I’ve Been Writing, I Swear

Okay, so mostly I’ve been making tacos and taking full advantage of my boyfriend’s Netflix account, but I have been writing, which means regular blogging won’t be far away!

I’m still just barely getting back to blogging at the moment, but hopefully I’ll have some posts coming up as I become better at time management.

To prove I’ve been writing, here is an excerpt from my current work in progress,  Let Down Your Hair. This is just a random bit from the middle of the book (currently stands at 43,000 words, so the first draft is about a third done). Feel free to critique as this is only a first draft… Hopefully it won’t take too long to get it to the second.

Enjoy 🙂

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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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How Writing Changes Over Time

I had to download Libre Office to be able to open all my old files to make this post for you guys. Unfortunately, I don’t have anything from when I just started writing, because that stuff was seriously horrible. Here is a sample (that I’m going to make up right now) of how my writing looked in 5th grade:

My name is Beth Raymone. I’m 13 and I have long black hair. I like to wear bangs that cover my eyes because I’m a goth. I walk to the bus stop in a MCR t-shirt and see my friend Becky.

“Hi Becky!” I said.

“Hi Beth! I think the bus will be late.” She said. She was wearing a purple hoodie and torn black jeans. She had on a blue beanie and rings on every finger. She was 14, one year older than me, but we’d been friends our whole lives because our moms had been friends in high school.

“Probably.” I said.

“Let’s just skip school today.” She said.

“Alright, what do you want to do?” I said.

“I just got this letter from my dad.” She said. Becky had never met her dad. He left her mom before she was born. “He’s in a hospital dying of cancer. We should go visit him.”

And so on. I assure you, it was even worse than that.

Here is something I wrote in high school:

Abby was sitting in the common room, reading one of her favorite books, when she heard some noise coming from the hallway where the boy’s bathroom was located. Being a prefect, she sighed and closed her book, getting ready to go and break up whatever fight was currently starting. Abby had been a prefect since her freshman year, and after four years, she knew what to expect.

“Come on Logan! Where’s your smart mouth now?” Abby recognized one of the biggest troublemakers in the school, Blaze, holding a smaller boy against the wall so that his feet only brushed against the carpeted hallway floor.

“Get off of me you-” the boy was cut off with a punch to his gut.

She sighed loudly and began tapping her foot to let Blaze and the other two boys know of her presence. “Really boys?” she asked without a trace of humor on her face.

“Oh look, its little Abby Fairfield, the perfect prefect,” Blaze laughed loudly.

“And look, it’s Blaze Smith, the obnoxious little mommy‘s boy who is always getting in trouble. Mommy won‘t be too pleased to hear of your latest misdeed,” she replied with a cocky grin as his friends laughed at him.

Blaze’s face went red and he dropped the smaller boy. “Shut up you- you stupid little girl! Just because nobody likes you doesn’t mean you have to take it out on me,” she laughed along with his friends at his weak retort. Abby was one of the most popular girls in the school, and he knew it.

“Is that why you always talk about how much you love her hair?” the boy to Blaze’s left laughed. “And how you moan her name in your sleep?”

Blaze punched him on the shoulder and cursed at him. “You shut up too,” the boy on his right chuckled so he hit him too.

“Now why don’t you boys run along and try to stay out of trouble?” she waved her hand at them, as if trying to get rid of a bad smell, and they turned and walked down the hallway while muttering at her under their breath.

*Dies*

But seriously, it’s good to look back at that kind of stuff and be able to see how much you’ve improved. He’s a sample of my current WIP, Only in Whispers (formerly A Game of Madness):

“And he wasn’t too rough with you? I want to ensure that he is treating his possessions with respect.”

Wren bowed her head. “He behaved perfectly well. As you know, a lady doesn’t discuss such things.”

Lord Acton burst out laughing. “A lady? Is that what you call yourself?”

“She jests, my lord,” Collis said. She gave Wren a sharp look. Wren got the message. They were his playthings, not his equals. She knew as much. She just couldn’t reveal that Ferran would find no pleasure in her. She’d likely to be passed on to Cordell.

“Ah, a sharp sense of humor you have, little bird,” Lord Acton said. He smiled at her. “Has Ferran told you anything about me?”

“No, nothing at all. He’s barely said a word to me,” Wren said. Lord Acton raised his eyebrow at her. “We’ve been too busy for talking, you see.”

Lord Acton let out another long laugh. “Not such a lady now, are we?” He took a sip of wine. “And you, what of my brother? Has he anything to say about his Lord?”

“No, my lord,” Collis said. “Nothing but good things. He is happy with your command of Castle Sol.”

Lord Acton continued trying to talk about Ferran and Rozen, but he finally realized that the girls had nothing interesting to say about the subjects. He moved on to talk of how his lands had not been so prosperous that year. Wren and Collis listened as Lord Acton went on for hours about his land and the landholders around him. By the end of it, Wren could name each and every farmer who worked the land around the castle, but she still didn’t know what Lord Acton wanted with them. Had he gotten bored with his usual girls?

“My lord, it’s time for supper,” a servant said, appearing in the doorway. Servants had been in and out to refill the pitcher of wine twice. Wren and Collis had only sipped from their glasses, never refilling them even once. Wren didn’t know how Lord Acton wasn’t yet drunk from it all; or better yet, passed out and snoring in his luxurious chair.

