Tybalt Perdition out Thursday!

So after more than a year of edits and revisions, Tybalt Perdition arrives this Thursday!

It’s the first tale of Caldyr’s adventures as a fairy detective and it tells of her meeting Reynardine, the dread fox and trickster. (Also it’s book #0 of the Glass Fate series and an introduction to the world in general.)

In another world, a ship sinks above an ancient reef. In the icy waters, among scores of drowning sailors, she was born.

Caldyr Prayers is a mostly normal fairy, but a not-so-normal detective, especially for Stockton, California. She’s looking to make a name for herself and build a real life; a proper legacy as the World’s foremost fairy private eye. She’s just gotta get off the ground with her wings tied behind her back (to keep her fairyhood secret from the humans.) All she needs is a chance…

And in walks Reynardine Slybold—the Dread Fox. God, trickster, seducer, petty thief, and chaos in a lurid suit. But he just might have a legitimate case for Caldyr. He’s giving up his divinity and needs her to find a solution to his oldest feud. If she can solve the Fox’s problems, and keep them alive, the fairy could make a few much needed bucks… maybe even a name for herself.

You can pre-order the ebook on Amazon right now for a dollar.

And’s here’s the promised bit from the prologue. Enjoy!

**

Fryhel, Elledgya

Fairies aren’t created in a normal way. A surge of emotions infuses a spark into the nearest element and life itself springs from nothing save the barest flicker of consciousness. Some are born of fire, some plants, some air, and of course, some are born from water.
Near Uyntolt, in the arctic waters above the Cinder Reefs, three hundred and eighty-one souls were lost to the starving tides. In the depths among the dying sailors of the Grimalkin Prayers, she thought and she was.
The ocean shifted hard against itself, drawing into a bright orb; the luminous heart of a water fairy. All on its own, the glowing sphere began to spin.
Flesh curled from the center, stretching and twisting to form the fairy’s body. A neck wound into shape, expanding into a round head. Silver eyes, hard and cold as the ocean, formed above a short nose. From the core stretched two arms, followed close by two legs. Wings shot from her back, hardening into dark leather. Long feathery tendrils twisted around her ear holes, drawing air into the fairy’s single lung. Her white tongue ran over two rows of razor teeth. Black hair, short and choppy, floated and mixed with her long gills. Flexing her fingers, she drew them closed, her new eyes taking in the blue digits.
A giant hand broke water next to the fairy. Too close. She lunged, grabbed the fingers and dug her teeth into the palm’s soft meat.
Coppery warmth filled her mouth. The hand shook and she clung tight, drinking in the sweet fluid. Tingles shook one newly formed wing, but the food kick-started her head even further—thoughts and ideas, power and knowledge, all sparked with the nourishing blood.
After an extra hard shake, she lost her grip and tumbled backward through the inky waters. The fairy turned to look at what she fed upon. A human, bubbles escaping his open mouth, drifted into the cold blue. The air pockets covered his face, but she could imagine terror. Silver eyes wide, the fairy watched the body fall to the Deep.
All around her more of the giants sunk. Ocean life floated from below, dark shadows preying on the humans.
Young cetus, short-snouted crocodilians with pale skin, darted in and out of view. The monsters snatched prey, drug them into the dark and leaving trails of blood to mark their path.
Pink skin caught the fairy’s eyes, a mermaid feasting on a corpse in the safety of the reef. Crouched between two limbs of black coral, the mermaid ate fast, until enough blood filled the water to shield her from sight.
Other merpeople joined, rising from the dark to feed and fight over pieces of the dead and drowning. They celebrated the feast with haunting song, dark magic choruses swearing peace could be found in their arms. The spellsong passed through the fairy, but the humans floated easily into the deadly embraces.
Deep below, in the glowing depths that gave the Cinder Reefs their name, a shadow passed. Larger enough to be a kraken or sea dragon, the phantom blocked all light.
The fairy had seen more than enough.
Hard wings beats propelled her upward, she rose fast, aiming for the surface. Breaking through with a splash, she flew higher into the air and surveyed the carnage.
Broken wood, cloth, barrels, and bodies dotted the ocean. A few people clung to the debris, but they didn’t have a chance this close to the reef. The twin suns rose in the distance, blue and red gifted a soft purple morning sky.
The shipwreck was prime feeding grounds above the waves, too, birds and tiny saurians flitted through the air. One swooped low and snapped at the fairy. With a gesture, she pulled water upward and knocked the nasty creature into an early grave.
The fairy searched for land; the frenzy grew beneath her and she didn’t want to risk more time in the open. A green blur of trees and grass caught her eye, not far off from where she flapped. She pushed her new wings hard. Air whistled around her ear holes and drowned out the clamor.
A figure stood on the shore, white-blond hair and a blue dress. The fairy angled her flight toward the human. A lifeboat waited on the beach next to the woman.
Closer up the fairy could tell she was a woman, the other variety of giant. A man looked like the one she bit in the water.
The fairy knew the difference like she knew how to fly, or how to move water. There was nothing solid in her head, yet facts stood out. Ideas, names, senses, strange concepts she had no context for poured through her.
The world should feel new, but already time’s rusty hooks latched onto her soul.
As she approached, the old instincts kicked hard. A deep tingle in her left wing carried a buzz of alarm, although no name attached to the feeling. The fairy landed on the bow of the lifeboat, crouched to cover her naked body, and prepared to spring.
Humans could easily crush her at this size. Caution would keep her alive, until she learned enough to survive.
She looked back over the destruction and with a small cough, the tiny blue fairy spoke her first word, “Fuck.”
“Hello, little fairy. I’m Lucretia Caldyr.” The old woman’s soft voice carried an odd tinge. Hectic, but barely controlled. The fairy could feel it meant—nothing. A blank. But she knew something was off.

