Wednesday, October 27, 2010

A line from "A Ranger's Tale"

I like this one. What can I say?

I parted my lips and caught his kiss. He smelled like the forest, like his leathers. I reveled in the heat of his breath, the feel of sandpaper on his scruffy chin, his hands grasping me like I was the only thing keeping him from floating away into the universe.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Another excerpt from "A Ranger's Tale"

Chapter 21


The forest surrounding the Howling Caves was much darker than the village. Full of shadow and mist, I thought it ominous. Encroaching storm clouds threatened to shut out what little light filtered through the thick canopy. The twisted penuke trees, draped in long, weeping vines and the lonely howls echoing from the caves brought sadness to my heart. It was as if they were telling me nature itself was out of balance here, and injustice had left its mark.

“You feel it too, don’t you?” Galadin whispered.

Unexpected tears clouded my eyes. “Yes. What happened here?”

Galadin sighed. “Pirates. The Goldtooth and others. They take what they want and leave the land barren. The people here have learned to protect themselves, but the wildlife isn’t so lucky. The bear are starving, since the plunderers kill off their prey. The poison on our arrows should dispatch them quickly.”

A little farther in, we found bear tracks. We concealed ourselves and followed the trail until we came upon a mother bear several feet away. Not far behind was her cub. Saggy skin hung over prominent bones. The little one cried pitifully to its mother, who couldn’t have had any milk to give. I raised my bow, took a deep breath, and shot the mother in her neck. The poisoned arrow worked quickly to put the weak mother out of her misery. Galadin did the same with the cub.

The wind picked up, and leaves blew all around us. We dropped concealment and continued through the forest. Light rain began to fall.

Galadin studied the sky. “I think the storm’s headed this way. We best turn back soon.”

We had reached a large rock outcropping, where the wide, dark mouth of a cave yawned before us. Growling echoed from inside. My skin crawled. We quickly concealed ourselves, but the huge bear that lurched out of the shadows either smelled or spotted us, and it charged our way. Galadin fired an arrow into the beast’s chest. The bear stumbled, but pulled itself up and charged again. Galadin dropped his concealment and ran backwards while he nocked another arrow, but he tripped over a root and fell on his backside. His last shot only managed to graze the bear’s shoulder, further enraging the animal.

Terror gripped my heart as the bear hurled itself toward Galadin. In one instant, I had an idea. There was no time for doubt. I nocked an arrow with a glowing hand. Searing fire erupted from my fingers as I aimed and shot. A fiery shaft flew from my bow, hitting the bear as it made a final leap toward Galadin. The bear blew apart, filling the air with singed fur and flesh.

Galadin lowered his arm from his eyes, shook bear parts out of his hair, and stared up at me. A grin spread across his face. He held out his hand, and I helped him up.

“You never fail to amaze me, Caliphany Aranea.”

I picked some bear flesh off his vest. “Call me Cali.”

New Theme Music Added

Check out my romantic theme music in the right sidebar. Add them to your own playlist for a night of romance!

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Stigma of Writing Romance

Mushy, unintelligent, clunky, cliche, whiny, contrived, lame, gross, clinical, predictable--these are just some of the terms I've heard about the romance genre over the years. When I was a mere reader, I didn't pay much attention to those opinions. I simply liked reading romance. Now that I write it, I often become conscious of those stigmas, and spend lots of time fussing over my stories, trying hard not to fall prey to the stigmas.

Then, I take a deep breath and remember that I must be realistic. Romance, as any other genre, will not be a favorite of everyone. We all have our biases. I know from my own reading experience that there are very good, and not-so-good, romance stories out there. Perhaps it's the not-so-good ones that generate the bad vibes.

So, my number one goal is to focus on the story itself. To keep it interesting, realistic (to a point--it is fantasy, right?), and suspenseful. When the story falls into place, the characters will come along with it, driving it in some areas, and the strong current of romance can run throughout.

Will I succeed? That is yet to be seen, but I'm sure as time goes on, I can improve. Practice makes perfect, don't ya know?

What are your own thoughts on romance as a genre? Do you read it? Roll your eyes at the thought of it? Have you read both "good" and "bad" romances? Feel free to comment...

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Excerpt from "A Ranger's Tale"

My first novel, to be released February, 2011. Enjoy this excerpt. More on the way!

[This is the heroine, Caliphany] It had been little over a month since Galadin and I had met. The Festival of Peace would be over back in Leogard. The month of Inver gave way to the month of Feyth. Autumn’s chill settled over me as I ran down the road leading west out of Faewood. The road rose gradually toward the mountains. Night fell, and I depended on the roadside torches to light my way until the road narrowed at its entrance into the mountains.

In the darkness, I scanned ahead and saw nothing but the faint outline of road. Behind, I saw nothing but the lights of Faewood below and the edge of the light thrown by the last road torches. I dropped concealment, pulled my cloak around me tightly, and continued on my way.

When it became too dark to see the path, I stopped and looked around me. I thought about summoning a flame in my palm to light the way, but I decided it might be too bright and could give away my location. A faint blue light shone under some tall trees. From my botanical studies, I knew it to be the iridescence of Alder mushrooms. I picked one of them, turning the mushroom over to reveal the glowing gills underneath.

