Sunday, December 9, 2018

Rapunzel Retelling: Renewal of Spirit!

I've reworked my Rapunzel retelling for the Arista Challenge several times. Something just didn't feel right, but I think it's fixed now. Here are the first thousand-ish words! Let me know what you think. :D
Also, the Loki/Thor x Reader (along with all my other misc. projects) is going to be on hold. The deadline for this and my Tales of a Modern Bard entry are rapidly approaching. So these take priority. Here's hoping I can get them both done in time... 😓
Loredana tilted her head back, eyeing the laden boughs above her head. very day, since they’d settled in this new land, the laden boughs of the fruit trees taunted her. They seemed to call, Can’t reach us! Just try!
Every day she passed by, the thought of how delicious and juicy the fruit would be played in her mind.
“If it were any closer to the Turning,” she growled to the ripe fruit, “I would shake you from your tree right now.”
Her husband Lando came up the path and toyed with her pale hair. “If it were any closer to Turning, you would be playing the zephyr and not caring for fruit.”
Loredana huffed and pulled away. “I will taste those plums, you’ll see.”
Lando sighed. He wondered what scheme his wife would devise to get what she wanted. “I hope she finds something else,” he muttered to himself. “With my luck, her plan would involve me getting it for her.”
“Oh! My love, look!” Loredana’s feet beat against the ground excitedly, as if she were standing in place. “Will you get this for me?”
Eyebrows drawn in a long-suffering frown, Lando continued up the path and rounded the bend. “What is—” He stopped short, breath taken away by what he saw.
The first thing he noticed was a large, golden tree. Its pale leaves and ocher flowers hung down to the ground on thin, wavering branches. Though there was no wind, the willow fluttered as if being toyed with. The very air around it seemed to sparkle.
The second thing Lando noticed was the fence. It was odd, to find any sort of boundary or border; the only people who did so were the enchanters.
“Darling,” he whispered. He wanted to say, “we should leave,” but he glanced down at her before he did so. A familiar glint was in her light gray eyes. His sentence turned into a stutter, then a sigh. “Why do you want it so badly?”
“I simply must have it!” She clutched at the lapels of his earthen-colored jacket. Her gray-cast face was drawn in longing. “Please.”
Feeling annoyed that the expression was almost the same as the one she’d met him with on their wedding night, Lando frowned. “But…it’s an enchanter’s garden!”
Loredana whirled away in a huff. Her dark red skirt flared out in an enticing spin. She crossed her arms and refused to say another word. She didn’t even say anything when the village gossip—a close friend of hers—tried to engage her in conversation.
The day passed by with the usual village activities; gathering flowers and plants for dyes, tending the wild gardens, working at the tannery. Loredana’s silence hung heavy on Lando, until they turned in to their cottage for the night.
When he was about to fall asleep, she laid her head on his neck. In a pained whisper, she said, “I will simply die if I can’t have it.”
Lando cursed himself for a fool. A sleepy fool, but a fool nonetheless. “Then I will simply have to get it for you,” he replied.

Lando stole along the path, wondering why he’d gotten up before dawn to do this. Weren’t enchanter’s powers stronger at night? Weren’t they more protective of their property?
He shivered and tucked his black undershirt into his loose breeches. “Why didn’t I change?” he asked himself. The memory of his wife’s desperate, nagging pleading played in his mind. “Still…”
The tree looked even more magnificent in the moonlight than it had during the day. Its petals and leaves glowed softly, still swaying. Still glittering as if thousands of stars had come to rest on them.
Holding his breath in fear and anticipation, he clambered over the dark wooden fence. His blond hair fell over his eyes in an untidy mop. Sputtering and trying to catch his breath—he wasn’t a very athletic man—Lando waited a few moments.
There was no alarm. No shouts. No flashes of magic. No yowling of hounds. He was safe.
Quietly, he side-stepped into the soft glow of the willow. With an expert hand, he pinched and twisted off a few blossoms. Carefully, and trying not to be overwhelmed by the wonderful scent, he tucked the blossoms and leaves into a pouch at his side.
That night, he escaped safely. He brewed a tea for his Loredana, hoping it would ease her longing. To his dismay, the next night, she declared that her longing had grown threefold!
He went back to the garden once, twice. The third time, he came face to face with the witch Kamille.
A beautiful outfit with many folds and waves, dyed purple and black, could not make the hunched, one-eyed figure pretty. The witch’s lank gray hair formed a weak curtain over the crooked hazel eye on the left side of her face. Her back was bent nearly double, her head coming to Lando’s stomach.
She glared up at him. “What are you doing with my laburnum?” Her voice matched her face; old, tired, and terribly cranky.
Lando fell to his knees. “Please, forgive me! My wife…” He trailed off, knowing he should have been more firm with her. “Please, forgive me. I have no excuse,” he said softly.
The witch was silent a while. When she spoke, her voice was flat. “I will forgive you your theft, provided you give me something in return.”
“Yes!” Lando kept his head down, awaiting the witch’s demand.
“I will be the godmother of your child.”
Lando glanced up in surprise. “But…we have no children! We were told…well…” He trailed off again.
“You will,” Kamille said with a twisted grin. “You will.”

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Be Wary of Strangers, Part 11

Vampire: Loki/Thor x Reader
Part Eleven

Unbeknownst to you, a day and a half passes. Suddenly cold, you wake. You stare at the wall for a few seconds, not sure what you’re seeing. The wall isn’t that of the basement, or any other room in the house. It’s far more…natural. Stone, with small bits of dried moss clinging to it.
Still trying to pull yourself from the dizzying comfort of the dream you’d been having, you rub your eyes fiercely.
“Oh, good, you’re awake.”
You turn to the left, towards where the blast of cold had come from. Thor stands in the entryway, smiling. Snow flecks his shoulders and hair, and he’s carrying a rucksack. His shirt appears to have been torn in several places—by a dagger, or claws, you guess. A well-fed black wolf pokes its head into the room. Thor glances down and pats its head.
The wolf enters, curling up beside you, as tame as a dog.
You swallow hard, willing the butterflies in your stomach to calm. “Hi?”
“You must be hungry.” Thor sits next to you—you realize you’re on a low mattress, still in your pajamas, and clutching a wool blanket—and begins taking food out of the sack. “I wasn’t sure what you’d like, so I took pizza, fried rice, and a sandwich.”
Uncomprehending, you just stare at him. This doesn’t help your nervousness, but you don’t mind. “W-what?”
“I saved you.” Thor grins and sidles closer. His arm goes around your shoulders.
For a moment, you consider shoving him away. That thought leaves your mind almost as soon as it enters. You lean against him, looking down at the food. “From what?”
“My brother.”
Thor smirks. “Do I have another brother I don’t know about?”
For the life of you, you just can’t recall anything after going to bed. “What time is it?”
“Near midnight.” Thor leans his head against yours. “He tried to kill you, you know.”
“He did what?” For some reason, you’re not surprised. Just…curious.
“I called you to me, do you remember?”
You frown. You recall having a dream about walking through the house, and…
You blush and wrap your arms around your knees. “You fed from me?” That explains your lack of unease around the obviously predatory vampire, you suppose. There was a bit of lore—
Thor’s voice derails your train of thought. Half-smiling, you wrap an arm around him. “Oh.” Forgetting the previous topic, you giggle as he nuzzles your ear. “I suppose that means I’m stuck with you.”
“Of course.” He runs his hand down your back. “So…are you hungry?”
“Are you?” You lay your head across his lap.
Thor laughs and fingers your neck, his dark eye glinting. “Not yet.” He leans down for a kiss.
You gladly reciprocate.