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Bladed Words (Writing about Fighting)

I’m just going to come out swinging here and talk right about the act of writing a fight scene.  I’ve got some later in depth posts planned about specific aspects of combat, but I just wanted to get this out of the way.

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“Have at thee, Rapscallion and other stereotypical olden insults.”

So two characters, or more, need to settle some things.  For whatever reason character A is about to go ninja all over characters C-F (B is just a bystander).  And you want to wow your reader with a shocking fight scene that’ll leave them racked with excitement, cheering loud and gasping in the all right places?

Start off boring and simple.

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Unlike this picture. On a serious note, if anyone knows what the %*#& is happening here the comment section is down there.  I’ll take any guesses.

Just lay it out there, in a clear manner. In this scene Annabelle, a fire fairy, is facing off against a group of zombies for no particular reason.  Or illustrative purposes, I guess that sounds better.

Annabelle faced off against a semi-circle of animated corpses.  Calling her nature, she flashed fire at the group.  The corpses stumbled backward, she moved in slamming her fist into one.

The zombie crumpled, jaw mangled.  Calling a wall of flame between her and the corpses, she took them on one at a time.  Lighting one with her magic, she ducked another grasp.  Grabbing the withered arm, she slammed her foot down into the weak ankle and tossed the creature at his burning kin.

Pulling the wall of flame down, she burned the legs from another and then finished it with a kick to the head.  For the last two, she used pure fire.  The dead burned to ash in moments.

First off, not everything needs to be prettied up in a fight scene.  Clarity over charm here, writers.  Probably not so much with the wordiness either, you started simple so stick to simple.

That being said:

Clarivoyance not needed – “Calling a wall of flame between her and the corpses, she took them on one at a time.”

This is a habit I still struggle with, remember to stay in the moment when writing fight scenes.  If a character is fighting, don’t predict the end or the order of events.  If they shoot a bullet and the guy is hit, don’t say he’ll bleed out in moments or that he will die.  Especially if your character can’t possibly know that it was a kill.

Clarify and Label – “The corpses stumbled backward, she the fairy moved in slamming her fist into one a red shirted zombie.

The zombie crumpled, jaw mangled The undead man crumbled to the ground, his jaw crushed and leaking dark blood.”

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“Why all the zombie hate, brah?”

One, giving your character an extra label can help avoid repetition.  Clear labeling of characters is essential though, you don’t want readers have go back and figure out who is who during critical moments.  On a side note, now is probably a good time to start filling in a few more details.  Clarify who is what, and remember cause and effect.  Fighting should be kinetic, A did this and this happened is a core tenet of all fight scenes (remember what I said earlier about clairvoyance though).

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Mr Fuzzybritches struck, Captain Cutiepaws was floored by the sudden betrayal.

