Archive for the novels Category

Nightmare Excerpt, 11/10

Posted in Excerpts, novels, writing with tags , , on November 10, 2009 by Jaym Gates

It was Witches Dance when the Runners were brought to the edge of the village. The time when Restless Hearts crept out to stare longingly at freedom, or lay in their beds and cried for hope.

“They’ll never come to us,” said Oak. The massive warrior crouched among the runners, his bolstered body heavy and stout as the tree that gave him its name, his hide cracked and gnarled, his legs bent and lightning fast. No Runner could carry him, but he could run with them.

Silk smiled and dismounted, stripping naked and tying his clothes to his Runner. “They will come,” he said, a thin reed flute in his hands.

“Let them come,” he whispered, and put the flute to his mouth as the spirit of the land rose and straddled his shoulders. She plunged one hand into his ear, another into his mouth until he choked on it. She sang through him as the men watched in shock. Music as wild as Dream’s sang through the streets, writhed into the houses and settled in the laps of the Restless Hearts. It grabbed their hands, kissing them and tugging, begging, pleading, urging them to come, to run, to follow. For the Restless, it was irresistible, but others woke and a few came too.

Six came to stand before Silk, their eyes glazed with beauty and hope. The song sighed away, the land pulled herself out of Silk and prodded him out of his reverie.

“We are Free,” said Horizon, “will you be Free with us?”

Six heads nodded.

There were three extra horses with them, so the two grown men and the heavy-set woman were put on them. The children clambered up behind Silent and Horizon and Mischief.

Chatter and Excerpt: Nightmare

Posted in Excerpts, novels, writing with tags , , , on November 7, 2009 by Jaym Gates

Alright, so I don’t have a title for this yet. So, for the moment, the working title is Nightmare.

Also, I’m keeping a fairly simple naming structure for the story, at least for now. I think that the story isn’t ‘big’ enough to need fancy names. So we have the following:


Since I’m using a simpler terminology for the monsters and such too, it just seems right. We’ll see, and feel free to leave feedback.

So far, the monsters I have include:





I started Nightmare on November 3, and am, as of November 7, at 5500 words. My goal is to hit 60,000 words by January 1. No, I’m not doing NaNo. I don’t have time, energy, nor the desire to produce such crap as such a schedule would have me produce. I USED to write 5000 a day, and burned out. 1500 a day is do-able.

That leaves me two months to edit to 80,000 words, a month to polish, and then start the submissions as soon as I have an address in Oregon.

Sooo…there’s the gist of the project. Now for the part you actually wanted to see! It is a very rough draft, so read for content, not quality, please?? Pretty please?

Mask and her brother stared at the house. “We’re supposed to live here?” Mask asked.
“You’ll live where the Queen tells ya,” the Guard snapped. “Now get in there wench.”
Mask shook her head, confused and disoriented by the sudden change. Three days ago, she had had her womanhood ceremony, along with about a dozen other girls. Then the soldiers had come, and chosen five women and five men. Three days later, they were standing in a ghost village, looking down a perfectly-kept street.
Cows still grazed on the town common. Ducks waddled past, quacking. Flowers bloomed in the windowboxes. But no one was around.
She opened the door, noted the slight squeak, and froze on the doorstep.
“This was someone’s house,” she said, her voice quivering.
“Well, it’s your house now,” said the Guard, and walked away, taking her brother with him.
“Wait!” she cried, reaching for Penchant. “Doesn’t he get to stay here?”
“Not unless you want to be breeding with him,” said the Guard, leering.
Shocked, she could only watch as her brother was led to another house.
“Mommy?” said a quivering little voice. “Mommy?”
A little boy, no more than two years old, stood in the doorway, his hand held firmly by an older woman. Mask stared at him.
“This is your mommy now,” said the older woman, her eyes wide.
“What’s going on?” asked Mask, as the little boy yelled “Not my mommy!”
“Hush!” snapped the woman, and thrust him against Mask. “He’s yours now child, best you keep him silent and obedient, or you’ll both end up on the commons, eating grass.”
“No questions!” said the woman, and shooed the rest of the children down the road. Mask could see two other women doing the same thing. Maybe ten children, all under the age of three.
“What’s your name honey?” she asked, dropping to her knees by the boy.
He shrugged, sullen. “Want mommy.”
“Mommy’s gonna come back, but let’s go have lunch while we wait, yes?”
He looked up, his face changing, and she thought he really was a handsome enough boy, all shaggy brown curls and smudges of dirt.
“Food,” he said, and ran into the house.
Mask followed slowly, her head spinning.
Three days after her womanhood ceremony, and she had a two-year-old son, someone else’s house, and a mystery.
She’d have liked all of them, but something told her the mommy wasn’t coming back, and she wouldn’t like the mystery.

