Once More Unto The (Writing) Breach- May 2017

What I’ve Accomplished This Month

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This was yet another pretty single-minded month. And guess what? I still didn’t finish anything!

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Let’s break down my failure. Because that sounds like fun! 😀

  • Good Intentions (Age of Ultron fanfic)- 32,547 words written

This is probably the most words I’ve managed to write after a NaNo… pretty much ever. AND I’M STILL NOT FREAKING DONE. How is that possible? I did not plan for this fic to be soooooooo looooooonnnnngggg. Seriously, all of my other Avengers fics are short!

…you know, -ish.

Relatively speaking.

Anyway, the current plan is for the total word count to be 95k, which means I’m almost done! Finally! Really this time, I swear to Odin…

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Oh… right. I swear to Loki then. Which is way more fun anyway ;P

Well, I managed to post my chapters, and I regret that now. Because I’m feeling a little lost here. I can’t explain it, but the thread of my story is just… gone. I know how I want to end it, I just don’t know how to get there. And I don’t want to give up, because I know that if I can just push through this story is going to be AMAZING! I have a plan, but it might not be a plan that fans of this story will be incredibly happy with, considering how much of a let-down I have been when it comes to posting on this fic. But we’ll talk about that more in the What’s Coming Up section. For now, let’s just say that I’m incredibly happy with the chapters I posted this month and I’m impressed that I managed to write any words at all, to be honest.

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  • Doubt The Stars- Beta-edit

The results are in! And have been in for weeks now. I really was going to work on this more, I swear, but… well… I didn’t.

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I know, Ron. I know.

I managed to get through the first Scene, but that’s honestly only because everyone pretty much agreed that it needed almost no work (other than some grammar and punctuation fixes). The second Scene is going to be… a little more complex, and I’ll be honest, I’ve been putting it off. Because I’m scared. It’s getting scarier and scarier the closer to being done I am and… I’ve never done anything like this. I don’t feel prepared. But I’m going to do my best to jump in with both feet this month and really dig in.

So without further ado!

What’s Coming Up in June

  • Doubt The Stars- Evaluate feedback from beta-readers and edit accordingly. Send samples to editors and pick one.

This is… exactly the same goal I had for last month that didn’t happen. There’s going to be a lot of that in June. I’m playing the most terrible game of catch-up ever and just trying to win before Camp NaNoWriMo in July! On that note…

  • Good Intentions- Finish first draft

Really this time. Really, really. I’m in the final stretch, I should honestly be done with this in the next week or so if I play my cards right. Then I can set it aside and relax for a little while, because I’ve already decided to postpone the edits until the months of August/September. And yes, I’m allowing myself two entire months for edits, because despite mounting evidence to the contrary, I am not completely crazy.

I’m keeping my original goals for now, but this is purely in the spirit of optimism. I have one chapter that I can post on the 15th, but I’m not certain another chapter will be ready by the end of the month. I have already decided that I will be writing my 50k words for Camp NaNoWriMo in July on this fic and its sequel (which will follow hard on the heels of the first: it will become apparent why when the ending of DBTT is revealed ;P), so I’m thinking I might just take a rest on writing for this fic this month and let my creative well refill. It’s not like I don’t have other stories I could outline…

So there you go! We’ll see what happens! And now, the real reason you all read this blog:

Fog’s Cute Animal of the Month

This month’s animal is thanks to a very weird and completely random dream I had:

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The porcupine puffer fish!

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Look at that face! I’ve been reading up on them, and for a fish that could kill me in multiple ways (in addition to the ability to inflate and the spines, their internal organs contain a deadly toxin 1200 times more potent that cyanide. Neat!) they are also the most adorable and personable fish I have ever beheld! In this article, they are described as “almost as cute as cartoon animals” and they can apparently even be taught to do tricks for treats! Like puppies! Adorable fish-puppies of the sea!

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Imaginary boyfriend says I can’t have one, but he’s just a Debbie Downer. I NEED AN ADORABLE FISH-PUPPY! I mean, I had a dream about them! My sub-conscious even says I need a fish-puppy!

