NaNOWriMO 2016: Day Thirteen

Word Count: 1,671

Daily Reward: Sleep

illustration by Shi

illustration by Shi

 

Verdict:

Dear Kataryna, why did you just allow a fossa – the natural predator of a lemur – to appoint herself your bodyguard, and escort you out, via a magick portal, to a location 50 miles from the university? A location where a. the air is quite probably poisonous, b. there are giant carnivorous cockroaches that have a taste for Furrae flesh and c. there is no-one to rescue you should something happen. Except Tawny, and did I mention that Tawny is a fossa, and thus the natural predator of a lemur? How kraaking naive can you get?

We must also not forget that Tawny was appointed in her position as Kataryna’s bodyguard by Druid Maeve, Daniel’s older sister who totally does not approve of their (Kataryna and Daniel’s) liaison.

Crap, I think Kataryna is falling into the “too stupid to be a heroine” category. Good thing this is not a book I ever intend to publish!

Perhaps they need to bring someone else along too. Suggestions? Maybe the archeologist  shouldn’t be Tawny, maybe I should appoint some sort of neutral professor. Possibly Bjornston?

Also, hard to remain focused today as I decided to try and work out which continent Furritasia actually is. Toyed with the idea of America, but the problem is I would then have no justification for having a Scottish wolf and I’ve already spoken of the Highlands. Decided the United Kingdom would be better – but as it’s separated from Europe by water, that could likewise be inconvenient. So got into looking up continent drift. Found Doggerland again (learned about that in QI last week) and discovered that we’re heading towards (in like 250 million years) a super-continent, where all the continents have drifted together into a great amorphous blob. Am not sure when (if?) the UK is ever likely to reconnect with mainland Europe, and climate change is more likely to rise waters, not create new land bridges, but might take some creative liberties. About 2/3s of Furritasia is Deadlands, caused by the Great War of the Ancients. Daniel’s from the North, and Kataryna’s name is French, and she’s from “the rainforest district of Eriwyn” but that could be anywhere; her kin might originate from Madagascar, but the Furrae were genetically created and ring-tailed lemur are common enough in zoos all across the world.

Extract (or why we don’t regular travel from A to B using magick portals):

“Stand here.” Tawny grasped Kataryna by the arms and guided her into the centre of the chamber, placing her feet between two weaves on the floor. She stood opposite her, one hand still grabbing her shoulder. With the other, she rose her blackemarr rod, reached up and slashed a rune in the ceiling above them.
The runic-Weave moved, displacing themselves from the ceiling and the walls, moving closer, closer to surround the two girls. Circling spirals, faster and faster and faster. Kataryna felt her stomach clench and nausea swelled, rising up into her throat. She gagged. Closed her eyes. But eyelids did nothing to hide the Weave. Spinning faster and faster, it became a blur of light. Then the world dropped out from beneath her, and she was plummeting. Falling. She could not scream, could not move. Her feet hit the ground first, the impact jarring up through her so hard and fast that her knees turned to porridge and she collapsed, gagging, to the coarse, red sand beneath her.
Sand? She blinked, bleary, wiping vomit — mostly just liquid thankfully, since she’d not eaten breakfast —  to find herself staring across at a crumpled, broken metal, skeleton, arching over the gaping maw of a canyon. Nearby rose the domed shell of a jättemörtko, grinding its way across the coral-fungus that coated everything, glistening black-green. Everything, that was, except the immediate area, which had been cleared back, just outside the limits of a low circular stone wall. Every stone shimmered with runes.
“Welcome to the outskirts of Ef-I,”  Tawny declared. “One of the remnants of the Ancients civilisation.” She looked disappointingly unaffected by the sudden change of environment. She definitely hadn’t thrown up. Kataryna finally trusted her stomach enough for her to stand, although her legs still felt weak.
“So that’s a Displacement Portal,” she stated.

 

 

NaNoWriMo 2016: Day Twelve

Word Count: 1,832

Daily Reward: Once Upon a Time

illustration by Ruggy

illustration by Ruggy

Verdict:

Well, I was trying to make my characters have a nice conversation and get to know each other a wee bit better. But they weren’t having a bar of that, and tried to get a little bit too close.

So I threw a magickal storm at them.

Until it happened, I didn’t even know that the Deadlands produced random magic storms.

