Archive for the Excerpts 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:

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.

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!

Prometheus Update

Posted in Excerpts, short stories, writing on September 30, 2009 by Jaym Gates

The rough draft is finished, 6050 words. It’s still pretty rough. The story is good and all, but the setting needs a hell of a lot of padding. The prose needs prettying up too.

Vritra filled the viewscreen, long and white and furious. Magic—magic that no Dracul was ever able to call—shimmered around him in a blue shield, and Janus knew with sinking certainty that the Copperheads would malfunction before they ever hit flesh.

And then Prometheus screamed and swerved, slashing at Vritra with his heavy tail, his talons raking through the white dragon’s magic and gathering it up in handfuls. Vritra shrieked too, in pain and rage, as his shields were ripped, and he struck, snakelike, coming away with a mouthful of alloy scales.

Shadow and Soul Excerpt: 9/29/09

Posted in Excerpts, writing with tags , , on September 29, 2009 by Jaym Gates

(Aleshan and Kasiris)

“Master.” She says the word so coldly and cruelly that it weakens rather than offering power. Once he struggled to force her to say it. Still it tightens his throat and brings him the slightest flash of possessive pride. The dragon longs for her to say it more honestly, tenderly, the same way it longs to be called ‘mine’. It will not be, not today. The brutality in her eyes promises only more pain and more cruelty. So he kneels to her and spreads his hands and lowers his head, offering himself to her, the only penance he can make.
It is days before the marks fade.

Prometheus Teaser: Vritra’s Child

Posted in Excerpts, QWIPS, short stories with tags , , , on September 27, 2009 by Jaym Gates

Gears and engines whined around him, screens shutting off. The drone remained on-screen, an eerie golden glow cast around the cabin. As they left the immature Organics behind, Janus saw one young male, larger than the others, raise his head to peer at the sky, his blue throat startling even in the washed-out light of the sun. Vritra’s child. His throat burned at the thought of that treacherous, beautiful serpent.

The tentatively-titled Prometheus is at 3300 words after the third day of writing. Not bad, if I may say so. HOWEVER… this promises to be a much longer story than the usual. And it is also very different from my usual short stories, and very much like my novels. A good thing I think.

Vritra’s child. Yes, I sense another story here.

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.

Second Draft: Finished!

Posted in Excerpts, QWIPS with tags , , on July 16, 2009 by Jaym Gates

50 words short of 26,000 on the third act of Inherent, it’s the shortest of the three main acts. It’s also the most complex and emotional.

I still have some elements to work in there, but am not sure how I will do so. That is in the next week’s tasks!
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

And then I remember more.

Needles prickle against my skin, marring the smooth skin of my cheeks. A trickle of blood, stained black with poisonous ink, trickles through my hair. Long fingers smooth my eyelids closed, a word pins them shut and for a moment I tense, fight their grip. I have been under needles since I was a small child. My body is covered with the songs of witch and spirit-guide, but now I am queen, and the needles sear my eyelids.

I can feel the ink seeping into my eyes. The pain is unbearable. I have been burned by power, a small scar that was commemorated in a tattoo. This is a dozen times worse. As though fire gnaws at my eyes. I hear myself moaning. Biting back screams. My eyes will be stained, pale blue on gray.

The needles move on, biting at the corner of my eye, then swirling outward and spiraling on my temple. That ink will be black. It will barely show on my gray skin, except as a shimmer of power. But now red and white lines cross-hatch the spiral, stitches. They will match the white dots crawling up my forehead.

Eyes closed, Sviera’s fingers traced the patterns of power and transformation on her face. Around her, the Marasran gathered, observing the battle with cool eyes.

My mate, my lover, my lord holds me down, pins my head still. My body is my own, but I will not shame him with thrashing or struggling. But the pain is so great. I do not realize my tension until his hand leaves my face and strokes down my body until he presses against my belly.

“Relax my queen,” he whispers. “It is over soon.” Then his breath washes over my bleeding lips and I gasp at the exquisite pain as he kisses me.

When finally I am lifted to my feet and brought to a mirror, a new woman stares back. The simple witch-lines have been augmented by royal Imordi witch-queen tapestry. The old lightning flash from the corner of one eye has been doubled, two lines now instead of one speaking to my increased power. My forehead is no longer bare, painted with the patterns of a wife and queen. Amarog stands behind me and lowers a crown onto my head, a simple wreath of barbs and dragon-tails, and the crown weaves into my new markings as seamlessly as though it were simply another tattoo.

That same crown now wreathed her eldest daughter’s head. Corri—Moreda Kadaraita—stood next to her mother and Predator and waited for her mother’s whims.

I am no longer a girl. I no longer belong to Txikia in any way. Amarog found me before my allegiance had been marked. I belong to the people of Jastu, the blood on my throat and eyes declares that. I belong to Amarog, the brand on the side of my neck—the one covering the marks of his own sharp teeth where he bit me in claiming last night—is his own and whether it is bare or covered, I will always feel it. I belong to Chaos and the Night, and to Senestri and Ancin and Raumar and Jourkan. Because of my mate, Death is stamped over my life’s blood.

I stand before my people naked and unadorned, and I am not ashamed.

Sviera loosened the clasps of her robes and stepped out of them, the reeking air shivering against her marked skin. Tattoos as delicate as a butterfly’s wing seemed to shift and shimmer, and blood seeped from some of them to be gathered by the wind and lifted high.

I need never be ashamed now, because my people have claimed me and marked me.
Eyes closed, Sviera stepped to the very edge of the promontory, feeling only empty air at her toes.

My goddesses have claimed and marked me.

Her head fell back, her lips parted, and the first whispers of sound hissed out of her motionless lips as she called on that quiet blood lurking in her veins, her dragon blood.

My mate, my dark dragon, has claimed and marked me.

Sviera reached to her mate, felt the biting cold of the Lord of Death. She felt his teeth on her neck as though the first time he had claimed her, felt his spirit soar through her as they linked minds and felt too the rush of new energy as he wheeled screaming to maul the bay dragon.

A war-cry rises from the crowd. Dark times come and a dark witch stands before them.

Swords were dropped, enemies stood shoulder-to shoulder and looked upwards.

I am Sviera, Queen of Jastu. Lady of the Night. Hand of Chaos. Mate of Amarog. I am an adult, a warrior and standard for my people, and a wife, and a witch.

Sviera’s eyes opened, and the ghosts of the past sang in her ears.

I am Kadaraita.

“I AM KADARAITA!” she roared, and dug her hands into the very fabric of reality.