Plus, they’ve been compared to one of my favorite Avengers, so… win-win! 😀

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Case closed! All I need now is a 100 gallon fish tank and some snails…

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See you guys next time!

Once More Unto The (Writing) Breach- April 2017

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What I’ve Accomplished This Month

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So… yeah. I was kind of single-minded this month ;P I wrote 50,022 words, and not much else. Which I’m completely fine with. Those of you who are waiting (im)patiently for a new chapter of Double the Baggins, Twice the Took are probably not as okay with it as I am, but I’m going to try to make it up to you this month! Starting tomorrow! Really!

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What’s Coming Up in May

  • Doubt The Stars- Evaluate feedback from beta-readers and edit accordingly. Send samples to editors and pick one.

The first comments are starting to come in from my beta-readers and I’m really pleased! So far the feedback has been mostly positive, and the criticisms (when viewed through the eyes of trusted peers) are nothing that I feel I can’t handle. It’s such a relief, because honestly? I’m channeling my inner Rapunzel right now.

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  • Good Intentions- Finish first draft

Despite the 50k, I’m still not done. Not even close. Honestly, I’m hoping this will only be 80k, but I’ve set my WordKeeperAlpha goal at 100k, just in case… because there is still a whole lot of story left to write… But it’s so good! Seriously, I’m enjoying the hell out of writing this! It’s going to be such a fun thing to post too, I can’t wait to see everyone’s reactions! 😀

Honestly, I’m putting that writing goal there, but I’m not really sure it’s going to happen. I’m going to do everything in my power to make the chapter postings happen (starting tomorrow, I SWEAR TO MAHAL…), but as far as writing goes, finishing “Good Intentions” is taking priority this month. It has to. Or, honestly? My whole plan for the year is going to fall to pieces. So there you go!

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And now, the real reason you all read this blog:

Fog’s Cute Animal of the Month

This month’s surprisingly cute animal:

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The poor, nearly extinct axolotl. Well, extinct in the wild. In ten years (from ’98 to ’08) they went from 6,000 per sq km to 100. Now, you can hardly find any. But they are thriving in captivity, so at least we have that 🙂

Look at it! Look at it’s happy little face! How can you not love that face???

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“Oh, stop it you!” *axolotl blush*

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I do not know how to get my hands on one of these sculptures, but if someone finds out, PLEASE FOR THE LOVE OF EVERYTHING LET ME KNOW!!!

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Also, because puns:

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*runs away cackling*

 

Once More Unto The (Writing) Breach- March 2017

March has come and gone, and April is well underway! Let’s take a moment to reflect…

What I’ve Accomplished This Month

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…woah. Okay, let’s break that down a little bit:

I got SO MUCH DONE on this story!

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It’s been going so well, I’m very, very pleased! And yes, you read that right, I am working on the sequel already. I’ve actually been working on the sequel in bits and pieces for some time. It’s gone through several iterations, so I’m not even sure if this one will stick, but I had a great idea for a scene, so I had to write it down 🙂

  • “Doubt The Stars” Revision- Self-edit finished!

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HA! Suck it, negativity! I did not let you defeat me this time! The self-edit is done, and now it is in the capable hands of my beta-readers…

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Yeah, I’m sure it’s fine. I’ll be fine. O.O

  • Good Intentions outline- 2,129 words written

Okay, I didn’t finish the outline, but I DID get a lot of things written down and worked out, so I feel pretty confident that I can proceed from here. Speaking of that, let’s talk about:

What’s Coming Up in April

  • Camp NaNoWriMo- Good Intentions (Age of Ultron fic) first draft

That’s right folks, it’s that time of year again!

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I’ve set my Camp NaNo goal at 50,000 words this month, but my stretch goal is 80,000 words, roughly the length of the last Avengers fic I wrote, “Clarity“. I would love to have this first draft finished by the end of April, but I’m being realistic because (I’ll be honest here) I’m exhausted. Like, really really tired.

