, dried-up warlock that he was, Orion still had some magic in him. In his prime, Orion would enchant various objects with very powerful spells. He could enchant a crown to induce obedience from a king’s subjects. He could make a ring that would transport the wearer to any destination he wished. Now, Orion had the ability to enchant a seashell to give a nasty shock to whoever touched it. Xenos had learned to be wary.

“Nothing, nothing at all,” Orion said unconvincingly. He shoved the seashell into Xenos’s hand. “Just a trinket, that’s all. Wouldn’t you carry it for me? It’s amazing what you can hear with it.” Nothing happened, so Xenos slipped the shell into the pouch hanging from his belt. Nearby, his horse made a noise as it studied the waves curiously. “I’ve missed the sea. It’s so pleasant here.”

“Is it? I hadn’t noticed.” Xenos looked out at the waves as the wind whipped up and sand blew into his face and hair. He shivered and ignored the look Orion gave him. Even there, he was cold. He had never gone so far south because he had wanted some hope left that the heat could warm him. Yet at a temperature that would make any other man sweat, Xenos and his frozen heart were completely unaffected due to his curse.

“So, have we any plans?” Orion asked pleasantly as Xenos lifted the old man up to his own horse.

“Yes,” Xenos growled. “We’re going home.”

“Oh, certainly not.” Orion shook his head. A lone colorful bird flew overhead, crying out and drawing Xenos’s attention. The south was a strange place.

Editing is a pain

Now don’t get me wrong, I know editing is important, but it’s still a pain. I’ve finished editing the first/secondish draft of Woman of Fire, Man of Ice and now I have to type up those changes. Why would I need to do such a tedious thing, you ask? Because I was editing a hard copy. I was like “oh yeah, that will make things easier for me, I’ll just print it all out“. Wrong. So wrong.

I edited the whole novel in a maybe ten hours (total) but it’s taken me a few hours just to retype the corrections in the prologue and chapter one. It is a pain in my bum and I wish I had a little writer slave to do it for me. It’s going to take forever.

However, here is an excerpt from what I have written so far:

Hardly, Johara. You’re lucky we even let you attend the balls. You should be cleaning up after them.” Johara turned to see the sneer on her sister’s face. She stuck her tongue out at her. “See? Acting like a dirty peasant. What are you whining about this time? Another man attack you? If you just let them you’d be married and out of our hair already.”

 

Okay so it’s not much of an excerpt, I lied. In my defense I have an exam coming up with questions such as “4. Differentiate oligodendrocytes from Schwann cells.” (which I don’t yet have an answer to, sorry for the people Googling that question and ending up here) but I just wanted to post an update on Woman of Fire, Man of Ice.

That is such a long title. I want to refer to it as wofmoi but that is just silly. Still the best I got.