a bit of an offering

Last week the flu reared its ugly head, and stuck me in bed, miserable. It was probably the third-sickest I’ve ever been, and the only thing good that came of it was a full-series binge on Full Metal Alchemist. I’m recovering and now feel improved to the point of having only a really terrible cold, but my mental faculties aren’t up to the task of thinking up a subject for a new blog post. That said, I don’t want you brilliant souls to feel abandoned, so I’m doing this the lazy way and posting some (never-before-seen even to my beta pack) snippets. Huzzah. You will get something more interesting, I promise; but for now you can head over to www.thefangirlinitiative.com and snoop around today’s Agents of SHIELD episode response, courtesy of yours truly.

He scanned the room for someone who looked like a responsible adult and came to the conclusion that responsible adults were severely lacking before remembering he looked like Skata.

Skata was adult, at least for a human, and he was halfway responsible.

Skinner grinned.

– No Dark Disguise

The fan sweeps forward, lazy and just close enough to brush across his bare shoulders. The lines of his body change from masterful sculpture to something far more rigid and less appealing. Without turning his head, he says, “Touch me again and I will see you swim inside the contents of this cup.”

– the unnamed book

He dislikes touching his lessers, making the orbs the most effective means of passing along a visual message without inflaming his annoyance. His annoyance usually results in the end of another life.

– the unnamed book.

For a moment, nothing appears on the screen. Just when Feril is preparing to turn it off – it has taken too long as it is – someone walks into view.

Feril bows; partially out of habit, partially out of the automatic urge to do so in the presence of anyone from House Ryu. “Lord Aya.”

– the unnamed book

“Well, that was secretive. Who was it? Do you have a lover hidden away?”

Aya smiles and leaves the small screen on the wall. He crosses the room back to the bed, where a girl of thirteen sits, eyeing a glass game board. “Just a bit of intrigue. Now where were we?”

She lifts a thin glass stick, six inches long, and places it in another hole. “Your move, brother.”

– the unnamed book

He turned, startled by a flash of light from the Asian girl with the camera. “Hey, what do you think you’re doing?” he snapped.

She lifted the camera, as if to point out the obvious. “I’m the photographer?” The duh was clear in her voice. “I’m taking pictures.”

He shook his head once and walked past her toward the crowd of people ogling at the door where Angel had been stolen away.

“Rude,” he heard the photographer girl mutter.

He nodded as he moved away from her. “Absolutely.”

– No Dark Disguise

“Good morning, sunshine.”

Angel blinked, but the blinking did nothing to ease the painful throbbing in his veins. He lifted his head and looked at the man in front of him. He was young; probably thirty at the oldest. He also looked as if he was enjoying this far more than Angel was.

“Sunshine, huh? Funny. You know, it’s not nice to make fun of people.” Angel smiled past the pain, narrowing his eyes at his captor. He flexed his muscles against the chains tying him to the solid wooden chair, but he was still weakened from the dart.

The young man shrugged, unperturbed. “It’s not like sunlight affects you. I mean, it should, but it doesn’t.”

“I’m gifted.”

“I really wouldn’t call it that.”

 – No Dark Disguise

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Beautiful People [Sibling Edition] – The Montgomery Brothers

JACKSON1

For this month’s Beautiful People I had a hard time choosing between sibling duos.  It came down to a tossup between Morougha and Isyss from Kenna, or Jackson and Gideon Montgomery from the Salvation series. Vampire siblings or Urscummig siblings? Relatively good siblings, or undeniably bad siblings? I chose the Montgomery brothers, mainly because I wanted to discover the answers to these questions and they’re more pertinent at the moment (but who knows? A good villain Q and A – particularly between a villainous brother and sister – may have to be written out anyway). 

