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April 2012

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Saying goodbye to Meghan was sad but there is going to be a spin-off series! With Ethan Chase!

There is not a lot I can tell you about this new series except that it will be called Call of the Forgotten. I will update when I get news, but for now please appreciate Ethan’s hotness.

Please excuse me whilst I wipe my drool.

This is an anthology book, consisting of short stories from Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series, and a number of original ones too. 

Tale of Content 
“Where Nightmares Walk”
“Winter’s Kiss” (Fairy Tales)
“Transition” (Vampires)
“Love Struck” (Selchies)
“Stopping Time” (WL World)
“Old Habits” (WL World)
“The Art of Waiting”
“Flesh for Comfort”
“The Sleeping Girl and the Sumer King” (WL World-ish, it started the series)
“Cotton Candy Skies” (WL World)
“Unexpected Family” (WL World)
“Merely Mortal” (WL World)

I thoroughly enjoyed this anthology book. Admittedly, there were a couple of stories that didn’t make any sense to me but the ones that did were great. I have read other anthology books with the some problem, such as Prom Nights from Hell but I think the major advantage with them is that the stories that they consist of are a short read each. I also very much like the dynamic that it presents. F&N revisits some of my favourite character such as Irial, Niall and Seth. But even for those who have never Marr’s WL series, there are some good stand alone short stories, with Love Struck being my favourite.

Seeing Irial, Niall and Leslie was great as I’d really missed them. My favourite quotes was between Niall and Irial:
Niall: Don’t be an ass, Irial
Irial: There are some things you can’t command, my king
Hilarious!
Their strange relationship has always worked for me because for a start, they’re faeries. And the short stories in this anthology is what reassured me that I liked them.  Their relationship is complicated but they are ultimately so interweaved that you can’t get rid of one another. And I’m glad that Niall and Seth are patching up their friendship. For those of you who have read Darkest Mercy, you will understand. 

The stand alone short stories were interesting. For those of you are are unaware of what selchies are, they are basically like mermaids but instead of being half fish, they are half seal. But unlike mermaids, they can get rid of their tail and assume a full human form by removing their pelts. I do not want to give anything else away. Let’s just say it’s about a girl and two selchies. For me, the odd balls were Where Nightmares Walk and Flesh for Comfort. Sorry Marr. 

Ultimately, this is a must read for Wicked Lovely fans, but its definitely open to other readers.

So basically, if you’ve read the Wicked Lovely series, this is a MUST READ! But there are other non-WL stories that are good. I especially liked the Selkie story. I hadn’t expected such a happy ending, but I loved it.

So it’s been over a week. Here is chapter THREE, from Jamie’s perspective. I don’t know whether I will post additional chapters after this. I might just instead choose to make you all suffer 🙂 If you are opposed to this, let me know. I might post the next three after this. Well, enough of my blather. Here’s Jamie:

3.           Home Sweet Home
“You’re late” Stefan stated, flatly. His blue eyes narrowed as he gazed up at Jamie from his leather sofa. The Guardian in question could not look at the prince without feeling disgusted. They had plans to use him, him and the queen. They were still at Yolanda’s palace, but the prince had decided to meet him in his privacy of his study. The room had emptiness to it as if no one had lived in here for a long time. There was a simple desk at one corner and a bookshelf stood at one end of the wall, reaching the ceiling. The only thing missing were the books. The room was well lit by hovering balls of light. Stefan wore an expensive suit, no doubt made by only the best fashion forward faeries. His white hair was left untamed. It wasn’t short but it was not very long either. James looked scruffy in comparison with his faded AC DC top and skinny jeans. His hair was a shaggy blonde mess with a black trilby hat on top. He refused to remove it, despite what the queen had said about manners.
“Honestly I’d prefer not to be here at all” He replied “So you can spare me the lecture”
The prince’s expression softened just for a moment, then as if remembering himself, he tensed his jaw. “You may be able to get away with speaking that way to me but I would be more respectful towards the queen.” Jamie rolled his eyes. Then he remembered what she and the prince were capable of. “You seem rather headstrong around her. That or otherwise stupid. Still, I admire that about you.”