And now Daniel’s oldest sister has realised that they’re having a wee affair and she does not approve at all. Oh dear…

Extract:

“Kataryna,” he half-growled. “Ye canna know how much I want ye.”
“Oh,” she replied, <edited for smut>. “I think I have some inkling.”
A rumble rolled across the sky. The sky suddenly flashed a vivid and startling white, illuminating the garden and the Shaped framework of the gazebo. Kataryna’s fur crackled with static electricity, tiny sparks dancing iridescent violet between their fur.
“Oh fer the love of Elysia,” Daniel groaned. He rolled over, snatched up the picnic blanket and dragged it over them. “It’s a kraakin’ magick storm. We’ve gotta get inside, behind the wards.”
The clouds, barely noticed earlier, but now clustered above like conspirators, suddenly split open, disgorging their contents, great torrents of water. Droplets pointed around her, transforming into tiny, translucent frogs that hopped about spasmodically, only to burst with a spray of water.
“What the hell?” Kataryna fumbled to draw her shirt back on, as water gushed down around her, plastering her pelt to her body. Together they scrambled to their feet, him holding the picnic blanket over them. Not that it prevented much of the water. Another low rumble. For a flicker of a heart beat, Kataryna thought she saw a giant bird spread its wings across the sky. A jagged shaft of lightning arced out to strike the rod atop one of the towers. Sparks, incandescent purple, blue and red, erupted outward, like petals unfurling from a fiery flower.
The two of them hurried across the flower garden, colourful sparks descending around them, whilst the bubble-frogs hopped or popped around their feet. The air smelt sharp and sweet, of ozone and vanilla. The key suddenly squirmed in her hand, its body twisted like a caterpillar and it drove its teeth into her finger. Kataryna squeaked in surprise and pain, fumbled amid it slipped from her fingers.
“I’ve dropped the key!” She fell to her knees, scrabbling in the pebbles, trying to grab it as it wriggled away from her flailing fingers.
Another lightning bolt scythed the sky, striking the gazebo. It flared a vibrant white and began to twist and stretch as though it were alive, a giant pale spider with far too many legs.
“Dinna fret,” Daniel shouted to be heard against the deluge. “It’s just an illusion. It canna hurt us.” Kataryna’s fingers grasped the silver key. It wriggled once, but she drove her nail into it, and it stilled. The living gazebo extended one of its support-beam legs and ripped up a rose bush, sending it tumbling across the garden. Kataryna screamed as it flew straight towards them. Daniel wrapped his long body protectively around her, took the key gently from her shaking fingers and inserted it smoothly into the lock. It turned with a click and the two of them tumbled through. Behind them, the rose bush vanished in an explosion of sparks. The rose bush may have been an illusion, but the sparks were real. She could feel their stinging touch as they rained down around her, even through her saturated fur.
“I thought you said I was immune to illusion!” she screamed. The ground beneath her suddenly turned liquid, and she lurched forward, falling on her hands.
“No-one’s immune to a magick storm!” Daniel howled. He leaped over the patch of molten ground, and scooped her up in his arms. “Are ye hurt?” his tone gentle, although she could sense the panic.
She shook her head, mutely, staring out at the transformed garden with wild eyes.
Wind whipped and howled around them, whirling leaves and petals, the tiny sparks of doomed fyreflits and lightning-ash. The rain hammered. Trees groaned, waving their branches as though trying to fend off the lightning that jumped and sparked around them. Thunder boomed and rumbled, the immense low intonations shaking the earth.
Daniel reached the nearest tower, lowered Kataryna to the ground beneath the shelter of the portico. Above and around them, the protective wards glowed faintly, holding back the worst of the storm’s cinematic pyrotechnics. Out over the garden two of the trees seemed to be fighting with the gazebo, trying to push it back into the boundaries of the rose garden. Daniel drew her close to him, pressed his muzzle against her cheek. “Come on,” he said. “Let’s get ye inside and dried off.” She glanced at him, his fur sodden, plastered to his body and his braids framing his face like ragged string.

NaNoWrimo 2016: Day Eleven

Word Count: 1,803

Daily Reward: A movie, Arrival

illustration by Arquel

illustration by Arquel

Verdict:

Entry a day late because my friends turned up to go to the movie pretty much the moment I hit my daily word count, so I didn’t have time to make the post, but yep, achieved my goal! Again, a bit of a slow start and I probably got a little too evocative with the food … but, I had to try and work the picture above into the story somehow. So yeh, turned out that what Kataryna thought was going to be a romp in the rose bushes turned out to be a picnic in a gazebo. So, aside from getting a wee bit over-sensual with my food descriptions, a bit of conversation was worked in and yeh, that was my day.

The movie was Arrival and it was pretty good. One movie where the aliens truly were alien.

Also, I should note that I was also rather ill yesterday – I went home sick on Thursday – hence my short and somewhat depressing blog entry – spent the evening looking up morbid stuff on the internet (I hope no-one decides to look into my browser history and gets concerned), then finally, gratefully, fell asleep. Anyway, I’m much better now, although still not 100% health wise, I am feeling generally more positive in other ways.

