What I’m working on.

I figured I would give you guys and update on what I’m working on:

  1. I am finishing the rewrites on my novel, The Mage’s Daughter. It’s a fantasy set in a pre-industry society where magic is only available to the privileged, royal, or wealthy. The main character is a young female mage called Beryl who is fighting to make her way in a society that seems to be out to use her any way it can. With a country on the brink of war she fights to learn and prepare while hunting for the mage that attacked her as a child.
  2. Short stories edited and ready to be submitted. Woo!
  3. Writing new short stories and wrapping up current projects such as Fan fiction.
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Gryphon Part 7

A new chapter for my serial, Gryphon. Enjoy. Clink on the links below if you need to catch up on the previous posts.

Gryphon Part 1

Gryphon Part 2

Gryphon Part 3

Gryphon Part 4

Gryphon Part 5

Gryphon Part 6

***

Gryphon made her way deeper into the Council’s complex trying not to let the oppressive white marble walls and ancient wards make her tense. She hated being walled in and the building was all but designed to put visitors off while showing off how rich and above you the Council member were. She hated even having to walk its gilded halls but when the Council called, you answered promptly. Hopefully it had something to do with the decision about her status in the Clan.

She faltered for a moment when she saw the small group waiting outside the main hall but forced her head up and back straight. She wasn’t about to give them the satisfaction of seeing her afraid. Her former brothers watched her approach with wide predatory grins.

“Sister, long time no see? Have you decided to return home to the nest?” He asked grinning as he crossed his large biceps over his muscular chest, his blonde hair falling into his eyes did nothing to disguise the anger filling his gaze.

“No, I was summoned to speak with the Council, Cael. I am not returning to the nest.” She said keeping her distance, the last thing she needed was for a fight to break out in Council Seat. Cael had always been the more physical one, lashing out in anger at the smallest provocation.

“What no hug for your brother? I feel slighted, Sister.” The other brother said giving her a winning smile that had lured many a woman to his bed while he opened his arms like she was still a child to run into his arms.

“I am not part of your clan or nest until the Council’s decision, Aedan. I cannot claim the title of sister and you well know it.” She said, fighting the urge to cross her arms over her own chest as a barrier to their gaze. Aedan had lusted after her since they were children since they were not true siblings in his eyes.

“I’m sorry, Sister, it’s just that we have missed you greatly. The house has been barren of entertainment without you around.” Aedan said with a leer looking her up and down like a piece of meat.

“I’m sorry but I have other business to attend to.” She said stiffening as they stepped forward enveloping her in the scent of their combined anger and lust.

“Of course, don’t let us keep you. We just wanted to see our missing Sister one more time. You know Mother is still rather desperately looking for you. She’s like a scent hound, nose to the ground.” Cael said watching her like a rabbit. She bit her tongue on the cutting reply that wanted to emerge forcing her face to stay in its calm mask, her lack of reaction had always angered her brothers more than any words she could’ve hurled.

“The Versus Clan Head is a formidable tracker.” She agreed pushing her way past them, “I wish her luck in her hunt.”

“We await the day you return to us, Sister; May it be soon.” Cael said his eyes promising violence as his jaw flexed; she knew he was grinding his teeth in frustration.

Gryphon had the doorman announce her presence and did her best to shake off the anger and bitterness that made her hands shake. She couldn’t do anything until the Council made its decision. Until then everyone in her family was stuck biding by the laws of the fae, unable to act out in anyway without affecting the decision.

She was shown into the Council chamber only a few moments later which set her nerves alight, the last time she had been made to wait hours while the Council members ignored her. What would make them treat her with respect? There was no reason for a high ranking Council member to show her any respect considering she under the law was not even part of a clan or house.

The Council members sat on a raised podium looking down on the single chair set before the semicircle of their gaze. Each member was dressed in fine fabrics and wore their jeweled chains of office proudly displayed. Each was the head of their Clan and generally only the heads would be put forth for ascension to the Council.

“Ah, Gryphon! Thank you for joining us so promptly.” One of the members said with a wide smile gesturing her to the seat before the semi-circle of seated members. Councilman Dragan was often chosen as the spokesperson for the Council since he was so photogenic and charismatic with his wide open smiles and fair looks.

“I am at the Counsil’s command.” She said slowly taking a seat with a forced smile.

“Would you care for any refreshments?” He asked with a winning flash of white teeth that was a hair too predatory for her comfort so soon after the confrontation with her brothers.

“No, thank you, sir.” She demurred as politely as she could with a small smile, she was too nervous to even think of eating.