Third Time’s a Charm?

Posted in novels, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , on November 6, 2009 by Jaym Gates

I know, I know. I’ve said about ten other projects I was getting started on. But I’ve been in a funk, and none of them clicked.

So, after a fruitless day with absolutely no writing done, I turned on the Industrial music and sat down late at night.

Within 40 minutes, I had 1500 words of the nastiest story I’ve ever written. Human monsters based on folklore monsters. Sin and purity.

My goal is a completed rough draft by Jan. 1. Since this is horror, I think I can keep it shorter. So the target is a 60,000 rough draft, which I can reach by hitting 1400 words a day. Which means sticking to my goals.

I’m obsessed with this story. Don’t let me slack off!

Brainstorming: Nameless

Posted in novels, writing on October 27, 2009 by Jaym Gates

As mentioned before, names and their power are a recurring theme in my writing. Maybe this is the influence of the more Aboriginal belief system I seem to have landed in? Anyways, I attach a huge amount of significance to the names I give my characters.

And as I plot a new novel while Inherent sits at rest, I realize that I want a name to be a central point to the story.

A creature who changes with every name he is given. If he is called ‘demon’, he becomes some form of demon. If he is called ‘fool’, he will be a fool. Whether this is a literally physical transformation or merely a psychological one, I’m not sure yet.

He would be a dangerous man. He could literally be anything. He could be Mouse or Elephant, King or Slave. Originally, I thought I might make him immortal. But where is the fun in that? I’m determined to write good mortal characters, and he offers the perfect vehicle. There is also the possibility that the right name could make him immortal, or mortal, dead or alive. Names are very literal for him, you could name him ‘Richard’ and he would be a ‘Valiant Leader’ because that’s (I think…) what the name means.

But when do you forget yourself? What would remain after years of what would surely be a horrible psychological terror? For the spell to work, he would have to have forgotten his ‘core’, his real name. He is nothing without a name, and so he seeks names, hoping that he might some day find his own again.

His only ‘safety’ is that a name has to be accepted into the heart to be effective. He could, theoretically, deny a name and therefore a change. But would he remember that he could do that? Would he have memories from previous names? It might be more powerful if he remembers just three memories from each name: One good, one bad, and one piece of wisdom.

He will also be one hell of a wild card. If he’s not the main character, then no one knows what he’s going to do. So he would be an outcast at best, a slave at worst.

If he is the main character…can you, as a reader, handle following half a dozen incarnations that might take place within moments of each other? Or would that be too hard to read?

An Inherent Headache

Posted in novels, Rants, writing on October 23, 2009 by Jaym Gates

Ay carumba I hate editing. With a burning, snarling passion. It’s one thing with a short story. Twenty edits on a short story is better than ten edits on a novel. But see, I’m a short-tempered perfectionist. I want to be perfect… right now.

Delusional what?

Add that impatience to the fact that Inherent is a strong, strong concept, and you can imagine how high my expectations for this story are. I’m working with pre-existing material too, or at least a lot of it is already in place.

And yet, I loathe this book and feel like I’m up against a blank wall. I zone out after a few pages. I still can’t figure out why one character is doing her particular thing.

This story was too ambitious for my skill level I think. Red Sun was a mess. I’m actually trashing and rewriting that novel. I don’t think that’s the right move for Inherent.

I wanted it done by Jan. 1. But, can I do that? I’ve been fiddling with it for two months now. I need to step back and gain perspective.

The real problems are Txikia and Sviera. Please, please, do yourself a favor and never try to write a truly mad character as a lead. No. Just…don’t. Sviera really doesn’t have reasons for half of what she does, and she’s moving farther into insanity with every expenditure of her power.

Txikia has her own plans, and her own revenge. She’s working towards a similar goal as Sviera, but from different motivations and at cross-purposes. She’s an anti-hero playing the villain.

The other problem? 110,000 and this book is rushed. Badly. So I have two options.

Plan A: Break apart Logrozana, Abadinur and Kadaraita into separate books to make a trilogy. Abadinur, at just shy of 50,000 words could easily benefit from another 30,000 words. Logrozana and Kadaraita could also be at least doubled.

But trilogies and not only cliche, they are hard to sell. So I’d need to try and lead off with something else to find an agent.

Plan B: Take 1 week to rip through the book, deleting right and left. 3 weeks at 8000 words a day, pounding out a plot change, expanding, editing. STILL have a finished rough by the end of December, and hopefully, both the pressure and the clear eye I need. I’ll probably do that anyways, although December is a terrible month to do that in.

At the moment, I quite honestly hate writing as a business. I love it as a hobby, but I’m going to try and take the rest of October and the first half of November to write what I want, research, read, take a breather, because I’m burned out at the moment. And I have other things crowding my mind and making writing share too little space.