Extract:

“Aye,” he laughed. “I agree. And that’s why I prepared us a wee picnic.” He drew his heat away from her, gesturing at the interior of the gazebo. A picnic rug — the same tartan as his kilt — covered the stone floor, and beside it, rested a straw basket, a very large straw basket. “I dinna know what ye might like to eat, so I may have got a wee bit carried away.” He added.
A wee bit carried away indeed! Kataryna took her seat upon the rug, and watched, somewhat in awe as he unpacked enough food to feed a small hoard: a loaf of crusty bread, tiny sausages, cheese, and dozens of tiny tubs containing sundried tomatoes, olives, pickled mushrooms, boiled eggs and more. She could not imagine that so much food could fit into the basket — and it was a very large basket. “Did you leave anything in the kitchen?”
“Possibly some potatoes,” he said with a rueful smile. “I canna say I’m fond of potatoes.”
“What are you fond of then?” she asked, plucking a grape from one of the many tubs and popping it into her mouth, relishing in the rough tension of the skin, before the wet POP filled her mouth with sweet juice.
“Och well, I am something of a carnivore,” he replied. He sat down, cross-legged — giving her a nice glimpse of his well-toned legs, but, perhaps thankfully, no higher — opposite her. Then proceeded to slice a chunk of bread and balance a strip of streaky bacon upon it. “So I suppose ye could say, I’m fond of meat.” He added one of the tiny sausages, then a chunk of cheese, creating a rather unstable tower. “But I wouldna say ‘no’ to a plump ripe cherry either.” He purred the words, and licked his lips, eyeing her as if it were she he would like to see on the platter.
“The big bad wolf, eh,” she teased him.
“Well, I could gobble ye right up.” He laughed, and proceeded to peel his construction apart, layer by layer, with his teeth, swallowing each as he went. “But seriously,” he continued, “I do really want to know more about ye.”
“Wait,” she said. “I believe you owe me an answer first.”

NaNOWriMo 2016: Day Ten

Word Count: 1,163

Daily Reward: None, I don’t deserve it

Illustration by Dreamaria.

Illustration by Dreamaria.

Verdict:

Today, like most of the world, I am in shock and bearing great trepidation for the future.

I’m also sick. So not up to writing much, and this chapter sort of faltered out well below the daily word goal.

My back hurts and I’m very tired. Maybe things will look better in the morning.

NaNoWriMo 2016: Day Nine

Word Count: 1,675

Daily Reward: Maybe Chai and a Belgian biscuit for morning tea?

 

KatCrash

illustration by Crash (Fox?), depicted with plushie of Dark the Nidoran (from an entirely unrelated story).

Verdict:

Introducing the other plot: including some supernatural-style encounters and a non-supernatural cat.

Have a feeling my pacing is off, but don’t really care. It’s not like I’m writing this story for anything except my own gratuitous pleasure. I’m not going to sell it (probably). I’m not going to rewrite it. It’s just for fun. And half the fun of this passage is to reveal some of the finer intricities of the inner workings of Tirra-Inle. Note that I’m not going into huge detail here about the magic – magic is fairly common place to all Furrae involved and not worthy of being remarked on in any manner different from how we’d say “turned on the lights” or whatever. Likewise, Kataryna has some special traits that, whilst relatively unique to her – or rather stronger in her than other people – don’t feel unusual to her, since the story is written from her POV and she’s lived with them all her life.

Daniel isn’t in this chapter, although he is alluded to a couple of times.

Lilith was one of my Nocturne created for “Reborne”. She never made it into that story before I ran out of steam, and thus is very easily manouevered into this plot. Of course, she’s dead (allegedly).

Ursula is supposed to be a bear, but part of me feels I should transform her into a wombat.

Also, there are so many Pokemon in everyone’s neighbourhood right now (special event thing until the 11th)! I’ve achieved my word count, its just past 10 am and I start work at 11.30. I’m going hunting 🙂 I’m seeing Pokemon spawning INSIDE other Pokemon (weird Staryu/Nidoran hybrid, a Poliwag with Goldeen fins). It’s freakish!

