Achievement Badges So Far

Goed Begonnen – Start Writing


Double or Nothing – 3334 words on day 1
Non stop- write for 1 hour without stopping
Bronze Fingertips – Write 5k in 1 day
Early in the morning – write first thing on waking

And now I should actually DO some writing rather then procrastinating about it.




Camp Day 2 – Muse

Screen Shot 2013-04-02 at 9.54.12 PMYesterday I was up with the sun writing my fingers off, full of inspiration, the words flowing from brain to keyboard with little effort. Today however, has been a hard slog. I think I do my best writing first thing in the morning and my worst in the late afternoon with a second burst in the early evening.

Unfortunately today’s good writing times were pretty much booked up with family obligations and when I did get three solid hours in the late afternoon it felt a great deal like my muse had fled the building. Everything I wrote seemed rubbish. I even deleted a solid 500 words at one point (which I don’t count towards my word goal).

I’m still struggling with who or what my “muse” actually is. It seems to have a different idea of what a muse is or isn’t for them. I’d like to have a picture or statue of my muse, something I can look at in the real world, something I can touch and focus on, pray and beg too. My brain’s already taken up with intangibles, I need one that’s not stuck inside my head.

Still, I’ve managed to write around 6525 words in total which puts me well over the 10% mark and solidly towards my 25% goal. I had set a personal goal today to finish chapters 4 & 5, but I’m unsure if I’ve really done that. Chapter 5 seems to lacking something in the way of character development. I’m finding it hard to express my characters personalities clearly on the page. I know that I can go back after camp and pull out the red pen of editing magic (I just made that up, but it could be a thing), and flesh out the characters more at that time. Concentrate now on just getting the main body of the story out there, find the links in the various chapters, make sure the plot and subplots all work etc etc. That just feels, hmm, unfinished maybe, slack even.

I’ll see how things go tomorrow. I have a few things to do in the morning, including a restorative yoga session which will, hopefully, help to relax me and clear my brain ready for a creative session for the remainder of the day. It will be the first day of camp sans husband and child and dinner is already in the fridge, bliss.

On another note, I’m not expecting to post much else other then camp updates and possibly other story chapters I’m working on for camp, this will last for all of April.

Chapter 1


She watched as bodies fell from a balcony above her into the gaping jaws of a fiery demon, it’s massive form encompassing the main courtyard of Asim Manor. The mosaic tiles cracked under the furnace-like heat exuding from the monstrous creature. Tongues of flame wrapped around the flailing bodies, their cries filling the very air around her with their pain and suffering. She had watched her father and elder brothers suffer the torture of the blazing inferno, their bodies twisted and blackened as they were consumed in the smothering heat. A scream of pain and helpless rage lashed out of her as she watched the body of her mother fall from the balcony, their screams echoing each other.

A cool breeze touched her cheek in the darkness. As if from a vast distance she heard someone calling her name, “Madi’hah? Madi.” The call was urgent but gentle and she turned toward it, wishing it to embrace her and take away the horror she was witnessing. Sobbing, strangling back further screams she opened her eyes and felt the cool air of the stables wash over her feverish skin.

She collapsed into the large, soft wall of flesh embracing her. It hadn’t been real, just another nightmare, it never happened. There was no demon. Her family had all been dead before the fires consumed their bodies, they were already dead, already dead. Repeating the words didn’t make her feel any better, it didn’t make her family any more alive.

“Oh my child, I’m sorry. Lyra, goddess of Truth, forgive me for ever honouring you!” The old woman brushed the tears from the young girls face and rocked her as if she were still a babe. “I wish we had never told you the truth. Hush now, your safe daughter of my heart, shh shh.”

Madi’hah couldn’t remember a time when she hadn’t been consumed by dreams of fire, not every night, but they had been coming more frequently of late. Always featuring death and eradication of everything she knew or had known. Nothing ever remained, except for her, standing alone in a barren world painted in the golden light of the rising sun. That was if she managed to sleep through the horror of the nightmare, managed to not wake Abi’l or Faris, her foster parents, the only family she had left.