Gideon1

  1. What is the first memory they have of each other? Gideon’s first memory of Jackson is offering to hold him so that his mother could rest. Since he was nearly into his teen years, it was allowed. Jackson’s first memory of Gideon is Gideon hanging a hand-crafted mobile over his head to keep him entertained.
  2. Describe their relationship in 3 words. Strained, loyal, turbulent.
  3. What kind of things do they like to do together? Aside from their vampire states, they don’t have much in common. Jackson has embraced the personal that surrounds his life’s appearance and plays the part of rich, flirtatious college student very well (until someone makes him really angry). Gideon is much more the ‘good’ brother, preferring to mind his own business, stay out of trouble, and keep a long leash on his brother. They once loved the same woman, if that falls into the category of ‘things they like to do together.’
  4. What was their biggest fight? Even the most low-key of their fights can be extremely violent and include neck-snapping and stakes shoved through internal organs, but their biggest was in the 1860’s, partially over the war and partially over the aforementioned woman. She was a bit of a Scarlet O’Hara.
  5. How far would they go to save each other? They are bound by blood, guilt, and brotherly love. Thus far, there has been nothing they would stop at to save the other, no matter how hurt or enraged.
  6. What are their pet peeves about each other? Gideon does not approve of his brother’s womanizing, or his tendency to view other lives lesser than his own. Jackson believes Gideon is a bit of a ‘stuffed shirt,’ and wishes he would stop feeling responsible for him.
  7. What are their favorite things about each other? In spite of their differences, they are bound by ties of shared experience, and only they can reminisce about the ghosts of life past. They know that they will always be backed if trouble finds them, and there are even times when they truly get along, without quarreling or violence.
  8. What traits do they share? Mannerisms, clothing, quirks, looks, etc? They both have a faint, cultured Southern accent, having been born and raised in Georgia. They share dark hair and similar builds, but most similarities end there – Jackson favors his mother, Gideon his father.
  9. Who has the strongest personality? They have equally strong personalities, albeit entirely different ones. Jackson has a seemingly unquenchable thirst for life, danger and adventure. The force of Gideon’s personality rests in his quiet ability to intimidate and hold the upper hand, even when he has no cards.
  10. How does their relationship change throughout your story? In Dark is the Night, we meet them for the first time; at odds, but working as a (slightly dysfunctional but mostly efficient) unit. In No Dark Disguise, events from the previous novel have rendered Jackson fundamentally changed, while Gideon works to save and restore him to his previous self.

 

“Have you ever heard of the Montgomery brothers?”
            “No,” said Skata. “There’s only one vampire I’m interested in.”

            “You should be interested in these two.”

  

snippets of a story (kenna + no dark disguise)

Kenna

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Smoothly, Rago replied, “At least you have the good sense to leave me to my business.”

Bortz nodded continually, lowering his sword and backing away. He took a deep breath and puffed out his chest. “It’s an honor to meet your glorious self.”

Rago did not respond; he only raised an eyebrow and waited until Bortz motioned at the men behind him to leave.

“Apologies again,” said Bortz.

“I do not require your apologies,” said Rago. “Only your absence.”

_________

            “Arguing among ourselves will not help,” he said, acknowledging her presence without looking at her. The others were now behind them, although Kenna could hear Farr plying Rago with questions he did not seem to have answers to.

“But it can be very satisfying,” Kenna pointed out.

_________

“But his life has not been an easy one. You have not known his breed of pain, or sorrow. If you wish to know about him, ask. If you do not, do not ask.”

            “I didn’t want to ask him,” said Kenna. “It’s why I asked you.”

_________

The mountainous elf’s smile showed both rows of teeth. He had long ago carved symbols into his teeth, runes from the North. When Kenna was eleven years of age she had asked him what the runes meant. He had replied that they were the lines from a Northern lay depicting their once-greatest warrior, Oldorin. May thine enemies be cut down before thee.

Kenna had gone to Einar and requested similar symbols be carved into her own teeth, but he had refused to oblige, stating that she would regret the decision once she was older.

“And if I do not?” she had asked, indignant with the rebuff.

“Then you will carve them yourself,” he had responded.

_________

Alaric eyed the house from across the nearest fence-line before turning back to face the others. “Let me speak with them.”

“Why you?” Kenna wanted to know.

“He has a point,” said Farr, before the wizard could reply. “You all make a terrifying lot.”