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So if I get my 50k, I’ll feel good about myself. What does that say about me, that 50,000 words feels like a break…?

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  • Post two chapters of DBTT

I’m not even going to make a writing goal for this fic in April. Because I’m crazy (see above), but I’m not that crazy. If the writing for “Good Intentions” is going well, who knows what might happen, but I’m not gonna commit myself. However, my posting schedule shouldn’t be affected (like it has been in months past), since I have several chapters in reserve that just need tweaking.

Hopefully. Barring unforeseen disaster. *crosses fingers*

And now, the real reason you all read this blog:

Fog’s Cute Animal of the Month

You might recognize this picture that got passed around the internet several years ago:

 

 

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However, that is not, in fact, a baby giraffe (seriously, giraffes are huge, yo, even as babies…), that is actually a dik-dik!

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The dik-dik is a tiny species of antelope (they barely grow over a foot tall!), that gets its name from the whistling call it makes when they’re upset or alarmed.

Here’s a clip (their noses extend when they whistle and it is THE CUTEST THING I’VE EVER SEEN!!!):

And look, more pictures!

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This is a problem I need to have…

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This picture is just begging for a meme, but I’m coming up blank…

There you go, your dose of cute (and reminder not to believe everything you see on the internet ;P). See you next time!

Once More Unto The (Writing) Breach- February 2017

Alright, I know I’m running behind this month, but my grandmother was in the hospital and that kind of stuff tends to sneak up on you. Try to forgive me? Let’s take a look at what I did in February!

What I’ve Accomplished This Month

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This went surprisingly well! I was afraid that I was losing momentum on this story (horror of horrors!!!), but I think I’ve found my mojo again and I’m feeling really good about the things that are coming out of it. And my readers seem much happier with the results of my slightly slower posting, so that’s a great bonus!

  • The Stars Are Fire (now titled “Doubt Thou The Stars”) Revision- 21 scenes edited (first pass)

So, this didn’t go as well as I wanted it too. At all. I was really hoping to be completely finished with editing this book by the end of the month… Then, I was just really hoping to finish the first pass of the manuscript by the end of the month… Then, I was just hoping I would still want to look at these damn words by the end of the month. I did my best, but it was pretty pathetic. I’m still going, and I will not be defeated!

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Oh, and I had to make a title change. Because a pretty famous author has recently released a book with the title “The Stars Are Fire” and I just don’t feel like trying to compete with that, you know? So I’ve changed to “Doubt Thou The Stars”, which is basically the same line of the same poem, just shifted over a couple of words ;P I like it, hopefully I can keep it this time 🙂

  • Good Intentions outline- 1,174 words

Hey look, I started this! I haven’t done much, but I have thoughts and ideas. I just have to somehow get them to come together into a coherent whole. This is a lot more difficult than I thought it would be, but I have high hopes! I’ve been looking forward to starting this for quite some time, I’m very excited!

What’s Coming Up in March

  • Finish Doubt Thou The Stars Revision

I am going to finish this month! I’m gonna do it! I am! Whatever otherworldly power that is trying to keep this from happening, clearly doesn’t understand who they’re dealing with here.

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That’s right, Rick Roll’d sucker! Take that!

  • Post two chapters of DBTT, Write 10,000 new words

You know that old saying: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it! 😀 I think I might have finally found a monthly writing goal I can live with without feeling like I’m dying (or like I’m going to kill someone else ;P), and I see no reason to tempt fate. Well, any more than I already am.  I’m hoping I will only have to keep up the slow posting for a couple more months, maybe starting back to weekly in May. No promises though, I still have a lot of work to do before I can think about that.

  • Finish the outline for Good Intentions

I want this to be ready for Camp NaNoWriMo in April. That’s right, folks, it’s that time of year again! 😀 I’m gonna have to make some time to watch some movies which might feature heavily in the story. It’s gonna be fun! I’m really excited! 😀

And now, the real reason you all read this blog:

Fog’s Cute Animal of the Month

Behold!