Deftly she extracted herself from the voluptuous chest of her foster-mother. She really was too old to wake up screaming in the old woman’s arms, but the relief of a warm loving body beside her pallet helped vanish the lurking remnants of the nightmares. If only Abi’l hadn’t taken to believing it was her fault the dreams came more often of late. It was true that the dreams had began to take on a new ferocity since Abi’l and Feris had revealed her true heritage, but that had been over a year ago now. Madi believed it was more likely linked to the increase in earth tremors and erratic weather they’d been experiencing all over Teis which had started around the same time. Madi’hah liked to believe it was the land revolting against Custodian Kadar’s false inheritance. Everything had seemed to come to a head last year when he declared his intent to move his family to Teis and his newly constructed manor house, and thus after all these years, finalise his claim to Teis. That was when the earthquakes began, demolishing most of the nearly completed building.

She managed to shoo Abi’l out of room before the woman tried to dress her, quickly exchanging her nightgown for a reasonably clean set of clothes. It wasn’t as though the horses minded how she smelt.  Her attic room was small, the only place she could actually stand upright was right in the centre of the room. Faris had installed a small shuttered window in the roof which she now opened, allowing the golden light to wash away the shadows lurking in the corners. Under the window sat her wash basin and a cloth. Apparently the basin had been one of the few things to survive the fire that killed her family. The basin and a small clear crystal were the only two items she had left of her old life.

Abi’l said the crystal had been given to her on her first birthday by her brothers. They would sit with her in the morning light and paint rainbows for her. She didn’t really remember them or her parents, but she kept the crystal close to her at all times, it helped to stop the grief that always liked to consume her after a nightmare.

With a practiced vault Madi’hah launched herself off the stair railings and into the common room of their small house behind the stables. Faris looked up from his bowl, rolling his eyes at her antics.

“Don’t get too excited about breakfast girl, it’s just watered down vegetable soup. And more water then soup if you ask my opinion.” The last was said in Faris’s attempt at an under-his-breath mumble, which for most people was still rather loud, and clearly audible. Madi’hah tried to suppress a groan to save Abi’l from another thing to angst over. It wasn’t her fault the crops had finally all failed last harvest season.

“So no new produce this morning then?” Her foster-mother shook her head without looking up from the soup pot.

“Hmph, not even the chickens laid anything.” Faris said, raising his bowl to his lips and slurping down the last drops. He pushed himself away from the table with a heavy sigh. “Hurry up here girl and join me in the stables. The steward found it in his heart to let me know the new lord is expected with his family in the next few days.” This time it was Madi who rolled her eyes. Her opinion of the pompous ass who lorded it over the rest of the manors staff was even less affectionate then most peoples. In his masters absence the man took more then half of any produce that managed to find it’s way to the manor, and believed he had the right to also sample the women of his choosing.

Madi’hah had made him see the errors of his way at trying to take advantage of her, the steward smelt of the privy’s for a week and Madi had taken to ducking out of sight for months afterwards. She was just fortunate the man had a big enough ego that he hadn’t wanted others to know “the mere snip of a stable girl” had gotten the best of him.

The air outside the house was chilly with a light breeze ruffling her tied back hair. It might not snow in this part of the country like it apparently did in the southern demesne of Qatil, that didn’t mean winter couldn’t put a chill in your bones. If this late autumn weather was anything to go by, they would have a cold winter this year. Stuffing her hands into her pockets Madi headed to the front of the stables to find Faris. She tried to avoid looking at the scaffolding that surrounded the new manse. The building bared little resemblance to what had stood their before with the main foyer being the only part of the original to survive. Madi was secretly pleased that it had also withstood the earthquakes too, her biggest regret was the destruction of the courtyards mosaic tiles. She could picture them so clearly in her nightmares but now all that remained was bare earth.

Word Count: 1269

Total Word count for the day: 5134

Silence makes the heart grow fonder

She sits quietly at the window, scissors in hand, a basket of fresh cut flowers at her feet. We’ve been married for 65 years tomorrow, would you believe that? And for 65 years, on Wednesday mornings at 7am she wonders into the gardens I planted for her, and collects an arrangement. Without a word she clips and sorts her bounty into a new and elegant display of the season. She calls it her silent meditation. I spend the time sipping my coffee and thinking how beautiful she is.