Loki comes to with a moan. His eyes are shut—whether swollen or bandaged, he can’t tell—and he feels like he’s sitting in a furnace.
“Hold still, you’re pretty tore up.”
Seeing no other recourse, he complies. When the pain passes enough for him to focus a bit, he asks, “Who are you?”
“A friend.” The female speaker scoffs. “At the moment, anyways. If you can explain a few things to me, things’ll stay that way.”
She presses something icy cold against his skin. It feels better than the heat, but the resulting pain makes him lurch up and shout. The shout is partly from pain, and partly from the instinctual fear of revealing his Jotun side.
“Oh hush.” Surprisingly large, firm hands shove him down. “You’re getting blood all over your living room.”
Loki strains his ears, trying to tell where he is. He hears the crackle of fire, the rustling movements of cloth and suture, and his own labored breathing. “What happened?”
“I was hoping you could tell me, mister grave digger.”
His thoughts flash back to a few days before, when he had disposed of the bodies of the hunters that Thor killed. I knew I should have burned them.
Warily, he asked, “What do you know?”
“Only that the sister of my best friend came to your house, hasn’t been seen since, and that said house looks like a heavily armed berserker went through it.” Her tone was flat, with only a hint of accusation. “Oh, and you had dealings with a vampire. That much is obvious from all the silver and herbs you have spread around your place.”
“Are you a hunter, as well?”
“Ha! No, no, no.”
Something cold pressed against his eyes. The speaker holds it there. Loki feels her face come close to his ear.
“So.” Her voice holds a slight hiss. “Where is —?” She names the girl that Loki hired.
“Gone. My brother took her.” He recalled the fight--fast, fierce, and bloody--surprised that the house was still standing.
“Oh, no. Tell me you didn’t turn someone.”
“Fine. I didn’t turn someone.”
“Of all the idiotic…” The pressure holding the ice pack moves away, and the sound of pacing—plus the shifting of glass and carpet—echoes in the room. “Endymion. He turned your brother?”
I see no point in hiding this information at this point… 
She gives an exasperated sigh. “I’m sorely tempted to undo all of my stitching and let you bleed out. I won’t. Just know that I would love to.”
Loki sighs. “What folly have I committed this time?” He feels well enough to sit up. Holding the pack against his eyes, he does so.
“Do you know where they went?” she asks, ignoring his question.
Ignoring her question, he asks, “May I ask who I’m addressing?”
The cold pack is snatched away, and fingers press none too gently against his swollen lids. The familiar feel of healing magic seeps through his face, and he finds that he can open his eyes. Blinking, he can’t help but stare at the woman standing in his partly demolished living room.
She is toned, on the verge of being buff, and tall. Very tall. If he stood, he didn’t doubt that he would be forced to look up to meet her eyes. Her skin is pale, though perhaps that is the darkness and shadows of the fire, for the rest of her is dark as night; her eyes, lips, hair. She wears a simple, sturdy pair of jeans, and a fitted maroon colored v-neck. By the moonlight coming in through the broken doors, Loki spies a black jacket with an unfamiliar symbol hanging on the coat rack.
She crosses her arms. This accentuates the fullness of her breasts. “Are you through ogling me?” she snaps, shifting her stance to lean against a table.
Loki glances down. “My apologies. You are a vampire, as well?” He glances at the thick, decorative silver, cross-designed edging on the table. Her fingers press against it, and she is seemingly unaffected.
“Mmm-hmm. Name’s Delilah.” She taps the table rhythmically.
Loki clears his throat. “Would you mind telling me about Endymion?”
“Yes, I would mind very much. Even though he’s the sort that should meet a painful end, I’m not sure how much I can tell you without jeopardizing myself, and others like me.”
“Then how can you help?”
“By finding your brother.”
“What do you plan to do when you find him?”
Delilah’s firm expression softens into a half-frown. “I’m gong to have to, you know, end him. If he’s been turned by Endymion, he needs to be killed before he passes the fledgling stage.”
“Even if he still shows signs of his…humanity?” Loki resists the urge to chuckle at the last word.
“Hmm.” Delilah taps her chin. “That might be possible…” She glances over her shoulder. “I’ll do what I can. The only thing I need to borrow is a silver mirror. Do you have one pocket-sized?”
“I’m afraid not. The smallest one I have is about the size of a dinner plate.”
“That’ll work.” She grips his shoulder. “Do I have your word that you’ll stay here, and won’t interfere?”
Loki looks up at her, fully intending to lie. “Of cou—”
Her eyes—a shade of jade very close to black, he realizes—fill his vision. A hazy relaxation creeps over him. He blinks, then closes his eyes, trying to break eye contact. That is a mistake; the haze engulfs him, and he can still see her eyes. Just her eyes. His head lolls.
“Sorry.” She nudges his shoulder. Without a sound, he flops back onto the couch. “You’ll thank me later.”
Her voice fades as Loki loses consciousness.

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Know the Novel, Pt. 2: Reality of Devotion

I meant to get to this earlier in the month, but that didn't happen...
Time for another session of Know Your Novel!

1. How’s the writing going?

Image result for jim carrey gif

I’m behind. So very, very far behind.
Most of the words I’ve counted are rebellion projects (I’m including this post towards my word count cuz freaking flying snow gypsies am I behind). I had been planning on doing, like, one rebellion project a week. I’m doing one about every other day. There were some snags in plot/worldbuilding I thought I’d taken care of already. Hahhahaha, nope. But they’re taken care of now, so hopefully I’ll be able to finish the story before the year is over (I’ve given up hope of finishing before the end of November.)

2. What’s been the most fun aspect about writing this novel so far?

As grueling as it’s been, all of it? I love everything about writing in general: story, characters, development. This time is no different.
I love how the MC is acting differently than I thought he would (love-hate relationship, lol.) Michel’s a bit of a know-it-all with a penchant for shoving others around, and I have a really hard time writing characters like that without stereotyping them, but this seems to be something he does only semi-constantly, and only with people he cares about. He’s still annoying at times, but it’s more tolerable than I thought it would be.
I’m still in love with the world, even though I haven’t written anything terribly in-depth about it yet. Alas, I have yet to write a proper chimera encounter. :(

3. Has your novel surprised you in any way?

Yup; it’s way harder to write than I thought it would be. XD
I also came up with an explanation as to a particular, odd world-building snag. The nation that Michel is a part of (the Khorites) has a quirk: they love sleep, and view rising before the sun as a sin. But, they're sailors and pirates. These two things don't go well together. I decided that they're crazy adaptable at sea, but after a certain amount of time on land they're lazy and prefer to lounge rather than exert themselves. This ties in nicely with their sea-serpent chimera (hedammu). So I'm happy.