Okay, so they aren’t actually tiny underwater hippos. They’re called flamboyant cuttlefish, or Metasepia pfefferi (don’t ask me to pronounce it. I’m not sure anyone can…)

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They are pretty, poisonous, and super weird! I need, like, twenty 🙂

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This month’s animal provided by my friend Sonja Little via Facebook! Thanks, Sonja! 😀

Once More Unto The (Writing) Breach- January 2017

What I’ve Accomplished This Month

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I realized about halfway through this month that I’m running out of chapters! When I started posting this fic last year, I started with a large cache of first draft chapters to work with, not to mention notes and scenes for many chapters after. So I got lazy. I stopped worrying about the writing, confident that I would have plenty of time to get more words down before it became a problem. Well, those days are now over. Time has run out. So I had to start writing this month, and I got a surprising amount of work done, for being so under prepared.

This isn’t going to make a whole lot of sense to you unless you follow me on Ravelry, a social knit and crochet site that I spend an inordinate amount of time on. On that site, there is a forum board called the Harry Potter Knit and Crochet House Cup (HPKCHC for short) in which members are Sorted into the four Hogwarts Houses, and then compete for points by completing projects. It’s a lot cooler than it sounds ;P Anyway, part of the competition involves a bit of roleplay, and though I don’t normally get super in-depth with that part of the game, a particular prompt caught my eye this month and I’ve been compelled to write a story: a Sherlock/Harry Potter mashup with knitting. Basically, I’m knitting a pattern broken down into five parts, and I’m writing a five part story to correspond with each portion of the project I complete. It’s a mystery. There are fairies. And goblins. And Sherlock is a Squib who solves crime with his Muggle flatmate, and takes great pleasure in making Mycroft’s job as the Ministry of Magic liaison to the British government as difficult as possible.

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If anyone is interested in reading this silly little thing, but doesn’t particularly want to create a Ravelry account (understandable), let me know in the comments and I will make the parts available on AO3, complete with pictures 🙂

  • The Stars Are Fire Pre-Editing

Non-quantifiable, but I really did  work on the pre-editing phase for my novel. I have character sheets, world-building notes (hey, my planets have names and stuff!), some techie details that will hopefully get me through into beta-reading and outside editing. Speaking of which:

What’s Coming Up in February

  • The Stars Are Fire Revision

February is the major edit for “The Stars Are Fire”. I have 28 days to edit 53,000 words. God help me. In case anyone is curious, I use Holly Lisle’s One Pass Manuscript Revision method and it has literally changed the way I think about editing. It’s daunting, but once it’s done, I know it’s been done to the best of my ability. I’ve used this method with both of my Avengers fanfictions (“Worth Living For” and “Clarity“) and the results have been overwhelmingly positive, so I feel confident using it on my original work.

  • Post two chapters of DBTT, Write 10,000 new words

As previously stated, I’m running out of chapters. Which means I’ve started making mistakes. And that’s not acceptable. So I’ve decided to take a little bit of a break from posting DBTT, switching from weekly to twice a month, to give myself a little bit of breathing room. This will also give me more time to do the actual writing and give me the kind of distance I need to edit my chapters before they’re posted. I’m hoping I can write another 10k words this month, which should give me a good start.

  • Write two more parts of Magical 221B (~2,000 words)

This will put me on track to complete this story (and my knitting) right on schedule 🙂

  • Try again to start pre-writing for Good Intentions

This was a big ol’ failboat this month.

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I wanted to do it. Unfortunately, my big plans to use dictation to make it possible were derailed by a little thing we here in the States call Daylight Savings Time. Basically, it’s dark by the time I get home from work, and I am not going out walking and talking to myself in the dark. So, I’m going to try something different to get the ball rolling on this, I’ll let you know how it goes!

And now, (what I know you’ve all been waiting for) the cute animal of the month!

