Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Dazzling Imago

“Hello, Thadeus.”

Thadeus froze. He never heard her come in. He turned around, slowly.

He resisted the urge to oscitate when he saw her. When the Red Guard took her five years ago, she was but a squirt, a caterpillar becoming a chrysalis. Now, a full grown woman stood in front of him -- a dazzling butterfly.

“I was waiting for you,” he said.

“I know.”

Even after so long apart, their minds still worked in strange synchronicity. He knew why she was here. He was her graduation project. The Lacuna mission, trainees called it. A mission where they had to tear out their past like pages out of a book. Failing this final test meant death.

Her face was emotionless, but Thadeus knew better. He knew her. Or did he? There was a miasma around her he never felt before. She had changed. They both have. His image stared at him from the mirror on the opposite wall. Was he really that old?

“Do it quickly,” the calmness of his voice surprised even him.

“Of course.”

Did her voice just tremble?

He looked away. It was easier. “I love you.”

“Goodbye, father,” she whispered as the blade fell down.

Second Campaign Challenge: The Dazzling Imago

Rach's Second Campaign Challenge is really challenging! It goes like this:

Write a blog post in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, whether flash fiction, non-fiction, humorous blog musings, poem, etc. The blog post should:
  • include the word "imago" in the title
  • include the following 4 random words: "miasma," "lacuna," "oscitate," "synchronicity,"
If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional and included in the word count), make reference to a mirror in your post.
For those who want an even greater challenge (optional), make your post 200 words EXACTLY!
I love all the crazy words. When I first saw it, I had no idea how I could get a story out of it :) I had to wait a few days for the inspiration to hit me.

Firstly, I noticed it says "Write a blog post in 200 words or less". I don't know if Rach just worded it wrong, or is it a trick, but just to be on the safe side, I'll be posting the story itself in a separate blog post, unlike the first challenge. I just want to say a few words first.

The included words, according to the dictionaries, all have more than one meaning, so I'll note here the meaning I used, just in case someone thought the character was yawning instead of gaping :D

imago: an insect in its sexually mature adult stage after metamorphosis.
miasma: a noxious atmosphere or influence.
lacuna: a gap or space, especially in a book or manuscript
oscitate: to gape
synchronicity:  the state or fact of being synchronous or simultaneous; synchronism.
Because of the word shortage, some of the sentences and thoughts are half-finished, so I'm not completely sure is it clear what's going on. There's a rule that you shouldn't underestimate the reader, but there's always the danger that you're not giving enough information, assuming it can be deduced, or because you simply already know what's going on so it looks logical to you. It's a fine line to walk, and I'm still not sure if I found the right balance between too much information and too little. So tell me, what do you think it's going on?

Here's the actual post, 200 words and a reference to a mirror: http://blogspot.mystictreehouse.com/2011/09/dazzing-imago.html
If you liked it, please click "like" on Rach's post, it's number 122 on the linky list. Don't forget to vote!

On the other notes, it's been a busy week. I still haven't gotten around to visiting all the blogs from my groups, really sorry about that. Also too many blog posts in my google reader I still haven't gotten around to reading :( Still stories from the first challenge I'd like to get to. There are two awards that I need to pass on, but there is always less important stuff that gets in the way, like work or sleep. There's just not enough time in a day for everything. I really want a Tardis for Christmas :(

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

"The Enchantress" is up on Smashwords!

I've finally gotten around to putting my short story "The Enchantress" up on Smashwords. All of you that liked the characters from my Challenge entry, you can read more about them right here for free! I hope you will not be disappointed. There's also a bonus story at the end.

If you take the time to read it, I'd appreciate it if you'd leave a review. Even a negative one would be useful, at least I'd know what I'm doing wrong :). It would be great getting some feedback from people. If this one goes well I have a few more short stories involving these characters just waiting to see the light of day.

Thank you all for dropping by!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

I've been tagged!

