Writing Wednesday – Inspiration

 

(I want to make a note that every time I typed the word ‘inspiration’, I ended up spelling it wrong. Thank goodness for spell check. :D)

Today I want to talk about inspiration. Some writers go seeking inspiration in the outdoors while others find it in reading. Inspiration can be found in every day things that we don’t even think are that important. Dreams can also bring new ideas and even revitalize old ideas that have been abandoned.

I write because I love the act of writing. The stories come to me in the weirdest ways at times. I’ll be trying to go to sleep and I’ll start telling myself a bedtime story in my head to help me relax. Sometimes they come to nothing other than a bit of silliness. Other times they take on a life of their own and after a few days of the same story playing out in my head I make notes and file it away to be written at a later time.

I can’t claim any special power when it comes to inspiration. I just let my life flow around me and pick up what sticks in my head. Sometimes something as simple as doing the dishes will bring an idea to me about something.

For example, a story that I expect I’ll write eventually started out in my head while I was taking a shower. A woman appeared, telling me her name was Special Agent Molly Lancaster and she wanted me to tell her story. I listened as she gave me a brief rundown of her family life, her college life, and her time on the regular police force before she was picked up by an agency that deals with occult and supernatural crimes. One of the files they have on the director’s desk is the mystery of her family, which Molly has been trying to solve since her father disappeared and her mother was arrested for his murder even though no proof was ever given that she did it. That’s as far as I got in that session with her.

When I got out of the shower, I jotted down the notes on what she told me and went on with my day. When I went to bed, she reappeared and we had another conversation. This time about her work and the fact that as the child of two beings with supernatural powers (I still don’t know what her father is/was, but I do know what her mother is/was) she has responsibilities tied into the supernatural world that land on her doorstep as soon as it’s found out that she’s in town. The non-human population flock to her, asking for her help. She has a contact in that world and passes along information when it looks like crimes are being committed by the non-human residents of the city.

I thought she would have a romantic liaison with her contact, but she yelled at me about that. She told me that not every urban fantasy book needs romance. I happened to agree with her and we moved on. I got a better picture of her appearance and her home. I still don’t know much about her contact – other than his name and that he’s not human.

I’ve noted everything she’s told me down in a file that I keep backed up in multiple places. She’s quieted down now that I have what I need to write her story. I’ll get to her eventually. She may even have a place in the huge world of an urban fantasy setting that I’m debating on writing which encompasses two of my story ideas melded into one world. The inspiration for combining the worlds came from reading about storyline match ups in comic books.

Inspiration, as far as I’m concerned, isn’t something you can really control. It hits you when it hits you. But I also believe you don’t need inspiration to strike to write a story. You can create a story out of your every day life if you want to.

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Monday Maundering – Mental illness and medications

Mental illness. What comes to your mind when you hear that phrase? Do you see the violent gunmen who killed so many people? Do you think of dirty asylums where those afflicted with these illnesses drool in their rooms wrapped in a straitjacket? Or do you see ordinary people who struggle day after day with a brain that refuses to work right?

I would hope that you would think of the third. But the media plays up how terrible mental illness is and how those afflicted are prone to violence – up to and including murdering men, women, and children – and have no redeeming qualities to allow the ill person to function in society. There are celebrities who are pushing to change that image, but every step forward they make is pushed to the side as the media plays games with one of the more vulnerable segments of society.

I have said this before, but I’ll say it again. I have a mental illness. I actually have two, if you want to get technical. I’m bipolar, which used to be called manic depression, and moderate anxiety. It’s not your ordinary “there’s something going on” anxiety. I could be perfectly happy, content, and laughing one moment and the next I’m curled in the ball fighting off a panic attack.

Right now, my meds are off so I spend a lot of time fighting to keep control of my mind. I’m searching for a doctor to help me get things settled so I can function like a normal person again. Every day is a struggle. I fight to maintain what equilibrium I have left and ride out the waves of the mood swings that come as part of being for the most part unmedicated.

I’ve had people go off on me about taking medications for my bipolar.

Use more natural cures.” (Like what? Stuff that doesn’t have proved effect?)

It’s all in your head.” (Uh…duh. It’s called MENTAL illness.)

You’re poisoning yourself.”

