Archive for fantasy

Bestiary: Shep-Sin

Posted in writing with tags , , on November 25, 2009 by Jaym Gates

Shep-Sin: A creature of myth. Vampiric, it feeds on human flesh and blood of people it kills. Only targets people that are not known to be dead. A particularly gruesome creature… it assumes the form of the victim and slips into the victim’s family, where it kills as many as it can. As long as it can kill, it maintains form. When there is no more blood kin, it has to go out and kill again.

Feeding is done by gutting the victim and feeding on the heart, brain, reproductive organs, eyes, tongue, liver and stomach. Steals bits of hair, teeth and nails to keep in a pouch around neck. This ties the ghosts to the beast. These will be slowly melded together until another Shep-Sin is created. These are the ones who do not have to be summoned, but they are weaker and cannot procreate.

Shep-Sin is a name also given to outcasts or lost kin. If someone has been gone for more than a believable amount of time, they are automatically assumed to be a Shep-Sin, and are never allowed into the family again. Such people, if they are Shep-Sin, are usually either killed on sight or simply waste away because the community bands together to starve the creature out of existence.


Guest Post: Wastelands: Making Your World-Part 3

Posted in Guest Blogs, Wastelands with tags , , on November 12, 2009 by Jaym Gates

ENTRY 10: Making Your World: Part-3

Forgive the delay in guest blogs, but now I am finally back. Now, let’s get to business.

A world that has sentient beings is sure to have some form of society. It might be just starting, or could be in place and have been in place for centuries, but regardless of what it is, the chances of it being the only one in the world is slim to nill! Even if it is a lone faction, then there are going to be people in the faction who probably do not agree with the others. You can see it in US politics even if you’re looking for a real example! You have two sides of a nation and they don’t get along!

I digress from that though, because I have no intention to turn this into a rant about politics. So, let’s talk creating a faction. In all honesty, I think this is one of the easiest parts of the worldbuilding. Especially for anyone who has had a civics class where one of the things you had to do was make your own nation. It’s not going to be as easy as that, but you can clearly decide some of the history, and the terrain and area the faction calls home will influence some of the issues. A desert society will most likely have some different values then one that is founded in a mountainous area. I will admit some of the qualities will be the same, but an environment can have an impact on the population and their concerns.

The faction in question will face many trials with the environment that you’ve put it in, and in a fantasy context, this can come from something as simple as a dragon terrorizing the countryside. In more modern settings, you probably won’t have worries like that, but can still have things otherworldly and weird if you want, or you can have more mundane problems, like society not getting along with one another, conflict with another faction, it all really depends on what you think is best to create an interesting world.

Part of this that I think is also VERY important is to not force it all to come out how you visualize it. In my experience, most of the time it’s best to let the setting just go the way it wants to go. There is something to be said for moving it a long a little, mostly when just getting it started, but it’s like characters. You want them to be them. Not someone else, not someone who could be considered an author avatar, or *shudder-shudder* a Mary Sue.

And that’s really it. Your players will create characters to get involved in the events you come up with and it can grow from there! There’s a lot more, but you prolly don’t need my help with it. So, this ends the Worldbuilding section. Next time, expect a little history for Wastelands just to help break it all up!


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.

An Outer Alliance Article

Posted in Fantasy Magazine, Uncategorized, work with tags , , , on November 8, 2009 by Jaym Gates

A while back, I pitched the idea to one of Fantasy Magazine’s editors that, as a magazine that actively seeks minority points of view and fair representation in fiction, we should run an article on Outer Alliance.

For those of you who haven’t checked it out, it’s a group started by Natania Barron and Brandon Bell. Focusing on advocating LGBTQ issues in literature, it is a steadily-growing group of F/SF authors and fans who believe that gay rights and acceptance reach into more than marriage and the mundane world.

2009 has not only been a tumultuous year for anyone in the LGBTQ community, but in the genre community as well. There have been several debates over the prejudice towards white male authors, flaming attacks on rights from well-known authors, and even prejudice against advertisements. This is perfect timing for an organization to bring some focus on an issue that hasn’t had so much attention paid to it recently.

However, I want to show, in my article, why we need something like Outer Alliance in the first place. As such, I’ve put out an invitation on Twitter for anyone who would like to help me out.

Here’s the deal: If you have had experience with some form of prejudice, whether or not you were the party involved, regarding genre fiction and LGBTQ issues, I’d like to hear stories.

If you have links to examples of good OR bad responses to prejudice, queer fiction or queer authors/fans, send ’em away.

What I’m not looking for is ‘we need to do this’, slander, flaming or soapboxes. This is a feature on an organization that is trying to root out prejudice, not an article lambasting or villainizing a group of people.

I also can’t promise that I’ll use everything you send me. But if it is thought-provoking, relevant or really unique, I may want to quote you!

Thanks everyone. This is a project I’m really, really looking forward to!

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!

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.