Sneak Preview of Rebel Elements

Feast your eyes on this tasty excerpt from my upcoming New Adult Fantasy novel, Rebel Elements.

The pale-skinned stranger set a crested lantern on the stump next to Savitu and waited to speak until his blond-braided men had gathered and set down their boxes. A ring of slender shadows hugged the tiny clearing.
Savitu eyed the lantern’s crest.
“No.” The visitor used the Karkhedonian dialect, though his height and brown curls marked him as Waarden. “The Hegemon didn’t send me. A distant cousin of his once saved my life. You know him as Isos. My name is Marco.”
Savitu glanced at his cousins, who stood by the tree line. Mitlik wore an appraising look, wary of anyone of Waarden ethnicity, and with good reason. Qisuk’s expression was superior, as if by possessing broader shoulders and a more muscular chest, he automatically dispelled any threat the curly-haired stranger might present.
“I heard you weren’t happy with your current situation,” Marco continued. “I’m not either. Perhaps we can come to an understanding?”
Savitu eyed the dozen blond men behind Marco. Would they attack? Could Savitu’s hidden loyalists get him to safety if they did? “Does Isos know you’ve brought me gifts?” Marco stepped back in surprise, eyes raking Savitu’s person. “Isos didn’t inform you that I was a eunuch, then,” Savitu said, hating the sound of his high voice just as much as he had for the last fifteen years.
Marco’s eyes rested on Savitu’s Raqtaaq features—dusty copper skin and long black hair. “You’re a Second.”
“They let it hurt for Seconds.” Savitu’s hand indicated his cousins as well.
Marco winced. “The Waarden Emperor did that to you.” Hatred coiled behind his words.
“You know what we want,” Savitu said. “What is it you want?”
The Waarden’s dark eyes shifted to Mitlik and Qisuk. The lantern’s soft light made Marco’s face appear too young for a beard, but the flickering glow couldn’t hide the aging around his eyes. Savitu had seen similar signs of unwanted experiences in his own grooming mirror.
“You still have family, despite your fate. I have no one,” Marco said. “What I want is what you want, except that I want it for everyone.”
Marco gestured, and his men pried the tops off the boxes they had brought. Savitu’s breath caught at the sight of so many sharp, glittering points. His cousins approached to view the gifts.
“That’s not iron.” Mitlik frowned.
“It’s better than iron,” Marco said. “It guarantees success, if we use it right.”
Savitu blinked, absorbing the idea. “This will not be a swift victory.”
Marco finally smiled. “I have nothing but time.”

Rebel Elements will be available in February.


Growing Pains

Editing again today. On Traitor Savant. Again. Dude, what a pain to edit something I wrote before I knew all the things I've recently picked up from my editors! I wrote Traitor Savant fourteen months ago, during 2011's NaNoWriMo. And I can barely stand to look at the horrid thing. No, no, the story's good. It's the writing itself that totally blows.

My participial phrase usage was completely wrong. That was my worst offender. I misused a crapton of the things. So. Much. Rewriting. Especially around my dialogue. I swear, half the words in the original document have been replaced. And most of them had an "-ing" at the end.

Not ever naming minor characters, or getting names wrong from book one, that was another thing. Especially when I was sure I was right, and only accidentally discovered that the Main Hall should have been the Hall of Seals all along. Much easier to handle, but I kept having to make notes to myself: Did I name this already? Look up name for X. Give these people names! I think I named this. I think I named that too, but I've already forgotten. What did I call it in the last chapter?

You know your nominal aphasia is ramping up when you forget words you made up yourself.

I finished my self-induced line editing, finally, and I get to work on coming up with names, connecting details through foreshadowing, fleshing out subplots, etc. In other words, the fun stuff! And despite all those evil participial phrases, I'm still expecting to be on target for my editing date on Monday. As Bayan would say, Bhattara na.


The Sway of Septimus

I love the movie Stardust. Have you seen it? Its whimsical creativity tickles me. But even better than its feel-good visuals is its soundtrack. I bought it because of one song. We all do that at least once, right? Or is that an old-fashioned thing now, buying a CD?

Anyway, I bought the CD  for just one song, however old-fashioned that makes me. "Septimus" just tugged at me, and I couldn't figure out why. It drove my brain crazy, in a I-have-to-solve-this-music kind of way.