That last one always gets me. All medications – natural or otherwise – have side effects. Some are mild. Some are severe. But my doctors have been good about taking care of me and monitoring my body to make sure I’m not poisoning myself. I had one bad doctor who didn’t seem to pay attention to the climbing levels of lithium in my body when I was on it, but for the most part if I start showing some kind of negative physical reaction, they take me off of it before it gets too serious.

There’s an article I read recently done by a person who has a different diagnosis of bipolar (yes, there are differing levels of it) that struck home with me. It’s their experiences with being harassed about being on meds. I can understand where the author is coming from because I too did a lot of research, learned more about my illness, and studied up on what different treatments are out there. I’ve found a combination of medication and therapy to be the best mix for me.

Here’s the link to the article: I Didn’t Ask For Your Opinion On My Psych Meds

I have more to say on this topic, but I’ll leave that to next week. Let me leave you with two things. One, do NOT judge all mentally ill people by the portrayals of those who suffer from these ailments on mainstream media. Second, if you know someone dealing with mental illness, do NOT go out of your way to give unsolicited advice. Be there. Listen when they talk to you. But don’t tell them how to manage their illness. It’s their body, their brain, and not yours. If you have experience with mental illness, offer your experience. But make sure you understand that nothing works the same way for two people and your experiences may not match theirs.

Beauty and the Beast Part 4

She didn’t return to the house until well after dark. Baldric gave a relieved cry when his mother slipped in through the door. “Ceinwen’s been crying now for a while. I can’t get her to take the medicine,” he said. “And Ronen won’t let go of her hand but he also won’t stop crying.

Ronen was weeping in the corner as he sat next to his sister. “She’s hurting and I can’t help,” he said.

I know, Ronen,” Adina said. She mixed a fresh batch of medicine for her daughter. “You have to drink this, Ceinwen. It’ll make you feel better.” Ceinwen drank the medicine and was soon quiet again.

Mother, do you think Ceinwen’s going to be all right? She hasn’t spoken since we got here. I know she’s hurt but…” Baldric let his voice trail off.

Adina sighed. “I don’t know, Baldric. I won’t know until I can get a healer to see her and possibly not even then. We’ll have to wait and see.”

What story are we supposed to tell the people who ask?” Baldric asked.

We lost our home to a fire. Your father died trying to rescue us. Ceinwen was mauled by a dog gone mad from the smoke and heat,” Adina said. “That’s the story I gave the gold merchant and that’s the one we’re going to stick to.”

Then you’d better tell Isabella and Grainne too,” Baldric said.

We heard. Mama, if lying is wrong, why are we doing it now?” Isabella asked.

Do you want to be killed?” Adina asked. “If it gets out what I did, who we are, we’ll be executed. I got the impression that magic isn’t as widely used in this time as it was in ours.”

Isabella turned pale. “What about Ceinwen? What are we going to do with her if you can’t use magic?”

Right now I don’t have magic to use,” Adina said. “We’ll have to wait and see what the healer says.”

Yes mother,” Isabella said.

Here. Put these clothes on. I took what money I had left on me and bought all of you some new clothes. It’s not as fine as I’d like but it’ll do so you don’t look quite so out of place,” Adina said. She handed dresses to the girls and shirts and trousers to the boys. Isabella went back to sit next to Grainne and the two of them whispered together about the story that they needed to lock into their minds. Adina went back over next to Ronen and Ceinwen.

The next day, Adina bustled her children into cloaks and sent them out into the front yard. She quickly cleared away any sign of their being in the house before carrying Ceinwen out in her arms. The gold merchant Adina found the previous night arrived with a train of carts and horses. “Lady Winfield, forgive my lateness. There was a bit of a delay in getting some of the things you requested,” he said, bowing to her.

It’s quite all right, Master Felweather. We were running a little behind ourselves this morning. I appreciate your efforts to get all that I asked for,” Adina said.

It won’t take long at all to have the house fixed up. Did you and your children wish to retire to an inn while the men work?” Master Felweather asked.

Actually, Master Felweather, I’d be very grateful if you could direct me to the healers,” Adina said. She turned slightly so he could see the bandages. “The journey was hard on my daughter and I wish to make certain she hasn’t come to any further harm.”

I’ll escort you there myself, my lady,” Master Felweather said. “Then I’ll come back to supervise the workers.”

Thank you, Master Felweather,” Adina said. She turned to Baldric. “Take the others into the garden. Let them play there while the men work, but keep them out of the house. We’ll go to the inn for luncheon after I’m done with the healer.”