Luminae aldero si, I chanted, waving my hand over it.

The light intensified just enough for me to see the road ahead, and I smiled. Holding my new light source in front of me, I shivered at the vastness of the mountain forest. Owls hooted somewhere overhead. Something scampered nearby. I trembled. To my right, a footpath veered off the main road. I took a deep breath and ventured down the path, hoping to find a village eventually.

After a long trek, I came to a clearing. No sign of civilization. Instead of going further, I decided to make camp. Never in my life had I slept outdoors. I gathered up some dry wood and placed it near a fallen log. The mushroom light finally faded, but soon the light of blue fire in my palm lit up the clearing. I flicked a small burst of flame into the wood, and before long, I had a warm, crackling fire.

I was quite proud of myself, though beyond the perimeter of the fire’s light, total darkness closed in. Sinking down onto the ground, I rested my back against the log and wrapped my cloak as tightly around me as I could. When my stomach rumbled again, I remembered the evynfruit. I took it from my satchel and bit into it, savoring the tangy, starchy flesh. It didn’t take long for me to devour it. I had just wiped my mouth with the hem of my cloak when I heard a noise behind me.

I froze. It was very subtle, just a small crack of a twig. Then another. Flipping around, I unsheathed Galadin’s sword and crouched behind the log. Whatever was behind me was too close to hide from. I’d have to fight it off. I tried to remember everything Galadin had taught me about sword fighting. My hand shook as I clenched the heavy weapon.

Behind me came a growl, on the other side of the fire. I flipped around again. My heart threatened to leap from my chest. I was surrounded—how would I fight off more than one thing? The growl in front of me grew louder. I held the sword with both hands; my arms shook violently when I saw the reflection of yellow eyes.

I sneaked a peek behind me, behind the log. I saw nothing, but thought there might be more of whatever it was. Turning my attention to the eyes in front of me again, my breath caught when it came charging. A wolf rounded the fire, then leapt straight at me. I held my sword aloft, hoping to impale it. As it landed on me, I toppled over, and it yelped. But, the sword hadn’t even pierced it. I stared at its limp body. An arrow stuck out from the wolf’s side.

I screamed.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What the heck is Tallenmere?

It's a world of fantasy, of magic, of intrigue. Is it Tolkienesque? Perhaps. But there are no orcs. Orcs are so overdone. And elves in Tallenmere aren't nearly so perfect and mysterious as Tolkien's elves. They have their skeletons in their tidy closets.

Mostly, Tallenmere is a world in which my imagination can run wild. It's the stuff dreams and nightmares are made of. Epic romances can emerge as love at first sight, and terrible tragedy can happen in a flash.

In Tallenmere, you'll find elves--high elves, wood elves, dark elves. There are, of course, humans, that most rigorous and versatile of races. You'll find faeries, barbarians, dwarves, halflings, ogres, and trolls. You might even find a secret race or two as the stories unfold. What you'll always find is romance, mingled with suspense, and you'll never know what the characters might do or go through next (I hope).

We'll begin our journey of Tallenmere in it's largest land, the land of Innessa, named after the creator goddess of the high elves.

Innessa is divided into four provinces. To the west lies Leogard, home to high elves, humans, and halflings. It's the largest province, and is ruled by the high elf King Leopold Vaeloria. The capital city, Leogard (yes, same as the province), can be seen for miles, surrounded by a tall, white wall. Until Leopold's reign, Leogard was closed off to much of the world. Now, with Leopold's devotion to the god Omri, he has opened up the city to the rest of Tallenmere, and conducts his own crusades in nearby lands to bring Omri's peace to the hurting.

In the east is Faerion, home to faeries and dwarves. It's capital city is Faewood, a popular tourist destination, known for it's music, architecture, and food. The Eastwood mountains of Faerion are vast and mysterious, filled with some unusual creatures, some of which can be quite deadly.

To the north is Hezral--cold, rocky, and home to some very hardy humans. They're fishermen and traders, and rumor has it they have a vampire problem.

In the south lie the swampy lands of Yggrich--home to warring bands of ogres and trolls. Every now and then, they emerge to cause problems in Leogard. Good scouts are needed to keep these uglies in check.

Thanks to all who've visited and turned over the 500 mark! I've no more books to hand out yet, but when we get to 1000, by golly, I'll do something special.

For now--I'll open it up to any questions about Tallenmere you might have. Post em, and I'll answer the best I can.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

I'm not dead

I just feel that way. Sinus infections do that to me. And preparing to move. Boy do I need a va-ca, Even just a chance to sit down and write. I'm not sure when that will happen again. It's rather depressing.

In bloggy news, I'm thinking of starting a series all about Tallenmere--the fantasy world where my romance tales come to life! You will also be able to ask questions, and I will do my best to answer them, as long as it doesn't give away spoilers :) Stay tuned!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Contest news!

I've made it through the first round of judging in a flash fiction contest--in the top 100 out of 300 stories so far. I'm pretty excited! Hopefully, I'll make it to the top 25 at least, and better yet, the top 3, but if not, at least I've gotten this far. I should know the final results in a couple of weeks. Stay tuned!

Friday, October 1, 2010

We have a winner!

The winner of our 400 visitors raffle is Cheryl! Congratulations, and I hope you enjoy your reading!