A to Z Challenge

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Food Glorious Food!

Day Four - World Building Blogfest!

OMG! Food. It features quite prominently in Return of the Crown. Working magic, or manipulating the Light, in Aigerach saps a lot of energy from those who practice the Light Arts. If they are using magic, they sap their energy stores and are very hungry. So, Ravyn and Connor are both very hungry...most of the time.

This fact has been noted by a couple folks who reviewed Return of the Crown...

...I've taken to rubbing my stomach when I'm hungry and saying, "Time to feed the beast." - Trailbladers (Amazon)

...Another unique element was the many references to, and celebrating the acts, of eating. When you're done reading, you might just say to yourself, "I need to eat, and soon." - Rich (Amazon)

One of the tasty treats Ravyn comes to enjoy are Honey cakes. I envisioned a cross between granola and sticky buns. Because of this blogfest, I went in to the kitchen to see if I could make something close to my vision. I took a cup of Trader Joe's multi-grain baking mix, sprinkled in some Bare Naked Vanilla Almond Granola. Added a spoonful of Coconut oil, an egg, some almond milk and of course lots of honey. I poured it into a pan and baked it at 350 for about 15 minutes. Topped the whole thing off with more honey, so it'd be sticky : ) Look how cute it turned out!

I think if I played around with the recipe, I could have something even more similar to what I'd envisioned. As it is...it sure is tasty! (Please excuse the smacking lips).

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Dragon Flight and Healing Light

Day Three - Magic! And Religion?

Thought I'd share an excerpt from my WIP, hope you enjoy.

"Beware," shrieked Ena.

Violent purple lightning burst from the ground sweeping up into the sky. Fingers of electricity danced out from a main line of electric malevolence, stabbing out at them. Ardan banked sharp as a bolt of Darkness exploded in front of his nose. Ravyn slipped off his back, the wind whistling in her ears as she fell toward the hard ground below.

Groggy from sleep, she tried to make sense of her free fall through a pitch-black sky. She felt the wind rushing past her, her black hair smacking her in the face. She fumbled for skeins of the Light, pulling the colored threads about her body, willing the threads to coil and spring. Arcs of Darkness sliced through the sky looking for prey, a tendril of electricity cracked near her head and her hair stood on end. Her downward spiral continued and she hoped the Light would cushion her fall. A streak of red burst through the darkness and she landed hard on Ardan's back, only to bounce off because of the woven coils of Light she'd wrapped about herself. She snatched at his tail, clutching it with her right hand. Ardan lashed his tail forward, flinging her head over foot to deposit her on his back once more.

An unearthly wail pierced the night, "Ena," she screamed. Ardan dove and swerved as streaks of violet electricity sparked all about them. He banked away from the foul Darkness, making a steep dive down toward the ground. Ravyn felt the skin on her cheeks pulling backwards against the tremendous pressure. Little stars danced in her vision, and she felt blackness pulling her down. Ardan slammed into the ground, sending dirt and rocks flying. Ravyn breathed in a deep breaht, her eyes bright with clarity once more. Ardan leaped forward, his huge legs propelling him across the ground.

Ena lay on her back, her wing stretched out to the side, a large smoking hole burned through the leathery skin. Lareina stood over the tattered wing, her hands raised, threads of Light dancing at her fingertips. She wove the threads into a complicated pattern, looping some and weaving new ones through.

Rayvn noticed threads of Light pinning Ena down. The dragon thrashed her head back and forth. "Let me up, I'll tear out her throat!"

Ardan stuck his face up under his mother's chin, mewling and nuzzling her. A great rumbling sound emerged from his chest as he bumped her head, nudging her over and over.

Ravyn put a calm hand on Ardan. "Shh, she'll be alright." She rubbed his heaving sides. He craned his neck round, a lost sad look in his golden eyes. "Ardan, step back," she urged. "Mother needs space to work. It'll be okay." She glanced at Lareina, her brows furrowed in concentration, lost deep in the working of healing magic. She has to be okay.

So, sorry. I know it's a bit rough. This is part of what got whipped out during NaNoWriMo, and I haven't done any editing yet. As you can tell, in Aigerach there's really only one magic, but it can be worked through the Light or the Darkness. As for Religion, in Aigerach people will greet each other with Blessing of the Light, and they will pray to the Light, when they are hoping for a good outcome. But there is no formal God or Goddess.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

World Building Day Two, Ugh, Politics...

Day two - Recent Politics in Aigerach

Aigerach has always been ruled by a King. Rule is passed from father to eldest son, and has been such for all ages. Until King Alric has no sons. The right of rule is passed his youngest daughter Lareina, who has married a young royal named Bryant.

Aigerach remains a monarchy, for a time. King Alric's daughter Zelera falls prey to the Darkness, allowing it to find root in her heart. Jealous of her sister and angry that she has been passed over for rule, she takes things into her own hands.