‘Headstrong’ was not exactly the adjective Jamie would use to describe himself. No one had been able to manipulate him the way they could. Terrahgonia had once been a haven for him. When he had problems, he ran from them and came here. He tried to avoid dangerous places the best he could, but it seemed that danger was never far when he was near. This time however, he just had not been cautious enough. Still, despite his fears, he kept his impertinent manner.
“My mother will not be pleased, however.” Stefan continued.
“Ooh… I’m quivering in my high tops” He did not need a lecture. He knew the queen was trouble. She had a cold beauty to her and her attempts at kindness had made Jamie wary. He knew that joining the duo of his own accord would have been the easier option but making things easy would not have been any interesting. To Jamie, the whole ‘join me’ scenario had looked like a scene straight out of ‘Star Wars’. No, he would stay true to himself, even if it did mean a horrific fate beyond his imagination. “You should get a pair, by the way. I bet you only wear those to see your own reflection.” He said, light-heartedly.
“Are you always this infuriating?” Stefan asked quirking up an eyebrow.
“Infuriating? You wound me.” Jamie was anything but. 
“If you do not mind, I would like to get on to business.”
“Fire away, Princey” Stefan gave him such a threatening look that he feared that he would actually set him on fire. It would not be the worst he had faced in Terrahgonia. Jamie shivered at the thought of those cannibal giants.
He waved his hand and a chair appeared. With his lopsided grin in check, he took a seat opposite the prince.
“I hope you are aware of the implications of your situation, James.” Stefan addressed him with such seriousness that he might have mistaken it for actual concern. Buy why would Prince Stefan care for about him? Ever since that dreaded night, when the two royals had united to find a way to control their new pawn, Jamie had become increasingly aware of a sinister presence lurking inside of him. He didn’t know how to explain it; he just knew. He didn’t like and he continued to try and believe that it wasn’t truly there.
“You and the queen wish to control me to do your bidding. What’s not to get?” Sometimes people treated him as if he were thick. Stefan seemed to flinch at Jamie’s bluntness. ‘So he can dish it out, but he can’t take it’, Jamie thought to himself. “Don’t bad guys ever get tired of trying to take over the world?” Stefan merely blinked at him.
“What makes you think that I am the enemy?” Jamie was taken aback.
“Seriously? Everything about you screams bad guy!”
“My mother seeks a world where Terrahgonia and Nisyros can unite as one nation.” Stefan argued.
“Newsflash, Princey: Nisyros wants to remain an independent nation. They will die fighting to keep it that way.”
“Then their soldiers will perish in vain”
“Spoken like a true villain”

“I do not believe I brought you here to discuss my morals. Your queen has assigned you an important task and she has asked-”
“She is not my queen” Jamie snapped. The prince sat upright like he meant business. A jewelled dagger materialised in his hand. Jamie’s heart rate accelerated. He wondered what Stefan would do with it. The prince looked placid as he brushed the tips of his fingers along the gem encrusted flat of the blade. Jamie sat still, never drifting his eyes from the prince as he removed something from a pocket inside his blazer. Jamie pictured the worst: the dagger being thrown at him; the dagger transforming to a full sized sword. At last Stefan brought something out. A cloth. He cleaned the dagger with it momentarily, his pale eyes never wavering from it. “She has charged me with the responsibility of making sure you do it.” Jamie imagined kidnapping people in the name of the queen, or worst still, killing. He knew he did not have it in him to commit such cruelties, but here, Yolanda’s word was law. If she truly did have control over him, he would not have choice anyway.
“What does she want me do?” He asked at last, taking the plunge. Stefan finally looked at him, his eyes showing pain he would not tell.
“You rejected our previous offer and you have shown obvious lack of respect towards us. It is for these reasons that you will not need to know of your plans, or at least, consciously.” Jamie did not know what that meant and he was not sure he wanted to.
“What does she want me to do?” H repeated. He was serious now. There was nothing funny about being forced to cause harm to others.
“Just know that I promise that everything will work out in Terrahgonia’s favour.” Then Jamie was plunged into darkness.  

***

Jamie Cooper woke up gasping for air. His lungs burned, in dire need of oxygen. His hangs flailed out in search of something, for anything that could save him. At last, he gripped on to something solid. He dared to open his eyes for a moment but they immediately began to sting. The water was foul and it tasted vile. It was all the most horrible tastes he could imagine, wrapped into one. He tasted blood, and then it was the metallic taste of spinach, then prune juice. Jamie hoped it was all just a nightmare but it felt far too real. He felt a hand pull him away, and then an arm wrap around him. Just when he thought it was all over, he was propelled upwards. Then everything was gone.
Jamie coughed out a horrid liquid. He could feel someone pressing sown on his lungs. He felt someone pressing down on his lungs. He felt disorientated but at last things seemed to come into perspective. Looming over him was a tall, cloaked man.
“Guardian, can you hear me?” He asked.
“Yeah. I can smell you too.” This was perhaps not the best response to someone who had just saved his life, he realised. The man moved away. Jamie sat up, on a beach. It was unlike any other he had seen before. The grey ocean seemed to have a life all its own. The grey ocean seemed to have a life all its own. The tide came in at irregular intervals, and when it did come in, it took a person in with it. Well, Jamie wasn’t sure if ‘people’ was the right word for what they were. They were empty shells that had been merely reanimated. They were ghosts of creatures that may have once lived. They lurked the shores in drudgery, but often lingered to one secure place. Their eyes were hollow and lifeless; their bodies were frail and thin. Coldness engulfed the entire place, with a breeze that Jamie could do without. His clothes were still wet and his teeth chattered so hard he thought they would shatter. The sky was a perpetual twilight. It was neither truly night, nor day. The whispers and incomprehensible chatter of the shades- for that is what Jamie knew them to be- sent shivers down his spine. They seemed wary of him, frightened even.
“Where am I?” He finally asked the man.
“Niflheim. Nastrond, to be exact. Welcome to my humble abode.” He seemed to be prideful. Jamie couldn’t help wonder what kind of weirdo would like this place.