Yes mother,” Baldric said. He herded the other three into the house and out into the garden. Master Felweather left instructions with the men to begin to carry the heavy furniture in before escorting Adina to what he stated was the best healer in the city.

Writing Wednesday – Reading, movies, and writing

I find it very hard to just read for pleasure anymore. I love to read and enjoy most of the books I’ve got. But I keep dissecting them. I look for grammatical errors, continuity errors, two dimensional characters, etc. I want to analyze them rather than just reading for the sheer pleasure of seeing written words on the page.

As writers, we need to read and read widely. It’s one of the ways we expand our knowledge and improve our skills. I’m not talking reading books on the craft, or on marketing or publishing. I’m talking about reading things in our genre, out of our genre, fiction, and non-fiction.

I tend to read a lot of fantasy. I also write fantasy. What I don’t read is a lot of science fiction. Yet I write science fiction. Why is that? Mostly because you don’t see too many sci fi books on the Amazon Top 100 Free list. The bulk of them are fantasy. And sadly, the ones I’ve found and read the samples from are so awful that I won’t read the rest. I read a lot of sci fi as a teenager though, and I’ve watched some of the more recent sci fi series. Well, the ones that end up on Netflix at least.

One of my concerns about my sci fi is the fact that I read primarily fantasy. I have a very limited source of sci fi. I’ve got a few audiobooks, a handful of books I’ve gotten through Amazon, and a couple old time sci fi novels I’ve picked up at thrift stores. I have no room for physical books, so I keep those very limited. I also read free shorts people put up on their blogs, so I do get some perspective of what’s being written now.

One of the things I do to help my sci fi is read science and technology articles. Someone links one and I go read it. If I need to figure something out I search on Google for a general term near what I want and see what I can find. I also watch shows like the new Cosmos and whatever science documentaries I can find on Netflix.

I don’t write hard sci fi where I explain the science and tech behind everything. I write soft sci fi because I’m not interested in trying to explain how things in the future will work based on our current and limited understanding of what technology might be then. I get an idea from my research and convert it to fit my worlds.

I’ve also learned that fantasy can be converted to sci fi in a way. Ideas, characterization, even settings can be used if you do it correctly. Anne McCaffrey and her Pern books are a good example of this. I don’t know if I’ll ever master storytelling to the degree she did, but I hope to try. The Pern books were one of the mainstays of my teenage years, and I still read them when I can.

My point is even if you don’t have access to the genre you write, read anyway. Read everything and anything you can get your hands on that you find you can enjoy. Also, watch TV, movies, documentaries, etc. Whatever you can use to expand your knowledge, even if it’s just in seeing how another author presents their world.

Monday Maundering – Taking chances

So, I tried baking chocolate chip cookies (using Butterfinger Baking Bits instead of chocolate chips) and a new recipe for brownies using cannabutter this weekend. (Yes, it’s legal. I live in Oregon.) The cookies are good, nice and chewy. The only problem with them is they’re flat. Completely flat. They’re supposed to be fluffy. No clue what I did there. The brownie recipe I used did something similar. Instead of raising while baking, they stayed about half an inch thick. No clue what happened there either. Though looking at the picture on the recipe, that may be how they’re supposed to look.

I’ve learned to enjoy cooking. I’m usually in charge of dinner for six adults, though there are nights when someone else takes over. Or I insist we eat the leftovers in the fridge. I will admit I’m not a very adventurous cook most of the time. Spaghetti is something I cook a lot of, though everyone’s getting tired of it. So I’ve started branching out of my comfort zone a little.

I’ve already done a little experimentation before this. There’s my semi-creamy chicken soup where I combined a soup and a stew recipe. I’ve taken cream of mushroom and tomato soup (not at the same time…ew) and buffed them up with things like ground beef, onions, and leftover pasta or rice. I’ve also tried my hand at a slow cooker pot roast. These things came out well received, and the soups I’ve made a few times since I first made them. The slow cooker pot roast was Sunday. It seems to have gone over well.

One of the things I’ve learned from cooking is you can’t be afraid to take risks. I still am, and it’s holding me back with making new things for the house. My fear of taking risks is also holding me back from life. I took a huge (to me) risk seventeen years ago and started dating my husband. I took one when I married him. I took one when I finally admitted that my bipolar was so bad I needed help. But those were big things. There are little things I can take risks on too, but I don’t. I prefer to stay in my little bubble and play it safe.

