//October snippets + a small announcement

After a brief period during which I drew more than I wrote, I managed to get some actual writing done between flurries of editing, watching James Patterson’s MasterClass, and plotting NaNoWriMo ’15. I realized I hadn’t posted any snippets I about a month, and felt they were overdue.


my weekend

He was no longer the scrawny, lanky boy in the cage. Now she understood the rumors, the reason behind the muttered curses and far-flung tales of bewitchment and devilry. The boy had become a tall, graceful man who no longer hid the tell-tale eye. His long, oily hair hung in his face, but did not obscure the frost-colored iris and hard, black pupil. His gaze never seemed to settle; it probed and roamed, seeking out weaknesses, chinks in the armor of everyone it saw.

His face was still gaunt, his cheekbones and eyes haunted by shadows, but he wore a permanent half-smile like everyone he saw was a private joke, and he the only one who understood it. This was not necessarily what unsettled her – it was the hungry air about him. He was a starving wolf in deep winter, and anything was prey, waiting to be taken down and ripped to pieces.

• The Color of Truth

The door opens and in the mirror’s reflection I see Ice take one step into the room. I take one look at his boots, jeans, sweater, and scarf before scoffing, “You look like a bag lady.”

“Wow.” He scowls at me. “Fine, maybe I won’t give it to you.”

I sigh again and begin to massage the foundation into my skin. “Give me what? Spit it out or leave. I see enough of you as it is, don’t I?”

He walks up and sets something down by the pot of charcoal-colored eyeshadow. “You left it at Theo’s, you moron.”

• Acceso

“I asked you.” There was an edge to his voice; faint but clear. “Tell me?”

He posed it like a question, but Angelica felt that refusing to answer would be a pointless endangerment of her person. “Darling. Angelica Darling. That’s my name, whatever it means to you.”

“Angelica Darling.” He said her name like it was both a poison and a balm; like a prisoner savoring a deadly last meal. “You know of Wendy Darling?”

• Never, Never

“Hey, ‘Kizu, this room is for employees only. What are you…hey.” Honey’s voice softened as she crossed the room in four quick strides and crouched in front of him. “You okay?”

Kirikizu sighed. Company. Perfect. He nodded. “It was too loud out there.”

Her mouth tilted. “I swear I’m never going to get used to that.”

He drew his eyebrows together. “Get used to what?”

“That monotone voice of yours.”

He sighed again. “My voice isn’t monotone. The filter in the muzzle-”

“I know, I know.” She nudged his right hand. “I work with an android who sounds like a human all day, and then I get you, the human who sounds like a robot.”

• The Dying of the Light

Odd-Eyes started out of his daydream so violently Matoko may as well have thrown a rock at him. His pale eye seemed wider than the dark one, but both took her in with an intense dislike and he hissed, drawing back like a disgruntled hunting-cat.

The unexpected reaction slowed Matoko’s steps. “Hissing isn’t polite,” she told him, torn between amusement and offense. The offense faded quickly as she remembered the way he looked in the cage, defenseless and humiliated. He did not look much better now; dripping wet, his breath creating clouds in the cold air.

• The Color of Truth

She could hear the sneer in his voice as he said, “Your great-grandmother had more life in her and by the look of you, she probably still does.”

“She’s dead.”

“Just so.”

Angelica closed her eyes so she could roll them without him seeing. She opened them again and said, “I think it’s probably wise not to ask you too many questions.”

“Yes,” said Pan thoughtfully. “Yes,” he continued, a gloating tone in his voice, “perhaps you are cleverer than I thought.”

• Never, Never

She grinned. “You’re interesting tonight. Well,” she continued, cocking her head to one side again, “you’re always interesting.”

He gazed down at her, his own curiosity piqued for reasons he couldn’t explain. “Am I?”

“Oh, very. You have mystery down to an art.”

“I don’t mean to.”

She laughed quietly. “I don’t think you can help it. It follows you around like a lost puppy. Which is funny, when you think about it. A lost puppy following another lost puppy.”

• The Dying of the Light

“Well, who is this?”

Bisu straightened and twisted around in the same motion, drawing a knife from the sheath around his ankle. He remembered the Shogun’s words. Do not make yourself known. Do not kill anyone. He had already disobeyed the first order. He lowered the knife.

Of all people to have discovered him, it had to be the flowery one.

Kiro smiled. “Tsk, tsk, tsk. Thinking you could sneak about here, of all places-” He gasped. “What happened to your poor face?”

From below, Oboro called, “Kiro? Who is it?”

The concern left Kiro’s face and he smiled again; a slippery curve of his mouth below keen eyes. “It seems a palace rat found his way to our barracks! How shall I dispose of him?”

“Palace rat?” Oboro’s voice was laced with disgust as her footsteps sounded on the stairs, closely followed by several other pairs.  “Which one?”

“I don’t know,” Kiro answered. “He must have trouble smiling. It seems he attempted to cut one for himself, but…” The Sword cocked his head to one side, studying the scar that ran from the left corner of Bisu’s mouth up to his cheekbone. “It seems he didn’t finish.”

• The Color of Truth

“I can read you now, girlie.”

“Really?” Tsuki began to arrange the money into piles. “I don’t suppose you’d read me aloud to myself.”

• The Dying of the Light

There’s a reason I want to see Leila. It’s the same reason why I hate it when I do see her. Her wide-eyed naiveté and near-tangible warmth are everything I’m not, and remind me of what I am – broken, tired, and cold. Seeing her is like ripping a Band-Aid off tender skin – painful, but I think, maybe it’s a good pain.

• Acceso

He did not step into the light; rather he strode around the edge, circling Angelica and coming to a stop behind her. He was close now; she could feel his presence pressing against her back like breath on her neck. Her skin prickled with uncomfortable awareness, waiting.

• Never, Never

She was a ward of the Emperor, engaged to a Daimyo, and in love with another man entirely.

He was merely her protection.

Overworked and underpaid protection, he thought with a stifled sigh as he un-crossed his arms and shifted his stance.

Tsuki pushed her chair back with the toe of her boot and crossed over to Kiba’s corner. “Another win,” she said, presenting the money. “Congratulate me.”

“I’d feel more congratulatory if I was surprised,” he replied. “As it is, routine doesn’t surprise me.”

“Heavens, Kiba.” She clicked her tongue. “What’s the matter? Are you bored?”

“Boredom would be a nice change.”

• The Dying of the Light

And oH, yeah…Paper Crowns is getting published.

So there’s that.

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