“You live here?”
“That is a difficult question.”
“I believe it is a straightforward ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer.” Jamie replied.
“I come and go as I please.” ‘The man came and went’, Jamie wondered who would want to stay in a place like this, even for a moment. A shadow was cast over the man’s face. It made the Guardian wary, even if he had saved him.
“How do I get out of here then?” Jamie asked. The man laughed a humourless laugh.
“I think you will find that you shall be here for a while.”
“Surely if you can find a way out, then so can I”
“Perhaps” He purred.
“May I ask you a question?”
“You already have” Jamie rolled his eyes.
“I’ll ask another. Who are you and how do you know me?”
“That is two questions.” Jamie was getting rather irritable. He was in unknown territories and the only person- or perhaps creature- that could help him was being difficult. He had never particularly enjoyed his life in the mortal realm but it suddenly looked like heaven, compared to this place.
“If you must know, I do not know my name. I am nameless. It was lost to me long ago. As for my knowledge of you, I have my sources.” Jamie could not fathom how one could lose their own name. The man- or creature- must have been very ancient. “I cannot stay, but know that things are not what they appear to be. You may find friends in the unlikeliest of people. The shades that wonder this beach are banished creatures from Terrahgonia, and her neighbouring country, Nisyros. They are too cowardly to face the terrors that exist outside this area, for there are further dangers than the merciless tide, and myself, of course.” It was only then that the Guardian realised that the other shades stayed clear from them. Could it be because the creature that stood before him was more dangerous than everything that dwelt on this damnable beach?
“And what is beyond this beach?”
“Shadows. They are the negative essence of every sentient being that resides in Terrahgonia. They are creatures with no mercy and no fear. You would do well to stay within the reasonable safety of Nastrond.” Jamie didn’t like being told what to do but he knew it would be wiser to do as he was told, for once.  

“I must be on my way now. We will meet again, Guardian.” Jamie panicked. There was so much he was yet to know.
“Wait! I still don’t understand how I got here and how to get home.”
“Once you cage the creature, you will regain control.” He answered. It made no sense to Jamie. The creature started to dematerialise, in a mist of blackness.
“Please! Help me.” He was hysterical now, trying to keep a hold onto the creature. But his hand went through him, and soon he was left alone. The man’s words lingered in his head. ‘Once you cage the creature, you will regain control’. What creature could he be speaking of? Jamie knelt on the sand, in defeat. He hunched his back and held his hands to his face. All he ever wanted was a life with a purpose. What could he do inside this hell hole? This was no way of living. He thought of home and all the trouble he had there, once his mother remarried. Still, this would never compare to it. At home, he often wondered if he was truly loved, but here there was no one here but shades. Some were angry, some confused. All were miserable.

Jamie scooped up fine sand in his hands. It felt very real. He wished he could at least cling on to the belief that this was some sort of delusion. It was not. He finally decided to lie on the sand. He brought his knees to his chest, in a foetal position. He closed his eyes tightly and counted to himself. Ten, nine, eight. He had to believe he could find a way out. Seven, six, five. Perhaps this was all but at elaborate illusion. Four…three. Maybe this was their way of teaching him a lesson- Prince Stefan and Queen Yolanda. Two… one. Once he opened his eyes, this would all be gone. It would never have even happened. He opened his eyes. He was disappointed. Everything was as it was ten seconds ago. Deep down, he had expected no less. Why would he have? This was no fantasy, or indeed television. He just had to face that he could end up staying there for a while. Nastrond, his new home. 

‘Home sweet home’, he thought bitterly.  

SO, What did you think? Be honest. I won’t bite… much. So now you have read the first three chapters- presumably- please tell me which character’s perspective you prefer and why. Advice is always appreciated. Don’t be afraid to be critical. And please tell your friends of my novel. Have a good weekend!


Mufunde, out
x

There is nothing worse than a two dimensional Mary-Sue character. For those of you who don’t know, a Mary-Sue, or a Marty Stu if they are male. (Here is a link to a test to see if your character is a Mary-Sue: http://www.ponylandhttp://www.ponylandpress.com/ms-test.html
Here is another one: http://www.katfeete.nehttp://www.katfeete.net/writing/marysue.html
Real people might not be able to do a lot of things fictional ones can do, but we need to be able to relate to them, all the same. Many of us wouldn’t be able to survive the Hunger Games (if they existed); we can’t speak to the dead- I hope- and our dreams of being a spy will stay that- merely a dream. But we want to be able to experience all of these things through book characters. I will be giving advice on how to write a three dimensional generic character.