Zelera seals her sister and King Bryant into a magic mirror and usurps the throne, becoming the first female ruler of Aigerach, and its first despot! She retains power for a period of nine long years, throwing the land into chaos and Darkness. That is, until the Princess Ravyn is able to return from exile and take back the crown, bringing back the Light.

Zelera, exiled for her crimes against the country (execution should have been her fate), finds love in Rasport. She finds herself betrothed to the King of that country.
Will being the Queen of Rasport fill the hole in her soul? Will it be enough to satisfy her lust for power? What would happen if it should appear that she has been kidnapped?

Monday, January 28, 2013

Recent Sightings

Okay, so day one...I found a page from a book about the fantastical creatures of Aigerach. Mind you, it appears there are more creatures in this land, but all I found was this one page caught in the branches of the oak tree behind my house. I would love to take a trip to this land, though I dare say, I'd want to whole book to guide me, who knows what other kinds of creatures I might run into.

Aigerach - Fantastical Creatures Abound

1. Dragons - These large flying creatures make their home on Draconis Island, but many a farmer on Aigerach can attest to the beasts appetite for sheep. They are large and scaly with fiery breath. They can be any color, though the red dragons are thought to be most fierce. The majority of dragons shun humans, but the Princess Ravyn befriended Ena, a sassy scarlet dragon. Ena and her son Ardan are frequent visitors to Aigerach, so keep your eyes to the skies if you hope to catch a sight of one.

2. Unicorn - These horse-like creatures are magnificent. They come in a variety of colors, with a large opalescent horn. A large herd lives in Wanderer's Forest, led by a large white stallion, Giallag. Here's a funny thing. Once again, these creatures used to keep to themselves, and were rarely seen, but due to a chance encounter with Princess Ravyn, they have been seen fighting alongside the army of Aigerach. Their voices are melodious, their words sound like musical notes played by a variety of orchestral instruments. If you are out in the woods at night and you hear music floating on the air, unicorn may be nearby.

3. Harpies - In the recent past, Harpies were a nuisance. These half-bird women kept dirty nests, cursed incessantly, and fought constantly. A chance encounter with a harpy in the woods would leave your ears ringing with foul language at the least, your body covered in icky excrement for sure and at worst could end your life. The males of the species are fragile as youngsters. As they lived in squalid conditions, few survived. After an encounter with the Princess Ravyn, the Harpy Clan has taken a 180 degree turn. They keep themselves and their nests immaculate and very rarely drop the f-bomb or any fecal spatter either. There has been a rise in the number of male harpies.

4. Wolves - Okay, so this sounds rather mundane. We've been talking about dragons and unicorn and harpies...but wolves? These creatures remain shy and elusive, but should you run into a wolf on Aigerach, you'll understand why they fall into the fantastical creature realm. Let's just say, once again, the Princess Ravyn has touched some lives with her magic and changed things up a bit. The wolves have the ability to speak, though they don't find communicating with most humans very enlightening. They can also smell the scent of magic, whether it be of the Light or the Darkness. Kialgyn, a large gray wolf, is the Alpha male and leader of the pack.

5. Selkies - Now, technically while they do not live on Aigerach, a couple selkies have been spotted on the mainland. Selkies are creatures of land and sea, part man and part seal. While in their human form, the selkies possess irresistible charm and are able to woo any maid that happens near. The transformation from man to seal occurs due to the magical properties of the seals skin. While in seal form, a selkie can remove their fur to transform into a human. They are very protective about the hiding place of their skin, for there is nothing worse than to be trapped as a human forever. Princess Ravyn and Queen Lareina have kept the story of their time spent with the selkies quite quiet.

6. Mara - A nightmare. Really and literally, not something you want to come into contact with. It is best not to sleep alone, as you will have difficulty breaking its hold over you on your own. A nightmare is nothing like a horse, it is a small demon that will sit on a victim's chest crushing the breath from their lungs. All the while it floods their vision with the most horrible images, the things one fears the most. It savors the fear that emanates from its victims and it feeds their soul to the Darkness. The only way to break their hold, and its rather silly but true, is for someone to offer them a gift the following day if they'll leave.

Come join in the fun of this bloghop and let us all know about your world...

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Can you stop by to play?

Ah, so today I thought it'd be fun to try something silly. I have no idea how it will work, or if anyone will want to play, I could end up with an empty comment section that stares back at me blankly. But for the heck of it, I'm willing to give it a try.

Back in elementary school, I remember playing a game where a story was started, and everyone got to add a few sentences, one at a time. In that game, you could only see what was written one space ahead of you. Can't really make that work on the blog, but I thought it could be fun, to start a story in the comment section and see who will add to it, and watch a story grow.

So without further ado...

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Walking in a Winter Wonderland

This morning I woke up thinking it'd be a great time to try out my new camera. Just looking outside I knew...it's damn cold. But, I roused the warm and sleepy Dobie and out we went.