“Well, to business then.” He said with a strained looking smile, “We are still deliberating on your request of the Counsel but hoped to approach you about a small matter that the community needs completed.”

“What exactly would such as task be? If I may ask.” She said when the silence continued on for several long moments with the Counsel looking at her expectantly.

“Well, the Counsel finds itself in need of someone in your unique situation. As you know one of our members will be stepping down in the next two weeks and we must name his successor. We are in need of an unaffiliated fae to judge the trials for the seat.”

“You wish me to judge the trials of ascension?” she repeated blankly in shock, no one of low rank had ever judged the trials, generally the son of an unaffiliated clan or house would be called forward to take up the task as it was seen as a great honor.

“Precisely,” He said giving her a delighted smile, “All of our ranking clans are invalidated since we have at least one member who is a relative of a competitor in some form. We will of course provide you with all the documentation and guidance you need during the competitions and you will be compensated accordingly.”

“If I agree to fill this position it will have no bearing on my request to be released from my clan, correct?”

“While the Counsel will be grateful if you do decide to assist us in this time of need, there is no legal benefit from helping us in this hour of need.” He said with a winning smile that was more teeth then Gryphon liked.

Gryphon nodded in understanding but mentally she was laughing hysterically. There was no true way to be completely without bias and if she helped the Council they probably would rule more fairly in her own petition. She scanned the seated members discretely noting that everyone was attentive to the conversation even if they weren’t participating.

The only councilman who was ignoring the proceedings was Councilman Hereford who was about to step down from his seat. He watched the proceedings with a bored air, nothing he could say about the selection process would be heeded anyway. The other Council members had written him off already and he wasn’t enjoying the early dismissal, his dark eyes skimmed over her with blatant disgust.

“I am rather busy at the moment, what commitment of time would the task need?”

“You would be required to stand judge over the three trials, one for the next three weeks. Each trial will last as most a single day, not exactly a large commitment of time however you will be compensated of course for you lost productivity.”

“How exactly?” she asked, watching as the speaker floundered for a moment at her interruption.

“Pardon?”
“How exactly would I be compensated? I am currently without a Clan or steady income while the Council makes its decision as I am sure you are all aware.”

“We could of course provide you with a meaningful sum in advance of the trials and once they are completed present you with the remainder of the amount once services are rendered.”

“I’m afraid I have been living among the humans for too long, sir, I require exact numbers if I am to give up several days of my time, in writing of course.”

“Of course,” He said with a strained smile, “Would you be willing to give us a short time to gather the necessary documentation?”

“Of course,” She agreed with a smile, “Would an hour suffice?”

“That would be most sufficient, if you would see yourself out while we debate?”

“Thank you, Councilman Dragan; I’ll await your call outside.”

The Councilman waved her away already moving to join the other members on the podium. Gryphon didn’t bother lingering as she exited the Council hall. She moved past the seating area and out into the hallway where there were several open balconies to one side.

She desperately wanted to shift and spread her wings or at least to be able to call her Grand’Mere. This could be the turning point in the council’s decision on leaving her clan but if it went badly she could be condemning herself in the process. The trials were a political mine field with Clan heirs often dying during the competition which could result in feuds that would and had lasted for centuries.

She paced in the open air until she was called back to the Council hall for their offer. The entire Council looked put out at having to nail down a solid price for the services of a lowly clanless half breed which only made Gryphon fight off the threatening grin. A table had been brought in on which a thick roll of parchment lay, the contract.

“The contract is ready for your signature with a copy prepared as well.”

“Thank you, Councilman Dragan. Would you allow me a moment to peruse the document?”

“Of course, please let us know if there are any clauses you wish changed.” He said with a sharks grin, the pleased looks to the rest of the Council simply made her determined to take her time.

As soon as she started reading she let the grin take over, they thought to lose her in flowery language and sub clauses that meant nothing. They didn’t realize that she had spent the last thirty years working for her Grand’Mere reviewing similar contracts.

“Do you mind if I make a few notations?” She asked pulling out a pen.

“Go right ahead, though we will have to review any changes before the final contract can be signed.”

“Wonderful, let me read this in full and then we can start to review the needed changes.” She said giving him a wide smile before bending her head over the document and letting her red pen start crossing things out.

Six hours later they happily kicked her out of the chambers once the documentation was finally signed and a copy quickly made for her records. Gryphon calmly walked out of the hall fighting a shark’s smile, she loved getting one over on hypocritical purebloods. She knew they might resent her in the long run for it but they had tried to trick her into signing away every right she had as a free person while she was serving as the judge for the trials.