Pic found on lynmidnight.blogspot.co.uk

#1 Appearance
The first thing we notice when we meet new people is the way they look. It is usually the same for fictional characters. The exception to this rule may be those creepy buggers who take their times to reveal themselves. So here are the typical features that should be included:

  • Hair colour and style
  • Eye colour
  • Skin colour/ tone
  • Clothing
  • Height

It is important to avoid cliches like ‘ice cold blue eyes’, ‘swan-like neck’, ‘porcelain skin’, ‘burly’ physique, and ‘teeth like pearls’. Try to also refrain from repeating yourself, especially if you going to describe two different characters the same way. For example, two characters may both have green eyes and you describe them both as having bright emerald eyes. Maybe one should have emerald eyes, and the other can having twinkling green eyes, or hazel eyes. Identical twins is in my opinion a valid exception.

Stereotypes are a good way of quickly getting across a character’s personality, especially minor, extra characters that will not be a big part of your story. At my old high school, we had the group labelled ‘the chavs’. They typically carry Blackberry phones, wear hoodies, walk around together in fairly large groups (preferably with a swagger), being somewhat intimidating. They tended to wear headphones, caps, and wore trainers against the school dress code regulations. Their shirts were untucked or they wore jumpers to cover that up. Their ties were short and thick, usually four stripes instead of the acceptable eight or above. They thought they were ‘hard’. They were usually just a nuisance. But this was just their exterior. As many characters are, they were never usually what they appeared to be.

It might be interesting to have a character that goes agains convention. Maybe your character meets a huge scary looking monster that ends up being the best friend they never thought they would have. Or maybe you could have that innocent small school girl tho can kick some major ass. Appearances can be deceiving, so use it to your advantage.

#2 Speech
Everyone speak differently, depending on your language, where you live and often who you are speaking to. Describing speech is not always easy and it can be years until you master dialogue. A child’s biggest problem is finding synonyms to the word ‘said’. My advice? Use that word as sparingly as possible. It is a horrible word that doesn’t really tell a reader anything. That said [oh my gosh, I used the word], I am not condoning the repetition of other words. Use yelled instead of shouted sometimes, barked instead of argued, chirped instead of ‘said happily’. Invest in a thesaurus if you have to, or better yes, use the internet. You have no excuse.

People say things differently too. You get some old fashioned characters that will always say ‘do not’ instead of ‘don’t’, ‘will not’ instead of ‘won’t’ or ‘ain’t’. Back to my ‘chav’ stereotype:

Typical phrases my friend and I would use to make fun of ‘chavs’ were:

  • ‘Come den bruv’
  • ‘I’m gonna bang you’
  • ‘Brrrrrup!’
  • ‘Ooooh! You got void!’
  • ‘In it doh’ 

The phrases were a language all their own. It was a slang that many people used actually, not always just the typical ‘chavs’. And what is a ‘chav’ anyway? Well that was never made clear. So when you write about your characters, think about what type of person they would be. Royal characters might use bigger, more complicated words, whilst school children might use slang from time to time. It is always a good idea to listen out to people in conversations to get an idea of what dialogue is really like. Remember that people also talk with their hands, using all kinds of gestures. And think about the emotion behind the words.

Part three and four of this topic will most likely be out later this week.

Stereotypical Chav

Mufunde, out
x

So it’s been about a week since my last extract. This next one is from the point of view of my second character. I think you’ll figure out which one it is after reading this…
Please enjoy and review. At this stage, adjustments can still be made, but only if I am made aware of what I can do to improve.

2.            The Dark Side of the Moon
The man rode on horseback in the early hours of the morning. The wind whipped through his hair and swirls of water vapour surrounded his mouth as he breathed. It was a dark and dangerous forest. Many bad been led astray by mischievous faeries here before. The young man feared not. This assurance compelled his brave steed onwards. Laughter and music were heard mingled with screaming and moaning. The young man knew all too well of the ways of the Unseelie court. They lured mortals to the realm of Terrahgonia, in the forests that separated it from Nisyros. There they were forced to dance with the faeries all night long and many of them died from exertion, for mortals were incredibly fragile in comparison to faeries. The young man saw the pleading eyes of a girl no older than himself. He could not directly intervene, for the Unseelie court was ruled by a powerful king. It had been the king who had allowed him safe passage through the forest.  He was not willing to handle the king’s ensuing wrath. Instead, he muttered an incantation. That would be able to protect the mortals for the night. The faeries would doubtlessly allow them to rest. But they would never again see their families or live the lives they once knew. No mortal was permitted to leave either Terrahgonia or Nisyros once they entered.

At last, the rider found himself in the capital city of Antalya. His horse trotted on the cobbled streets where the second class citizens lived. It was becoming slightly more common for mortals to earn their freedom, but even then they were not treated with much respect. Their homes were a drab grey and they all seemed to slant sadly. He saw a few mortals, who were still awake stare at him. It was uncommon to see someone of his stature ride through their poor area. For the young man was the Crown Prince of Terrahgonia. He found it rather nerve racking to be stared at and rode on.
His mother’s castle was much like usual. Before he could enter, he had to prove his identity to the guard. He rolled up his cloak a bit and showed the guard his bracelet. It had the royal crest on it and was therefore a symbol of power. The guard scanned the bracelet with a detector. Although they were more commonly used to scan the bar codes imprinted on the slaves, this one was programmed to check the authenticity of guests as well. Terrahgonia liked to embrace technology and regarded as closely linked to magic. The large iron gates were opened and he rode onwards. The large castle was foreboding even without the darkness for added affect. It had a gothic style with tall spires, and gargoyles that were enchanted to watch the surroundings. Still, his mother, Queen Yolanda, insisted on having warlocks and ogres patrol.