4. What do you think of your characters at this point? Who’s your favorite to write about?

Kallias’ head is the easiest to get into, so I enjoy writing scenes from his POV. Problem is, I don’t want to write from close POV for this story; I wanted to do distant POV/omniscient. But hey, I need words.
Kallias and Michel's interactions are fun to write, too. They get into all sorts of trouble (most of it their fault).


5. If you were transported into your novel and became any one of the characters, which one do you think you’d be? Would you take any different actions than they have?

Oh, goodness…uh, I like to think that with my authorial knowledge of the characters and the paths they’re taking, I would be Aura, the mentor figure.
Logically, if I myself were the character, then I wouldn’t be myself, and thus wouldn’t take any different actions because I am the character, not myself. If, however, I were myself and not the character...well, if I had no idea what was going on, I would do things way differently than she did, namely face things with a bit less courage than she has. If I had an idea of what was going on...I still wouldn't look forward to it, and would try to run as often as possible because who wants to be kidnapped, sold as a slave, then blamed for everyone else's problems?

6. Give us the first sentence or paragraph and then 2 (or 3!) more favorite snippets!

Here’s the first paragraph from the scene that has the most potential for being the beginning scene:
Michelakos finished his inspection of the ship and disembarked. He slapped the hull affectionately. “Ready for another mission,” he sighed. Not that the captain would accept anything fun or challenging. Or profitable.
And because they were the most fun to write, some snippets from dare scenes, which may or may not end up making it into the final story.
The lily trembled in her hands.
Aura closed the little girl’s unsteady fingers about the thin stem. “Pass in peace,” she whispered to the feverish figure. “I am bound to another, and cannot guide you. May another more experienced than I take you in their arms.”
She pressed her forehead to the girl’s. She held it there. Thud. Thud. Thud.
Each unnaturally hard pulse of the girl’s heart sent a jolt through her forehead. Aura grimaced and put her cold hands to the side of the girl’s head.
Aura opened herself. The grief and anxiety and hope of the parents in the next room washed over her. The uneasy understanding of the girl pressed against her like a rock. “I shall give you what I can,” she said quietly.

Delara put a finger to her chin. “You know, you need to get out in the sun more. You’re as pale as a buraq.”
Kallias looked miffed. “You’ve been drinking, haven’t you?”
“Oh, hush.” Delara batted his shoulder. “Just sit down and let me work on that sallow face of yours.”
“I’m here for the artifacts, not a makeover.”
“Well, why can’t you have both?”
Kallias rolled his eyes. Seeing he would get nowhere with her until he complied, he sat on the stone bench. “Are you going to be using magic?”
“No, silly; that’s not how these things work. Mother would be infinitely prettier if they did.” With swift movements, Delara prepped her makeup kit.
Kallias squirmed. “This isn’t wise.”
“No, no it isn’t; it’s fun.”

Kallias sighed, leaning his head back and bracing himself for a tirade. “Yes?”
“Will you marry me?”
A blob of glowing goop spattered against his forehead. “Argh!” He jerked up, sending Delara falling into the mess. He rubbed his face with his shoulder. To his dismay, the only thing that managed to do was rub the goop into his eyes. “I’m fairly certain I misheard you,” he said, clamping his eyes shut.

He scrambled to his feet, ignoring Kallias’ cursing. “Let’s go!”
They ran out. Nothing came out to chase them, but when they got to the last room before the entrance, they couldn’t keep running.
Michel glanced down at his hands, only to find that they were terribly out of focus. He tried to ask Kallias if he was okay, only to find that his words slurred. Kallias didn’t seem to be in much better shape.
Kallias shook his head, then sniffed at his hands. His curses blurred together. “That…wasn’t blood…altar…”
They both went down to their knees. “Then…what…”
“Sed…sed…” With a sigh, Kallias’s eyes rolled back in his head, and he went down.
After calling out to a pillar, “Oh, hello mother,” Michel went down, as well.

7. Have you come across any problem areas?

Eh, one or two. Nothing a quick question session couldn’t fix.


8. What’s been your biggest victory with writing this novel at this point?

Honestly? The fact that I’ve written more than 2K words this month. This is the farthest I’ve made it in the three years of participating in Nanowrimo. I tend to have more luck during the Camp sessions, either meeting or exceeding my usual goal of 10K.

9. Be honest, have you killed any characters off yet?

Not directly? I know in a recent scene there’s mention of the death of a character who was giving Michel problems. And then there’s a scene where the deaths of several crew members are mentioned. Then there’s a zigurat scene where Michel and Kallias kill enchanted warriors (but they were technically dead to begin with).

10. Take us on a tour of a what a normal writing day for this particular novel has looked like. Where do you write? What time of day? Alone or with others? Is a lot of coffee (or some other drink) consumed? Do you light candles? Play music? Get distracted by social media (*cough, cough*)? Tell all!

My schedule is very erratic, and revolves around work. Some days I have a night and morning shift back to back, and don’t have much time for anything except quick notes hammered out on my iPod.
Depending on the scene, I’ll play music (check out my music inspiration page above!). Most of the time, I’m okay with the general ambiance of the house.
I usually write alone, though word wars/sprints with my Cabin mates have really helped me get words written this session. Snacking tends to distract me, so I try not to write while I eat (unless I have no other time to write, in which case I eat breakfast/lunch/dinner, whatever meal my sibs aren’t on the computer for). Drinking (coffee, tea, or hot chocolate) is easier for me to do while I write, so sometimes I’ll drink.
Pinterest occasionally distracts me if I try to stop in the middle of a scene and research, or find inspiration pins for my story. Fandom things, fluffy animals, and epic fantasy landscapes dominate my feed as of late, and it’s really hard to just go directly to my research board without looking at a few things… XD

Saturday, November 24, 2018

Be Wary of Strangers, Part 10

Vampire: Loki/Thor x ReaderPart Ten

Several days and nights pass, and Loki refuses to let you back in the basement.
“What’s the point of me being here, then?!” You never thought you’d be mad about not being able to confront a vampire, but for whatever reason, you are.
Loki just narrows his eyes. He has a bag of several sacks of blood in hand. “You’re not going back down until I’m certain he can be trusted.” With that, he heads back to the basement.
You huff, then go back to researching vampires. The name Loki mentioned—Endymion—continues to niggle at your mind. You’ve come close to finding out more about him as the days go on. The books you reference grow older and older, until they’re scrolls written in arcane script. With a sigh, you leave them out with a note asking for Loki to translate them for you. As you write the note, you feel a bit…useless. Not just in research, but life in general.
You can clean a bit, maybe research. But now you’re research is stalled, and you can’t even deliver the packs of blood to the vampire.
You turn in early, hoping that Loki won’t decide that you aren’t any use.