Projects

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Time to get my To Do List for the new year together. This is what I need to finish up from this year and what I want to complete in the new year.

  1. The Mage’s Daughter.
    1. Complete final edits on The Mage’s Daughter.
    2. Get new cover for The Mage’s Daughter and republish.
  2. Parasol
    1. Complete outline and finish writing.
  3. Normal
    1. Edit and rewrite.
  4. Short Stories
    1. Edit The Maze.
    2. Edit Reflections.
    3. Rewrite Triton College into a short story.
    4. Submit stories to magazines and other publications monthly.
  5. New Project (Able Minded)
    1. Character studies.
  6. New Project (Sniper Research)
    1. READ BOOKS!
  7. New Project (Old Nano Novel – Silver Wing)
    1. Edit and rework the outline.
    2. Novel or short story?
  8. Fan-Fiction
    1. Complete Requiem.
    2. Complete On My Own.
    3. Complete Gryphon.
    4. Complete The Farm
    5. Complete Bottled Lightning.
    6. Complete Beta.
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Writing Asides

nano-challengeNPH

Well, November is marching along and I seem to be perpetually behind with my NaNoWriMo novel. I have managed to catch up each weekend but I am just not as in love with my Steampunk novel as I would have liked.

I’ve been cranking out the words this week but next to nothing has been for my Nano. I’ve gotten thousands of words and almost a dozen chapters completed for my fan fiction works in progress and continue to march right along with several new chapters for them that I hope to post soon.

I’m busy all Saturday so I’m counting on a non-stop write-a-thon on Sunday to catch me up to my word count. I did 5 thousand words last Sunday, let’s see if we can beat that, lol.

Gryphon: Part 6

A new chapter for my serial, Gryphon. Enjoy. Clink on the links below if you need to catch up on the previous posts.

Gryphon Part 1

Gryphon Part 2

Gryphon Part 3

Gryphon Part 4

Gryphon Part 5

***

Gryphon slept late, the sun had long set by the time she was up and ready to head back out. Messages covered her inbox and desk, people checking in and leaving progress notes on different projects. Most were simply lists of people they had spoken to about the murders.

She glanced at the large map that had been added to one wall with a sigh. Grabbing up the notes she started marking where each fae lived on the map, green dots marking each informant. The deceased were already marked with red dots for the body dump and blue for where they had lived.

There was no pattern that she could see. Each body had been left in a different area from where the fae lived. No one had admitted to seeing anything suspicious in any of the locations before the bodies were discovered. Pulling on her coat with a sigh Gryphon headed out, she needed to speak with John and Sparrow.

The Lantern was thankfully sparsely populated even if it was only just a bit after ten o’clock. Meg was chatting with the customers as she waitress, waving cheerfully at Gryphon when she saw her by the door. She made her way to the bar and gave a tired grin at Sparrow when he silently dropped off a scotch in front of her before going back to pouring pints.

“Something we can help with, Gryphon?” Sparrow asked softly once Meg left with a tray full of foaming pints.

“I was hoping to catch John. It’s to do with a case he’s working.”

“He’s normally a late comer. He’ll be here in another hour or so if you want to wait.”

“Sure. Think I could get a water to go with this?”
“Coming up. Looks like it’s been a rough few days, if you don’t mind me saying.”

“Just frustrating more than anything.” She said with a smile, “Have you heard about the Farris Clan?”

“The change in heirs? Aye, that’s all over. Most of the clan wasn’t happy but the Clan Head ordered compliance.”

“It stands to mess with the balance in the Counsel.”

“The Counsel’s never been balanced.” Sparrow said with a snort, “They’re willing to ignore the vices of each other maybe, but never balanced. They fight with each other more than they deal with any real issues. There’s been no real change in our ways or laws in centuries as you well know.”

“None of us can help our instincts or what our inclination is.”

“That doesn’t mean we have to embrace that nature or flaunt how it breaks both human and fae laws. We’re more than our natures.”

“I don’t disagree, Sparrow, I’m just tired of seeing those around me punished for being themselves. If a half blood embraces it’s human nature it is shunned by the fae and tormented by the humans for being different. If they embrace their fae nature they are treated like low class citizens by the fae for having human blood.”

“No one like someone who is different, Gryphon. It’s the nature of both human and fae.”

“But it makes no sense.” She said slapping the counter in frustration. “Look at how many kinds of fae there are, how many times we’ve interbreed over the centuries. No one kind is better than the other.”

“Not unless you are talking in terms of power, then there are distinct lines in the sand.”

“It depends what you count as power.”

“If you two are going to sit here and talk politics I need a drink.” Meg said dropping into a seat next to Gryphon.