The interior of the palace was not as sinister as one might expect. It was regal with high ceilings, and decorative Corinthian columns. The ivory painted walls gleamed from the light of the chandeliers. The ceiling and walls were beautifully gilded. But what dominated this room was not the peculiar shade of green chosen for the carpentry, or even the solid crystal doorway that led to the Queen’s private quarters. It was the giant oil painting of Queen Yolanda, battling in the war that had led to her gaining the throne. The prince often looked at it to remind himself what his mother was capable of. He knew that there was no true way of knowing whether this exact scene had ever happened but that horrific expression on her face and the gleam in her eyes had been one he had seen firsthand. An ornamented gold frame completed the piece. Prince Stefan was directed to the throne room, where he found his mother, the queen, sat on her throne. On occasions when he visited on business, there would be another throne for him to sit on. The prince knew that his mother had a purpose to everything but she often kept him in the dark about her plans. He hoped that she simply wanted to have some mother-son bonding time but he realised how ridiculous that seemed. She had insisted that it would be best to meet late. She was not usually nocturnal. She had always teased him, calling him a creature of the night when he wouldn’t sleep on time. She also knew his power was greatest during the hours of the night. No, this was business, plain and simple.
The room had always seemed rather bright to Stefan, for his mother’s personality. It seemed she had redecorated. Small chandeliers hung at the left and right sides of the room, suspended in the air. A purple strip of carpet ran along the marble floor, complementing the plum and gold gilded walls. The obsidian Corinthian columns with its gold laurel leaves were against the ancient Greek traditions. The ceiling was decorated with the paintings of death scenes in battle. Many of them showed the Queen herself, riding off into battle, hacking at enemy soldiers. Prince Stefan looked to closely at one and it seemed to come to life and played out the scene. He could clearly hear the sound of battle raging. Horses whinnied and galloped all around.

“I hope you like my new arrangement” Stefan was finally able to tear his gaze away. The prince walked across the marble floor and stood before his mother. He looked hard into her violet eyes.
“Hello mother” He was still and formal, giving her a respectable, short bow. She was as glamorous as she had always been to him. Her skin never revealed her age, as she used a secret potion to help her looking young. Her long dark hair cascaded past her shoulders. Her dress was inspired by ancient Rome, stunning and regal.
“Oh pish, posh! There is no need for formality here.” She smiled. “You’re my son. Besides, the guards are outside.” For a moment there, where was a wild glint in her eyes. Whatever she was up to, it would not be good.
“I noticed.”
“How have you been darling?” She asked sweetly. It was strange to Stefan how normal his mother could seem. But she was not. He knew she was a power hungry dictator. But he played along.

“I’m fine, mother. And yourself?”
“I’d be better if you visited more often.” She tightened her fist and Stefan was momentarily worried that she was mad. But a bright light emitted from her hand and the worry came to pass. She opened her hand and a bright, luminescent feather appeared. Stefan had asked her mother about it and had been told that it was a present from his father, he had given her. It was a phoenix feather. She often stared at it for its beauty. It was a stunning mixture of reds and yellows of different shades. Sparks seemed to sizzle from it and it was a wonder to the prince how his mother constantly kept it. He wanted to push his mother to get to the point but he had learned long ago that his mother would reveal information at her own leisure, and there was no point pressing her to do otherwise.

“I imagine you are wondering why I insisted that you came here so late?” She asked, moving her hand with the feather in an elegant fashion. She watched as the feather followed. Stefan had seen the feather many times before, but he was still mesmerised by it.
“I am sure you have a good reason” Stefan did not truly agree with his statement but he knew it was prudent to agree with her. His mother smiled at him- the same cunning that normally meant something dreadful was about to take place.
“Tell the guards that it is time” She replied ominously. The prince did as he was told without question. Questions were often a waste of time. He opened the iron door and stepped out in the corridor. The guards immediately straightened up, in attention. The ogres always stood up straight and were rather serious about their jobs. It was the warlocks who often slumped.
“The queen says it is time” The price told them. The ogre’s twisted faced did not change but the warlocks looked wary.
“Of course, Your Highness” Two of the ogres swiftly walked away. Tension rose inside Stefan. The last time his mother had a ‘wonderful surprise’, a lot of Terrahgonians had gotten hurt. He knew she was capable of cruelties. Even the king of the Unseelie court faeries was careful not to cross her. Stefan stood there, and heard the familiar voice of a prisoner struggling. His stomach tightened. He got a good view as the ogres dragged a teenager about his own age. His attempts were futile of course. Ogres did not have much talent but they were definitely strong. The prisoner looked slightly battered, but he had seen worse. His shaggy blonde hair was dishevelled and his lip was split with dry blood. He wanted to look away from the prisoner’s sorry state but he forced himself to show no emotion. He had gotten enough practice in the past, after all. His face was like a mask but guilt pricked at him from inside.