After a horrendously long night—day?—with Thor, Loki was ready for bed. He just couldn’t figure out why Thor kept slipping. Mentions of the past made Thor hurt, and flip him into animal mode. He was a bit dark and demonic a few minutes after feasting, but after that was fine. Feeding off fresh blood, contrary to Endymion’s advice, seemed to make him stay in that demonic state longer than feeding off of refrigerated blood.
And as his abilities continued to grow; new enchantments were required to keep Thor in the basement.
He tromps upstairs, ignoring the sunrise that is just beginning to enter through the windows, and flops onto his bed fully dressed. He would just sleep a few hours and then…then…
Heavy footsteps echoing in the stairwell wake him. “Why?” he moans. For a few moments, he stays where he is, listening. The footsteps continue to head down. Then, the door that leads to the basement entrance creaks open.
“@*#*# you, Thor,” he mutters. Doubtless it’s some new vampiric ability manifesting. And the girl is his target.
Loki rolls over and looks at the clock on his bedside table. It’s only a few hours past noon. If Thor’s abilities are this strong…
He hurries down to the basement, berating himself for never having had a proper talk with the girl about Thor’s new abilities. The maze greets him with its customary coldness. As he navigates through the dark, he hears voices.
One is obviously the girl’s, and it sounds as if she’s praying.
Thor’s strangely dark chuckle winds through the maze. “Who would have thought that prayers would make you smell more sweet?”
Loki hurries down the passages, readying his daggers. When he reaches Thor’s room, he stops short. The girl is sitting, limp, on Thor’s lap—still in her pajamas, thank heaven—and Thor himself is slowly sucking at her neck.
“Brother!” he shouts.
Thor disengages and licks his lips. His hold on the girl tightens and his eye flashes an angry red. “Leave me be.”
“What do you want with her?” Seeing the beginnings of a sly grin on Thor’s face—something was definitely wrong, that expression had no business being on his thick-headed brother’s face—Loki holds up a hand. “Never mind, don’t answer. Let her go.”
Thor doesn’t, of course. He nuzzles the girl’s neck. She sighs and curls in closer to him.
“What time is it?” Thor asks with that same horrid expression.
He knows. Or does he merely suspect?

Loki’s grip on his dagger tightens. “Midnight,” he lies.
Thor frowns in confusion. A bit of the normal blue begins to show through the dark and the red. “Really? I thought it was earlier.”
“Let her go, you’re hurting her.”
That seems to do the trick. The dark blue fades entirely, and Thor blinks rapidly. “What…why…” He glances down at the girl, who has a ridiculous smile pasted across her face. “I’m not normally this uncomfortable when—”
“Yes, yes,” Loki snaps, not wanting to hear a bawdy joke. “You must have used your vampiric call and she came running.”
Thor shrugs. “I remember being a bit…hungry, but I thought I was dreaming.” He stands and holds the girl out to Loki. “She’s not waking up. That doesn’t seem like a good thing.”
“I will bring her upstairs.” Loki takes the girl from Thor. Before he can take two steps, she’s whimpering. Another step, and she’s calling for Thor in a panic. A step more, and she’s shrieking and clawing at Loki’s face.
Loki practically tosses her back to Thor. She quiets as soon as she’s in his arms. “Odin’s beard, what did you do to her?!” He dabs at a few deep scratches on his cheek.
“I told you, I don’t know!” Thor glances at the girl’s neck, licking his lips. “Though perhaps it has something to do with the fact that I’ve fed from her?”
Loki glances back to where the entrance to the house is. He recalls some information he came across in the library, but isn’t entirely certain he recalls correctly. Seeing as he normally has a perfect memory, this unsettles him.
He jerks his thumb to the passage. “Come with me. Walk ahead, I still do not trust you where I cannot see you.”
It’s a bit of a challenge, trying to get Thor upstairs without walking through the sunlight filtering in through the windows, but somehow they manage.
Loki draws the curtains in the library and turns on a few of the lamps before ushering them inside.
Thor takes a seat on one of the couches while Loki sifts through the papers and books on his desk. He comes across a note that he hadn’t seen before, asking for him to translate a scroll. He sets it aside. No time for that now.
“Loki,” Thor whispers.
 He doesn’t look up, still intent on finding the document. “What?”
“What should I do?”
Loki glances up. The girl, eyes half-closed, is fondling Thor’s face. She whispers something Loki can’t hear, and pulls his head down to her neck. Thor hurriedly moves a hand up to stroke her face.
Exasperated, Loki turns back to his search. “I’m hurrying.”
A few seconds more, and, “She’s getting more demanding.”
“I’m hurrying, I’m hurrying.” Determined not to look up, Loki turns to the shelves behind him. There!
“I found—Thor.”
His brother lifts his head, fresh blood on his mouth. “I’m sorry, she won’t stop until I do!”
“I meant…” Grinding his teeth, Loki tosses a blanket over to him. “…put her shirt back on.”
Hopefully they would figure this out. And soon.

Saturday, November 17, 2018

Be Wary of Strangers, Part 9

Vampire: Loki/Thor x Reader
Part Nine

You wake when a heavy pounding echoes through the house. Moaning, you sit up, rubbing your eyes and feeling around for your slippers. When you can’t find them, you yawn and force your eyes open.
The first thing you notice: It’s daytime. The second thing: This isn’t your room.
Mouth agape, you bolt out shouting, “Loki!”
You find him downstairs in the foyer. You’re ready to rail at him, but the sight of two people dressed for war standing in the doorway stops you in your tracks.
Loki glances over his shoulder at you, brows raised. “Good morning.”
One of the people—a man with light leather armor, a crossbow, and stakes strapped to his arms and legs—eyes you. You shuffle uncomfortably, conscious of the cutesy design on your pajamas. You wonder if he can see the outline of the knife holder strapped to your arm.
The man addresses Loki. “Who is this? You said you were alone.”
“I’m a habitual liar,” Loki says easily. “It gets worse when unexpected guests decide to threaten me in my own home.”
The other—a woman with bandoleers strapped across her chest, two pistols, pouches, and a heavy silver cross necklace—huffs. “I take it you lied about the door being ravaged by vandals, then.”
“Of course.”
A wild plan begins to form in your mind. “Wolves!” you blurt. “It was wolves.”
Loki’s expression momentarily turns murderous. You do your best to make an unobtrusive “trust me I have a plan” face. As you don’t have much practice making that kind of face, you’re uncertain if you succeeded.
“There were so many wolves,” you continue, sounding panicked. “They were howling and scratching for days. Nights? And I swear I saw someone out there with them.”
The hunters’ eyes light in anticipation. The man’s gaze slides to Loki. “You said there were only wolves.”
Loki doesn’t look at you. He sighs. “The vampire is in the basement. I caught him last night. I hadn’t realized that my servant here had seen him; I had been hoping to avoid exciting her. It’s hard enough to keep help around here as it is.”
The hunters’ surprise is obvious. They glance at each other. The woman draws a pistol. “Would you mind taking us to him? The sooner we take care of this, the better.”
“I would rather you not,” Loki says slowly. “You see, he is—used to be—my brother. Is there any cure short of a second death?”
The hunters look sympathetic. “I’m afraid not,” the man said. “Not if he’s already died and returned.”
“I was afraid of that.” Loki heads towards the kitchen. “Follow me. We’ll have to use the outside entrance; I barricaded the house entry.”
“Smart.” The man nods. He follows, drawing his crossbow and giving you a wink. “Don’t worry, we’ll have this taken care of quicker than two shakes of a rabbit’s tail.” He grins at his companion. “Come on, Traci!”
Wondering what Loki is thinking, you follow, and hope this won’t end terribly. As you join him in leaving through the back door, Loki subtly presses a key into your hand. “Free him, but do not let him out of the basement.”
You glance behind you. The hunters aren’t that far off. “What about them?”
“They’ll think you’re me.”