Extract:

Turning right, her path led into an unfamiliar corridor, and she shivered a little at the chill in the atmosphere. Was it her imagination, or was it colder than it should be in here? Then again, the walls were stone and untouched by direct sunlight, dimly let only by the jagged incandescence of runic weave. So it made sense, didn’t it? She pressed her hand against the soot-stained wall, and snatched it away as the heat seemed to drain from her palm. She shuddered, remember Daniel’s words: “Her name was Lilith. She did terrible things…” What kind of terrible things? Her pace quickened, inhaling the faintest scent of smoke, residual from the fire? Then why did it seem to be growing stronger. A throbbing started in the back of her head, a slight, incessant pounding. That would be the stresses of the day, her own exhaustion. The sooner she got a warm shower and some sleep, the better. A slight stinging pain in her hand, and she glanced down to find that the cut, which she’d sealed with saliva — hadn’t she? — now dripped a trail of tiny red droplets to the stone floor behind her. She stuck it in her mouth, tasting the coppery, musty sweetness.
Her footsteps echoed hollowly in the empty hallways and the magickal lighting flickered, creating dark patches of looming shadow. She tried to focus on the logic of it: the age of the runic weave; the lack of maintenance; the levels of cobweb and likely smoke-damage. But it was easy to see figures amongst the shadows. Kataryna knew that the Furrae brain — like that of the Ancients — was designed to perceive faces, even when faces did not exist, but this felt like it was taking it a step too far.
She passed a multitude of doors and doorways, some boarded over, others grinned like missing teeth, nothing beyond them but gaping pits of darkness. Noises, rustling and sibilant whispers, seemed to issue from within. Vermin and wind, she told herself. Vermin and wind.
“.. She committed terrible crimes,” Daniel had said. Murder? Torture?
Something screamed, a thin, reedy screech beyond one of the boarded-up doors. Kataryna’s heart fluttered into her throat and she feet took flight. She ran down the corridor, turned several corners, barrelled out into a brightly lit main thoroughfare and almost charged directly into a broad-shouldered, bear of a woman. She was clad in the blue and gold uniform of the Tirra-Inle staff. Her name badge read “Ursula”.
“There’s someone… a scream… I heard it… someone in trouble?” Kataryna’s words fell out of her in a mad jumble, each one racing to fight the other but beaten into submission by her gasping breath. She gestured back down the poorly lit corridor.
“Deep breath,” Ursula said, patting Kataryna on the shoulder. “Slow down. Someone is in trouble, you say?”
Kataryna nodded. “A scream.”
“What were you doing down there? Did you not see the barrier ribbon?”
Kataryna suddenly realised that she had somehow acquired a long banner wrapped around her waist. She must have run through it in her haste. She plucked at it. “I came from the other end.”
“You’re in the tower?” The woman’s eyes widened. “I didn’t know they had opened that up to the students again.”
“I’m not a student,” Kataryna began, then faltered. “Someone’s in trouble. Please, can you help them?”
“Of course.” Ursula drew her telekommunicator from her belt, activated the runes and barked a few short words into it. “In case we need back-up,” she comforted Kataryna. “But I’m sure we’ll find there’s nothing much amiss. Students have been reporting things from that hallway for years — that’s one of the reasons we’ve cordoned it off — but we’ve never found any evidence of real foul play. Unless you believe in ghosts?”
“I’m a scientist,” Kataryna assured her. “I’ll believe in things with tangible evidence.”
“Ah, that’s good then. Let’s go and investigate, shall we? Care to lead the way?”
With the powerful ward matron behind her, Kataryna felt a great deal more confident. Ursula paused to knock the wall at several points, encouraging the magical weave to flare more brightly, banishing all but the most persistent shadows. She found the door from behind which she’d heard the scream without too much trouble — the boards held it shut, but a hole the size of a large foot had been kicked into the corner.
“This one?” Ursula queried, casting a glance at Kataryna.
“Yes,” she said with a nod.
“Right then.” The powerful woman charged it with her shoulder, wood splintered, tore with a terrible groan, and the door swung open, to hang from one hinge. Ursula took her blackemarr rod from her belt, held it aloft and ran her fingers along its length, causing blue-tinged light to radiate forth. Kataryna made a mental note that she must acquire one of those.
The light illuminated a bunk room. Four free-standing beds, plus two alcove beds. The mattresses were grimed with dust and more floated in the air, glowing faintly green with the light’s radiation. All smelt of must and stagnant air, tinted with the sharper, acrid stink of animal piss. The animal itself soon became obvious, a small grey and black tabby cat, back arched and tail fluffed. It stared at them though golden eyes slitted in accusing at their invasion of its territory.
Ursula laughed, a deep booming that seemed to issue from deep in her belly. “There’s your someone,” she gasped, between the guffaws. “One of the tower cats. Probably in heat.”

NaNoWriMo 2016: Day Eight

Word Count: 1,708

Daily Reward: Not sure I deserve one, but QI N episode 3 (XL)

Illustration by Mercae Killer.

Illustration by Mercae Killer.

 

Verdict:

The more canny of ye will notice that there was no “day seven” post. Thankfully, my bonus-chapter on Day Five means that I have maintained my position, and not fallen behind. We have come to, what I call, the First Week slump. The introductory chapters have completed, and now we’re trying to move into the plot more strongly, and I the original adrenaline rush of writing has faded, being replaced by self-doubt and, in extreme cases, loathing. In this case, the story has just reached a turning point. This is one I alluded to in Chapter Six and the repetition of which might be unnecessary, if the character has not taken heed of the warning in the first instance, what changes it with the second? And why aren’t I following the Rule of Three?