Kenna realized she was included in the statement, and felt her brief sense of indignation fade in the happy knowledge that someone thought she was terrifying.

No Dark Disguise

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“He’s a type-A control freak. He’d probably rather punch himself in the face than ask someone to apartment-sit with him in case of sudden somnambulism.”

“He should get that on a tee shirt. ‘In case of sudden somnambulism, punch face.’”

_________

Castle looked from one face to the other. He settled on Skinner. “Just behave yourself.”

“It offends me,” said Skinner, “that you felt the need to say so.”

_________

 In thirty-three years, Skata had never met another man who managed to make a relaxed stance and an amiable expression seem full of terrifying, unspoken threats.

_________

Breeze, warm and syrupy, blew in through the open window, tossing the curtains gently aside. Frogs and cicadas chirped and croaked in a constant symphony that had taken Angel some getting used to when he first moved to the South. Now the sound was pleasant, almost comforting in a way.

_________

“Looks like the whole town’s here,” Angel remarked, climbing out of the car and walking around to open Easton’s door.

“Aw, and they say chivalry is dead.” She took his offered hand and let him help her out of the car.

“Not dead, just old. And vampiric,” he responded.

words while waiting

warrior

I have been asked to post more snippets. It’s highly flattering when this happens, and also useful, as I don’t have to think too hard about it and I still get to say, “I wrote a blog post.” So, in anticipation of the midnight showing of The Battle of the Five Armies, I really can’t concentrate on anything, so I’m going right ahead.

_________________________________

            “Why should we believe you?” Ingimar asked, voicing the question in Kenna’s own mind. “You are unknown to us. Girl!”

The only girl present, Kenna stepped forward. “Yes?”

“Do you believe this man?” Ingimar pointed at Alaric. “Is he a truth-teller?”

            “I could not say.” Kenna watched the wizard, unblinking, carefully crafting an unreadable mask for her face. “I have not known him long enough to be considered a judge of his character. However, from what I have seen of it, there is not much to know of.”

– Kenna

Gideon said, “There is no point in staking my brother if we have no place to keep him secure.”

Skata was not the only one to look pointedly at Angel.

The strigoi suddenly realized he was the object of everyone’s focus, and his permanent smirk faded when he realized the meaning behind their stares. “Come on,” he complained. “Doesn’t anyone else have a basement?”

– No Dark Disguise

“My experience of him is that of a powerful wizard who does not know his own courage, or his own weakness. Beyond that, I couldn’t say.”

– Kenna

“Don’t ask me. I came by to keep you from sticking your head into bear traps.”

“For the record, I don’t think he’s tried that one yet,” Angel volunteered.

– No Dark Disguise

There were times when Morougha was afraid of his sister, and yet her power only served to make him rely on her protection. “We must stop them.” He leaned forward, intent on her face. “You must stop them.”

– Kenna

“The best way to keep him out of trouble is to keep our eyes on him. That way, he thinks he’s watching you, when really, we’re watching him. Win-win, everybody’s happy. It’s not like he’s staying here forever.”

“And if he stabs us in the back?”

“It’s not really his style. I think he’d probably set fire to us in our sleep.”

– No Dark Disguise

            “Always thinking ahead,” said Morougha, with an expression both fond and irritated. “This is a terrible time for the harvest festival.”

“I disagree. What better time to celebrate than when you are at a weak point? Those who remember the prophecy will see we fear nothing when we throw the festival as usual.”

“They will see a lie.” Morougha sighed and closed his eyes. His constant headache was worsening now, driving into his temples like an iceman’s pick. “I don’t feel well.”

“You never feel well.”

– Kenna

“If they try to escape Alacros, I will know about it.”

“I would rather they escape! The farther away they are from Dun Darach, the easier I can rest.”

“If you could only shrink your fear,” said Isyss coldly, “and trust me more.”

– Kenna

“The wizard. I know you two argue more than anyone else I have ever seen, so why did you defend him? I’ve heard you call him a coward yourself. You ought to have agreed with me.”

“We’re not all as heartless as you.”