You enter the basement through the outside door, wondering if Loki’s plan would work. And why you want it to work. It would end in the deaths of the hunters. You’re not normally one for bloodlust, but can’t help a slight grin at the thought of not having to deal with them any more.
“This basement seems to have been prepared,” the man says, his eyes wary. “You said you caught him just last night?”
“Er, yes,” you say, discomfited at having to play the part of Loki. He didn’t get a chance to explain, but from what you can tell, you’re covered in an illusion of some sort, and somehow have Loki’s voice. Loki himself—disguised as you—is waiting outside. “I’m not certain who owned this mansion before,” you say. Hopefully Loki hadn’t bragged about building this place from the ground up. “There were quite a few other features that needed taking care of. I thought I’d leave this for last.”
You know you’re nearing Thor’s bedroom. You hold out the hand that’s not holding a flashlight and gesture for the hunters to wait. To your surprise, they don’t ask for a reason. They simply nod, crouch, and ready their weapons.
You turn a few corners and see Thor upon his bed. He’s curled up in his red bedsheets, asleep. You glance behind you to make sure the hunters haven’t followed. 
Hurrying up to Thor’s bed, you shake his shoulder and hiss his name. Even though he doesn’t respond, you open his shackles.
The click sounds unnaturally loud.
Bullets whiz past you, and an arrow embeds itself in the wall slightly above your head.
The hunters burst in, yowling and firing their weapons. “Thought you could betray us?!”
You scramble back, flailing, and fall behind the bed. “Thor!” you scream. From your vantage point, you see him rise in a low crouch. He leaps from the bed, growling sleepily.
The hunters’ shouts of victory change. You peek out from behind the bed. Though he seems like he’s still half-asleep, Thor is handling himself well.
He catches a crossbow in mid-air, snapping it in his fist. The bullets don’t seem to do much more than annoy him. He charges at the man, knocking him to the ground. A horrid CRUNCH echoes in the room.
“Rudy!” The woman flings some of the pouches. They puff on the ground around Thor.
Holding a hand over his mouth, Thor charges through the smelly mist. Sparks travel along his body. When he tackles her, he’s out of your sight.
You can still hear the fight, though: screaming, dark laughter, cracklings, a snap, wet slurps. The entire room smells like vampire repellent and burnt flesh. An odd shimmer surrounds you. Was it Loki’s spell fading?
Thor staggers back into the room. Blood dirties his mouth, trimmed beard, and no-longer-blue shirt front. His head lolls loosely. His uncovered eye is dark. He approaches and lays across the bed. Resting his chin on his arm, he smiles.
Heat rushes to your face.
“You feed me well.” You find yourself unable to move as he briefly caresses your cheek. “Thank you.” His fingers trace down the side of your face and rest on the flutter of your quickening pulse. He scoots closer, his mouth inches from your neck. Sounding sleepy, he asks, “You don’t mind…do you?”
He jerks up. Sparks dance in his eyes. You teeter back and brace yourself against the wall, breathing fast.
Loki stands in the entry. “You still have a full body. Take that, leave the girl.”
“I’m unchained now. Did you plan that?” His voice is a low, smooth hiss.
“Remember yourself, brother.”
More sparks flit along his body. Then, it strengthens to arcs of electricity. Thor starts to shake. “I…I…” The light show dies down. He rapidly shakes his head. “What…oh! Who have I killed?” He turns and sees you. His eye—now a light blue—widens. “Did I hurt you?”
“N-no. I’m fine,” you croak.
Thor backs away, holding his hands out uncertainly. He glances at Loki. “Get her out.”

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Be Wary of Strangers, Part 8

Apologies for the lateness; I'm getting over being sick, and man alive my Nano project (read: characters) are absolutely refusing to cooperate... 😒


Vampire: Loki/Thor x Reader
Part Eight

You’re upstairs in the library when you hear the front door scrape open. You rub your shoulder and the knife you have strapped to your side. Since visiting the vampire, and the wolf attacks, you just haven’t felt safe without it.
Hurrying downstairs, you head into the living room. Loki lays sprawled on one of the couches, eyes closed. The morning sunlight casts odd shadows about the place.
“Hey,” you say, unable to keep an angry edge out of your voice.
Loki sighs. “What happened to the door?”
“Wolves.” He frowns. “How long have I been gone?”
“A week. More or less.”
Loki leaps up, obviously forcing himself to keep his eyes open. Cursing, he stumbles past you and to the basement entrance.
“He’s fine,” you call after him. “He’s been fed.”
Loki pauses, shoulders hunched. “Are you infected?”
He looks like he doesn’t believe you. “All the same, I’d like…” A huge yawn keeps him from speaking for a few seconds. “I’d like to test you.” He continues without waiting for a reaction. “I need to contact the carpenters, restock from the hospital—”
You follow him as he absently wanders into the kitchen. “Don’t you want to know how he was?”
Loki’s red-rimmed eyes attempt to focus on you. “I can deduce well enough. The door, plus your desperation to enter the basement alone…he was not well.”
“Don’t you want details?” Your voice is high in disbelief. “He’s your brother! A vampire! A starving one. And you haven’t asked a single question about him!”
Loki sinks into a kitchen chair and rubs his face. “Fine. How was he?”
“Starving. And missing social life.” You sit down across from him. “He managed to give himself a bath.” Pointedly, you look at him.
He stares back vacantly. “What?”
You sigh, unable to maintain your annoyance at him. He looks like he hasn’t slept since he left. He looked like that before he left, as well…
“I just think you should visit him more,” you say.
“Is that all?”
You nod. “Um…do you need help getting upstairs?”
“I’m fully capable of getting to bed myself,” he says with a wry smile. “However ill I look.”
You watch as he stumbles up the stairs, waiting for him to roll right back down. When he totters, and braces himself against the wall for a full minute, you rise and offer him your shoulder.
For a moment, he looks resentful. Then he accepts your aid. Once you get to his room, he nods. “Thank you.”
“You’re welcome. See you tonight?”
“If I happen to wake up, yes.”
You turn in shortly after; the night before, you’d been to visit Thor again, and you’d left greatly unsettled. Maybe it was the way he looked at you. Maybe it was the way he’d taken the containers of blood, and let his hands linger on yours.
You put on your pajamas and wrap yourself in the bedsheets, feeling oddly lonely. Your thoughts turn to your sister. “Hope you’re getting better, Bria,” you mutter to the un-curtained window. “Sleep well.”
Despite being dead tired, Loki wakes in the early evening. Unsettled dreams and over-exhaustion kept him from sleeping soundly. Feeling as if he would never stop cursing, he heads to the library.
Endymion had said that blood would aid in healing. The fresher the blood, the quicker the healing. The fresher the blood, the faster Thor would be able to gain control of himself.
Loki unconsciously glances to where the girl’s room is. “One more mortal. What’s one more?” he mutters to himself.
During his visit with Endymion, he had taken notes. He pulls the torn and slightly water-stained papers that he had jotted notes on from his pocket. For a moment, he is unsettled. I could have sworn I'd used a notebook, not just scraps, and kept it within a plastic wrap so such damage would not occur.
With a grunt of displeasure, he sits at his desk and does his best to transcribe his barely legible notes into the margins of a larger book of vampire lore.
Putting it down to nerves, he continues without pause.
“Odin’s beard, what now?” He rises, an offensive spell readied and glowing in his hand. The girl wanders in the hall, eyes half closed. “Oh, a somnambulist. Wonderful.” He disarms the spell and carefully approaches her.
As he nears, he senses something. Or rather, sees something. A shadow, hovering about her. A very familiar shadow. “Thor,” he growls. “What powers have manifested now?”
Loki puts his hands gently on the girl’s shoulders and guides her to his room. It’s closer than the library, and the girl’s room. As she passes by the iron and silver crosses embedded in the door frame, the shadow about her dissipates slightly. The girl sighs and begins to go limp.
He hurriedly dumps her onto his bed.
“Let’s see, vampires, haunting, dreams…” Loki flips through several bedside books in an attempt to guess what Thor is doing. He glances up and notes that the shadow is becoming more substantial. And more fondling.
“Hang it all.” He opens a drawer and retrieves a bottle with tinted liquid. He sprays it over the girl. “Bad vampire, bad vampire,” he chides, feeling a tad ridiculous.
The shadow seems to see him, then vanishes. The girl’s eyes close fully. She sighs as if in relief and curls up on the sheets.
Loki sits on the edge of the bed for a minute, nose wrinkling at the heavy and unpleasant scent that now permeates the air: garlic, lavender, hyssop, mustard, and several other herbs that never should have been steeped together.