I present to you, the lykoi– also known as the Werewolf cat! And yes, it is a real thing 🙂

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Look at it! It’s so ugly it’s cute!

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I feel like this successfully encapsulates every sibling relationship ever…

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Day 47: Infiltration successful. The wooly ones have accepted me as one of their own…

So many thanks to Adan Ramie for bringing these adorable creatures into my life, I cannot possibly describe in words the depths of my gratitude… ;D

Until next month!

Once More Unto The (Writing) Breach- November 2016

What I’ve Accomplished This Month

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  • The Stars Are Fire– 53,602 words written

The first draft of The Stars Are Fire is complete! 😀 It needs a lot of research and a lot of editing before it’s ready for its debut, but this is the first year I have ever written “The End” on a novel that I started in November. I’m super proud of that accomplishment and it makes me feel incredibly optimistic about the upcoming year! I’ve already got my plan lined out and right now I’m looking at a tentative publication date sometime in September! That’ll be pushing it, honestly, but if I’ve gotten it published by this time next year, I’ll be very happy 😀

What’s Coming Up in December

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…I mean, basically 🙂 This time of year is usually the most stressful time of year for me, so I try not to compound that with strenuous goals. I’m letting TSAF rest until January, and the most stressful thing I have on my calendar is trying to get back into posting Double The Baggins, Twice The Took, but even that I’m not worrying about too much. If I get one chapter out, I’ll honestly be pretty happy 🙂 I also have the end of the year blog post to write, which is a monster, and I’m helping my friend, Sarah with some editing, so I won’t be slacking, I can assure you.

And now, the cute animal of the month!

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This awesome dude is a kinkajou (also called a honey bear)!

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He is a rainforest mammal and he is about the cutest thing I’ve seen in a long while.

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If anyone was wondering what to get me for Christmas… now you know ;P

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Until next time! 😀

A Peek Behind The Curtain- November 2016

So, this post is sort of becoming a “When I have something” post, instead of a regular occurrence. That’s okay, it’s NaNoWriMo, which means I have something to report!

The novel I’m working on this year is best described as “Genderbent Hamlet in Space”. It’s been an interesting book to write so far, mostly because it’s the most outlined novel I’ve ever written. I’ve discovered that there are a lot of pros and a few cons to this, but I’ve been able to slog my way through it with dogged determination.

It’s actually a bit difficult to pick a scene to share with you all, but I think I’ve finally decided on this one from Act I, Scene ii: the wedding celebration of King Clarence and Queen Judith. The only character that doesn’t get at least a brief introduction is Hortensia, so you’ll have to wait to meet her 🙂

This is completely unedited, so I’m sure it’s awful, but here’s a Peek Behind The Curtain of NaNoWriMo!

The Stars Are Fire- NaNoWriMo 2016

The king (the word tasted stale on the back of her tongue and she took another swallow from her glass) was speaking to a pair of well dressed men, smiling at them pleasantly enough but she could see her uncle’s jaw flexing beneath his pale skin. It was a common tell that meant something was upsetting him. And whatever that was, Henley felt she wanted to be a part of it, she moved a bit closer and touched a string of gems that was nestled around the crest of her ear. The sound amplified and she could hear what was being said without looking particularly interested. She crossed her arms over the tasteful and unadorned bodice of her black gown and sipped at her drink.

“…miner’s guild is becoming increasingly concerned, my lord,” one of the simpering little weasels whined in her ear, “This business with the Lady Fortuna is getting… unreasonable.”

“They’re pirates, my lord,” his equally disgusting partner said, “Highwaymen. No matter their captain, no matter their position, they are still thieves! And they are harassing our shipping lanes with undue prejudice!”