“Off with you whores,” Acton said, waving them away. “Bring me my food, I have no wish to dine with the others. Bring me the purple whore to feed them to me. I don’t want a scrap of clothing covering her magnificent breasts.”

Now, this is a first draft, but so were the others, so it’s a fair change. The first one was fifth grade, the second one was tenth grade, and the third one was present day. That’s a span of 11 years. If you ever despair about never being a good enough writer, look at some of your older stuff. If you have no older stuff, shut your mouth and keep writing!

How has your writing changed over the years?

I finished Camp Nanowrimo!

My goal was only 20,000, but still! I knew I couldn’t get 50,000 so I’m plenty happy with 20k. Here is super official proof of my win:

ImageSo go me. I know have a ton of homework to catch up on, so that should be…. fun 😐

Here is an excerpt from the novel, A Game of Madness:

“I’m an old man. I get lonely. Won’t you give me someone to talk to?”

Wren rolled back over and sat up on her elbows. “An old man? You’re what, five and forty?”

Ferran frowned and lowered himself to the bare featherbed. “You think I look five and forty?”

“Fifty, then?” Wren tried. She didn’t know. He had a few lines on his face, but they weren’t deep. For the most part his skin was still tan and smooth. He said he’d been there for seventeen years, so he had to be older.

“Gods, girl. I’m four and thirty. I was making a joke. Do I look like a grandfather to you?”

“Four and thirty?” Wren asked. “That means you couldn’t have been more than fifteen when you left Vor’Tor.”

“It’s Vor’Torn,” Ferran corrected. He gave her a sad smile. “I’ve been away from there for far too long. I hadn’t planned on being here for years. I don’t even remember my parents’ faces. I don’t even know if they’re still alive.”

“I’m sorry,” Wren said. What else was there to say? “I don’t remember my mother’s face. She died giving birth to my youngest sister. I was still a little girl when she died. I just remember the stories she used to tell me before I went to bed.”

“Stories of princesses and ladies being swept away to beautiful castles?”

Wren shook her head. “A few, but not normally. I didn’t like the stories about princesses. I got mad and wouldn’t talk to my mother for days the time she told me the story of The Dirty Farm Girl.”

“I’m sorry, I’m not familiar with that one. We grew up with different stories on Vor’Torn,” Ferran said. “Lots of tales of pirates, cannibals, and chests of gold.”

“I don’t remember the words to it, exactly, but the story starts off with a dirty little girl who works on a farm tending to the pigs. She wishes every day to be able to go live in a castle, and one day a prince rode by. It started raining and the prince asked for shelter in the little girl’s hut. She let him in before she realized that the rain had washed away all the dirt. The prince fell in love with her and whisked her away to his castle to be his princess.” Wren fidgeted with her blankets. She had never shared that much with anyone in her life. Her family was the only friends they had. What she had to tell they already knew and what they didn’t she refused to tell anyone.

“Why were you mad?” Ferran asked.

“Oh. Because I was afraid that some prince was going to ride up and kidnap me from my home. I worked on the farm just like my brothers did. I loved being outside and working the land. My favorite job was to tend the chickens. Everyone says that chickens are stupid, but they all have their own personalities. They can be nice pets if you take care of them.”

“I can see why you attacked Rozen to try and escape. It sounds like you had a nice life.”

Wren drew her knees up to her chest and looked at Ferran. His eyes seemed even darker in the low light of the candles. They were almost black. “Rozen told you about that?”

“He came to have me examine his head to make sure you hadn’t done any real damage to it. I think he’s lucky you didn’t cut his throat.”

I swear, I didn’t mention chickens just to continue with the chicken takeover of my blog…. or did I….

 

 

More Covers

Image

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.

Writing Prompt: Anger

Objective: Write an emotional arc for a character to move through.
Objective: Explore the use of voice in conveying emotion.

Ferran paced back and forth between his bed and the wall. There wasn’t much space, barely enough room for him to stretch his legs. His bed was but a straw pallet laying on the ground, on top of which sat his new… present. Wren.

“Are you alright?” the girl asked cautiously.

“Am I alright?” Ferran asked. He turned to face her. “Do I seem alright to you? Do you have any idea of the problems you’ve caused me just by coming here?”

Wren stood up. Though Ferran was very tall, Wren was only barely shorter than him. “I’m sorry. Truly, I am. As you know, I chose to come here to never see my family again. I chose to put myself at the mercy of Lord Acton. I simply begged for him to throw me away to one of his servants to use as a toy. Yes, these were all things I chose.

Ferran shook his head and collapsed onto his bed, hanging his head in his hands. He allowed Wren to tower over him. “I’ve been working for years to free my sister from this place. Years.” He hated Lord Acton, hated him with his entire being. The man was scum, not worthy of the throne he sat on. Given the chance Ferran would kill Acton without a second thought. The only problem was that such an act would prevent him from helping his sister. He couldn’t just throw everything away like that. 

“I’m sorry,” Wren said after some time had passed. 

“I am too. No one is to blame but Acton. I just want to get Anna out of here.”

“And what if she doesn’t want to leave?” 

Ferran sighed. “Why do you think I’ve been here for so long?”

A short excerpt from an untitled novel I’m working on written for the above prompt. 

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.