Loki quietly bangs his fist against the desktop. Feeling rather childish—and not caring—he stands forcibly. He hisses, “If my room is going to smell like this, so is Thor’s!”

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Be Wary of Strangers, Part 7

Just in case I'm not able to post another part tomorrow, as I promised (3 in one week), this part is a little long. Almost 2K words.


Vampire: Loki/Thor x Reader
Part Seven

After the second night of howling and attacks on the house, you’re desperate. During the day, you went outside to see the damage done to the door. It was bad. You don’t think it could handle another night.
Loki’s been gone for nearly a week. You can’t go into the basement alone, not if you want to be certain of getting out alive. But then, how much of a chance do you stand if the wolves make it inside?
A few hours before dusk on the third day, you head down to the basement. You’re not entirely sure how Loki opened the door. There are runes, but you’re no sorcerer or magician. Running your fingers along the frame, your nails catch in a small groove. A key hole.

You putter about the first floor of the house, checking likely places Loki would hide a key. Finding nothing, you head upstairs. You check Loki’s room first. Everything is green, gold, and black, like his wardrobe. You wonder absently if there’s significance behind the colors.
Against one wall is a small fridge. Checking inside, you find containers and sacks of blood. You nab two of each, place them in a bag you find under the bed, and continue searching for a key.
When your watch goes off on the hour, you move your search to the library. Only an hour left before sunset, you think. You had been hoping to be in and out before the vampire wakes. Now…
Shakily, you flip through books and rummage through the desk. You find the key slid into the spine of a book on vampire lore. It’s thin and gray, with a single notch at the end, and the top is twisted in a Celtic knot. A black ribbon ties it to the inside of the spine.
You glance at your watch, then out the window. Half an hour before sunset. Hopefully that’s long enough to make it through the maze, leave the blood, and find the back door.
Feeling woefully unprepared, and holding a flashlight, you head down to the basement. It seems colder than last time. As you enter the maze, you can’t keep your teeth from chattering.
The nearby rattle of chains doesn’t exactly help your nerves. The vampire couldn’t be awake…could he?
“I…” You lick your lips, willing your voice not to crack or shake. “I have food.”
You round each pillar with apprehension, expecting—
Movement blurs to your right. A heavy body shoves you to the ground. Your flashlight skitters across the floor and flicks off. Claws brush against your throat. A single red eye looms above you.
You screech.
The vampire yowls back. You feel the bag being torn from your grasp. You hear the leather bag being torn open, and horrid sucking sounds.
You stay on the ground, breathing hard. After a minute, you slowly sit up. The sucking sounds diminish.
The vampire sighs heavily. “Thank you, maiden. I’m sorry if I hurt you; I smelled the blood, and I…I couldn’t help it.”
“You’re welcome,” you gasp. “If you’re sane at the moment, would you mind getting my flashlight? I can’t see.”
“Oh!” Sounding eager to help, he heads past you. “Here you are.” The flashlight flicks on inches from your face.
Temporarily blinded, you reach out for it. “Um…thanks.”
“You’re welcome. Have we…been properly introduced? I’m Thor.”
“Yeah, yeah we have. A few days ago. More like a week, now.” You stand, trying not to look at him, shining the light at his feet. The smell of blood is strong enough you’re certain he got most of it on him rather than eating it.
“Ah. I recall. Vaguely. Did I attack you?”
He sounds so contrite you can’t help but look at his face. His expression matches his tone. His visible eye is a light blue. When the beam of light remains on him, he seems self-conscious. He glances down, eyes his hands, rattles the chains attached to his wrists, touches the blood sticking to him. “It’s funny,” he says quietly. “Everyone always said my brother was the mad one. Now look at me.” His head snaps up. “Where is he? He’s normally the one who comes. Is something wrong?”
“He’s fine,” you say hurriedly. You don’t think it’s a good idea to let him know that you’re alone in the house. “He’s just…resting.”
Thor half-smiles. “You’d think my brother would have found someone who lies better.”
In an attempt to change the subject, you ask, “Are you still hungry?”
Thor’s eyebrows go up. The blood caking his other eye cracks a bit. “Are you offering for me to feed?”
You take a few steps back. “He has more vials and stuff upstairs.”
“Oh. Yes. Please.”
As you head to the back door, you hesitate. “Hey. The other night—for a few nights, actually—you called wolves to the house. Is there any way you can…I don’t know, call them off? Because I have to go outside to get back in the house.”
Thor shakes his head. “I’m afraid I haven’t the faintest idea. Can’t you just go through the cold door?”
You shake your head. “Loki didn’t think that would be a good idea.”
“That whole thing about undead being trapped?” Thor snorts. “A door is a door. I can go through either. If this magical stake would let me.” He jerks his hands, and the iron stake floats into view. Runes, dark for the moment, are etched on its surface.
You weigh your options. Potentially allow him a means of escape, or potentially be devoured by wolves? “Alright. I’ll be back.”
You head to the iron door. Thor doesn’t follow you, for which you’re grateful. The door opens from the inside, though it’s difficult and it keeps trying to swing shut on your fingers.
When you return, you find Thor at his bed. He sits on the edge, looking down at his clawed hands. At your approach, he looks up. His eye flashes a bit.
Hurriedly, you toss the packet at him. He snatches it out of the air. Fangs extended, he bites into the plastic.
You watch, grimacing, as he slips into apparent ecstasy. Blood dribbles from the sides of the bag and catches in his tangled hair. The bag is quickly depleted. Thor tilts his head back and sinks to his knees. Half-smiling, he says, “Thank you again.”
Trying not to gag, you put your hand over your mouth. You make a mental note to reprimand Loki later; he should have tried cleaning Thor up before now. “Mmm-hmm. You…you really need a bath.”
Thor sighs and presses his back against the bed. “Aye. This is hardly befitting…” He trails off, looking a bit confused. He growls, then seems to remember your presence. “I’m sorry. I’ll try not to recall my past while you’re around. I’d rather not hurt you.” He stands. “There’s a bath somewhere in this place. Loki showed it to me at one point. I just haven’t been sane enough to use it.”
“Do you need clothes? I doubt your brother’s things will fit you—”
Thor laughs.
“—but he might have something.”
“No, no, these rags will do. If I can manage to clean them.”
After many wrong turns through the maze, you come upon a small bathroom. There’s a tub set into the stone, and a platform with soaps, shampoos, and towels. There’s even a loofah. It seems Loki wasn’t entirely negligent, after all.
Thor turns the knobs set into the wall above the tub.
He looks at you, surprised. “What is it?”
“Running water can be fatal to vampires.”
Thor scowls down at the stream of water. “Then why would Loki…” Carefully, he sticks his finger under the stream. With a high-pitched yowl, he leaps back. Clutching his hand to his chest, he growls, “Of course he would.”
“Maybe still water is okay?” you suggest. “Here.” You turn off the water.
Thor hesitantly sticks another finger in the still water. “This doesn’t hurt, so I suppose it’s safe.”
“I can help.”
Thor’s eye darkens slightly, and he smiles. “Do you want to?”
You feel your face turn color. “Do you need help?”
“If you’re offering. And you don’t mind. I would appreciate it.” Thor shuffles a bit. “Perhaps…if you turned off your light? Would that make you more comfortable?”
“No. Definitely not.”
Thor laughs. “Go, I can do it. Wait…” He grabs a sponge and soaks it with the water. Holding a hand beneath it, he squeezes it out. He hisses and drops the sponge. “Yes, I’ll be fine. I’ll just have to be careful.”
As you turn to leave, you ask, “How long before you need to be fed again?”
Thor frowned. “I’m not entirely sure. I haven’t been able to keep track of time very well. Three…” He pauses, letting the water run. “Hungers? Days or nights, I suppose.”
“Alright. I’ll make sure Loki doesn’t do this again.”
“I wish I were able to leave. To be by his side. I don’t like sitting here, in the dark, not knowing. Not being able to help him. Because he needs help, very badly.”
You nod emphatically. “I understand.” With a wave, you turn and head back into the house.
Three days. I have three days before he needs to be fed…