It is generally at this point in the story I either lose my focus and go back to playing Pokemon/reading/wallowing in angst or forge on through it and let the story seize hold again.

Also my back hurts. I’m not sure why, but it is making sitting in my writing chair painful.

But hey, I finally got to introduce Tawny!

(Note: despite the fact that Daniel escorted Kataryna to the cafeteria so that she could have something to eat, I could not work her actually eating – or staring at the food in a sort of a daydream – into this scene and by the end of it I would expect she’s lost her appetite.)

Extract:

“Is this seat taken?” The voice drew Kataryna from her dazed fantasy, delivering her abruptly back to the present. As soft and smooth as honey, a predatory purr, it belonged to an elegant chestnut-furred female. Her pose was pure hunter, her figure sleek, her hair neatly coiffed into a high and elaborate bun, the ends of it falling to frame her broad muzzle like a veil.
Kataryna felt a faint spasm of unease, possibly a trace ancestral fear — her four-legged fore-bearers had likely been pursued by predators such as these, neither leonine nor lupine.
The woman seated herself without waiting for an answer. Her long, muscular tail coiled itself around her feet; the tip brushed Kataryna’s ankles. She drew her feet back. “I’m Tawny,” she purred. “Tawny LaRoux.” Her teeth flashed white and sharp, tongue flicked out, moistening her lower lip. “Third-year Archaeologist in the Discipline of Earth.”  She planted her elbows on the table, leaning forward so that Kataryna found herself staring into her cleavage. “And you are Kataryna Lemieux. I’ve heard all about you, yes indeed.” Her lips curled in a smug smile. “I’m to be your bodyguard.”
“Bodyguard?” Kataryna jerked upright, making the chair clatter against the floor. “Why do I need a bodyguard?”
Tawny rose her eyebrows, her rounded ears arching forward. “It is compulsory,” she said, leaned back and recited, “Those who enter the Deadlands must be accompanied by a trained Survivalist. And that would be me.” Her eyes narrowed. “You are planning to enter the Deadlands, are you not?”
“Well, yes…” A short, sharp chill shivered down Kataryna’s spine.
“Then it is sorted,” Tawny declared. “I shall accompany you. We leave tomorrow, at dawn. Don’t be late.” She slid the chair back, preparing to leave.
“Wait.” Kataryna swallowed, picking up the courage to continue.
“Yes?” The woman’s deep brown eyes studied her so intensely that Kataryna’s tongue grew clumsy and thick.
“Who,” her voice cracked on the word and she gulped, then started afresh. “Who sent you to me? How did you know I’d be here?”
Tawny’s laughter was short and sharp, more like a bark than a laugh. “Oh, I suspect we have a mutual friend,” she purred. “Druid Maeve approached me a short while ago, to see if I would take on some extra-curriculum study and keep an eye on you. Of course, I told her I would be delighted, especially when she told me all about you and your studies. Roaches, how fascinating! I’ve killed more than a few of them myself, of course. They can be such nasty bastards.” She stood and stretched full length. “Well, fare thee well, uh-wur-neen.” She massacred Daniel’s word.  “Whatever that means.” She stepped away, then cast a sly glare in Kataryna’s direction. “Oh, and she also mentioned something to me about her brother. I hear he’s a rather fine specimen of a man, and she wishes for him not to fall into the wrong company, so to speak. Now, I’m not sure what ‘wrong company’ she might mean, but I do think the only son of a clan chieftain should be very careful with whom he associates. Do you not? Especially in this time of political unrest.”
Clan chieftain? Kataryna could not hide the flush of shame and the stabbing hint of betrayal. Why hadn’t he told her?
Because he knew what would happen if he did.
She let her head sink onto her hands. Her heart disintegrating into a thousand broken pieces.
She must never see him again.

Evidence of the First Week Slump (aka, the reason I know to expect it)

2010: Aroha’s Grand AdventureDay 7 – (not sure why the link says “Day Six”)

2011: Fellowship of the RingtailsDay 6 – This was for SocNoc, in June.

2011: Tail of Two Scions (Mark I) –  Day 6 – slump not so bad. Story was, sadly.

2012: Tiriki’s Great EscapeDay 8 – woah, total fail day!

2013: Tail of Two Scions (Mark II) – I didn’t blog this one! But it should be noted I managed to draw an animal-a-day AND write 60 526 words!