The prince walked into the throne room, with the guards and the prisoner following just behind.
“Finally! I thought I would have to wait until my son’s coronation!” Yolanda barked. The ogres sheepishly apologised and left the room as swiftly as possible. The prisoner wore no chains but he did not need to. The iron bracelets around his wrists bound his powers. “Stefan, this is our lovely guest, James.”
“Guest?” The prisoner chuckled. “If this is how you treat your guests, I’d hate to see how you treat your prisoners.” Stefan knew of course that she was only trying to be pleasant. He just did not understand why. She claimed that all prisoners were enemies of the kingdom. They were branded criminals, plain and simple. Stefan was rather amused by James’ bravery but was worried for his life. Yolanda was far from amused. Her fake smile was wiped straight off and she made a tugging motion with her hand. James bellowed in pain.
“I shall warn you to refrain from angering me, James” Yolanda said, her voice soft and smooth.

“You’re already going to kill me. Why should I give you the satisfaction?” The prisoner spat. Stefan respected his bravery but also saw it as stupidity. He knew that she did not bother attempting to be kind without reason. This prisoner must have been of some value.
“I know who your family are. If you care not for your own life, then perhaps you do for theirs.” James gritted his teeth. “Just as I thought.” A small smile crept up her face. “James, this is my son, Stefan. I am sure you have heard of him.” The prisoner looked at him briefly and gasped.
“I don’t know whether I should bow or kiss the floor at his feet.” He stated, feigning awe. This might have made the prince laugh if his comment was not so detrimental. He wished that the prisoner at least attempted to preserve his own life. The prince narrowed his eyes at the prisoner and only had to suggest pain to the other warlock’s mind and he did a double take, but stayed standing.
“You can start by showing some respect” He warned.
“Honestly, James. I do hope you do not treat all of your hosts this way”. The Queen stated, as if it were his entire fault. ‘Only partially’ Stefan thought.

“James here is a piece of the puzzle” His mother stated. She let that sink in for a moment. “He is the Guardian of the Moon.” She finally explained. It was like a punch in the stomach. The prince knew what this meant. If Yolanda could get James on her side, then everything could be ruined. His mother had plans of making him King once she decided to retire but it was likely that she would live on for a long time. The last thing he wanted was to become a puppet monarch. Stefan had big plans for Terrahgonia, a land both in and separate from Faerie. But there were risks to his plans and he knew what the ultimate price would be for failure. He had not overlooked the Moon Guardian, but instead had intended to get to him first. He showed a small smile in an attempt to appear normal but this facial expression sickened even him. It was no surprise that the prisoner quickly looked away from him. He wondered how he must feel. He must have felt alone, vulnerable and scared. ‘I cannot involve myself emotionally’ he remembered.

“What do you want with me?” The prisoner asked; his voice now hoarse.
“We would like you to join us, as I told you earlier” The queen raised her voice. It was never a good thing to make Yolanda repeat herself. Why this buffoon was testing her patience, he knew not. The prisoner shook his head slowly.
“No. I won’t.” Yolanda’s eyebrows arched upwards in surprise. Stefan knew this was not a good sign.
“Come now, James.” The prince intervened. “Do not be foolish. You could have riches beyond your imagination. We could shape Terrahgonia together and bring it back to its former glory.”
“I don’t know whether you have something stuck in your ears, your highness, but I have already refused.” Stefan’s pleasantries vanished. He did not like being mocked and this prisoner had gone too far. Surprisingly, his mother seemed rather cool and composed.
“Then it is decided.” She nodded. She looked at her son with those cunning violet eyes of hers, a sort of madness twinkling in them. Something terrible was about to happen. The prince could feel it in his gut. “I think he needs to embrace his darker side”
She rose from her throne, and gracefully descended from the dais. She raised her hand towards the prisoner and his face contorted in pain, but there was some obvious resistance from him. Most Terrahgonians unfortunate enough to be the victim of Yolanda’s tortures would have been begging for mercy right now. But it seemed that James was far from any typical warlock. Not only had he been impertinent, but it seemed that he had more strengths than just talking. Was it even possible to control a Guardian?

“Kneel to your Queen!” His mother exclaimed.
“I will not. I will…” The prisoner gritted his teeth and then an excruciating roar erupted out of him. The prince watched in fascination and terror as the prisoner began to kneel.
“Stefan, my son, it is time” She ordered. The prince was not sure what was expected of him but he stepped towards them. “Take my hand”. He understood she needed him. A part of him wanted to refuse and help the prisoner but he denied these feelings. He knew it would do no good now. He had a plan and he was to stick to it. Collateral damage was expected. But how many more lives had to suffer before the kingdom would be rid of a tyrant? One more it would seem, he thought and then took his mother’s hand.