My husband has been encouraging me to step outside my comfort zone. He’s the one who got me to start experimenting with food. He helps me when I need it and sometimes gives me a nudge. And sometimes he gives me a kick in the ass. Everyone needs someone like that in their lives. Even the biggest go-getter needs backup. (No, I’m not saying a huge go-getter.)

My goal this year is to take more small risks, stretch myself a little to see how much I can grow. I want to see what I can make of my life. I’m starting a little late. I’ll be 39 in May. But it’s not too late until you’re dead.

Beauty and the Beast Part 3

Baldric winced as he saw the blood. Ronen stumbled over to his mother. He tugged on his sister’s uninjured hand but she didn’t respond. “Ronen, leave her be,” Baldric said. “Mother, what are we going to do now?”

I’ve got what I need to tend to Ceinwen for now,” Adina said. “I brought supplies to last us a week. That’s how long the spells preventing the detection of our presence will last.”

I can slip out and see where we are,” Baldric said. “Maybe see if what happened in the valley has made it to wherever we are.”

Adina nodded. “I’ll have you go out tomorrow. Today, I need you to help me with the others.”

Baldric kept the other three from disturbing Ceinwen while Adina made up a potion for pain. She made Ceinwen drink the medicine first. She cleaned the wounds with water from a hand pump in the kitchen. Clean strips of linen were wrapped around Ceinwen’s head, neck, and arm, leaving only her nose and mouth free.

Is Ceinwen okay?” Ronen asked, curling up beside but not touching his older sister.

As soon as I can get her to a healer,” Adina said. She forced a smile. “Don’t worry about her, Ronen. It’ll be all right soon enough.” Her smile faded as she noticed that Ronen seemed bigger than she remembered. “Ronen, stand up for a moment.” Ronen did as he was told. “Isabella, Grainne, Baldric, come here.”

What’s wrong, mother?” Baldric asked.

You’re all bigger. You’ve aged,” Adina said.

Baldric looked down. His clothing, which had been loose fitting and comfortable, was now tight against his body. His sisters looked out of place in their too small dresses. Ronen was the worst. The seams had popped in places on his shirt.

Mother, what happened?” Baldric asked.

I don’t know,” Adina said. “Something with the spell went very wrong.” She waved her children away as another bout of dizziness almost caused her to black out.

Can I stay with Ceinwen?” Ronen asked.

Is that a good idea?” Baldric asked.

Ronen, don’t touch her. But yes, you can stay here with Ceinwen,” Adina said. She stood up and walked over to the supplies again. She put together a small meal made up of bread, cheese, and boiled eggs. Then she shook out the blankets and made the others go back to bed.

The next morning, Baldric slipped out the back of the house and went over the garden wall. Ceinwen woke up and began to cry.

Ceinwen, it’s all right. Drink this and it’ll help,” Adina said. Ceinwen drank the pain killer and was soon dozing again.

It was early afternoon before Baldric returned. “Mother, I’m not sure what you did but I don’t think we’re where you wanted us to be.”

Where are we and what did you learn?” Adina asked.

We’re in Northport. It’s grown a bit since you and father brought me here. King Theron’s listed as one of the great kings of the age, and it’s his line still on the throne but we’re two maybe three generations away from him,” Baldric said. “The fashion is very different, some laws are bound to have been changed, and the sea port is busier than it used to be. We didn’t just move to Northport, we moved through time.”

I’ve never heard of the spell working like this,” Adina said.

Maybe the gods did this to protect us,” Baldric said. “Or maybe you were so desperate to save us that you did this without meaning to.”

That would explain why my magic is non-existent, and why I’m so weak,” Adina said. “It would also explain why Ceinwen –.” She stopped and swallowed hard. “So we’re two, maybe three generations out from our own time.”

What are we going to do now?” Grainne asked. She and Isabella were sitting together, watching their mother with wide, frightened eyes.

I set some things in motion that should bear fruit,” Adina said. She dug the papers out of the pack. “I need to find out. I won’t know until I go into town to look into it.” She stood up. “Baldric, you’re in charge while I’m out. Stay inside. The garden isn’t protected by the spell.”

Yes mother,” Baldric said. Adina slipped out and over the wall of the garden much as Baldric had done.

Beauty and the Beast Part 2

She appeared in her living room. “Mama.” Ceinwen launched herself from the table into her mother’s arms. Ronen toddled over just behind her.