NaNoWriMo 2016: Day Six

Word count: 1,708

Daily Reward: Cupcake (in a jar!)

kat-sporkmaster

Illustration by Sporkmaster

Verdict:

Things have heated up somewhat, to the point where today’s chapter entry (which you may notice is actually ‘Chapter Seven’, as I actually wrote ‘Chapter Six’ as well yesterday) has been password protected. This is not because I’m that embarrassed by it – it’s not even that steamy – more that I’m shy. If you do wish to read it, message me and I’ll give you the password. Maybe. Depending on who you are. For “inspiration” I have begun reading an erotica/romance novel, where none of the characters are supernatural beings or anything out of this world. The book is Rock Addiction by Nalini Singh. It’s not a bad read, by any regard, but I have noticed that when reading stories with a more intimate plot, I’m more drawn to the slow simmer rather than the quick boil. Also, humour helps. Time, I think to continue reading Diana Gabaldon’s, I give you my body.

I’m certainly planning on incorporating humour.

Also, Kataryna has finally made it t0 Tirra-Inle. Yesterday she met two of  Daniel’s sisters (he has six older sisters) and the oldest, Maeve,  warned Kataryna off pursuing their shared affections. This meant, of course, that the two needed to end up romantically entwined within the next 3 chapters… I’ve still not introduced Tawny Laroux to the plot – she may not even be needed, as the characters seem determined to create their own conflict – but given that I’ve still got around 35,000 words to go, I would expect her to make an appearance soon.

Also, I’m running out of fanart of Kataryna and Daniel, although I think I may have some that I can scan.

Excerpt: (a teaser)

Further exploration revealed a microscope hidden in a cupboard, along with a number of replacement lenses. It was a huge, cumbersome affair, and would practically require a degree in engineering to operate. Not for the first time — and certainly not for the last, Kataryna cursed the carriage driver, and mourned the loss of her own, more portable model. Even extracting it from the cupboard would require an effort and a half. She leaned over, trying to get a firm grip on the monstrosity.
There came the click of the door latch behind her. A creak as it swung open.
“Is that you, Maeve?” she said. “Can you lend me a hand?”
“Och aye. I can lend ye a hand indeed.” A low rumble, with an edge of  mirth. Not Maeve. Daniel. He’d stepped back out from her fantasies and into her life. She tried to stand up too fast, and hit her head on the roof of the cupboard.
“Oh kraak,” she cursed.
“Are ye aright?” His hands were warm against her shoulders, easing her out from the cupboard, turning her in his arms so that they stood, once more, muzzle to muzzle. One hand stroked her forehead. “Are ye hurt?”
Kataryna wasn’t quite sure if the spinning in her head or the weakness in her knees were due to concussion or his scent. She had never understood, not until this moment, how the sappy heroine in a trashy romance novels could swoon so easily. Now she knew. “I don’t know,” she admitted. “How did you find me?”
He chuckled, deep, low, the vibrations perfectly pitched to stir every nerve in her body. “Ye forget, me bonnie wee lass, I’m lupine. There innit much what can escape this nose of mine.” He pressed the aforementioned nose against her, his flicking tongue danced red-hot fire across her mouth.
“But your sisters… Maeve…” Kataryna wasn’t sure why she was protesting. Wanted to tell her mouth to shut the hell up. Wanted to allow herself to melt into the moment, to melt into him, and give herself to him, heart, body and soul. But, she had to be honest with herself, mostly body. It had been too long since she had felt the touch of a man — or a woman, for that matter —  and her entire being hummed with his presence, burned with desire for him.

Chapter Seven

NaNoWriMo 2016: Day Five

Word Count: 1,749
Daily Reward: Cake, in a jar!

 

I'm sorry, I no longer have a record of who drew this one :(

I’m sorry, I no longer have a record of who drew this one 🙁

Verdict:

When I first set out to write this, I was intending to have the story along the lines of “Kataryna fancies Daniel, but Daniel is already betrothed/engaged/involved with someone else”. However, I didn’t want the original love interest (now named “Sorcha”) to be a bitch and create rivalry between the two females. Indeed, the main conflict is going to come from a character that is not introduced yet – namely Tawny LaRoux – and that creating bitchy female relationships is a little too cliched and overdone. So, Sorcha is a nice character – she uses her healing magick to help Kataryna early on, she and Daniel have been friends since they were basically pups. The two are more friends who, by the nature of their birth clans (Lyall and Galbraith) are basically forced to be together by convention rather than intention. What this does do, however, is mean that I have one of two choices for how to deal with Sorcha, or three choices really. One, I can kill her off. This is probably the most dramatic option, but seems unlikely to fit into the plot of this story (unless Tawny gets REALLY nasty, it’s possible!). Two, I can make her fall in love with someone else. This is probably the most convenient solution. The third, is that I keep her alive and write all three into a polyamorous relationship. This is a very tempting idea – and one that might be super-fun to follow up on – but may upset the relationship dynamics of book two. Of course, it’s not impossible to combine Three and One – or even Three and Two. Or, if I felt particularly cruel, Three, Two and One in that order. Or Four, I could make Sorcha asexual.