“Gentlemen,” the king said, in his soft voice that used to soothe Henley and now only grated on her ear, “Do not misunderstand me. I understand that the problem must be dealt with. But we must address these things through the proper channels. No,” Henley could almost hear him raising his hand in a conciliatory gesture, though she had her back to him and she bit her cheek in an effort not to roll her eyes, “No, I hear what you are saying, Basil, but if you think the boy’s position is of no matter or consequence than you are more naive than I thought. We must speak to the Chancellor of Njor before we take any further action. I will not run hot-headed into this situation like…”

…like my brother Henley…

“…like we have done before,” he finished prudently (cowardly Henley thought in the darkest corner of her mind, but threw back the last of her champagne to stifle it), “We must be firm, but we must also be diplomatic. That is the only way to get the inner worlds to take us seriously, to see us as more than just a fueling station. I will write up a letter to the Chancellor in the morning and send you off with your complaints as soon as transport can be acquired and your protection assured, if that is…?”

“Your most gracious majesty!”

Henley winced and touched the gems in her ear, cancelling the audio enhancement to prevent feedback. Lady Persephone did not require any enhancement to be heard. Henley suspected that her high-pitched, fawning voice was on a different wavelength from most mammalian species. Henley could not help but turn toward that voice though, as much as it irked her. For if Lady Persephone had made an appearance it was likely that her children were not too far behind. And Henley never could resist Laersa’s pull.

The trio of red-headed nobles were standing in an almost pyramidic stance before the current royal couple (not new, neither of them were new to this, though everyone was acting as if they’d never seen Henley’s mother in a crown before), Lady Persephone at the head, giggling and twittering and flipping her luxuriously dark red curls back and forth over her pale neck, her two children standing at either of her shoulders, both with hair as red as their mother’s and looking like they were both trying desperately not to look uncomfortable. Henley caught the bright green eye of Ophestes, the younger of the two, and gave him a quick, but sympathetic smile. He smiled back, but it tensed up his round face and Henley could see his fingers bunching at his sides. Fez didn’t so well with… well, people. He was a sweet boy (and despite his seventeen years, he was most definitely still a boy), but he would much prefer it if no one knew that he existed, even the few people that he liked. He didn’t do well in social situations and his mother was a walking, talking social situation, everywhere she went.

Henley’s eyes drifted to the woman standing on the other side of Fez, never quite making eye contact, not daring, not here, it wasn’t safe, but still her gaze was drawn to her. Laersa stood straight and prim, her hands clasped behind her in a crisp parade rest sort of stance, her long, wispy strands of hair tied back in a long tail that hung down her lithe back. Her green and silver uniform looked good on her, clung in all the right places, but not enough to take away from the stiff regulation that came with Academy Officers’ training. Her eyes never left the face of the king as her mother droned on, but Henley still felt as if she could see her, just out of the corner of her eye, watching Henley watching her…

“Well, you know my Laersa, she is so used to getting her way…”

Henley’s attention went shrieking back to Lady Persephone. The Academy was the only thing Laersa had ever set her mind to in her life that she had gotten her way with her mother, and that was only because the silly bitch had somehow convinced herself that her daughter would come home in six months on the arm of a military man, possibly already married and expecting her first child. Henley regretted that her glass was already empty, and snagged another from the closest hover-butler.

“…but she really would like to be heading back to school as soon as possible,” Lady Persephone said, tossing her hair again while Henley choked on her fresh champagne, “Exams are on the horizon and there is so much studying involved, all those books, and lectures, and things…”

The woman twirled a bejeweled hand absently and Henley jerked her eyes back to Laersa. Back to Academy? Already? But… they hadn’t even… she hadn’t been able to… Laersa’s sharp green gaze left its trained spot in the middle distance, just briefly, but in that glance Henley read all that she needed to. This wasn’t Laersa’s idea. Persephone was behind this, the way she was behind everything, with her social climbing machinations, and arrogant assumptions. Henley clenched her glass so tightly that she could feel her fingers cramping and forced them to relax, taking another gulp. Her eyes were burning and she tried to relax her jaw the way she’d relaxed her fingers. It wasn’t safe. They were never safe. She hated it.

So, there you go 🙂 I’m trying not to stress too much about whether it sucks or not before the first draft (and second… and probably third ;P) is finished 🙂 I hope you enjoyed it!