Baldric came out. “There have been some strange things going on, mother,” he said. “None of us have left, though there was some dispute about the house and whether they should cut the roses down or not.” He gave her a concerned look. “Mother, what happened?”

We don’t have time to discuss that right now,” Adina said. She went over to a cupboard and pulled several large burlap sacks out of it. “Baldric, Isabella, Grainne, take these and fill them. Make sure you take only clothing and those small trinkets you can’t do without. I’ll buy you new things when we get to the city.”

Mother, the city isn’t going to be safe,” Baldric said. “Not with you and father being so well known in these parts. If something dreadful has happened at the castle the villagers are going to put the blame on you. Word hasn’t gotten out of here yet but you know it will soon.”

You worry about packing, Baldric,” Adina said. “I’ll worry about the villagers.”

Yes, mother,” Baldric said. He disappeared back into his room. The other two girls returned to their room.

Ceinwen, you and Ronen go to your room. I’ll come help you pack in just a moment,” Adina said. The two children scampered off.

Adina brewed a pot of tea laced with herbs that would dull the wits of her children. Once Baldric finished packing for himself, he also packed for Ceinwen and Ronen. Once the children were finished, Adina bade them eat while she packed her own things.

By the time Adina was finished gathering everything else they’d need, all five of the children were drooping in their chairs. Adina drew a circle on the floor around her and her children. Slowly, wearily, she added a series of runes. The chalk broke in her hand and she was forced to scrub it out and start over with a fresh piece. Finally, she was finished.

Spirit of the North, daughter of ice and snow, let time be frozen,” Adina chanted. “Spirit of the East, child of the light, shed your light and show us the way. Spirit of the South, mother of all, grant to me this boon for I seek only to protect my children. Spirit of the West, from whence all life came, guide us to a place in this world where we may once again walk free.” For a moment nothing happened. And then, the world went dark.

Adina groaned. She sat up and rubbed the back of her head. She stared blankly into the shadows, wondering why things were so dim. Memory brought clarity, and clarity brought concern. Where were the children?

Adina fumbled for the pack at her side. She pulled out a candle and tried to light it with her magic. Emptiness engulfed her and not even a spark flickered in the darkness. Adina fought down panic as she rummaged in the pack, finding the flame striker. She struck the two pieces together. Sparks flashed in the darkness as the bit of tinder at the end finally caught. Adina lit the wick and pinched out the smoldering tip of the striker.

Adina held up the candle. Her hands shook as her head spun. Her chest hurt and it was hard to breathe. She took a moment to steady herself and then went looking for her children. The faint light gave her only a bare hint at the shape of the room. She took a few steps forward. Her foot caught on something. She looked down.

Baldric groaned and sat up. “That hurt,” he mumbled, still more than a little dazed. Adina left him to gather himself as she went in search of the others.

She found Ronen next. His breathing was fast and shallow, and his skin was cool to the touch. Her hand shook and a drop of wax fell onto his skin. He twitched but otherwise made no other response. Adina wiped it off before moving on.

Isabella and Grainne were lying in a heap together not far from Ronen. Both of their eyes were open but there was no sense in their faces. Adina made sure to untangle them before resuming her search.

Adina searched every corner of the room but didn’t see her youngest daughter. “Baldric?”

I’m here, mother,” Baldric said. He staggered over to her, a candle in his hand. He lit it from hers.

Ceinwen’s not here,” Adina said. “I’m going to look in the other rooms. Keep an eye on the others.”

Yes mother,” Baldric said.

Adina held her candle high in the air. She searched room to room on the first floor of the strange house but she still couldn’t find Ceinwen. Dread clutched Adina’s heart in an icy grip.

A small whimper to her left drew her attention to the stairs. The light from the flickering candle fell on a bloody, mangled body lying on the steps. For a moment, Adina was reminded of a doll lying broken and discarded on the nursery floor. She let out a strangled cry and knelt at Ceinwen’s side.

Mother?” Baldric called.

Stay with the others,” Adina said again. She pulled her scarf off and carefully wiped the blood off Ceinwen’s face. Ceinwen whimpered again. “It’s all right, kitten. Mama’s here.”

The right side of Ceinwen’s face, neck, shoulder, and right arm were torn, like she’d been raked by the claws of a wild beast. Her eyes were open but her pupils were mere pinpricks in a sea of green. Adina reached again for her magic. It refused to come. There was nothing left.