The idea of creating a polyamorous relationship was something of an ephiphany. You see, as humans living the so-called “Western World” we tend to think of beings as following similar habits as is (traditionally) found in our culture. However, these are not people. These are furrae.  Heck, one of their primary deities is Elysia, Goddess of life and love, and yes, sex too. It is a world of free love and carnal celebration.

And it is a lot of fun writing sexual tension. And then interrupting it. With a llama.

Extract:

“Ye first,” Daniel stepped aside, allowing her to pass. “And take care. There’s a bit of a wee drop on the other side.”
Kataryna nodded and stepped between the pillars. Immediately, she felt that odd tingling across her fur — the sensation of numerous spiders again — then stumbled to an abrupt halt as the ground did, indeed drop away, a mere foot span away. She quickly reined the vertigo under control — she was descended from tree-dwellers after all — and took in the view. Wide steps led down the steep cliff, into a lush green canyon-valley. A valley that surrounded the rising towers, perched on their precarious island, much in the manner of a moot.
“Impressive, aye?” Daniel came up behind her, placed his hand on her shoulder, as though to stop her falling over the edge. With a mere whisker-length between them, his warmth, and his reassuring scent — like honey and spice — that was not, however, the direction in which she was at distinct risk of falling. He stood a full head taller than she, and she resisted, barely, the desire to nestle beneath his chin.
“If I could see the towers, how could I not see this?” Kataryna marvelled.
“Simple geography,” he replied. “It’s below ye line of sight, until ye are literally upon it.”
“But… the poisons? How can you grow a forest here?”
“I canna say I ken the answer to that.” His words blew gently across her head, stirring her hair, as he lowered his muzzle to breathe one word in her fluffy ear, “Magic?”
Kataryna felt her knees turn to jelly. She turned into his arm and rose her head, so that their muzzles almost touched. Her whiskers bristled against his. She inhaled deep his scent. So richly, deeply masculine. His fingers tangled in her hair, gently stroking her scalp.  “Magic,” she whispered. The word came out choked.
Kataryna felt a soft nudge against her side, followed by a more insistent one. Patch — either eager to get in on the action or suspecting Kataryna was hiding something in her pocket. Kataryna pushed the llama away, but it was too late; the moment was broken.
“Are ye two coming or not?” Sorcha’s voice rose from the depths of the valley below. “Or are ye too busy admiring the view?”
“We’d better head down,” Kataryna admitted, with great reluctance.
“Aye.” Daniel’s sigh held more than just exasperation. It held promise. “I’m feared we must.”

NaNoWriMo 2016: Day Four

Word Count: 1,909
Daily Reward: An afternoon nap and an episode of Once Upon a Time.

Illustration by Bronzemistral

Illustration by Bronzemistral (2004)

Verdict:

Wee bit tired today, kinda burned out after a week at work. Still, it’s my day off so I’ve completely my word count by 3:40 pm. My total word count now stands at around 7,264 words. More dialogue. More of Kataryna being somewhat adorably geeky (she’s so enthusiastic about being gifted with a dead roach!). Not sure when to reveal more of Daniel’s back story and his relationship with Jamilyn. Is it more effective to point it out early on or draw it out until her crush has fully seeded itself?

Also, I’m going to run out of fan art of Kataryna and Daniel soon – at least of Kataryna in her pre-Reborne form (not really a spoiler for anyone who has been reading this blog regularly) and Daniel not wearing a loincloth. I’m not sure why everyone seems to draw him wearing a loincloth. I think they were aiming for the Native American vibe (it’s fairly popular amongst wolf furries). Of course, I do have a few NSFW pictures, and some of the two of them together, but the former isn’t appropriate and the latter isn’t appropriate YET. I do want to put up a picture of Fluffy (or just a random tarantula) but don’t want to trigger anyone with arachnophobia. If any of you are artists and wish to provide me with further artwork, I’d be very grateful!

Scrivener: Not entirely sold on Scrivener. If I want to change a character’s name or the spelling of a word (ie: flutterby to fyreflit), I don’t seem to be able to do it across the entire document, but only with individual chapters. This could be a bit tiresome should I try and change Jamilyn’s name in the future.

