Archive for the QWIPS Category

Fresh off the Press!

Posted in QWIPS, short stories on March 10, 2010 by Jaym Gates

In November, 2009, Mike Griffiths sent me a Twitter reply. Was I participating in the Aether Age anthology? A quick Google search, and I hedged my bets. It looked awesome, but I knew I was going to be swamped, and shared world isn’t my strong point.

I forget how many people ended up nagging me. Plenty, that’s for sure, and I started it in January. Ya’ll know how January went for me. One computer crash after another. On top of that, I couldn’t find a story I liked. I told the editors that I probably wouldn’t make it.

Finally, I got pissed. On the old, crappy laptop, I sat down and wrote a story. I’d been trying to keep my pervasive love of horror out of it, and failed. It wasn’t a terribly long piece, and I wasn’t sure if I was happy with it or not.

I sent it to a couple of people, got great feedback, and made it before the deadline.

So yes, I’ve been on pins and needles ever since.

The reason for this ramble?

The Aether Age anthology will contain my story First Step, Last Breath along with a host of talented writers. Publication is slated for some time in August.

This is my first paying fiction publication.

The moral of the story? If a door opens, and then tries to reach out and grab you, while multiple people push you towards said door, and when you complain that you can’t possible REACH the door, the door moves closer…then you should probably go through the door.

Have I ever mentioned that I’m a bit dense. Yeah. I am.

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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:

Mask
Penchant
Dream
Chance
Death

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:

Haven

Behemoths
Breeders
Skinwalkers
Blurrymen

As-Yet-Unnamed-Outside-Country-Financing-Rebellion

Bloodybones
Greenteeth
Soulskins

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.”
“Wha–?”
“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.

Bestiary: Blurryman

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

Mask saw the Blurryman the second day of her relocation. An ugly little creature in the skin of a human, hunch-backed, eyes the size of watermelons, clawed little hands. He sat on the common and munched on skinned grapes, popping them between his teeth.
Mask crept by, doing her best to be invisible.
The Blurryman’s head turned to watch her, watermelon eyes in his chest peering through human skin, while he raised his human-skin hand to cautiously wave at her. Mask choked and forced herself to wave back. Blurrymen were a secret, the Goddess-Queen’s secret eyes.
To see one was the sign of a witch…and witches were killed by the Blurryman.
She did, however, wonder where he’d gotten so many fresh grapes.

Excerpt: Untitled 10/30

Posted in Excerpts on October 30, 2009 by Jaym Gates

There’s a saying that, if you walk up the side of Harmony Mountain, you will hear the angels sing.
If that’s what Heaven sounds like, then something’s gone wrong with this world. Or maybe it’s just me. Maybe my head’s so fucked up, maybe my ears are so twisted and my heart so black that even Heaven sounds like Hell.
I wouldn’t be surprised.
After all, I’ve been to Hell. Doesn’t really scare me, y’know? It’s like going to a haunted house. You know there’s got to be ghosts and shit there, so it’s just a trick of the mind, a primal weakness when you scream because some guy in a crappy costume jumps out at you.
You should come to my haunted house sometime. Just sayin’. I’ll show you some crap that will turn you inside out.
Horror ain’t all in Hell. It ain’t all what you see. Sometimes it’s what you are.

Writing Habits…

Posted in QWIPS, short stories, Theories and Thoughts, writing with tags , on October 17, 2009 by Jaym Gates

…are something I could stand to improve.

Sorry for the lack of post yesterday. In my defense, I honestly thought it was Saturday. ALL. DAY. LONG. I thought it was Saturday. How sad is that? So it wasn’t a lack of dedication, but a lack…well, a lot of other things. Most notably, a brain. Anyone got a spare sitting around please?

Anyways, just finished another round of editing on On Aralu’s Breast. I am pleased with the story. It went from 1200 words to about 2200. Not bad. It’s also heavily erotic. Which leads to the point of this post.

I’ve written two stories set in Sumerian culture now. New Name was not directly Sumerian. In fact, it was meant to tie into my Shadow and Soul world. But further research for Aralu pointed out that I really did write a Sumerian story there. Kema makes a very convincing Ereshkigal, and Hell there is the dusty Aralu of Sumerian myth. I didn’t do that intentionally, I swear.

And it didn’t start out to be sexual. It ended up so. Not blatantly, although a rewrite would change THAT significantly.

The last lines of the two stories were also originally very, very similar. And on thinking back, I’m beginning to notice some common things in my writing.

1.) A sort of passive ‘possession’ that allows the protagonist to see through someone else’s eyes. In Inherent, it just got tweaked so that the narrator saw the entire series of events through the eyes of everyone there. In Aralu, Ku-Inanna is watching through the eyes of a nameless god.

2.) Killing off an old god for a new one to rise. Substitute ‘dragon’ for god, and there’s the story about Prometheus right there.

3.) Changing names. In Inherent, two of the main characters take new names after coronation, and their personality actually shifts to reflect the new things. In Aralu, Ku-Inanna’s name changes to reflect his new situation. Names are power.

4.) A certain ‘breed’ of witch. Namely, one who works just this side of insanity, is very dark, and has the attitude of a goddess. I like my witches.

5.) Dragons. Three different forms at this point. There’s the dragon in Hidden Fire, which is the most ‘traditional’ of the three. Prometheus is a sort of magic/tech hybrid, and Inherent’s dragons are the most odd of the three.

There are more themes, like immortality, vengeance and being consumed by power, but those above are the ones that crop up the most frequently. So, there you have it. I have habits.

Heaven and Hell

Posted in Excerpts, QWIPS with tags , , , on October 15, 2009 by Jaym Gates

Argh, late morning is late, and I have to be to work early, and nothing got DONE yesterday! Except the tattoo that is.

Anyways, two pieces were done in the Heaven and Hell collection. The results were radically different. Songs of Sheol was liberally bashed by the people who took a look at it, and rightly so. It is CRAP! Oh well. I didn’t have a good handle on that one. Tossing it to write it a new way.

So they had become unlikely friends, the man-who-was-not-mortal and the Angel of Death. Their common goal kept them assured of their Divine Master’s love. But Samael walked the earth, and Michael walked only in Sheol, and so the seeds of envy were planted in his heart.

Songs of Sheol

On Aralu’s Breast, however, is spectacularly different. A complete 1200 words in about two hours. Beginning, ending and preliminary edits and all! Damn, that’s unusual for me. This story is a weird bag, combining ghosts, horror, implied sex, psuedo-history and mythology. All the good stuff. It’s actually a fairly steamy m/m story, without any graphics.

After all, possession takes so many forms, and it’s interesting to note that the language used for the two is easy to cross over and play with.

Three times the question. Ku-innana’s answer would seal his fate. He thought about his friends, the quiet city. He thought about the worshipers who coupled with him, the pleasure he found in being possessed by the warriors—for the mighty hunter Gazualum had declared Ku-innana the flower of the temple and he was a favorite of warriors and hunters looking for Innanna’s blessing in the hunt or battle—and of the mighty priestesses. His fingers traced Erishkagal’s thick thighs again, and he knew his answer.

Anyways, editing On Aralu’s Breast today, hoping to get it in under Shock Totem’s eyes tomorrow!