“Heartless! You call me heartless because I speak the truth.”

“And you wonder why I defend the man who saved my life? Granted, Alaric makes the idea of throwing myself off a high cliff seem pleasant sometimes, but there is a small trait known as loyalty that I abide by.”

“Loyalty is one thing,” Kenna retorted. “Loyalty to those who do not deserve it is not noble, it is foolish.”

– Kenna

“Most maps are full of crooked angles,” said Alaric, walking into the room, rolling the sleeves of his tunic up to his elbows. “It’s the only way to get anywhere.”

– Kenna

   “We can take that many,” said Farr, his eyes alight with energy.

Kenna rolled her eyes. “We do not even know what form they take.”

“And we have a swordsman, two Northmen, a wizard, myself, and you, for whatever your fighting skills are worth.”

“I could match you if I had both hands tied behind my back and my eyelids sewn shut,” was Kenna’s immediate, heated reply.

“She probably could,” Alaric began, but stopped when he saw the sinister expression on Farr’s face.

– Kenna

Kenna looked to her right at Einar who seemed neither sad nor joyous. Above them, Fagel let out a harsh call and lifted higher, nearly fading out of sight. “Do you think we will ever see them again?”

Einar kept a hold of the reins with his left hand, while his right rested on his thigh. Even on horseback, he was ever-ready. For what, Kenna did not know, but she supposed everything. “I doubt it,” said Einar finally.

– Kenna

“Do you think a little thing like death would stop me, brother of mine?” Her eyes glowed green and orange and he found himself watching her lips for a sign of forked, flickering tongue. Then she smiled, and the image melted away.

– Kenna

He flinched at the touch of his sister’s hand on his forehead. She made a dispassionate sound and said, “I will mix you something in your drink. After all, you must look like the Crown tomorrow when the celebration begins.”

“I look forward to the fights,” he sighed. “The dancing makes me tired and the feasting twists my stomach.”

– Kenna

Kenna glanced at Rago. “You are welcome to accompany us.” She knew that without his memory, he would be lost in the rest of the world; at least until he regained it. “If you promise to use your sword in defense of us, rather than offense.”

He smiled in return, but did not reply.

– Kenna

high time for some snippets

Mads

a Christmas gift for my braintwin


Angel pushed open his front door. “Honey, I’m home,” he called.

            “Nice to see you, too, sugar,” was the response from the living room to the left.

Quizzically, Angel walked into the room and folded his arms. Skata was sitting in the largest wing back chair with his feet up on the leather ottoman, listening to a silver iPod. His head was nodding along with the music.

“That’s mine,” said Angel, wondering when on earth Skata had developed a taste for anything other than classic rock.

“I know,” said Skata. “You have terrible taste in music. Arctic Monkeys? Vampire Weekend – are you being ironic? And who is Cara Dillon?”

Something was very off.

“You’re…not Skata.” Angel shifted his jaw, watching.

The guy in the chair pulled out one ear bud and rolled his eyes. “And pro wrestling is rigged. Any other revelations?”

– No Dark Disguise


“Lander,” began Farr, but Kenna interrupted.

“Enough! He is not Lander.” She looked over her shoulder at Einar, who had cleaned one of his swords and placed it back its scabbard and was now wiping the other clean of the war-grim that clung to it. She knew he was listening; he was always listening, always paying attention, even when his actions suggested otherwise. “His name is Alaric, and he was the Crown’s wizard, the one who ordered the massacre of every child in Alacros.”

– Kenna


“All right.” I hand it to her, and realize she’s staring at my hand. I move the violin up and down, my fingers still curled around its neck. “Take the violin, Leila.”

She takes it mutely. “Calluses,” she says.

I look at my fingers. “Guitar,” I say. “So what?”

“I don’t have calluses anymore.” She groans and hops up onto another bar stool. “I’m going to have to get them all over again. Dagnabbit.”

“Suck it up,” I say. “Play something.”

“Like what?”

“I don’t know. Mary Had a Little Lamb. I don’t care.”