Adina lifted her injured daughter into her arms. She carried her into the room where the other children were waiting. “What’s happened?” Baldric asked.

The gods have abandoned me,” Adina said. “My magic is spent and Ceinwen – Ceinwen is hurt.”

My Writing Partner

I got asked once how I come up with all my ideas. I explained that they came to me as random thoughts and snippets. I just made notes and went back to them when I was ready to write. They commented on how vivid my imagination was and how I must spend so much time alone perfecting my craft. (No, I haven’t perfected my craft. I’m still working on that.)

I will tell you all a secret…I don’t work alone on my books. I know, a shock, right? My writing partner is my husband. He doesn’t actually write with me, but he’s the one I turn to for help when I get stuck on things. He’s also helped me build my worlds up, create a cogent magical system, and change my characters from god-like super beings to ordinary people with some extraordinary abilities.

My husband has a great deal of experience creating worlds. He was a GM (game master) for several years. He didn’t believe in using the pre-made adventures. He built his own, complete with maps, cultures, and magic systems. I played in a number of his games and his world building skills are awesome.

An example of his help is how we dealt with my magic system in my primary fantasy world. I needed to figure out how to do magic in my world. So, over a series of conversations, we set down the rules regulating my magic. We also have a form of magic that we’re calling thread magic that is technically divine magic but is often seen as more of a curse. It is a complex concept and we have spent the better part of a year hammering it out. We’re still working on it, refining and changing it to fit what the story needs. Of course, we’re also changing the story as we go so the alterations to the magic come as part of the territory.

My initial inspiration for the magic I first created was D&D, Arduin, and all the fantasy books I grew up reading. I piled everything together and built something that was so overpowered it was ridiculous. But it still wasn’t bad for a teenager. As I got older and my writing changed, I started whittling down my magic system.

Even after I started to change it, I still had the problem of it being too OP. That’s when I turned to my husband and his expertise. He told me we needed to rebuild it from the ground up. So that’s what we did. And what we continue to do. As my world changes and evolves, so does the magic.

My husband does so much more for me. He’s literally become some of my characters for me during our conversations, giving them life in a way I couldn’t. That’s helped me give them life in the story. He gives me ideas to better fit the characters to the worlds, and the worlds to what I want/need for the story.

I don’t think I’d be in the place I am with my writing today without my husband. He continues to help and inspire me and I am so grateful to him.

Monday Maundering – Blogging

I’ve been thinking about blogging a lot lately. Specifically the fact that I get very little traffic on my blog. Sometimes I wonder if I got more political or discussed religion more if I’d get more readers. The problem is I don’t want to talk about those subjects. My political and religious ideas are my own and I consider them private.

I’m also not a published author, so writing about writing is difficult because I’m still in the process of getting places with my work. I finally found a few beta readers for one of my projects, and I’m waiting for their suggestions/comments on my novel. It’s going to be interesting to see what they say and find out where my strengths/weaknesses are. I’d like to see if I can get Fury traditionally published. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.

I only post three days a week because of the fact that I’m having a hard time with blog topics. I’m planning on doing the A to Z blog challenge again this year, but I also plan on writing my posts in February so I have them ready for April. That way I don’t have to scramble to get them done. This also means I need to figure out what I’m going to do for them. The last time I did it I had somewhat of a theme. I don’t know if I want to do that this year.

Blogging doesn’t come easily to me. I know it’s necessary for building an author platform, and in this day and age of digital recognition it’s important. But what do I say? What do I post about? Blogging has become a chore for me rather than something I enjoy.

I love my stories, and I’m trying to do a serial on Fridays showcasing some of my favorite stories. So far I have no views on most of those posts. I started my Beauty and the Beast retelling last Friday and haven’t had a single view on it. That’s rather discouraging. I want to share my writing with people. But how do I get them to read it when I put it on my blog?

Okay, I’m whining today. I need to step back and find something else to do until I calm down. Don’t ask me what Wednesday’s post will be. I’m still trying to figure that one out. Sorry for the ranting. I’ll be back to normal by Wednesday.

Beauty and the Beast Part 1

So, I’ve decided to turn one of my faerie tale rewrites into a serial on my blog. It’s a retelling of one of my favorite stories. I hope you enjoy it. A new piece will appear every Friday.