I stood at the backyard fence, noting the ducks absent from the pond. Good thing, or they'd be stuck in the ice. 27 degrees. Now to some of you, that's nothing. Our friends up the hill in Tahoe were at -12 yesterday. But for me and my sunny California constitution it's downright chilly. While I won't get snow, the ice displays are still incredible and fascinating to me.

Boring brown fallen leaves become delicate works of art!

I must admit, I found it funny to crunch through the mud. If I'd ever read that in a story, I'd have thought the author mad. But today, the mud crunched beneath my boots as I tromped along the path.

So, in this last photo, you can see how cold it was. It leached the color right out of the camera...all that was left was the green of the grass and even that started to disappear.

I took my frostbit fingers back home and had a couple cups of coffee. The rest of my Sunday spent indoors, where its a heck of a lot warmer!

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Flashback and Flashforward

Thank you Fel, for hosting a wonderful blog hop, where we can trip all over the place flashing back left and right, but don't have to be chemically induced to do it! I can't wait to read all the entries!

I am flashing back to November of this year...I participated in the wonderful magical prolific word inducing NaNoWriMo! I have not shared this with anyone yet...The first few paragraphs of Zelera's Revenge (the sequel to Return of the Crown) to be released later this year...so I'm flashing backwards and forwards and getting all dizzy. This is first draft, so still rough. Craving your opinions should you care to share them.

Ravyn squeezed her eyes tight, the silky fabric fell over her shoulders, caressing her as it slid down her skin. Her dreams came true today. Today she'd marry Blade.
The door crashed open.
Ravyn glimpsed her wild-eyed mother in the mirror before her. Her normally calm and patient mother rushed into the room, her hands clutching the dresser for support. Her breath came in ragged gasps. "Kes, Kestrel! Where are you?" Her voice rose into a shriek. Her stormy blue eyes devoured the room, hungry for her son, but it was empty save for Ravyn and Lady Angelique.
"Mom, Kes isn't here, he's with Nurse Mayweather." She took a step toward her wide-eyed mother, shivers of fear danced along her spine setting her senses tingling.
Lareina stared past her daughter, sinking to the floor. "They're gone," she whispered, "gone".
"That makes no sense. Where would they have gone? Today of all days. Kes is the ring bearer." Ravyn dropped to her knees and put her arms around her mother. "Surely they’re just working off some of his energy," she patted her mother's hand and kissed her pale cheek. Lareina began rocking back and forth, unheeding of anyone or anything.
Ravyn turned a nervous eye to her Lady in Waiting. "Angelique, go get my father, please."
Angelique nodded before she raced out the door, her slippered feet sliding across the polished tile in the hallway.
Ravyn slid her legs out to the side, her silky dress twisting and crumpling beneath her. "Mom, shh, it's okay. I'm sure they're just out in the gardens."
Lareina lifted a trembling hand and turned it palm up. Her eyes carried a weight of guilt that threatened to drown her in a sea of culpability. A crumpled piece of parchment emerged from her tight grasp.
"What is it?" She reached for the note, but her mother’s fingers still gripped it tight.
"No, no, it can't be," Lareina murmured. She stared past Ravyn still searching for signs of Kes.
Ravyn unclenched her mother's fingers and the paper scraped across her skin further grating Ravyn's nerves. Her stomach knotted and she spread the parchment out across her lap. You should have killed me when you had the chance. -Z

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Dexter's Resolve

Dexter would like to wish you a very Happy New Year and has taken over the blog today. He required a little help from Sierra. Dexter wanted to do it all himself, and he's smart, but he hasn't figured out the typing thing yet.

Dexter's made a few resolutions, though he's already admitted it might be hard to keep them. He thought if he shared them with you, maybe he'd have the willpower to follow through with them. I'm not having high hopes, but we'll see!

1. I will not eat anymore iPhones (they aren't actually very tasty, though they make a lovely crunching sound when the glass shatters).
2. I will only climb up on the Futon that has been allotted to me (Yeah, fat chance)
3. I will not bat at your feet when you are walking downstairs (Ooo - That's gonna be a tough one)
4. I promise not to put my cold nose on your cheek when you are just falling asleep. I'll wait till you are fully asleep!
5. I promise not to head butt (I'm sorry I gave you a black eye momma)
6. I will try real hard not to bother the old dog (I just wish he'd play with me - just a little)
7. I will listen and follow your commands (as long as you have a treat in your hand)
8. I will poop in the same spot (just to clarify, the entire back yard is my spot!)
9. I will not promise to not drink out of the white porcelain bowl, nope, just can't do it, a never-ending flavored water supply - too amazing to pass on. Sorry.
10. I will bark at everything that passes behind the fence. Yup. The joggers, the walkers, the horses and their riders, the turkeys, the turkey vultures, all the other dogs, and sometimes...I'll just woof to woof, cause I'm a dog, and I roll like that!

I'm pretty sure I can keep a few of those...well eight, nine and ten should be a piece of cake anyhow.

Hope you all have a wonderful start to the New Year. May it be as amazing as the scent of Sierra's boots, which taste quite nice, Thank you very much!