Beauty visits once a year (2)

Tabitha, a biblical name meaning beauty, the name of my daughter. She has grown into a young woman now and has her own life. She lives far away, across the oceans in a city I’ve never seen. She comes to visit me once every year on my birthday.

Flash Fiction – Rider

by ~Mushstone

Tora pulled her lambs wool hide vest over her shirts, buttoning it securely in front. On top of this came a well worn dear hide jacket. The scarf she wrapped around her head and throat had been a selection gift from her family. Handwoven, her family colours in the warp, strong and supporting. The weft threads were mostly brown with a few silver threads that shimmered in the light, like dragon scale. Cloak of good warm wool, also a selection gift welcoming her into the foster-family who’s home she shared for the four years of her training.

“Training that ended today.” Pride swelled in her chest at the thought.

Carefully she picked her way along the stairs leading to the top of the cliffs, her fellow riders and dragons were already gathering for the graduation flight. The air pulsed with excitement, even the dragons had shed their usual calm nature, trumpeting loudly to each other and their riders in excitement.

Quickly she slipped on her goggles and helmet before shoving her hands into the fur lined gloves. As the ground evened out beneath her feat, turning from gravel to soft grass she picked up her pace, all but running to great Chiani, wrapping her small arms around the beasts great neck. Chiani nuzzled her back and chirped a soft greeting of pleasure.

“Todays the day girl. We fly off that ledge and become fully fledge members. No more guided flights, no one controlling when and where we can fly. We can take to the skies and never come back if we choose.”

“Which you wont, I hope.” Tora spun around to see her parents smiling behind her.

“Pa! Your wearing your old uniform.” Tora said.

“Ey. Thought this day warranted a bit of ceremony,” He lowered his voice and whispered conspiratorially, “don’t tell anyone, but your mother had to let it out a few inches. Seems your old man has put on a few pounds in the past couple of cycles.” His belly laugh turned a several smiling heads in their direction. Tora’s father was known for his sense of humour and taste for good food, at least he was now he was no longer head of the kings guard. Yorgen and chosen to retire his post with the death of the old king. Claiming he wasn’t so young anymore and military service was a young man’s profession.

“Tora, love, we really are proud of you today. Hasn’t been a rider in the family for nigh on three generations. I’m honoured to have you as my daughter.”

“Oh Pa.” Tora threw herself into his open arms, hiding the tears that had sprung to her eyes.

“Oh all right you two. Don’t get over emotional yet, Tora still has to pass the final exam.” Yorgen turned hard disapproving eyes on his wife. “Your evil glares don’t work on me old man. Besides, I’ve no doubt Tora will pass, I’m just wondering if she will be first or last.” Geana winked at Tora and walked off to great the other parents as Yorgen blustered on behind her about his daughters prowess as a rider.

Tora smiled affectionately after them and turned back to Chiani. “So what do you think girl, can we beat Loti and Predo for head of the class?” Chiani let out an echoing roar, clearly indicating her superiority.

“Riders, mount up.” Teachers and their dragons lined up behind their students, their faces emotionless as they watched their students snap to attention, or not, and mount their dragons. Each rider must complete the full circuit, executing all manoeuvres with perfect precision, breaking formation resulted in an instant failure and the rider would have to wait for the next round of testing, in another four years time.

Tora checked her harness three times, ensuring she was completely attached, they said, a fall from dragon back was fatal even before you hit the ground. She wouldn’t allow even the slightest slip up now, this would be their day. She and Chiani would prove they were the best and deserved their place among dragon riders.

In a single motion the band of dragons took to the sky, seamless in the execution of the first manoeuvres. It wasn’t until halfway through the circuit that something went wrong, terribly wrong. Tora could see Loti ahead of her, something was wrong in the way the girl sat her saddle but before she could figure out what it was Loti come away from Nori’s back. Without thinking Tora broke formation, directing Chiani to dive towards the falling girl. Nori, far from the smartest of beasts, circled above them confused. Tora’s eyes were locked on her friends body as it tumbled towards the ground. Freezing wind cut channels through the small areas of exposed skin on Tora’s cheeks as Chiani put herself in full dive, a dive that would put them several meters into bare earth if she failed to pull up.