The power bled from her as if from an open wound. Her fear acted as a blade, digging into her, making her weak as the very core of her being was sacrificed to stop the curse. She stumbled as her feet found every rock in the path. The chill grew behind her. She couldn’t risk a glance over her shoulder without the chance of falling.

She searched the village in front of her, stealing energy from all living things. Plants withered and livestock died. Children woke in the night screaming as terrible nightmares filled their minds. Men woke and reached for weapons. Women shrieked and flung themselves out of bed, some to flee and some to protect their children.

She reached the end of the path and looked over her shoulder. Ice slowly made its way down the path she’d just run. Rocks cracked beneath the cold. She could feel the tiny points of life vanishing as plants and animals were killed as it followed it’s inexorable path. She stopped and reached out once again. She seized on every life she found. Taking only a fraction of the power released by them, she sent her magic to stop the curse. The gods smiled on her this time for the ice stopped at the edge of the village.

She could feel her own spell from the castle making its way down now too. A different curse would soon be upon the villagers. This one she couldn’t stop. She didn’t want to. There were some things that she couldn’t forgive.

It was dawn when she returned to her home. There, she saw her five children sitting near the fire. Her oldest son Baldric was sitting closest to the heat with all four of his younger siblings surrounding him. The two youngest, Ceinwen and Ronen, were sitting in his lap. Isabella and Grainne were sitting on stools. All five of them were watching the door.

Baldric, why are they up?” Adina asked as she came through the door.

Ceinwen couldn’t sleep. She kept having nightmares about you and father. That kept Ronen up. When I let them out, Isabella and Grainne came to join us,” Baldric said.

Adina sighed. “Children, things did not go well. Your father – your father will not be coming home.” Isabella and Grainne started weeping. Ronen buried his face in Baldric’s shoulder. Ceinwen ran to her mother. She began to cry. Adina held her close, stroking her dark hair. “I’m so sorry, my loves. But we have to go. We have to leave the valley.”

Why?” Grainne asked, still weeping. “Why do we have to leave?”

Father did something, didn’t he?” Baldric asked. Adina nodded.

Adina dropped to her knees and opened her arms. Ceinwen threw herself against Adina’s chest. Baldric released Ronen and he joined Ceinwen. Isabella and Grainne came and put their arms around Adina’s shoulders. Baldric came and put his arms around his sisters. Adina held them all there for a moment.

I have to go to the city,” Adina said. “Baldric, I’m leaving you in charge. No one is to go outside while I’m gone. We have food in plenty. I should only be gone a few days.”

Mama, don’t go. The bad man will get us,” Ceinwen said.

He can’t hurt you now, kitten,” Adina said. “No one can.”

Mother?” Baldric looked confused.

No questions,” Adina said. “Baldric, if anyone sets foot out of this house you will be in serious trouble. If you all survive.”

We’ll stay inside, mother,” Baldric said. The older girls nodded while Ronen and Ceinwen whimpered. Adina extracted herself from their grips before pulling on her cloak and leaving through a door mostly overgrown with roses.

Adina transported herself to the city. She walked around until she found a gold merchant. She walked in. “Good day, mistress,” he said. “How can I be of service to you?”

You are Master Dieter Felweather, correct?” Adina asked.

Yes I am,” Master Felweather said. “How can I be of service?”

I have a fortune held in an account here that I wish to make some arrangements for,” Adina said. He pulled out his books. “The name on the account is Adina Winfield.”

He scanned his way down the list until he found her name. “A sizable fortune indeed, Mistress Winfield,” Master Felweather said.

I know,” Adina said. “My children and I are leaving for some time. I don’t know if or when we’ll be back. Is there a way to put this account in such a place as if it takes some time to get back it will still be held?”

How long are we talking here, Mistress Winfield?” Master Felweather asked.

I’m talking two or three generations,” Adina said. “That may be how long it will take for my family to return to these lands.” She held up her hand. “It’s nothing that serious. But you know how children are. The memory of a place must be forgotten before it’s new to them again.”

Master Felweather laughed. “I know that all too well,” he said. “Two of mine have left the city with no promise to return. I can set up something to be held in perpetuity for say four hundred years. That’s as long as the law allows an inheritance to be held.” They filled out the paperwork. Adina sealed them with her signet, but she added a little twist of magic.

Make certain your descendants bring these papers and that ring with them,” Master Felweather said. “Or else your efforts will be wasted.”

I’ll keep that in mind,” Adina said. She took the papers and thanked him. She walked back out of the city and transported herself home.