I hope you enjoyed this. Please let me know what you thought
Mufunde, out
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Authors can write but not many of them can draw or paint. Here are a number of great digital drawings I found on DeviantArt on some of my favourite books:

Gale and Katniss
By mseregon from Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games series
Prince Ash of the Unseelie court
By mseregon from Julie Kagawa’s Iron Fey series
Left to right: Seth, Asilinn, Keenan
By skellingt0n from Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series
Leo Valdez and Festus, the dragon
By jujubajulia from Rick Riordan’s Heroes of Olympus series
Left to right, Percy Jackson, Nico di Angelo and Thalia Grace
By BncaRes from Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series
Irial, king of the Dark court
By feral kin from Melissa Marr’s Wicked Lovely series
Annabeth Chase and Percy Jackson
By jujubajulia from Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson series
Schuyler Van Alen and Jack Force
By Uzumaki-Akane-sama from Melissa de la Cruz’s Blue Bloods series

So I’ve thought about it and I thought maybe that it’s about time I posted an extract of my novel. Here is Chapter one. This is still an early draft and I may have to change it. This chapter is from Lux’s perspective. Please enjoy and let me know what you think:

1.               Out of the Shadows
“Lux…Lux…I’m here. Come find me” The voice called out faintly. It sounded tired but determined. Lux continued to climb up the mountain. The rock face was icy and unforgivable. She couldn’t believe that she had even contemplated quitting. She had come so far, and she knew that failure was not an option. Many were counting on her. She was exhausted and the cold bit at her bare skin. Her fingers gripped tightly around the ice axe. Then every mountaineer’s worst nightmare occurred. The harness began to snap. There was nothing she could do. Her grip on the ice axe slipped and she descended down the mountain. She had failed.   

Destinies are tricky things to avoid, whether you like it or not. So when Lux Robertson woke up gasping, in unfamiliar territory, she knew that hers was just beginning. Her dream had felt so real but seeing her surroundings, she hoped that this was a dream too. Autumn leaves surrounded her as she shivered in her pyjamas. She sat up slowly and saw darkness all around. She was in the depths of a forest. Bare trees swayed with the wind, branches like outstretched arms ready to grab her. How had she gotten here? Where was she? These thoughts bombarded her, but they remained unanswered for now. Searching around at her environment, she saw green grass with dewdrops grew in uneven lengths and a nearby lake, reflecting the illuminating crest moon in the night sky. She breathed evenly in an attempt to keep calm, as water vapour swirled around her mouth. Lux heard a stick snap not too far away and fear overpowered her. She stayed perfectly still in the hope that whatever was nearby wouldn’t notice her. She was wrong.
An ominous figure stepped out of the shadows. He was tall and lean with a black hooded cloak. Lux bit her lip in nervousness.
“Your majesty” He bowed his head in respect for a moment. She blinked in confusion. All she could make out were his unsmiling lips. She noticed his shadow move and take a three-dimensional shape. He approached her and held out a hand to help her up. Despite her shock, she took it. It was cool to the touch and solid…very solid. She was convinced that her hand would go through his as if it were made of mist. When she arose, the shadow dissolved and went back to the hooded stranger like a dog returning to its master.

“You have a pet shadow?” She asked.
“I wouldn’t put it quite like that. My shadow is a creature that simply does my bidding. The term ‘pet’ implies it thinks for itself.”
“Oh” Lux felt a bit dumb. “Who are you and where am I?” She asked, though she already knew. As soon as she had opened her eyes she knew exactly where she was as if this place had been buried deep in her memory. It was a place she had wished never to visit because she had heard of the dangers that existed here.
“I think you know.”
“Terrahgonia” She whispered. He nodded.
“Really I’m rather disappointed that you have forgotten me so easily.” But she couldn’t remember him. A feeling in the pit of her stomach warned her that he was dangerous. He took several steps towards her and it took all her willpower not to step back. He made one step too many into the space she called her personal bubble and she reeled back. He chuckled a little from the amusement of her obvious fear. “You do not need to fear me.” He had a deep silken voice that tried to reassure her.
“Says the guy in the hooded cloak” Lux countered. “If you want to make a good first impression, then you ought to uncover your face.”
“But where is the fun in that?” Then he dematerialised. “It’s been so long since I’ve seen you, Lux.” His distant voice called out. She turned around to see where it was coming from.
“How do you know my name?” He simply laughed.
“There is no time for such trivial questions, I’m afraid.” He replied from somewhere else. He seemed to be throwing his voice everywhere.