As one, dragon and rider moved, pulling out of the dive, coming up beneath the body of the falling girl. Tora took her hands from Chiani’s reins and caught the larger girls body, her arms feeling is if they had shattered with the impact. Catching the wind with her broad wings, Chiani lifted them gently back into the sky and onto the testing cliff. It was all Tora could do to hold onto the body of her unconscious friend, for the moment forgetting that she had broken formation and ultimately failed the test.

Fired Up

I’m so fired up about camp. So much so that I’ve put up a pin board behind my desk, just for camp. Currently it has a photo of my son, and I created a checklist of all the Camp Achievement Badges (although I’ve called them Awards) which is now stuck up on the board. Here’s a copy of the pdf incase anyone else wants to print out one for themselves: Camp Nanowrimo Awards

I’ve also created a little ‘Daily Goals’ banner to highlight my sticky note goal for the day. This will usually be just a daily word count, but may be, hours to write that day or words to write per hour that day or possibly the achievement badge I’m going for.

Daily Goal
Daily Goal

I’m also hopping to get items through the postcard swap to help motivate me.

Oh, and then theirs also the cover art mockup I did using an image from Photobucket.



Cover art mockup
Magicians of Khora



Beauty visits once a year (1)

The days are long, cold and grey. Nothing changes, nothing grows, nothing sings or dances here. Stillness. That is, until beauty arrives. For one, single, glowing, colour filled day, every year the world is set to rights. The air moves, making everything it touches dance. Voices rise with joy long held in check. A rainbow of colour empties into the greyness making it all look shiny and new. But the day ends, beauty leaves and the greyness descends once more.

Flash Fiction – Audition

Lacy forced herself to control her breath, in, hold, out, in, hold, out. Her body tense with anticipation, waiting, waiting, waiting for the music to start. The sound of shuffling papers and whispering drifted across the room to where she held herself motionless. Before her mind had registered the sound, her body responded, her left shoulder rolling elegantly in a backwards circular movement, her arm and hand picked up the motion and the rest of her body began to flow with it, responding to the music, muscle memory taking over as she lost herself.

“Thank you.”

Suddenly the music stopped, she almost stumbled as the surge of movement ceased, but recovered quickly, placing her feet carefully, precisely together. It hadn’t been long enough. They hadn’t seen the full piece, which meant, once again, she wasn’t going to be selected. Her heart settled more deeply into the well worn hole in her chest. Why didn’t they ever choose her? All she had ever wanted to do was dance, but no one ever wanted her to. Not even her parents. No one ever seemed to let her finish, she knew it wasn’t her skill, she knew she was good, technically she was the best in her classes, yet somehow, everyone else managed to get through the auditions, get into companies and onto the stage, everyone except her.

“Breath.” She told herself. “In, hold, out.” It was either that or cry and she wouldn’t cry, not here, not where someone could see her. That would have to wait. As quickly and quietly as she could, Lacy walked to the stereo to retrieve her music and bag. “Ten steps to the door, five minutes to the bus station, the bus comes every ten minutes, twenty minute ride home, ten minute walk, sixteen stairs to the door and then I can cry. Just hold on till then.” She told herself.

While her thoughts were focussing on the path home, Lacy almost missed the voice calling her name.

“Lacy. Sorry to cut you off before you had finished. It’s been a long morning, we hope you understand.” She nodded silently at the speaker, a slim brunette with large, square, red rimmed glasses.

“We’d like you to come back this afternoon please. The directer, producer and the choreographer will be here.” Lacy’s heart went from darkness to glowing in an instant, like a fire doused in petrol. They wanted her to come back? They wanted others to see her dance. Important others.

“And Lacy,” the grinning, balding man beside the brunette added, “we would like to put you forward to audition for the hand maiden, it’s a supporting lead. It means you’d also be the understudy for the role of the Queen.” His grin was infectious. Lacy couldn’t help but glow with pride. She didn’t have the role yet, but they wanted her. This group of people had faith in her, had enjoyed watching her dance. Her parents were wrong, she could make it as a dancer.

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