 

And on detailing itself, don’t go too far.  Use your best judgement but too much detail will distract the reader.  Too little and you’re just stating bare facts.  I wish I could offer some magical formula here–and if you can the comments are below, I’ll love you forever–so just keep writing fight scenes.  Find a critique partner and focus on them for a bit.  Put the work in and you’ll have readers on the edge of their seats in no time.

Crushing Repetition – I say pulled three or four times in that.  I won’t label all the repetitive words but just go through and cut them.  Also if your writing a piece with multiple fight scene, creating a second document and reading them one after the other will help identify repetition in the whole work.  You want every fight to stand out so read them back to back to ensure that nothing sounds the same.  Gun battles in particular fall to this foil, but really just a bit of effort and you’ll smooth it out.

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Raccoon basketball games are pretty repetitive too, all they do is steal.

Okay, now I’m going to apply my advice and see if we can’t get a thrill out of this scene yet.

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Annabelle turned the corner, orb of fire hanging overhead.  The light caught the edges of the group, five more of the tattered corpses.  Downtown really was dangerous at night.

The fairy wasted no time, whistling loud to draw their attention.  The ghouls stumbled forward, arms outstretched.  Calling her nature, she flashed splitting the group.  She moved fast, slamming her fist into the nearest zombie, a male with a red shirt.  The undead man crumpled to the ground, jaw smashed and skull pouring dark blood.

Snapping her fingers Annabelle lit one ablaze, ducking another’s blind lunge.  Grabbing a withered arm for leverage, the fairy broke the zombies ankle with a hard stomp.  Annabelle swung the hobbled creature into her burning kin, ignoring the screech from the tangled corpses.

Dancing backward, the fairy burned the legs from another.  He fell to smoking knees, she kicking him to the ground and crushed the head with her boot.

Tiring of her workout, she called heavy fire for the last two.  A pure bright end for the dark corpses.

Okay I added a bit of humor at the beginning, the bit about downtown being dangerous.  Don’t try to be funny during a fight, time and place guys, remember that.  Beside the obvious, I also tried to end on a high note.  Summing up the scene and finalizing it with something powerful.  Also I elevated the violence throughout the fight, another good tip to remember.  Start off with a tap, end with a haymaker.

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I was searching fight pictures on Pixabay and this one’s pretty awesome so I wanted to use it.

That’s all I have for the basics of writing a fight scene.  Like I mentioned earlier, I’ve certainly got a bit more to say on the subject.  Just wanted to keep it simple for the first one.  If you’ve got requests or questions, I’d love to help out.

Oh and thanks for reading.

One more thing…

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My writer buddy and ardent source of inspiration Faith Rivens released a novella.  She’s a great writer so if you’re in the mood for some urban fantasy action purchase her novella here and for more information follow her blog here or on twitter here.  Remember a little support for an indie author goes a long way.  Thanks again and have a great day.

Thoughts for Food

A Loose Collection of Thoughts on Food and Writing.

World Building

In cold northern Fryhel for almost every meal they serve bread and ‘fairy butter’.

To start it’s called fairy butter because it’s made in Southern Cyok by fairies.

It’s made from a coconut like fruit, reddish according to the locals. When prepared it produces a thick yellowish red oil.  The oil is cooked at a low temperature with orange peels and other citruses for about six hours, then shipped in casks.  Served on heated bread they say eating the butter will stave off illness and diseases of the mouth.

The people of Fryhel got no clue what scurvy actually is, or vitamin C, but we do and good chance your reader does.  (And a people that live off meat and fish alone are a little boring). Continue reading

Flesh: Character Prompts

Okay, so you want to create jaw-dropping characters no one will ever forget?

That’s my goal too and in pursuit of that I’ve created a huge list of writing prompts. Then I made a whole set of them into images to share with you. (Practicing my image making skills and I’m nice like that.)

So from here they’re pretty self-explanatory and red.  What?  I like red. Continue reading

A Twitter Post

The Strumbellas, again, The Bird That Follows Me.

So ’bout that blue bird.

I started twitter on February 10th.  I’m socially awkward and I always have been.  You can’t be a hermit author anymore though, the industry is changing.  Flooding and morphing and settling into this strange new era. Continue reading

Word Counts (and upping them)

Okay well, if you follow me on twitter (and if you don’t please feel morally obligated to do so now at this link here. @john_cordial ) then you’ve seen these posts popping up with the little pictures, and thanks, and numbers. 2.7k. 3.5k. 4.8k. 5.7K.

Continue reading