I've been tagged by Claire Hennessy over at her blog Crazy California Claire, and as a result I have to share 10 random facts about myself. It made me realize I haven't said anything about who I am and what I do, or better to say, what I write. Forgive me, I'm a bit of a scatterbrain. There, I already said something about myself! Anyway, I thought this would be a perfect opportunity to kill two birds with one stone.

Firstly, I live in Croatia, a small European country on the Mediterranean sea. My town is situated on the seaside, but I don't go to beach much. Never can find the time. Daina Rustin is my pen name and I mostly use it because my real name is much too, um, Croatian :D. I'm 30-something, I work as a web developer and in my spare time, I like to draw and, you guessed, write.

I write mostly fantasy at the moment. Sword and sorcery fantasy, to be more precise. I would like to get into other sub-genres, but to tell you the truth, my characters won't let me. If you've read my Campaigner Challenge entry, you've already met them. They've taken a permanent residence in my head and refuse to leave. I've only written a few short stories with them, and a novella size one that's in dire need of a serious edit (it's the one that started it all), for some reason I keep putting off larger pieces with them and opting for short stories instead. Perhaps I don't feel ready yet. I plan to self-publish one of those short stories as a part of my little experiment with self-publishing, you might have seen the cover(s) I plan to use for it. It's going to be for free, and hopefully some of you will want to download it and read it :).

I also have an unfinished novel of about 100000 words, a disaster born during two years of NaNoWriMo that will probably never see the light of day, because I started writing it before I had a firm grip on the characters and they turned out completely void of character. Too bad, because the plot itself isn't all that bad. It's about a young prince and his little sister being chased by their enemies across an unknown land, forced to seek help from two mysterious and mutually adversarial native races. Maybe one day I'll come back to it and edit it properly (a little nudge might help ;) ). For this year's NaNoWriMo, I have in mind something with pirates :D.

I would also like to write some science fiction, but the stories just won't come. Which I think it's pretty strange, because I love sci-fi, I read a lot of it, I watch even more, I'm a geek for technology and science stuff, but the inspiration just won't come. Weird. I also love detective and mystery genre, and been toying with the idea of writing a fantasy who-done-it for a while now.

I read pretty much the same genres. My favorite authors are Guy Gavriel Kay, Roger Zelazny, Terry Pratchett, Lois McMaster Bujold for her Vorkosigan saga (she also writes good fantasy). Mike Resnick has some of the best short stories I've ever read (I still need to find out if his novels are just as good), I love Ellis Peters' Cadfael series (a historical who-done-it)... I used to be hooked on Agatha Christie as a kid, until I realized all her books are almost exactly the same. I like thrillers too, and children books, basically anything that has action in it, not just drama for drama's sake or romance for romance's sake - that is to say, I don't like romance and drama books, but I like romance and drama in my "actiony" books. Because really, what's action without a bit of romance and drama?

What else should I tell you about myself? Well, my health has been a bit wonky lately, I have a defective thyroid gland that might or might not be the cause of a constant tiredness I've been feeling for the last half a year or so. It's not the fatigue like you get from hard work or lack of sleep, more like a chronic lack of energy. I wake up tired, I'm somewhat functional before noon but at 3PM sharp my brain shuts down, and at 5PM when I come home from work I'm so tired that all I want to do is just curl up on the couch and sleep. The reason I'm mentioning this is not to get sympathy or whatnot, it's just to inform you that that's mostly the reason I haven't posted much yet (I will try to write at least one post a week, probably during the weekend, weekends are a little more bearable). It's the reason why I haven't still answered to all of your comments, or dropped by all the people in my groups (and I put myself down for 3 groups, go me), or commented on your entries, although I did read a lot of them, and loved them all. Hopefully I'll get to catch up this weekend. I want to read as much entries as I can. Anyway, if you don't get an answer to your comment, don't think I'm ignoring you or something, I was just probably too tired to come sit at the computer. Also, if you added me and I didn't add you back, give me a shout, I probably missed you somehow. The most frustrating thing about this is that I really, really want to write, but most of the time, I just don't have the energy for it.