Extract:

(Context: Kataryna, being stubborn, refused the offer of a bed and chose to sleep on the hard ground. After a night of fitful restlessness, she is awoken…)

…But it wasn’t the dawn that had awoken her, not even the stiffness in her back, her thighs, her entire body. It was the sound of the gate clicking shut. The sound of something scraping across the dirt. She rolled to her knees, ignoring the painful cramps that came with it. “Who’s there?” she whispered into the darkness.
She gasped as she saw it creeping towards her — the gaping mandibles, the bulbous black eyes.
A scrittling. How had it opened the gate?
Fingers scrabbled out, frantic for any sort of potential weapon, but there was nothing except her pack. She clutched it to her chest. Perhaps she could fling it at the monster? Then, just as suddenly, the giant insect lurched forward and crumpled to the ground, limbs limp and bending at weird, unnatural, angles. Dead.
“Dinna fret. It’s just me.” Daniel’s deep voice, complete reassurance that almost sent her melting to the ground in relief. “I dinna mean to scare ye.” He loomed over the fallen scrittling and that was when Kataryna realised that it was one of those slain the evening before. “I brought you a present.” His laugh was a delicious low rumble. “Not quite flowers,” he said. “But I think more to ye taste somehow.”

Random things I googled today:

Chapter Four

NaNoWriMo 2016: day three

Word count: 1,744

Reward for achieving daily goal: sushi and a root beer

Illustrated by Jimi Newman

Illustration by Jimi Newman

Verdict:
Today was a bit of a messy day, writing wise. I had a later start to work – which should have meant I could spend the morning writing, but alas that was not the case. First I had to renew my driver’s licence, then I had to drop something off to a friend at the Mall, then my mother rang and we had a lengthy phone conversation, all meaning that I only just managed to attain the word count for the day with just enough time left over to get to work! Because, if I didn’t achieve the word count before work, I couldn’t reward myself with my intended dinner!

Today my characters spent a lot of time being embarrassed, and engaging in the semi-awkward conversation you get between three people, two of whom know each other quite well, and the third of which does not. Much blushing. Need more synonyms for “embarrassment”!

Scrivener:  nothing new today, or discovered any new traps/pitfalls. All good there! Just gotta be careful of the autocomplete thing. I suppose I *could* disable it, but I kinda like that it corrects my actual typos – just gotta train it into all the other words!

Writing accents is difficult too. I’ve got it down pat for Daniel, but it’s harder to do it for Jamilyn without forcing her to speak in Scottish cliches. I’m actually tempted to change her name to something softer and more feminine.

Extract:

 Partly to hide her discomforting feelings, but also out of genuine interest, Kataryna approached the two pack llamas. The piebald one looked up as she approached, emitting a low humming sound. She stopped, holding up her hands to show that they were empty (Fluffy being nestled back into her coat pocket) and held one out for the animal to sniff. Its nostrils flared, breath steaming warm against her palm.
“Here.” Daniel was beside her, placing something in her palm. A slice of apple. “Hold it flat.” His nearness made her fur tingle and she swallowed back a lump in her throat. Concentrated on the fruit, offering it flat to the beast. The llama’s lips were gentle and soft, plucking it from her hand with barely a brush of contact and leaving a faint sticky trail of juice behind. It lifted its head, long ears upright, dark eyes gentle beneath the long, curled eyelashes.
“Does she have a name?” Kataryna ventured.
“No, not really.” Daniel shuffled a little, and looked faintly, strangely, shame-faced. “Although sometimes I call it Patch. On account of, well, its patches.” He indicated the llama’s spotted hide. Its pelt was short, tight curls.
Kataryna nodded. Liking him even more — if that were possible — at this admission. Furrae were, for the most part, inclined to treat animals as commodities, as objects, not as the sentient beings that they were. “Can I stroke her?” she asked.
Daniel looked surprised at the question, as though the thought would never have occurred to him. “Well, I guess so,” he said. “Just don’t move too fast. Ye dinna want to startle it.” His lips twitched into a grin. “Believe me, ye dinna want to startle it. Also,” he added, “I, err, think it’s actually a boy.”
A quick glance confirmed this declaration and Kataryna kind of wished the ground would just open and swallow her up. She hid her embarrassment by stepping closer to the creature, reaching out and placing her hand on its shoulder blade. The tight curls felt dense, more like wool than fur. The llama, Patch, seemed completely oblivious to her actions, its attentions being more focused on Daniel, and the possibility of another slice of apple.
“Does the white one not have a name too?” The other llama, perhaps seeking some of the attentions Patch was receiving, had raised its head and was studying them with its gentle gaze.
“Err, nay.” Daniel gave a small cough. “I mean, aye. I call it Snow. Because of, well, the colour, ye ken.” He scratched himself behind the ear. “I ain’t too imaginative, when it comes to names.”
Kataryna allowed herself a chuckle. “I can hardly complain. I have a tarantula named Fluffy.”