– Acceso


Footsteps sounded on the stairs. The door opened and Skata stepped through, slamming it behind him and looking as if he had just gone through the battle of Bunker Hill. His profuse string of swear words ended with, “I hate bloodsuckers.”

Angel paused a beat before saying, “Ouch. On behalf of bloodsuckers everywhere.”

– No Dark Disguise


“You are an army, yet you hide yourselves within this cave like bears in winter, refusing to come out and help. You could have fought against the massacre, but instead you cowered behind these walls like children behind a mother’s skirt.”

Kenna spun on her heel and connected her fist with Farrien’s face as hard as she could. “How dare you! Bite your tongue, human, or I will cut it out.”

“You forget your own race! You, too, are human,” said Farrien with an angry laugh.

– Kenna


He takes the cup and lifts one eyebrow, looking at me with mock suspicion. He blows across the top, cooling it off, and takes a cautious sip. Then he nods. “Extra honey?”

“Of course.” I shuffle from foot to foot but smile to cover my nervousness.

Apparently, my acting skills stink, because he immediately asks, “So, what is it?”

“What’s what?”

“The catch?”

“I bring you tea all the time!”

“Aha!” He holds up a finger. “So there is a catch.”

“Not really a catch,” I fudge.

“A caveat, then. A clause.”

I don’t know whether all lawyers use words like ‘caveat’ and ‘clause’ in every day speech, or just my Dad, but I’ve always found it endearing. Of course, I was probably ten before I knew what those words meant.

– Acceso


“I want to ask you to stay out of trouble.”

Angel turned to face the skin walker. “Wait, what?”

“I said, I want you to stay out of trouble.”

“Impossible,” said Angel, gesturing toward Skata. “He loves trouble. He wants to marry trouble and have little half-human, half-trouble babies.”

– No Dark Disguise


He was unruffled, there was no sign of anger or excitement with him. Then he looked up. “He also speaks of things which he knows nothing about. Better to keep silent, boy, than speak in ignorance.”

“What ignorance? You’re only angry because I am telling the truth you people won’t admit to yourselves! Northmen are supposed to be great warriors.”

“You would not know a great warrior if he split you from navel to nose,” fired Kenna.

– Kenna


I walk through the first floor – which is technically the thirty-ninth story, but it has two floors, go figure – taking it all in. It has an air of unbearable cleanliness, like their only requirements for a living space was that it be “sleek and fresh.” The wall in the living room is made of glass, looking over the city, across the tops of buildings and into the blue-smudged distance. There’s a Baby Grand, a 71-inch TV screen, a Greek statue that may or may not be real.

– Acceso


“Look.” Angel took a step forward and brought his hands together. “Why don’t you stick around here?”

He directed the question at Skinner, but Skata was the one who abruptly asked, “What?”

Skinner turned to face the vampire, searching his face. Angel let his face be searched; all the skin walker would see was a smile. “Great,” said Skinner finally. No questions, no bargaining. Apparently, he knew better than to look a gift horse in the mouth. “Which room is mine?”

“Hold that thought,” said Skata. He crossed the room, grabbed a fistful of Angel’s shirt, and pulled him out of the living room, into the foyer. Then he growled, “What’s your problem, huh?”

“You’re wrinkling my shirt,” said Angel.

“Are you nuts? You know we can’t trust him.”

“Whoa, whoa.” Angel eased out of Skata’s grip, his palms in the air. “Relax. Take a chill pill. Do whatever it is you do.”

“I don’t,” retorted Skata.

– No Dark Disguise


“We honor the fallen with fire, and with prayer,” she began. They were the words she had committed to memory but never thought to speak. The words Dagrun had taught her with firm patience when she was but a child. “May the fire burn away the mortal bindings from heart to name. May the prayer lift their souls to the halls of Elah. May their deeds be sung for a thousand years, and may the wind itself carry the sacred memory of these valiant dead. May it be so.”

The elven voices raised in heavy chorus. “May it be so.”

Kenna threw the torch and watched as flame joined with flame, licking the sky. A funeral pyre in place of the harvest fire.

– Kenna