“Terrahgonia has lived in the dark for too long.” Leaves rustled behind her. “It is time to bring out the light.” She turned around again and the stranger was in front of her, as if he had appeared from thin air. “It is time for a new ruler to take the reins.”  Perhaps he had. She gasped in shock from her late reaction because she had tried and failed to stifle it. “Terrahgonia needs you on the throne”
‘This is not happening’, she thought. ‘Not now at least’; for she knew what this was all about. Not only did she know about the kingdom of Terrahgonia- a realm that had been forced to move into another dimension when mortals threatened its very existence- but she knew that she was its royal princess.
“I…I can’t. I’m sixteen. I’m not ready. Isn’t there somebody else?”
“The people would never accept him.” She didn’t care. This was not her world. She had not chosen this and she didn’t want it.

“I’m sorry. Terrahgonia will have to survive without me.” She turned her back on him and was about to walk away when he grabbed her arm and pulled her back.
“You have no idea just how terrible things are here. The kingdom is being ruled by a tyrant. Only with the power of the Guardians combined can balance be restored.”
“Well good luck with that”
“I advise you think about it. Perhaps the next time we meet, you will have a fresh perspective on things.” She doubted that. “Well, the guard dogs will be patrolling here soon so… until next time Princess.” He dematerialised in thick black mist. She was left there cold and alone. Then she heard the sound of growling as well as the rustling of leaves. She guessed he wasn’t joking about the dogs. A hound ran up to her and before Lux could make a move, she was in her room again. She was sprawled across the floor next to my bed. She was hoping the whole thing was a dream when she looked down at her muddy clothes. Of course it had been real.
She heard a deep laughter and she looked all around for the source of the sound. Not a person or creature in sight. Then she saw the slightest flicker of a shadow. A shadow hand waved at her and then it was gone.   


Well thank you for read my first chapter. I hope you enjoyed it.
Mufunde, out

For a person like me it normally takes about 3 days to read a novel. Sometimes a week. But for all my efforts, every now and again I come across a novel that I just cannot finish. Sometimes it’s because they’re boring; other times I’m reading two novels at a time and one just catches my attention more. Here some of the books I have started and am yet to finish:

Artemis Fowl & the Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer

 Having read the entire series, apart from this one, I was thoroughly disappointed. I loved Arty and all of his adventures. I honestly think that Colfer should have quit whilst he was ahead after about the with book. Once he brought time travelling into the mix, it just got confusing. One Artemis Fowl is quite enough, and having him try and out-smart himself was bizarre but interesting. With The Lost Colony, Colfer introduced the demons, the over race of fairies. Did he really have to call them that? Why not ogres? But besides the name, the race seemed pretty cool and I really liked the new character, Number One.

I did my best to read The Atlantis Complex but I just didn’t things were the same without Commander Root. The events were somewhat confusing and watching Artemis deteriorate into madness was unbearable. Knowing that this book has something to do with Opal Koboi also irks me. I’ve seen enough of this pixie, and now I think that she should just die.

With that pleasant thought, I warn Artemis Fowl fans about this novel and future ones to be written. And Eoin Colfer, I still love you as a writer and I hope you redeem yourself.

Odin’s Voice by Susan Price

I came SOO close to finishing this novel. I reckon I got distracted by another one, as I often do. It’s a pity because it was actually a good book. Set in a futuristic world where the old gods are still worshipped, it follows two very different girls whose worlds are entangled. It is a world where slavery is very prominent and those that are bound by it are called bondsmen, and freewomen and freemen rule. It is the perfect entanglement of the ancient and the futuristic. Unlike Riordan, Price has chosen to go for Norse Mythology.

Eragon by Christopher Paolini

This is an uncommon case of the movie is better than the book. The book was just far too slow paced. I tried, Paolini. I honestly tried.

Harry Potter & the Philosopher’s Stone by J.K. Rowling

This wasn’t so bad but I found that I just didn’t enjoy the reading this style of writing. I don’t hate 3rd person or anything, though I do prefer 1st. I just didn’t feel very connected to Harry. I think this is often the same with Alex Rider from Anthony Horowitz’s series but in this case the action and suspense is enough to let me ignore this. HP is more mystery based but I barely even got that far. I put this book down halfway through, not willing to let myself endure anymore of it.

Sorry to those millions of fans, but I don’t see the hype.

So I have started the huge task of writing a novel. It’s a journey that many people start and do not always finish. Well, I hope to finish it and go even further than just write it, but also get it published. Right now I feel like I’m writing to myself, but perhaps soon enough, I will get followers one day. So enough of that rambling. You want to know about this novel.

I started it a couple of years ago and even finished it, then started a sequel. But I thought that something was lacking so I am now revising it. The story has truly transformed and I’ve even added a few characters that I now truly love. The novel is about three teenagers, who are very different from one another. Lux Robertson is your typical high schooler (British, by the way). She is just trying to simply get by and pass her GCSEs. The other is Jamie Cooper, a guy caught between two worlds, and lastly, Prince Stefan. All have one thing in common: a legacy. They have extraordinary powers and they are all that stands between chaos and peace for the forgotten realm of Terrahgonia.

I have just recently revised my plot and I am busy trying to write. I may post my first three chapters at some point.

Mufunde, out
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