Aaaanyway, before this post reaches the size of a small Mediterranean country, let's get down to this tag business. Here come 10 random facts about me.

1. I live with my boyfriend, who broke his leg playing soccer with his friends about a month ago.

2. I like dogs, but I'm really a cat person. Unfortunately, I had to give my cat to my mother because my future mother-in-law is allergic.

3. I can't imagine life without chocolate.

4. It's very hard to piss me off, unless you're family. Then it's the easiest thing in the world.

5. I rarely start writing before I have a beginning, a middle and an end, but I never make notes, I keep all the planing in my head.

6. I don't have a driver's license.

7. In case you haven't figured it out by now, English is not my native language :D

8. I like emotes. A lot.

9. As a child, I was extremely picky about my food, I refused to eat most of it. Now, I eat everything, and I love trying out new things. I do draw the line at roasted cockroaches and fried worms though.

10. I love 80's cartoons. And 80's music and shows. Also movies and hairstyles. I hate the cartoons that run on Cartoon Network today (although I just watched the new Thundercats and I loved them, they have finally started making cartoons that are not downright disgusting).

So now I have to tag back 5 more people. I found a few victims among the Campaigners, so here they are:

You're it, Cheryl! @ http://offwithefairies.blogspot.com
You're it, Michael! @ http://michael-haynes.blogspot.com
You're it, Jes! @ http://glassbubbleofmine.blogspot.com
You're it, Barbara! @ http://aneclecticmuse.blogspot.com
You're it, Mish! @ http://writer-in-transit.co.za/

Ok, now that that's done, it's your turn. Tell me about yourself. What do you write? What do you read? Where do you live? How's life?

Friday, September 9, 2011

First Campaigner Challenge

Rachael Harrie’s first campaigner challenge of Platform-Building Campaign is to write a flash fiction story of 200 words or less that starts with a “The door swung open”. Extra challenge if you use the same beginning words and end with the words: “the door swung shut.” and if you make it 200 words exactly. Of course I had to go with the harder option.

I had something completely different in mind, but my characters had another idea. Silly me, thinking it’s the writer who decides on a story. I’m not exactly sure how I feel about it, it’s the first time I write these two as teenagers.

Not My Fault

The door swung open and a red-faced boy of about fourteen stormed into the room.

“You did it again!” he shouted at the girl his age that was sitting on the window sill, reading a book.

“Hi, Adrien,” she said, not taking her eyes off the pages.

“You just had to do it, didn’t you?”

“Do what? I did numerous things today.”

“You set Morigan on fire! Again!”

“I wouldn’t call it fire,” she turned the page. “It was more of a flicker.”

“Why do you keep doing these things, Gray? The teachers will be furious!”

“So?” she shrugged. “I’m not a student here. Besides,” she raised her head from the book, “I don’t see how it’s my fault. I told him ‘Leave the kid alone or I’ll barbecue you.’ He chose barbecue. You’d think in five years he’s been at this school he would have learned by now.”

“It’s not your fault?”

“It was his choice,” she shrugged.

He shook his head. “It’s like I’m talking to a wall.”

“I wouldn’t know. Haven’t talked to that many walls.”

Adrien sighed before turning and walking out the door.

“Bye, Adrien,” she shouted after him just as the door swung shut.

Any suggestions for a title?

EDIT: Thank you all for such great comments! Sorry I forgot to put the entry number, it's 338, thank you, Michael, for answering it for me :) For all of you that would like to read more stories with these characters, you can check out my free short story on Smashwords!

As for the title, I think I'll go with "Not my fault".

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Cover for "The Enchantress"

I've been going through my font collection all weekend (a small collection, just some 4-5 thousand fonts :D ) looking for the right font for my book cover. The main criteria was that it's readable. I didn't want a font where a reader needs to stare at it for five minutes to figure out what it says. Second, I wanted a gothic type font or similar, something suitable for fantasy. I made ten different versions, then managed to eliminate it down to seven, then finally down to four. Here are those four winners, tell me what you think about them.