“What? Are you only able to debate while drunk?” Sparrow asked giving her a look.

“I’m Irish, the only time you’re allowed to debate politics, religion, or sex is while drunk.” Meg said with a grin, “But seriously, you two are way too serious tonight. Three shots, on me, Sparrow.”

“It’s your paycheck, girly.” He said with a sigh, pouring out three shots of whiskey.

“So, how are you defining power?” Gryphon asked, tapping her shot glass against Meg’s before she downed the liquid smoothly.

“That depends if you’re asking about political power or personal power.” Sparrow said, tossing back his own shot before pouring himself a stein of mead.

“Or magic.” Meg put in, gesturing for a refill.

“Magic is universal.” Sparrow said, shaking his head. “Even you have a wee dram, lass. The only difference there is how much magic your blood allows you to hold. Those with fae blood are just able to hold more.”

“Seriously?”

“It’s true.” Gryphon said with a smile, “It’s thought to be why humans and fae can interbreed.”

“So, I could do magic?” the human asked with a delighted laugh.

“With enough practice and study, possibly.” Sparrow said giving her a stern look. “The humans I knew who managed it lived with the fae, studying our arts for most of their lives before they managed anything beyond the simplest of spells.”

“Oh, so no instant water to wine or luck spells?”

“Sorry, no. Even the fae are mostly stuck with the spells our kind is best at. It takes a lot of practice to cast something that’s not part of your in born talent.”

“Like what?”

“Well, gryphons are known for wind and fire magic so those are very easy for me to learn and cast. It takes less effort.”

“So it would take a lot of effort to cast something based on… like water?”

“Exactly.”

“What did you mean when you asked him to define power though? I thought magic was a fae’s power.”

“There are different kinds of power.” Gryphon said with a frown, thinking about someone willing to upset the natural balance just to increase their own power, going against every law the fae held true.

“Nope, you cannot stop there. Refills, boss man. You have to explain that.”

“Well, take humans. On the scale for magic they are nonexistent in general but on political power and capital some can still play the field in both the fae world and the human. Natural charisma and sound business strategies can be just as effective as a glamor or mood altering spell.”

“With the bonus of having less potential issues if someone realizes you’ve magic-ed them.” Sparrow put in with a laugh, “Think about your great human leaders, Meg. Most of them have accomplished amazing things, all without a lick of magic.”

“But a fae can be powerful with magic alone, right?”

“Again it depends on how you define power. If by power you mean having every other fae too terrified to stop him then our histories are full of such people. Ones who used their magical might to make those around them slaves to their whims.” Sparrow said starting to top off drinks.

“But the fae aren’t allowed to do that anymore.” Meg pointed out tossing back her shot and holding out the glass for a refill.

“Not to humans, no. There are, however still very few who are willing to challenge what happens in a clan household.”

“You mean like Gryphon’s clan.” Meg sighed, slumping against the bar. “So if the Council decides to leave things as they are?”

“I go back to the care of my clan and no one I know will have the power to remove me, no matter how I’m treated. As long as they don’t outright kill me they can do as they like.” Gryphon said softly.

“I’m sorry but that’s ridiculous. If humans are protected from harm, why aren’t the fae?” Meg demanded.

“Clan on clan violence has been outlawed for centuries.” Sparrow pointed out, pouring out another shot for Gryphon and frowning when she slid it in front of Meg. “If one or more clans protest the actions of another a duel can be called but they’re generally to the death with the victor deciding the issue. The most powerful magically often wins.”

“So if we challenged the clan and lost?”
“Well, for one thing, we as a group are not a clan so we would not be able to challenge anyone. Only Lysander has a clan high enough ranking in our group to issue a challenge and that’s only if he could get the support of his Clan head. If he did and lost she would stay with the gryphon clan until someone else managed to win the challenge.”

“And most will not challenge a second time.” Gryphon pointed out, tossing back the last of her drink.

“Well, this is a sorry bunch.” John said, tugging off his tie and tucking it into his jacket. “Who died?”

“No one yet.” Gryphon said firmly, “I need to talk to you.”

“About the case?”

“If you could. You as well, Sparrow, if you have a moment?”

“Of course, come around back.” Sparrow said drying his hands on a spare towel. “Meg, will you mind the bar a moment?”

“Sure, the token human isn’t needed.” She said with a sigh but got up and grabbed a tray to start busing the remaining customers.

John raised an eyebrow but followed behind Gryphon around behind the bar and down the stairs into Sparrow’s office. She flopped onto the couch set to one side while Sparrow moved behind his desk. John closed the door behind him and leaned against the wall where he would hear anyone approaching.