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Be Wary of Strangers, Part 6

Vampire: Loki/Thor x Reader
Part Six

 The next day—an agonizingly long handful of hours later, as neither of you were able to sleep after the visit with the vampire—you sit across from Loki. The both of you nurse mugs of tea. Silence stretches between you as you both look into your mugs, lost in thought. Somewhat afraid to break the silence, you clear your throat. Loki glances up sharply.
“So,” you begin. “Maybe we should go through the books again. Try to narrow it down somehow.”
Loki shakes his head slightly. “Do so if you wish. I will visit the one who turned him. Perhaps he will have answers.”
“He called himself Endymion.”
You sip at your tea. The name sounds familiar, though you can’t place it. “Hmm. Are you sure you can trust him?”
“As sure as I am that I can trust myself,” he says darkly.
You nod as if you understand. After a second that your mind stretches into a hazy, sleep-deprived minute, you ask, “Is that a yes…or a no?”
Loki’s grip on the mug tightens; his knuckles go white. The ceramic cracks.
“Loki—!” You hop from your chair as the mug shatters, and scramble for the nearest wash cloth. “Are you alright?”
Loki stares down at the shards embedded in his hands—blood begins to prick from beneath his skin—and laying across the tabletop.
Hesitantly, wondering why he isn’t moving, you swipe away the mess on the table. “Hey,” you say quietly. “Can…can you hear me?”
Loki glances at you. Without a word, he stands and goes over to the sink.
You watch, utterly baffled. Carefully, you walk to him and lay a hand on his shoulder. You fight a yawn as you talk to him. “Okay, you need to sleep before you do anything else. That…wasn’t normal.”
Loki’s expression makes it clear he doesn’t appreciate your demand. He finishes picking out bits of ceramic from his hands. “I’m leaving. I’m going to see Endymion. In the meantime, you can mull over what I didn’t want to tell you earlier.” Somewhat angrily, he flicks water from his hands and dries them on a towel. “My brother and I are from another world entirely. We’ve been in this land—wherever this is, it’s similar enough to the world I know—for a few months.”
You take a step back. A thought shudders through your mind. “How…how are you able to care for my sister?”
“The funds and influence I’ve garnered in this world are more than sufficient, never fear of that.” Loki seems to soften slightly. “Our bargain still stands.”
“If anything happens to her while I’m still around…” You trail off, clenching your fists and shaking a bit. You want to hurt Loki very badly. Him being a stranger with the funds to care for your sister was one thing. But if he was from another world, and whatever source of funding he had was depleted or destroyed…because, really, how much could he have made in a few months? How could he possibly have had the time to gather the influence to build a house like this, pay for labor and amenities, and then pay for life-support at the drop of a hat? Had he even been outside of this country?
Trying to calm yourself, you close your eyes. “We both need to rest before we start getting violent.” You follow your own advice and tromp upstairs.

After a wonderfully long nap, you search for Loki. It isn’t until you get to the kitchen that you find a note: I’ve done as I’ve said. Don’t go into the basement alone. Wait for me.
You do your best to keep occupied, and research vampire lore. Four days pass. On the fourth day, you successfully adjust to a nocturnal sleep schedule.
You’re reading in the library when a bone-shuddering howl begins. You jump, heart pounding, unable to tell if the sound is coming from inside or out.
Hastily, you go to the library window. A heavy fog lays over the land. Eyes blink in and out of existence, and large shadows move through the fog.
You dash downstairs and check the basement door. It seems as secure as before.
Another howl sounds, terrifyingly close. “Definitely the basement,” you gasp. As if in answer, raucous baying and the sound of splintering wood come from upstairs.
Shaking, and debating whether or not this is a good idea, you go upstairs to the living room. Canine jaws and claws snap at the bars of all visible windows. Judging by the sound, they surround the house. The front door shudders. Boom, thud, sccrraaape.
You snatch a butcher knife from the kitchen and hurry to your room. It seems to be a safe place at the moment.
Placing the knife on your bedside table, you hurry to the window. The shades are drawn back, showing the luminescent nightmare scene below.
A body thuds against the window, clawing and scratching. A heavy paw makes it past the intricate bars. With the sickening sound of cracking glass and bone, it’s gone, sliding down the side of the house. You jerk back. “Was that a wolf?!” you screech. “But I’m—second story—window—jump—!”
You yank the blinds over the window. Panicking, you do your best to shove a wardrobe in front of the window. You only make it halfway, but it’s better than nothing. You barricade the door with a chair and the bedside table.
Not knowing what else to do, you huddle in your bed. The braying and howling continue throughout the night. The sounds coming from the basement gradually grow more hoarse, and desperate.
You close your eyes, clutching the knife and waiting for the dawn.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Seven Magic Mirrors, Guest Post: But One Life

It is Day 6 of the Magic Mirrors Blog tour. Today, we have a guest post by author Wyn Estelle Owens on her story, "But One Life." It sounds like something I've been craving more of lately: short historical fiction.