Side note: I have space-time synesthesia. It's this cool thing where chunks of time are always in the same place when I think about them. Like entire calendars, months, weeks, etc. It's complicated to explain, but one of my stronger abilities is perfect timing. 

By that I mean that if I set a timer for twenty-five minutes--say, on my oven--I can tell you exactly when it's going to beep. I'll walk back into the kitchen because my brain is tugging at me, and the second my foot hits the tiles, BEEEEP. It's freakishly eerie, even from inside my own skull, so I kind of don't talk about it with real live people. You all are safe, though. Right? I'm not freaky. This is the Internet. I knew you'd understand.

So, perfect timing. It affects my enjoyment of--and obsessions with--certain songs. My father is a musician with perfect pitch, so maybe it's a related genetic thing. I can't say one way or the other, but I do know that I grew up around music all the time. Now, I hear a certain song with a catchy bridge, haunting intro, or unforgettable rhythm, and I literally cannot listen to anything else. For hours. Sometimes all day. If the rhythm makes me happy, then I keep it forever and listen to it a lot. If it makes me sad, I can walk away after I've shaken off the last of my listening obsession.

"Septimus" is only 1:23 in length. How did such a short song sneak into my brain, you ask? Septimus, from the Latin for seven. Septimus is the seventh son of the king in Stardust. "Septimus" has some funky uneven rhythm that celebrates the seven-beat. The only other music that's come anywhere close to being this annoyingly awesome is the music that plays in The Matrix when the team arrives inside the Matrix and begins their journey to take Neo to see the Oracle. Another seven-beat rhythm that constantly starts over one beat early until it wraps around, like a snake eating its tail, coming full circle in your head before you expected it to.

But "Septimus" has more swag than that. It's in your face with its obvious seven-ness. It's so obvious about its uneven rhythm that it's wearing a lampshade on its lampshade. And I can't get enough of it. The music's strong beat makes me constantly feel that I've missed a step, and that I should hurry to catch up. It's perfect for listening to on the treadmill or when I'm pounding out new chapters in my novels.

Over time, I've let go of that low-level anger I had at the composer who would dare to inflict a purposely odd-numbered beat on the world. I've learned to embrace the odd in my music, just as I've learned to embrace the odd in myself.

I am Septimus. But don't worry; you can be Septimus too. We'll all be Septimus, and then we'll be too strong to stop. Spartacus, bro...so close! If you'd had this odd rhythm banging in your brain, you'd have been unstoppable, too.


Cover Reveal: Rebel Elements

Rebel Elements is the First Seal of the Duelists. That is, it's book one in my upcoming new YA/NA epic adventure fantasy trilogy, Seals of the Duelists. Today I'm revealing its colorful cover, created by the talented folks over at Streetlight Graphics. Gaze upon its chained majesty and like it.

This ain't your daddy's unchained melody.

Coming in February, Rebel Elements will be an ebook exclusive. Free file copies are available to active reviewers! 


Necropost Much?

I have zero blogging instincts. I admit it. I have thoughts all day long that would probably make good posts, or possibly just filler posts, but I just never think to share them. That, and they fade pretty quickly, like dreams after you wake.


One of my New Year's Resolutions has been to attempt better blogging habits. So here I am. Let's see. What have I been up to for the past year?

Wow, that sounds really terrible. *shudders* I do apologize.

But honestly, I haven't been writing any fantasy. Not a word of it in 2012. I spent the year rolling out my new mystery series (under a different pen name). That said, I do have two new fantasy novels coming out this year. I wrote one of them during NaNoWriMo 2010 and the second during NaNoWriMo 2011. Yeah, that's right. Two novels coming out this year! Very excited! They're the first two in a new trilogy for me, called Seals of the Duelists. I'm thrilled to be expanding my book list. Doubling it, in fact, as far as my fantasy novels go.

Book one is ready for release. Rebel Elements is just waiting on formatting, and it'll be good to go. Trouble is, that free time probably won't show up for a good month. Mostly because I'll be working on edits for its sequel, Traitor Savant, with my beloved editor Karen. She loves my fantasy, and so I love her. That's not weird, right?

Anyway, I'm only on the third edit for TS right now, and I have a week and a half to polish it up enough that Karen doesn't hurk at the sight of it. I'm confident I can do it. I'm just not certain how badly my arms will ache after I turn in the manuscript. :P