Synopsis and Query, oh my!

Posted in novels, QWIPS with tags , , on October 4, 2009 by Jaym Gates

I loath writing queries. I really do. However, I’m to the point where I need to start working on one for Inherent. Not because I’m done with Inherent, but because it’s going to take me that long to beat a query into some semblance of submission.

The question I’m facing now is how to describe Inherent’s structure. Technically, I suppose it could be described as three novellas tied together at beginning and end. But, is that accurate? Is that going to be a turn-off to an agent? How else could I describe it?

Will someone please help me tear my hair out now?


Posted in articles, novels, Personal Life, QWIPS, work, writing on October 3, 2009 by Jaym Gates

Top search leading to my blog? “Jaym Gates”. Wow. People are actually searching for ME? Nice. I’ll bask in the glow of my ego for a moment. Ok, done now.

Actually, that’s all balanced out by me being an idiot and a pained one at that. My nervous system seems to occasionally just up and rebel, and this last week has been one of those rebellions. Whether it’s the cold weather, not having gotten back to normal from Dragon*Con and being sick before that, I don’t know. But the last week has been a haze of excruciating, random nerve pain. Pain to the point that my ankle will just fold under me.

Of course, this happens about the time it’s cool enough for me to resume the work-outs. Treadmill is on hold till this is over. I had to leave work earlier than planned last night, came home and crashed straight into bed. This is not pleasing to me whatsoever.

The idiot part? I’ve let Inherent sit with almost no attention for over a month now. At best, it’s been token attention. Now that my goal is to have the edits done by Nov. 1, I’m back to being in a time-crunch. It also means I’ll be submitting queries at the same time as the NaNoWriMo crowd. Not good. I need to adjust my novel-writing schedule somehow though, so that I submit in Sept/Oct. rather and Nov/Dec.

On the short-story front… No news. No rejections, no acceptances, just radio silence. However, Prometheus is coming along nicely. Title will most likely be revised to something like Lord of Heaven and Earth though. Currently it sits at 6400 words and about halfway through the first edit.

I have two articles at Fantasy Magazine, waiting for me to format them so they can be published. Both are on forum-based gaming.

Oh! And Tuesday, I go back in to talk to my tattoo artist. Little Tommy of Ace Custom Tattoo is the flat-out most awesome artist ever. I’m really hoping to have new pictures for you by the end of the month.

Monday is horse day again, so probably no blog.

And, that is all. Enjoy your weekend!

War-Clans, Exiles and Self

Posted in Excerpts, novels, QWIPS, Stories-Thunder Songs, Uncategorized, writing with tags , , , on September 15, 2009 by Jaym Gates

When I first started writing fantasy, it was a mere inkling of originality. 90% of it was Tolkien fan-fiction. I didn’t have any desire to write seriously. Three, four years of world-building, and I’d realized that there was no way Tolkien was big enough for my imagination. I wanted my own world. I had plenty of people, places and things to populate it.

So I started a nameless series. Only two characters have retained their names, their identities and their stories for nearly that entire time: Kasiris and Aleshan. (Kasiris did originally have another name, but it was never really intended to be the final result. I just hadn’t found the right one yet.)

It was around those two characters that Shadow and Soul began to develop. If I were to draw a picture representing this world, Kasiris and Aleshan would be center stage, immaculately drawn and detailed. Around them, broad strokes and partial colors would be forming a vast tapestry, one that was constantly changing. They are literally the center of that world, the reason for it existing, both in my mind and within their world.

One of the strokes that is becoming its own picture in that tapestry is the story of the culture itself. Light and Night, War-clans and Shapers, treachery and love. An immortal race with power greater than the gods of our world were ever given, with hot tempers and cold resolve doesn’t float demurely in the background of a story. If a story is being told about one, it is being told about everyone. Kasiris and Aleshan are not alone, they would be nothing without their people.

I started a new short story today about treachery and duty. It stands alone in the Shadow and Soul, follows a character unrelated to any of the ‘important’ characters, and yet inextricably twined with their stories. It is a story about realizing the balance of great and small, the duty they have to each other. The Bear-Star is a story about a man who is no more than a minor land-lord, a smudge of something to the power of the great ones. Yet it is through his need and his determination that the Marasran are able to keep from fracturing down the middle. In a way, he does more for his people than the great ones.

Too many gods and immortals are shown as above the cares and concerns of life. The Marasran are life, but they forget that and lose their footing in the chaos that they should be directing. And then they need a gentle reminder.

The Marasran are humanity, distilled, refined, sharpened. They are what we fear, what we worship and make gods out of. They are as out of our logic as the ocean, a deep and dark part of our self that is hidden beneath manners and the protocol of civilization.

They are the creators of our nightmares and the guardians of our dreams.