“You have more information about the hidden fae?”

“Yes, and more questions.” Gryphon said with a sigh, “Sparrow, have you heard any rumors about an unbalance in the flows of natural magic in the area?”

“Well, yes. A few friends have inquired if I’d heard of anything happening that would be large enough to drain the natural magic from an area or to cause it to be repelled. I hadn’t and told them as much.”

“I don’t think the murders of the hidden fae are random. I think it’s a ritual and so far, an unbalanced one at that.” Gryphon said with a sigh, “If the pattern holds the next to die will have to be inclined to a different element then earth.”

“All the hidden fae killed were earth based races. Damn.” John snarled, the sound rumbling weirdly in his human form.

“The worst part is I don’t think the invocation is using race or the number of deaths to bind the spell. I think it’s using magical power. It took the death of five minor fae to shift the balance so that we would notice it. If they catch someone with more power it could unbalance the entire paradigm.”

“If the balance shifts too much spells will start to break down. Glamors will fail, bindings crumble. The fae world could be revealed to the world in a matter of hours.” She stretched, setting the silver box on Sparrow’s desk and curling back up in her chair.

“I take it the box factors in somehow?” Sparrow asked, picking it up and examining it for a moment.

“It probably holds the key to everything but of course, it’s locked.” She said with a huff. “I was at the market yesterday and meet with some old friends. They noticed the balance shifting and not in a good way. The darkness is growing.”

“Are you sure?”
“You can’t feel the way the shadows are lengthening? The nights grow longer when they should be shortening this time of year.” She asked, hands arching around her as she talked. “The time at the market lengthened and I almost didn’t manage to leave in time. I’d only spent maybe two hours inside yet the entire night was gone when I left.”

“The doorways haven’t shifted time that severely since the last elf wars.” Sparrow said softly, setting the box down.

“I’ve started mapping the locations of each death and where the attacks were thought to happen but I can’t see a pattern yet. Tatha has her entire network searching for information and my half-blood friends are looking where the full blooded might not go.”

“I alerted the packs when the files first hit the station but I’ll make sure they are keeping watch.” John said moving to stand closer to the fireplace. “They won’t join in fully unless one of their own is attacked but they will keep their noses to the ground and let me know if anything changes on their end.”

“The were are always more willing to accept those of mixed blood. Would they be willing to shelter people if we need it?”

“Yes, but not anything long term. A fortnight at best.”

“I can do some research on rituals that might match what we are seeing.” Sparrow said, watching the other two. “I know that stubborn look on the both of you. Don’t do anything stupid trying to draw this maniac out. Both of you are powerful enough that if you were used in the ritual it could tip the balance that much faster.”

“I can’t just stand by and watch our people get killed. John snapped, pushing off the wall and starting to pace. “Hell, I’m a cop for a reason, Sparrow.”

“If this person is dabbling in what I think they are then they have nothing left to lose. They will fight to the death and will take anyone around them down with them just because they can.” Gryphon said, watching the flames flickering behind John’s pacing form.

“Death magic?”

“Or an unbinding or resurrection of spirit who uses death magic.”

“Death magic’s been forbidden as long as any of us alive can remember. It has to be something else.”

“If you have nothing left to lose, what’s your soul when added to the balance?” Gryphon said.

“They will be the spirit’s puppet, their minds and souls completely consumed by the beast!” John snapped, teeth bared.

“True darkness always hungers.” Sparrow said, his voice soft as he watched his friend pace, growling softly.

“And light burns just as easily as darkness freezes. Dead is still dead. I don’t plan to rush into any battles, Sparrow. I wanted to ask if I can send victims through the gate if needed.” Gryphon said, watching the anger playing over the were’s form.

“Of course, though I sincerely hope that you will not be close enough to need to.”

“You and me both.” She said with a sigh, “But I’ve learned to plan for the worst.”

“What else can we do?” John asked, stopping with his back to the fire.

“Hope for the best and pray to the old gods that the balance holds. I think by the end of this we are going to need their blessings.”

***

Too full of story.

I woke up this morning savoring the darkness, head full of story. I couldn’t force myself out of bed, too busy sounding out dialog and letting the scenes play behind my eyes to bother with moving. I rolled out of bed eventually and started getting myself slowly together for the day, characters still whispering in my ear.

The day is looking to be fog filled and gloomy with the faint hint of fall weather peeking through the southern heat and humidity. I am too full of words to get my mind to focus on the mundane realities of life. I hope the muse is willing to wait a few hours to get the full scenes on paper, notes will have to do for now.