But One Life, a retelling of Snow White set during the American Revolution, actually has a bit of complicated history behind it.
You see, I never even dreamed I’d ever write it. Or anything like it, really. Historical fiction was a genre I was notoriously picky about. When writing a story, 90% of the time I’ll write a fantasy. Historical fiction is not something I would have decided to write as a random project, it’s just not my style.
Waaaaaaay back in 2016, right as the Five Magic Spindles contest was wrapping up, I guessed that the next contest was most likely going to be Snow White, and started planning. I came up with a very interesting idea and spent the next year planning and plotting and worldbuilding.
Which, in the end, was that story’s undoing. The world I made and the story that belonged to it was too vast and complicated for me to stuff into 20,000 words and still make me feel as if I’d done it justice.
So there I was, in the first week of the 2017 July session of Camp Nano, with no story and VERY aware if I stalled much longer, I might not be able to participate at all. And I wanted very, very badly to participate in the contest.
It was then an idea formed. I was sitting there, bemoaning my fate to a friend, when a series of factors collided in my head.
I’d always loved the American Revolution, mostly from watching Liberty’s Kids when I was little. One of my favorite books, The Sherwood Ring (which is seriously amazing) is set during the revolution. And it just so happened that I had been reading some American Revolution themed stories recently and had been listening to a near-unholy amount of Hamilton the past few days.
So I opened my mouth and blurted, “Hey, what if I wrote Snow White in the American Revolution?”
My friend, being smart, immediately asked how I’d make it work, and we had a brief plotting session. The first solid part of the story was Ginny—though back then, she was named Gwendolyn (a month later I discovered that name wasn’t in use during the 1700s, so I had to change it). However, I immediately knew Ginny was going to be a spy. If she was a spy, there would be no risk of straying to close to the dreaded trap of the Passive Heroine, which is definitely Something To Be Avoided when rewriting fairytales with sleeping curses. There were a couple of things that came to be in that brief plotting session—Captain Ethan (my amazing ‘prince’ character), the climax, and my pride and joy: Ginny’s way of sneaking messages under prying, suspicious noses.  But that would be spoilers, so you’ll have to go and find out how she does it yourself 😉. (Plug, plug).
It’s kind of strange, almost, how this story came to be. Back when the contest officially started, in June last year, I wouldn’t have imagined that I’d spend the next 6 months writing a Historical Fiction tale. I especially wouldn’t have imagined that Historical Fiction retelling would go on to win an Honorable Mention.
And I never would have guessed I’d be here, publishing my first book. Which is not a fantasy.
Life sure is funny, sometimes, isn’t it?


Author Bio:

Wyn Estelle Owens is the penname of a young woman who’s still figuring out what this whole ‘adult’ thing is all about. She lives in a big, old house in Maryland by a Hundred Acre Wood (dubbed Neldoreth) with her parents, three occasionally obnoxious brothers, her dog Jackie, and her rabbit Joker. She is fond of reading, writing, drawing, speaking in dead or imaginary languages, playing videogames, quoting classic or obscure literature, being randomly dramatic, and generally making things out of yarn. Her dream is to write stories that inspire people to chase after the wonderful world of storytelling. Her favorite all-time authors are Anne Elisabeth Stengl, Christa Kinde, and above all, J.R.R. Tolkien, who first inspired her to pursuing novel writing when she read the Hobbit at the age of seven. Find her online at: Goodreads || Facebook
Ah, I can't wait to read this one!

Y'all know the drill by now: full tour schedule here, enter the awesome giveaway, check out today's posts. :D

October 30th

Knitted By God's Plan: 7 Reasons to Read
Light and Shadows: 5 Reasons to Read
The Language of Writing: Review
Ink Calamities: Review
I'm Charles Baker Harris (And I Can Read): Review
The Labyrinth: Guest Post
Resting Life: Guest Post

Monday, October 29, 2018

Seven Magic Mirrors, Character Spotlight: Taliyah

It's day 5 on the Seven Magic Mirrors blog tour, and today I have a character spotlight from "Overpowered"!


Snow (Taliyah)
 Snow (Taliyah)

Favorite proverb: Better is a dish of vegetables where love is than a fattened calf and hatred with it.
Backstory:  After Taliyah’s mother died, Taliyah took over the running of her father’s house.  Even her father’s remarriage to a demanding woman—his dead brother’s widow—could not destroy her joy. Yet after Taliyah’s father died she found herself suddenly unprotected. When she was threatened by her stepmother’s hard-eyed son she struck hard and fled, leaving him bleeding.  Now, dressed as a boy, she seeks shelter among the outlaws of the Yeshurni hills.  Yet she knows that the Avenger of Blood must be hard on her heels.
Appearance: Slender and smooth-skinned, with black hair and eyes.  Her face is delicate, but not so much so that it is impossible for her to pass for a boy.  Her hands are rough from many years of work.  Her hair has been cut messily to just above shoulder length, and her face is always covered in dirt.  She wears several layers of baggy tunics and a shapeless linen cap.  She is 17 but is passing as a 14-year-old boy.
Her Role in the Mercenary Band: Although she has no military skills, she makes herself useful by helping Fig to gather food, cooking, running messages, and assisting in the band’s non-military work (helping with harvests, shepherding, and so on).  Snow also takes on the role of peacemaker, trying to keep Thorn and Cedar from feuding.
Author’s Notes: I love the way that Snow’s story kept deepening as I wrote and rewrote Overpowered.  I love her courage, her integrity, and her horribly unsuccessful attempts to pass as a boy.  (Really, she’s terrible at it.  Two separate characters figure her out within five minutes of meeting her.)  Although she’s in a situation where it might be wise to be wary (band of murderers, anyone?) she quickly grows fond of her dangerous companions.  While this leaves her open to threats from some of them (one of whom she never even recognizes as a threat… I’m beginning to think that she’s a wee bit oblivious), the others become her trusted allies.

One thing that turns me off in fiction is a female pretending to be a male...and then absolutely no one notices.
Image result for mulan meme all he had to do was look down
I enjoyed the movie, but still...this. ^ XD

*cough* Anyways. *cough*
I'm glad to hear that "Overpowered" doesn't adhere to that trope. :D

Again, head over here for the full tour schedule. Don't forget to enter the awesome giveaway, and be sure to check out the other tour stops for today!

October 29th

Knitted By God's Plan: 7 Reasons to Read

Light and Shadows: 5 Reasons to Read
Dreams and Dragons: The Awesomeness of Biblical Retellings
Heather L.L. FitzGerald: Character Spotlight - Fig
The Labyrinth: Character Spotlight - Taliyah
Unicorn Quester: Character Spotlight - Yotham
Selina J. Eckert: Guest Post - Inspiration for Overpowered

Dragonpen Press: Guest Post - What is Overpowered?